11 students to face charges after brawls at Newark High School

By Tom Lehman 4:14pm, October 20, 2014
VIDEO: WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.
Nearly a dozen students are expected to face charges for their involvement in a pair of brawls that broke out Monday morning inside Newark High School, police said.

A large fight started about 7 a.m. inside the school cafeteria but staff members broke up the melee and called police, Lt. Mark Farrall said.

While officers were sorting out the altercation, a second brawl started inside the school's "C" and "D" hallways, Farrall said.

"They found a large crowd, as you can imagine at 7 a.m. in the high school, in the hallways at that location and multiple individuals were fighting," he said.

Officers called for backup and received assistance from state and New Castle County police.

Farrall said more than a dozen students were "sent home" and 11 of them are expected to face charges in connection to the brawls.

"The first fight was the result of some type of neighborhood dispute that spilled over into the school Monday morning. The second fight, we're still looking to get to the bottom of what caused that," he said.

In a news release posted to the Christina School District's Facebook page, officials said students involved in the fights will also be disciplined "according to the Student Manual."

Newark police maintained a presence at the school on Monday as a precaution in case any other altercations occurred.

"We are keeping the additional police presence there just to make sure that there aren't any additional problems. We don't anticipate that there are going to be," Farrall said.



Overcoming Odds: Breaking down barriers for people with disabilities

By Amy Cherry 7:42am, October 20, 2014
VIDEO: Take a look inside Chimes Delaware in Part 1 of "Overcoming Odds" with WDEL's Amy Cherry.
Chimes Delaware helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities feel "normal." The statewide organization is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

WDEL's Amy Cherry takes an in-depth look into Chimes' work in part 1 of "Overcoming Odds."

Click here to listen



Ever wonder who puts the small toys in the plastic bubble packing in vending machines that your kids love to bug for you?

They're the men and women of Chimes Delaware.

"Bubbles," said Eddie Drake.

"You do bubbles? So what are bubbles?" I asked

"Put it in the bin. Watch this, put it in the bin, snap," said Drake.

You'll hear more about Eddie Drake, who suffers from Down Syndrome, later on, but his success is central to Chimes' mission.

"Empowering the people we serve to achieve the most they can with their lives -- to be as an independent and as much a part of this community as humanely possible," said Chimes President and CEO, Marty Lampner.

Most people even with severe disabilities want to do something with their lives. They may just not know how to tell you. Chimes listens to these people.

"For those folks though with either the most complex of needs, so they may have a very significant cognitive issue or they may have a medical issue that overlays it, we generally start with our enrichment program, and that's focused mostly on basic social skills, learning how to stay on task, learning how to interact appropriately with other people," he said.

Or sometimes it's just listening to music or watching a movie.

"Learning the skills that allow people to benefit from those activities. For many folks, that's a first step. For some, it may be as far as we can take them right now," he said.

A second step is getting a job at Chimes while the final step is finding work in the community.

"That's the most important--in a perfect world, if we've achieved everything we can for folks, we want most of the people were serve to do that. Now, not everybody can, but it's certainly our goal," Lampner said.

Lampner says they've got a significant number of people working for Staples, DuPont, TJ Maxx, and Harrington Raceway. These folks do a range of jobs from stocking and cleaning to cooking and gathering valuable information for research.

Lampner says he advocates for companies to hire people with disabilities, breaking down preconceived notions.

"Once they've seen that first person and how hard they can work, and how good they are in their jobs and how much their jobs mean to them, they're much more inclined to give us a second chance," he said.

Chimes helps people with disabilities succeed in ways these men and women never thought were possible.
He points to one of their greatest success stories involving a man named Bob confined to a straightjacket.

"He didn't want to give it up; we worked very hard to make him understand he didn't really need it, that he could control the impulses, but what we said to him was, 'What is it that you really want to do?' And he told us he wanted to go deep sea fishing, and we said if you go a year without a behavioral incident, we'll make sure that happens, and he did. And he went deep sea fishing, and he cut up his safety coat. We helped him cut it up and threw it away, and to this day, he's still working in the community," said Lampner.

Bob is currently working at Staples, where he's been employed for the better part of two decades.

Hear more about how Chimes Delaware makes a difference in the lives of people with disabilities like Eddie Drake and Doug Webb coming up in Part 2 of "Overcoming Odds" Tuesday on Delaware's Morning News.


Cold weather is closing in; your wallet doesn't have to be next

By Andrew Sgroi 1:15pm, October 20, 2014 - Updated 2:02pm, October 20, 2014
With winter just around the corner, DNREC's Division of Energy and Climate has issued low-cost tips to help you use less energy and save more money this winter.

Steps such as lowering your home thermostat for sleeping and off-peak hours, layering warmer clothing, and regulating window treatments head the extensive list served to prepare your home for the frigid season.

Other useful tips have also been supplied to ready your appliances and automobiles.

Home:
· Set thermostat/heater temperatures lower at night and during the day when no one is home. Turn the heat down an hour before bedtime or before leaving the house; when turning the heat up, do not turn it above its usual setting to warm the house faster.
· Instead of turning up the heat, put on a sweater or warmer socks, and keep throws or blankets on the couch for television and video games. Use warm winter bedding – flannel sheets, warm blankets, comforters or quilts – to keep the family comfortable with the house cooler at night. Snuggle up and save money.
· Pull shades or curtains at night to help keep cold out and open them during the day to let sun in.
· To feel warmer and alleviate dryness, increase home humidity using an energy-efficient humidifier or by evaporating water in containers on woodstoves, radiators or heat vents.
· Make sure all your windows are completely closed and latched. Check doors and windows for drafts and add weatherstripping if needed. A rolled-up towel makes a good temporary measure.
· Remove or cover window unit air conditioners to keep out drafts.
· If you have a furnace or other primary HVAC unit that requires regular service, have it cleaned and/or serviced NOW for maximum efficiency and reliability over the winter months.
· Check to make sure your water heater and hot water pipes are well-insulated; if not, add pipe insulation or wrap-around insulation. Turn down temperature on the water heater by 10 degrees (but no lower than 120 degrees) to save energy.
· To save water and the cost of heating it, install flow-restrictors on faucets and shower heads.
· To make your home warmer next winter, take notes now and plan home improvement projects for spring and summer, such as adding insulation, caulking cracks, or replacing your old hot water heater or furnace with a more energy efficient model.
· Adding a programmable thermostat to your home’s HVAC system will allow you to set day and night temperatures automatically.
· Reduce heating in unoccupied areas and, if possible, close off rooms with the greatest northern exposure. Make family-gathering places in sunny or southern-facing rooms.
· Lastly, for the home, please note: The Delaware Division of Energy and Climate also works with local non-profit agencies to provide energy conservation services for homes of low-income Delawareans. A family of four making less than $46,000 per year may qualify for free in-home weatherization services that can save owners and renters hundreds of dollars in annual heating bills. For more information about the Weatherization Assistance Program, please contact the Weatherization Team at 302-735-3480, or visit Home Weatherization Services.

Appliances:
· To reduce energy usage inside your home, turn off or unplug any appliances or electronic devices (such as computers) when they are not in use. Turn off lights when not in use.
· When using the oven, plan to cook three or four items at a time for the same cost as one – and choose a day when everyone is home to enjoy the extra warmth and good scents in the kitchen.
· Set your refrigerator at 38 to 40 degrees and your freezer at 10 degrees. Also, keep your freezer full, and try to open refrigerator and freezer doors less.
· Run the washing machine or dishwasher only with full loads, and use warm water to wash and cold to rinse.
· Use the dryer only for full loads, and separate loads into heavy and lightweight items to avoid using the machine longer than necessary to dry each type. Dry in consecutive loads; once the dryer is warm, it cuts down on initial energy consumption.
· If you have a clothesline, hang laundry outside in dry weather. Use a drying rack inside for small or delicate items, or in bad weather.
· If purchasing new or replacing older appliances, such as heaters, refrigerators, etc., look for the Energy Star rating or Energy Guide label.

Auto:
· Save gas by improving your driving habits: accelerate from stops slowly, drive at moderate, steady speeds, and avoid unnecessary braking by coasting to red lights and anticipating traffic speed changes.
· Avoid idling as much as possible, including sitting in the car to keep warm and “warming up” the car in the morning. Idling wastes fuel and creates air pollution, so bundle up and be patient for heat when you hit the road. Also, modern car engines are better warmed up by driving than by idling.
· Schedule oil and filter changes and other recommended maintenance to keep your vehicle operating efficiently. Check tire pressure often; under-inflated tires decrease fuel efficiency.
· Drive fewer miles and save gas by planning those Saturday errands in the shortest circular route starting and ending at home, instead of traveling in random directions or making several trips. Plan for errands during the week such as picking up a few grocery items along the route you take home from work or school.
· Combine car trips with family, friends or neighbors, join a carpool or use public transportation if available.
· Smaller cars with smaller engines typically get better fuel mileage, so if you have more than one vehicle, use the smaller one more – and, when shopping for a new vehicle, consider size and fuel efficiency.

For more information on the Delaware Division of Energy and Climate and its programs, including the Energy Savers Guide, call 302-735-3480, or visit www.dnrec.delaware.gov/energy.














Judge sets execution date for Delaware killer

By Randall Chase, Associated Press 2:33pm, October 20, 2014 - Updated 2:36pm, October 20, 2014
James Cooke (WDEL/File)
A Delaware judge has set a Dec. 4 execution date for a man convicted of raping and killing a University of Delaware student.

The judge resentenced James E. Cooke on Monday following the state Supreme Court's rejection of an appeal in July.

The execution date is a formality, however, as a new round of appeals gets under way.

The 43-year-old Cooke was convicted of the 2005 murder of 20-year-old Lindsey Bonistall of White Plains, New York.

The Delaware Supreme Court overturned Cooke's first conviction in 2007 because his public defenders, without Cooke's consent and despite his repeated claims of innocence, argued he was guilty but mentally ill.

Cooke was retried, convicted and sentenced to death again in 2012.


Amazon donates Kindle fires tablets to Brick Mill Elementary

By Tom Lehman 6:24pm, October 20, 2014
VIDEO: WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.
Amazon.com donated 55 kindle fire tablets to Brick Mill Elementary School in Middletown on Monday.

Although the devices allow students to play games like Minecraft, teachers say they hope the devices will keep students focused on reading.

Employees from Amazon's Middletown fulfillment center delivered the Kindles. The company also donated $2,500 in content gift cards so teachers can buy books and educational apps for students.


Trial begins in Del. soccer tournament shootings

By Randall Chase, Associated Press 2:02pm, October 20, 2014
A Delaware prosecutor says a shooting at a Wilmington soccer tournament that left three people dead was prompted by revenge, retaliation and the need to eliminate a witness.

The prosecutor told jurors Monday that 23-year-old Jeffrey Phillips and 38-year-old Otis Phillips were members of a gang that plotted the Eden Park attack in July 2012 after a friend was shot and killed at a Jamaican house party earlier that day.

Authorities say 47-year-old tournament organizer Herman Curry, a member of Wilmington's Jamaican immigrant community, also was targeted because he was a witness to a 2008 killing for which Otis Phillips was being sought.

Curry and 16-year-old Alexander Kamara Jr. were killed. A third suspect died after spectators returned fire.

The two defendants, who are not related, have pleaded not guilty.


Biden, other AG's urge panel to support anti-sex trafficking bill

By Frank Gerace 3:01pm, October 20, 2014
Attorney General Beau Biden
Attorney General Biden Monday joined 52 other state and territorial Attorneys General in calling on a Senate panel to approve legislation designed to stop child sex trafficking.

In a letter, Biden and his counterparts urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to support Senate Bill 2536, the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation, or SAVE act.

The measure would increase oversight of websites like backpage.com, which have "adult services" sections.

The AG's say such sites enable traffickers to buy and sell children for sex while making it possible for the traffickers to evade detection.

The bill would toughen state laws against child sex trafficking, allow courts to force traffickers to give up property related to the activity, and set up a Human Trafficking Advisory Council to come up with an anti-trafficking plan.


Dover cops searching for 'Mission Impossible' burglar

By Andrew Sgroi 10:36am, October 20, 2014
A pair of stunt-filled overnight burglaries in Dover this past weekend have police searching for a single suspect.

According to police, the tandem capers occurred sometime between 8:30 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday when the lone suspect entered U and I Builders on US-13 north of Townsend Boulevard by cutting a hole in the roof of the business and dropping down inside.

After removing some electronic equipment, the burglar then cut another hole in the drywall to gain access to AMCO Check Cashing next door. In that heist the thief lifted an undisclosed amount of cash before exiting the rear of that business through the door.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Dover Police Department at 302-736-7111.





Bear-area man charged w/critically injuring pregnant woman

By Frank Gerace 3:01pm, October 20, 2014 - Updated 3:07pm, October 20, 2014
County Police say a Bear-area man with attacked and critically injured a pregnant woman during a domestic dispute Sunday.

Police say Fernando Flores and the victim argued at a home on Samantha Circle in the Waterford Trailer Park, and when officers responded to a 911 call, they found the woman unconscious in the home.

She underwent surgery for her injuries at Christiana Hospital.

Flores is being held at the Howard Young Prison, charged with assault.

He's also under a court order to have no contact with the vicitim.


Suspect(s) sought in Dover apartment break-in, theft

By Frank Gerace 3:01pm, October 20, 2014 - Updated 3:07pm, October 20, 2014
Dover police are looking for a suspect, or suspects, they say broke into an apartment over the weekend and stole an eclectic assortment of items.

Police say the victim was missing a 55-inch TV, 3 laptops, XBOX and Wii video game systems, two black powder revolvers, a double-barreled shotgun and a clarinet when he came back to his apartment in the 150 building in the Clearfield complex Sunday after a weekend trip.

The back door of the apartment had been forced open, and a back window and screen were damaged.

Dover police are asking anyone who may know something about the break-in and theft to call them or Crimestoppers.



Police investigate Sunday shooting in Wilmington

By Ruth Bryna 11:22pm, October 19, 2014 - Updated 9:01am, October 20, 2014
A Sunday afternoon shooting has police on the lookout for a gunman.

Wilmington police say they responded around 1:30 p.m. to numerous calls reporting shots fired in the 500 block of Springer Street.

They found a 23-year-old man who was shot once in the back. The victim was taken to Christiana Hospital, where he was, at last check, in stable condition.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call detectives at 302-576-3653.


1 injured in shootout at Del. American Legion

By Associated Press 10:47am, October 20, 2014
At least two people exchanged gunfire at an American Legion in Dover, injuring one man.

Dover police say the 1 a.m. Sunday shootout occurred as a party was going on inside the American Legion, which had been rented out by a group unaffiliated with the veterans' organization.

When officers arrived, they found a 26-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the hip. He's in serious condition.

While officers were trying to clear the parking lot, a gunshot was fired from inside a nearby vehicle. Police say a man had accidentally fired the gun as he was trying to hide it. He was taken into custody.

In all, police say shell casings from three guns were found at the scene and that they're working to identify everyone involved. Charges are pending.


US agency warns car owners to get air bags fixed

By Associated Press 12:47pm, October 20, 2014
U.S. safety regulators are warning owners of more than 4.7 million vehicles that have been recalled for air bag problems to get them repaired immediately.

The warning issued Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration covers vehicles from multiple manufacturers that date to 2002.

Inflators can rupture in air bags made by Takata Corp., causing metal fragments to fly out when the bags are inflated in crashes. So far, automakers have recalled about 12 million vehicles worldwide because of the problem.

Safety advocates estimate that more than 20 million cars have the faulty inflators in the U.S. alone. They say at least four people have died from the problem.

The inflators have led to multiple recalls from Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, BMW and Mitsubishi.


GM ignition switch death count rises to 29

By Associated Press 12:47pm, October 20, 2014
At least 29 people have died and 27 people have been seriously injured in crashes involving General Motors cars with defective ignition switches.

Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was hired by GM to compensate victims, updated the totals Monday.

Feinberg says he has received 184 death claims since August. Of those, 29 have been deemed eligible for compensation, up two from last week.

Twenty-seven of the 1,333 injury claimants have also received compensation offers.

GM knew about faulty ignition switches in Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars for more than a decade but didn't recall them until February. The switches can slip out of the "on" position, which causes the cars to stall, knocks out power steering and turns off the air bags.

Feinberg will accept claims until Dec. 31.


Another month, another global heat record broken

By Associated Press 12:47pm, October 20, 2014 - Updated 3:10pm, October 20, 2014
September brought more record heat globally, and meteorologists say Earth is now on pace to tie for the hottest year ever recorded.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that last month the globe averaged 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit. That was the hottest September in 135 years of record keeping. It was the fourth monthly record set this year, along with May, June and August.

The first nine months of 2014 have a global average temperature of 58.72 degrees, tying with 1998 and 2010 for the warmest first nine months on record.

While parts of the U.S. Midwest, Russia and central Africa were slightly cool in September, it was especially hotter than normal in the U.S. West, Australia, Europe, northwestern Africa, central South America and parts of Asia.



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