UPDATE: Prison administrator arrested for alleged sex with inmate

By Amy Cherry 4:44pm, July 7, 2015 - Updated 5:11pm, July 7, 2015
Department of Correction security superintendent Maj. Fred Way is charged with having sex with an inmate. (Photo/DSP)
The chief of security at Delaware's Baylor women's prison near New Castle was arrested late Tuesday afternoon after police said he had sex with an inmate.

Major Fred Way III's arrest comes just hours after WDEL first reported that he was was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a criminal investigation.

Delaware State Police said they began investigating Way on June 19, 2015, after a 27-year-old inmate at the Delores J. Baylor Women's Correctional Institution disclosed that she had sex with him on at least two occasions, dating back to June 12.

Before his arrest late Tuesday, Department of Correction spokesman Jason Miller confirmed to WDEL that Way, who is the security superintendent at the facility, was suspended on June 19 pursuant to an internal investigation, involving potential violations of policy.

After his arrest, Department of Correction Commissioner Robert Coupe said policy strictly prohibits inappropriate relationships between staff and offenders. He said the correction environment urges anyone to report suspicious behavior.

"The alleged conduct puts the safety of all our inmates, staff, and visitors at risk, and is made more egregious by implicating a senior member of the security staff," Coupe said.

Way was charged with two counts of sexual relations in a detention facility and one count of official misconduct. He turned himself to detectives and was released on $5,000 unsecured bond.


Contact Amy Cherry at acherry@wdel.com or follow her on Twitter at @acherry13.

Wilmington police say gunshots down in 2015, data supports Operation Disrupt

By Tom Lehman 4:35pm, July 7, 2015 - Updated 5:49pm, July 7, 2015
Wilmington Police Chief Bobby Cummings. (WDEL/File)
Officials in Wilmington said the number of gunshot incidents recorded by the city's detection system dropped during the first six months of this year, when compared to the prior six months.

Click here to listen

In roughly a year's time since it was launched, Wilmington's ShotSpotter Flex system has registered 366 gunshot incidents, with 135 of them occurring between January 1 and June 26 of this year.

Wilmington Police Chief Bobby Cummings admits the two six-month periods cannot be used in an "apples to apples" comparison, but believes the statistics indicate that deployment under Operation Disrupt has been effective in reducing some violent crime.

Officers were reassigned from other divisions and assignments under the strategy to patrol in known crime hotspots in the city, such as West Center City and Hilltop, which are among the neighborhoods covered by ShotSpotter.

"The indicators had gone way down the same targeted areas," Cummings said.

Cassandra Marshall, president of the Quaker Hill Neighborhood Association, said the statistics may indicate a positive trend but believes it is too soon to consider Operation Disrupt a success, considering the numerous shootings and homicides that have occurred in the Quaker Hill and West Center City areas recently

"The view from my doorway is still pretty bloody," Marshall said.

So far in 2015, 54 people have been shot in Wilmington, with 14 of those resulting in homicides. The number of victims remains at roughly an even pace from last year, but Cummings said the total number of killings is slightly higher because of an unusually violent January that prompted the department to begin Operation Disrupt.

The city leases a network of monitoring devices from California-based SST through a three-year, $415,000 agreement. The ShotSpotter system alerts officers about gunshots and Cummings said it has given the department valuable insight for developing strategies to place officers in crime hotspots.

"It puts us in the right areas for our deployment and makes sure our officers are visible where they need to be and that's where we're getting to," he said.


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

Delaware State Police, Dept. of Justice announce 4 more arrests in 'Operation In The House'

By DJ McAneny 5:09pm, July 7, 2015
The group that's been arrested since the operation's announcement last week
Four individuals wanted in connection to a joint operation by the Delaware State Police and Department of Justice that resulted in charges being filed against 35 people have since been taken into custody following the operation being made public.

According to the Delaware State Police on Tuesday, four more individuals had been arrested and charged in connection to "Operation In The House."

According to police, the following individuals have been arrested and charged with the following crimes since the July 4, 2015, announcement:

  • Richard Robinson, 20, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is facing 81 charges including: Murder 1st Degree, Attempted Murder 1st Degree, Racketeering, Home Invasion, Robbery 1st Degree, Attempted Robbery 1st Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Conspiracy 2nd Degree, Reckless Endangering 1st Degree, Wearing a Disguise During the Commission of a Felony. He was arrested Friday, July 3, 2015, and was incarcerated in a Philadelphia Prison pending extradition back to Delaware.
  • Shamir A. Stratton, 24, of Pennsauken, New Jersey, is facing 22 charges including: Murder 1st Degree, Home Invasion, Robbery 1st Degree, Attempted Robbery 1st Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Conspiracy 1st Degree, Conspiracy 2nd Degree. Arrested Tuesday, July 7, 2015, and committed without bail at Sussex Correctional Institution.
  • Samuel J. Jones, 34, of Millsboro, is facing 12 charges including: Tier 5 Possession of Cocaine, Tier 4 Delivery of Cocaine, Conspiracy 2nd , Criminal Solicitation 2nd. He was arrested Friday, July 3, 2015, and committed to Sussex Correctional Institution on $187,500 cash bond.
  • Rachel R. Rentoul, 30, of Wilmington, is facing 13 charges, including: Home Invasion, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Robbery 1st Degree, Conspiracy 2nd Degree. She was arrested on Monday, July 6, 2015, and released on $65,000 unsecured bond.

  • The group still wanted by authorities

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    Still wanted are the following individuals, who have not been located yet:
  • Rhamir D. Waples, 19, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Facing 81 charges made up of: Murder 1st Degree, Attempted Murder 1st Degree, Racketeering, Home Invasion, Robbery 1st Degree, Attempted Robbery 1st Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Conspiracy 2nd Degree, Reckless Endangering 1st Degree, Wearing a Disguise During the Commission of a Felony
  • Jacquelyn Heverin, 24, of Millsboro, Facing 13 charges made up of: Home Invasion, Possession of a Firearm During Commissions of a Felony, Robbery 1st Degree, Conspiracy 2nd Degree
  • Dean R. Zerden, 47, of Millsboro, facing 3 charges made up of: Possession of Cocaine, Criminal Solicitation 2nd, Conspiracy 2nd
  • Thomas Tallent, 29, of Georgetown, facing 3 charges made up of: Possession of Heroin, Conspiracy 2nd, Criminal Solicitation 2nd

  • The arrests and wanted individuals were all part of what police called a wide-spread, heavy-duty criminal network throughout Delaware, particularly in Kent and Sussex counties.

    Markell signs ban on smoking electronic cigarettes in most indoor public places

    By Tom Lehman 6:24pm, July 7, 2015 - Updated 6:55pm, July 7, 2015
    VIDEO: WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.
    Gov. Jack Markell on Tuesday signed a ban on smoking e-cigarettes in most indoor public areas that was passed by state lawmakers during this year's legislative session.

    The new law expands Delaware's existing ban on smoking in restaurants, bars and other public places through the Clean Air Act to include e-cigarettes and vape pens. The devices, which do not contain tobacco and are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, heat liquid nicotine into an inhalable vapor. The legislation goes into effect in October.

    State Rep. Debra Heffernan (D-Brandywine Hundred), the prime sponsor, said e-cigarette emissions contain nicotine and other harmful chemicals, including chromium and nickel. She believes that people have been using devices to circumvent the Clean Air Act and smoke inside restaurants and offices.

    "Not only do our sensitive populations like children and older people deserve clean air, but anybody working in those environments deserves to breathe clean air too," she said.

    The new law contains an exemption for businesses that sell electronic cigarettes if 80 percent of revenue comes from such products and the firm meets certain other conditions.


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

    University of Delaware overhauls sexual misconduct policy

    By Amy Cherry 2:20pm, July 7, 2015
    In response to calls nationwide for college campuses to do a better job of responding to allegations of sexual assault, the University of Delaware has changed the way it investigates complaints, doing away with hearings.

    "Moving forward, we'll be able to implement a procedure that is less intimidating," said Susan Groff, UD's Title IX coordinator and director of institutional equity. "We have trained, dedicated professionals that will work one-on-one to guide all of the parties that are involved through a fair and equitable process."

    That means alleged victims of sexual assaults will no longer potentially have to face their alleged attackers.

    "I would say, (it was) probably a little uncomfortable because they were in the same room," she said.

    The model is one that was already used to by the university for faculty and staff investigations.

    Title IX doesn't require law enforcement to investigate claims unless the alleged victim wants officers to get involved.

    The change is part of an overhaul of UD's sexual misconduct policy that took 10 months to produce, and went into effect on July 1. Groff said the comprehensive revision outlines more clearly how the university will respond to reports of misconduct and makes it easier to find information like confidential resources on-campus.

    Groff hopes the revised policy will encourage potential victims to come forward.

    "Reporting incidents about sexual misconduct on campuses is really critical, and it helps ensure that those involved get the information about their rights as well as the resources available to help them," Groff said.

    The revised sexual misconduct policy also requires all UD staff and faculty to undergo a half-hour of online training to learn how to handle sexual assault claims, starting this fall.

    "It gives them information on rights and resources, the process, the Title IX coordinator contact information so they're aware of how to proceed in these cases," said Groff.


    Contact Amy Cherry at acherry@wdel.com or follow her on Twitter at @acherry13.

    New Castle Co. Police: Hockessin woman steals Delaware City Fire pickup, gets in accident, tries to return truck to parking lot

    By DJ McAneny 4:29pm, July 7, 2015
    A 43-year-old Hockessin woman was arrested when she pulled a stolen Delaware City Fire Department pick-up truck into the New Castle County Police parking lot--the same lot from where she'd just stolen the truck.

    Police said a Fire Board employee and member of the fire department learned Tuesday a Delaware City Fire Department vehicle had been involved in an accident at approximately 11 a.m. at the intersection of Lancaster Pike and Centerville Road.

    The employee notified supervisors that the truck had previously been parked in the county police parking lot and was currently stolen. Fire department officials learned the truck had fled the scene of the accident.

    A Mounted Patrol officer reportedly spotted the vehicle traveling north along DuPont Highway at approximately 2:16 p.m. and attempted to make contact. The vehicle, allegedly being driven by Cuve Harding, from the 1200 block of Old Lancaster Pike in Hockessin, made a U-turn and returned to the parking lot at the New Castle County Police Headquarters.

    Harding was taken into custody in the lot without incident and issued citations by the Delaware State Police for the accident along Lancaster Pike and is facing pending charges for the motor vehicle theft.

    Former Eagles QB McNabb charged with 2nd DUI

    By DJ McAneny 1:59pm, July 7, 2015
    McNabb, in his Gilbert Police Department mugshot/(Courtesy Gilbert PD/NBC10)
    Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was arrested after a DUI crash in Arizona late last month, authorities announced publicly Tuesday.

    McNabb, 39, rear-ended another car at a red light in Gilbert, Arizona, on the night of June 28, 2015, NBC10 reported police as saying. Gilbert is about 35 miles southeast of Phoenix.

    No one was hurt in the collision, police said.

    Officers arrested the six-time Pro Bowler and hauled him into a holding facility where he was cited and then released.

    This is the second time McNabb was arrested for DUI. He was sentenced to one-day in an Arizona jail for a DUI arrest in late 2013. He also underwent court-mandated alcohol treatment.

    PA school ex-principal from Wilmington accused of improper contact with teen

    By Associated Press 5:49pm, July 7, 2015
    George James Symonds/Chester County District Attorney's Office
    The former principal of a private Philadelphia-area school has been arrested and charged with improper contact with a teenage student.

    George James Symonds, 62, of Wilmington, Delaware, has been charged in Chester County with corruption of minors, child endangerment, and indecent assault.

    Prosecutors alleged that Symonds had inappropriate contact with a 14- to 15-year-old student while he was principal and teacher at The Concept School in 2014 and 2015.

    Authorities said Symonds was arrested Friday in Delaware, arraigned in Chester County, and released after posting $100,000 bail.

    The Westtown school said in a statement that Symonds had been fired and officials are cooperating with authorities.

    Defense attorney Evan Kelly said he and his client dispute that any crime was committed, and he said some events alleged in the affidavit "never happened."

    WDEL's Road Scholar: Stepping in front of a pedestrian crash problem in Delaware

    By Andrew Sgroi 5:56pm, July 6, 2015
    A messaging ad the Office of Highway safety will use across New Castle and Kent counties (Courtesy: OHS)
    The proclivity of crashes involving pedestrians in Delaware has become a concern for the state's Office of Highway Safety--enough to get the agency to begin a campaign aimed at educating the walking public about crossing the street safely.

    Click here to listen

    Teaming with the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), the initiative will encourage wayfarers to make smart and safe decisions when walking near roadways.

    Alison Kirk with OHS told Road Scholar the 12 pedestrian fatalities so far in 2015 offers a disturbing harbinger of what's to come.

    "That number is higher than this time last year," she revealed, "when we only had eight pedestrian fatalities."

    The alarm for OHS officials is that--though the number of fatalities is still well shy of 2014's total of 27--the historically riskiest times of year lay ahead.

    "We did see trend over the last couple of years," Kirk shared, "where the fatalities of pedestrians started to increase actually towards the end of the year, in the colder months."

    The factors which obscure pedestrians during those months begin with shorter daylight hours and sun glare issues. Mix in deliberate pedestrian choices and you've got a recipe for disaster.

    "They're wearing dark clothing, it's not visible, and the cars are not expecting them to be there," she explained. "People darting in front of cars--they're not walking to the safest place to cross the street."

    The statewide campaign will get ample attention this summer in Sussex County. A beach-to-beach initiative will target the multitude of visitors to the resort areas. Kirk said that pedestrian safety patrols will be highly visible to help promote the tenets of safer walking practices--patience, using crosswalks, crossing at signals, and carrying a flashlight or reflective item in low light conditions.

    The messaging ad pedestrians in resort areas will see this summer (Courtesy: OHS)

    Click to interact

    "We've given all the towns 'Walk Smart' t-shirts so they're making sure that message gets out to all the visitors."

    Kirk advised the campaign's goal is to educate but police will expect a culture of compliance.

    "If they are still breaking the law," she warned, "then they will be starting to issue tickets later on."


    Contact Andrew Sgroi with Road Scholar story ideas to andrew@dbcmedia.com or follow him on Twitter at @Cuse92.

    New Castle County Police Mounted Patrol arrest Bear man in connection to Brookside shooting

    By DJ McAneny 3:13pm, July 7, 2015
    Stedman Brown/New Castle County Police
    A Bear-area man was charged in connection to a shooting that occurred earlier in 2015 after New Castle County Police Mounted Patrol units took him into custody.

    According to authorities, officers on horseback were on proactive patrol in the area of Wilton Boulevard when they spotted Stedman Brown, 26, of the 100 Auckland Drive, in the parking lot of Community Plaza, sitting in a car with suspended registration.

    While police conducted a traffic stop, police said Brown provided them with a false name and was taken into custody. A search of the vehicle provided officers with "the true identity of the driver," and police learned Brown had a number of active warrants for his arrest in connection to an April shooting.

    In that shooting, an 18-year-old male was shot in a lower extremity in the Carrington Way Apartments on Kimberton Drive in Brookside.

    Brown was charged with criminal impersonation, two counts possession of a deadly weapon during commission of a felony, carrying a concealed deadly weapon, reckless endangering, second-degree assault, and numerous traffic violations. He was committed to the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in lieu of $61,000 bond and issued a no-contact order.

    Middletown moves forward with proposed sports complex

    By Shana O'Malley 4:24am, July 7, 2015 - Updated 3:42pm, July 7, 2015
    Middletown Council approved the preliminary plans for the major land development of a new sports complex.

    The plans call for the development of 170-acres of land into 20 multi-use fields, 16 baseball fields, and two indoor facilities, which would have hard floors and turf. They also have the option of adding a pool.

    The complex would be rented and used by various youth leagues. Developers hope the site will be a regional hub for traveling leagues and tournaments.

    Following traffic concerns from residents, developer Scott Lobdell said they've agreed to move the site from a parcel of land on Green Giant Road to farmland on Levels Road.

    "We met with town officials and different DelDOT officials and they felt that this location that we're presenting tonight was a little better to manage traffic," he said.

    The developers also plan to finish the St. Anne's golf course and club house, which has been sitting dormant for years. The land and golf course, which are owned by the town, would be put into a long-term lease with the developers.

    Contact Shana O'Malley at somalley@dbcmedia.com or follow her on Twitter at @shanaomalley

    Police charge Wilmington man with string of Dover burglaries; accomplice still on the lam

    By DJ McAneny 11:42am, July 7, 2015 - Updated 11:48am, July 7, 2015
    Larry Wilmer/Courtesy Dover Police
    A 26-year-old Wilmington man was arrested in connection to a series of commercial burglaries in Dover, authorities announced Tuesday.

    According to Dover Police, multiple locations were robber between May 16, 2015, and July 6, 2015.

    On Monday, July 6, police on patrol at approximately 2:48 a.m. responded to a burglary alarm at the Country Farm Food Store at 1014 South Little Creek Road.

    Officers said they observed 26-year-old Larry M. Wilmer, of the 100 block of North DuPont Street in the Hilltop section of Wilmington, and a second, unknown individual attempting to pry open the rear door.

    Both fled when they spotted police, authorities said, and Wilmer was caught a short distance away. Police said an investigation linked him to burglaries or attempted burglaries at:

  • May 16: East Side Package Store, 1018 South Little Creek Road
  • July 1: El Pipil Restaurant, 720 North DuPont Highway
  • July 6 - 1:05 a.m.: Betsy Ross, 1294 Forrest Avenue
  • July 6 - 2:02 a.m.: AC Moore, 277 North DuPont Highway
  • July 6 - 2:48 a.m.: Country Farm Food Store, 1014 South Little Creek Road
  • Police charged Wilmer with three counts third-degree burglary, two counts third-degree attempted burglary, two counts theft under $1,500, five counts criminal mischief, resisting arrest, possession of burglary tools, and wearing a disguise during commission of a felony. There was no bond or commitment information available for Wilmer Tuesday morning.

    'Neighborhood Building Blocks Foot Patrol' leads to gun charges

    By DJ McAneny 1:33pm, July 7, 2015
    Jerome Jeter/Courtesy Wilmington Police
    Wilmington Police officers on patrol as park of the "Neighborhood Building Blocks Foot Patrol" initiative made an arrest on gun possession charges after a resident flagged police down to report a suspicious man, authorities announced Tuesday.

    At approximately 9:41 p.m. on Monday, July 6, 2015, authorities were flagged down in the area of 2nd and North Rodney streets. Searching the area, police said they located Jerome Jeter, 24, of Wilmington, who matched the description provided.

    Jeter was found to be in possession of a .22 caliber revolver and 1.4 grams of crack-cocaine. He was charged with possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, carrying a concealed deadly weapon and possession of crack-cocaine, before being committed to the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in lieu of $6,500 bond.

    Dover Police find man lying in the road, shot and lacerated in Dover

    By Amy Cherry 10:18am, July 7, 2015 - Updated 10:37am, July 7, 2015
    Dover Police are investigating a Monday night shooting.

    Police responded to a call of shots fired on the unit block of North New Street at 9:30 p.m.

    Police said they arrived on-scene to find a 24-year-old man lying in the roadway. The victim had been shot in the upper left thigh and a "laceration" across the forehead, according to police.

    He was taken to Bayhealth Medical Center, where at last check, he was in stable condition, police said.

    The suspect was described as a black male, 5'10" to 6' in height, with an average build and wearing all black clothing.

    Police continue to investigate and urge anyone with information to contact Dover authorities at 302.736.7111 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.


    Contact Amy Cherry at acherry@wdel.com or follow her on Twitter at @acherry13.

    Delaware State Police release images of suspect in armed cigarette robbery

    By DJ McAneny 11:25am, July 7, 2015
    The suspect wanted in connection to the armed robbery/Courtesy Delaware State Police
    Delaware State Police visually identified Tuesday a suspect wanted in connection to the Wilmington Manor armed robbery of a Wawa customer early in June.

    According to authorities, a 50-year-old man was leaving the Wawa at 1515 North DuPont Highway at approximately 1:40 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, 2015, with several cartons of cigarettes he'd just purchased when the suspect approached him.

    The suspect wanted in connection to the armed robbery/Courtesy Delaware State Police

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    Police said the suspect displayed a handgun and demanded the cigarettes from the victim, demands with which the victim complied.

    The suspect is described as a black male, 35 to 45 years old, standing 5'6" with a thin build, last seen wearing dark pants and a light blue hoodie.

    Anyone with information about the incident or the identity of the suspect pictured is urged to contact Det. Mark Hawk at 302.365.8442 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.

    3 Portuguese man o' war wash up on Delaware beaches

    By DJ McAneny/Amy Cherry 4:11pm, July 6, 2015 - Updated 9:00pm, July 6, 2015
    A man o' war that washed up in New Jersey/(Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol/WDEL File)
    The Portuguese man o' war, a particularly nasty sea creature that resembles the jellyfish, was spotted at a number of ocean beaches in Delaware and has prompted the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to issues warnings to coastal visitors.

    The jellyfish-like creatures are rare to the Delaware coast--the last sighting of one in the area was at least 15 years ago, DNREC officials said.

    The all changed on the evening of Sunday, July 5, when one of the "floating terrors" washed up on Faithful Steward Beach at Delaware Seashore State Park, a second washed up on Fenwick Island State Park Monday morning, and a third washed up Monday afternoon at Cape Henlopen State Park.

    "There's probably more, they're not going to be traveling as single animals; they're going to be probably in larger groups," said DNREC Parks Chief of Enforcement Wayne Kline. "Where there's one, there's going to be more."

    A man o' war that washed up in Delaware/Courtesy DNREC

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    Kline said the man o' war followed the Gulf Stream and a combination of wind, tides and currents brought them to Delaware.

    "These are beautiful creatures that should be observed only from a safe distance," said Kline. "(They) can cause very painful--though usually non-life-threatening--stings."

    The man o' war's tentacles can grow to 50 feet in length, he warned, driving home the importance of giving them a wide berth and leaving the water immediately when they are spotted. A man o' war's skin cells, even a dead one's, can cause a sting.

    The pain can last up to an hour, leave "whip-like red welts" for days afterwards and, in rare instances, result in a dangerous--and possibly fatal--allergic reaction, according to Corp. Bryan John, head of the Delaware Natural Resources Police lifeguard patrol.

    "Help should be sought immediately if the sting victim exhibits any of the following conditions," John said, citing the need for assistance for a victim whose symptoms may include:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Swelling of the lips or tongue

  • Closure of the wind pipe

  • Dizziness

  • Fainting

  • Vomiting, nausea, or cramps

  • "If you are stung, seek the assistance of a lifeguard immediately," John said. "If you are stung on an unguarded beach, acting as quickly as you can, you should remove the tentacles with a towel, stick, or anything handy--avoiding further contact with bare skin--and then rinse the area of the sting with sea water. Do not rub it."

    But Kline said Delawareans and tourists shouldn't be afraid to go in the water.

    "This isn't cause or reason to stay out of the water...you should always use caution when swimming in the ocean," he said.

    The Portuguese man o' war made an appearance at a New Jersey beach last week, making it reasonable that the sea creature would show up in Delaware.

    "When you look at the Jersey beaches and when you look at the relationship to Cape Henlopen, it's not that far, when you're talking about across the water," Kline said.


    Contact Amy Cherry at acherry@wdel.com or follow her on Twitter at @acherry13.

    Some Democratic lawmakers unhappy with Delaware budget decisions

    By Tom Lehman 11:59pm, July 6, 2015 - Updated 10:26am, July 7, 2015
    Legislative Hall. (WDEL/File)
    Some Democratic lawmakers remain unhappy with the $3.9 billion budget passed last week in the Delaware General Assembly, saying the fiscal plan did not address long-term revenue issues.

    Rep. Paul Baumbach (D-Newark) said he believes lawmakers should implement new income tax brackets for the state's highest-earning residents. He made the case for the proposed change during a meeting of the local chapter of Americans for Democratic Action on Monday, noting that Delaware's top threshold of $60,000 lags well behind neighboring Maryland and New Jersey.

    "Bringing it up to the $125,000 or $250,000 range is fair and is well in line with what our neighbors are doing," he said.

    Sen. Bryan Townsend (D-Bear/Newark), who voted for the budget, also attended the meeting and said he is hopeful that a more responsible spending package can be produced in the next budget process without the need for deadline deals in the final hours of the legislative session.

    Democratic leaders, Townsend said, should look to justify necessary state spending while Republicans should drop cliches about looking to make cuts and produce specific and meaningful examples of how to reduce wasteful expenditures.

    "There's no doubt that 2016 presents a bigger challenge and, in my view, we could have done a much better job in 2015 of settling these issues sooner," he said

    State Rep. Kim Williams (D) had similar reasons for voting against the budget and said she was critical of the use of $31 million in one-time settlement funds to patch holes in the budget.

    "You just can't do that next year and we're should have had these conversations and we should have tried to do something sooner," she said. "We need to cut (spending)."


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

    Wilmington police seek info, suspect in Monday shooting

    By Frank Gerace 2:18am, July 7, 2015 - Updated 10:18am, July 7, 2015
    Wilmington's latest shooting has city police looking for clues--and whoever pulled the trigger.

    Police said officers responding to a report of "shots fired" near 26th and North Tatnall streets around 3:30 p.m. Monday afternoon found evidence of a shooting, but could not locate a victim.

    Shortly afterward, police learned a 23-year-old man with gunshot wounds to his hip and stomach had walked into the emergency room at Wilmington Hospital.

    He was listed in stable condition, police said.

    The afternoon shooting marked the second in broad daylight in Wilmington Monday. A man was shotjust before lunchtime in West Center City.

    Police are asking anyone with information on the shooting to call Detective Devon Jones at 302.576.3620.

    Two Greek-American Delawareans opine on Greece's waning economy

    By Frank Gerace 2:18am, July 7, 2015 - Updated 10:26am, July 7, 2015
    Two Greek-Americans residing in Delaware weighed in on Greece's "no" vote on economic austerity measures promoted by the European Union (EU).

    University of Delaware professor emeritus Dean Lomis told WDEL News over the last five months that the Greek government tried to work with the EU to come up with solutions to Greece's financial troubles, but there have been problems.

    "The Europeans began to refuse, and they continued to refuse, and it came to the point that the Greek people thought that there's no way out, other than agreeing to the European standards," said Lomis.

    Spiros Mantzavinos, who owns a Wilmington public relations firm and organizes the annual Wilmington Greek Festival, said what's been lost in the discussion is the impact of the EU's previous policies on the Greek people.

    "The unemployment rate has skyrocketed, and social services have been cut dramatically," said Mantzavinos.

    Lomis said one European country in particular has been tough in the negotiations.

    "The Germans, primarily, are sticking to the ground, and they're telling the Greeks that whatever package they had before is out, because technically, supposedly, technically, they're out of the Euro," said Lomis.

    Mantzavinos expects Greece to leave the EU and revert to the currency it used before joining the group.

    "In two years' time, I think it's going to be a return to the Drachma," said Mantzavinos.

    Even with all the recent turmoil, Lomis predicted the opposite outcome.

    "I don't think it's going to be the Drachma, I think it's going to be the Euro," said Lomis.

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