Robbery, Drugs, Murder: Delaware State Police, DOJ annouce 35 arrests in sprawling investigation

By DJ McAneny 3:24pm, July 2, 2015 - Updated 3:49pm, July 2, 2015
From left, the trio police said connected everything else: Kellam, Waples, and Robinson/(Courtesy DSP/DOJ)
A task force made up of state and local police agencies that was investigating a pair of murders during a 2014 home invasion linked members from that excursion to a number of large-scale criminal enterprises operating out of Kent and Sussex counties, authorities announced Thursday, resulting in a total of 35 arrests or issued warrants.

"This operation, and these arrests, are just more examples of the remarkable interagency cooperation in and around Delaware that helps protect the public," said Attorney General Matt Denn. "This is another example of law enforcement agencies working together to take criminals off the street, this time in a major operation in Sussex County."

According to the Department of Justice and Delaware State Police, the murder of Cletis Nelson and William Hopkins--shot and killed during a home invasion robbery at a residence located on Harmon's Hill Road in Millsboro--has been tied to Steven Kellam, Richard Robinson, Rhamir Waples, Shamir Stratton, Damon Bethea, and Carlton Gibbs, who were all charged in connection to the home invasion and murders following the advancement of "Operation In The House."

Additionally, Rachel Rentoul and Jackie Heverin were charged with robbery-related offenses for allegedly assisting in the planning of the crime.

Clockwise from top-left: Tallent, Rentoul, Jones, and Bethea/(Courtesy DSP/DOJ)

Click to interact

Since that investigation, members of that group have been implicated in a number of other cases as well, and new members of the group have been identified through further investigative methods, police said. Three members in particular, Steven Kellam, Richard Robinson and Rhamir Waples, all face charges in connection to a number of home invasion incidents, listed as follows:

Several individuals were heavily involved in the trade of heroin and cocaine around Sussex County and had direct ties to the trio implicated above, police said.

Jason Vanvorst, of Laurel, allegedly operated a large distribution network in the county and employed John Richardson, Ray Revel, and Cornell Smith in distributing drugs. Angelina Levan and James Johnson were Vanvorst's suppliers. Vanvorst was also tied to a large shoplifting ring in which he sent drug users to steal predetermined items from numerous department, hardware, and grocery stores. He'd then pay the thieves in drugs, police said, and then sold the stolen items for profit.

Clockwise from top-left: Stratton, Zerden, Gibbs, and Herevin

Click to interact

Large-scale crack-cocaine dealers were then identified through the home invasion connections. Australia Mackey, of Millsboro, was identified during police investigation as the operator of a cocaine operation distibution ring, which funneled supplies to other large-scale operations in the region, including Nathan Henry, Aaron Isler, Myricka Sampson, Leondious Gibbs, Corina Lloyd, Samuel Jones, Jermichael Deshields, and Thomas Deshields.

Police said Tavon Biles, of Rehoboth Beach, and Zachary Bates, of Smyrna, were supplying Mackey with large amounts of cocaine for his operation.

Authorities executed 25 search warrants at various locations throughout both counties and 30 individuals were indicted by a Sussex County Grand Jury. During those searches, the following items were recovered and seized:

Authorities said all of the following individuals has been arrested and charged with the following crimes. They said not all of the individuals remain in police custody, except for those facing first-degree murder charges, who are held without bail:


Click this image for a full PDF of the remaining mugshots

"This criminal enterprise was responsible for several serious violent crimes and the importation and distribution of heroin and cocaine throughout the State of Delaware," said Colonel Nathaniel McQueen Jr., Superintendent of Delaware State Police. "The arrest of these suspects will have a significant impact and will go a long way to improve the quality of life in the affected communities. An investigation of this magnitude requires significant cooperation, communication, coordination and resources for all of those involved. "

Arrest warrants have been issued for the following individuals, who have not yet been located by authorities:

Anyone with information on the location of the above individuals is urged to contact authorities at 302.752.3814 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.

Denn also thanks the following organizations or individuals for their assistance in this investigation: The Dover, Georgetown, and Philadelphia Police Departments, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S Marshalls, Department of Correction Probation and Parole, and the Sussex Correctional Institution, as well as Deputy Attorneys General Martin Cosgrove, Chris Hutchison, and Peggy Marshall

WDEL's Fireworks Roundup: Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania

By DJ McAneny 5:06pm, July 2, 2015
Looking for fireworks to go check out this July 4th holiday weekend? WDEL's got you covered. Here's a list of area locations hosting events for your viewing pleasure.


Bethany Beach - July 4

There will be a parade, horseshoe contest, and live music at the bandstand starting at noon. Then, at the dusk the fireworks will light up the sky! The fireworks can be seen from almost anywhere in Bethany Beach but, it is suggested to view them from the beach or boadwalk. For more information, Call 302-539-8011 x24 or visit

Cape May-Lewes Ferry - July 3 & 5

Fireworks will illuminate the skies above the Delaware Bay. Cruise to NJ on Friday, July 3, and to Rehoboth on Sunday, July 5. Reservations required. Passenger check-in at 5pm. Go to for ticket information, or call 1-800-643-3779 (FERRY).

Dewey Beach - July 4

Fireworks at dusk, viewable from anywhere in Dewey.

Dover - July 4

Historic exhibits and tours kick off the day at 4:30pm, plus food, vendors, music, and a parade. The celebration ends with a fireworks display starting at about 9:25 p.m. For more information or

Elsmere - July 3

Fairgrounds Park, Filbert & Dover Avenues. Join us at 5pm for our annual patriotic event for Fun, Music, Food and our Fireworks show at dusk. Get more details on the Town of Elsmere's website.

Hockessin - July 4

Neighborhood relays begin at 7:30 a.m. at Hockessin Public Library Fields. Parade on Old Lancaster Pike begins at 3 p.m. Fireworks at Hockessin Public Library Fields begin at dusk. For more information,
click here.

Laurel - July 4

Food vendors along Central Avenue beginning at 4pm. Parade at 5pm, followed by cornhole contest, pie eating contest, and Little Miss Independence in Market Square Park. Fireworks spectacular duck. For more information, call 203-875-2277 or click here.

Middletown - July 4

Middletown Jaycee’s Parade at 10am. Fireworks display at dusk at Silver Lake Park. 378-2711 or click here.

Newark - July 4

Join the Parks and Recreation Department for a fun filled 4th with live entertainment and vendors beginning at 6pm. Fireworks at dusk (9pm) at the University of Delaware athletic complex on South College Avenue. Call 302-366-7060 or visit the city of Newark's website.

Smyrna - July 4

With food, game vendors, and entertainment at James T. Vaughn Little League Park. Fireworks begin at dusk.

Wilmington - July 3

Kick off the holiday with fireworks and Blue Rocks baseball. For details, go to

Rehoboth Beach - July 5

Fireworks show along the beach and Boardwalk. Fireworks start about 9:15. For details, visit


Baltimore - July 4

Commemorate Independence Day with live music and celebratory fireworks in the heart of downtown Baltimore. The Fourth of July Celebration takes place at Baltimore's Inner Harbor from 7pm to 10pm. Call 1-877-Baltimore or click here.

Chesapeake City - July 3

Concert at the bandstand at Pell Gardens at 5:30 p.m. Parade begins at 7 p.m. Fireworks at dusk. For more information, click here.

Chestertown - July 4

Fireworks can be seen along the Chester River and Wilmer Park, beginning at dusk. Visit for details.

Georgetown - July 4

Boat parade begins at 5 p.m. Fireworks at dusk. They can be seen from Georgetown marinas and the bridge. Call (410) 778-0416 or click here.

Havre de Grace - July 5

Parade at 2 p.m. from Union Ave. Concert at Tydings Park at 7pm, followed by fireworks at approximately 9:30 p.m. Call 410-939-4362 or visit for details.

Ocean City - July 4

Enjoy a free concert at 8 p.m., followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m. downtown on the beach at North Division Street and simultaneously, uptown at 125th Street at Northside Park. Visit for details.

Ocean Pines - July 4

Music, food, games, prizes, water slides and more at Veterans Memorial Park 10am-2pm. Fireworks at 9:15 p.m. can be view from The Pavilions, Most Blessed Sacrament School, Showell Elementary School, Community Church. For details, click here.

Rock Hall - July 3

Fireworks over the harbor at 9pm. Additional festivities including parade, horseshoe tournament, talent show and more on Saturday, July 4th. For details, call 410-778-1342 or visit

Salisbury - July 3

Fireworks at Shorebirds Stadium following the game. Game begins at 6:35pm. Visit


Philadelphia - July 4

Parade at 11am. Party on the Parkway Noon to 7pm. Philly 4th of July Jam at 7pm, followed by the Grand Finale Fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art at about 10:30 p.m. Click for details.


Atlantic City - July 3 & 4

Two days of fireworks! Friday, July 3rd on the beach and boardwalk. Saturday, July 4th at the Marina. Both shows at 9:30pm. For more details, click here.

Cape May - July 3 & 4

Fireworks at 9pm from the Cape May Convention Hall. Visit for details.

Ocean City - July 4

Kite flying competition starts at 6 p.m., followed by entertainment. Fireworks at 10 p.m. on the boardwalk. Call (609) 525-9300 for more information, or visit

Sea Isle City - July 4

Festivities include a concert at the Excursion Park Band Shell at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks at 9 p.m. at the 50th Street Beach. Visit Sea Isle's website for details.

Wildwood - July 4

Weekend-long festivities include a craft show, Patriotic Boardwalk run/walk, parade and more. Fireworks on Saturday, July 4, on the Beach at Pine Avenue at 10 p.m. Free. Visible from almost anywhere in the Wildwoods! Call 609.729.9000 or visit for details.

4th of July travel tips from DelDOT

By Mark Fowser 7:02pm, July 3, 2015
The Delaware Department of Transportation is doing its part to try to get you around in a timely fashion over the 4th of July weekend.

DelDOT says planned lane closures are now suspended until Monday on major routes, including Route One and I-95.

Additional lanes are open at the toll plazas.

With the extended weekend, you're being advised to avoid peak travel periods - some of which have passed, but heavy traffic can be expected at times Saturday and Sunday as well.

Also, DART Resort Transit is up and running with service running in the beach areas all summer long.

For live traffic conditions from DelDOT, click here

For live traffic cameras from DelDOT, click here

For DART Resort Transit information, click here

Operation Checkpoint Strikeforce anti-DUI campaign starts this weekend

By Mark Fowser 7:02pm, July 3, 2015
Operation Checkpoint Strikeforce is underway, involving saturation law enforcement patrols and checkpoints each week during the second half of the year.

The Delaware Office of Highway Safety says so far this year, there has been a decrease in the number of alcohol-related fatalities compared to the same time of 2014.

20 of this year's 48 traffic fatalities, or 43-percent, have been alcohol-related.

Last year by July 4th, 63-percent of Delaware's highway fatalities had involved alcohol.

After 4th of July weekend, checkpoints will take place weekly with extra enforcement planned over Labor Day, Halloween and the late-year holidays.

Wilmington mayor's policing plan shelved by council

By Tom Lehman 9:27pm, July 2, 2015 - Updated 12:14pm, July 3, 2015
A plan from Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams' administration to change the command structure of the city's police department appears unlikely to pass in its current form and some council members who support it believe the administration will have to actively lobby opponents for its approval.

Councilman Michael Brown (R-At Large) said he has canceled a public safety committee meeting scheduled for next week because a $585,000 budget amendment sought by the mayor's office still does not have the necessary support to advance for a final vote. The bill would allocate funds for the creation of two new inspector positions and an information technology officer.

Brown, who is chairman of the committee, already withheld the bill from a vote by the panel on Monday, after it appeared the legislation was likely to be defeated. He said he supports the legislation but needs the mayor to convince lawmakers that the proposal should be passed.

"He needs to go to those council members and call them up and meet with them and ask them for that support on it," he said.

A mayoral spokeswoman said the mayor remains open to dialogue with council members about the bill, which was crafted in response to a report from a state commission that recommended major changes in the police department. She said Williams wants to work cooperatively with council to find adequate public safety solutions in the city.

But Council President Theo Gregory (D) said discussions with administration leaders have led him to believe that they will not change their current proposal or lobby on its behalf.

Despite a stream of negative comments from residents---including the union that represents city police officers---at Monday's committee meeting, Gregory unsuccessfully petitioned members of the panel to clear the bill for a full vote. He said the measure is likely to remain shelved unless the administration lobbies for its passage.

"It's not my legislation, it's the administration's legislation," he said.

Opponents of the proposal said they still remain skeptical that the new positions are necessary. Councilman Ernest "Trippi" Congo (D-District 2) said he would have voted against the bill on Monday and remains opposed it.

"You can't just keep throwing money at the problem," he said. "You have to look at the people and just see how we can get better officers and just get more from the department."

Councilman Charles "Bud" Freel (D-District 8), another committee member who intended to block the bill, said he would also still vote against it because he believes it is fiscally irresponsible.

"As far as my vote goes, it doesn't change," he said.

Brown said if the mayor wants to pass the legislation, he will have to push for its approval.

"It's not my job to do that," he said.


You can contact Tom Lehman at Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Delaware could see spike in mosquitoes following recent rain

By Shana O'Malley 3:29pm, July 2, 2015 - Updated 3:56pm, July 2, 2015
DNREC uses traps throughout the state to collect and analyze mosquito species and populations
Recent rain could make for a buggy Fourth of July weekend, DNREC officials have warned.

While Delaware's mosquito population has been about average so far this year, the state could see a spike due to recent rainfall.

Bill Meredith, program administrator for DNREC Mosquito Control, said they've been treating areas throughout the state for mosquito larva.

"The mosquitoes will go through their immature aquatic stages in about seven days," he said. "There was rainfall last Saturday, we have July 4th coming up this Saturday, so the timing is right."

While the state is doing their part to control mosquitoes, Meredith said the best natural way to prevent the summertime pests is to manage standing water on your property.

"You can have mosquito production in something as small as a upturned bottle cap that has collected water," he said. "Flower pot liners are notorious for producing a lot of house mosquitoes."

He recommended keeping rain gutters clear and dumping standing water within three to four days to prevent larva growth.

DNREC is using traps throughout the state to collect and analyze mosquito species and populations.

Expert says "hit list" was written by Delaware court gunman

By Randall Chase/Associated Press 5:12pm, July 2, 2015
File photo/(WDEL/AP)
A handwriting expert says a supposed "hit list" and two homemade death certificates found after a shooting at a Delaware courthouse in 2013 were written by the gunman, whose widow and children are being tried on federal conspiracy and cyberstalking charges.

Andrew Sulner testified Thursday that the documents were written by Thomas Matusiewicz, who killed his ex-daughter-in-law, Christine Belford, and another woman before exchanging gunfire with police and killing himself.

Former optometrist David Matusiewicz, his mother, Lenore, and his sister, Amy Gonzalez, are now on trial on charges related to Belford's death. If convicted, they could face life in prison, a punishment that Justice Department officials believe would be unprecedented for a conviction of cyberstalking resulting in death.

The defendants have denied knowing that Thomas Matusiewicz intended to kill Belford.

Police: Newark man's 'inattentive driving' causes crash in which second car strikes 3 juvenile pedestrians

By DJ McAneny 11:19am, July 2, 2015
Three pedestrians were struck in a crash that occurred near Stanton Wednesday afternoon, Delaware State Police said in a statement published Thursday.

According to authorities, 21-year-old Cristian Zavala-Vazquez, of Newark, was attempting to make a left turn from Kirkwood Highway onto Darwin Drive at approximately 5:15 p.m. when he drove into the path of an oncoming Dodge Stratus being operated by an 88-year-old Hockessin man.

Police said the collision forced the Stratus up onto the sidewalk, where it struck three female juveniles--two 15-year-olds and a 13-year-old.

The driver of the Stratus was transported by EMS to Christiana Hospital to receive treatment for non-life threatening injuries. The teens were also transported by EMS to the same hospital, also for non-life threatening injuries.

Zavala-Vazquez was not injured in the crash, police said. He was cited by troopers at the scene for inattentive driving.

Burlars pry open rear door, cash register at Dover restaurant

By DJ McAneny 3:54pm, July 2, 2015
A Dover restaurant was burglarized overnight Wednesday into Thursday when the suspects pried open the rear door and looted the cash register, police announced Thursday afternoon.

According to Dover Police, the El Pipil Restaurant at 720 Townsend Boulevard had the rear door pried open, with the cash register suffering the same fate, sometime overnight before the suspects fled the scene.

Police are urging anyone who might have information about the incident to contact Dover Police at 302.736.7111 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.

DNREC searching for volunteer Delaware wild turkey spotters

By DJ McAneny 11:50am, July 2, 2015 - Updated 3:24pm, July 2, 2015
Wild turkeys/Courtesy DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environment Control's (DNREC) Division of Fish & Wildlife announced it will be seeking wildlife watchers and outdoor enthusiasts who will act as volunteer turkey spotters for its 6th Annual Wild Turkey Reproduction Survey.

The organization needs some help identifying locations where the birds are successfully reproducing, according to officials, who said the data helps scientists track the "health, distribution and reproductive success" of the state's population to ensure a sustainable harvest.

"Today, Delaware has a thriving wild turkey population that allows for an annual turkey hunting season, but this was not always the case," said Division of Fish & Wildlife Director David Saveikis. "The reintroduction of the wild turkey to Delaware 30 years ago--nearly 200 years after it became locally extinct--remains one of the state's greatest wildlife restoration success stories."

Delaware currently has a healthy statewide population, estimated at 6,000 birds. Reintroduction began with 34 wild turkeys that were trapped and then released in the area in 1984. Efforts continued through 1990, and hunting season was put back into effect in 1991.

The 2015 survey period began Wednesday and continues through Monday, August 31. Those interested in assisting with reporting sightings should call 302.735.3600. A data sheet and instruction page is available for printing at DNREC's website.

Police charge Middletown-area man with stealing gun out of unsecured vehicle

By DJ McAneny 11:07am, July 2, 2015
Thomas Reamer/Courtesy
A19-year-old man from the Middletown area has been charged with the theft of a firearm from a vehicle parked at a nearby home, police said Thursday.

According to New Castle County Police, Thomas Reamer, of the 100 block of St. Augustine Court, stole a handgun from an unsecured vehicle in the 200 block of Clayton Manor Drive during the overnight hours Tuesday into Wednesday.

Police responded to the home at approximately 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, they said, when the owner contacted authorities and informed them the gun had been taken from the vehicle.

Police executed a search warrant at Reamer's place of residence Wednesday after evidence collected from the car had pointed them in his direction, police said. There, they said they discovered the victim's missing gun, and took Reamer into custody.

Reamer was charged with theft of a firearm and committed to Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in lieu of $3,000 cash bond. He was additionally issued a no-contact order.

Elsmere police: Man tried to discard hundreds of bags of heroin during chase

By Associated Press 4:08pm, July 2, 2015
A 22-year-old Elsmere man is facing drug charges after police say he tried to get rid of hundreds of bags of heroin while fleeing from officers.

Elsmere police said officers tried to stop a Chevrolet Impala on Tuesday after a traffic violation. That's when police said Tyree Robinson got out of the car and ran.

Lt. Gregg Shelton said, as Robinson ran away, he threw items under a parked car, which officers later recovered and identified as 262 bags of heroin, with a total weight of about 3.93 grams.

Robinson was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to deliver. He was released on $10,000 secured bail.

Wilmington man charged in connection to city bank robbery

By DJ McAneny 4:30pm, July 2, 2015
A 21-year-old Wilmington man was arrested and charged with robbing a bank in the city, police announced Thursday.

According to Wilmington Police, Michael White, 21, was charged with robbing the Fulton Bank in the 600 block of South Harrison Street just before 8:48 a.m. Thursday.

Police said a bank teller described a white male entering the branch and demanding cash, of which the teller then handed over an undisclosed amount.

The suspect fled on foot, but K-9 units and a detailed description of the suspect alerting Delaware State and New Castle County police agencies to the incident led to White being quickly tracked down to a residence in the 900 block of Maryland Avenue, authorities said.

He was taken into custody without incident and charged with second-degree robbery and possession of heroin, of which four bags were found on his person at the time of arrest, according to police.

The proceeds from the bank robbery were recovered following White's arrest, police said.

No photo or bond information were currently available.

State Rep., local pundit weigh in on FY 2016 budget

By Frank Gerace 7:42pm, July 1, 2015 - Updated 5:19pm, July 2, 2015
A state Representative and a longtime observer of the General Assembly react to the Fiscal 2016 budget signed into law early Wednesday morning by Governor Markell.

Wilmington Democrat Helene Keeley told WDEL News the reactions of the parties involved after the marathon budget negotiations were what she expected.

"When you're doing negotiations, as you well know, it works out best when everybody's walking away from the table not exactly happy," said Keeley.

Rich Heffron with the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce says concessions hammered out by Republican lawmakers over how the Delaware determines pay rates for laborers on state-funded construction projects are a step in the right direction, however small it might be.

"How real that'll be, we'll find out, but we really need to look at the way we calculate our prevailing wage, and hopefully, that group who are going to (do that) looks at it seriously," said Heffron.

The prevailing wage compromise helped pass a bill to raise DMV fees to pay for infrastructure improvements.

Keeley said passing the spending plan took so long due to procedural delays.

"We were waiting to see if the Senate was going to vote on the transportation bill, which they did, and so, when that happened, then the bond bill has to go downstairs and rework the bill--that's really why it ended up being so late," said Keeley.

Traveling Vietnam War memorial, The Moving Wall, comes to Dover for July 4th

By WDEL Staff 4:14pm, July 1, 2015
The West Wall/Courtesy
The Moving Wall is a tribute to the Vietnam War Memorial that travels all around the country to give those who might not have an opportunity to visit the memorial in Washington, D.C., an opportunity to pay respects to the veterans who have given their lives while serving in that war.

This July 4th, the wall will be in Dover, hosted at the Kent County Veteran's Park along South Little Creek Road off Route 13. Admission will be free and open to the public 24 hours a day while it's there through Sunday. A special ceremony will be held Thursday at 10 a.m.

"We know there's going to be a lot of visitors," said Dave Skocik, Public Affairs Officer for the Delaware Council of Vietnam Veterans of America. "That's why we're going to be open 24 hours a day. There will be an honor guard there. We'll set up an opportunity for people to read names for half-an-hour with a microphone system starting at the beginning and try to read all 58,300 names that are on that wall during the time that it is here."

Half the size of the Vietnam War Memorial in D.C., it provides the same opportunities to trace names from the wall as the Washington memorial, but with the additional opportunity to learn a little bit more about the war that claimed the lives of these soldiers.

"There will education center that comes with it," said Dave Skocik, Public Affairs Officer for the Delaware Council of Vietnam Veterans of America. "It's like a tent where people will be able to walk in and see facts about the Vietnam war."

Delaware's $3.9 billion budget passed in marathon session

By Tom Lehman 6:47am, July 1, 2015 - Updated 7:06pm, July 3, 2015
Governor Jack Markell (D) holds up a copy of his $3.9 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2016 after signing it into law on Wednesday.
State lawmakers passed Governor Jack Markell's proposed $3.9 billion budget early Wednesday morning, closing out the final legislative session for the year in a marathon day of meetings.

The budget, which represents a 2.6-percent increase in spending from Fiscal Year 2015, was signed into law by Markell (D) alongside a $456 million capital plan and $43 million grant-in-aid package and saw Democrats and Republicans reaching agreement on issues like infrastructure and prevailing wage.

The governor lauded members of both caucuses for reaching agreement to pass a previously-failed bill to raise fees levied by the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles. The increases are intended to bolster the state's Transportation Trust Fund with an additional $24 million annually, with a matching amount of borrowing.

Previously, the legislation had been passed in the House, but had failed to obtain a three-fifths majority needed to clear the Senate. During its second vote, three Republican senators supported the measure.

"I think going through that process, and being straight with each other, and understanding each side was really, really important," Markell said.

As part of a larger deal brokered between Democratic and GOP lawmakers, a bill raising the threshold for prevailing wage in Delaware was also passed early Wednesday.

Democratic lawmakers acknowledged the difficult negotiations and concessions, which occurred over recent weeks and did not always appear fruitful.

"It's like two friends agreeing to do something one minute and then they do something else," said House Speaker Pete Schwarzkopf (D-Rehoboth). "It's human nature."

Despite the compromises, some Republicans voted against the budget. They argued it did not address long-term fiscal issues that will linger into next year.

"We have to to make some adult decisions on how we structure spending in this state," said Colin Bonini (R-Dover South), who cast a dissenting vote on the budget.

Prior to the budget vote, members of the Joint Finance Committee voted unanimously Tuesday night to reverse a decision they made last week to impose across-the-board, 5-percent cuts in funding for local groups that receive money from the state's grant-in-aid package.

Committee members restored that money with one-time funds from Delaware's share of nationwide settlement funds. They also used that money to reinforce the bond bill and prevent cuts to fire companies in the state.

Approximately half of the available settlement money has been spent, though more than $29 million remains unassigned. State Rep. Melanie George Smith (D-Bear), a JFC co-chairperson, emphasized the funding would only be available for a single use and cannot be considered a reliable means of patching the budget.

Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn (D), who had wanted to use $36 million in foreclosure settlement money for various programs, said he was disappointed with lawmakers for not using that money to extend supplemental police patrols in Wilmington that will go unfunded in about two weeks.

"This is a real setback in the effort to reduce violent crime in our state," he said in a statement.


You can contact Tom Lehman at Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

DELDOT will hold workshop on safety improvments at Camden intersection

By Frank Gerace 12:54pm, July 3, 2015
You'll be able to give your input on proposed intersection improvements in Camden at a DELDOT workshop next week.

Workshop attendees will be able to review and discuss proposed safety improvements at the intersection of Routes 10 and 15.

Anyone who wants to can also comment in writing, and mail their comments to DELDOT in Dover.

The workshop is set for 4 to 7 PM Wednesday, July 8th in the cafeteria at Caesar Rodney High School, and if you'd like more information, you can call DELDOT's public relations department.

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