Southbound I-495 bridge open, NB still closed




Charges dropped in Delaware drug case
By Associated Press

Updated Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 5:21pm

Delaware prosecutors have dropped drug charges against a man accused of dealing heroin following testimony at a court hearing regarding an evidence-tampering and theft scandal at the state's drug testing lab.

The charges against Braaheim Reed were dropped Thursday morning before a judge resumed a hearing that could determine the fate of hundreds of other drug prosecutions in Delaware.

The decision by prosecutors came following court testimony Wednesday regarding the discovery of 648 bags of heroin in an evidence envelope in Reed's case when the envelope was labeled as having 598 bags.

Public defenders have argued during the hearing that concluded Thursday that prosecutors cannot meet their burden of establishing the integrity of evidence in other cases, and that hundreds of pending drug prosecutions should therefore be dismissed.



Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Historic Townsend Elementary reopens
By Amy Cherry

Updated Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 5:25pm

The Townsend Elementary School is reopening after a two year remodel
Come Monday, some students in the Appoqunimink school district may not recognize their school.

WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

Click here to listen



The 82-year-old Townsend Elementary School has a whole new look, but...

"It still has that charm. The brick siding, and out front, our walkway has kind of like a Main Street feel to it," said principal Don Davis.

Click here to listen



He says the main hallway inside is designed like a little town center with windows peering into the hallway.

While preserving historic elements was important so was major modernization. Davis says the school is now the most technologically advanced elementary school in the Appoquinimink District.

"We have two full computer labs with 17 points for wifi, we have smartboards in every room, we have two computers in every room; we have a set of 20 iPads," he said.

Click here to listen



Davis tells WDEL he's happy to be back at the helm after he and the students were transferred to Old State Elementary during the two-year remodel.

"There's a buzz around here, teachers are just walking around smiling," said Davis.

Click here to listen



Past and present students and faculty cut the ribbon on the renovated school located at 126 Main Street Thursday.



Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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'Railroad 101' for emergency responders
By Mellany Armstrong

Updated Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 5:50pm

A rail car becomes a classroom for emergency responders in Delaware.

They and local security officials attended a training session Thursday in New Castle to get an up-close look at railroad equipment and hear directly from Norfolk Southern railroad experts on safety.

Spokesman Dave Pidgeon says they discussed hazardous and non-hazardous materials.

"If you are responding to an emergency on the railroad, whom do you need to talk to? Who has their hands on the train consist, which lists what's on the train," he said.

Click here to listen



Emergency responders asked about potential problems with crude oil, which Norfolk Souther carries through Delaware.

"These incidents are rare, but if there is an incident, they are prepared, they are knowledgeable, but not just about crude oil, its about all kinds of commodities that are hauled on the railroad," he said.

Click here to listen



Participants, including Delaware City police and officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Delaware, sat inside a railcar classroom and also toured an educational tank car. Norfolk Southern will also participate in a disaster drill Saturday in Delaware City with state emergency officials.



Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Sevens introduce Caesar the Fox
By Sean Greene

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VIDEO: Sevens fans 'Hail Caesar'

Caesar the Fox was introduced as the Delaware 87ers' first mascot Thursday night.

At an unveiling at the Brandywine Zoo, Sevens officials introduced the six-foot grey fox which has a pair of meanings connected to Delaware.

The name Caesar honors Caesar Rodney, Delaware's signer of the Declaration of Independence. The selection of the grey fox as the animal matches the state's official wildlife animal declared in 2010.

Caesar will join the Sevens as they play their second season in the NBA Developmental League this fall at the Bob Carpenter Center.



Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Bigger, better, beefier ... this year's Burger Battle
By Amy Cherry

Updated Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 5:44pm

One of many burgers available for sampling at the Delaware Burger Battle. (Photo courtesy of Del. Burger Battle/Facebook)
The best burgermeisters from up and down the state compete for bragging rights this Saturday at Twin Lakes in Greenville.

WDEL's Amy Cherry has the story.

Click here to listen



17 restaurants will go head-to-head to claim the title of "Best Burger" in Delaware.

New this year, a trophy going to the best alternative burgers...that's vegetarian or vegan.

"They happen to both be black bean burgers. One is vegan, one is not," said Delaware Burger Battle spokeswoman JulieAnne Cross.

Click here to listen



But the Delaware Burger Battle is largely for carnivores.

"Meat is pretty broadly defined. Lots of ground beef, lots of bacon. There's short rib, sometimes there are things like lamb or veal," Cross said.

Click here to listen



A meat burger will receive the Critics and People's Choice Awards. "Delebrity" judges like myself and NBC 10's Tim Furlong will judge the Critics Choice Award.

You pay one price to taste as many burgers as you can fit into your belly. Proceeds benefit the Ministry of Caring.

"For the Emmanuel Dining Room, and they feed 180,000 hungry people throughout the year," said Cross.

Click here to listen



Ticketscost $45 plus a service fee in advance or $55, cash only, at the door.

For more information, click here.



Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Wilm. Council corrects planning oversight
By Tom Lehman

Wilmington City Council voted on Thursday to amend the zoning code to fix an oversight from more than 10 years ago on restrictions to multi-family home conversions.

WDEL's Tom Lehman reports...

Click here to listen



Council members voted to clarify the law so applicants trying to convert single-family homes to multi-family units would have to get approval from Zoning Board of Adjustments..

The clarification was required to help enforce changes council made in 2002, according to Matthew Harris, a city planner.

When the restrictions were initially put into place, Harris said the enacting language was added to an administrative section of the code, but relevant sections of the law were not updated properly.

"The ordinance will amend the zoning code as it should have been in 2002 and make it clearer that single-family conversions must be approved by the zoning board of adjustments," he said.

Click here to listen



The oversight affected several zoning districts, he said. Council passed the changes in a unanimous decision.





Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Woman struck by car in Smyrna
By Amy Cherry

A woman is seriously hurt after being struck by car in Smyrna.

Police say it happened Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. at Route 13 and East Glenwood Avenue.

Police say the woman was attempting to run across the southbound lanes of Route 13 and wasn't using a designated crosswalk when she was hit by a car.

She broke her leg and suffered head injuries and had to be flown to Christiana Hospital.

At this time, the driver doesn't face charges.




Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Potassium iodide tablets being distributed in Middletown
By Tom Lehman

Updated Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 5:40pm

Potassium iodide tablets are being made available to Delaware residents who live or work within 10 miles of the Salem Hope Creek Nuclear Generating stations, officials said.

The Delaware Emergency Management Agency and Division of Public Health will make the tablets available on Aug. 28 in Middletown.

The tablets don't protect against external radiation but can protect the thyroid gland from radioactive iodine released in radiation emergencies.

You can pick up the tablets at the Appoqunimink State Service Center at 122 Silver Lake Road from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 28th.

If you plan on going, you should bring any informational flyers received in the mail, photo identification or proof of residency, such as a utility bill.



Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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AAA: Nearly 35 million will travel Labor Day weekend
By Associated Press

AAA Travel says some 34.7 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend. That's the highest volume for the holiday since 2008 and a 1.3 percent increase over last year.

Nearly 86 percent of the vacationers will travel by car.

As for the price at the pump, drivers will likely pay the lowest gas prices for August since 2010.

Barring a major development, such as a Gulf Coast hurricane, prices are expected to remain relatively low leading up to the holiday weekend compared to recent years. The current average price of gas is $3.44, down from $3.59 on Labor Day last year.

AAA expects gas prices to have little impact on the number of people traveling for Labor Day, though lower prices could make travel more affordable.



Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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DSP: Millsboro cab driver's death a murder; victim ID'd
By Frank Gerace

Updated Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 9:01pm

State Police have identified a Sussex County cab driver found dead in his cab Wednesday night, and classified his death as a murder.

Police say 45-year-old William Toomey's body was found in the cab on the shoulder of Country Living Road in Millsboro.

The investigation is ongoing, and police aren't saying right now exactly how Toomey was killed.

Anyone who saw the cab in the Millsboro area between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Wednesday, or who has other information, can call State Police detectives or Crimestoppers.



Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Coons touts Victims of Child Abuse Act in Georgetown
By Joe Irizarry

Senator Coons (WDEL/file)
Senator Chris Coons celebrates the signing into law by President Obama earlier this month of the Victims of Child Abuse Act reauthorization bill.

The bill re-authorizes funding support, training and accreditation for Children's Advocacy Centers nationwide.

Coons was at the Children's Advocacy Center in Georgetown to discuss the passage of the bipartisan bill, and he explains its importance.

"Instead of a child being interviewed once by police, a second time at a hospital, a third time by social workers, a fourth time before trial, they're only interviewed one time, one place by a coordinated team of professionals," said Coons.

Click here to listen



Coons adds this will help the more than 800 Child Advocacy Centers in the United States that have the difficult work of healing children and families.

Coons was joined today by Deputy Attorney General Patricia Dailey Lewes and the executive director of the Children's Advocacy Center of Delaware.




Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Del. gets $45M from BoA in mortgage settlement
By Amy Cherry

Delaware is getting $45 million from a multi-billion dollar national settlement with Bank of America.

The $16.5 billion settlement is the latest effort to hold banks responsible for the scandal that sent the housing market tumbling in 2008.

Earlier this year, both JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup settled, sending more than $30 million to Delaware.



Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Man arrested, charged with drug possession
By Amy Cherry

Police arrest a man on drug charges in Wilmington.

Police handcuffed Larry Mangum at 22nd and Pine Streets.

Police say they watched Mangum taking things from his car and hiding them on his persons. They say those "things" turned out to be crack cocaine and pot.

He's now behind bars on charges of possession with intent to deliver.




Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Burglar fires shot at Lewes homeowner
By Associated Press

State police say a homeowner was shot at by one of two burglars who were breaking into his car in Lewes.

It happened about 4 a.m. Thursday on King Philip Way. Troopers say the homeowner was awakened by his garage door opening and went to investigate.

Officers say the homeowner saw two men rummaging through his car, which was parked in the driveway. Police say the suspects saw the homeowner and forced him to lie on the ground, then fired a handgun in his direction.

The homeowner was not hit. The suspects fled on foot.




Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Former Obama campaign manger, Del. native Plouffe joins Uber
By Tom Lehman

Updated Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 5:16pm

Uber logo.
Delaware native and former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe is joining car service startup Uber.

WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.

Click here to listen



Plouffe, a Wilmington native who also served as a White House senior adviser, will become Uber's senior vice president of policy and strategy at a time when the company seeks to expand to cities worldwide.

Speaking Wednesday on WDEL's Delaware Afternoon News, Politico transportation reporter Kevin Robillard said Plouffe, the architect of President Barack Obama's 2008 election campaign, will organize efforts to rally support for the San Fransisco-based company amid opposition from the taxi industry and some lawmakers.

LINK: David Plouffe's next campaign: Steer Uber to victory, by Politico.com's Kevin Robillard

Uber connects riders with vehicles for hire with a mobile application, but opponents have accused the company of lowering prices to eliminate competition.

"Uber is sort of a candidate that Plouffe needs to run the campaign for and they're running against this incumbent, who they're calling 'Big Taxi,'" Robillard said. "They're basically asking him to replicate what he did in 2008, which is run an insurgent campaign against an entrenched front runner."

Robillard said it's not known how much Plouffe will be compensated, but he could stand to benefit if Uber goes public. The company has said it is valued at $17 billion.

"If it does include any stock, he is very well positioned to make sort of...a ton of money when the company does go public, which shouldn't be too, too long from now," Robillard said.

Click here to listen



Plouffe is graduate of the University of Delaware and St. Mark's High School.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Man seeks new trial in slayings of DSU students
By Associated Press

One of six men found guilty in the 2007 slayings of three friends in a Newark, NJ schoolyard is seeking to overturn his conviction and wants a new trial.

Jose Carranza appeared in front of a judge in Newark on Wednesday, but the judge didn't make an immediate decision on his request.

Carranza was sentenced to 155 years in prison following his conviction of felony murder and armed robbery.

The 35-year-old claims his attorney coerced him not to testify and failed to conduct any pre-trial investigations.

But his attorney, John Dell'Italia, tells The Star-Ledger of Newark he advised his client against testifying because Carranza had provided written statements to an inmate that included drawings depicting the shootings.

The three victims and a fourth who survived were enrolled or about to enroll at Delaware State University.



Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Claymont traffic stop lands Wilmington man in jail on drug counts
By Frank Gerace

Updated Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 9:25pm

Terrell Davis
A Wilmington man is behind bars after County Police found drugs and nearly 3 thousand dollars in cash on him during a traffic stop.

Police say officers pulled over 45-year-old Terrell Davis for a traffic violation in Claymont's Overlook Colony around 12:15 Thursday morning.

The cops smelled pot coming from the car, and found 51 bags of heroin inside, along with pot, oxycodone pills, drug paraphernalia and the money.

Davis is being held at the Howard Young Prison on drug possession and traffic charges.



Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Dover traffic stop nets 357.5 grams of pot
By Frank Gerace

Dover police say a traffic stop netted more than 357 grams of pot and landed a Dover resident under arrest.

Police say officers smelled an odor of pot coming from Deon Maestre's car after they pulled him over for a traffic violation on South Bradford Street around 3:20 Tuesday afternoon.

A search of Maestre's car turned up a backpack with 18 sandwich bags inside, but the bags didn't contain lunch--instead, there was about 357 and a half grams of pot in the bags.

The cops also impounded the car.

Maestre is out on bail, charged with possession with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia.




Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Be sure your child isn't carrying too heavy a load to school
By Suzanne Cassidy

Updated Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 7:21am

(Richard Hertzler, LancasterOnline.com Photographer)
Along with lunch packing and early morning scavenger hunts for flash drives and permission slips, here's something I dread this time of year: the sight of my children weighed down by insanely heavy backpacks.

So many textbooks now are online, one would think that backpacks would be lighter than ever. But they're not.

I'm reliably informed that wheeled backpacks are out of the question for my high schoolers. (A colleague's offer of her BeDazzler isn't going to make a wheeled backpack any cooler).

I'd suggest that parents everywhere insist on buying their kids wheeled backpacks, making them too ubiquitous to be deemed tragically uncool, but I know this isn't realistic.

Also, the backpacks I bought my kids several years ago, and that they still use, don't have wheels, so it would be hypocritical.

And wheeled backpacks, some parents point out, have their own drawbacks.

"We tried the wheel kind and it trips kids behind the person dragging it," says Amy Burk, who will have a first-grader and a sixth-grader in school this year. "They are difficult for young kids to get up the steps, hard to get up on the bus."

So what to do?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "improperly used backpacks may injure muscles and joints. This can lead to severe back, neck and shoulder pain, as well as posture problems."

There are ways to make those heavy backpacks less of a strain on tender muscles and joints. Here's how it's done.

According to the website of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, a backpack should have two wide, padded shoulder straps, a padded back and a waist strap.

Kids' backpacks should weigh no more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight.

And they should pack the heaviest items low in the backpack and towards the center, the AAOS says.

The American Physical Therapy Association suggests that you look for backpacks that have compression straps on the side or bottom "that, when tightened, compress the contents of the backpack and stabilize" them.

And the backpack should fit the child, the APTA says: "The bottom of the pack should rest in the contour of the lower back. The pack should 'sit' evenly in the middle of the back, not sag down toward the buttocks."

I asked Tim Kauffman of Kauffman Physical Therapy in Lancaster, PA (full disclosure: that's where I go for PT) for additional tips.

He says it's "very, very important that the backpack straps be tightened so the backpack is resting comfortably on the back."

But if the backpack straps are too tight, and the backpack is overloaded, the nerves in your child's neck may be pinched, he says.

The backpack, he says, "should be worn on both shoulders, not just one."

And kids should use the backpack's waist strap. (The dorkiness factor can be mitigated by tucking the waist strap under a shirt.)

Using the waist strap will distribute the backpack's weight to the hips, "which are designed for weight-bearing," Kauffman notes. "The upper back and shoulders are not as designed for wear-bearing, especially in kids."

He also suggests that parents and kids go through backpacks weekly, to throw away extraneous stuff.

Amy Burk says the real culprit that's weighing kids down is the 3-inch binder that many schools want older students to use.

"They don't even fit in a normal backpack," she says.

"Hate the 3-inch binder,” agrees parent Shelby Witmer. "They always break, too."

Related story: 5 Tips for Back to School Sanity

Related story: 3 tips: Getting up when the schoolbell rings

Suzanne Cassidy is a staff writer for LancasterOnline.com.



Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Monster shark has been lurking off local coast
By P.J. Reilly

Updated Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 8:05am

From OCEARCH.org, a tagged, 1,000-pound tiger shark has been lurking near some popular beaches in New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware
Her name is Septima. She's a 13-foot, 1,000-pound tiger shark, and she's been hanging around some of the most popular beaches of New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware.

And she hasn't been swimming 50 miles out to sea. She's been right up close to shore.

In one case, she even swam into the Isle of Wight Bay behind Ocean City, Md.

OCEARCH, a nonprofit organization that tracks great whites and other large sharks, planted a transmitter on Septima after catching her May 30 off the coast of South Carolina.

The transmitter "pings" the shark's location to a satellite whenever the shark's dorsal fin breaks the water's surface.

Well Septima has been pinging like crazy this summer, and she has shown a great affinity for inshore locations near local beaches.

Since Septima was tagged, she has traveled a total of 3,653 miles. But much of that distance has been in a back-and-forth pattern in the New Jersey-Maryland-Delaware vicinity.

To follow Septima's travels, and learn more about her, click here.

P.J. Reilly is an outdoors columnist for LancasterOnline.com.



Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Revel shutdown OKd as prayer service nears
By Wayne Parry, Associated Press

Updated Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 9:03am

The Revel Casino (Photo courtesy of NBC 10)
Hours before hundreds of workers were to hold a prayer rally as three casinos are set to close, New Jersey officials issued a final closure order for another one.

The state Gaming Enforcement Division gave final approval to Revel's shutdown on Sept. 1 and 2, signing the order on Tuesday night and releasing it on Wednesday.

Employees of Revel, the Showboat and Trump Plaza will attend a prayer service at a church near the casinos on Wednesday.

Showboat and Revel are due to close over Labor Day weekend, with Trump Plaza shutting down on Sept. 16.

The shutdowns are part of a rapid unraveling of Atlantic City's gambling market, which began the year with 12 casinos, but will have eight before summer ends.

The Atlantic Club closed in January.



Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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Liquor store clerk shot, man beaten near Wilmington
By Tom Lehman

Video player now loading; please wait...
VIDEO: WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.

A clerk at a liquor store was shot and another man was beaten Thursday night during an armed robbery near Wilmington, state police said.

State police say the robbery happened about 9:15 p.m. at Cutrona Liquors in the 4600 block of North Market Street, just north of the city limits, Cpl. Jeffrey Hale said.

The clerk was taken to Christiana Hospital's emergency room with injuries that did not appear life-threatening, Hale said.

A second man, beaten during the robbery, was taken to Wilmington Hospital but his condition was not known, he said.

No suspect information was available Thursday night but more details about the robbery are expected to be released Friday morning.




Copyright © Aug 22, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
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