Police: Man fatally shot by trooper had lighter, not gun

By Associated Press 3:59am, June 30, 2016
Authorities say a Maryland man fatally shot by a Delaware State Police trooper was carrying a cigarette lighter that looked like a gun.

State police spokesman Sgt. Richard D. Bratz on Wednesday identified the man shot Monday night as 25-year-old Raymond A. Hutson of Greensboro.

Hutson was shot after Caroline County, Maryland, sheriff's deputies pursued a stolen pickup truck into Delaware, where troopers joined the chase.

Officials initially said that Hutson, who was wanted for burglaries in both states, displayed a gun during the pursuit and ignored commands after stopping his vehicle to drop it.

Bratz says in a news release that what police thought was a small-caliber handgun was in fact a gun-shaped cigarette lighter.

The incident remains under investigation.

The trooper who fired at Hutson has been placed on administrative leave per state police policy.

Wilmington Police search for person of interest in sexual assault at Brandywine Park

By DJ McAneny 4:39pm, June 29, 2016
The person of interest for whom Wilmington Police are searching in connection to a sexual assault
A sexual assault occurred in the Brandywine Park Tuesday night, and Wilmington Police released an image of the suspect Wednesday with the hope that the public might be able to identify him for authorities.

The police said the armed suspect forced the victim into a secluded area along South Park Drive near the Brandywine River.

The suspect is described as a black male of approximately 30 years old, wearing a black shirt and tan pants.

Anyone with information regarding this individual or his location is urged to contact Wilmington Police Det. James Tobin at 302.654.5151 or 302.576.3643.

Large Michael Jackson memorabilia collection on display for Wilmington trade school's grand opening

By Tom Lehman 6:16am, June 30, 2016
VIDEO: WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.
A private collection of Michael Jackson memorabilia that's believed to be the largest one on the East Coast will be on display in Wilmington through the weekend at a new trade school opening in the city.

The exhibit, which includes 5,000 items connected to the late King of Pop like records, posters, books and other collectibles, will be on display to mark the grand opening of the ACT Generation Global Technology School on North Orange Street. It opens on Thursday at 3 p.m.

ACT Generation is intended to teach adults how to use audio and video technology and social media so they can be employed in communications jobs.

The collection is owned by a man from Sicklersville, New Jersey. It will be on display through Sunday.


You can contact Tom Lehman at tlehman@wdel.com.

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EdWatch: Minority middle schoolers in Dover take part in 1st of its kind tech camp at Delaware State University

By Amy Cherry 4:39pm, June 29, 2016
Students at DSU's camp will learn computer science and coding. (Photo/DSU)
Most middle schoolers play video games, and a new, three-week summer camp at Delaware State University wants to give Dover students a broader learning experience by connecting the games they love to potential careers.

"They're going to be learning robotics, coding. They're going to learn high-level technology that includes 3D design...they're also going to be exposed to entrepreneurship skills," said Lily Crawford, director of the Delaware Center for Enterprise Development at DSU.

Equipped with a $400,000 grant from Verizon, up to 40 students from William Henry and Central middle schools will be exposed to in-depth science and technology enrichment during the 2016 and 2017 summers, free-of-charge, as part of the Verizon Innovative Learning Program. The program is new to Delaware, but began in 2015 at four leading historically black colleges. It's since expanded to 12 cities across the United States.

Governor Markell was on-hand for a check presentation from Verizon to DSU.  (Photo/DSU)

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"The students that we are targeting are low- to moderate-income students who are economically disadvantaged students, who would not be able to pay for this type of a camp and learning experience," she said.

"While many focus on the idea that minority males are an 'endangered species,' DSU prefers to concentrate on what it can do to build up and guide young men to success," said DSU President Harry L. Williams.

The importance of sparking interest in science, engineering, technology, and math in kids at a young age can't be underestimated.

"If they get a passion for STEM in middle schools, they're likely to carry it on through high school when they start selecting courses that they're going to take, which will hopefully lead them to pursuing a STEM degree when they go off to college," she said.

DSU students and faculty with backgrounds in computer science and entrepreneurship will serve as mentors to guide students through the camp which culminates with the creation of their own apps. Students will then compete in a Shark Tank-style competition so they can learn how to pitch and market their product.

"They have such creative minds to think outside of the box, so we're hoping that we have the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs in the group," she said.


Contact Amy Cherry at acherry@wdel.com or on Twitter

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Delaware lawmakers pass $4B operating budget, scrounge for capital cash, consider taking $6M from Wilmington redistricting plan

By Associated Press 4:39pm, June 29, 2016 - Updated 9:38pm, June 29, 2016
Legislative Hall (Photo/Jack Foley)
Delaware lawmakers gave final approval to a $4 billion operating budget for the fiscal year that starts Friday.

The spending plan cleared the House on a 31-to-8 vote Wednesday and now awaits Gov. Jack Markell's signature.

The spending plan is slightly less than Markell's proposal but is still about $175.5 million, or roughly 4.5 percent, higher than this year's budget.

Meanwhile, they're combing through state accounts to scrounge up enough money for a capital budget for the fiscal year starting Friday--and they're considering taking $6 million set aside for a controversial redistricting plan in Wilmington.

Each year, leftover cash from the operating budget gets directed to the capital budget for roads, schools, and other construction projects--but as of Tuesday, there was only about $3.5 million in available cash, far less than the $31.3 million Gov. Jack Markell recommended.

On Wednesday, the capital budget committee began discussing options for finding additional cash. They include taking $6 million that was set aside for a controversial school redistricting plan for Wilmington and eliminating funding for open space preservation and directing the $3 million in savings to capital projects.

How much do you make? Delaware lawmakers say it's legal to ask

By Associated Press 9:34pm, June 29, 2016
Legislative Hall (Brian Kutner/WDEL)
The state Senate has approved a bill making it illegal for employers in Delaware to prohibit employees from talking about how much they are or their co-workers are paid.

The measure was approved Wednesday by majority Democrats on a straight 12-9 party line vote and now goes to Gov. Jack Markell. It is part of a package of bills aimed at improving workplace equity between men and women.

Supporters say the bill will help women determine whether they're being paid less than male co-workers for equal work and fight for equal pay.

Opponents said the measure is an unwarranted interference and could cause dissension and disruption in the workplace if employees are allowed to constantly ask or complain about how much others are being paid without fear of being disciplined.

WATCH: Vice President Biden calls for cancer researchers to speed up

By Amy Cherry 11:33am, June 29, 2016 - Updated 1:03pm, June 29, 2016
Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting of the Cancer Moonshot Task Force in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building that is part of the White House complex in Washington earlier this month. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Vice President Joe Biden called for progress toward the cure to cancer to occur more quickly, as he pressed for a cultural change which would be less stifling.

"The goal of the moonshot is to propel us forward today," said Biden during a daylong cancer summit in Washington, D.C.

The meeting at Howard University brought together hundreds of scientists, oncologists, and donors. Christiana Hospital convened a similar summit and provided Biden's remarks via video.

The conferences were convened at a time during which Biden's clock continued winding down to make good on a pledge to double the rate of progress toward a cure before leaving office.

After his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, died of brain cancer last year, the elder Biden announced he wouldn't run for president. He said he'd spend his remaining months in office on a cancer "moonshot."

Biden said he believed exponential progress could be made more quickly--adding that which previously took 10 years, now only took five.

"Time matters; days matter; minutes matter," he said. "Think of how many people you know, who are saying, 'Doc, I just want to make it one more month to see my daughter get married.'"

Biden said the moonshot refers to doctors and medical professionals all around the country jumping in to do what they can to change lifestyles to prevent cancer, detect, and treat the disease.

"Imagine a day--perhaps when my grandchildren have children of their own--when the threat of cancer is a distant memory, when their children can be vaccinated for cancers as routinely as we vaccinate for measles and mumps," he said.

At the Christiana summit, various panels convened on topics ranging from breakthroughs in gene editing research and clinical trials, to addressing cancer disparities in the First State.

"The Delaware Cancer Consortium really ended the disparity between African Americans and Caucasians in terms of colorectal cancer incidents," said Dr. Nicholas Petrelli, medical director at Christiana Hospital, who added Delaware is making great strides and could serve as a model for the rest of the country.

"The cancer mortality rate is dropping twice as fast as the national rate," he said.

But Petrelli agreed with Biden: research could be sped up as it makes its way to the bedside of patients.

"The time period it's taking is just too long," he said. "You need resources, and we're hoping that the vice president can convince Congress to increase the budget off the NIH which has been flagged for literally years."


Contact Amy Cherry at acherry@wdel.com or on Twitter

or like her on Facebook.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Delaware, Maryland governors team up to fight expected 'unfair' electricity rate increases

By WDEL staff 4:55pm, June 29, 2016 - Updated 4:59pm, June 29, 2016
Courtesy Gov. Jack Markell
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell are teaming up to fight electricity rates they say are unfair to residents of their states.

Both attended a news conference near the Maryland-Delaware state line between Ocean City, Maryland, and Fenwick Island, Delaware, on Wednesday.

The two governors opposed a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission which they said would require residents in both states to pay nearly 90 percent of the costs--or $350 million--for an energy transmission project that they claim benefits mostly New Jersey--not Maryland or Delaware.

"It's imperative that FERC resolve this issue without delay and before the project moves too far along," said Markell in a written statement. "Planning for construction is already underway and uncertainty about electricity costs can impact economic development. I thank Governor Hogan for his commitment to join this fight against an unjust and irresponsible cost distribution that will raise electric bills of Delaware and Maryland consumers and businesses, unfairly forcing them to bear a large burden for this project."

FERC initially approved the cost allocation plan for a transmission line as part of PJM's Artificial Island nuclear complex. Last week, FERC granted an appeal to consider a rehearing of the issue.

"Today, I am announcing that our administration is joining together with Governor Markell in strong opposition to this ruling, which would disproportionately cost Maryland and Delaware residents hundreds of millions of dollars for power they are not receiving," said Governor Hogan. "We have expressed our disappointment, frustration, and opposition to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this week and we have let the agency know that we are going to use every tool at our disposal to reverse this regrettable and improper decision."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report

Carney calls for gun reform legislation during town hall

By Joe Irizarry 11:33pm, June 29, 2016
Congressman Carney is calling for more gun reform legislation in Washington.

As part of the National Day of Action being held by the House Democratic Caucus, Carney hosted a town hall about the best ways to try and prevent gun violence through legislation.

"I support 2nd Amendment rights to own firearms, but there are certain reasonable limits to this right, for instance potential terrorists on the "No Fly Lists" shouldn't be able to buy a gun," said Carney in the town hall.

Carney adds that those with a mental illness or violent criminal pasts should also be prohibited from buying guns, and background check loopholes have to be closed nationwide.

He also pledged his support to gun reform legislation proposed by Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine.

Water quality advisories issued in Dewey, Bethany beaches

By Amy Cherry 4:55pm, June 29, 2016 - Updated 4:59pm, June 29, 2016
Water advisories have been posted for beaches in Dewey and Bethany.

DNREC said bacterial levels at Dewey's Dagsworthy Street and in Bethany were elevated likely due to increased rain fall.

The advisory doesn't ban swimming, but warns that levels were slightly above the recreational water quality standard.

Additional water quality testing results were expected Thursday by 4 p.m.

Chinese National sentenced for smuggling military hardware to China

By Joe Irizarry 8:50pm, June 29, 2016 - Updated 9:59pm, June 29, 2016
A Chinese National was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for smuggling high tech U.S. military hardware to China.

The United States Attorney for the District of Delaware said Kan Chen will also serve three years under supervised release after he pleaded guilty to attempting to violate the Arms Export Control Act, International Traffic in Arms Regulations, and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

He was arrested last June, and between July 2013 and his arrest Chen admitted to causing or attempting to cause the illegal export of over 180 export-controlled items.

Lawmakers unveil uniform policy for police body cameras

By Associated Press 9:54pm, June 29, 2016
State lawmakers unveiled a uniform policy for use of body cameras by police agencies in Delaware.

The policy, released Wednesday, is not binding on law enforcement agencies but has been endorsed by groups including the Delaware Police Chiefs Council and the Fraternal Order of Police.

The policy offers guidelines for using body cameras, and for the handling, storage and destruction of recordings. It recommends that officers activate cameras when an arrest or detention is likely, or when use of force is likely. It spells out when cameras should not be used, such as with undercover officers or confidential informants, or when a victim or witness objects.

Currently, seven Delaware police departments use body cameras.

A pilot program for state police stalled after lawmakers rejected Gov. Jack Markell's funding request.

Two vehicles stolen in burglary recovered

By Joe Irizarry 7:56pm, June 29, 2016 - Updated 9:59pm, June 29, 2016
Two vehicles that were stolen during a burglary in the community of Raintree Village in Bear have been recovered.

The victim not only noticed the vehicles missing from the garage on Orchid Court, but said that drawers in the kitchen and living room had been left open, New Castle County Police said.

One of the stolen vehicles was found in New Castle, the other was located Wilmington.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact New Castle County Police at 302.573.2800 or Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.

Suspect charged when Newark Police allegedly interupt robbery in progress

By DJ McAneny 4:39pm, June 29, 2016
Anthony Tucker/Courtesy Newark Police
An 18-year-old man trying to rob a pizza delivery driver at gunpoint was foiled late Tuesday night by a Newark police officer on patrol in the area.

According to Newark Police, Cpl. Brandon Walker arrested 18-year-old Anthony B. Tucker while he was on patrol near Papa Johns at 181 East Main Street at approximately 11 p.m. on June 28, 2016.

Walker approached what appeared to be three individuals fighting in a rear parking lot and, when two of the three fled in opposite directions, he gave chase, ultimately catching up with and taking into custody Tucker. A Sig Sauer .22 caliber handgun was also recovered.

Police said Tucker and the second unidentified suspect had attempted to rob the Papa Johns driver as he exited the restaurant, with Tucker pointing a handgun at him and striking, choking, and threatening to shoot him when the victim struggled.

The victim suffered minor injuries and refused treatment at the scene. They did not escape with any of the victim's property.

Tucker has been charged with first-degree attempted robbery, possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, strangulation, and second-degree conspiracy. He's been committed to the Howard R. Young Correctional Center in lieu of $128,000 cash bond.

Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is urged to contact Newark Police Det. James Skinner at 302.366.7100 ext. 3135.

Chester County crash claims the life of New Castle man

By Andrew Sgroi 1:58pm, June 29, 2016 - Updated 9:59pm, June 29, 2016
A young driver was killed in a single-vehicle crash in Chester County on Tuesday night.

According to Pennsylvania State Police, the 18-year-old victim--from New Castle, Delaware--lost control of his car as he took a curve on New London Road, just north of Strickersville Road, around 8:30 p.m. on June 28, 2016.

Troopers advised the car crashed in a wooded area, leaving the teen with multiple fatal injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The man's identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

New slides at Killens Pond State Park in Felton make a splash

By WXDE Staff 1:58pm, June 29, 2016 - Updated 4:39pm, June 29, 2016
State officials cut the ribbon on new water slides at Killens Pond State Park. (DNREC)
Killens Pond State Park water park in Felton got a makeover.

Four brand new, state-of-the-art water slides were introduced in the first major renovation at the the 20-year-old water park Wednesday.

The two new spiral slides and two speed slides are each mounted on a 54-foot-high platform--almost twice as high as the slides they replaced.

"We've also done stuff behind-the-scenes, there's a new water filtration room, there's a canopy where people can get out of the heat while they're waiting to get into the park," said Delaware State Parks Director Ray Bivens.

The original slides were removed in 2014 due to age and safety concerns, which left just one temporary 15-foot-high spiral slide.

Bivens said the new slides and improvements--that cost $3.7 million--were only the first step towards other major changes coming to the park. The renovations were paid for, in part, through capital funds and revenue generated from state park usage.

110,000 people are expected to use Killens Pond State Park./Courtesy DNREC

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"We have groups from all over the state and out-of-state that come to use this water park on a regular basis, and any time in the water park business, you can't go 19 years without any kind of major improvement," he said. "The general trend is every 8-to-10 years, you're rehabbing, so this is phase one of improvements."

"The improvements at the Killens Pond State Park water park enhance what is already a great Delaware destination, making it even more attractive to families and anyone who lives, works, or visits here," said Governor Markell in a written statement. "This project is an investment that will bring more visitors to the state, support the economy and provide families with a fun, safe, and healthy option to get outside and enjoy nature."

The waterpark will be closed Thursday, June 30, for final preparations of its new water slides in advance of the July 4th holiday. It will reopen Friday, July 1, at 11 a.m.

New Castle County Police save 28th life with opioid-countering Naloxone

By DJ McAneny 1:03pm, June 29, 2016
WDEL File/Colorado.gov
A 48-year-old woman suffering from an apparent heroin overdose was revived by New Castle County Police administering Naloxone nasal spray late Tuesday morning.

According to authorities, officers were dispatched at 11:30 a.m. on June 28, 2016, to the unit block of Malvern Avenue in the Brookside Park community in reference to an unconscious woman turning purple and having difficulty breathing.

After officers observed paraphernalia indicative of heroin use, they administered Naloxone, police said. New Castle County Paramedics arriving on scene administered a second dose, and the female regained conscious and was speaking.

She marks the 28th life saved by New Castle County Police.

Individuals interested in learning more about the Hero Help Initiative, which seeks to provide drug and alcohol addiction treatment to qualifying adults, should visit the Cpl. Paul J. Sweeney Public Safety Building at 3601 N. DuPont Highway, New Castle, to request further information and inquire about eligibility, or call 302.395.8050.

Facebook's latest news feed tweak: This time, it's personal

By Associated Press 4:47pm, June 29, 2016
Facebook has once again tweaked the formula it uses to decide what people will see in their news feed - and this time, it's personal.

The social media giant said it updated the news feed so that people will see more posts from their friends and family and not, say, the New York Times or Buzzfeed.

Facebook said it will now put posts from friends and family that users are "likely to care about" at the top of their news feed. Over time, the algorithm adapts and learns from your behavior. So if you "like" or comment on your sister's posts often, you'll see more posts from her.

Facebook regularly updates the algorithm that decides what posts users see. How much users interact with the posts help influence the changes.

Military seeks more time on transgender policy

By Associated Press 9:54pm, June 29, 2016
Senior military leaders are expressing deep concerns that the launch of new Pentagon rules allowing transgender service members to serve openly in the military is moving too quickly, U.S. officials told The Associated Press

The Pentagon plans to unveil the new regulations in the next day or two. Under those rules, transgender individuals will be allowed to serve and can no longer be forced to leave based on their gender identity.

Officials told the AP that military leaders have asked the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, to relay their concerns to Defense Secretary Ash Carter. The military leaders are arguing that many details involving implementation of the plan must still be resolved.

The officials aren't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and requested anonymity.

Miss Teen USA pageant replaces swimsuits with athletic wear

By Amy Cherry 9:59pm, June 29, 2016
Miss Teen USA is eliminating the swimsuit portion of its competition. (Photo/Miss Teen USA)
The Miss Teen USA pageant is dropping the swimsuit portion of its competition.

The Miss Universe organization announced Wednesday that the pageant will replace the bathing suit section with an athletic wear competition. The 2016 Miss Teen USA pageant will be held in Las Vegas on July 30.

"This decision reflects an important cultural shift we're all celebrating that empowers women who lead active, purposeful lives and encourage those in their communities to do the same," Paula M. Shugart, president of The Miss Universe Organization, wrote to state directors.

In a statement, reigning Miss Teen USA Katherine Haik, applauded the move, calling it "a great way to celebrate the active lives that so many young women lead and set a strong example for our peers."

SUV driver survives fiery crash in Ogletown

By Frank Gerace 10:28pm, June 28, 2016 - Updated 10:55am, June 29, 2016
WDEL's Frank Gerace reports (photo and video courtesy Mike Phillips/WDEL Trafficwatch)
The driver of an SUV survived a fiery crash in Ogletown, .

A Toyota RAV 4 collided with a Mercedes at Route 273 and Red Mill Road around 5:45 p.m. Tuesday.

The RAV 4's driver managed to escape before the SUV was engulfed in flames--Aetna fire crews put out the blaze.

One of the drivers involved was taken to the hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The crash closed Route 273 eastbound was closed at the scene for more than an hour--Delaware State Police are investigating.

The vehicle on fire at the scene/(Mike Phillips/WDEL)

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King of Prussia Mall expands with luxury retailers in August

By Associated Press 10:46am, June 29, 2016 - Updated 10:55am, June 29, 2016
Via NBC10
The King of Prussia Mall near Philadelphia plans to expand with 50 new retailers--about half of them considered luxury shops.

The new retailers to open August 18 include eyewear store Oliver Peoples; Bottega Veneta, an Italian clothing store; and upscale brand Rag & Bone.

The $250 million expansion will boost retail square footage in the mall and surrounding areas to 6.3 million.

The expansion actually connects the King of Prussia Mall with the related Plaza by building a new corridor connecting the two and making room for the new shops.

The expansion also includes a new food pavilion called Savor King of Prussia, which will include six casual dining restaurants.

After Fire flop, Amazon returns with special edition phones

By Associated Press 12:44pm, June 29, 2016
Amazon is back in the phone business - sort of.

After its own Fire phone flopped, Amazon is selling special editions of other manufacturers' phones at a $50 discount. They'll come with ads on the lock screen and about 10 Amazon apps on the home screen.

Amazon.com Inc. is touting the discount as a benefit of its $100-a-year Prime loyalty program. Membership is required, and Amazon figures that those customers will appreciate having single sign-on access to Amazon's various apps.

The new phones are the Moto G from Motorola and the R1 HD from Blu. They will run a standard version of Google's Android system, rather than Amazon's highly modified version, called Fire OS, which Fire used.

Orders begin Wednesday, and the phones start shipping July 12.