Checkpoint Strikeforce Week 5 Results

Dover –  A total of 83 people were arrested statewide last week for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or drugs. Of those 83 individuals, eleven (11) were arrested at DUI checkpoints conducted by the New Castle County DUI Task Force. Police officers also made 5 drug arrests, apprehended 3 wanted persons, and made 37 other traffic arrests.  Statewide, there have been 2,333 DUI arrests made in Delaware this year.

DUI checkpoints continue and are scheduled for:

Saturday August 8 – Stanton – (New Castle County DUI Taskforce)

Checkpoint Strikeforce is a regional sobriety checkpoint campaign aimed at arresting DUI offenders by using high visibility enforcement to deter those who would otherwise choose to drink and drive.  The campaign is a six month long effort coordinated locally by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety and involves setting up weekly DUI checkpoints & patrols statewide.  Delaware had 4,086 DUI arrests statewide for 2014.

For a list of DUI checkpoints in your area text CHECKPOINT to 99000 or for a list of cabs text TAXI to 99000.  More information and resources on Checkpoint Strikeforce can be found at www.ohs.delaware.gov, www.ArrriveAliveDE.com. Follow regular campaign updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DEHighwaySafe, Facebook www.facebook.com/ArriveAliveDE, and subscribe to YouTube channel DelawareOHS.


Governor Markell Signature Ends Driver’s License Suspensions in Unnecessary Cases

Photos from the event

Senate Bill 132 furthers state’s efforts to reform justice system

Wilmington, DE – Legislation signed by Governor Jack Markell today would end the automatic suspension of driver’s licenses for Delawareans who fail to pay fines for minor traffic offenses and who don’t pose a traffic safety hazard. Senate Bill 132 represents another step in a broader effort to transform Delaware’s criminal justice system by recognizing that the state’s policies must both allow for more appropriate penalties and sentences than in the past, while also focusing on what happens to people beyond those punishments.

“This law upholds our principle that people should be held accountable for their actions, including traffic infractions,” said Markell, who called for the changes made by SB 132 in his State of the State address. “But it also recognizes that in some instances, particularly for our most vulnerable citizens, including ex-offenders, onerous requirements like significant fines and court fees can prevent ex-offenders from holding a job, going to school, and caring for their families. Everybody should work to pay back what they owe, but it’s in everyone’s interest to keep people safely on the road with a valid license, registration, and insurance as they work to put their lives on track.”

Under the law signed today at the New Castle DMV facility, individuals with outstanding fines or fees for minor traffic offenses will not be able to renew nor receive a duplicate license until such fees are paid. However, their licenses will not be suspended in these cases. Suspension is reserved for offenses affecting traffic safety such as reckless driving, driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, or multiple speeding violations.

“Too many well-intentioned people were seeing their driving privileges revoked while they were simply going to work, supporting their families, and saving up whatever money they could to ultimately cover their fines,” said Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East, the prime sponsor of SB 132 in the Senate. “With the Governor’s signature today, no longer are we asking these folks to choose between their livelihood and driving with a suspended license.”

“We recognize that driving is a privilege, not a right. But that privilege also carries a lot of day-to-day responsibilities,” said Rep. J.J. Johnson, D-Wilmington Manor. “If we take away someone’s ability to drive for simple outstanding fines, then they won’t be able to get to work, take their kids to childcare, make doctor’s appointments or run basic errands. All that does is compound the issue and penalizes people twice. This new law will ensure that we don’t over-penalize people while still maintaining a more serious penalty for more serious offenses. It’s a fair solution to a serious issue.”

SB 132 builds on work since the beginning of the Markell Administration to transform the criminal justice system, ensuring more people can have the opportunity to reach their potential. Today’s signing complements a push Markell led in 2014 to eliminate mandates that cause non-violent offenders to lose their driver’s license even when their crime isn’t related to driving. As a result, nearly 800 non-violent offenders per year are having their driver’s licenses returned after being released.

That law and the one signed today recognize that one of the most important measures of whether someone will contribute fully to society and not get into trouble is whether he or she has a job, and it is much harder to get and hold down a job for an individual who can’t travel to and from work.

Other initiatives since the Governor took office include:

  • The Justice Reinvestment Act, which helps ensure that people aren’t behind bars if it’s not necessary and that the state better examines the services ex-offenders need to live productively in the future.
  • The I-ADAPT re-entry program, which brings together five state agencies to create individualized reentry plans that include employment support, health care, and housing.
  • A Department of Correction effort to hire ex-offenders into a job training program, while as well as investments in Culinary Arts and Automotive Service training programs.
  • Banning the box on state job applications so that more than two thousand ex-offenders who apply for state jobs have a better shot at employment.
  • Restoring judicial discretion in state sentencing laws by permitting judges – when appropriate – to impose concurrent rather than consecutive sentences for multiple offenses.

“For a long time our justice policies were too focused on handing out stiff punishments for even low-level, non-violent offenses, and less focused on what happened to people beyond those punishments,” said Markell. “And it wasn’t making us any safer. Instead, our laws made it unreasonably hard for people to get their lives back on track, meaning they were less likely to fully contribute to their communities and more likely to get in trouble again.”

 

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Delaware wildfire crew fighting blazes in N. California

Front Row (from left) Kiera Westfall of Philadelphia, PA, Jennifer DeCarlo of Felton, Nicholas Sturm and Christopher Sturm of Hamburg, PA, Samual Topper of Federalsburg, MD, and Guy Cooper of Millville.  Second Row (from left) - Erich Burkentine of Milton, Katrina Rothbart of Magnolia, Daniel Mihok of Magnolia, Monica Testa of Newark, Alexander Pratt of Ambler, PA, Kyle Hoyd of Felton, and Matt Paul of Bear. Back Row (from left) - Jeffery Wilson of Clayton, Michael Krumrine of Magnolia, Andrew 'Doug' Rawling of Newark, Adam Keever of Newark, Todd Shafffer of Smithsburg, MD, and Todd Gsell of Townsend.
Front Row (from left) Kiera Westfall of Philadelphia, PA, Jennifer DeCarlo of Felton, Nicholas Sturm and Christopher Sturm of Hamburg, PA, Samual Topper of Federalsburg, MD, and Guy Cooper of Millville. Second Row (from left) – Erich Burkentine of Milton, Katrina Rothbart of Magnolia, Daniel Mihok of Magnolia, Monica Testa of Newark, Alexander Pratt of Ambler, PA, Kyle Hoyd of Felton, Todd Gsell of Townsend, and Matthew Paul of Bear. Back Row (from left) – Jeffery Wilson of Clayton, Michael Krumrine of Magnolia, Andrew ‘Doug’ Rawling of Newark, Adam Keever of Newark, and Todd Shaffer of Smithsburg, MD (Not pictured: Scott Veasey of Millsboro).

Hayfork1

Flickr Album: Photos from crew departure at Blackbird State Forest on Saturday, August 1.

The Delaware Forest Service has joined with four 20-person crews from Maryland (1), Ohio (1) and Pennsylvania (2) to  fight a wave of lightning-caused wildfires around Hayfork, California in the area of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. California has declared a state of emergency and the Northern California Region is now at its maximum Preparedness Level of 5 on a 5-point scale. Delaware’s team is part of almost 1,500 personnel currently assigned to an incident known as the Fork Complex, which consists of approximately 40 fires totaling more than 25,000 acres located near Hayfork, CA. All of the blazes were ignited by lightning between July 29 and 31, 2015 and are currently listed as only 5 percent contained. Due to the evolving nature and complexity of the firefighting operation, a Type I Incident Management Team was to assume command of the Fork Complex on August 3, including all the fires around Hayfork, including the Blue, Deer, Rail, Farmer, and Barker Fires.

According to fire officials, the blazes have forced several evacuations and road closures. The Red Cross has established an evacuation center at the Solid Rock Christian Church at the intersection of State Route 3 and Tule Creek Road in Hayfork. The Salvation Army is also offering water and meals to residents at the Church, whether or not they are staying at the evacuation center.

Delaware's wildfire crew was on the scene in California yesterday awaiting orders from the incident command post. Pictured from left: Alex Pratt, Doug Rawlings, Guy Cooper, Adam Keever, Mike Krumrine, Jeff Wilson, and Todd Shaffer.
Delaware’s wildfire crew was on the scene in California yesterday awaiting orders from its incident command post. Pictured from left: Alex Pratt, Doug Rawlings, Guy Cooper, Adam Keever, Mike Krumrine, Jeff Wilson, and Todd Shaffer. (Photo by Kyle Hoyd).

 


Experience living history at Fort Delaware State Park’s “Infantry Weekend”

DELAWARE CITY – You’re invited to see history in action at a special “Living History Weekend” on Aug. 8 and 9 at Fort Delaware State Park.

During this special weekend, Fort Delaware will come alive with re-enactors and historians dressed as they would have during the American Civil War. Visitors will be offered a fascinating and unique look at what life was like at Fort Delaware during the 1860s, including prisoners being processed, mail call and firing demonstrations of various 19th century weapons.

Fort Delaware lies on Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River and can only be accessed by ferry. Entry fees and most programming fees are included in the price of a ferry ticket: adult $12; children $7; seniors and members of the military $11. The ferry departs from the dock in Delaware City.

Fort Delaware is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Ferry tickets may be purchased online at destateparks.com or by phone at 877-987-3757. Additional information about Fort Delaware is available at 302-834-7941. More programs in all Delaware State Parks can be found at destateparks.com/programs.

Media Contacts: Jake Miller, Fort Delaware State Park, 302-834-7941; Riley Hays, Delaware State Parks, 302-739-9249 or riley.hays@delaware.gov; or Beth Shockley, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 45, No. 256


Hepatitis – The Silent Epidemic

DOVER – The state Division of Public Health (DPH) encourages baby boomers, or individuals born between 1945 and 1965, to speak to their doctor about getting tested for hepatitis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 3.2 million Americans have chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) and another 1.2 million have chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B and C are spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. Baby boomers account for 75 percent of all living hepatitis C cases, and 50 percent of people with hepatitis C don’t even know they are infected. Testing could identify up to one million individuals in the U.S. who do not currently know they are infected.

Known as the “silent epidemic,” most chronically infected individuals will have few or no symptoms until life-threatening complications such as liver cancer or end-stage liver disease develop – typically years after initial infection. Injection drug use is known to play a major role in HCV transmission. The CDC has noted increases in hepatitis cases in states where IV drug use has also increased. People become infected by sharing needles or other equipment used to inject drugs. Prior to 1992, when widespread screening of the blood supply began in the United States, hepatitis B and C were also commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants.

Hepatitis A and B are vaccine-preventable diseases, whereas hepatitis C has no vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved new medications for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, which can now cure the disease. Hepatitis A occurs much less frequently in the United States and is more common in countries with poor sanitation. Most people recover with no lasting liver damage and the disease is rarely fatal.
If you’re not sure if you’re at risk for hepatitis, visit the DPH hepatitis web page, and take the five-minute risk assessment.

For more information, or to report a hepatitis C case, call DPH’s Adult Viral Hepatitis program at 302-744-1050.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.