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Average price of regular gas nears $4.57 a gallon

The price of gas rose 10 cents a gallon as of Wednesday morning, according to AAA.

Delaware quickly matched the national average price at the pump, which had risen eight cents since Monday. The price at the pump has risen by 16 cents in the past week.

That translates into the average cost of fueling a vehicle with a 15-gallon tank totaling $69, up by $10 in the past month.

Delaware’s average gas prices

RegularMid-GradePremiumDiesel
Current Avg.$4.566$4.851$5.091$6.017
Yesterday Avg.$4.460$4.802$5.062$6.000
Week Ago Avg.$4.401$4.770$4.991$5.994
Month Ago Avg.$3.904$4.386$4.622$4.930
Year Ago Avg.$2.981$3.380$3.612$3.221
From AAA

Business people: May 17, 2022

Hummel

Send your people news items to drainey@delawarebusinessnow.com.

The Middletown Area Chamber of Commerce (MACC) Board of Directors announced the appointment of Michelle Hummel as Executive Director. 

Board President, Bruce Rushton says, “This is an exciting time for the chamber, and I am extremely pleased to have someone with Michelle’s experience and passion leading the organization into our next phase of growth and member services.” 

Hummel has served as the Interim Executive Director and Director of Membership Sales & Engagement for the Middletown Family YMCA. Her operational oversight has provided for successes in membership, programming, and community impact. 

Last coal-fired power plant in Delaware gets a reprieve

Regional grid manager PJM has recommended that the last coal-fired unit at the Indian River Power Plant near Millsboro remain open into 2026.

Shown here is the Indian River Power plant,

PJM’s recommendation and NRG’s response went to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

PJM, which manages a grid system in the Mid-Atlantic Region and in portions of the Midwest, determined that the grid in the area around the plant needs to be strengthened before the coal-fired plant is retired.

The plant had been scheduled to close this year after wholesale electricity bids came in below figures that would allow for profitable operation.

Development finance panel to consider 3 grant requests

The Delaware Council on Development Finance will consider three Strategic Fund grant requests at its meeting on Monday morning at the Buena Vista center south of New Castle.

The state Strategic Fund grants are tied to levels of investment and employment from the applicant. Proceeds are typically paid off quickly in the form of personal income taxes.

Applicants

  • Agilent Technologies, maker and developer of laboratory testing technology, is requesting a Delaware Strategic Fund grant for the $303,330 to expand operations near Wilmington.

In speech Fed President Harker marvels at STAR Campus and discusses ‘anchor institutions’ that drive economy

The following is an excerpt of a speech in Newark by Patrick Harker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and former President of the University of Delaware. Harker’s views do not represent those of the Federal Reserve System.

I had a chance to walk around the STAR campus yesterday and, quite frankly — was amazed at what I saw. Like some of you, I remember when there used to be a Chrysler factory here. I also remember when after the 2008 financial crisis, there was a shuttered Chrysler factory here. That was a terrible time.

I was president of UD when the Chrysler plant closed, and I was intimately involved in the university’s decision to purchase the land. But I have to say, what I saw yesterday surpassed even my own optimistic expectations for what would happen. This is now a thriving, mixed-use community where academia, industry, and government are collaborating to perform pathbreaking research focused on clean energy, biotechnology, and, of course, health sciences, among other fields. Instead of Durangos, this area now produces innovations in health care.

Carney tests positive for Covid-19

Carney vaccinated by Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay in file photo.

Delaware Gov. John Carney announced Monday that he tested positive for Covid-19 through an at-home antigen test he took after experiencing mild symptoms.

Carney is vaccinated, and double boosted, and is currently isolating under Centers for Disease Control guidance.

“I am feeling well and will continue to work remotely, but unfortunately, will have to miss a few in-person events,” said Carney. “I will continue to follow the CDC guidelines following my positive result.”

Museum of Nature and Science opening in late May

Fifty years after originally opening to the public, the fully-renovated Delaware Museum of Nature and Science opens to the public starting May 23

After a $10.8 million project, the former the Delaware Museum of Natural History, closed at the end of 2020 for the project. All of the exhibits – many in place since 1972 – were removed, and walls were taken down to the studs. Installation of the new exhibits has been ongoing since the end of 2021. 

“We’ve completely shed that dusty, old museum perception. The Delaware Museum of Nature and Science is dynamic, engaging, interactive, relevant, and modern,” Executive Director Halsey Spruance said. “Our focus is on what we know about nature and science, why it matters to us, and what we can do to protect the environment. There’s a huge emphasis on how we are all connected and how our actions matter.”

DNREC starts repair work after coastal storm

South Bethany hardest hit; Restoration not instant or easy – DNREC Secretary

Sen Carper at South Bethany

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has started work on damaged ocean beaches and dunes after work was completed on Delaware Bay beach restoration projects after this month’s nor’easter.

“Our shoreline team will be hard at it for the foreseeable future on beach restoration priorities that this storm handed us,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “While restoring the beaches will not be instant nor easy, we are confident of surmounting the challenge ahead. We’re working on making the state’s beaches accessible and in shape for the summer. Of course, we also welcome the communities’ help in restoring the beaches just as they – and we – value our federal partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers when expected beach nourishment projects begin in a number of these communities as early as next fall.”

Pettinaro announces retail, service, and restaurant leases at Barley Mill

Pettinaro photo.

Pettinaro has listed leases on seven new retail tenants at its 56-acre, mixed-use development, known as Barley Mill near Greenville and west of Wilmington. A lease for Delaware’s first Wegmans supermarket is drawing most of the attention, slated to open in the fall.

  • Other leases
  • – First Watch – A breakfast and lunch establishment with a location in the Christiana area and locations around the nation.
  • – McGlynns Pub – A family-style sports bar and restaurant with multiple locations in Delaware.

Jet Blue launches hostile takeover attempt for Spirit

JetBlue launched an all-cash, fully financed tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Spirit Airlines for $30 per share or about $3.3 billion. It also offered a higher price, if Spirit’s board agrees to negotiations.

Spirit Airlines photo.

It followed the discount carrier’s rejection of Jet Blue’s earlier offer and acceptance of a slightly lower offer from Frontier Airlines.

Fronter, which announced Friday it will exit Wilmington-New Castle Airport for the second time in seven years, has a similar operating style to Spirit, offering discounted tickets with added charges for luggage and seat assignments.

Current Delaware Wilmington-New Castle Airport Manager the Delaware River and Bay Authority mentioned the merger in commenting on Frontier’s decision to end service.

Biden heads back to White House after quick trip to Delaware

President Joe Biden was slated to head back to the White House Sunday morning. It was the president’s second trip to Delaware in as many weeks.

The schedule for the president changed on Saturday, with the president and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden first scheduled to arrive on Friday night.

The president typically spends every other weekend at his home near Wilmington, with other weekends spent at Camp David in the Maryland mountains. White House weekends are rare.

Flight restrictions are in place in the area through Sunday.

No public events were scheduled on Saturday. Biden and the First Lady Jill Biden typically stay close to their home, attend Mass and visit with friends and family.

Biden flew back after a busy day that included a visit by US ally King Abdullah II of Jordan and Royal Highness Crown Prince Hussein.

ChristianaCare, with support from Barclays, rolls out community health vans

 ChristianaCare rolled out two Mobile Health Services vans. The vans are supported by Barclays with a $1 million investment as part of its Covid-19 Community Aid Package.

“Meeting our neighbors where they are means we can reach people who may have difficulty accessing the care they need,” said Dr. Janice Nevin, CEO of ChristianaCare. “These vans are a key part of furthering ChristianaCare’s mission to make a positive impact on health in all the communities we serve. We are grateful for the support from Barclays for the generous donation that makes this innovative program possible.”

Delaware counties move into elevated yellow and red Covid-19 categories

All three Delaware counties moved into the elevated category for Covid-19 transmission.

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention County Check, New Castle County moved into the yellow category, with Kent and Sussex moving into the orange-red zone.

The change had been expected as faster spreading variants of Covid-19 move out of New England and into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. (See map above)

Flags lowered to half-mast to mark 1 million Covid deaths and Peace Officers Memorial Day

Gov. John Carney followed the lead of President Joe Biden and ordered U.S. and state flags to fly at half-mast on state government buildings and facilities.

Business and other facilities often follow the state’s lead.

Flags will remain at half staff until sunset of May 16 in honor of the 1 million people who died from Covid-19 and to mark peace officers who died or were disabled on duty.

Frontier Airlines to end service on June 6

Frontier Airlines will discontinue service from Wilmington-New Castle Airport, effective on June 6.

The airline returned to the airport last year but never expanded its flight schedule beyond a few nonstop flights a week to Orlando, FL.

The airline vowed to be patient about the service after its abrupt departure several years ago but did little to promote the Orlando flights.

In the meantime, Frontier, like other airlines, has struggled with a shortage of pilots it adds new Airbus jets.

Frontier is also pursuing a merger with low-fare airline Spirit. Both Frontier and Spirit have beefed up their service from nearby Philadelphia International Airport, with American Airlines not restoring flights to pre-pandemic levels. The drive to PHL is often shorter for many Wilmington-area travelers than it is for residents of Philadelphia suburbs.

News and analysis: Rattay announces departure as public health director

State Public Health Director Dr. Karyn Rattay announced she will leave this post on June 30 after two years in the spotlight.

Rattay presided over the typically low-profile division during a lengthy and ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that still has 100 people in the hospital. The number of cases has declined sharply from winter 2022 highs.

She was a mainstay at the governor’s briefings on the virus and passed along pandemic trends and advice on masks, vaccinations and other matters.

Rattay has been listed as the nation’s longest-serving public health director. Departures and firings of public health directors were frequent during the Covid-19 crisis.

Delaware gets nearly $800,000 for settling Mallinckrodt Medicaid claims

Delaware has reached a multistate agreement with Mallinckrodt ARD, LLC to settle allegations that Mallinckrodt violated the Federal False Claims Act and the Delaware False Claims Act by underpaying Medicaid rebates.

“Medicaid is a precious resource, and fraud that wastes that resource harms both taxpayers and Medicaid recipients,” said Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings. “We will continue to hold companies accountable and ensure the integrity of Delaware’s Medicaid program.”

This action returns nearly $800,000 to Delaware, including restitution toward the state’s share of Medicaid funding. Mallinckrodt, which is a subsidiary of an Irish pharmaceutical company, ells, and markets pharmaceutical products throughout the United States. The total value of the nationwide settlement is nearly $234 million to resolve various civil fraud allegations.

Travel notes: Amtrak schedule, Baltimore Washington parking, Southwest upgrades

The Acela assembly site in New York state. Photo courtesy of Amtrak

Amtrak unveiled its summer schedule featuring the most Acela frequencies since the onset of the pandemic and Northeast Regional departures nearing 80% of pre-pandemic service levels. 

The new summer schedule also includes restoring four long-distance trains to daily service.

Amtrak, which employs about 1,000  in Delaware, added more than 1,500 new employees this year in gearing up for the expansion.

Delaware extends plug-in hybrid, electric vehicle rebates

DNREC photo.

The  Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced extending the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program through the end of 2022.

“As new and existing manufacturers introduce more electric vehicles to their lineups, more consumers are making the switch,” said Gov John Carney. “Our Clean Transportation Incentive Program is helping to make the transition more affordable for more Delawareans.”

The program has been in place since July 2015. In the first round of funding, which lasted until Oct. 31, 2016, the program paid out 292 rebates. By comparison, the program has paid out 267 rebates in the first four months of this year.

In total, almost 2,500 rebates have been issued since the program began. The current program was set to expire on June 30.

Area museum discount card returns

The Brandywine Treasure Trail Passport has returning travelers can purchase a digital version on the Passport webpage or get a print version, both on sale at all participating attractions.

An individual Passport costs $49 and the family Passport costs $99, covering two adults and up to three kids ages 17 and under.

The passes can be used any time over the course of Passport Season, from May 27 through October 31. Visitors can visit each attraction one time at their own pace over the course of the five months.

The passport can be used at:

Brandywine River Museum of Art, Chadds Ford, PA
Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington.
Delaware History Museum, Wilmington.
Delaware Museum of Nature and Science, Greenville.
Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington area.
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA.
Nemours Estate, north Wilmington
.- Read House and Gardens, Historic New Castle.
Rockwood Park and Museum, north Wilmington.
.- Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Greenville/Winterthur.

For more information on the attractions included in the passport and to start planning, log on www.VisitWilmingtonDE.com.