Woman in New Castle County contracts measles, first Delaware case since 2012

By Tom Lehman 6:04pm, January 30, 2015 - Updated 6:12pm, January 30, 2015
State health officials on Friday announced a woman from New Castle County has been infected with measles, marking the first time the disease has been present in Delaware since 2012.

The woman, who is in her 20s and never vaccinated against the disease, contracted measles while she was abroad, said Emily Knearl, a spokeswoman for the Delaware Division of Public Health.

The woman was briefly hospitalized, but she is now recovering at home and is "doing well," Knearl said.

Because measles is an infectious disease, the agency tracked down her known contacts, but officials said none of them have shown symptoms and that each person had already been vaccinated.

It is the third time in five years that someone from Delaware has contracted measles.


Feds investigating attempted Wilmington carjacking of Homeland Security agent

By DJ McAneny 1:50pm, January 30, 2015 - Updated 4:37pm, January 30, 2015
The Wilmington parking garage where a Homeland Security Agent disharged his weapon at an alleged carjacking suspect
Police are currently investigating an attempted carjacking of a Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent at a downtown Wilmington parking lot.

Police were dispatched to a garage located at 11th and North Tatnall streets Friday where a federal agent allegedly discharged his agency-issued firearm at a suspect trying to carjack the agent. The suspect initially fled the scene, but has since been detained, officials said.

Homeland Security is currently handling the investigation as they "look into the use of deadly force."

Wilmington Police Sgt. Andrea Janvier said there are no updates on the suspect or the circumstances surrounding the incident, including whether or not the targeted vehicle was marked.

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This is a developing story. WDEL will update this story as more information as it is released. The story has again been amended to more accurately reflect what is known about the Homeland Security agent's involvement in the incident.



Food Bank of Delaware unveils mobile pantry

By Shana O'Malley 6:04pm, January 30, 2015 - Updated 6:08pm, January 30, 2015
About 100 families in Wilmington received meal boxes during the unveiling of the Food Bank of Delaware's new food truck.

Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe said the vehicle is equipped with running water and a grill, which will allow volunteers to do on-site cooking demonstrations and educate the public about nutrition.

"This give us so much opportunity to move into areas that need us," said Beebe.

Bank of America donated $150,000 to the Food Bank of America last year to help purchase the truck. The company donated another $75,000 to help pay for the day to day operations of the vehicle.

Beebe said the food bank truck will be used to help communities throughout the state. She added it has enough room to distribute meals to about 50 families at a time.

According to the Food Bank of Delaware, about 100,000 residents in the state don't know where their next meal will come from.

Wilmington resident Debbie Burton said her family relies on food pantries about four to five times a year.

"My husband and son are laid off, they're seasonal workers and things are tough," she said. While they receive unemployment, Burton said their food supply starts to run low at the end of the month.

"Then we have to do what we can to survive," she said.



Commute to Milford beach area set to improve with Route 1 traffic project

By Amy Cherry 5:36pm, January 30, 2015 - Updated 5:40pm, January 30, 2015
Starting 3rd from left - Gov. Markell, Rep. Dave Wilson, Rep. Harvey Kenton, DelDOT Sec. Shailen Bhatt break ground on Route 1 project at Thompsonville Rd. / Mark Fowser
The transformation of a notorious intersection for Delaware beach visitors is underway in the Milford area.

Gov. Jack Markell and departing Delaware Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt were among those taking part Friday in a groundbreaking ceremony for the project, which was kicking off at Route 1 and Thompsonville Road

"The first thing we're going to do is take out the signal and we're going to tie in, take all of these entrances off of Route 1" Bhatt said. "The highway traffic will flow unimpeded and the local traffic is going to be able to get across the highway without having to stop the traffic. It's a great 'safety first' project."

DelDOT said the $11.5-million project will extend Thompsonville Road by removing the Route 1 traffic signal and adding an overpass to carry traffic to the intersection of Tub Mill Pond Road and Church Hill Road. The project should take less than two years to complete.

State Representative Dave Wilson (R-Bridgeville) said it's a needed, overdue project and reinforced the idea that the number one priority for the project is improving the lives of those who use the road most often.

"We have to look forward to it," Wilson said. "It's a safety issue, really. How many lives can we save with this overpass? You can't put a value on human life."



Dover developer charged in federal bank fraud case found dead

By DJ McAneny 2:22pm, January 30, 2015 - Updated 3:20pm, January 30, 2015
Delaware State Police said Friday they are investigating the death of a 57-year-old Dover developer who was facing federal charges related to loans from the failed Wilmington Trust bank.

Authorities said Michael A. Zimmerman was found dead by his brother on Friday at approximately 8:40 a.m. in his residence at 1895 Windswept Circle.

Police said Zimmerman's brother visited daily. They also noted no foul play or suspicious circumstances were suspected.

The U.S. Attorney's office said the news comes two days after prosecutors asked a judge to revoke his pretrial release and issue a warrant for his arrest.

All proceedings in Zimmerman's case were canceled by the judge Friday, including a summons issued Thursday.

Zimmerman had been charged with conspiracy, money laundering and making false statements to a financial institution.

Prosecutors alleged that Zimmerman obtained more than $37 million in financing from Wilmington Trust for three projects, then diverted construction loans for unauthorized purposes.

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Associated Press copy was used in this article, in part.


Newark man, Wilmington teen charged in bank robbery

By DJ McAneny 12:01pm, January 30, 2015
Cordele Stewart
Two individuals, including a Wilmington juvenile, were arrested in connection to a city bank robbery that occurred Thursday, police announced Friday.

According to the Wilmington Police department, 26-year-old Cordele Stewart, of Newark, and a 17-year-old from Wilmington were charged in connection to the case.

Police said the alarm at the WSFS bank at 211 North Union Street was activated at approximately 2:41 p.m. The first responding officers were advised that two suspects had fled through an emergency exit upon police arrival, they said.

After establishing a perimeter, both suspects were apprehended without incident and the proceeds from the robbery were recovered, according to police.

A 9MM Ruger handgun that had previously been reported stolen out of the Delaware State Police jurisdiction was also recovered, police said.

Stewart and the juvenile both face charges of first-degree robbery, possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, wearing a disguise during commission of a felony and second-degree conspiracy.

Stewart was committed to the Howard Young Correctional Facility in lieu of $68,000 bond. The juvenile was committed to the New Castle County Detention Center in lieu of $47,000 bond.



Pa. man reportedly chases off brick-wielding robbers with broom stick in Elsmere

By DJ McAneny 12:19pm, January 30, 2015 - Updated 12:20pm, January 30, 2015
NBCPhiladelphia file photo
A Pennsylvania man reported an attempted robbery in the parking lot of a mattress store near Elsmere in which he scared off two suspects armed with a brick by chasing them with a broom handle, police said Friday.

According to Delaware State Police, the 44-year-old Woodlyn man was in the parking lot of Sleepy's at 3737 Kirkwood Highway at approximately 7:25 p.m. Thursday when two Hispanic males approached him.

The man told police one of the suspects was carrying a brick and demanded money from the would-be victim, but that he refused and instead retrieved a broom stick from his vehicle, according to authorities.

The suspects were reportedly last seen fleeing behind Sleepy's.

Both suspects were described as Hispanic males between the ages of 15 to 17 years old and standing anywhere between 5'4" and 6' tall. The suspect armed with the brick was wearing an orange hoodie and a bandana over his face. The other was wearing dark pants and a black jacket.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Delaware State Police Troop 2 robbery unit at 302.834.2630 or Delaware Crime stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.


Delaware car stop of New Jersey man leads to discovery of 10 pounds of pot

By DJ McAneny 4:15pm, January 30, 2015
A New Jersey man was arrested in Delaware after a traffic stop led to the discovery of more than 10 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle, state police said Friday.

According to authorities, George E. Bolzoni, 27, of Union City, was pulled over in his white Chevy Malibu Thursday along County Seat Highway.
George Bolzoni
Click to enlarge

As the trooper was questioning Bolzoni, police said he noted the suspect "exhibiting suspicious behavior," including Bolzoni changing his story about where he was heading.

A consent search was conducted on the truck to reveal three large, sealed cardboard mailing boxes, police said. The operator could not explain the contents of the boxes, and a state police K-9 unit was brought to the scene, according to police.

A positive indication of the boxes was given by the K-9, and, upon further examination, troopers discovered nine vacuum-sealed packages weighing 4,725 grams containing marijuana, they said.

Bolzoni was taken into custody and charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance - Tier 4 quantity, possession of drug paraphernalia, and speeding.

He was committed to Sussex Correctional Institution in lieu of $20,500.


Dover, Magnolia men charged with heroin possession following traffic stop

By DJ McAneny 2:06pm, January 30, 2015
Aldo Benitez, left, and Edwin Santiago, right
Two Delaware men were charged with heroin possession following a motor vehicle stop Wednesday, police announced Friday.

According to Dover Police, a traffic stop being conducted at approximately 6:17 p.m. along South Governors Avenue at Webbs Lane led to the discovery that both men in the vehicle had active warrants out for their arrest.

A search of the men, identified as Aldo Benitez, 36, of Magnolia, and Edwin Santiago, 31, of Dover, revealed them to each be in possession of .23 grams of heroin.

Both face heroin and drug paraphernalia possession charges. Bond figures have not been released.


Delaware court overturns conviction in bank robbery

By Randall Chase/Associated Press 3:15pm, January 30, 2015
The state Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a man sentenced to almost 100 years in prison for a 2011 bank robbery in Kent County that resulted in shots fired at police and a motel standoff.

The court ruled this week that a judge improperly denied a challenge by William Sells III to the seating of a prospective juror at his 2013 trial.

Sells, who is black, challenged the seating of a white man, having already stricken two other whites and one black as potential jurors.

The judge sided with prosecutors who argued that Sells was improperly attempting to exclude the third white juror solely on the grounds of race.

The Supreme Court said the judge erred in concluding that Sells' jury challenges showed a pattern of racial discrimination.


Delaware revenue review panel eyes income tax structure

By Associated Press 10:25am, January 30, 2015
A panel exploring how to make Delaware's revenue portfolio less unpredictable and more reflective of economic conditions is set to examine the state's personal income tax system.

Friday's scheduled meeting of the Structural Revenue Review Committee includes a background look at the income tax system, its conformity with the internal revenue code, and how it compares to tax systems in other states.

The panel also will compare the growth in numbers of taxpayers and income to economic indicators.

Set to submit a report in April, the panel was formed amid concerns that more than half of Delaware's revenues come from "inelastic" sources that do not respond to changes in Delaware's economy. Those revenue sources include lottery and gambling, abandoned property collections and bank and corporate franchise taxes.


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