Flags to Fly at Half-Staff in Honor of National Fallen Firefighters Memorial

Delaware State SealGovernor Jack Markell has ordered that U.S. and Delaware flags in the state be flown at half-staff on Sunday, October 16, in recognition of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. The Governor’s order is consistent with a proclamation by President Obama, which can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/10/07/presidential-proclamation-fire-prevention-week.

“As I told Delaware’s firefighters when I was with them a few weeks ago, we can never thank them enough for the sacrifices they make in protecting their fellow citizens,” Gov. Markell said. “It is entirely appropriate to have a sign of respect this weekend as firefighters from around the country, including some from Delaware, gather to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland.”


Governor’s Weekly Message – Putting Young Delawareans Ahead: Improving Early Childhood Education

DOVER – In his weekly message, Governor Markell talks about efforts to improve early childhood education in Delaware, including expansion of the Delaware Stars for Early Success quality-rating program, which provides technical and financial assistance to enable early care and education providers to achieve higher standards.

“Education cannot start the moment a child shows up for his or her first day of kindergarten,” said the Governor.  “Kids who arrive years behind their peers that first day can take years to catch up—at substantial cost to their school districts and themselves. Research has demonstrated clearly that investing in early childhood education is one of the best investments a state can make in its own economic growth.  Children receiving quality early care and education are less likely to be disruptive and much more likely to be successful.”

Delaware is focused on getting more providers enrolled in the voluntary quality-rating system – so they can benefit by providing even better care and our state’s youngest minds can benefit from even stronger instruction.  The state isexpanding the reimbursement rate for providers caring for children eligible for Delaware’s Purchase of Care system – so providers can help keep top talent, and these children can keep learning.

“Our commitment to improving K-12 education is clear and constant – because it gives children a much better chance to graduate ready to succeed in the work world,” said the Governor.  “ Our commitment to early childhood education is becoming more clear as well – because children need every opportunity to show up, ready to learn, ready to succeed, and ready to make the most of the great public schools our state provides –  all critical components to keep our state, moving forward.”

About the Governor’s Weekly Message:
At noon every Friday, a new video message is posted to the Governor’s website and YouTube channel and is distributed to Delaware media outlets.   Transcripts of the messages are posted and the audio version of the Governor’s message is available on iTunes as a podcast for distribution to personal MP3 players and home computers.   The Governor’s weekly message is currently being carried on the air and posted on websites by various media outlets, and the direct link is:   http://youtu.be/TLVM20NvTBY

Constituents, media outlets and others are free to link to the Governor’s video message on YouTube –http://www.youtube.com/user/GovernorMarkell – or on his Facebook page – www.facebook.com/governormarkell – or on the Delaware State website at http://governor.delaware.gov/information/podcast_video.shtml.  All are also invited to follow him on Twitter – www.twitter.com/governormarkell – and submit ideas throughhttp://ideas.delaware.gov

TRANSCRIPT / TEXT OF SCRIPT


Governor’s Weekly Message Transcript: Putting Young Delawareans Ahead: Improving Early Childhood Education

Efforts to improve public education in Delaware are well underway – thousands of people are putting in countless hours to give our state the strongest possible public schools and give our state the strongest possible argument to make to potential employers the First State their first choice to locate new jobs.

It’s a reform effort that brings together teachers, students, parents, administrators, public officials and private sector employers – all committed to the same cause of helping great teachers make a real difference in our children’s lives.  But it’s an effort that’s made more clear lately that education cannot start the moment a child shows up for his or her first day of kindergarten. Kids who arrive years behind their peers that first day can take years to catch up- at substantial cost to their school districts and themselves.

Research has demonstrated clearly that investing in early childhood education is one of the best investments a state can make in its own economic growth.  Children receiving quality early care and education are less likely to be disruptive and much more likely to be successful. They are less likely to drop out and more likely to succeed in school, become better citizens, earn more, contribute more, and require far less in government services.

It’s an investment that clearly pays dividends. That’s why we are expanding the Delaware Stars- for-Early- Success quality rating program, which provides technical and financial assistance to enable centers to achieve higher standards. It’s why we are focused on getting more centers enrolled in the optional quality rating system – so they can benefit by providing even better care and our state’s youngest minds can benefit from even stronger instruction.

Just as great teachers are the bedrock of great success in a public school classroom, great staff at these centers can make all the difference for the children in their care. That’s why we are also expanding the reimbursement rate for centers caring for children eligible for Delaware’s Purchase of Care system – so centers can help keep top talent, and these children can keep learning.

Our commitment to improving K-12 education is clear and constant – because it gives children a much better chance to graduate ready to succeed in the work world.   Our commitment to early childhood education is becoming more clear as well – because children need every opportunity to show up, ready to learn, ready to succeed, and ready to make the most of the great public schools our state provides –  all critical components to keep our state, moving forward.

 


Governor Unveils Vision for Statewide Trails and Pathways

Map of proposed trails and pathways from DelDOTLAUREL –  Among a group of outdoors and health organizations gathered for a “Sussex Outdoors” summit today at Trap Pond State Park, Governor Markell previewed his vision for a long term “Statewide Trails and Pathways” project for Delaware.  The Governor has charged the Delaware Departments of Natural Resources and Transportation with bringing the vision to life.  The proposed program would establish an interconnected network of pathways and trails throughout the state to support non-motorized travel and recreational trails that could be enjoyed by Delawareans and by visitors.

“I want to make it a priority to build a world-class interconnected trail network in Delaware.  As an avid cyclist, I know the enjoyment one can receive from being outside,” said Governor Markell.  “ These proposed projects will expand or begin trail networks, inside and outside of state parks in all three counties.   They will help us realize a truly walkable, bikeable Delaware that all Delawareans can use and enjoy.   Our commitment to invest in outdoor opportunities helps ensure the quality of life Delawareans deserve.  At the same time, we stimulate job growth through investment in infrastructure.”

 

The Governor’s goals for the proposed Statewide Trails and Pathways program are to:

 

  • Build a world class interconnected pathway network
  • Support creation of local jobs
  • Link communities internally to support local sustainable economies, and externally to grow connections between neighborhoods, towns and cities
  • Develop sustainable practices in the creation of the network, such as supporting native landscaping and natural habitats
  • Support health communities by providing affordable, active transportation choices
  • Re-establish Delaware in the Top Ten of Bicycle Friendly states  (we’re at #17 right now)
  • And, develop strategies for the ongoing maintenance and upgrades of existing facilities.

DelDOT and DNREC have identified seventeen (17) proposed projects for discussion and possible construction over the next 2-3 years, covered  by an initial investment of $7 million earmarked for trails in the 2012 Bond Bill.   This funding will maximize the state’s ability to leverage federal and private dollars for these projects.

Today, the Governor previewed the plan, by identifying the four Sussex County projects are on the list:

 

  • a proposed a rail-to-trail from Georgetown to Lewes to Cape Henlopen, with the first phase located in Lewes
  • a proposed Junction and Breakwater Trail, to complete the missing links to Lewes and Rehoboth at the north and south ends of the trail
  • a proposed complete recreational trail at Gordons Pond in Cape Henlopen State Park linking the northern and southern portions of the park
  • a proposed partnership with Ocean View, Bethany and South Bethany to construct a recreational trail along the Assawoman Canal

A map of the proposed trails and pathway project areas in Sussex County can be found here.

Tomorrow, at the Delaware Bike Summit to be held at the University of Delaware’s Virden Center in Lewes, DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt and DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara will sign a Memorandum of Agreement outlining the responsibilities and activities of each agency to build our trails network, with financial stewardship of the program shared by both agencies.  They will also unveil the New Castle County and Kent County proposed trails and pathways projects to biking advocates, elected officials and community leaders who are discussing ways to make Delaware more bicycle friendly.

DNREC and DelDOT will also conduct a series of workshops on proposed trails so that property owners, community groups, and other interested citizens have an opportunity for input on the locations and types of trails to be constructed.   According to the latest State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan survey, conducted by DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation, 91 percent of Delawareans consider outdoor recreation important to them personally.


Sussex Outdoors Summit kicks off campaign to champion outdoor, family-friendly activity

LAUREL – Governor Jack Markell and other state and local officials announced their visions and support for “Sussex Outdoors,” a southern Delaware initiative that seeks to get families and children outdoors for physical activity and to create healthy lifestyles, at a summit on Thursday at Trapp Pond State Park. Attendees heard from national experts, state leaders, and outdoors and health organizations about strategies and opportunities for encouraging families to be more active outdoors.

Governor Markell, a nationally-recognized speaker on the importance of outdoor activity and honorary chair of Sussex Outdoors, announced his vision for a proposed trails and pathways plan to be developed through a collaborative effort of two state agencies, DNREC and DelDOT.

“These proposed projects will expand trail networks or begin trail networks, inside and outside of state parks in all three counties,” said Governor Markell. “They will help us realize a truly walkable, bikeable Delaware that all Delawareans can use and enjoy. Our continued commitment to invest in outdoor opportunities, both financially and through the efforts of community/government partnerships such as ‘Sussex Outdoors,’ will help us ensure the quality of life Delawareans deserve. By working together, we improve the health and wellbeing of our state’s children and stimulate job growth through investment in infrastructure at the same time.”

John Hollis, Sussex County Manager of Nemours Health and Prevention Services, one of the sponsors of the event, challenged summit attendees: “Sussex County has been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control as one of 40 communities nationally that will focus on the lifestyle changes that will be healthier both physically and emotionally.”

Other sponsors of the summit were the Sussex County Council, Sussex County Health Promotion Coalition, Sanofi Aventis, and Bike Delaware. “Sussex Outdoors” is a partnership of DNREC Sussex County Council, Sussex Child Health Promotion Coalition, and Nemours Health and Prevention Services.

In addition to DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara, state Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee and DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf, speakers promoting outdoor physical activity included Mark Fenton, one of the nation’s foremost experts on walking and host of the new PBS series, America’s Walking; Rich Killingsworth, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer for the National Foundation on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, and innovator of the Active Living by Design program.

All speakers emphasized the connection between sedentary lifestyles and poor health, and contrasted that with the link between physical activity and good health.

Attendees participated in workshops that included such topics as an overview of Sussex trails and current opportunities presented by Delaware State Parks, Sussex Master Planning and the Sussex Land Trust.

Keynote speakers issued a call of action challenging each leader to encourage active outdoor activity wherever and with whomever they may come in contact with. “We passed along to everyone the importance of engaging in active outside activity, wherever that may be,” Hollis continued. “We want this call to action to go viral at the community and state level for everyone to get out and enjoy the outdoors.”