{ts '2014-04-17 00:00:00'}
NEWS UPDATES

Woodland Ferry closed another month
Sandy Roumillat, chief of community relations at DelDOT, said Thursday that the Woodland Ferry will be out of operation about another month. Navigational lights need to be replaced before the US Coast Guard will allow the ferry to pass inspection. The lights were ordered today (April 17). Roumillat said it will take about three weeks for the lights to come in and be replaced. Then the Coast Guard will be called and the inspection can be scheduled. By mid May the ferry that is part of Route 78 should be back in service. The ferry only operates during daytime hours, but the Coast Guard told DelDOT that since the ferry sometimes operates in low-visibility weather conditions, the navigational lights are required.

Last year for the Delmarva Chicken Festival
The Delmarva Chicken Festival, a tradition on the Delmarva Peninsula since 1948, will make it 65th and final run on June 20-21, at the Queen Anne's County 4-H Park near Centreville, Md. First organized as a one-time backdrop for a national competition to develop a better meat type chicken, the event continued as a popular means of promoting and spotlighting Delmarva's growing chicken industry. But, times have changed and Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. (DPI), the trade association for the Peninsula's chicken industry and the event's overall sponsor, has announced that it will discontinue sponsorship after the June event.

Bill would ban commissions on escheat collections
Escheat is the legal process by which abandoned or unclaimed property is transferred to the state. In Delaware, unclaimed property includes dormant checking and savings accounts, uncashed money orders or cashiers checks, unclaimed insurance benefits, contents of safe deposit boxes, unused gift cards, dividends, stocks, bonds and more. Property that remains unclaimed or dormant for a certain number of years is transferred to the state. Once property is escheated, the value of the property reverts to the state's General Fund. In Fiscal Year 2013, the value of that property transferred to the state was $566.5 million, the third largest source of revenue for the state. In the same year, the state paid Kelmar Associates, a firm that provides government auditing services, $53.4 million, according to the State of Delaware Online Checkbook. My understanding is that Kelmar is paid on a commission for its services as a collection agent for the escheat program, said Senate Republican Whip Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley). We, specifically Delaware taxpayers, have paid this firm $116 million over the past six years. Thats an obscene amount of money. This is a business performing a service, and they should be compensated for that service, but there has to be limits. The bill would forbid a person or business conducting an audit on escheat from receiving a percentage of the property recovered by the state. Senate Republican Leader Gary Simpson (R-Milford) said a by-product of the legislation would be more funding available for high-priority state projects such as road and water initiatives, or, better yet, money going back into the pockets of taxpayers. The tremendous profits that theyve collected should go to the taxpayers of the state of Delaware, Sen. Simpson said. In yet another year where were making tough fiscal decisions and contemplating additional tax increases, I believe there are significant savings to be achieved through this legislation. The measure would also prohibit state employees who work in the escheat office from working for a private audit firm for a period of two years after leaving state service. In addition, it would require that the contract for escheat auditing services would be re-bid every three years.

House fire in Laurel
The Delaware State Fire Marshals office is investigating a fire in Laurel that severely damaged a single story home with an attached garage. The blaze occurred in the 14000 block of West Court, Shiloh Farms, and was reported at 2:51 a.m. on Sunday, April 20. The Laurel Fire Department, assisted by Blades, Georgetown, and Millsboro Volunteer Fire companies extinguished the flames. The residence was occupied at the time of the fire and there were no reported fire injuries. State fire investigators were called to the scene to determine the origin and cause of the fire. The fire remains under investigation. Total fire loss was estimated at $200,000.

Matt Denn seeking office of Attorney General
Delaware Democratic Party Chairman John Daniello has released the following statement about Matt Denn's filing for the office of Attorney General. "Lt. Governor Matt Denn has filed for the office of Attorney General. We are proud to have candidates who can step up into that position. The party has not endorsed any candidate for any statewide office at this point. There is a process for which the party selects their candidates and that process will continue. I encourage the local Democratic committees to continue welcoming candidates from various races. Nothing should change other than the fact that we have one more office to vet. Our only focus is on supporting all of our Democratic candidates in the 2014 election."

NEWS BRIEFS

APPROVAL- Delmar Council approves Love Light Tree, receives report from library. Page 10

COUNTY COUNCIL- County Councilman Vance Phillips files for re-election. Page 13

LAUREL-DELMAR- The Cats and the Dogs met on the baseball and softball diamonds last week in Delmar. Page 37

LAUREL LIONESSS- The Laurel Lioness Club holds fundraisers to give back to the community. Page 6

LITTLE MISS-MISS LAUREL- Miss and Little Miss Laurel are crowned during 2014 ceremony. Page 4

AGING - What are your chances of living to 100? You may be surprised. Page 27

FRANKLY - Frank Calio says he has a lighter side. Let the readers decide. Page 33

INVITATIONAL- Local track and field teams take part in annual Keith S. Burgess Invitational. Page 38

YUMMY - Seaford festival to combine chocolate, womens health. Page 3

STARS OF THE WEEK- A Laurel track and field athlete and a Laurel softball player are this weeks Laurel Stars of the Week. Page 39