Dover police arrest suspect in string of robberies
By The Associated Press

Morris Simms (photo provided by Dover Police
Dover police have arrested a suspect in a string of armed robberies over the span of three weeks.

Police say 43-year-old Morris Simms has been charged with robbery, possession of a deadly weapon, strangulation, assault and resisting arrest among several other charges.

Police say Simms is linked to six armed robberies in the Dover area since Dec. 3. Police say Simms was arrested on Friday after he walked into a check-cashing business on College Road in a disguise and stole an undisclosed amount of cash from the registers there. Police responded to the scene, and discovered Simms in a nearby wooded area where he was placed under arrest.

Police say Simms is being held at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center on a $656,000 cash bond.

---

(More details are provided below in a news release issued by Dover Police Dec. 20th, 2014)

The Dover Police Department has arrested a serial robbery suspect responsible for six armed robberies in just a couple of weeks. The arrest was made after Morris Simms (43), robbed the EZ Check Cashing business at 1005 College Road just after 2:00PM on Friday, December 19th. Simms entered the establishment, wearing a disguise over his face and forced his way past store employees and stole an undisclosed amount of cash from the registers. The suspect then demanded more money from an employee and fled the business with the cash. Patrol officers made a speedy response to the scene and began a search of the area on foot, finding Simms in a nearby wooded area. Simms fled on foot from the officers and into a nearby parking lot, where he was taken into custody. Simms was committed to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center on $656,000 Cash Bond.

Simms is responsible for six other robberies in Dover including the following incidents:

November 5th, Super Lodge, 246 North DuPont Highway
December 3rd, Valero/Shore Stop, 530 North DuPont Highway
December 6th, Stop N Shop, 1102 White Oak Road
December 8th, Stop N Shop, 780 Walker Road
December 16th, Valero/Shore Stop, 1358 Forrest Avenue
December 17th, Days Inn Hotel, 272 North DuPont Highway

Morris Simms was charged with the following crimes:

1st Degree Robbery (6x)
Wearing a Disguise During the Commission of a Felony (7x)
Possession of Deadly Weapon During Commission of a Felony (6x)
Strangulation (Super Lodge Case)
Assault 2nd Degree
Resisting Arrest
Attempted Theft by False Pretense
Local Fugitive
2nd Degree Robbery
Theft Greater than $1,500.00 (Delaware State Police Charge in a Separate Case)



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Milford sexual assault investigation leads to two arrests
By Mark Fowser

Updated Saturday, December 20, 2014 - 12:19pm

Milford Police make two arrests in connection with an alleged sexual assault during the past summer.

Police say their investigation led to a warrant being obtained for 25-year-old Lucas A. Messick of Frederica, who turned himself in. He is charged with three counts of second-degree rape and nine counts of unlawful sexual contact, second degree.

24-year-old Ashley M. Messick of Frederica also surrendered to Milford Police. She is charged with tampering with a witness and attempted tampering with physical evidence.

Lucas Messick was being held at the Sussex Correctional Institution on $103,000 cash bond.

Ashley Messick was released on $6,000 unsecured bond.

Both are scheduled for preliminary hearings in the Kent County Court of Common Pleas.

---

(More details are provided below in a news release issued by Milford Police Dec. 19th, 2014)

2 Charged In a Sexual Assault of Minor Investigation

On 12.19.2014 the Milford Police Department’s Criminal Division completed an investigation into an alleged sexual assault that occurred between June 25th and August 10th of this year in and around the Milford area. As a result of this investigation, a warrant was obtained for Lucas A. Messick, 25 of Frederica. Shortly after the warrant was obtained, Mr. Messick turned himself into police without incident. Mr. Messick has been charged with 3 counts of Rape 2nd degree and 9 counts of Unlawful Sexual Contact 2nd degree. This investigation also resulted in a warrant being obtained for Ashley M. Messick, 24 of Frederica. Mrs. Messick also turned herself into Milford Police without incident. Mrs. Messick has been charged with Tampering with a Witness and Attempted Tampering With Physical Evidence. Both individuals were presented at JP Court #2 in Rehoboth Beach via video phone. Mr. Messick was committed to the Sussex Correctional Institution in default of $103,000 cash bond. Mrs. Messick was released on $6,000 unsecured bond. Both defendants are scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Kent County Court of Common Pleas.



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UPDATE: Rehoboth spa owner arrested for promoting prostitution
By Mark Fowser

Updated Friday, December 19, 2014 - 11:53am

Dazhong Wang
The owner of a Rehoboth Beach massage parlor is facing charges of promoting prostitution and permitting prostitution at the establishment where employees were arrested earlier this month.

Delaware State Police say 50-year-old Dazhong Wang of Smyrna was arrested Thursday afternoon.

After arraignment, Wang was being held at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center on $5,500 secured bond.

Troopers say the Division of Professional Regulation and the State Fire Marshal's Office were also involved in the investigation.

Wang was found to be the owner of two other spas in Dover and Smyrna, and a business he owned in Middletown was closed in January of this year after prostitution arrests were made there.

Wang owns the Relaxed Spa on Rehoboth Avenue Extended where the arrests occurred December 4th.

---

More information about the case is provided below in a news release issued by Del. State Police:

On Thursday December 18, 2014, State Police Detectives, with the assistance of the Department of State Division of Professional Regulation and the Delaware State Fire Marshall's Office, continued their investigations into the Sussex County massage parlors conducting illegal prostitution activity and arrested the 50 year old business owner of Relaxed Spa.

Dazhong Wang, 50 of Smyrna, was taken into custody after he was scheduled to meet with an officer from the State Fire Marshall's Office in Dover, Thursday afternoon. Further investigation revealed he is the owner of two other spas located in Dover and Smyrna. A forth business in Middletown, Delaware, owned by Wang, was closed after arrests were made by Middletown Police Department for prostitution in January of 2014.

Dazhong Wang was charged with Promoting Prostitution 2nd, and Permitting Prostitution which stemmed from the incident that occurred in Rehoboth on December 4th. He was arraigned at JP2 and committed to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center on $5,500.00 secured bond.

(a previous news release from Del. State Police follows.)

On Thursday December 4, 2014 a joint operation was conducted targeting two local massage parlors in the Rehoboth Beach area. The following agencies were involved in the investigation: Delaware State Police Sussex Drug Task Force, Sussex Governor’s Task Force, Troop 4 Major Crimes Unit, Department of State Division of Professional Regulation, State of Delaware Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security Investigations.

The investigation began Thursday morning when an undercover detective arrived at the Top Quality Spa located at 37169 Rehoboth Avenue Extended for a massage. While performing the massage, the masseuse, Xiangyu Jin, 44 of Rehoboth, offered to perform a sex act in exchange for cash. The detective refused and left the business.

The same undercover detective then entered the Relaxed Spa located at 37385 Rehoboth Avenue Extended for a massage. While performing the massage, the masseuse, Meizhu Zhang, 43 of Rehoboth, offered to perform a sex act in exchange for cash. The detective refused and left the business.

Shortly thereafter, investigators executed simultaneous search warrants at the spas. Meizhu Zhang was taken into custody at the Relax Spa without incident. Also located in the business during the raid was Howard W. Brand Jr., 46 of Lewes. Further investigation revealed that Brand was at the business to provide cash in exchange for a sex act from Meizhu Zhang. Xiangyu Jin and another masseuse, Yan F. Dong, 40 of Rehoboth, were taken into custody at Top Quality Spa. Business records and prostitution paraphernalia were seized during the execution of the search warrants of both businesses.

The three suspects were charged with the following as a result of the investigation:

Meizhu Zhang: Prostitution; Engage in practice of Massage and bodywork therapy without being duly licensed. Arraigned at JP3 and released after posting $550.00 secured bond. (Photo Attached – Red shirt)

Xiangyu Jin: Prostitution; Engage in practice of Massage and bodywork therapy without being duly licensed. Arraigned at JP3 and released after posting $550.00 secured bond. (Photo Attached – Hair over right eye)

Yan F. Dong: Prostitution; Engage in practice of Massage and bodywork therapy without being duly licensed. Arraigned at JP3 and released after posting $550.00 secured bond. (Photo Attached – Hair over left eye)

The following individuals were also contacted and found to be patronizing the business in exchange for sex acts:

Arthur J. Stouffs, 72 of Bethesda, MD: Patronizing a Prostitute or Request Sexual Contact in Return for Fee. Released on Criminal Summons

Richard L. Engle, 38 of Magnolia: Patronizing a Prostitute or Request Sexual Contact in Return for Fee. Released on Criminal Summons

Barry C. Lenhart, 72 of Lewes: Patronizing a Prostitute or Request Sexual Contact in Return for Fee. Released on Criminal Summons

James S. Shortley, 80 of Rehoboth: Patronizing a Prostitute or Request Sexual Contact in Return for Fee. Released on Criminal Summons

Howard W. Brand Jr, 46 of Lewes: Patronizing a Prostitute or Request Sexual Contact in Return for Fee. Released on Criminal Summons




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UPDATED: Relaxed Spa in Rehoboth Gets Eviction Notice
By Kelli Steele

One Rehoboth Beach spa that was recently raided by police resulting in the arrest of one masseuse for prostitution, receives an eviction notice.

The Cape Gazette reports that the landlord of Relaxed Spa in Henlopen Junction, Zea LLC, wants to terminate the spas' lease and recover possession of the rental unit; the landlord also wants $171.50 in attorney's fees and costs.

The case is set to to be heard in Justice of the Peace Court in Georgetown on January 7.

43-year-old Meizhu Zang of Rehoboth was arrested on December 4 after she offered to perform a sex act for cash on an undercover officer at Relaxed Spa; 46-year-old Howard Brand of Lewes was also taken into custody as the investigation showed he was there to provide cash for sex from Zhang.




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Georgetown man identified as suspect in sexual assault
By Mark Fowser

Updated Friday, December 19, 2014 - 4:41pm

Jawan T. Colson (photo provided by Georgetown Police)
Georgetown Police are looking for a suspect in a sexual assault during which a woman was bound and gagged.

Police say the crime happened at about 3:00 a.m. Friday morning at the County Seat Apartments.

30-year-old Jawan T. Colson is also believed to have driven away from the scene in the victim's 2007 gray / green Chevrolet Tahoe.

You can see a photo of Colson at Delaware1059.com.

Police say he could be armed or dangerous, and anyone who may have seen Jawan T. Colson of Georgetown should call police

State Police in October said they were looking for Colson for not following registration requirements as a high-risk, tier-three sex offender.



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UPDATE: Final defendant in elderly woman's carjack case gets 12 years in prison
By Mark Fowser

Phillip Brewer (photo provided by Del. State Police)
The final defendant involved in the March 2013 carjacking of an elderly woman in Milford, during which the victim was locked in the trunk of her own car for two days, is going to prison for 12 years.

18-year-old Phillip Brewer was sentenced Friday morning by a Superior Court judge in Sussex County.

Brewer pleaded guilty to second-degree carjacking, three counts of kidnapping and four counts of second-degree conspiracy.

The Delaware Attorney General's Office says Brewer was cooperative in the prosecution of three other defendants.

Two teenage girls reached guilty pleas and another young man was found guilty at trial last June.

Margaret Smith was 89 when she was abducted by two girls who had asked her for a ride.

She was released at a cemetery in Seaford.

---

More background in the case is provided below in a news release from the Del. Dept. of Justice)

A Sussex County Superior Court judge on Friday sentenced Phillip Brewer, 18, to spend the next 12 years in prison, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden announced. Brewer had previously pled guilty to second-degree carjacking, three counts of kidnapping and four counts of second-degree conspiracy for his role in the March 2013 carjacking and kidnapping of an 89-year-old Sussex County woman, Margaret E. Smith.



As part of his plea agreement with the Department of Justice, Brewer cooperated in the prosecution of the three other defendants, and the significant cooperation was reflected in his sentence. He received seven years in prison for his role in the carjacking and kidnapping and another five years for a previous parole violation.



The three other defendants have all pled guilty or been convicted at trial and have all received sentences of at least 16 years behind bars.



“The length and severity of these sentences show how seriously we take violent crimes committed against senior citizens,” Biden said. “These prison terms will keep these individuals off the streets and out of Delaware’s neighborhoods for a long time. I want to thank Deputy Attorneys General Melanie Withers and Casey Ewart for their hard work and dedication on these prosecutions.”



On March 18, 2013 Jackeline Perez, and her friend, Junia McDonald, 16, first asked Smith for a ride from a Milford convenience store to a home in Lincoln. After arriving at the home, Smith was forced to turn over her car keys and then forced into the trunk of her car. Perez and McDonald then drove to pick up other friends – Brewer and Rondaiges Harper – with Smith locked in the trunk of the car. Smith spent two days trapped in the trunk of her car before being released at a cemetery near Seaford.



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Unemployment rate plummets in Delaware
By The Associated Press

A newly released labor report shows Delaware's unemployment rate fell from 6.4 percent in October to 6 percent in November.

The report, released on Friday, says Delaware added 3,200 new jobs in November, and that the unemployment rate in the state has dropped significantly in the past few years. The report says Delaware was named fourth in the nation in job growth over the past 12 months, trailing only North Dakota, Utah and Texas. The report says employers in Delaware added 12,300 new jobs between November 2013 and October 2014.

Gov. Jack Markell said in a written statement that the numbers are "encouraging," and that the state is "making good progress."




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Del. judge issues ruling in Family Dollar acquisition
By The Associated Press

A Delaware judge says stockholders of Family Dollar Stores Inc. can vote on proposed $8.5 billion acquisition by Chesapeake, Virginia-based Dollar Tree Inc.

Family Dollar shareholders are to vote on the acquisition Tuesday. But some Family Dollar shareholders want the vote postponed until the board reviews a deal with Dollar General Corp., which has also bid for Matthews, North Carolina-based Family Dollar.

The judge ruled Friday that Family Dollar's board acted reasonably in not negotiating with Dollar General, which is based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, because of antitrust risks and uncertainty that regulators would approve the deal.



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AUDIO: UPDATE: Tix Go On Sale Today for Delaware Junction Festival in Harrington
By Kelli Steele

Tickets go on sale today for the Delaware Junction Festival planned for August 2015 in Harrington.

Headliners at the three-day event will include Toby Keith, Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean on August 14, 15 and 16, 2015; a three day gate pass can be purchased for $199 by logging on to delawarejunctionfestival.com.

This comes on the heals of yesterday's big announcement by Firefly regarding the Big Barrel Country Music Festival at the Woodlands at Dover International Speedway.

That three-day festival will feature headliners Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood; the festival will be held June 26 through the 28, the weekend after Firefly; tickets for that event went on sale yesterday.

One of the organizer's of Delaware Junction, Alex Pires, tells Delaware 105-9 that he likes competition:

Click here to listen



So, the battle of the Kent County country music festivals rages on.













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UPDATE: Probes continue into Lewes fires
By Mark Fowser

The Delaware State Fire Marshal's Office continues its investigation into a blaze that damaged three travel trailers, which broke out hours after a deadly fire in Lewes.

The later fire was reported shortly before 9:00 a.m. Thursday in the 29,000-block of Hickory Road in the Tall Pines Mobile Home Park.

Firefighters from Lewes, Rehoboth and Milton responded and put out the fire, which broke out as the owner was home and caused exterior damage to two neighboring travel trailers.

Investigators say the accidental fire occurred when an extension cord in a bedroom malfunctioned and ignited nearby combustible materials.

No injuries were reported, and damage is estimated at $26,500.

Hours earlier, one person died in a fire at a separate unit also in Tall Pines.

The identity of the person who died has not been released.




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Judge set to rule in child porn case of ex-school headmaster
By The Associated Press

A judge is set to render his verdict in the child porn case of a former headmaster at an elite Delaware prep school.

Former Tower Hill school headmaster Christopher Wheeler will learn his fate Monday. Wheeler, who waived a jury trial, is charged with 25 counts of dealing in child pornography. He faces at least 50 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Wheeler was arrested after police searched his home and office and found thousands of images of child pornography. Police were first alerted by child-sexual-abuse allegations for which Wheeler has not been charged.

Wheeler's attorney says prosecutors failed to prove that he viewed or downloaded any child pornography, or that he knew images from online newsgroups to which he subscribed were being automatically cached to his computer.




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Carper applauds new cybersecurity bills signed into law
By Ruth Bryna

In the wake of the computer hacking attack on Sony Corporation, President Obama signed into law Thursday four bipartisan bills designed to modernize, strengthen, and improve the nation's cybersecurity defenses.

The measures are the first major cybersecurity bills to become law in several years.

The National Cybersecurity Protection Act, The Federal Information Security Modernization Act, The Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act, and the Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act reflect the work of Del. Sen. Tom Carper, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman, as well as several other ranking members.

Carper said the measures will each make significant strides to modernize the nation's cybersecurity defenses and help the public and private sectors work together to tackle those threats more effectively.

Cybersecurity remains a top priority for Carper in the 114th Congress, he said. He added he'll continue to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enhance the country's cybersecurity efforts.



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5 robbed at gunpoint on Delaware Christmas tree lot
By The Associated Press

Delaware State Police are looking for two men who robbed five people at a Christmas tree lot.

It happened about 9 p.m. Thursday on Philadelphia Pike in Claymont. Troopers say two men, both armed with handguns, confronted five people and forced them into a camper on the lot.

Police say the men took cash and property from the five victims, and one struck a 23-year-old victim, causing a minor injury.

The two suspects then ran away.




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Wilmington police investigating fatal shooting
By The Associated Press

Wilmington police are investigating a fatal shooting that claimed the life of a 43-year-old man.

Police say officers were dispatched to the 700 block of Vandever Avenue in Wilmington on Friday night after receiving reports of a shooting. Police say when the officers arrived they discovered a man, identified as Derrick Caudle of Wilmington, suffering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Caudle was taken to the hospital where he died of his injuries early Saturday.

Police say no suspects have been identified, and are investigating the incident.




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Traffic deaths on rise in Delaware, up 23 percent over 2013
By The Associated Press

State data shows traffic deaths are up 23 percent this year over 2013 with two weeks to go in the year.

The News Journal reports police had reported 108 fatal crashes resulting in 121 deaths this year through Wednesday on Delaware roads.

Twelve crashes this year involved more than one death, including a tour bus crash on Sept. 21 that killed three passengers. Officials say that's twice the average number of multi-fatality crashes in Delaware over the last five years.

The Delaware Office of Highway Safety says the state is on pace to hit 128 deaths in 2014.

Delaware had a 50-year low of 101 traffic deaths last year. During the previous five-year period, the state averaged 112 traffic deaths a year.




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AUDIO: In weekly address, Governor Markell highlights health care innovation
By Mark Fowser

Updated Friday, December 19, 2014 - 2:18pm




Innovation is the key to reducing the high costs of health care in Delaware and improving the quality of care, according to Governor Markell.

In his weekly address, the Governor says a federal grant of $35-million announced this week will help make the vision of a healthier state a reality...




Click here to listen


"It means paying doctors and hospitals for quality of care rather than quantity of procedures. We can’t accept when an effective heart clinic isn't financially sustainable because not enough patients make return visits – but that is the case in our state and that will change."



Markell also says the state will continue to make investments in health-related technology, communication and training.

You can see the Governor's weekly address in its entirety at Delaware1059.com



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AUDIO: Sussex Co. lawmaker focuses on small business growth, challenges
By Mark Fowser

Updated Friday, December 19, 2014 - 3:46pm




A Sussex County lawmaker focuses on challenges and opportunities for small business in this week's Delaware Republican Party address.

State Representative Ron Gray, R- Selbyville, says Delaware gets a "C" in overall business friendliness in a Kauffman Foundation survey of small business owners.

He adds, "we need to do better..."

Click here to listen


"According to federal data, over 60-percent of the jobs created in the U.S. during the last five years were due to start-ups and small business ventures. The General Assembly’s bipartisan Small Business Caucus, of which I am a member, acts as a sounding board for entrepreneurs to voice their concerns. It provides ideas about what policy-makers can do to improve our business climate."


He says small business owners and potential owners can also turn to the regional Small Business Administration or the Delaware Economic Development Office for questions or guidance.

You can see Representative Ron Gray's address in its entirety at Delaware1059.com.




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Police seek owner of softball bat used in 2013 homicide
By The Associated Press

Updated Friday, December 19, 2014 - 3:10pm

New Castle County Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the owner of a stolen softball bat that was used to beat a man to death.

Officers said on Friday that the body of 43-year-old Wayne Cappelli of Claymont was found by the side of a residential street in Wilmington on Feb. 18, 2013. Authorities say he was beaten with an aluminum softball bat. There have been no arrests in the slaying.

The bat is described as a white, aluminum Louisville Slugger TPS CVL softball bat. Police say the owner of the stolen bat may live in the York or Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area.

Anyone with information about the bat or the crime is urged to call New Castle County Police at 302-395-8133.




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3 Administrative Contracts Shot Down by Milford School Board
By Kelli Steele

Updated Friday, December 19, 2014 - 10:20am

The Milford School District Board of Education votes not to renew three administrative contracts for the next school year.

The Milford Beacon reports that the positions include that of Milford High School Principal Dr. David Carter, Secondary Curriculum Director Travis Moorman and E.I. Morris Early Childhood Center Assistant Principal Jon LoBiondo.

Milford School District Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Kohel would NOT comment on Carter and Moorman, since their positions were at the secondary level; she did release a statement regarding why LoBiondo’s contract will not be renewed, saying it was "out of fiscal diligence."




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Adult Smoking Rate Declines Dramatically in Worcester County
By Kelli Steele

Updated Friday, December 19, 2014 - 9:23am

The number of adult smokers is down in Worcester County.

The Dispatch newspaper reports that according to a recent report from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the percentage of adults using tobacco products in Worcester County has dropped from 23.7-percent in 2000 to 7.7-percent in 2012.

Officials at the Worcester County Health Department say part of the reason for the decrease COULD be a significant amount of funding the county received in 2000, the same year the Cigarette Restitution Fund was created and also the passage in 2007 of the Clean Indoor Air Act which put a stop to smoking in most public places.

Meantime, while fewer adults are using tobacco products, health officials say the number of teenagers lighting up in Worcester County exceeds the state average of 12.9-percent, at 20.4-percent.





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Holidays: The Perfect Time to Recycle
By Kelli Steele

Updated Friday, December 19, 2014 - 10:59am

DNREC reminds Delawareans that holiday time is the right time to trim your "wasteline" while helping the environment, by recycling all those extra mail order boxes, gift-wrapped packages, tags and cards.

DNREC says it's easier than ever to recycle these holiday items and more through Delaware’s Universal Recycling program and keeping them out of the state’s landfills is a holiday gift to the earth.

An updated "How to Recycle" guide is available on DNREC’s website at recycling.delaware.gov. The guide’s center page features a handy list with images of items that can be recycled in Delaware.



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Santa Visits Ocean City on Sunday
By Joe Irizarry

Updated Friday, December 19, 2014 - 2:53am

Santa will be in Ocean City this weekend.

Santa will be riding on an Ocean City Fire Department fire truck from 5-8PM on Sunday evening. Santa will then meet children at the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Department Station #5 on Keyser Point Road from 8-9PM on Sunday night.

Now for more information just call the Ocean City Fire Department at 410-289-4346.



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