Overcoming Odds: Eddie Drake's story

By Amy Cherry 5:14am, October 21, 2014 - Updated 10:42am, October 21, 2014
VIDEO: WDEL's Amy Cherry
Developmental disabilities don't have to knock you down. Eddie Drake is living proof.

WDEL's Amy Cherry shares his story in Part 2 of "Overcoming Odds."

Click here to listen

Eddie Drake spends a big chunk of his day clicking and snapping.

"Watch this. Put it in the bin, snap," said Eddie Drake as he showed me the work he does all day long. He's working for Chimes..putting the toys your kids want quarters for into bubble casing.

His father Bill says Eddie is very dedicated to his work.

"We were on vacation, just to give you an example, to Disney World. Now what kid doesn't like going to Disney World? Two days into vacation he said, 'Can I go back to work?'"

Eddie's favorite part of Disney World?

"Harry Potter!" Eddie exclaimed.

But his favorite part of life is payday.

"He know the work he does is going to produce a paycheck; the more he does, the more he gets paid, and that's important to him," said Drake.

Eddie is 45 and suffers from Down syndrome. When Eddie was born, the Right to Education laws hadn't been passed yet.

"Back then, there was nothing," said Drake.

The Drakes lived in New York and had to start their own school before moving to Pennsylvania and eventually Rehoboth, where they discovered Chimes.

"It's a dream, it's a dream come true. We were always looking for some place that would be loving, some place that would be supportive, some place that he could be productive," Drake said.

Though Eddie will never be able to work in the community, he's definitely productive, snapping hundreds of bubbles per day. When payday rolls around, just like the rest of us, he can't wait to spend his hard-earned cash.

"Every Sunday he looks through the paper, through the Best Buy and he looks for what DVDs are available on Tuesday," said Eddie's father.

Eddie always has a smile on his face, and he's quite a flirt.

"How's your boyfriend?" he asked me.

"He's a loving little guy, loves the ladies, as you probably found out," said Drake.

Eddie will need care for the rest of his life, and his father is glad to know that some day when he's no longer around, Eddie will be taken care of.

"That's basically my hope for Eddie to be happy and safe and productive as he is right now. Believe me, that paycheck means something to him--you gotta pay a little taxes on it, but so do all the guys and girls in here. He's just a regular guy," said Drake.

In Part 3 of "Overcoming Odds," Wednesday on Delaware's Morning News, hear Sammi Hudson's story and how through even a host of disabilities, Chimes helps to give her the best life she can have.

If you missed Part 1 of "Overcoming Odds" and want to learn more about Chimes Delaware, click here.

Ex-DNREC head, now chief at NWF, releases report on natural defenses to climate change

By Peter MacArthur 10:49am, October 21, 2014 - Updated 10:56am, October 21, 2014
Former DNREC head and current CEO of the National Wildlife Federation Colin O'Mara says a healthy environment can protect Delaware from natural disaster.

"In that state we were working very hard on making sure about systems like coastal wetlands and dunes and living shorelines and even oyster reefs. These natural systems that have the incredible value for wildlife and cleaning up water, at the same time have this massive protective value."

A new "Natural Defenses" report from NWF looks at the increasing risks brought about by catastrophic storms,

It also examines the investments states can make to curb the devastating effects of events like Superstorm Sandy, which struck two years ago, October 29th.

Williams announces open door policy for residents with questions, concerns

By Peter MacArthur 11:18am, October 21, 2014 - Updated 1:43pm, October 21, 2014
Mayor Dennis Williams is opening his door to constituents who want a few minutes of face to face time.

Starting Wednesday and every other Wednesday moving forward, Williams says he will offer those who come to his office, ten to fifteen minutes to discuss concerns and ask questions about what's happening in Wilmington.

'We won't be a closed, ninth floor, we won't be an ivory tower, we'll be open. And when people have an opportunity to get their precious fifteen minutes, I think you get a lot more out of them and they tell you what's on their mind and what you want to see done.

The first session starts at 4 p.m., then the next session, on November 5th, will be in the morning starting at 8 a.m. The sessions will alternate times every other Wednesday after that.

Amazon donates Kindle Fire tablets to Brick Mill Elementary

By Tom Lehman 6:24pm, October 20, 2014 - Updated 2:03pm, October 21, 2014
VIDEO: WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.
Amazon donated 55 Kindle Fire tablets to the Appoquinimink School District on Monday.

Although the devices allow students to play games like Minecraft, teachers say they hope the devices will keep students focused on reading.

Employees from Amazon's Middletown fulfillment center delivered the Kindles to Brick Mill Elementary School in Middletown. The company also donated $2,500 in content gift cards so district teachers can buy books and educational apps for students.

Gun charges finally snare wanted Wilmington teen

By Andrew Sgroi 12:38pm, October 21, 2014
A wanted teen from a prior offense was finally collared on weapons charges in Wilmington Sunday morning following an anonymous tip which led police to him.

Wilmington police say that officers were directed to East 24th Street just off of Governor Printz Boulevard in East Wilmington around noon Sunday in response to a call from a resident advising of a group of loitering juveniles who were believed to have a handgun.

Upon investigation, police did find a group matching the caller's description and confirmed that one of the teens was both wanted and had a 38-caliber handgun stored in his waistband.

The teen has been charged with weapons offenses and sits in the New Castle Detention Center awaiting release on bail.

Dover thieves facing grand larceny

By Andrew Sgroi 10:21am, October 21, 2014 - Updated 10:40am, October 21, 2014
Dover police are currently looking for two men, accused of taking thousands of dollars worth of high-end outerwear from a Dover sporting goods store.

Police say that one of the thieves, who was recognized by employees of a Dick's Sporting Goods at the Dover Mall last Friday wandering the aisles, had been featured in a weekly police shoplifting notice.

The man and another accomplice eventually managed to pick off 30 North Face jackets, at $132 each, stowing them in a car and fleeing.

According to police, the man presented on the shoplifting bulletin is 19-year-old Stephon Rivera. Both suspects remain at large.

Another holdup at an NCCo fill-up station

By Andrew Sgroi 12:42pm, October 21, 2014
The recent run of gas station robberies across New Castle County continues as police are now investigating the latest hit in Brandywine Hundred on Monday afternoon.

State police are seeking information on the suspect who, police say, entered the Shell station on Foulk Rd at Silverside Rd around 2:45 p.m. on Monday.

The armed robber, upon displaying a black handgun, demanded money from the clerk and fled towards Silverside Road after receiving an undisclosed amount.

The clerk was not hurt in the incident and no video surveillance footage is available of the holdup.

7-Eleven in Brandywine Hundred robbed

By Andrew Sgroi 6:56pm, October 20, 2014
A convenience store robbery in Brandywine Hundred late Sunday leaves police in search of the suspect who fled after making off with his demands.

State police report the hit happened at the 7-Eleven on Foulk and Grubb Roads just before 11:30 Sunday night.

According to police, the suspect approached the store clerk and showed an unknown handgun. The crook managed to seize money from the store's register before making flight south along Foulk Road.

No video surveillance of the robbery exists, and police are asking any information regarding the hold-up be submitted to CrimeStoppers.

WPD: Teens take victim's cell phone after asking the time

By Frank Gerace 12:55pm, October 21, 2014 - Updated 2:03pm, October 21, 2014
Wilmington police have arrested two teens who allegedly robbed a woman after asking her for the time.

Police say a group of teens were following the 56-year-old victim as she walked along the 1000 block of Justison Street around 7 p.m. Monday.

Two of the teens asked the woman for the time and pushed her to the ground, taking her cell phone as she tried to call 911.

The victim was able to describe the robbers to police, and plainclothes officers picked them up at 5th Avenue and Coleman Street.

The suspects, a 15-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy, are being held at the County Detention Center in lieu of bail, charged with robbery, conspiracy and malicious interference with an emergency communication.

The victim got her cell phone back, and was treated and released from Wilmington Hospital for minor injuries.

DHSS: Patient screened for Ebola Tuesday doesn't have it

By Frank Gerace 1:47pm, October 21, 2014 - Updated 1:51pm, October 21, 2014
The state Division of Health and Social Services says an adult patient screened for Ebola at a New Castle County medical facility Tuesday was found not to have the virus.

DHSS says the screening happened after statements the patient made.

So far, there have been no confirmed Ebola cases in Delaware.

North America treated to partial solar eclipse Thursday

By Marcia Dunn, Associated Press 2:08pm, October 21, 2014
North Americans, get set for the fourth and final eclipse of the year.

On Thursday, most of North America will have prime viewing of a partial solar eclipse. The new moon will hide part of the sun from view. The eclipse will unfold slowly following its start near the Kamchatka Peninsula in far eastern Russia.

The best views will be in the U.S. Northwest and northern Canada, especially Prince of Wales Island. New England and the Canadian Maritime provinces will miss out.

In the eastern half of the U.S., the eclipse will occur near sunset.

Sky gazers are urged to protect their eyes with special filtered glasses. Regular sunglasses are not good enough.

This makes for two solar and two lunar eclipses this year.

11 students to face charges after brawls at Newark High School

By Tom Lehman 4:14pm, October 20, 2014
VIDEO: WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.
Nearly a dozen students are expected to face charges for their involvement in a pair of brawls that broke out Monday morning inside Newark High School, police said.

A large fight started about 7 a.m. inside the school cafeteria but staff members broke up the melee and called police, Lt. Mark Farrall said.

While officers were sorting out the altercation, a second brawl started inside the school's "C" and "D" hallways, Farrall said.

"They found a large crowd, as you can imagine at 7 a.m. in the high school, in the hallways at that location and multiple individuals were fighting," he said.

Officers called for backup and received assistance from state and New Castle County police.

Farrall said more than a dozen students were "sent home" and 11 of them are expected to face charges in connection to the brawls.

"The first fight was the result of some type of neighborhood dispute that spilled over into the school Monday morning. The second fight, we're still looking to get to the bottom of what caused that," he said.

In a news release posted to the Christina School District's Facebook page, officials said students involved in the fights will also be disciplined "according to the Student Manual."

Newark police maintained a presence at the school on Monday as a precaution in case any other altercations occurred.

"We are keeping the additional police presence there just to make sure that there aren't any additional problems. We don't anticipate that there are going to be," Farrall said.

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