Bomb threat called in to Hockessin daycare center

By DJ McAneny 3:50pm, September 3, 2015 - Updated 3:51pm, September 3, 2015
The police response in the area of the bomb threat/(Mike Phillips/WDEL)
A bomb threat was called in to a Hockessin daycare center on Thursday, according to New Castle County Police.

Authorities said officers were dispatched to the 1100 block of Valley Road at approximately 11:49 a.m. on September 3, 2015, for a call of a bomb threat reported to Children of America Childcare.

The person who took the call said an unknown suspect alleged they had planted an explosive device at the location and hung up, police said.

Multiple New Castle County patrol units responded to assist with the evacuation of the roughly 60 children in the building to a "nearby safe location," and proceeded to secure the facility.

There were no injuries during the evacuation and no explosive devices were located following responses from both Explosive Detection K-9s and Explosive Ordinance Disposal Units.

The building was reopened for occupancy following the all clear.

New Castle County Police are urging anyone who might be able to assist with information regarding this investigation to contact them at 302.573.2800 or Delaware crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.


State Auditor: Firestorm of financial woes for Belvedere Volunteer Fire Company

By Andrew Sgroi 1:29pm, September 3, 2015
A volunteer fire company in New Castle County is steeped in debt, according to State Auditor Thomas Wagner.

A recent inspection report showed that Belvedere Volunteer Fire Company has been plagued with mismanagement since 2014. The situation was compounded when former Chief Vaughn Rider pleaded guilty in November 2014 to theft relating to his tenure as treasurer of the Wilmington Fire Fighters Association and theft and forgery at Belvedere.

As a result of the Rider plea, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) had made the request to the state auditor for an inspection of the company's financial records.

The inspection found the company did not have a sufficient accounting system in place for the period under review, and that company officials did not promptly disclose requested records nor maintain transparent communications.

Additionally, it was found that:
  • Paid EMT personnel failed to receive bi-weekly paychecks for an entire month
  • The company's ambulance was routinely out of service--a fact substantiated in the company Board of Director's meeting minutes
  • The company failed to post $499,183 in disbursements into their accounting records.
  • Over the period of review, the company had three (3) credit cards open and active with a combined $18,000 in available credit. The company, however, made credit card purchases totaling over $34,400, with an average monthly balance of $11,428

  • The company made two payments, totaling $4,099, to collection agencies for outstanding balances on two of the company's credit cards


  • The report summarized that the company's struggles to pay its bills directly jeopardized its mission to protect lives and property.


    Bear-area man wanted in connection to Talleyville gas station armed robbery

    By DJ McAneny 2:47pm, September 3, 2015
    Joseph H. Klosowski/Courtesy Delaware State Police
    Delaware State Police asked Thursday for the public's assistance locating a Bear-area man they've named as a suspect in the robbery of a Talleyville gas station over the weekend.

    According to authorities, 31-year-old Joseph H. Klosowski entered the Exxon at 4101 Concord Pike at approximately 9:17 p.m. on Sunday, August 30, 2015, and accosted a 30-year-old clerk with an unknown make and model handgun.

    Klosowski allegedly demanded money from the register, then took the whole drawer when the clerk opened the register to comply. He fled southbound on foot, police said, leaving the clerk uninjured.

    Police identified Klosowski as their suspect during the investigation, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest on the charges of first-degree robbery.

    He is described as a white male, 6'2" tall and weighing approximately 250 lbs., with brown hair and blue eyes.

    Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to contact Delaware State Police at 302.365.8566 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.


    Travel + Leisure names 3 local cities as some of the most unfriendly in the World

    By WDEL Staff 12:14pm, September 3, 2015 - Updated 12:16pm, September 3, 2015
    Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City, from left to right/Via Travel+Leisure
    Travel + Leisure announced their list ranking the "World's Unfriendliest Cities" and a couple local areas made it into the Top 10.

    Of the 30 meanest cities listed, Baltimore came in at #8, Philadelphia came in at #7, and .

    Delaware, however, did not make the list. Delaware didn't even make an appearance on
    The 15 Unfriendliest Cities in America list. However, neither did Atlantic City, calling into question why it would be the second unfriendliest in the world, but not even place on the list in America alone (Baltimore and Philly did make that list as well, however, coming in at #12 and #3, respectively, with Philly filling out the top 3 behind Detroit and New York City).

    Travel + Leisure's full list comes in as follows:
  • #30-St. Petersburg, Florida
  • #29-Newport, Rhode Island
  • #28-Monte Carlo, Monaco
  • #27-Shanghai, Chine
  • #26-Lyon, France
  • #25-Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • #24-Milan, Italy
  • #23-Marrakesh, Morocco
  • #22-Nice, France
  • #21-Xi'an, China
  • #20-St. Louis, Missouri
  • #19-Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • #18-Cincinnati, Ohio
  • #17-Naples, Italy
  • #16-Providence, Rhode Island
  • #15-Boston, Massachusetts
  • #14-Frankfurt, Germany
  • #13-Washington, D.C.
  • #12-Miami, Florida
  • #11-Beijing, China
  • #10-Cannes, France
  • #9-Las Vegas, Nevada
  • #8-Baltimore, Maryland
  • #7-Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • #6-Ney York, New York
  • #5-Los Angeles, California
  • #4-Marseille, France
  • #3-St. Petersburg, Russia
  • #2-Atlantic City, New Jersey
  • #1-Moscow, Russia


  • The Friendliest Cities in both America and the World, respectively? Nashville, Tennessee and Galway, Ireland. No local areas made either of those lists.


    Wilmington police say homicide arrests have tripled this year compared to 2014

    By Tom Lehman 5:49pm, September 2, 2015
    Wilmington Police Chief Bobby Cummings. (WDEL/File)
    Wilmington Police officials said this week that officers have made three times the number of arrests for homicides in 2015 when compared with last year's statistics.

    So far in 2015, police said 37 percent--seven in total--of the 19 homicides recorded in Wilmington this year were followed with an arrest. At the onset of the previous September, that rate was only 12 percent, according to police.

    Chief Bobby Cummings said support from the federal and state governments, coupled with the creation of a homicide unit last year, has contributed to more arrests for serious crimes like murder.

    "Before, our (detectives) were looking at every case that comes through and they really didn't have the focus that they have now," he said.

    Increased public cooperation identifying suspects for police was also credited as one reason for the uptick this year.

    Cummings said that there is clearly more work to be done in preventing crime from occurring, but the increased number of arrests indicates a positive trend for the department.

    "By no means are we saying we've been totally successful, but we know we're moving in the right direction."

    ---

    You can contact Tom Lehman at tlehman@wdel.com. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.




    Fire at park outside Rose Hill has been ruled arson

    By DJ McAneny 12:30pm, September 3, 2015
    The damage caused at the Simonds Garden playground has been ruled arson/Courtesy NBC10
    A fire that destroyed some playground equipment outside Rose Hill has been ruled an arson, the Delaware State Fire Marshal's Office announced Thursday.

    According to officials, the fire that caused an estimated $60,000 in damages to park equipment at the Simonds Garden Park at approximately 6:30 p.m. Wednesday was intentionally set.

    The Holloway Terrace Fire Company responded to extinguish the blaze. Deputy Fire Marshal's examined the scene and determined the fire was ignited by unknown person or persons utilizing combustibles.

    Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact the Delaware State Fire Marshal's Officer at 302.323.5375 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.


    Outdoor music could return to Kelly's Logan House in Trolley Square

    By Tom Lehman 8:28am, September 3, 2015 - Updated 5:14pm, September 3, 2015
    A popular bar in Wilmington's Trolley Square area could soon be allowed to host outdoor music acts once again, though the proposal has drawn some criticism from residents who believe the current iteration may be too intrusive for their neighborhoods.

    Management at Kelly's Logan House, located at the corner of Delaware Avenue and North Dupont Street, have asked the state for the addition of a variance to existing alcohol laws that would let the bar and restaurant offer live music on its back porch--something already offered indoors numerous days each week.

    Bands had previously played outdoors at the Logan House, until officials discovered about two years ago that it did not have proper clearance from the state.

    If the variance is granted, staff members said on social media they would limit the music to outdoor acoustic sets during weekdays with an end time of 10 p.m.

    Tim Crowley, a manager at the Logan House, said on the bar-and-restaurant's Facebook page that musical offerings on the back porch would expand to full bands on weekends, but they would cease playing by 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 5 p.m. on Sundays to lessen the impact for neighbors.

    He also said the bar plans to focus more on sports in the upcoming fall season, with little focus on outdoor music aside from charity events.

    However, the plan has drawn concern from more than 25 area residents, who have signed a formal protest of the bar's request. As a result, the matter will be considered by the alcoholic beverage control commissioner on Thursday.

    Obie Kline, a longtime resident of the adjacent Forty Acres neighborhood who owns a shop near the Logan House, said he doesn't object to the idea of light acoustic music being played outdoors, but would have an issue with full bands and amplification.

    "I just think they owe it to the people around here to be a little more considerate," he said, noting that the community already deals with existing noise and crowd disturbances.

    But some patrons of the bar don't think the Logan House's request is unreasonable. Andre Buck, who currently lives in Delaware County but formerly lived in the Trolley Square area, said the city shouldn't be discouraging more entertainment options, and the increased commerce would benefit the neighborhood.

    "Even if it's not my type of music, I would think it's a positive thing,"

    Jim Lee, of the Delaware Avenue Community Association, has offered a compromise to the plan which would limit the Logan House to playing lightly amplified acoustic music with earlier end times for performances.

    However, Lee, who said he is trying to find middle ground between the bar and its neighbors on an issue that's become divisive, thinks full bands and amplification may be too great a disturbance for neighboring residents, including seniors living the nearby Lincoln Towers.

    "I'm not quite sure if we're ready for that yet," he said.

    Wilmington Councilman Charles "Bud" Freel (D-District 8), who said he previously warned Logan House management years ago that it did not have proper permission for outdoor music, said he is hopeful Thursday's decision offers some benefits for the business and neighbors.

    "Maybe all the parties won't be happy, but it's something they can live with," he said.

    James Spadola, a Newark police officer who lives in Wilmington and regularly performs acoustic sets at the Logan House, said he is in favor of the bar's plan and doesn't think they should be limited in terms of which bands play at the bar, provided it doesn't violate the law.

    "We shouldn't be scared of having viable businesses in the area," he said. "That's a good thing."

    ---

    You can contact Tom Lehman at tlehman@wdel.com. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.




    New Jersey's Great Adventure unveils next roller coaster

    By Associated Press 11:35am, September 3, 2015 - Updated 12:14pm, September 3, 2015
    The Total Mayhem/Courtesy Six Flags
    Riders will experience the feeling of weightlessness on a new roller coaster that's planned for a New Jersey theme park.

    The Total Mayhem/Courtesy Six Flags

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    Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson on Thursday unveiled plans for Total Mayhem.

    The free-fly coaster will lift riders up a 12-story, 90-degree hill before flipping them head-over-heels at least six times in wing seats, providing a feeling of weightlessness.

    The new roller coaster is scheduled to be completed by the spring of 2016.

    The Total Mayhem/Courtesy Six Flags

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    Biden: On the road again

    By Shana O'Malley/Frank Gerace 5:52am, September 3, 2015 - Updated 1:42pm, September 3, 2015
    Vice President Joe Biden poses for a selfie with supporters at Miami Dade College in Miami. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
    Vice President Joe Biden continues to fuel speculation that he'll make a 2016 presidential run.

    After overnighting in Miami, Biden will meet with Jewish community leaders Thursday morning to discuss the nuclear deal reached with Iran.

    Afterward, he'll fly to Washington for meetings at the White House, only to fly to Atlanta in the afternoon, where he'll deliver remarks at the 2015 Fran Eizenstat and Eizenstat Family Annual Lecture.

    Past speakers of the prestigious speaking engagement include Jimmy Carter, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Madeleine Albright.

    Washington Post reporter David Nakamura told WDEL News President Obama usually has about 13 reporters traveling with him wherever he goes--and that the VP flew to Florida and Georgia on Air Force 2 Wednesday and Thursday with his own contingency.

    "At least five reporters (were) on the plane from several wire services, another from the Wall Street Journal, another from TV." said Nakamura. "That's very unusual for a Vice Presidential trip of this nature, and it does go to show the intense media interest in his, you know, so far, non-candidacy."

    Nakamura said Biden and his staff are fueling the fire by not squelching rumors of another Presidential bid. The VP will make his second flight of the day back to Washington following the speaking engagement.


    With open enrollment looming, grant ensures expansion of health insurance marketplace assisters

    By Andrew Sgroi 8:35am, September 3, 2015 - Updated 10:49am, September 3, 2015
    Federal grant money was awarded to two local organizations that will help Delawareans learn about options within the state's health insurance marketplace and assist them with signing up for coverage.

    The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services said the monies--totaling $600,000--fund Chatham LLC and Westside Family Healthcare for additional certified enrollment assistants, known as navigators.

    The awards were announced Wednesday by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and would cover the first year of a three-year grant to support outreach efforts designed to help Delawareans understand coverage and financial assistance options available to them.

    Chatham LLC--whose Delaware office is located at Widener University Law School, in Talleyville--has employed navigators for the previous two open enrollment periods, and specifically assists special needs and minority populations statewide. It has been allocated just over $339,000 for 2016 open enrollment.

    Westside Family Healthcare--a health center with several locations in New Castle and Kent counties--will use the nearly $261,000 it's receiving to expand its current outreach and education program for families and individuals in the areas it serves.

    (Facebook)

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    According to DHSS, navigators offer free, objective information about health coverage to consumers with their knowledge of qualified health plans available in Delaware's Health Insurance Marketplace as well as public programs, including Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

    The open enrollment period for 2016 begins November 1.


    Police: Traffic stop leads to handgun, $10,000 worth of heroin in Wilmington

    By DJ McAneny 11:12am, September 3, 2015 - Updated 11:15am, September 3, 2015
    Jermaine Reed, left, and Travis May, right/Courtesy Wilmington Police
    A traffic stop by Wilmington Police led to the recovery of a handgun, heroin, and three arrests, authorities announced Thursday.

    According to police, a vehicle was stopped at 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, September 1, 2015, in the area of 27th and North Claymoint streets.

    The operator of the vehicle, identified as 27-year-old Allen Freeman, of New Castle, allegedly had a suspended license.

    Freeman was removed from the vehicle and found to be in possession of 26 bags of suspected heroin, police said. He was taken into custody without incident.

    A passenger, Jermaine Reed, 28, of Newark, was found to be an active probationer with restrictions to permissible contact with the Riverside area. He was taken into custody without incident.

    A search was conducted on the vehicle and on Reed's place of residence, where $9,574 was recovered. Travis May, 27, of New Castle, was also found to be in the residence.

    The Highpoint .38 police said they found in a vehicle

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    Police searched two vehicles associated with May and Reed, and found the following items:
  • A Highpoint .38 loaded with eight rounds of ammunition
  • 9,752 bags of heroin, weighing 146.28 grams, with a street value of $97,520


  • All three men were charged by authorities:
  • Freeman was charged with possession of heroin, driving while suspended or revoked license, failure to stop at a stop sign. He was committed to the Howard R. Young Correctional Facility in lieu of $1,000 bond.
  • Reed was charged with possession with intent to deliver heroin-Tier 4 quantity, possession of herion-Tier 5 quantity, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, second-degree conspiracy, violation of probation. He was committed to the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in lieu of $125,000 cash bond.
  • MAy was charged with possession with intent to deliver heroin-Tier 4 quantity, possession of herion-Tier 5 quantity, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, second-degree conspiracy. He was committed to the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in lieu of $120,000


  • The nearly $10,000 worth of heroin police said they found in a vehicle

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    Wilmington City Council eyes disclosure of back taxes

    By Associated Press 6:03am, September 3, 2015 - Updated 10:52am, September 3, 2015
    Wilmington City Council is eyeing an ordinance that would require city employees and officials to disclose delinquent taxes, fees, and other obligations owed to the city.

    The ordinance was scheduled to be introduced to council members Thursday night.

    If approved, council would be authorizing amendments to the city code requiring employees--including elected and appointed officials--to file annual reports regarding any outstanding tax or fee delinquencies with the city's human resources department.

    Employees would have to declare if they are delinquent on property taxes, water and sewer fees, license and inspection fees, parking or red light fines or fees, or any other obligation owed to the city.

    Failure to comply with the disclosure law would result in disciplinary action and possible discharge.


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