Coons says he will support Iran nuclear deal, despite its 'flaws'

By Tom Lehman 8:34pm, September 1, 2015 - Updated 9:00pm, September 1, 2015
VIDEO: U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) announces on Tuesday that he will support the Iran nuclear deal.
U.S. Sen. Chris Coons on Tuesday said that he will support of the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration, which nears a critical vote expected in the Senate this month.

Despite its "flaws," Coons (D-Delaware) said in a news conference at the University of Delaware that he would vote against any attempts to scuttle the agreement because it defines a path for future negotiations.

"I will support this agreement because it puts us on a known path of limiting Iran’s nuclear program for the next fifteen years with the full support of the international community," he said. "The alternative, to me, is a scenario of uncertainty and isolation."

The treaty would lift billions of dollars in economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for the dismantling some aspects of the country's nuclear program. Inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency would be used to verify compliance.

Coons said he employed a thorough process to vet the deal and sought assurance from President Barack Obama (D) that his administration would actively seek additional precautions to prevent the Iranian government from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

He said the president didn't make those promises until a letter received Tuesday.

"We can do this through a combination of diplomacy and deterrence that gives our allies in the region the support to defend themselves and the confidence that if diplomacy fails, we will invoke military options to achieve it," he said.

Coons' announcement signals the agreement may survive an attempt led by Republicans to scuttle it with a resolution of disapproval that would face a certain presidential veto. He is the 33rd Democrat in the Senate to pledge their support for the treaty, meaning only one more vote would be needed to thwart a veto override.

Prior to Coons' announcement, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) publicly said on Tuesday that he would also vote against the resolution. Last week, Tom Carper (D-Delaware) said he would support the treaty.

Muqtedar Khan, an associate professor at the University of Delaware and founding director of the school's Islamic Studies program, said the deal could "go a long way" in stabilizing the Middle East and gives the U.S. an opportunity to work with Iran.

"In the 10, 15 years that we will be monitoring Iran's nuclear program, geopolitics may change so that Iran may no longer even attempt to build a nuclear weapon because it is so invested and integrated into the global system," he said.

During the speech, Coons said he would also support measures that increase security for Israel and offer it conventional military deterrents like advanced military and counter-terrorism technology.

"I understand that any nuclear agreement with Iran poses a great risk to Israel, and as long as I am a member of the U.S. Senate, I will do everything in my power to preserve the security of the State of Israel, including preventing Iran from developing or acquiring a nuclear weapon," he said.

Donna Schwartz, the interim executive director of the University of Delaware's Kristol Center for Jewish Life, listened to Coons' speech and said she was "not surprised" with his remarks.

Although she declined to speak about her personal views on the nuclear deal, Schwartz was appreciative of Coons' attempt to reach out to Delawareans about the issue.

"That was the most important (thing) to me, that he was able to really make a thoughtful decision behind this and I respect Sen. Coons for that," she said.

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




Red Clay residents raise concerns over redistricting proposal

By Shana O'Malley 12:48am, September 2, 2015 - Updated 12:53am, September 2, 2015
Tony Allens talks about the need for redistricting in New Castle County
Members of the newly established Wilmington Education Improvement Commission (WEIC) continued to gather input from residents in Red Clay School District during a town hall Tuesday night.

WEIC was established through the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee, to gather community input and create a transition plan for redistricting among the Christina, Colonial and Red Clay school districts in New Castle County.

Following legislation passed earlier this year, the state plans to redistrict many Wilmington students currently served by the Christina and Colonial districts, into the Red Clay District.

"What we have today are four traditional school districts, one vo-tech district and somewhere between 13 or 14 charters, depending on whose counting -- trying to govern 11,500 city of Wilmington children with no unified plan," said Tony Allen, chair of the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee.

About 100 community members attended the town hall in the auditorium at the Cab Calloway School of the Arts on Tuesday night.

Several in attendance were concerned about why Red Clay, which is already one of the larger districts in the state, was chosen to take on even more students.

Dan Rich, policy advisor for the commission, said a lot of it has to do with their ability to handle priority and charter schools.

"We think if we have one district address those challenges rather than two," he said. "And Red Clay is the only district in the state that has ever authorized a charter school, that has ever worked with a charter school."

More students means more resources and some Red Clay residents are concerned that taxes could spike due to the influx.

"Red Clay School District, every year year, has a referendum that gets passed and our taxes go up and up and up," said one resident.

Allen said part of their task is to come up with funding solutions that do not further burden Red Clay tax payers.

"If this system is to go forward and we are to present it, in so doing, there will be no burden on Red Clay residents to do it. That doesn't mean we know where the money is coming from at the moment," he said.

WEIC will continue to host a series of town hall meetings to gather input from residents. The commission will have to develop a package plan to deliver to the State Board of Education by Dec. 31. If approved, that plan would go to the general assembly for final approval before redistricting can begin.


Dover Police release bystander images and arrest warrant in officer-involved

By DJ McAneny 2:35pm, September 1, 2015 - Updated 2:42pm, September 1, 2015
Dover Police provided this imge Tuesday, which they say shows an officer rendering aid to Fletcher/Courtesy Dover Police, who credit a bystander witness with providing a video
Dover Police released Tuesday a number of details surrounding the August 28, 2015, officer-involved shooting of 21-year-old Terrance Fletcher.

Dover Police said, while they've already released information throughout the course of their investigation, Tuesday's release is an effort to maintain transparency as they piece together Friday's narrative of a white officer's shooting of a black suspect.

At approximately 1 p.m., officers responding to the 100 block of South New Street found and approached Fletcher, who was armed with a handgun, police said. When he fled through an alley toward Governor's Avenue, he encountered additional officers who had positioned themselves there to provide assistance for just that possibility, they said.

The alleyway through which Fletcher allegedly fled, according to Dover Police

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According to Dover Police Chief Paul Bernat, officers fired on Fletcher when he ran towards those officers with gun in hand, striking him in the upper thigh. The shooting occurred in a daycare parking lot. There were no children outside at the time of the shooting, police said, despite "numerous incorrect reports" from other media outlets, and a fact they said an investigation had confirmed with daycare personnel.

There were no other injuries reported, though Bernat added members of the crowd that initially gathered following the shooting became hostile toward officers at the scene. Assistance from multiple agencies was required to maintain the integrity of the crime scene, police said. This led to two additional arrests on disorderly conduct charges.

The parking lot in which Fletcher was shot, and it's location in comparison to a daycare center

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A .38 revolver was recovered at the scene, a gun officers said Fletcher tried to discard as he was shot. Police said officers immediately radioed for paramedic assistance and began rendering aid. Police said Fletcher admitted to police he was in possession of the handgun at the time of the incident during a September 1, 2015, interview.

Fletcher was charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a person prohibited by Dover Police. He was committed to the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in lieu of a $20,000 bond.

Authorities said Fletcher suffered a soft tissue wound, and suffered no injuries to his bones or vital organs, countering reports they called "inaccurate" from some media outlets which had reported Fletcher had served a spinal injury in the shooting.

The officer who shot Fletcher was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, as is standard department policy following police-involved shootings

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EdWatch: Federal grant to Delaware Tech aimed at attracting minority students to STEM careers

By Amy Cherry 9:39pm, September 1, 2015
A new federal aims to get more minority students studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in Delaware.

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STEM UP Delaware!'s goal is to strengthen Delaware's workforce by creating a more diverse pipeline of minority students pursuing careers in health care.

A grant from the U.S. Department pf Health and Social Services will give Delaware Technical Community College's George campus in Wilmington $2.4 million over five years. The money will be spent by Delaware Tech and its partners, Nemours Health and Prevention Services and the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, on targeting and motivating under-served students to pursue STEM careers.

Data shows blacks and Hispanics make up 30 percent of Delaware's population, but represent less than 10 percent of primary care physicians and less than 2 percent of nurses.

President of Delaware Tech Dr. Mark Brainard said students will be targeted early on in middle school and high school.

"Program participants will be recruited in their 8th grade year--they will come right here to the George campus, and together with our partners we will address persistent academic problems that students in these areas tend to face," said Brainard.

President of Delaware Tech Mark Brainard speaks about his school will use a $2.4 million grant to help bring minority students into STEM careers.

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Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware), who helped unveil the federal grant money at a news conference Tuesday at Delaware Tech said he hears from businesses like Capital One and DuPont that Delaware's workforce needs better training.

"Jim Kelly (Executive Vice President at Capital One) tells me every time I'm with him, he says 'I have 300 jobs I cannot full. Ellen Kullman (CEO of DuPont) said to us, we have these jobs, we have a skill set that we're having difficulty filling," Carper said.

Brainard said their program will use a multi-pronged approach.

"Folks will use hands-on STEM technology. As part of the curriculum, we will have supplemental instruction, academic and career counseling, mentoring, and of course, internships wit local employers," said Brainard.

The program is slated to begin this fall with 40 8th and 9th grade students in New Castle County.

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Contact Amy Cherry at acherry@wdel.com or follow her on Twitter at @acherry13.




Man, 22, shot in the arm in Wilmington

By DJ McAneny 3:19pm, September 1, 2015
A 22-year-old man was shot in the arm in Wilmington Tuesday just before noon.

According to Wilmington Police, officers were dispatched to the area of Gordon and Lamotte streets at approximately 11:58 a.m. September 1, 2015, for reports of shots fired.

Officers managed to locate a scene, but found no victim. Minutes later, police were notified of the arrival of the victim to the Wilmington Emergency Room with a gunshot wound to his right arm, where he was listed in stable condition.

The circumstances of the shooting remained under investigation Tuesday. Police urge anyone with information to contact Det. Justin Kreysa at 302.576.3646.


July home fire in Middletown that caused a half-million in damages ruled arson

By DJ McAneny 11:50am, September 1, 2015
The scene of the Haggis Road fire/(WDEL File/Courtesy NBC10)
A fire at a home in Middletown back in July of 2015 has been ruled an arson, the Delaware State Fire Marshal's Office announced Tuesday.

According to officials, the blaze that destroyed a home in the unit block of Haggis Road in the Estates of Saint Anne at approximately 1 a.m. on July 19, 2015, was intentionally set in the home's interior.

There was an estimated $500,000 in damages to the two-story dwelling.

An investigation into the incident continued, and anyone with information was urged to contact the Delaware State Fire Marshal at 302.323.5375 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.


DHSS reports 4 cases of West Nile Virus in Delaware

By DJ McAneny 1:10pm, September 1, 2015
Four Delawareans have tested positive for West Nile Virus.

According to an announcement from the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Division of Public Health, three individuals in New Castle County and one in Kent County were diagnosed in mid-to-late August.

None of those infected exhibited symptoms, and only discovered the mosquito-borne illness while other medical procedures were being conducted. DPH officials said nearly 80 percent of those infected never display symptoms, and slightly less than 20 percent display mild symptoms of fever, headache, body aches, a skin rash on the chest or back, and swollen lymph glands.

Severe symptoms include headache, high fever, stiff neck, and/or tremors and muscle weakness, and may progress to stupor, disorientation, coma, convulsions, paralysis, and possibly death

"West Nile Virus may not cause symptoms in most people, but in others it can cause a serious illness or even be fatal," said DPH Division Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. "It's easy to forget that something as simple as a mosquito bite can make someone very sick. DPH reminds people to protect themselves and their families during mosquito season, which can last until the first hard frost."

There were no reported human West Nile Virus cases in 2014, three in 2013, and nine in 2012, including one fatality.

To report high numbers of biting mosquitoes or other concerns, contact the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Mosquito Control Section field offices at either the Glasgow Office, for upstate residents, at 302.836.2555, of the Milford Office, for downstate residents, at 302.422.1512.


Victim struck in Edgemoor by multiple vehicles in fatal January hit-&-run finally ID'd by Delaware State Police

By DJ McAneny 11:33am, September 1, 2015
A 61-year-old Philadelphia man was killed in a car crash that occurred in Edgemoor back in January of 2015, and Delaware State Police have finally been able to identify him.

According to authorities, Timothy Moody was the man killed on I-495 on January 22, 2015, at approximately 7:58 p.m., as he was trying to cross the northbound lanes on foot. He was killed by an unknown vehicle that struck him, sending him into the roadway, where multiple other vehicles struck him.

None of the vehicles that struck Moody remained at the scene, and police ran into issues trying to identify the victim.

With these developments, the Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit continued to investigate the accident.


Suspects in Dover hold victim on ground by stepping on neck while taking belongings

By DJ McAneny 10:37am, September 1, 2015
An 18-year-old man walking home late Monday night in Dover was robbed by three suspects, who threw the victim to the ground and stepped on his neck while they removed property from his person, city police said Tuesday.

According to Dover Police, the victim was walking home between 11 p.m. and 11:25 p.m. in the area of South American Avenue and Southwest Kings Highway when a group approached him and began pushing him.

After getting the victim on the ground and stepping on his neck, the suspects stole a cellphone and a backpack, police said.

The suspects were all described as black males ranging from 5'8" to 6' in height, all with thin builds, while two were wearing a black hoodie and the third, a white t-shirt.

Anyone with information about the incident or the suspects involved isurged to contact Dover Police at 302.736.7111 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.


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