delaware

Delaware State Revenue Up

20 hours ago
Don Rush

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Delaware's official government revenue forecast has inched up as state officials begin laying the groundwork for developing a budget proposal for next year.

The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council on Monday boosted the revenue estimate for this year by $27.4 million compared to its previous estimate in June. The panel increased its forecast for next year, fiscal 2020, by $12.2 million.

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The Delaware Department of Education has issued new administrative changes.

They no longer require schools to report offensive touching or threats to kill and seriously injure public school students or education staff.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the notice of the change was published six years after the Delaware legislature eliminated both terroristic threatening and offensive touching of school employees for mandatory reporting.

The paper reports this also means they will not have to be reported to police.

Don Rush

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - A state panel is updating Delaware's official government revenue estimate as lawmakers prepare to begin drafting a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Monday's meeting of the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council comes one day before the legislature's Joint Finance Committee begins a two-week series of bill drafting sessions.

The council's current revenue estimate for this year is $44 million higher than its December estimate. The revenue estimate for fiscal 2019, which starts July 1, has increased by almost $51 million since December.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials are moving quickly to implement full-scale sports betting in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling clearing the way for states to implement wagering schemes.

After consulting with the state attorney general's office on the impact of Monday's court ruling, state finance officials say they have determined that there are no legal obstacles to moving forward with single-game wagering in a variety of sports.

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Just last week Brigadier General Kenneth “Ed” Brandt announced his bid for the Republican nomination to fill Delaware’s lone congressional district.

But he finds himself fending off questions about whether he is violating military rules that prohibit active Army National Guard personnel from engaging in partisan political speech if active duty extends beyond 270 days.

They can receive an exemption from the U.S. Secretary of the Army.  

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The flu epidemic is setting records in Delaware and across the nation. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush looks at the impact and the reasons for the serious of this year's season. (Donavan Mack provided reportial assistance for this story.)

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware public health officials say the death toll from the flu has risen to 18.

Officials are reporting eight new deaths, six in the past week and two others that occurred earlier in the flu season but were just recently reported.

All of the six individuals who died last week were from New Castle County, and none had gotten the flu vaccine.  All but one had underlying health conditions. The two previous deaths involved Kent County residents, both with multiple underlying health conditions and neither having been vaccinated.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Nearly 1,000 cases of influenza have been confirmed in Delaware in a single week, the most the state has ever recorded.

On a conference call with reporters Monday, officials said 995 lab-confirmed flu cases were recorded during the week ending Feb. 3. The previous high of 671 came during the 2009-2010 flu season.

Six flu deaths were reported during the week, bringing Delaware's total this season to 10.

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It is now legal to bring firearms into Delaware state parks and forests.

The Delaware Supreme Court ruled that the state’s ban on such weapons was unconstitutional.

The vote on the court was 3-to-2.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the high court ruled that state agencies did not have the authority to impose regulations that violate rights under the state constitution.

The majority wrote this includes the right to bear arms to protect one's self and family outside the home.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Summer may be over, but state environmental officials are reminding Delawareans that the bugs are still biting.

Officials say the recent detection of West Nile virus in caged chickens that are monitored for mosquito-borne diseases serves notice that mosquitoes remain active, especially during unseasonably warm weather.

William Meredith, Delaware's Mosquito Control Section administrator, says concerns about mosquito-borne diseases could continue for several more weeks, with the peak period for transmission lasting into mid-October.

Delaware Tourism Office

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - State officials are touting a record-breaking year for Delaware's tourism industry.

The Delaware Tourism Office released a report Tuesday showing 8.5 million visitors came to Delaware in 2015.

In January 2015, began using a new slogan: "Delaware: Endless Discoveries."

Officials say tourism accounted for $3.1 billion of Delaware's gross domestic product and is responsible for 42,000 jobs.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware lawmakers are ready to start delving into the state's budget challenges with a series of committee hearings.

The legislature's Joint Finance Committee convenes Tuesday for the start of several weeks of agency budget hearings.

After an overview and orientation, the committee will hear a presentation from the Office of Management and Budget.

Other agencies to be considered Tuesday are the Department of Technology and Information and the Department of State.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland members of the Electoral College are meeting in Annapolis to cast their votes.

State Board of Elections spokeswoman Donna Duncan says the 10 electors are meeting at 1 p.m. Monday in the Maryland State House.

They're required by law to vote for the presidential and vice presidential candidates who received the plurality of votes cast in the state in the Nov. 8 general election.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Flu season has arrived, with cases of the virus having now been confirmed in all three of Delaware's counties.

The Delaware Division of Public Health said in a statement Monday that a new case has been lab-confirmed recently in Sussex County involving an infant who is now recovering at home. In New Castle County, a 64-year-old male has contracted the flu, as well as a 77-year-old woman who was hospitalized.

State health officials had previously confirmed that two men from Kent County had come down with the bug.

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A taskforce has been formed to investigate recent allegations of fraud, mismanagement and embezzlement at Delaware volunteer fire companies.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that state officials believe the limited reporting by the volunteer fire companies has led to corruption.

The paper reports that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been simply vanished.

And high level officials have been involved in those cases that have come to light.

The volunteer fire companies only have to submit an annual report to the State Fire Commission.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving a claim by Delaware that it should get $150 million from uncashed MoneyGram checks.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the high court is weighing the demand by 23 states who say they should get the money.

Those states say the money should go to the place where the transaction occurred while Delaware says it should go to the state where the company is incorporated.

President Debate Broadcast

As many as a 100 million viewers were expected to watch the presidential debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican rival Donald Trump.

A PPP poll found that 51 percent believe Clinton won the debate while 40 percent believed Trump bested the contest.

Meanwhile, CNN reported that its poll of debate watchers that was weighted toward Democrats found 62 percent thought Clinton beat Trump with 27 percent.

Don Rush

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials project the cost of handling elections this year will reach $3 million.
    
Media outlets report that much of that money is spent on personnel and transporting voting machines.
    
Officials say the job is never easy or cheap despite the fact that Delaware has only three counties.
    
Besides the general election in November, Delaware held its presidential primary in April. A statewide primary is scheduled for Sept. 13. There are other local contests as well.
    

Women in Politics

Jul 25, 2016
Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland has been among leading states in electing women to political offices for decades, but the state could have its first all-male congressional delegation in more than 40 years unless at least one of two Republicans or a third-party candidate wins in November in the heavily Democratic state.

Don Rush

There is a proposal backed by the Delaware Department of Transportation to substitute a mileage tax for the current gas tax to fund road construction and repair.

Delaware along with four other states on the East Coast have suggested that motorist pay a fee based on the distance that they drive.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the proposal is a response to a request by federal transportation authorities to come up with alternative ways to pay for road construction.

The request comes in the wake of stagnant funding form the current gas and diesel tax.

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The population of Delaware could reach a million by the next presidential election in 2020.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that it’s fastest growing state in the region.

In 2015 there were nearly 950-thousand residents in the First State up from nearly 890-thousand in 2010.

That’s an increase of 5.3 percent.

Officials expect the population to grow by 10-thousand a year.

Daniel Blevins is with the Wilmington Area Planning Council which oversees transportation in New Castle, Delaware and Cecil County, Maryland.

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There is a move in the Delaware General Assembly to put an equal protection clause into the state constitution.

The protected classes not only include such categories as race, age, religion creed and color but also sexual orientation and gender identity.

State Senator Karen Peterson a sponsor of the amendment told the Wilmington News Journal that this sentence would make a statement about Delaware’s values.

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SANDY HOOK, N.J. (AP) - Federal regulators are considering requests from four companies to look for oil and natural gas in the mid-and south Atlantic Ocean by blasting the sea bed with sound waves.

It's an efficient way to look for energy deposits, but environmental groups fear it could harm marine mammals including whales, dolphins and turtles.

The proposed surveying would range from Delaware to Florida.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - State Rep. Bryon Short has dropped out of the crowded race for Delaware's lone congressional seat, citing fundraising problems.

The Highland Woods Democrat released a statement Monday saying he couldn't keep up with the fundraising demands to replace U.S. Congressman John Carney, a Democrat running for governor, ahead of September's primary.

Don Rush

Virginia got White House approval for a declaration of disaster which will provide supplemental aid to the state.

January’s snow storm struck the commonwealth hard and the federal funds will go toward repairing and replacing infrastructure.

WBOC reports that twenty counties and five cities were particularly hard hit by the storm.

Meanwhile, Maryland got approval for a disaster declaration last week while Delaware is still awaiting a response to its request.

Bethany Beach website

There were more than 8 million tourists who came to Delaware in 2014.

That’s up from 7.5 million in 2013.

A new study found that they contributed $3 billion to the state’s gross domestic product or around 5 percent.

At the beaches the boom saw the rental market pass the $1 billion mark for Sussex County.

Statewide rental revenue went up by 8.8 percent between 2013 and 2014.

Linda Parkowski, director of the Delaware Tourism Office, called tourism an economic engine and a growth industry.

Weather Channel

With the oncoming snow storm Maryland and Virginia have declared a state of emergency as Delaware Governor Jack Markell urges residents to prepare for the winter blast.

Delaware is expected to be hit the hardest on Delmarva with up to 8 inches in Sussex County while in Salisbury the snow is expected to be 2 to 4 inches deep.

Delaware

The National Weather Service has declared a blizzard watch for New Castle and Kent counties, while Sussex County is under a winter storm watch.

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There has been an uptick in short-term hospitalizations for mental health patients in Delaware.

And that, says a court-appointed monitor, has raised the issue of whether treatment has suffered.

The evaluation is part of a settlement between the First State and the federal authorities.

In moving away from institutionalized care to community services the latest report says that Delaware is making progress.

But, the Wilmington News Journal says that the report found there was an increase for inpatient hospitalizations.

Farming the Oyster

Nov 25, 2015
Don Rush

With the depletion of the oyster in the Chesapeake Bay a new industry has grown up in the region. It's called aquaculture where oysters are raised to produce this iconic creature. WYPR's Joel McCord took a look at the growth of this industry in the region.

BGE

BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland's Public Service Commission has ordered BGE to cut in half its monthly fee to customers who opt out of having smart meters installed in their homes or small businesses.

The monthly opt out rate will be reduced to $5.50, from $11, beginning in January, the commission said Tuesday in a news release.

The PSC said it held a hearing earlier this month because about 4 percent of BGE's customers in central Maryland are choosing not to have smart meters installed. The commission said a 1 percent opt-out rate was expected when it set the fees in 2014.

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