Delaware Division of the Arts invests $2.95 million in the arts sector for Fiscal Year 2016

DDOA weblogoThe Delaware Division of the Arts announces the awarding of $2.95 million in grants for Fiscal Year 2016, to support 112 arts initiatives throughout the state. Twenty-three communities across Delaware, from Claymont to Selbyville, will receive grants to support arts programming and services, arts education, and related arts marketing and promotion.

“The investment we make in the arts is multiplied through local matching,” said Governor Jack Markell. “In addition, art contributes to a quality of life that attracts businesses, strengthens education, and positively impacts our state’s economy.”

Division grants support a variety of projects and programs, from storytelling for preschool reading readiness, to community-based participatory arts, to professional exhibitions and performances featuring local, national and international artists. These grants support arts programming offered by both arts and community organizations based in large and small communities across Delaware.

“Delaware’s arts sector continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to engaging communities throughout the state,” reported Division Director Paul Weagraff. “Panelists from across the state deliberated thoroughly and thoughtfully to assist in reviewing and ranking applicants in all grant categories. This input from our constituents helps to ensure that we are supporting arts programming that is of high quality and serves all Delawareans.”

Funding for the Division of the Arts to support arts programming in Delaware comes from the Delaware General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

A complete listing of Fiscal Year 2016 grants can be found at:

Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill Recruiting Volunteers to Adopt Residents for Sept. 12 Friends & Families Day

SMYRNA – The Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill (DHCI) is recruiting volunteers to adopt residents for its annual Friends & Families Day event on Saturday, Sept. 12, on the facility’s grounds in Smyrna.

Boot Scootin’ Family & Friends Day Bash, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., will include a DJ entertainment, a picnic lunch, watermelon, snow cones, popcorn, cotton candy, as well activities for kids including line dancing, water balloon toss, face painting, and mini-horse visits. The long-term care facility is at 100 Sunnyside Road, Smyrna.

Because many residents will not have loved ones or family members who can participate in the event, the facility is recruiting volunteers to adopt a resident for the day. Volunteers will escort residents to lunch, fun outdoor activities and special treat stations, while also spending quality time with the individuals.

“For individuals who volunteer to adopt residents, you will get back so much more than you give,” Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said. “This annual event is an incredible way to give back and to spend quality time with residents of the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill.”

Participants may bring a picnic lunch to share with a resident (any meal restrictions will be provided), or guests may enjoy a sub provided by Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill.

Groups and organizations are also welcome to adopt a resident. Depending on the size of the group, they may adopt a unit, which typically consists of 20 to 30 residents.

The long-term-care facility, which is operated by DHSS, has about 140 residents. Admission requires both a financial and a medical need.

If you or your group is interested in adopting a resident for Friends & Families Day, please contact Jennifer Bobel, Volunteer Services Coordinator, at or call 302-223-1011 no later than Wednesday, Aug. 26.


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.

For more information, contact Jill Fredel
Delaware Health and Social Services
Director of Communications
(302) 255-9047 (office) or (302) 357-7498 (cell)

State Auditor R. Thomas Wagner, Jr. Releases Bridgeville Senior Center Inspection report.

Dover – State Auditor R. Thomas Wagner, Jr. releases an inspection report on Bridgeville Senior Center (BSC). BSC relies heavily on the approximately $158,000 in Grant in Aid funding received annually, as it accounts for 70% of BSC’s total revenues.

BSC’s accounting records were unreliable with more than $350,000 in errors. The widespread errors were compounded by a lack of the most basic controls. The environment is such that no reliable financial information is available.

According to State Auditor Wagner, after determining that the books and records were unreliable, staff used the bank statements for the six checking accounts to proceed with the review. Unfortunately, there were a wide variety of issues that reflected ongoing fiscal mismanagement. The inspection report is filled with numerous irregularities in almost every area of operation.

Our Office is working with the Controller General’s Office to determine what changes may be needed to the Grant-in-Aid process for these types of organizations. We certainly do not want to overburden these entities with excessive administrative requirements, but it is obvious something must be done to encourage these organizations to improve operations and fiscal governance.

A copy of the complete report can be found at: Bridgeville Senior Center Inspection Report.

For more information, please contact Kathleen Davies, CPA-PA, CISA, CGFM, CGAP, CFE Chief Administrative Auditor, at 302-857-3919 or

DSHA Launches Two New Programs To Help Homebuyers

Dover, DE – Governor Jack Markell joined Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi today to announce two new homeownership programs that will help make homeownership more affordable. DSHA-Paid Mortgage Insurance (MI) will give buyers a lower monthly housing payment by removing the requirement that they purchase mortgage insurance if they do not have a 20% downpayment at the time of settlement. The Home Purchase Rehab program will allow buyers to purchase a home at a low interest rate and make repairs and/or energy improvements in one simple loan.                             DSC_0196

“The new DSHA-Paid Mortgage Insurance and Home Purchase Rehab programs will put the dream of homeownership within reach for more families in Delaware,” said Governor Markell. “When houses are purchased and get repaired, our neighborhoods and our economy benefit – people are put to work, materials are bought, and pride of ownership becomes more evident in our neighborhoods.”

“DSHA makes it a priority to search for new and creative ways to expand the number of programs available to homebuyers so that we can best meet their needs and offer products that will help them to be successful,” added DHSA Director Anas Ben Addi.

Generally, homebuyers who wish to purchase a home with less than a 20% downpayment are required to pay an additional monthly bill for mortgage insurance (MI). DSHA-Paid Mortgage Insurance will pay the required mortgage insurance cost on behalf of the homebuyer in exchange for a slightly higher interest rate.  Homebuyers using the DSHA-Paid MI program will have a more affordable monthly housing cost because they will not be required to pay the monthly mortgage insurance premium in addition to their regular monthly mortgage payment.  For example: If you purchase a home with a sales price of $186,000, this program will allow you to purchase the home with a down- payment as little as $5,580 and an estimated monthly payment of $914.00.  This is a savings of over $70 per month, as compared to DSHA’s standard conventional loan with the same downpayment.  This amounts to an annual savings of nearly $900 per year, or the equivalent of an average monthly mortgage payment.

The Home Purchase Rehab program allows homebuyers who wish to purchase a home which is in need of repair or upgrading to take advantage of having the cost to purchase the home and the cost of the repairs (up to $35,000) combined into one loan. Homebuyers may choose to do repairs as simple as painting, or replacing carpeting or appliances to as large as remodeling, accessibility modifications, a new roof, HVAC, or energy efficiency improvements.  Most homeowners who take advantage of this program have a significant amount of equity in the home once the renovations are complete.  In addition to financing the rehabilitation, DSHA increased the downpayment assistance available to up to $10,000.  This higher amount will help cover the cost of rehab inspections and other associated costs. To qualify for both programs, applicants must be income-eligible and not exceed a maximum loan amount of $417,000. Homebuyers can apply for DSHA mortgage programs through a participating lender.  DSHA offers qualified Delawareans reduced mortgage rates through its Homeownership Loan Program as well as closing cost and downpayment assistance. For more information on all of DSHA’s homeownership programs and a list of participating lenders visit:

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 is 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: (888) 363-8808 or visit our website at:

Christina M. Hardin
Chief of Community Relations, DSHA
Phone: (888) 363-8808

Highway Safety Officials Urge Caution On Roadways

Traffic fatalities are trending upward for 2015

Dover – Highway safety officials are urging motorists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians to focus on the task of driving and/or safely crossing the road.  May, June and July have seen an above-average number of fatalities as compared to the five-year average. Statewide, there were 34 fatalities between May and July and a total of 62 persons have lost their lives in fatal crashes this year.

A variety of factors are at work in causing the crashes according to fatality reports, but what appear to be common factors are speed, impairment, and unsafe crossing by pedestrians. The months of June and July have seen an increase in speed related crashes; July has 13 crashes alone.  Of those 13 crashes, five of them were crashes where a pedestrian died.  Since January 1st of this year there have been a total of 18 pedestrian fatalities, compared to 10 at this time last year.

“An overwhelming majority of crashes are preventable. Using crosswalks, limiting your distractions and slowing down can prevent you from being involved in a crash,” said Jana Simpler, Director for the Office of Highway Safety.

Motorcycle crashes are also trending upward with 9 fatalities to date this year. There were 15 motorcycle fatalities in all of 2014.  Factors leading to motorcycle crashes include speed and loss of control.  “With many more warm riding days ahead, we urge motorcyclists to freshen up their riding skills and take one of the rider training courses offered by DMV or other partners,”  said Alison Kirk Community Relations Officer, Office of Highway Safety. “If the crash trend continues, we may end with more motorcycle fatalities than last year.”

OHS reminds all drivers to go back to the basics of driving safety:  slow down, don’t drink and drive and always buckle up.  Plan extra time to get to any destination so you don’t let traffic frustration cause you to make a bad decision behind the wheel.

Follow OHS for regular updates on Facebook ArriveAliveDE, Twitter @DEHighwaySafe, and