Local News

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We may have gone from the cozy neighborhood to the diverse community of the internet. Delmarva Public Radio Essayist George Merill ponders the benefits and the perils of the modern age.


When it comes to speed camera ticket revenue Salisbury ranks tenth in the state of Maryland.

That’s according to an AAA survey.

The organization notes that tickets are not issued unless drivers are 12 mph over the speed limit.

But WBOC reports that the city says that it actually costs more to run the cameras than the money it gets from the tickets.

AAA says that Salisbury is the only city on the Eastern Shore that made it into the top ten.

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SNOW HILL, Md. (AP) - A former police chief on Maryland's Eastern Shore has been convicted of misconduct in office.

A Worcester County jury convicted former Pocomoke City chief Kelvin Sewell after deliberating for about two hours Wednesday.

Sewell was initially convicted in 2016 following a 2014 hit-and-run incident involving Douglas Matthews, a Maryland correctional officer and fellow local Masonic lodge member. Prosecutors alleged that Sewell and another former officer, also a Mason, conspired to resolve the incident without charging or citing Matthews.


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The chancellor of Maryland's university system won't seek a contract extension, after state lawmakers cut funding from the system's budget to express displeasure with him.

Chancellor Robert Caret announced Wednesday he will step down from his position next June. He says now is the time to explore other professional options.

In March, lawmakers who negotiated final details on Maryland's budget cut $642,600 - an amount equal to Caret's annual salary - from the University of Maryland system's budget.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House has given final approval to a bill requiring drug manufacturers who sell opioid painkillers in Delaware to pay a new tax to help support substance abuse prevention and treatment.

The bill cleared the House on a 33-to-8 vote Thursday and now goes to Democratic Gov. John Carney.

The legislation imposes a per-pill tax on prescription opioids ranging from a few cents to a dollar or more, based on their strength and whether they are brand-name or generic.

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - A Virginia man who was lauded for turning his life around after getting out of prison now faces nearly 16 years imprisonment for robbery.

Thirty-three-year-old Desmond Littlejohn of Norfolk was sentenced Tuesday for robbing a gun dealer in 2017.

The Virginian-Pilot reports the robbery occurred shortly before Littlejohn discussed how he had gotten out of prison and become a productive member of society with government leaders. He also posed for photos with the head of the Virginia Department of Corrections and U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Democratic lawmakers are again proposing to legalize marijuana in Delaware, an idea still opposed by Democratic Gov. John Carney.

Sponsors of a bill unveiled Thursday say it is aimed at eliminating the black market for pot by establishing a state-licensed industry that would create jobs while padding state coffers with licensing fees and taxes.

A similar bill failed last year amid opposition from the law enforcement and business communities.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Staying at a hotel or motel in Delaware's most popular beach town could soon be a little more expensive.

The state Senate planned to vote Thursday on a bill allowing officials in Rehoboth Beach to impose a lodging tax of up to 3% for renting a room in a hotel, motel or tourist home within the city limits.

The local tax would be on top of the 8% state occupancy tax.

Rehoboth isn't the only southern Delaware town looking to boost revenue with a lodging tax.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan says he's agreeing to spend $255 million for extra education funding to begin implementing a plan to improve education in Maryland. But he's expressing concerns about the blueprint approved by lawmakers this year.

Hogan announced Wednesday he will let the measure go into law without his signature.

The governor says the plan will lead to massive increases in spending over the next decade without enough fiscal safeguards and accountability.

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A great white shark was seem off Delaware Bay this month as it moved northward.

It was spotted on Tuesday by the shark tracking organization OCEARCH.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that its name is Cabot and stretches 9 feet 8 inches long weighting 533 pounds.

The shark was tagged near in Nova Scotia and was named for John Cabot.

Two other great whites have been recorded off Virginia and North Carolina.


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The chief executive of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, has announced two new policies aimed at protecting the county's sensitive environmental areas and the Chesapeake Bay.

County Executive Steuart Pittman made the announcement on Wednesday at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Annapolis.

One policy will require the location of wetlands to be verified before development plans are reviewed. Another will require developers to minimize and mitigate environmental impacts.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Environmental groups are asking federal officials to take emergency action to protect a species of firefly unique to southern Delaware.

In an emergency petition filed Wednesday with the Department of the Interior, environmentalists claim the Bethany Beach firefly is at immediate risk of extinction because of imminent destruction of a significant portion of its habitat.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia families who care for a loved one with disabilities or chronic conditions can apply for up to $400 in reimbursement for respite costs under a temporary voucher program.

The program offered by the state Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services will distribute vouchers for reimbursement from a federal grant limited to about $119,000.

Funding is limited to $400 per family through July 31, 2021, or until the funds are exhausted.

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ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - A state panel has unanimously approved a request from a northern Virginia county to rename a highway that currently honors Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board voted unanimously Wednesday to change the name of U.S. Route 1 in Arlington County from Jefferson Davis Highway to Richmond Highway.

Arlington County requested the change last month, and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam supported the change. The road is already called Richmond Highway in Fairfax County and Alexandria.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - The police chief of Wilmington, says the department's adoption of body cameras could cost the city nearly $4.5 million over five years.

City Councilman Bud Freel tells The News Journal that Chief Robert Tracy recently provided him with the cost estimates. He says the money would cover 315 cameras, video storage and the four new workers the chief says would be needed to review footage.

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WHITE OAK, Md. (AP) - County officials in Maryland want more transparency from police after a white officer's use of a racial slur was livestreamed on Instagram by a black man accused of trespassing at a McDonald's.

The Montgomery County Council is seeking the release of unedited body camera video that apparently shows the officer echoing the slur to the black man, who said it first to insult the officers.

Acting Police Chief Russ Hamill said mimicking another person's language is no excuse.

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Berlin residents will see an 18 percent hike in their property taxes.

Town officials approved the measure on Monday in an effort to close a $15 million budgetary shortfall.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that it’s been more than a decade since the property tax rate has been raised.

The vote was 4 to 1.

The hike is lower than the proposed 30 percent increase that was under consideration earlier this year.

It means that the rate will rise from 68 cents of $100 of property assessed value to 80 cents.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware's attorney general is investigating the medical contractor for the state's prison system amid allegations that contract counselors were ordered to forge documents to falsely state that inmates were getting mental health treatment they never received.

The state Department of Justice confirmed the investigation this week and urged anyone with information about the record-keeping practices of Connections Community Support Programs Inc. to contact the Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal judge has rescinded his own ruling that struck down a Virginia law that said only physicians may perform first-trimester abortions.

U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson last week found that the law was "unduly burdensome" to women seeking abortions. Hudson's ruling came ahead of a trial scheduled to begin next week in a lawsuit challenging Virginia abortion laws.

On Tuesday, the judge vacated his order and said he needs to hear more evidence during the trial on whether the law presents an "undue burden" to women.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A former board member of the University of Maryland Medical System who resigned amid a scandal involving former Mayor Catherine Pugh has now resigned from the university's Board of Regents as well.

The Baltimore Sun reports no reason was given for Robert L. Pevenstein's departure.

Pevenstein was one of several members to resign as details of the medical system's book deal with Pugh came to light. She resigned last month amid an investigation into whether sales of her self-published books were used to disguise kickbacks.

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The water in Pittsville looks like it may be getting a little clearer.

Town manager Joe Mangini has hired a new company that supplies chemical for water treatment to help with the discoloration of the town’s water supply.

He told WBOC that it turned out defective chemicals the town had been using before were the source of the problem.

But the television station reports that some of the local residents want more transparency on how the town officials have handled the situation.

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PICKERING BEACH, Del. (AP) - A fence has been reinstalled along a Delaware beach to keep horseshoe crabs out of a deadly marsh.

Delaware State News reports the 350-foot fence was put up for the second time Wednesday, having successfully saved what's estimated to be thousands of crabs during its pilot run last year.

The crabs climb across the beach for mating season, but a sandy space seems to be causing navigation issues. The crabs end up lost and hunker down in the marsh's wet sand to survive, but the sand quickly dries and the creatures are baked to death.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State lawmakers are circulating bipartisan legislation to restore capital punishment in Delaware.

The legislation, expected to be introduced soon, specifies that the death penalty could not be imposed unless a jury, unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt, finds at least one aggravating circumstance that makes a crime eligible for capital punishment.

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The Eastern Shore Community College has a new president that serves the residents of Accomack and Northampton counties.

He’s James Shaeffer, dean at Old Dominion University.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Glenn DuBois, the chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, says that Shaeffer has spent more than 30 years in higher education with an emphasis on workforce development training.

In a statement Shaeffer says that he was struck by the connection that the college shares with the community.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - A chimpanzee named Alex is the latest new attraction at Baltimore's zoo.

In a Tuesday statement, the Maryland Zoo announced that Alex has recently completed a month-long quarantine, a standard procedure when introducing a new animal. He was able to see and hear the other chimps in the zoo's "Chimpanzee Forest" exhibit during that time.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The chief executive of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, is set to announce two new policies aimed at protecting the Chesapeake Bay.

County Executive Steuart Pittman is making the announcement Wednesday at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Annapolis. The county executive's office says the policies are aimed at improving the site development process to better protect wetlands and other natural areas.


SUFFOLK, Va. (AP) - Officials say that a tornado has damaged at least 34 homes and businesses in the southeastern Virginia city of Suffolk. But there have been no reports of injuries.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that the twister lasted for a few minutes but traveled roughly two miles on Saturday evening. Its winds ranged from 85 mph to 90 mph.

Suffolk spokeswoman Diana Klink said it was the last tornado to touch down in Suffolk since April 2008. That tornado's path spanned five miles, injured 200 people and caused more than $20 million in damage.

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HERNDON, Va. (AP) - A newly elected Virginia state House delegate who is Muslim said he was harassed by protesters and asked how he planned to implement Sharia law at his first town hall.

Del. Ibraheem Samirah said he's disappointed that the small group of protesters attacked his faith at a Saturday event in northern Virginia.

Samirah said protesters carried signs denouncing Sharia law and made pointed comment attacking his faith. He said the attacks were especially troubling because they came during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month marked by dawn to dusk fasting.

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BEDFORD, Va. (AP) - A county in Virginia is moving to lower the fees on concealed handgun permits.

The Lynchburg News & Advance reports that the Bedford County Board of Supervisors voted this week to reduce the fee from $40 to $15 for a least a year. The move will cut revenues by about $40,000.

Members of the board of supervisors said the county should support its residents' constitutional rights to bear arms.

Downtown Salisbury Festival logo

The Downtown Salisbury Festival next month will feature the Paul Reed Smith band on Friday night with the local group The Permilla Project.

Mayor Jake Day will be on hand for the opening ceremonies with a ribbon cutting set for 6 p.m.

WBOC reports that the Saturday entrainment will see the Tops Cut Off DJ Team with the AMP: Academy for Music Performance rock bands.

They will be followed by Haitian sounds from the X-Tassy Band.

R&B vocalist Jada Lee and hip-hop artist Devon Beck with Uprizing Band will close out the night.