Delaware Public Media

State House sends e-cig bill to Senate

A bill that would include electronic cigarettes or e-cigs in Delaware’s Clean Indoor Air Act is inching closer towards becoming law. House lawmakers approved the measure Tuesday 29 to 11 with one legislator absent.
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The forces behind unsual bird sightings in Delaware

Every now and then, you might hear of an unusual bird sighting. One example folks in Delmarva might be familiar with are the snowy owl sightings at the end of 2013. Wildlife scientists call these birds and other animals that don’t belong in Delaware “vagrants.” One recent example was the burrowing owl, which was spotted at the Bombay Hook Wildlife Refuge in April.
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Delaware Public Media

The US Department of Agriculture has announced that it will be awarding a total of $235 million dollars in grants to fund innovative projects that promote environmental conservation.

The funds will be administered through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, as a part of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Paul Petrichenko, an assistant conservationist for programs at the NRCS office in Dover, says that this will provide tremendous support for farmers in Delaware.

A Kent County grand jury has indicted a Dover police officer on a felony assault charge over an alleged confrontation that left a man unconscious and with a broken jaw in August 2013.

A camera in a Dover police car captured Corporal Thomas Webster responding to a reported fight at a gas station, holding a suspect, Lateef Dickerson at gunpoint.

Estimates show in Delaware 280 veterans will experience homelessness sometime during 2015 – and an average of 100 veterans are homeless on a given night.

To address that issue and follow through on a State of the State promise, Gov. Jack Markell signed the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness Monday in Dover - making Delaware seventh state to commit to ending the problem this year.

Milford School District is looking to win over voters in tomorrow’s (Tuesday) referendum as it seeks a tax hike to help build a new high school and increase its operating budget.]

District residents last year turned down a request to pay for a new middle school and a similar call for more operating revenue.  This year’s combined request is larger than a year ago.

The new $69 million, 1,400 student high school will cost the district $20.7 million, with the state chipping in the rest. The operations request will raise $3 million annually.

Eli Chen/Delaware Public Media

DNREC hosted a pair of public workshops in Milford and Bethany Beach on May 1 and 2 on changes to state’s Beach Preservation Act.

Last revised in 1983, the Beach Preservation Act seek to mitigate the effects of beach erosion and property damage from coastal flooding and storms. The latest draft seeks to redefine several terms in the Beach Preservation Act, including “regulated areas.” These are areas along the shore that the state can regulate construction in favor of protecting beaches, dunes and properties.

Gary Cooke

The piping plover nesting season is off to an early start.

The first nest of the season was spotted on the Point at Cape Henlopen State Park on April 25th which makes it one of the earliest sightings on record in Delaware.  Egg-laying for the endangered bird typically starts at the beginning of May.

The state’s Deputy Economic Development Director Bernice Whaley is tapped to lead the office - pending senate confirmation.

Gov. Jack Markell (D) nominated Whaley Monday after longtime director Alan Levin announced he was stepping down last week.

Delaware Public Media

First State gas prices made another leap last week.

AAA Mid-Atlantic reports the average price for a gallon of regular in Delaware jumped seven cents from $2.47 to $2.60.

Prices at the pump have been climbing for over a month. At the beginning of April, the state average was 33 cents less at $2.27 per gallon. But it’s still over a dollar less than what First State drivers were paying a year ago at $3.66. reports there are just over a dozen stations selling a gallon of regular for $2.53 or slightly less  – several of them located in Dover.

Three players with local connections were taken in the NFL draft – which wrapped up Saturday.

Auburn defensive tackle Angelo Blackson was selected by Tennessee in the fourth round with the 100th pick overall.

Delaware Public Media

Gov. Jack Markell used his weekly message to tout the state’s first set of Downtown Development District grants.

Markell this week announced a total of $5.6 million dollars is being given to 13 projects in Wilmington, Dover and Seaford to help spur nearly $115 million in development.

He says these grants can be a powerful tool to reinvigorate downtown areas by encouraging this type of private investment.