Wilmington Memorial Day parade set for Monday, Beau Biden to be honored

By Tom Lehman 4:08pm, May 27, 2016
Wilmington's 149th annual Memorial Day Parade, paying tribute to service members who participated in U.S. military conflicts, is set for Monday.

The parade, held each year on May 30 to recognize the initial observances of Memorial Day, coincides with the federal holiday this year. It kicks off about 6 p.m. at the intersection of Delaware and Woodlawn avenues before traveling through the Highlands, Forty Acres and Trolley Square areas and concluding with a service at the Civil War monument at North Broom Street.

The event features military members from several conflicts, musicians, and local scout groups.

Organizer Bruce Schweiger said the event honors all American veterans and service members, a group that has expanded in recent years.

"A couple guys, I think, are World War II vets, then you have Korean War vets, and the Vietnam veterans. Then we have this new crew coming in from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts," he said.

The parade will also occur on the one year anniversary of Beau Biden's death. The former state Attorney General and eldest son of Vice President Joe Biden rose to the rank of Major with the Delaware National Guard, and Schweiger said he will be honored posthumously as a grand marshal.

"We wanted to send that honor out to him. We'll do a little service at the monument," he said.

Earlier in the day, Joe Biden will participate in a ceremony naming the Delaware National Guard headquarters after Beau Biden, who died from brain cancer at the age of 46 last year.

For more information on the Wilmington Memorial Day Parade visit the event's committee Facebook page.

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You can contact Tom Lehman at tlehman@wdel.com. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.




Then & Now Photo Gallery, Part 2: Boardwalk, Rehoboth Beach

By DJ McAneny 8:20am, May 27, 2016
Welcome back to another installment of Then & Now, just in time for Memorial Day weekend!

In our inaugural Then & Now, thanks to Northwestern University's Knight Lab and the Delaware Public Archives, we took a stroll around Wilmington's Rodney Square and saw it as it was and as it is currently.

Today, in light of the coming Memorial Day holiday--often seen as the unofficial start of summer--we decided there would be no better place for this go-round's comparison of old and new than Rehoboth Beach.

Rehoboth Avenue



Dolles on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk



Atlantic Sands Hotel



Looking at Dolles from the other direction



The boardwalk skyline



Previous installments of Then & Now

Part 1: Rodney Square, Wilmington


Dover man charged with carrying concealed handgun during traffic stop

By DJ McAneny 11:37am, May 27, 2016
Kevin Wayman Jr./Courtesy Dover Police
A 29-year-old Dover man was arrested on weapons charges after a traffic stop led to the discovery of a handgun inside his car, city police said Friday.

According to Dover Police, Kevin Wayman Jr., of Forest Creek Drive, was pulled over along the 100 block of Cherry Street right around noon on Thursday, May 26, 2016.

During the stop, police spotted a 9mm handgun and ammunition, and Wayman was charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon, two counts possession of a firearm of ammunition by person prohibited, and violation of probation. He was committed to the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in lieu of a combined $32,000 secured/cash bond.


Minor crash between DART bus, big rig outside Wilmington leads to 1st-degree assault charges

By DJ McAneny 6:09pm, May 27, 2016 - Updated 8:10pm, May 27, 2016
Cruz Garcia is the man charged with assaulting the DART bus driver.
A Claymont man was charged with assaulting a DART bus driver following what police called a minor three-car crash Thursday afternoon, authorities detailed Friday.

According to Delaware State Police, a 56-year-old male DART driver was involved in a three-car collision along Lancaster Pike in the area of Court Drive outside Wilmington at 5:58 p.m. on May 26, 2016.

The victim stopped his bus and exited it, at which point Freightliner tractor trailer operator Cruz Garcia, 56, who had also been involved in the crash, approached the victim, punched him in the face, pushed him to the ground, and began to punch and kick the victim numerous times in the head and face before walking away, according to police.

The victim was treated at the scene and admitted to Christiana Hospital in serious condition.

Garcia, who stayed at the scene, was charged with first-degree assault. He was committed to the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in lieu of $60,000 cash bond.


DOJ Consumer Protection Unit seeks more victims of alleged home contractor scammer

By DJ McAneny 2:22pm, May 27, 2016 - Updated 2:31pm, May 27, 2016
Mario Mareno/WDEL file
On Friday, the Delaware Department of Justice Consumer Protection Unit publicly asked potential victims of a New Castle contractor to come forward and assist in their pursuit of a conviction.

According to officials, Mario Mareno, 49, who was arrested on Friday, May 13, 2016, on multiple outstanding warrants for home improvement fraud from Delaware State Police, New Castle County Police, and the Middletown Police Department, was conducting business as Tradesmen Services.

Mareno would typically solicit and correspond with victims via Facebook, texting, or emails, according to authorities, and get victims to make large, up-front payments in order to "obtain required permits and purchase materials," then never complete the work for which he was hired.

"Home improvement scams are one of the most common types of complaints made by consumers to our Consumer Fraud Hotline," said Attorney General Matt Denn. "All Delawareans hiring a contractor for home improvement work need to be alert for scams, and help avoid them by doing homework before hiring a contractor."

The office of the Consumer Protection Unit announced it is aware of homeowners who contacted authorities about Mareno, but believes there are more victims who have not come forward.

Anyone who believes they may have been victimized by Moreno or Tradesmen Services is urged to contact CPU Special Investigators Jose Ortiz at 302.577.8421 or Alan Rachko at 302.577.8309.

"Contractors should always be bonded and maintain all required licenses for mechanical work," Denn said. "It's also important for homeowners to follow up on references, talk to friends and neighbors about a contractor's reputation, and never pay for the work in cash or up front."


New Castle man sentenced to 20 years for sex abuse of girl in his care

By DJ McAneny 12:17pm, May 27, 2016
A 39-year-old New Castle man will spend 20 years in prison for sexually abusing a pre-teen girl in his care, Delaware Department of Justice officials announced Friday.

According to the DOJ, Jair Molina was sentenced for his conviction on a count of first-degree sexual abuse by a person of trust after pleading guilty in February.

Molina abused a girl in his care when she was 12 and 13 years old, officials said.

He will serve probation and have to register as a Tier III sex offender following his release.


New Castle City bank robbed at gunpoint

By DJ McAneny 5:59pm, May 27, 2016
A New Castle City bank was robbed at gunpoint Friday, authorities announced that afternoon.

According to New Castle City Police, the School Federal Credit Union along West 6th Street was robbed at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, May 27, 2016.

The suspect was described as a white male, wearing a long-sleeves black shirt and black hat, and was carrying a gun, which he displayed while demanding cash from a teller, police said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact New Castle City Police at 302.322.9800.


Police want your help to find missing woman

By Joe Irizarry 9:55pm, May 27, 2016
Wanda Campbell
A gold alert has been issued for a missing West Minquadale woman.

New Castle County Police say Wanda Campbell has been missing since Thursday afternoon, and her mother says she received text messages from Wanda with threats to harm herself.

Officers during the investigation learned the 50-year-old's prescribed bottles of medication were empty. She was last seen walking north on Route 141 near Newport.

Wanda Campbell is 5'5", about 210 lbs. and she was last seen wearing a white short-sleeve shirt and blue jeans.

If you know about her whereabouts, you're asked to call New Castle County Police at 302-573-2800 or Crime Stoppers at 800-TIP-3333.


Smyrna intermediate school, lower Delaware schools receive bomb threats

By DJ McAneny 12:42pm, May 27, 2016 - Updated 2:10pm, May 27, 2016
A Smyrna school was briefly evacuated Friday after receiving an automated bomb threat, announced city police around noon.

According to Smyrna Police, the John Bassett Moore Intermediate School at 20 West Frazier Street received an automated, robo-style phone call at approximately 9:30 a.m. directly to the school.

The police and school administration conducted a sweep of the school and found nothing out of the ordinary, authorities said.

Regular activities resumed following the sweep, and authorities deemed there was no threat to public safety.

The robo-calls were a fad that have recently experienced a resurgence.

Smyrna was the only school by 12:30 p.m. that WDEL had directly received reports about Friday. However, WDEL's sister station WXDE received multiple reports of schools in Kent County receiving bomb threats, including:
  • Central Middle School
  • Towne Point Elementary
  • Holy Cross Elementary


  • Dover Police and representatives from the Capital School District also reported South Dover elementary was placed on precautionary lockdown due to its proximity to Holy Cross.


    Judge rejects appeal from death row inmate in Delaware police killing

    By Randall Chase/Associated Press 2:53pm, May 27, 2016
    Derrick Powell/WDEL file
    A judge has rejected the post-conviction appeal of a killer sentenced to death for shooting a Delaware police officer.

    Derrick Powell was convicted of the 2009 killing of Georgetown police officer Chad Spicer, who was shot after a vehicle pursuit stemming from a botched drug robbery.

    In his appeal, Powell claimed among other things that his public defenders were ineffective, that prosecutors failed to turn over evidence favorable to the defense, that prison officials harassed him and interfered with access to his lawyers, and that he is the victim of a racist court system.

    In an exhaustive, 178-page opinion issued this week, the judge who presided over Powell's trial said his claims on appeal had no merit.

    Powell's conviction and death sentence were previously upheld by the Delaware Supreme Court.


    Delaware SPCA to close Stanton shelter

    By Associated Press 2:48pm, May 27, 2016
    The Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is closing its flagship Stanton animal shelter next month because of mounting debt.

    The organization's executive director Andrea Perlak said the Stanton shelter will close June 17 and the property will be sold, according to The News Journal. The money from the sale will go toward supporting the SPCA's Georgetown location, Sussex County's only animal shelter.

    The announcement came one year after the organization spent $500,000 to build new dog kennels and cat crates there. Perlak said all the new kennels and crates will be transferred Georgetown, in addition to any remaining animals.

    About 20 employees will lose their jobs following the June 17 closure of the Stanton shelter, Perlak said, although she hoped many of the area shelters might hire them.


    Man charged with crack, raw heroin possession following Prices Corner-area traffic stop

    By DJ McAneny 11:23am, May 27, 2016
    A 27-year-old man was charged following a traffic stop just outside Prices Corner Thursday, at the culmination of a months-long drug investigation that netted police dozens of grams of crack and heroin, New Castle County Police announced Friday.

    According to authorities, an investigation into Virgilio Batista-Tamarez and his selling of heroin in a variety of New Castle area communities began in April of 2016, and the investigation crescendoed with a traffic stop on May 26, 2016, in the 3300 block of Old Capitol Trail.

    Police said units from the Drug Control and Special Investigations squads searched his vehicle and a building in that block, and found a total of 23.8 grams of raw heroin and 15.2 grams of crack cocaine, with a combined street value of approximately $5,000.

    Batista-Tamarez had his vehicle seized, as police said it was being used to "facilitate his drug business," and he was charged with possession of a controlled substance-Tier V quantity, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance-Tier IV quantity, possession of a controlled substance-Tier III quantity, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance-Tier II quantity, three counts possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. He was committed to the Howard R. Young correctional Institution in lieu of $65,000 cash bond.


    Verizon, unions reach deal in principle

    By Associated Press 3:09pm, May 27, 2016
    WDEL file
    Striking Verizon employees may be back to work next week after the company and its unions reached an agreement in principle for a four-year contract.

    About 39,000 Verizon Communications Inc. landline and cable employees in nine eastern states and Washington, D.C., have been on strike since April. They had been working without a contract since last August.

    Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said the agreement is being written now and will be submitted for approval from union members of Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.