Vice President Biden praises federal loan to Amtrak at Wilmington train station

By Lauren Huet 11:50am, August 27, 2016 - Updated 5:30pm, August 27, 2016
VIDEO: Lauren Huet reports on Amtrak's new high speed trains
In 2021, next-generation high speed trains will roll into stations in the Northeast.

Friday, Amtrak announced it received a loan from the Federal Railroad Administration's Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program. The loan allows Amtrak to produce 28 high-speed train sets in order to renew and expand the Acela Express service in the Northeast Corridor.

"This is a loan that we received," said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. "It's not a grant. There's a business case here that we'll pay back for the loan. It's a business proposition that Amtrak has put together."

Amtrak announced the new high-speed trains Friday at the Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Railroad Station in downtown Wilmington. The trains will travel at 160 miles per hour, and have the capabilities to reach 186 miles per hour. They will also have one-third more passenger seats.

"The train has a 20 percent improvement in efficiency over what we're doing today," said Boardman. "So, we will be greener. We will be safer, and we'll order enough trains that there will be half hour service between Washington D.C. and New York City during our peak hours, and one hour service between New York and Boston."

Vice President Joe Biden praised Amtrak and applauded the loan.

"I have traveled over 2 million 100,000 miles on Amtrak," said Biden. "These men and women have become my family."

He said the Northeast Depends on Amtrak.

"It's not hard to imagine what life along this corridor without Amtrak would be, and it's not hyperbole to suggest that it would be a parking lot, and there would be a whole heck of a lot of business that would not be located here in the northeast," said Biden.

Biden mentioned what happened when Amtrak closed after 9-11.

"You'd need seven more lanes on I-95 to accommodate the traffic if Amtrak shut down, and it shut down temporarily and we had a crisis," said Biden.

Biden criticized those who do not want to spend taxpayer dollars on transportation companies like Amtrak.

"God almighty," said Biden. "The way we spend money on other things that are not remotely as valuable in terms of the national security of the United States of America."

Amtrak said it will repay the loan, but Biden said the agency should not have to repay the money.

"It should be a gift! Why in this country are we so boneheaded to not understand the essential value of a rail system that's modern throughout the whole country? Why do we argue about whether or not it makes sense?" asked Biden with passion.

The $2.45 billion federal loan is the largest single loan in the history of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Biden urged support for transportation infrastructure.

"If you want to fundamentally change the trajectory of the economy in the United States invest in infrastructure," said Biden.

The new high-speed trains will be built in the U.S. and provide 400 jobs at Alstom's manufacturing plant in Hornell and Rochester, New York.


WPD: Wilmington shooting victim found in Claymont house

By Frank Gerace 12:50pm, August 27, 2016 - Updated 3:19pm, August 27, 2016
A shooting with connections to Wilmington and Claymont Friday afternoon has Wilmington police looking for clues.

Officers responded to a report of a shooting at Lea Boulevard and North Market Street, but couldn't find a victim or any evidence of a shooting, but New Castle County Police officers found a man inside a Claymont house, who had apparently been shot at the Wilmington scene, Wilmington police said.

The victim's in stable condition at Christiana Hospital, and anyone with information on the shooting can call Detective Jose Santana at 302.576.3620.


New Castle woman arrested in connection with fatal shooting of Delaware State University student

By Amy Cherry & Joe Irizarry 11:49am, August 26, 2016 - Updated 3:48pm, August 26, 2016
VIDEO: Evans family and Chief Setting speak on arrest of suspect in Malcolm Evans murder.
A woman was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a Delaware State University student.

New Castle County Police announced Friday that Cheryl Jennings, 46, of New Castle was handcuffed in connection with the July 9, 2016 shooting of 19-year-old Malcolm Evans outside the Rutledge community.

Evans was driving to work at his part-time job with FedEx at 4 a.m. on July 9 when he was shot in the upper torso, lost control of his vehicle, and died.

"Malcolm Evans was truly an innocent victim, a young man who lived with his parents and brother, went to college, worked a job and dreamed of becoming a doctor," said County Executive Tom Gordon in a written statement. "His death is a loss to all of us and we continue to share his family’s grief."

Jennings, a convicted felon, was charged with first-degree murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and possession of a firearm by a person prohibited. Jennings was arraigned and committed without bail to the Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution near New Castle.

Police said they began receiving tips about the fatal shooting as Gordon doubled the reward for an arrest and/or conviction in the case to $40,000.

New Castle County Police Chief Col. Elmer Setting called those tips "vital" to Jennings' arrest, which he said doesn't mark the end of their investigation.

"It does, however, provide some much needed closure to the family and community," said New Castle County Police Col. Chief Elmer Setting. "In a case like this, where there is no known association between the victim and defendant, the extraordinary efforts of our detectives as well as help from the public must be recognized and commended."

The last six weeks have trying for Evans family.

"My family and friends have spent so many sleepless nights wondering who and why someone would commit such an unspeakable crime against such an amazing young man," said Terry Evans, Malcolm's mother.

Evans did make sure to show her and her family's appreciation towards county police and Gordon.

"We will never forget it as long as we live," she said.

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Troopers discover Felton meth lab, snag suspect

By Associated Press 2:03pm, August 27, 2016 - Updated 3:19pm, August 27, 2016
Lawrence Grimm
Delaware State Police said a smoking portable meth lab found in a trash can forced the evacuation of a home in Felton.

Troopers went to the home early Friday for a report of a domestic complaint. Authorities said a resident barricaded himself in a bathroom, but later was taken into custody, the agency said in a news release.

Police said the resident had discarded an active one-pot meth bottle in a trash can outside and it began to smoke. Troopers evacuated the home and called fire and environmental control officials.

After the area was rendered safe, a search of the home turned up equipment and component mixtures to manufacture meth as well as ingredients used in making the drug.

Thirty-seven-year-old Lawrence Grimm was charged with operating a clandestine lab.




Fire damages Newport home

By Amy Cherry/Mike Phillips 12:36pm, August 26, 2016 - Updated 2:12pm, August 26, 2016
Fire heavily damaged a home in Newport.

The fire broke out at the two-story home on the unit block of State Street in the Tuxedo Park community at 6 a.m. Friday.

Firefighters make quick work of a house fire in Newport. (Mike Phillips/WDEL)

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The Minaquas Fire Company arrived on-scene to find visible flames in the rear of the residence; they were able to knock down the fire in about 30 minutes.

The state Fire Marshal said the fire originated in the home's laundry room and was caused by faulty electrical wiring inside the wall.

Everyone made it out safely. The home sustained $20,000 in damage, according to the Delaware State Fire Marshal's office.

No one was injured after an early morning house fire in Newport. (Mike Phillips/WDEL)

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A Republican has entered the race for Wilmington mayor

By Joe Irizarry 4:39pm, August 26, 2016
The Wilmington mayoral field just got more crowded.

A Republican has thrown his hat in ring. The state Republican Party officially nominated Robert Martin Friday.

In a statement state GOP chairman, Charlie Copeland said Martin is an effective businessman, who has worked to make his community a better place.

Copeland added that Wilmington residents shouldn't be stuck in a position where the primary determines the next mayor.

Eight Democrats, including incumbent Dennis Williams, are vying to be the city's next mayor.

Martin served in the U.S. Marines, and has worked for Honeywell International, Armstrong World Industries, Ecolab, Inc. and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, the party said.

In 2008, Martin started Vestinus LLC, which is a real estate investment company, to purchase distressed homes during the housing collapse. He is still active in real estate investing and rehabbing distressed properties in the county and the state. He owns some rental units in Wilmington.

He's also a member of the GOP Executive Committee.


First State comes in 21st in 'baby-friendliness' survey

By Frank Gerace 11:50am, August 27, 2016 - Updated 3:19pm, August 27, 2016
(AP/file)
Delaware's in the middle of the pack in a recently released survey ranking the best and worst states in which to have a baby.

The First State did best when it came to healthcare, WalletHub's Jill Gonzalez told WDEL News.

"Everything from a low infant-mortality rate to a lot of OB-GYN's and general practitioners per capita to go around, so easy access there," said Gonzalez.

Delaware didn't fare as well in several other areas.

"Things like parental leave policies, things like moms' groups, and then, really, a lot of costs--childcare costs, even delivery budgeting," said Gonzalez.

Delaware ranked 21st in the survey while Maryland came in 25th, Pennsylvania 36th, and New Jersey, 38th.

Vermont ranked number 1, and Mississippi was 51st in the survey, which ranked the District of Columbia along with all 50 states.


Pedestrian struck in Wilmington

By Joe Irizarry 5:38pm, August 26, 2016 - Updated 5:30pm, August 27, 2016
Suspected car in August 16 hit and run in Wilmington.
Wilmington Police want the public's help in a hit and run that critically injured a pedestrian in Wilmington earlier this month.

Police say the incident happened on August 16 at about 11:15 p.m. in the 1200 block of Railroad Avenue.

The car used in the incident is a dark, 2000-2005 Buick LeSabre.

Anyone with information is asked to call Senior Corporal Tavis Miller at 302.276.8654.


Troopers seek masked man who held up Newark-area CVS

By Frank Gerace 1:39pm, August 27, 2016 - Updated 3:19pm, August 27, 2016
Delaware State Police are looking for a masked man who robbed a Newark-area drug store Friday morning.

The suspect's face was covered when he confronted a clerk and got cash from the registers at the CVS in the 300 block of East Chestnut Hill Road before running off, police said.

He's described as white, in his 20's, 5'7" to 5'10" and about 150 lbs. and wore a dark hoodie and dark pants.

Anyone with information on the holdup can call Robbery Unit at Troop 2, Glasgow, at 302.365.8566.

Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333, or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword "DSP."


Two men arrested after Felton drug raid

By Frank Gerace 1:55pm, August 27, 2016 - Updated 3:19pm, August 27, 2016
Two men are out on bail after a drug investigation by Delaware State Police.

Officers with a warrant to search a house on Sandalwood Drive in Felton arrested Garry Church Friday as he was leaving the house in his car, police said.

A search of the house turned up more than 250 grams of pot, drug paraphernalia and a handgun, troopers said.

Officers said evidence led investigators to a house on Cabin Ridge Road, where troopers nabbed Allan Dewitt and confiscated more than 90 grams of pot, another gun, and $2,000 in suspected drug money.

Church and Dewitt were released on bail after their arraignment on drug and firearm possession charges.


Man arrested, charged in fatal Dover home invasion

By Amy Cherry 4:14pm, August 26, 2016
Quashan Christy
A man was arrested and charged in a fatal home invasion in Dover.

Police handcuffed Quashan Christy in Philadelphia, where he's being held pending extradition to Delaware.

Dover Police said Christy and other unknown suspects barged into Emmitt Brown's home on Queen Street at 9:34 p.m. on Thursday, August 18, 2016 with the intent to rob the residence. Police said gunfire was exchanged and Brown was "mistakenly" shot. Brown was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

When he's brought to Delaware, Christy will face charges of first-degree robbery, home invasion, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, reckless endangering, and conspiracy.

--

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

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Wilmington & Western Railroad celebrates 50 years with an historical photography display of the Red Clay Creek Valley

By Andrew Sgroi 12:08pm, August 26, 2016 - Updated 12:24pm, August 26, 2016
Delawarean Charles Philips' photograph of the carriage bridge over Red Clay Creek, at Mt. Cuba Station, New Castle County, Delaware, on November 16, 1895. (Courtesy The Chester County Historical Society)
As the only Heritage Railroad in Delaware continues to celebrate 50 years of operation, it will look back more than a century with the unveiling of a rare photographic collection on Friday evening.

The Wilmington & Western Railroad (1966-2016) will host the special evening for the public when it unveils the unique collection of more than 50 images taken between the years of 1895-97.

These original glass plate negatives--taken by Charles S. Philips, of the Philips Farm at Greenbank Station--show the earliest days of the railroad and the Red Clay Creek Valley.

"Charles Philips took his bicycle and pedaled out through the dirt road countryside of the Red Clay Creek," recounted Wilmington & Western Railroad Executive Director, David Ludlow, "to take negatives with his camera of the railroad and the countryside. And these are phenomenally amazing to try to recognize what the roads, and the bridges, and the river looked like back then."

The general public has never seen most of these images, which had been reproduced from The Chester County Historical Society's original collection.

Ludlow remarked of the extraordinary difference in the landscape from 120 years ago.

"The contrast will amaze you. It will amaze you. The countryside looks very different," he noted emphatically. "Mind you that agriculture was very big and people were also using trees for heating and fuel, so the countryside looks very barren, it's pasture. It's very interesting."

Railroad volunteer and photographer, Mike Cioisek, will present an explanation of the process Philips used to capture the images, which have been captioned to identify the areas. They will also be displayed consistent with an east-to west orientation.

The collection will be on display at the railroad's new Education Center in Marshallton, on Friday, August 26, 2016, from 6-8 p.m. Parking for the event will be at the railroad's Greenbank Station, located at Newport Gap Pike and Greenbank Road. A train shuttle will then take attendees to the reception. The first shuttle departure is at 6:00 p.m.

Reservations are required, and to purchase tickets, visit www.wwrr.com




Millsboro man arrested after month-long drug probe

By Associated Press 2:07pm, August 27, 2016 - Updated 3:22pm, August 27, 2016
Roderick Brown
Delaware state troopers arrested a drug dealer after a four-week investigation.

Police said Roderick Brown was arrested on Friday after troopers executed a search warrant of his home and discovered nearly 50 grams of cocaine, 13 grams of crack, almost 19 grams of marijuana and more than $5,000 in drug sale proceeds. Police also searched another residence connected to Brown and found two handguns.

Police said Brown was keeping secret bank accounts, and they seized more than $109,000 from them.

Brown was charged with possession with intent to deliver and possession of a deadly weapon and other charges.




Wilmington shooting victim: Man, 18, struck in buttocks

By Andrew Sgroi 9:44am, August 26, 2016 - Updated 10:31am, August 26, 2016
There was another target of gunfire found in Wilmington on Thursday night.

Wilmington Police advised their officers found an 18-year-old man around 10:30 p.m. on August 25, 2016, just one block from the shooting scene that was located at South Van Buren Street and Sycamore Street in Hedgeville.

Police informed the man was hit in the buttocks, but was treated on scene by New Castle County Paramedics before he was transported to Christiana Hospital in stable condition.

The circumstances surrounding the shooting incident still remain under investigation. Anyone with information relative to this investigation is asked to call Detective Bill Ball at 302.576.3962.


9 arrested in contraband bust at Sussex Correctional Institute

By Amy Cherry 5:58pm, August 26, 2016 - Updated 3:22pm, August 27, 2016
Six prisoners will likely see more time added to their sentences after corrections officers intercept contraband at a downstate prison.

Delaware Department of Correction officers discovered inmates were funneling in suboxone--a prescription drug used to treat opiod dependence--through the mailroom at Sussex Correctional Institute.

"Since it's in that strip format, it's easier to conceal, and it's a little bit easier for the folks on the outside to handle," said Correction Commissioner Robert Coupe.

The DOC said the contraband was received in several shipments between April 1 and July 18, 2016.

Through "Operation Sunkist," nine people faced a total of 138 charges.

The DOC said Jeremy Piatt, of New Castle, faced charges, including racketeering, eight counts of possession with intent to deliver, eight counts of conspiracy, and promoting prison contraband; he was taken into custody by the New Castle County Police Department and subsequently committed to the Department of Correction in lieu of bail.

The following people were charged in connection with "Operation Sunkist:"

Johnny Shockley was charged with several counts of racketeering, possession with intent to deliver, criminal solicitation, conspiracy, and promoting contraband. Shockley is currently serving an unrelated sentence.

Thomas Bundick, John Winter, and Steven Schaeffer were charged with conspiracy and promoting prison contraband.

The DOC said inmate Dustin Drew received one suboxone strip from his mother, Sharon Drew. He was charged with criminal solicitation, conspiracy, promoting prison contraband, and conspiracy. Drew, who's from Harbeson, was charged with possession with intent to deliver and other counts; she's free on unsecured bail.

Sarah Keil, 36, of Millsboro, was arrested after the DOC said she sent two packages containing suboxone to SCI inmate Andrew Moore; she was charged possession with intent to deliver, conspiracy, and promoting prison contraband. She is also free on unsecured bail.

Moore was charged with criminal solicitation, conspiracy, and promoting prison contraband.

--

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

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Swimmers face rip current risk along New Jersey beaches

By Associated Press 10:44am, August 26, 2016
Swimmers along the Jersey shore should be cautious this weekend.

Forecasters say there is an enhanced risk of rip currents on Saturday through next week. The highest risk could be Monday and Tuesday.

Tropical Storm Gaston is churning up the surf as it moves northwestward in the Atlantic Ocean.


Watermelons to go flying on Delmarva

By Rob Petree 10:49am, August 26, 2016
Pumpkins won't be the only fruit flying through the air this year on Delmarva.

This weekend in Dorchester County, Maryland will be the first Watermelon Blast. The idea is similar to Delaware's famous Punkin' Chunkin.' Watermelons will even be hurled using the same machine.

"You'll actually be able to donate money to be able to shoot one of these cannons in person, and all this is going to be benefiting the Relay for Life. They're going to be shooting at a target, so whoever hits the most in a 20 minute interval at 200 ft. wins that round," said organizer Frank Payton.

Payton said there would be three or four rounds and a championship round for the greatest watermelon blast.

The event takes place in Saturday in Vienna, Maryland. Alcohol is not permitted. Event organizers have also banned coolers and glass bottles. All bags must be no larger than 16'x16'x8'.

For more information click here.


AP-NORC Poll: Gender matters, but does it hurt or help?

By Associated Press 11:50am, August 27, 2016
Hillary Clinton smashed a longtime glass ceiling when she became the first female presidential nominee for a major party. But most Americans still think her gender will influence this contest.

Still, a new poll from the Associated-Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that voters are divided on whether Clinton's gender helps or hurts her at the polls.

According to the poll, most Americans see Clinton's gender playing a role in the campaign. Overall 37 percent say her gender will help her chances of being elected president, 29 percent argue it will hurt her, and 33 percent think it won't make a difference.

The latest poll numbers also showed that many Americans still think women have fewer opportunities in politics compared to men.


FDA advises Zika screening for all US blood centers

By Associated Press 11:50am, August 27, 2016
The Food and Drug Administration recommended that all U.S. blood banks start screening for the Zika virus, a major expansion intended to protect the nation's blood supply from the mosquito-borne disease. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
The Food and Drug Administration wants all U.S. blood banks to start screening for Zika virus, a major expansion intended to protect the nation's blood supply from the mosquito-borne disease.

The new advisory means all U.S. states and territories will need to begin testing blood donations for Zika. Previously, the requirement was limited to areas with active Zika transmission, such as Puerto Rico and two Florida counties.

Blood banks already test donations for HIV, hepatitis, West Nile virus and other blood-borne viruses.

Last month, the FDA told blood centers in Miami and Fort Lauderdale to immediately stop collecting donations until they could begin screening each unit of blood for Zika. The order followed now-confirmed reports of local Zika transmission - the first in the continental U.S.


'Making a Murderer' attorney seeks more evidence testing

By Associated Press 11:54am, August 27, 2016 - Updated 5:30pm, August 27, 2016
The attorney for Avery, a convicted killer featured in the hit Netflix documentary series "Making a Murderer," filed a motion seeking permission to perform extensive scientific tests on evidence she believes will show he's innocent. (AP Photo/Morry Gash,
The attorney for a Wisconsin inmate featured in the hit Netflix documentary series "Making a Murderer" has filed a motion seeking permission to perform extensive scientific tests on evidence she believes will show he's innocent.

Prosecutors believe Steven Avery killed Teresa Halbach in his family's Manitowoc County salvage yard in 2005. A jury convicted him in 2007 and he was sentenced to life. Avery insists the authorities framed him.

His attorney, Kathleen Zellner, filed the motion for testing Friday. She told reporters outside the courthouse that she wants to date blood and DNA found at the scene to see if it was planted.

She said the results will show Avery isn't guilty and someone else killed Halbach. She says no one who is guilty would ever agree to such testing.


GM recalling about 368K vehicles to fix windshield wipers

By Associated Press 11:57am, August 27, 2016
General Motors has recalled nearly 368,000 vehicles to fix a defective part that could prevent the windshield wipers from working.

The problem affects the 2013 models of the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain. GM says those vehicles were built with ball joints that could corrode and wear out to render the windshield wipers inoperable.

A report filed with government regulators says a GM manager in Canada spotted the potential safety hazard last December. The auto manufacturer opened an investigation in March and decided to issue a recall earlier this month.

GM said it will cover the repair costs once it determines when it will be able to fix the problem.

Chevrolet Equinox owners can call 1.800.222.1020 and GMC Terrain can call 1.800.462.8782 for further information.


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