Local News

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's legislative session is beginning with 60 new lawmakers in the 188-member General Assembly.

Lawmakers are gathering Wednesday for the start of the annual 90-day session.

There are 43 new members of the House of Delegates. Democrats gained eight seats in the House, where there are 99 Democrats and 42 Republicans.

The GOP gained a seat in the Senate, where there are 17 new senators in a chamber with 32 Democrats and 15 Republicans.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Virginia state report says the Riverside Regional Jail failed to monitor one inmate and wasn't supplied to treat a suicide.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the state Board of Corrections report also says a jail officer also faked observation records about an unmonitored inmate who killed himself. Jail interim Superintendent Karen Craig told officials Tuesday that the jail has since increased staff and implemented new oversight procedures.

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - The top prosecutor in Virginia's second largest city says his office will end cash bail in many cases.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Tuesday that the changes are an effort to avoid the "criminalization of poverty" while making the system fairer for people of color.

Commonwealth's Attorney Greg Underwood told the newspaper: "If you're poor and you happen to be black, then chances are your rate of incarceration is higher."

Underwood said bail shouldn't "needlessly" make a defendant's life harsher than it should be.

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DEWEY BEACH, Del. (AP) - A man once accused of hitting a police horse is suing three Delaware officers.

The Daily Times of Salisbury reports a lawsuit filed Nov. 30 on behalf of 34-year-old Gavin Coco includes allegations of excessive force and evidence fabrication. It says two of the officers were Delaware State police employees. The other was a Dewey Beach police officer.

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ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - One of the most important species of fish in the ocean's food chain is getting a close look to help determine the health of its population.

Two arms of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission are working on an assessment of the menhaden stock. The commission is an interstate board that regulates coastal fisheries.

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MANASSAS, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Republican who lost last year's U.S. Senate race says he's leaving politics "until and unless the Commonwealth is ready" for his views.

Corey Stewart told The Washington Post in an interview that "politics sucks" and he's decided not to seek another term as chair of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, where he's spent 15 years.

Stewart lost to Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine last November. Before that, he ran unsuccessfully for Republican nominations for governor and lieutenant governor.

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It’s coming.    

Snow that is.

The weekend is expected to see the first snowfall of the year with the Weather Channel saying to expect a 70 percent chance on Saturday.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that officials say that could mean up to 3 inches by the afternoon.

The paper reports there are similar forecasts for Sussex County with the resort towns of Bethany Beach and Rehoboth Beach expected to see up to 3 inches by Saturday night.

National Weather Service officials say that the forecast could still change.

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It could be called governor’s day on the campus of Salisbury University.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that all three governors from Virginia, Maryland and Delaware are expected to appear on campus in February.

It will be Governor Larry Hogan’s first appearance this year after becoming the first Maryland Republican to be elected to a second term in decades.

Meanwhile, Delaware Governor John Carney and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam – both Democrats – are also expected to make an appearance.

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The mayor of Middletown Ken Branner announced there will be no permits issued for the 2020 Hummer until guidelines are approved by the city council.

Community activists and residents have been complaining about offensive and racist displays during the New Year’s Day parade.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the mayor made the announcement during a council meeting where many of them showed up to express their displeasure with the event.

Around 200 attended the council meeting including a number of Hispanic groups, the NAACP and student organizations.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - An annual report on the Chesapeake Bay says pollution from unusually heavy rains last year contributed to the first decline in a decade in the overall health of the nation's largest estuary.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President Will Baker said Monday the bay "suffered a massive assault last year," when large amounts of debris were flushed into the bay, mostly from Pennsylvania. The bay's grade sank from C-minus to D-plus, which is the first decline of a grade in a decade.

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Bowers Beach, Kitts Hummock and Pickering Beach in Kent County are set to get more sand.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced the beach replenishment projects.

But WBOC reports that agency said the cost would be paid for in part with $300-thousand from Community Trust Fund allocations.

That comes from three lawmakers State Senator Colin Bonini (R) state Representatives Andria Bennett (D) and Charlie Postles (R) providing $100-thousand each.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware lawmakers are convening a new session of the General Assembly with a host of new faces, and a few old issues likely to be revisited.

With November's election results, there will be five new lawmakers in the 21-member Senate and 12 rookie lawmakers in the 41-member House.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wants to make it easier to vote early and harder for political candidates to bring in big checks.

The Democratic governor outlined a package of proposed legislation Monday that includes a bill to allow no-excuse absentee voting.

Virginia currently limits absentee voting to people with qualifying reasons.

The governor is also proposing new campaign finance limits that would cap donations at $10,000, block direct donations from corporations, and prohibit lawmakers from the personal use of campaign funds.

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - An Ohio man has been sentenced to just under four years in prison for his role in the beating of a black man the day of a white nationalist rally in Virginia.

Daniel Borden was sentenced Monday to 20 years, but most of that sentence was suspended. His active sentence amounts to three years and 10 months.

Borden, of Huber Heights, Ohio, was one of four men charged in the Aug. 12, 2017, beating of DeAndre Harris in Charlottesville.

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With no end in sight for the partial government shutdown many government worker are being effected.

But it’s not clear how many on Delmarva.

In Maryland there are a total of 165 local executive branch employees in Wicomico, Somerset and Worcester counties.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that many have been furloughed such as those who work in the Department of the Interior.

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Maryland lawmakers are looking to rein in the cost of prescription drugs.

The General Assembly is expected to take up the Prescription Drug Affordability Act.

Democratic Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk told WBOC that she sees a difference from last year when the bill died in the state Senate.

Meanwhile, GOP Delegate Johnny Mautz told the television station that he joins his Democratic colleagues in that something must be done.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP)- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is promoting a series of gun-control measures he says promote public safety while still respecting individual gun rights.           

The Democratic governor announced seven proposals at a Capitol news conference Friday ahead of the start of the legislative session.           

The proposals include a so-called "red flag" measure to take away guns temporarily from people who are considered dangerous.

A number of other states have passed similar measures since a mass shooting at a Florida high school last year.           

The Birds!

Jan 7, 2019
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UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP) - Scores of vultures perching near a Maryland shopping center are unnerving some customers of a grocery store and fast-food restaurant.

WRC-TV captured footage of dozens of birds in trees near the shopping center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Rodney Taylor is the chief of the Prince George's County animal services division. He said the vultures appear to be drawn by food left in nearby woods for feral cats.

The station reports there are limited options to deal with the vultures unless they come inside buildings.

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A truck blew up on Sunday morning on Milltown Road.

Megan O’Donnell Clements husband went out to move their other cars away from the burning truck.

She told the Wilmington News Journal that normally her husband would have been out starting his truck at 8 a.m. in the morning.

But this time she said he had slept in instead of being in the vehicle and starting the engine.

Fire Marshals told the paper that they believe the truck’s battery caused the fire that led to the explosion.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Delaware authorities say they are looking for suspects accused of trying to burn down a townhouse with three people inside after a burglary.

The Delaware State Fire Marshal's office said fire investigators came to the home Friday night in the Saddlebrook area of New Castle after a 911 call reporting the attempted arson.

Investigators found that liquid with a similar odor to gasoline was poured in the house during a burglary. The masked suspects fled after being confronted by someone in the house but tried to ignite the liquid.

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Around 50 people gathered in front of the government building in downtown Salisbury Thursday as the nation entered yet another day of the partial shutdown of the federal government.

They held signs calling specifically for electoral reform such as automatic voter registration, public funds for campaigns and an end to gerrymandering.

But hovering over this crowd as they stood in the cold were the events in Washington and the standoff between the president and the newly empowered House Democrats over his demand for funding of a border wall.  

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Martin O'Malley, the former Democratic governor of Maryland and 2016 presidential candidate, says he will not run for president in 2020 and is backing Beto O'Rourke.

O'Malley's endorsement of O'Rourke, who catapulted to the national spotlight in his close Texas Senate race against Sen. Ted Cruz, comes in a column published in the Des Moines Register. O'Rourke hasn't said whether he will seek the White House.

O'Malley says that O'Rourke has "the wisdom to listen, the courage to lead, and a rock-solid faith in the powerful goodness of our nation."

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Making prescription drugs more affordable and raising the minimum wage are expected to be among the top issues Maryland lawmakers are expected to debate when they gather for their annual legislative session next week.

Lawmakers convene Wednesday for their 90-day session. There will be a record number of women legislators, 72 out of 188 members.

Lawmakers will debate a variety of health care issues, including high prescription drug costs and potentially restoring an individual mandate for health insurance.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan is announcing plans to expand a program that helps economically distressed communities.

Hogan outlined plans to allocate about $56.5 million to workforce development to expand Maryland's Opportunity Zone program.

The initiatives he announced Tuesday are designed to work with the federal Opportunity Zone program, which will provide tax incentives over the next decade.

Hogan also is proposing a measure to invest $16 million to create a Maryland Technology Infrastructure Fund.

Chesapeake Bay and Bridge-Tunnel website

Tolls have gone up by a dollar for those using the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
Taking effect this year the toll for vehicles, RV’s and light trucks for a one way crossing is now $14 during the off season.

During peak season is rising to $18.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that for those with a return trip within 24 hours the cost will be $6 during the off-peak season and $2 during the peak season.

Those with an EZ Pass will get discounts.

Buses, trucks and vehicles that tow trailers will also go up from $33 to $36.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Ralph Northam has proposed a package of environmental legislation aimed at safely disposing of coal ash, helping coastal communities deal with flooding caused by climate change and continuing the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay.

The legislative agenda unveiled Thursday includes the Coastal Protection Act. The law would allow the state to use an estimated $50 million in revenue from the sale of carbon pollution credits for coastal resilience projects.  It also would dedicate funds for economic transition for coal communities.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - More companies and groups in Virginia are getting into the political influence game ahead of a legislative session than they have in past years.  

Lobbying data collected by the Virginia Public Access Project shows that 86 companies and groups, like business associations, registered lobbyists for the first time between May and December last year.

That's highest number since at least 2007 and up from 54 the year before.

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - A sorority chapter at a Virginia university is under review after allegations that members engaged in racist behavior.

A university spokesman says the national Alpha Phi sorority organization ordered its chapter at Old Dominion University to "cease its activities."

News outlets report the allegations emerged Wednesday when a Twitter user posted several tweets, saying sorority members used racist language online and belittled a black member. In one tweet, a white woman is shown holding a certificate that says "blackest white you'll ever meet."

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - A federal judge says Virginia officials failed to provide adequate medical care at a women's prison near Charlottesville.

News outlets report that Judge Norman Moon issued an injunction Wednesday against top Department of Corrections officials, saying the department didn't live up to 8 of 22 standards established by a 2016 settlement aimed at improving care at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Public health officials are reporting the first flu-related deaths in Delaware in the 2018-2019 flu season.

Authorities said Wednesday that a 65-year-old man who was infected with Influenza A died last week, making him the first flu fatality. Officials say a 73-year-old man and a 77-year-old woman also died within the past few days after being infected with Influenza A.

All three individuals were residents of Sussex County and had underlying health conditions.

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