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April 11, 2014     Cape Gazette
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April 11, 2014

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Cape Gazette NEWS FRIDAY, APRIL 11- MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2014 ; Markell pitches Downtown Development Districts Program promotes revitalization through incentives for developers By Chris Flood, Gov. Jack A. Markell says healthy, vital downtowns are important, and he has proposed a $7 million program to improve First State cities. "I really believe a healthy, vibrant downtown is really im- portant," he said during a phone interview on Tuesday, April 1. Continued on page 23 Drugs Continued from page 20, resource investigation into Cal- lery's activities. AdditionaIly, California firm Andrews International is audit- ing all operations at the Medical Examiner's Office: the drug lab, death investigations and DNA evidence, said Jill Fredel, director of communications for DHSS. The $250,000 contract is looking into how the lab handles drug evidence, and Andrews is provid- ing a comprehensive review of the office. "They will look at each area and make sure the protocols are appropriate," Fredel said. Sgt. Paul Shavack, director of public information for the Delaware State Police, said po- lice continue to interview and examine secured drug evidence contained within the Controlled Substances Lab. "There are thousands of pieces of evidence to physically exam- ine, and we are making progress in this tedious and time-consum- ing process," he said. Shavack said there is no time- line for when the investigation will conclude, and no arrests have been made. NMS Labs in Willow Grove, Pa., is now handling Delaware's drug evidence and testing, Fredel said, DHSS has a contract of up to $70,000 with NMS Labs to test more than 250 illicit or prescrip- tion drugs, she said. However, those costs could rise much higher. In the tran- script from a March 26 court proceeding, State Prosecutor Kathleen Jennings said 103 sam- ples of evidence have been sent to NMS at an estimated $400 per sample, Jennings said she anticipated the samples should be done in four weeks. The 103 samples represent 30 court cases; Jennings said there are nearly 20,000 bags of evidence overall, but "far more items of evidence in all the police agencies throughout the state." Some cases involving drug testing are closed so they don't impact Superior Court, but they would impact the Public De- fender's Office, she said. Delaware Republicans have questioned the lack of response to from the Attorney General's Office and the Governor's Office. In March, Senate Minority Whip Republican Greg Lavelle, R-Sharpley, spoke about holding a public hearing to discuss the situation in the Medical Exam- iner's Office. "We still have a medical exam- iner who's now getting paid and doing nothing. 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