State Suspends Professional Licenses of Delaware Nurses

(DOVER, Del.) – Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock has ordered the temporary suspension of the Delaware nursing license of Kenneth E. Weichert and Michelle A. Vickers following complaints of engaging in activities that present a clear and immediate danger to the public health.

In making his determination, Secretary Bullock considered the written complaints filed by the Delaware Department of Justice with the Board of Nursing for temporary suspension of the professional licenses of Weichert and Vickers.

The temporary suspension of Weichert’s license follows his arrest and charge on April 10th, 2014  with one misdemeanor count of Possession of a Controlled Substance, one misdemeanor count of Possession of Marijuana, and one misdemeanor count of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

The complaint against Vickers alleges her serious and habitual nature of offenses including engagement in repeated diversion of narcotics from the employer for her own personal use; admitting to a dependence on narcotics; continuing to practice nursing unmonitored while addicted to such medications; being discharged from a treatment program for noncompliance and poor prognosis; and being suspended from her multistate practice privilege in Maryland.

Recently, the Delaware Code Titles 23 and 24 were amended to enable a temporary suspension pending a hearing to be issued upon the written order of the Secretary of State or the Secretary’s designee, with the concurrence of the Board chair or the Board chair’s designee if the activity of the licensee presents a clear and immediate danger to the public health.

As a result of the actions taken today, the suspensions of Weichert and Vickers will remain in effect for a period of 60 days during which time disciplinary hearings will be held to determine the final disposition for each nurse.

The licensure status of Weichert and Vickers has been updated on the Division of Professional Regulation’s online license verification service, which can be found by visiting and clicking “Verify License Online.” You may also view online the public orders suspending the licenses of Kenneth E. Weichert and Michelle A. Vickers.

Contact: Tammy Stock at (302) 857-3038 or Delaware Department of State, Chief, Community Relations

Delaware Office of Highway Safety and Department of Transportation Launch Pedestrian Safety Education Campaign

Realistic Walk Smart pedestrian crash demonstration shows life-or-death necessity of slowing down

(WILMINGTON, REHOBOTH BEACH) DE – Delaware’s pedestrian safety education campaign kicked off this week with demonstrations of the effects of speed on pedestrian safetyin New Castle County and Sussex County. The “Walk Smart” campaign, a collaborative effort between the Office of Highway Safety (OHS), the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), and state and local law enforcement with other partners, is meant to educate the public about safe walking and crossing practices to improve safety on the road. The campaign comes at a significant time as May has trended as highest for pedestrian crashes in Delaware.

“Speed is one factor that is almost always the difference between life and death when it comes to pedestrian crashes,” said Jana Simpler, Director of the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, which is coordinating the Walk Smart campaign with DelDOT.

“Even one pedestrian crash on our roadways is too many, and we are working hard to create strategies to eliminate these crashes,” Simpler said at the kick-off events. “Although quite simple, this message is vitally important.”

To drive home this point, the events included a demonstration of vehicle stopping time and distance, featuring a wire-frame model of a child crossing the street. At 25 mph, the vehicle stops in time. At 35 mph, the car slams into the model with devastating force.

“The lesson here is clear,” said Adam Weiser, DelDOT Safety Programs Manager. “If a pedestrian is struck by a car going 25 mph or slower, the odds of survival are good. At speeds above 35 mph, the impact is likely to be fatal.”

Every eight minutes a pedestrian or cyclist is injured on our nation’s roadways. From 2012-2013, 754 reportable pedestrian crashes occurred on Delaware’s roadways; 75 percent occurred in New Castle County with most in the Wilmington area. Sussex County has also experienced an increase in pedestrian crashes. There were 20 pedestrian-related crashes along Route 1 from Lewes to Fenwick Island from 2011-2013.

“The vast majority of these crashes can be prevented if drivers reduce their speed and pedestrians use care along roadways. Educating the public about pedestrian fatalities and how to prevent them will certainly help save lives and make our roads safer,” said Lewis D. Schiliro, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

In an effort to combat these statistics, the Walk Smart campaign involves a combination of law enforcement stopping violators and educating them about safe walking and crossing practices and public awareness activities. OHS and DelDOT along with state and local police departments will conduct pedestrian safety patrols along roadways with high pedestrian crashes. The agencies will distribute pedestrian safety informational materials that highlight safe pedestrian practices along with reflective items with the “Walk Smart” message.

“Troopers will continue to emphasize and bring awareness that pedestrian crashes often result in deadly consequences,” said Sergeant Paul G. Shavack, Director of Public Information for the Delaware State Police. “The key to stopping these predictable and preventable incidents from occurring is through education and targeted enforcement for the safety of both pedestrians and motorists. Troopers will focus enforcement efforts on pedestrians who are crossing at areas other than designated crosswalks, walking along a roadway when a sidewalk is available, as well as motorists who fail to obey laws designed to ensure pedestrian safety.” 

In an effort to further enhance the Walk Smart campaign, Christiana Care and Beebe Healthcare have joined forces to provide education about the devastating effects of pedestrian crashes.

“At Christiana Care, we all too often are called upon to provide emergency care for our neighbors who are injured while they are walking,” said Glen Tinkoff, M.D., associate vice chair of surgery for emergency surgical services at Christiana Care Health System, which includes Delaware’s only level one adult trauma center, at Christiana Hospital. “We welcome this opportunity to partner with our state leaders to educate the public about pedestrian safety through Walk Smart.”

Pictures and video of the demonstration can be found on OHS YouTube and Facebook pages.  To learn more about the campaign, visit



Lt. Governor Denn Announces “Excellence in Parental Involvement” Award Winners at Press Conference

DOVER, Del. – Today, Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn announced the two schools honored with the 5th annual “Lt. Governor’s Excellence in Parental Involvement Award” during a press conference in Kent County.

The 2014 winners of the award are Postlethwait Middle and Dover High School. The two winners were picked by a committee of parents, teachers, administrators, and representatives from the business community.

“I created the award in 2010 with the State Chamber of Commerce as a way to enhance parental engagement in our schools,” said Lt. Governor Denn. “Each year, I am encouraged by the ideas that schools continue to create to help get parents more involved. As a parent, it is hard to always know everything that is happening at school, but it is our responsibility to take more active roles in supporting our children and their schools. When we do, everyone succeeds, and I applaud Postlethwait and Dover HS for creating these programs to get more parents in the doors.”

Postlethwait Middle School is doing a variety of things to get parents more involved. Throughout the year, Postlethwait hosts a variety of themed parent nights during which parents and students participate in various content-based activities. Postlethwait hosted a Fifer Fall Fest for the 2013-14 school year had over 800 participants representing 205 Postlethwait families (25% of their total student population).

“Postlethwait Middle School is very honored and proud to have been selected for this prestigious award,” said Principal Derek Prillaman. “This recognition is a true reflection of our entire learning community – many committed groups and individuals worked together to provide special programs and opportunities for our students and families throughout the school year and during the summer months. We’re committed to continuing these efforts and expanding upon our positive relationships with our parents, students and the Postlethwait community.”

Dover High School began the Parent Academy in 2012, which hosts workshops and events offered based on parent feedback. Now district-wide, more than 50 parent workshops and events have been offered district wide since August 2012. Dover High also has PACEParent and Community Engagement Center, the mission of which is to mobilize parents, schools and communities in the Capital School District towards positive change relating to parent involvement, school improvement and community engagement. From January 2013 through today, the parent center has provided services to more than 700 families.

Dover High School Principal Evelyn Edny said, “There is nothing more powerful than families being involved in the education of a student! In high school, parental involvement takes on many forms: It’s a single mom being able to provide a quiet place to study while also providing food and shelter; it’s the grandparent who can make it to a game or awards ceremony; it’s the parent who knows the first and last names of their teen’s friends; it’s the parent who works hand-and- hand communicating and partnering with the school to produce good citizens.”

Mark Davis named executive director of Delaware Harness Racing Commission

DOVER – The acting executive director of the Delaware Harness Racing Commission has been named to the post permanently.

Mark Davis, the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s deputy principal assistant and policy advisor, had been acting director since September 2013 after previously serving as a liaison to the harness racing industry.

“Mark Davis has done an admirable job supporting the industry and leading the Commission’s regulatory efforts over the last eight months,” said Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee. “This is an important part of our agricultural sector, and Mark will continue to work ensuring that the integrity and security of racing is paramount.”

Davis’ appointment was supported by the six-member Delaware Harness Racing Commission after a nationwide search. The Commission licenses owners, trainers, drivers and grooms at Harrington Raceway and Dover Downs; conducts hearings of rules violations; and oversees pre- and post-race equine testing.

“Mark is the right person for this job,” said Beth Steele, commission president. “His extensive experience in solving complex regulatory and policy issues and his track record working with the harness racing industry made him the perfect person to lead the day-to-day operations. We are delighted that he has accepted the position.”

“Harness racing is a complex business, involving many disciplines working together for the best experiences we can offer to the horsemen, betting public, and the two racing venues,” said Patt Wagner, commission vice-president. “Mark has the ability to see the bigger picture and the leadership skills to empower his staff to do the best job they can do. We are fortunate to have him.”

“I am honored by the Commission’s confidence, and look forward to continuing working with the industry to ensure fair and equitable races,” Davis said.

Davis has served as DDA’s deputy principal assistant to the secretary since 2005, where he specialized in policy development and legislative initiatives, coordinated the Department’s role in the Chesapeake Bay Program, and managed constituent relations and Freedom of Information Act issues.

Davis began his career at DDA as a land-use planner, from 1995 to 2005, and previously worked at the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control as an environmental scientist, from 1991 to 1995. He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Livingston University. Harrington is home for Davis, his wife, Wende, and four children.

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Dan Shortridge
Chief of Community Relations
Delaware Department of Agriculture

Grants available for Delaware crop promotion and research

DOVER — More than $336,000 in federal grant funding is now available for projects to help produce, market or access Delaware-grown fruit, vegetables and certain other crops. The Delaware Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program through June 9.

The program, funded through the federal Farm Bill, covers products known as specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Delaware has just over $336,000 available for grants, an increase of more than $100,000 over last year. Projects may run for one to three years.

Applications must be submitted by agricultural producers, nonprofit organizations, government entities, for-profit companies or educational institutions based in Delaware or with a business or educational affiliation here. Funding cannot be used for field crops, such as corn and soybeans, or animal agriculture.

An informational grant workshop will be held 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. May 14 at the Delaware Department of Agriculture, 2320 South DuPont Highway, Dover.

Past Delaware projects have included research on heat-tolerant lima bean varieties, work to improving sales of local produce in Wilmington, expanding a community-supported agriculture program, research on blueberry varieties, and advertising to promote locally run farm stands.

Applications are available at, or from DDA marketing specialist JoAnn Walston at 302-698-4592 or Applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. June 9. A review team will rank applications for a final decision.

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Dan Shortridge
Chief of Community Relations
Delaware Department of Agriculture
O: 302-698-4520
C: 302-242-4092