Universal recycling available Jan. 1, 2013 for Delaware’s multi-family complexes

DOVER (Dec. 31, 2012) –  New Year’s Day 2013 marks the expansion of recycling services in Delaware to include multi-family apartment and condominium complexes.  Waste collectors have partnered with multi-family complexes to provide recycling services along with their trash services through the state’s universal recycling program.

All single family homes that have trash collection service began receiving recycling service from their waste haulers in September 2011, as did most restaurants and bars. By Jan. 1, 2014, all commercial businesses will be participating in a comprehensive recycling program. Recycling participation is dramatically higher throughout Delaware in the last 15 months, according to reports from waste haulers, while landfill disposal volumes are down.

“Reducing waste reduces consumption of our natural resources, generates new businesses and job opportunities and keeps disposal costs down,” said Governor Jack Markell. “The more Delaware recycles, the less trash we send to our landfills and the less demand we have for future landfill expansion. Minimizing the need for more landfill capacity is a key economic and environmental goal of universal recycling.”

“Recycling is a win-win-win,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “Recycling improves the environment, saves money, and creates local jobs.  Including multi-family dwellings is a key next step in ensuring every resident and business has easy access to recycling services.  We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with residents, businesses, local governments, and private haulers to achieve the goals of the universal recycling program.”

Multi-family dwellings – apartment and condo complexes – will be provided recycling collection in the same fashion as their trash collection.  Single stream recycling, which allows all recyclables to be tossed together into one container for pickup, separate from the trash, has made recycling easier than ever before. Apartment and condo management staff will provide information on recycling to their residents.

“Sorting and collecting items separately was one of the obstacles that kept people from recycling more,” said Brock J. Vinton II, Chairman of Delaware’s Recycling Public Advisory Council. “Single stream eliminates the need for storing recyclables in separate containers and streamlines the process thanks to the automated sorting mechanisms at the materials recovery facilities in Delaware.

According to Vinton, municipalities and waste haulers are reporting an enthusiastic response to their recycling services and a significant reduction in trash going to the state’s three landfills.

Delaware’s universal recycling program was established in 2010 following passage of legislation co-sponsored by Senator David McBride and Representative Michael Mulrooney and signed into law by Governor Jack Markell. For more information on recycling in Delaware, please visit: www.recycling.delaware.gov

31 Days to a Healthier You: A Delaware Social Media Campaign;Small Steps Can Lead to Big Rewards for Your Health

NEW CASTLE (Dec. 28, 2012) – Small steps toward good health can lead to big rewards. Building healthy habits often starts with small ideas about the changes you want to accomplish, a commitment to make those changes and, sometimes, a social connection to keep you going. To help promote a healthier Delaware, the Department of Health and Social Services, in connection with the Governor’s Office and the YMCA of Delaware, will kick off a social media campaign on Jan. 1 called “31 Days to a Healthier You.”

Gov. Jack Markell, DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf, Delaware Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay and YMCA President/CEO Michael Graves will mark the campaign with a press event at 10 a.m. Jan. 2 at the Downtown Central YMCA in Wilmington.

Each day using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, flickr, Instagram or YouTube, “31 Days to a Healthier You” will offer fitness/activity ideas, nutritional information and healthy recipes, advice on how to quit smoking, tips on health screenings and more. The campaign will share links to information, photos, how-to videos and contact information, all using the hashtag #healthDE. The goal is to provide quick and easy-to-implement small steps that are both practical and will make a real difference in people’s lives.

“What a great way to start the New Year,” Gov. Markell said. “Every year around Jan. 1, we collectively think about healthier habits we can embrace. This campaign offers Delawareans the opportunity to start 2013 with good advice for making small lifestyle changes that will lead to lasting differences in their lives. Plus, it encourages all of us to support one another. We hope you share this campaign with your family, your co-workers or your fellow students.”

Across the state, Delaware is starting to see improvement in some key health indicators. The prevalence of cigarette smoking among Delaware’s adults is among the lowest levels since the Division of Public Health began collecting data in 1982. And in the past 10 years, the rate of cardiovascular deaths dropped from 331.4 to 258.1 deaths per 100,000 population. Many challenges remain. While the obesity rates for children and adults appear to be leveling off, too many people remain at an unhealthy weight. Other indicators continue to rise. The state’s diabetes rate and the number of people who say they lead sedentary lives are still increasing. Small steps can make a big difference. For example, people at increased risk for type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay the disease’s onset by losing 5 percent to 7 percent of their body weight through increased physical activity and a reduced-fat and lower-calorie diet.

“Making small lifestyle changes can bring big rewards when it comes to your health,” Secretary Landgraf said. “Whatever the change you are embracing – making healthier food choices, being more physically active, quitting smoking or getting regular medical screenings – this campaign will give you ideas and connections. Because the campaign involves social media, we need the public’s interaction, too. As part of that connectedness, we’ll ask you to share photos that illustrate your small health changes or offer inspiration to others.”

On Facebook and Instagram, Delawareans will be encouraged to share their photos that answer this question: What does ‘Healthy’ look like?” 

“Public Health is urging people to remember ‘5-2-1 Almost None,’ which means eating at least five servings of fruit or vegetables a day, watching no more than two hours of recreational screen time daily, being physically active for at least one hour a day and drinking almost no sugar-sweetened drinks,” said Dr. Rattay, director of DHSS’ Division of Public Health. “For example, drinking one less 12-ounce can of regular soda a day could save 15 pounds in a year. Pick the 5-2-1-Almost None goal you want to aim for and make a plan to take small steps to reach it.”

For the YMCA of Delaware, helping individuals build healthy lifestyle habits is a big part of its mission.

“The core of the YMCA of Delaware is healthy living, youth development and social responsibility, said Michael P. Graves, President of the YMCA of Delaware. “We know from experience that the beginning of the New Year is a time when people feel most optimistic and hopeful about changing behaviors and taking steps towards healthier living. The Y has programs and classes in place to help people reach their goals. We work at it 365 days a year so we are thrilled to be part of Delaware’s 31 Days to a Healthier You social media campaign.”

To join in or to follow 31 Days to a Healthier You, look for the hashtag #healthDE and go to:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DelawareDHSS

or www.facebook.com/DEPublicHealth

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Delaware_DHSS

YouTube: www.youtube.com/DelDHSS

Flickr: www.flickr.com/deldhss

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/dhss

Instagram: www.instagram.com/deldhss

YMCA of Delaware: www.ymcade.org

Delaware.gov: www.delaware.gov

Photos are on the Governor’s Flickr page.

State Works Together to Help Families Save Their Homes from Foreclosure

December 28, 2012 (DOVER, DE) – In 2011, Gilbert and Cheryl Kimble contacted the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) for help to keep up with their mortgage because Gilbert had been laid off and Cheryl’s company folded due to the economy. Like many Delaware families, the Kimbles were struggling in this tough economic climate.  They reached out to the State and nonprofit agencies for assistance, and a counselor at Hockessin Community Center suggested they apply for the Delaware Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (DEMAP).  DEMAP provides up to $30,000 to bring home mortgage, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance current, and can help make mortgage payments for up to two years.

“Because of DSHA, we are thankful each month to be able to make our payment. They helped us in paying the mortgage until we could get back on our feet again.  We are appreciative to have that to fall back on, and grateful for what DEMAP and the state has done to help us during our hardship,” said Cheryl.  Her advice to families in a similar situation is not to be embarrassed to ask for help before it’s too late.  “It’s a gift to be able to use it, we are truly blessed.”

Unforeseen financial hardships can cause the threat of foreclosure for even the most responsible of homeowners.  As part of the total $45 Million in National Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement, (resolved unfair mortgage practice claims filed by states against the 5 largest mortgage servicers in the country), funds obtained by Delaware, $11 Million in direct payments to the state will allow for the investigation and prosecution of mortgage fraud, education, and outreach to homeowners in mortgage default, and support foreclosure prevention work being done by non-profit housing counseling and legal services agencies, in addition to supplemental funding for the DEMAP program.

“Homeownership is one of the cornerstones of our economy,” said Governor Jack Markell. “Programs like DEMAP are offering critical help to financially distressed families facing the prospect of foreclosure.  As much as possible, we are helping people work through economic challenges in order to be able to keep their homes.”

“Foreclosures are devastating to homeowners and also to neighborhoods through lower home values, and vacant properties attract crime,” Attorney General Biden said.  “Reducing foreclosure is the reason we changed the law to require banks to meet face-to-face with homeowners in foreclosure to discuss available alternatives.  It’s why my office has held dozens of workshops with lenders across our state, and it’s why we secured $45 million for Delawareans in a national mortgage settlement this year.  I urge homeowners who face foreclosure to call our Mortgage Hotline at 800-220-5424 to be connected to the many programs that could help them stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure.”

“Homeownership is vital to the stability of families and communities.  Through foreclosure prevention assistance and counseling, DSHA has been able to help thousands of families.  Because of the hard work and partnership with the Department of Justice, the housing counselors, and DSHA staff, we have been able to get additional funding to reach even more suffering homeowners who would otherwise have no place to turn,” said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi.

To qualify for DEMAP, applicants must be facing residential mortgage foreclosure from circumstances beyond their control that result in a loss of 15% or more of their income. Homeowners who are delinquent on the first mortgage and at risk of foreclosure should meet with an approved DEMAP housing counseling agency as soon as possible. The counselor will help determine whether DEMAP is right for you and guide you through the DEMAP application process.

For additional information about DEMAP eligibility requirements or other programs, please visit our website http://www.destatehousing.com or call (888) 363-8808. Additional foreclosure prevention resources can also be found at www.DEForeclosureHelp.org or by calling the Mortgage Hotline at 800-220-5424.

About the Delaware State Housing Authority

The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA), formed in 1968, is dedicated to providing quality, affordable housing opportunities and appropriate supportive services to low- and moderate-income Delawareans. In addition to its role as the State’s Housing Finance Agency, DSHA is unique in that it also serves as a Public Housing Authority and acts as a Community Development and Planning Agency. As a Public Housing Authority, DSHA receives funding from HUD to build, own, and operate public housing in Kent and Sussex counties, two of Delaware’s three counties. For more information about the Delaware State Housing Authority, please call: (302) 739-4263 or visit our website at: www.destatehousing.com

J.G. Townsend, Jr. & Co. Gives Over $227,000 to Delaware’s Open Space Fund

“J.G. Townsend, Jr. & Co. Provides Financial Boost for Open Space Preservation in Sussex County”

J.G. Townsend, Jr. & Co.’s Board of Directors gathered at their Georgetown offices to present a ceremonial check for $227,581.73 to Delaware’s Open Space Program.  On hand were (from left) John G. Townsend, IV, Bill Lingo, Paul Townsend, Bryce Lingo, John Lingo, Derrick Lingo, and Deputy Secretary of Agriculture E. Austin Short, who gratefully accepted the donation on behalf of the State of Delaware. (Not shown: Board member Eugene H. Bayard, Esq.)

The charitable gift of over $227,500 by Georgetown-based J.G. Townsend, Jr. & Co. to the State of Delaware Open Space Program will help fund future land preservation efforts in Sussex County. The donation fulfills its pledge to donate $1,050 per acre from the State of Delaware’s purchase of 216 acres of forestland from the firm that are now part of the 12,255-acre Redden State Forest. The purchase highlights the latest chapter in what has become a beneficial partnership between the public and private sectors: one of the existing Redden State Forest tracts is already named the J.G. Townsend Tract in honor of former Delaware Governor and U.S. Senator John G. Townsend – an important figure in the political and agricultural history of the First State.

“We are very grateful to the Board of Directors of J.G. Townsend, Jr. & Co. for allowing us to conserve this important forestland for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations of Delaware residents,” said Michael A. Valenti, Delaware’s State Forestry Administrator.

“This large donation to Delaware’s Open Space Preservation Fund will directly support our state’s conservation efforts in the immediate future. It’s also equally important to acknowledge the unfailing support of the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, which has provided well over $14 million to help protect almost 3,000 acres as part of the Green Horizons Project,” Valenti added.

The 216-acre acquisition marks one of the latest phases in the Delaware Forest Service’s long-range effort to permanently protect working forests in Sussex County before they are converted to other uses.  The $1.54 million acquisition was purchased with $1.15 million from the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program and $385,000 from the state’s open space preservation fund. The forestland will be managed by the Delaware Forest Service for a variety of public benefits, including wildlife habitat, timber production, water quality, hunting, and recreational opportunities.

GREEN HORIZONS PROJECT: Completed Forest Legacy Tracts in Delaware as of December 31, 2012

No. Name Type Acres Total U.S. Forest Legacy Funds
1 Green Horizons Phase I Easement 908 $4,800,000 $1,994,000
2 Green Horizons Phase II Purchase 448 $3,030,000 $1,975,000
3 Green Horizons Phase III Purchase 88 $1,500,000 $986,000
4 Green Horizons Phase IV Purchase 240 $3,700,000 $1,970,000
5 Green Horizons Phase V Purchase 348 $3,981,903 $2,000,000
6 Green Horizons Phase VI Purchase 377 $2,700,000 $2,000,000
7 Green Horizons Phase VIIa Purchase 216 $1,540,000 $1,155,000
8 Green Horizons Phase VIIb Purchase 339 $2,680,000 $2,010,000
Completed Projects Total: 2,964 $23,931,903 $14,090,000

Governor’s Weekly Message Transcript: Working Together in the New Year

My weekly message this week is short. I hope you had the opportunity during these holiday days to spend time with the people that you love. May you have a year of health and happiness and may we all continue to work together to make Delaware all that it can be.