Don Rush

Assoc. Program Director- Sr. Producer News and Public Affairs

Don Rush is the News Director at Public Radio Delmarva (WSCL/WSDL) in Salisbury, Maryland on the campus of Salisbury University. He has spent the last 35 years in broadcast journalism specializing in national politics. Before coming to Salisbury he spent 12 years in Washington DC with the Pacifica Network News bureau. During the 1980’s he was News Director at KFPK in his home town of Los Angeles. He also worked for the Los Angeles based wire and audio news service CNS/RNW. Locally, he has become an award winning journalist covering everything from development and environmental issues to local politics.

Salisbury University NAACP Chapter

This week's racist graffiti on the campus of Salisbury University has roiled the student body as the FBI enters the investigation into who might have been responsible. As a result Salisbury University President Chuck Wright cancelled classes on Thursday and held a session with students, faculty and staff to hear their concerns. Delmarva Public Radio''s Don Rush takes a look at campus and administration reaction.

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The recent House impeachment and Senate acquittal of President Donald Trump has put some of the deficiencies in our constitutional structure on full display. Delmarva Public Radio Essayist Steve Plotkin writes that perhaps it is time for some soul searching by the American body politic.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Police in Virginia say they've arrested a man who threatened House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn. Capitol Police said Stephen Hartzell, 23, was taken into custody Thursday in Norfolk.

Police said they investigated Hartzell after he posted something on Filler-Corn's Facebook page.

Police did not specify what was said in the Facebook post, which has been removed.

Several Democratic lawmakers say they've been threatened this year by people upset over proposed new gun laws.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) — Deliberations are expected to continue Friday in the trial of a Delaware officer charged with manslaughter in a deadly 5-car pileup. WBOC-TV reports Dover police officer Frederick Pierce decided not to testify Thursday.

Pierce is charged in connection to a 2018 chain-reaction crash that killed 44-year-old Catina Isaacs and injured a UPS driver.

A prosecutor told jurors Thursday that Pierce recklessly caused the crash by speeding and driving distracted.

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Mountaire Farms has reached an agreement to settle one of two lawsuits involving water contamination at its Millsboro Plant.

The settlement includes over 100 people including several minors whose compensation will be kept in a trust.

WBOC reports that the settlement remains confidential.

The federal lawsuit filed by Joseph and Joan Balback claimed that the poultry company’s irrigation practices resulted in contaminated drinking water for those living in the area.

Stevenson House Detention Center Website

Union leaders have told Delaware lawmakers that there are staffing shortages at many of the youth rehabilitation centers.

Donald McIlvane is president of an AFSCME Local union and a counselor at the Stevenson House Detention Center said that many employees have been forced to work overtime.

As a result he told WBOC that they faced dangerous and violent behavior.

But the Secretary for the Department of Children, Youth and their Families Josette Manning told the joint finance committee that the union leaders are misrepresenting how often there are violent incidents.

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FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (The Free Lance-Star) — A business owner in Virginia is seeking an emergency temporary restraining order to prevent a slave auction block from being removed from downtown Fredericksburg.

The Free Lance-Star reports that a motion was filed Wednesday on the behalf of the owner of a commercial building across the street.

The building owner and the owner of a nearby restaurant have argued that they'll lose business from tourist traffic if the auction block is removed.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A measure to end the statute of limitations for civil claims related to child sexual abuse is back before Maryland lawmakers.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing on Thursday in the House Judiciary Committee.

The measure also would also create a two-year window for victims to file lawsuits, if they could not before due to time limits. The measure passed the House of Delegates last year.

However, it stalled in a Senate committee on a tie vote. Supporters of the measure say changing the law would enable civil lawsuits to bring predators to light.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency is awarding Virginia over $700,000 in grant funding to assist with identifying sources of lead in drinking water in schools and child care facilities.

The agency announced Thursday that the $737,000 will go to the Department of Health, which will use it to support voluntary testing programs.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is annoucing new grant money to help preserve farmland around the state.

Northam announced this week that the Virginia Farmland Preservation Fund was awarding $350,000 in grants to Albemarle, Clarke, Fauquier, and Stafford counties, and the cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.

The money is used to provide an incentive for farm and forest owners to put land into a conservation easement.

NAACP Campus Chapter on SU

The FBI has been brought in to help local law enforcement to investigate racist vandalism on the campus of Salisbury University.

The graffiti was found inside Henson Hall yesterday while a second piece of graffiti showed up on a door in Fulton Hall which wrote about hangings during Black History Month as well as using a racial slur.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that classes were canceled today with the University President Chuck Wright saying that he wanted to give the campus time to heal.

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STANTON, Del. (AP) — Authorities in Delaware confirm four people have been found dead inside a tent at a homeless camp.

Delaware State Police said in a statement Tuesday that the four adult bodies were found in the woods off of Route 7 in Stanton that afternoon.

A family member of two of the victims told The Delaware News Journal he went to check on his brother and nephew when he found the group dead inside a tent equipped with a propane heater. 

Seaford School District Seal

The Seaford School District has decided to ask voters to approve a referendum to fund additional increases in general operating expenses.

WBOC reports that the district wants a tax increase of 72 cents for $100 of assessed property value for general expense by July first of this year.

That would go toward things that range from technology and security to textbooks and athletics.

Harrington Website

The Harrington City council affirmed the dismissal of former town manager Don Williams this week.

WBOC reports that he lost his job because he did not keep a digital recording that he made of firing the former city planner Jeremy Rothwell.

Williams claims the city attorney did not require him to keep the recording after Rothwell indicated he would take legal action.

The issue arose when Rothwell filed a grievance and demanded a severance package that was denied.

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Sgt. John Wheatley testified that an off-duty Dover police officer was traveling 88 miles per house when his truck hit an SUV driving by Catina Isaacs.

That caused a chain reaction involving three other vehicles on Route 13 near Woodside in September of 2018.

WBOC reports that Wheatley said those were findings from an event data recorder inside the truck driven by Frederick Pierce who is on trial for manslaughter.

Wheatley added there was no indication that the brakes had been applied before impact.

Virginia Tech website

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A lawsuit from a former Virginia Tech student who was accused of overseeing a ceremony that violated the school's hazing policy has been settled.

The Roanoke Times reports a university spokesman said Wednesday that the matter had been mutually resolved. Darrien Brown had filed a federal lawsuit last month alleging he was denied due process when administrators suspended him for two semesters.

He was accused of overseeing a blood-pinning ceremony in which the sharp ends of military pins are pushed into the chests of cadets.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A leading Maryland lawmaker outlined an ambitious measure to strengthen efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The measure sponsored by Sen. Paul Pinsky would require the Maryland Department of the Environment to adopt a final plan that reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030.

That's an increase from the current goal of 40%, based on 2006 levels.

It also would set the state on a path toward achieving net-zero statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

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The Wicomico County NAACP Branch says it’s concerned about a proposal that would make consuming marijuana in public a criminal offense.

The measure has been proposed by Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis and Wicomico County State’s Attorney Jamie Dykes.

Possession of 10 ounces of marijuana or less has been decriminalized under state law.

Lewis compares the issue with law regarding alcohol possession in an automobile.

But local NAACP Branch President Mary Ashanti said she worries that it will lead to more people with criminal arrests for non-violent offenses.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Plastic carryout bags would essentially be a thing of the past in Maryland if a bill in the General Assembly gathers enough lawmakers’ votes.

The bill would ban plastic carryout bags at the “point of sale” next year in July. It would also require stores to charge customers a 10 cent fee per “durable” carryout bag — like paper bags.

Retailers would keep the money. The goal of the bill is to encourage bringing reusable bags to stores and to limit overall waste.  

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (The Virginian-Pilot) — An upcoming ad campaign for Virginia Beach will feature a new song by hometown star Pharrell Williams.

A city official tells the Virginian-Pilot that Williams contacted the city last year asking how he could help after the mass shooting at a municipal building in May.

That led to a a multi-year plan involving the singer in tourism and economic development initiatives.

As part of that, the singer will narrate two 60-second commercials with his soon-to-be-released song, “Virginia."

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Maryland Senate has voted to take voters out of the process of deciding whether to allow more forms of gambling in the state.

The Senate voted 46-1 Tuesday for the constitutional amendment.

If the House approves, Maryland voters would still have the final say in November about whether to take themselves out of the process.

Under the proposed change, lawmakers would decide whether to expand forms of gambling that are not currently offered at the state's casinos.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A measure aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Maryland is getting a hearing before state lawmakers.

It's coming before the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday.  

It would require the Maryland Department of the Environment to adopt a final plan that reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030.

That's an increase from the current goal of 40%, based on 2006 levels.

It also would set the state on a path toward achieving net-zero statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

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Virginia teachers may be able soon to engage in collective bargaining with the public school systems.

Currently, they are forbidden to do so by a measure passed in the 1990’s that bar public employee unions from bargaining over wages and benefits.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Larry Hogan has appointed Woodrow “Jerry” Jones to be the superintendent of the Maryland State Police. Hogan announced the appointment Tuesday.

Jones has been serving as the chief of police for the Maryland Transportation Authority.  

He spent 27 years with the state police before becoming chief of the MDTA.

Jones has been appointed to succeed Col. William Pallozzi, who is retiring.

Hogan also announced that Lt. Col. Kevin Anderson will be the next MDTA chief of police.

Go Toll website

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — The private company that runs Virginia's Express Lanes has launched an app that allows for mobile payment of tolls.

Transurban says its new GoToll app is ideal for people who occasionally use Virginia's toll roads but don't have an E-Z Pass transponder installed in their car.

The app currently works on 12 Virginia highways, including the Express Lanes on the Capital Beltway, I-95 and I-66 in northern Virginia.

It can also be used on the I-64 Express Lanes, the Elizabeth River Tunnels and the Chesapeake Expressway.

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GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — Three men accused of being members of a violent white supremacist group called The Base have pleaded not guilty to charges in a federal indictment in Maryland.

Former Canadian Armed Forces reservist Patrik Mathews and 33-year-old Brian Mark Lemley Jr. entered their pleas during separate arraignments

Tuesday on charges including transporting a firearm and ammunition with the intent to commit a felony. Ninteen-year-old William Garfield Bilbrough IV pleaded not guilty to charges including conspiracy to “transport and harbor certain aliens.”

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There will be no ban on assault weapons coming out of the Virginia legislature this year despite the Democratic victories in the last state election.

The bill died in a state Senate committee that would have banned the assault-style weapons as well as possession of high capacity magazines.

The Washington Post reports that this had been a top priority for Democratic Governor Ralph Northam.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia Republican state senator says she's running for governor next year as an unabashed conservative on a platform of promoting gun rights.

State Sen. Amanda Chase announced her candidacy Monday to a crowd of about 100 outside the Capitol on Monday, saying voters were unhappy with the state's new liberal direction under a Democratic majority.

Current Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, is not able to seek a consecutive term under state law.  

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There’s new cell tower coming to the Neck District in Dorchester County.

The 175-foot tower would sit near the Neck District Volunteer Fire Company building.

President Mike McKinley told WBOC that the tower would help with responding to emergencies.

It is expected to be around 70-feet from the fire station.

The plan will go to the county Board of Appeals this Thursday to get approval.

Over The Rainbow Shop

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia General Assembly is moving to ban the discredited practice of conversion therapy for LGBTQ children. Conversion therapy is a practice used to try to change sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Virginia Senate voted Monday to ban licensed therapists and counselors from subjecting minors to the practice.

The bill now heads to Gov. Ralph Northam, who is expected to sign it. The American Psychological Association has said conversion therapy is not based in science and is harmful to mental health.

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