Renovation project begins at One Love Park in Wilmington

By Tom Lehman 2:59pm, May 27, 2015 - Updated 3:07pm, May 27, 2015
VIDEO: WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.
A groundbreaking ceremony for a major renovation project at "One Love Park" in Wilmington was held on Wednesday, as city leaders and residents looked toward upgrades that would remove the "rundown" label attached to the area.

The park, named after a song by the late Bob Marley, an internationally-recognized reggae musician who lived in Wilmington for a brief time in 1966, was given the moniker last year as part of an effort to revitalize it and promote values of peace and unity in a section of Wilmington that has experienced violent crime.

Once construction work is completed in the coming months, the recreational area will feature new landscaping, playground and exercise equipment, and a newly surfaced basketball court. The park will also have a gated entrance and a historical marker honoring Marley will also be unveiled at the project's completion.

Wilmington City Council President Theo Gregory (D), one of the primary supporters of the refurbishments, said the park will be transformed from its current state and hopefully become a family-friendly gathering place once again.

"We want to bring the park back so people of all ages can truly appreciate and enjoy this park," he said.

One of the major features in the new version of the park will be the addition of exercise equipment that residents hope will encourage more fitness from children.

"No other park in the city has that, and I think we're saying 'we're ready to invest in the community,'" said Kathleen Patterson with the Second District Neighborhood Planning Council.

The work will be conducted over the next few months but could be completed by late summer.


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EdWatch: Capital School District's program targets adult learners with ESL classes

By Amy Cherry 10:06pm, May 26, 2015 - Updated 2:13pm, May 27, 2015
A free English as a Second Language class for parents in the Capital School District takes place two nights each week at South Dover Elementary School. (Photo/Screenshot/Content Delaware)
Parents in the Capital School District, whose first language isn't English, can receive free help so they're better equipped to help their kids with their schoolwork.

Click here to listen

Education is like a three-pronged stool, made up of parents, students, and the school, according to Darren Guido, supervisor of instruction in the Capital School District.

"If our stool only has two of the three legs working...then it's really not a good system for the child," he said.

Strengthening that parental piece is a goal of the Capital and PolyTech School District's Family Literacy Program.

"It's unfair that some students get to go home to parents that can help them with their schoolwork, and we're just trying to level that playing field," he said.

Guido told WDEL that, even with 36 different languages being spoken throughout the district, they gather all of the "English as a Second Language" parents and children in one room, two nights per week, to learn together.

"Part of the work that the parents do is learning some strategies that they can use with their kids at home. So it might be a reading strategy to use," he explained. "Just to encourage the parents to read their kids, but then ask questions about what they're reading so they can interact with their child and the story at the same time."

He called the award-winning program "empowering" for parents.

"To know that when their kids are coming home from school, that they can help them with the work, it's just a big boost in confidence for them," Guido said. "Whether it's just talking about what they've done in school that day or having their parents read to them, we know that that's sound educational work.

The program, which won a Superstars in Education Award earlier this month, has helped 60 parents and 50 kids each year since 2010.

Former Delaware prosecutor disbarred after child rape

By Associated Press 3:29pm, May 27, 2015 - Updated 3:32pm, May 27, 2015
Daniel Simmons
The Delaware Supreme Court has disbarred a former deputy attorney general who sexually assaulted a 16-year-old boy.

The court issued an order Wednesday disbarring Daniel Simmons, who consented to the action.

Simmons pleaded guilty in March to one count of fourth-degree rape. He faces up to 15 years in prison when sentenced on June 16 and must register as a sex offender. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped three other counts of fourth-degree rape against Simmons, who worked in the Justice Department's misdemeanor trial unit.

Police said Simmons, a college student named Matthew Coogan, and the boy had sex last year in an encounter arranged through the social media app called Grindr.

Coogan is awaiting trial in July on charges of sexual solicitation and conspiracy.

New Castle County council approves budget for FY2016

By Tom Lehman 5:44pm, May 27, 2015
New Castle County Council members on Tuesday passed County Executive Tom Gordon's $256 million budget with no tax increases for the upcoming fiscal year.

Council approved the fiscal plan, which includes a $174 million dollar general fund operating budget, in an 11-0 vote and represents a .24-percent increase in overall spending from the previous year.

No adjustments were made by council members to the county's sewer tax rate.

A $60 million capital plan was also approved by council members for the budget year starting on July 1.

Pentagon: Military mistakenly shipped live anthrax samples to 9 labs, including one in Delaware

By Robert Burns/Associated Press 4:47pm, May 27, 2015
With the U.S. Capitol in the background, members of an the U.S. Marine Corps' Chemical-Biological Incident Response Force demonstrate anthrax clean-up techniques (AP Photo/Kenneth Lambert, File)
The Pentagon said it inadvertently shipped live anthrax spores to as many as nine laboratories and has launched an investigation into how that happened.

The labs were supposed to receive dead--or inactivated--anthrax samples for research use.

Spokesman Col. Steve Warren said the Pentagon is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to retrieve the samples.

The government confirmed one shipment contained live spores and suspects eight others did, too, he said, adding it's believed there are no risks to the public.

The live spores were shipped from Dugway Proving Ground in Utah--a Defense Department facility--to government and commercial labs in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and California.

Contact with anthrax spores can cause severe illness.

Delaware EMA final preparations: less than a week until Atlantic hurricane season

By Andrew Sgroi 1:59pm, May 27, 2015 - Updated 2:04pm, May 27, 2015
Tropical storms are officially "on the clock" beginning June 1st--when the Atlantic hurricane season begins--and officials with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency are stressing the importance of preparation.

Gary Laing, of DEMA, told WDEL the planning starts with an emergency kit.

"Every home should have (one)," Laing explained. "That would be things that could sustain them for a minimum of three days."

Items to consider including are a supply of water, a supply of non-perishable food that doesn't necessarily have to be cooked, flashlights, and batteries.

"The kind of things that will let people have some comforts until basic services are restored."

Laing warned that just because last hurricane season played out favorably, residents can't afford to let down their guard.

"In the last couple of years, we've had some near misses," Laing acknowledged. "Any one of those types of storms could cause severe damage and it doesn't even have to be a hurricane."

He elaborated further by referencing a memorable and rather catastrophic storm from 1972.

"Tropical Storm Agnes went up the Chesapeake Bay and went as far north as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and even north of there," he recalled, "with the storm surge of water being pushed forward and the flooding."

If this season brought a storm that would make direct landfall with the Delmarva peninsula, Laing assured his agency will be ready.

"People who live along the coast would be given evacuation orders well far enough in advance that they would be able to get out."

But he stressed the real preparation and planning begins and ends with the resident.

"When you get an evacuation order," he implored, "do it as soon as possible. Don't wait around."

For more tips on how to prepare your family and property for tropical storms or hurricanes,

click here to learn more.

Townsend-area woman shot while exchanging gunfire with home invaders

By DJ McAneny 11:40am, May 27, 2015 - Updated 2:34pm, May 27, 2015
A 51-year-old woman was shot during an invasion of her home near Townsend when she pulled out a gun of her own and began exchanging fire with one of the armed suspects, according to Delaware State Police.

Three men reportedly broke into a home in the 3900 block of South DuPont Highway near Townsend at approximately 2:04 a.m. on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, police said.

Two of the men were armed with unknown make and model handgun and confronted four occupants of the home--the woman, a 31-year-old male, a 22-year-old male and a 1-year-old male.

When the suspected demanded money, the 51-year-old woman produced a weapon of her own and began exchanging gunfire with one of the armed suspects. The woman suffered an injury to a lower extremity as a result of the exchange.

During the gunfire, the 31-year-old male was assaulted by one of the other two suspects. The suspects were able to obtain an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing the residence in an unknown direction.

the older woman and male were taken by Emergency Medical Services to Christiana Hospital, where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries. Neither of the other occupants was injured, and police aren't sure if the suspects suffered any injuries.

The suspects were described as two black males, a Hispanic male, and were all wearing masks over their faces. No further description was available. Anyone with information is urged to contact Det. Dan Grassi at 302.365.8441 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.

Millsboro man pleads no-contest to manslaughter in death of girlfriend

By Associated Press 4:10pm, May 27, 2015
A Millsboro man who was charged last year with first-degree murder in the 2010 death of his girlfriend pleaded no contest to manslaughter Wednesday.

Frank Davenport, 59, also pleaded no contest to possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony at a court hearing in Wilmington.

Davenport, whose trial was to start next month, will face sentencing in October. Prosecutors asked that he get 10 years behind bars.

After a four-year investigation, Davenport was indicted last year on murder and other charges in death of 54-year-old Holly Wilson, who died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Davenport called police to Wilson's New Castle County home, telling authorities she had shot herself, but prosecutors planned to introduce evidence of threats he had allegedly made against her.

Wilmington man charged with 1st-degree murder in connection to 2014 shooting death

By DJ McAneny 11:10am, May 27, 2015 - Updated 11:22am, May 27, 2015
Marvin Swanson/Courtesy Wilmington Police
A 21-year-old man was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection to a December 2014 murder of a Wilmington man.

According to city police, Marvin Swanson, 21, also of Wilmington, was charged in the murder of Derrick Caudle, 43, whose death pushed the murder toll to 28 on the year and tied a record set in 2010.

Caudle was gunned down near Vandever Avenue and North Spruce Street at approximately 10:30 p.m. on December 19, 2014.

Swanson, in addition to the murder charge, was also charged with possession of a firearm during commission of a felony. He was indicted by a New Castle County Grand Jury on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, and taken into custody at East 24th Street and Lamotte Street by the Wilmington Police Homicide Unit.

Swanson was committed to the Howard Young Correctional Facility without bail.

Harrington man charged with 6th DUI

By Associated Press 12:55pm, May 27, 2015
David Dale/Courtesy Harrington Police
Harrington police said a man was arrested for his sixth-offense driving under the influence of alcohol.

An officer on patrol early Saturday morning stopped 56-year-old David Dale, of the unit block of Brown Street in Harrington, on U.S. 13 for speeding. Police Lt. Earl Brode said the officer noticed the odor of alcohol from Dale's vehicle and administered field sobriety tests. Drug paraphernalia was also found during a search of the vehicle.

Brode said a computer check showed Dale had five previous DUI convictions, the first in 1987.

Dale was charged with driving under the influence, drug paraphernalia possession, and speeding. He was placed in Sussex Correctional Institution in lieu of $7,001 bond.

Markell nominates longtime jurist to lead Family Court

By Associated Press 3:29pm, May 27, 2015
Chandlee Kuhn's term as chief judge of Family Court won't be renewed.
Gov. Jack Markell has nominated a longtime Family Court judge to become the new chief judge of Family Court system.

Markell on Thursday announced that he has picked Michael Newell, who has served in Family Court since 2004, to replace Chandlee Kuhn as chief judge.

Kuhn's term expires on June 4 and is not being renewed.

The 62-year-old Newell has focused on family law since receiving his law degree from Widener University in 1981.

Delaware lawmakers look to close budget gap

By Associated Press 9:29am, May 27, 2015
Legislative budget writers are a long way from coming up with a balanced budget for the fiscal year starting July 1, but are taking a break until new revenue estimates come in.

Joint Finance Committee members began marking up Gov. Jack Markell's proposed $3.9 billion spending plan last week staring at a gap of $83 million. That shortfall included a $48.5 million difference between Markell's spending proposal and available revenues, and $33 million in proposed cost-cutting measures rejected by committee members.

Committee co-chair Sen. Harris McDowell III said after Tuesday's meeting that the panel has cut $18.3 million from Markell's proposal. That leaves the existing problem at about $65 million.

Final revenue estimates for the fiscal year are due June 15. Committee members will resume their work a week later.

New noise ordinance at beach over holiday suffers backlash

By Associated Press 9:29am, May 27, 2015 - Updated 10:50am, May 27, 2015
The first big test of a new noise ordinance in Rehoboth Beach over the Memorial Day holiday weekend had some unexpected blowback for city officials.

WDEL received dozens of e-mails written to city officials alleging that enforcement of the new ordinance targeted the city's gay community. There were also concerns about citations for minor violations handed out at the beach area most popular with gay residents and visitors.

City officials revised their noise ordinance in April. Included was a quiet time of 11 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Rehoboth's police chief said that he and his force have no animosity against the beach town's gay community and had not targeted them over the weekend.

Delaware eyes fee for single-use grocery bags

By Associated Press 9:31am, May 27, 2015 - Updated 3:37pm, May 27, 2015
Members of a state advisory panel are eyeing draft legislation that would impose a fee on single-use grocery bags in Delaware.

The status of draft fee legislation was to be discussed at Wednesday's meeting of the state Recycling Public Advisory Council.

Delaware already encourages the recycling of plastic grocery bags by requiring stores to provide bins where customers can return bags.

Think that fawn is abandoned? Mom is probably nearby

By Associated Press 9:31am, May 27, 2015
Delaware wildlife officials are warning residents against moving apparently abandoned white-tailed deer fawns.

Joe Rogerson, manager and biologist Division of Fish & Wildlife, said in a news release Tuesday that now is the fawning season for the deer.

Rogerson says even if newborn deer appear to be alone, the mother is probably close by. Fawns must feed every few hours, so the doe usually isn't far.

And because fawns can't start traveling with their mothers until they're about 2 years old, Rogerson says, their instinct is to stay very still so as not to attract predators.

Every year, officials say, residents call Fish & Wildlife to report "abandoned" fawns. Some people even try to take them home or to a wildlife rehabilitation facility.

That's a mistake, Rogerson says, and illegal.

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