Don Rush

News Director

Don Rush is the News Director at Public Radio Delmarva (WSCL/WSDL) in Salisbury, Maryland on the campus of Salisbury University. He has spent the last 35 years in broadcast journalism specializing in national politics. Before coming to Salisbury he spent 12 years in Washington DC with the Pacifica Network News bureau. During the 1980’s he was News Director at KFPK in his home town of Los Angeles. He also worked for the Los Angeles based wire and audio news service CNS/RNW. Locally, he has become an award winning journalist covering everything from development and environmental issues to local politics.

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Local News
9:16 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Transgender Anti-Discrimination Bill Headed to MD Governor's Desk

Credit crreative commons

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A measure to prevent discrimination against people who are transgender has cleared the Maryland General Assembly.

The House of Delegates passed the measure 82-57 on Thursday. That sends a bill already passed by the Senate to Gov. Martin O'Malley. Nina Smith, an O'Malley spokeswoman, says he will sign the measure.

The bill aims to stop discrimination on matters relating to housing, employment, credit and use of public accommodations.

Passage came after long debate.

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Local News
8:55 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Delaware GOP Wants Tighter Campaign Finance Laws

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GOP lawmakers in Delaware want to change the way campaign finance laws are carried out.

The legislation would require political action committees to provide information on the employment records of the contributors as well as whistle-blower protection for those who reveal campaign finance violations.

In addition, it would require better detail on political contributions made jointly by more than one person.

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Local News
8:31 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Internet Viewing of Delaware School Board Meetings

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware residents could soon find it easier to keep tabs on what their local school boards are up to.

A bill released by the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday requires that all public school district boards in Delaware digitally record their meetings. The recordings would then have to be posted online within seven days of the meeting.

The bill says the recordings would not be considered official board minutes but would be a way to enhance communications with the public and legislators.

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Local News
8:15 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Bill Upping Penalties for Gun Use During Felony in Delaware

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A state House committee has released a bill that establishes new criminal penalties for using a gun while committing a felony.

Under current law, a person convicted of having a gun while committing a felony faces a minimum sentence of three years in prison.

The bill discussed by the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday would increase the minimum penalty to four years if the offender brandishes the guns or threatens to use it.

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Local News
7:56 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Bill Richardson Joins Death Penalty Opponents in Delaware

Former Governor Bill Richardson
Credit official photo

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is lending his voice to an effort to repeal the death penalty in Delaware.

Richardson, who as governor signed a bill repealing New Mexico's death penalty, visited Legislative Hall on Thursday to call for a Delaware House vote on repealing the death penalty.

A bill abolishing capital punishment in Delaware failed to gain enough support to clear the House Judiciary Committee last year after passing the Senate by a single vote.

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Local News
11:27 am
Thu March 27, 2014

No More Blanket Delays in Delaware Drug Cases

Credit delaware state courts website

A Delaware Superior Court judge has turned down a request by prosecutors for a 60 day delay in all drug trials because of the missing drug scandal that has rocked the state lab.

A previous 30-day delay runs out on March 31st.

This means that prosecutors will have to get delay for individual drug cases that will include detailed explanations as to why a case cannot go forward.

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Local News
9:17 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Suspect Slams Into Police Car in Salisbury and Flees

Edwin Lamont Fletcher
Credit mug shot

Police are looking for Edwin Lamont Fletcher who is wanted after he allegedly slammed into a Maryland State Police car and injured a state trooper and a sheriff’s deputy in Salisbury.

The incident near Parker Place last night led to a lockdown of the Salisbury University campus as authorities searched for the 31-year old man from Crisfield.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that police used K-9 dogs and a State Police helicopter in addition to police on foot and in cars.

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Local News
9:04 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Milford Voters Say No to Tax Hike for New School

Credit Don Rush

Milford residents turned down two school referendums yesterday with votes of over a thousand against the measures while around 800 supported them.

One called for nearly $13 million in tax increases to replace the Milford Middle School  which was shut down last year while another wanted $2.1 million to cover operational costs such staff and program.

Superintendent Phyllis Kohel told WBOC that passage of the building funds for a new school would ease overcrowding.

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Local News
8:51 am
Thu March 27, 2014

MD House Okays Pension Money to Help Budget

Capitol in Annapolis
Credit creative commons

The House gave preliminary approval Wednesday to sticking with a plan already approved by the Senate to avoid cuts to education, health and other programs. The plan calls for using $200 million that had been planned to strengthen the long-term financing of the state's pension system.

Supporters say the state will gradually restore the full $300 million paid annually beyond the required payment to fully fund the state's pension system by 2039. But opponents say using the money now will cost the state more in the long run.

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Local News
8:36 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Push to Hike Salaries of Care Givers for Disabled Patients

Senator Thomas Middleton (D-Charles County)
Credit msa.maryland.gov

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - People with developmental disabilities are urging the governor's office and Sen. Thomas Middleton to give their caregivers a raise at the same time they raise Maryland's general minimum wage.

More than 200 disabled residents and caregivers came to Annapolis Wednesday afternoon to give the measure an extra push. After crowding the meeting room of the Senate Finance Committee, a small delegation met with the governor's chief of staff.

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Local News
8:21 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Banning Online Gambling Considered by Congress

Credit freepokerphotos.com

WASHINGTON (AP) - Lawmakers from both parties are introducing legislation in Congress that would ban online gambling. The unveiling of the bills sets the stage for an uncertain battle in Congress.

The measures are aimed at reversing a 2011 decision by Attorney General Eric Holder that a 1961 law used in recent years to curb Internet gambling only barred sports betting. The bills introduced Wednesday would broaden the prohibition to where it stood before Holder's ruling.

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Local News
7:56 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Lawmakers Question Oil Tanker Safety for Delaware City Refinery

Delaware City Refinery
Credit PBF Energy

DOVER, Del. (AP) - State lawmakers are working to ensure that a sharp increase in rail shipments of oil to Delaware comes with adequate safety and response measures.

Members of the House Energy Committee quizzed industry officials Wednesday on safety and inspections standards for tanker cars bringing oil shipments to the Delaware City refinery, and for the tracks that carry the tankers.

Lawmakers also heard from state and local emergency response officials regarding their ability to respond to a tanker derailment or fire.

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Local News
7:42 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Former MD Official Can Run for Office Again After Conviction

John Leopold
Credit official photo

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland appellate court has upheld misconduct in office convictions against former Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold, but the court has overturned part of his sentence that said he could not run for office again.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals issued the ruling Wednesday.

According to court documents, Leopold has not been convicted of a felony or of buying or selling votes. The court says by prohibiting Leopold from being a candidate for elected office as a special condition of probation, a circuit court "improperly interfered."

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Local News
10:50 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Delmarva Hit With Another Burst of Snow (Update), MD Snow Day Waivers for Schools

Credit Don Rush

Around 6 inches of snow fell on parts of Delaware last night.

6.3 inches Sussex County while northern New Castle County only saw a half inch.

To the south in Salisbury, there was around 3 inches, while Ocean City received one and a half inches. 

Meanwhile, in Accomack County snow accumulation was expected to be up to 4 inches.

Most of the major highways appear to have been cleared.

But, with temperatures hitting the upper 20’s and winds of up to 45 mph last night motorists are being warned to beware of icy road conditions.

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Local News
10:40 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Threats Force Evacation of Smyrna Public Schools

Credit Don Rush

SMYRNA, Del. (AP) - Smyrna Police say all eight schools in the Smyrna School District have been cleared for any signs of explosives following two unspecified bomb threats.

Acting Smyrna Police Chief Norman Wood told reporters Tuesday that the schools were found to be safe. Students were sent home for the day, officials said.

The school district said in an announcement on its website that the district's central office received the threats Tuesday morning and schools were evacuated.

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Local News
9:50 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Requiring Delaware Schools to Have Emergency Alarms

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A state House committee is considering a bill that requires emergency alarm systems in all Delaware schools.

The bill to be discussed Wednesday requires each school district to equip its schools with panic buttons that could be used to alert law enforcement authorities of a security threat. The alarm system would have to be capable of being manually activated from at least one location within the school.

The bill as initially written requires that the alarm systems be silent and not simultaneously activate an audible alarm within the school itself.

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Local News
9:29 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Her Familiars: An Adventure in Poetry of the Every Day

Credit Book Cover

Award Winning Poet Jane Satterfield discusses her new book "Her Familiars" which examines the romantic and the mundane of everyday life with Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush during appearance at Salisbury University.

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Local News
9:06 am
Wed March 26, 2014

MD Senate Approves Bill to Up Penalties for Hazing

Halloway Hall, Salisbury University
Credit Salisbury University Website

The Maryland State Senate has given its blessing to increasing the penalties for hazing.

The measure by state senator Jamie Raskin would up the criminal penalty from $500 to $5-thousand with jail time capped at six months.

The legislation came as a result of hazing incident at Sigma Alpha Epsilon on the campus of Salisbury University.

Pledges were reportedly kept in a dark basement for many hours without food water or bathroom breaks while techno music was played at a loud volume.

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Local News
8:54 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Medical Marijuana Bill Gets Out of MD Senate Committee

Credit creative commons

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland Senate has approved a measure to get the state's medical marijuana law working.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted 10-1 for the bill on Tuesday.

The panel made substantial changes to a measure already passed the House of Delegates.

For example, it removes a cap of 10 growers to provide marijuana to people who have received a recommendation to receive it by a certified doctor.

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Local News
8:40 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Delaware High Court Kills Rezoning for Barley Mill Plaza Project

Barley Mill Development plans
Credit New Castle County

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The Delaware Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that invalidated a New Castle County council rezoning vote for a controversial redevelopment project in suburban Wilmington.

The justices on Tuesday affirmed a Chancery Court judge's decision that the council's 7-to-6 vote on the Barley Mill Plaza project in 2011 was arbitrary and capricious. The chancery judge concluded that councilman Robert Weiner reluctantly voted for the rezoning after council members received erroneous legal advice that a traffic impact study was both unavailable and irrelevant.

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Local News
8:23 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Boosting Wages of Those Caring for the Disabled in Maryland

Credit disbled universal symbol

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - People who provide care for the disabled are coming to Annapolis to push for an increase in direct care rates, if Maryland increases the state's minimum wage.

Advocates are planning on Wednesday to urge lawmakers to boost the wages of people who provide direct care to the disabled, along with any minimum wage increase.

The Senate Finance Committee is holding a hearing on a minimum wage hike that already has passed the House of Delegates. It would phase in a minimum wage increase from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2017.

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Local News
7:58 am
Wed March 26, 2014

$39 Billion Budget Set for MD House of Delegates

Credit freepick.com

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland House of Delegates is taking up the state's $39 billion budget.

The House on Wednesday will consider changes to budget measures that are working in tandem to balance the books for the next fiscal year.

The state Senate already has approved the measures.

The work done by the House on Wednesday will put delegates on track to pass their version of the budget legislation this week.

That will give lawmakers more than a week to work out any differences before the Maryland General Assembly adjourns April 7.

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Local News
7:45 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Delaware House of Representatives Delays Vote on Tax Hikes

Credit Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House has delayed a vote on a package of tax increases upon which Gov. Jack Markell is relying to help pay for his spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

The bill increases the annual tax on limited liability companies and business partnerships from $250 to $300. It also increases the minimum annual corporation franchise tax by $100.

With the bill requiring three-fifths vote in the House and Senate, House Democrats postponed a scheduled vote Tuesday, when at least one Democratic lawmaker was absent.

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Local News
1:44 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Smyrna Schools Evacuated

Credit creative commons

SMYRNA, Del. (AP) - The Smyrna School District has evacuated all eight of its schools following two unspecified bomb threats.

The school district says in an announcement on its website that the district's central office received the threats Tuesday morning and schools were evacuated.

The district says police are investigating.

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Local News
1:30 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

OC To Warn Visitors About Profanity on Boardwalk

Credit Don Rush

OCEAN CITY, Md. (AP) - Visitors to Ocean City will be getting a reminder to mind their manners on the boardwalk this summer.

The resort's town council on Monday approved "No Profanity Please" signs that will be posted every block along the boardwalk. The blue and white signs will also be available to business owners who wish to post them.

The decision comes after weeks of discussing the signage for the unenforceable suggestion. Ocean City's attorney Guy Ayres says the First Amendment right to free speech prevents Ocean City from outlawing profanity in public places.

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Local News
1:14 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

New Castle County Sees Unexpected Budget Surplus

Credit Don Rush

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - New Castle County officials say they expect an $8.4 million surplus by the end of the fiscal year.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the surplus is a big change, since the year was expected to end with a $2 million shortfall.

The latest projections show that revenue will be up by $5.7 million and expenses will be $2.7 million lower than expected. Officials say most of the new revenue expected comes from $5.5 million more in real estate transfer taxes.

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Local News
10:18 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Salisbury City Council Votes $10,000 for Red, White and Boom

Credit creative commons

Red, White and boom, a fourth of July celebration in Salisbury is on its way to having its third consecutive fireworks display.

Last night, the city council voted to contribute 10,000 to this year's event.

Mike Dunn, Chair of Red, White and Boom, said because the fireworks are a major part of the celebration, it's necessary to make sure they are funded.

Dunn said that the fireworks were to honor those who have served their country:

He added that the proejct could still use some donations from the community to make it successful.

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Local News
9:34 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Salisbury City Council Considers Sale of "The Bricks"

The Bricks
Credit Don Rush

The City of Salisbury is looking at the controversial structure known as The Bricks in the Church Street neighborhood.

There has been evidence of mold lead paint and asbestos in the building.

And the city is considering spending 24-hundred on an environmental study of the structure.

This would allow a potential buyer to know what has to be done to the building.

The city will vote on funding in the next several weeks.

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Local News
9:26 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Wanxiang Closes Deal on Fisker Plant in Delaware

Credit Fisker Automotive logo

NEWPORT, Del. (AP) - New Castle County officials say an affiliate of Wanxiang America has acquired the Fisker Automotive plant near Newport.

Paul Cumberland, Wanxiang America's director of investments, says the deal was recorded Monday as Wanxiang officially closed on the purchase of Fisker's assets.

The county says the Elgin, Ill.-based affiliate, WX Delaware Real Estate Holding Co., bought the property for $18 million, the same price Fisker paid in 2010. The county and state each received $270,000 in real estate transfer taxes.

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Local News
9:17 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Delaware Legislature Mulls Governor's Tax Plans

Credit Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House is set to vote on a package of tax increases upon which Gov. Jack Markell is relying to help pay for his spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

A bill to be voted on Tuesday increases the annual tax on limited liability companies and business partnerships from $250 to $300. It also increases the minimum annual corporation franchise tax by $100. 

The legislation was sent to the House for a floor vote after being released by the House Administration Committee last week.

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