Don Rush

The poultry industry and its workers have been hit hard as they struggle with the coronavirus pandemic. And, while they hope to begin to see better days with the vaccine, the virus could have shaken out some of the smaller producers. Delmarva Public Media's Don Rush talked with Cathy Bassett, director of communications and community relations for Mountaire, about the impact of COVID 19. (Part 2)

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The poultry industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. But help appears to be on the way. Delmarva Public Media's Don Rush talked with Cathy Bassett, director of communications and community relations for Mountaire, about the anticipated arrival of the vaccine. (Part 1)

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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.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) — A Delaware poultry processing company has agreed to pay a $420,000 penalty in response to accusations that it contaminated area surface and groundwater.

Under an agreement reached with Delaware officials, Mountaire Farms also will upgrade the wastewater system at its Millsboro plant.

The agreement and proposed consent decree were filed in federal court Monday.

The agreement also requires Mountaire to offer area residents options for alternative water supplies.

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Mountaire has settled one of the lawsuits filed against it over claims of contaminants in the local wells from its Sussex County chicken plant.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the documents were filed on Friday with agreement reached with around 100 residents.

The paper reports that the terms of the settlement have not been reveal and parties in the case have been ordered not to talk under a court imposed gag order.

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MILLSBORO, Del. (AP) - A Delaware poultry farm facing a potential lawsuit over contaminated water says it's not to blame.

Mountaire Farms in Millsboro issued a statement Wednesday that groundwater problems around its plant in Millsboro are not the fault of its processing plant. In the statement, they say 20 percent of drinking-water wells in Sussex County suffer from increased nitrate levels and that the problem predates the plant's existence.

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There were some upset residents in Millsboro during a public information town hall on the next legal steps to be taken over nitrate water contamination.

The meeting held on Monday by a local law firm comes on the heels of a Mountaire Farms poultry plant being cited by Delaware state officials for wastewater violations.

Mountaire has been providing bottled water since early December and has offered to drill deeper wells free of charge.

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MILLSBORO, Del. (AP) - A poultry processing company in southern Delaware has agreed to provide bottled water to local residents after elevated nitrate levels were found in private wells.

State officials say Mountaire Farms began providing bottled water to residents Thursday after sampling of wells at homes neighboring the company's Milford processing plant and its spray irrigation fields found high levels of nitrates.

There has been a reported chemical explosion at the Mountaire Farms facility in Selbyville this morning.

WBOC reports that the first call came in at 3:30 a.m.

The television station reports that a first responder at the scene said at last one person had been taken to the hospital.

There was no word on their condition.

By 4:50 a.m. WBOC reports that some of the fire companies had left but hazmat crews were reported to be on the scene.

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Mountaire could be hit with a $40-thousand fine and is facing a number of work safety violation citations.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been conducting an inspection after the report of a work who lost a finger in their Selbyville plant.

The agency issued a number of citations early this month that included turning on a machine that resulted in the amputation.

In addition, the paper reports that the agency found repetitive motion work conditions that could result in injury.

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Some ten-thousand dinner boxes  were packed as part of the 20th Annual Mountaire’s “Thankgiving for Thousands” food drive yesterday in Selbyville at the Mountaire Warehouse on Railroad Avenue.  

They will feed an estimated 45 thousand individuals this holiday.

WMDT reports that the dinners included food ranging from canned corn, yams and cranberry sauce to boxed stuffing mix and a plump Mountaire roaster.     

Meanwhile, many non-profit groups are gearing up to feed those in need during the holidays.

Delmarva Public Radio's Brendan Guihen has this report.

49 new jobs are expected to come to the Millsboro plant as Mountaire Farms expands its operations.

The jobs are expected to pay around $25,000 a year.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that company was just approved for an $87-thousand grant from the Delaware Strategic Fund tied to the jobs and a $129-thousand grant from the Delaware Strategic Fund Capital Expenditure for capital improvements.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Poultry processing company Mountaire Farms of Delaware is seeking more than $200,000 in taxpayer grants to expand its business.

Mountaire is asking for a state Strategic Fund Performance grant of up to $87,759 and a state Strategic Fund Capital Expenditure grant of up to $129,000.

The company plans to use the funds to expand its processing plant in Millsboro.

Mountaire's request for state funds was one of several to be considered by the Delaware Council on Development Finance at its meeting Monday in Dover.