Statewide Litter Clean Up Efforts Making Progress

Since expanding the Work A Day Earn A Pay (WADEAP) Pilot Public Works Jobs program statewide in July 2019, the program has collected nearly 1,500 bags of trash along Delaware roads. The program is a collaborative effort between the Delaware Department of Transportation and Goodwill Industries of Delaware and Delaware County.

“I want to thank Delawareans all across our state, including everyone involved in our Work A Day program, who are helping to protect our natural environment and Keep DE Litter Free,” said Governor John Carney. “Just recently, a group of Sussex County employees collected 169 bags of trash along county roadways, and the annual Coastal Cleanup in September brought thousands of volunteers out to collect trash along our coastline. We live in a beautiful state, and we should keep it that way. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re encouraged with the results we’re seeing so far.”

“Goodwill has done a fantastic job of getting the statewide WADEAP program up and running, helping us address this problem and offering job opportunities and training,” said Secretary of Transportation Jennifer Cohan. “In addition, we continue to spread the Keep DE Litter Free message throughout Delaware that we need everyone’s help in this effort. For example, DelDOT has collected more than 200 dumped large appliances from roads in Kent County since the beginning of 2018. This behavior is not ok and we need these blatant acts to stop which can only happen with the public’s help,” she added.

Colleen Morrone, President & Chief Executive Officer of Goodwill of Delaware and Delaware County offered, “The Work A Day Earn A Pay program is providing a great opportunity to individuals with barriers to employment to enter the workforce. To support job growth opportunities, the 40 WADEAP team participants are also receiving digital skills and financial coaching, giving them the skills to improve their quality of life through the Power of Work.”

DelDOT is providing the $483,000 in funding for the expanded program that has increased the frequency of cleanups in Wilmington as well as targeting other high litter areas in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties. More information about the Keep DE Litter Free campaign can be found at https://governor.delaware.gov/litter-free/


DNREC-sponsored 12th annual Blackbird Creek Fall Festival to celebrate Delaware natural treasures Oct. 19

TOWNSEND – Autumn’s vibrant foliage will be on full display within the lush landscape and pristine waters of the Blackbird Creek Reserve at the 12th Annual Blackbird Creek Fall Festival Saturday, Oct. 19 on the Delaware Bayshore Byway. The festival takes place rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Blackbird Creek Reserve, 801 Blackbird Landing Road near Townsend. The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) and DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs host the festival along the banks of Blackbird Creek.

“The Blackbird Creek Fall Festival showcases one of Delaware’s natural treasures and provides an opportunity for visitors to experience first-hand some of our state’s unique environmental wonders,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Plus, the lineup of activities for all ages, food, and music make this a fun and educational event that the entire family can enjoy.”

The Black Creek Fall Festival is DNERR’s largest event of the year. This year’s festival features a fall native plant sale held for the first time in conjunction with Delaware Wildlands. Additionally, the festival offers traditional crafts and demonstrations by a blacksmith, hands-on learning about the estuary, canoeing, live music and kids’ activities. Visitors may also browse the works of artisans and exhibitors, enjoy hayrides and a hay maze, learn to cast a fishing line, go on a guided hike of the reserve, and check out Native American cultural demonstrations. The musical lineup for the day includes the Smyrna High School Drum Line, Jerry “Crabmeat” Thompson, Bryan Scar, and East of the Mason Dixon Line.

Families also can get a “passport” and earn a prize by visiting all the participating stations throughout the festival, learning about the natural resources and heritage of the Delaware Bay through games, demonstrations and challenges. Food vendors will also be on-site to provide a variety of food and snacks for purchase.

For more information on the Blackbird Creek Fall Festival, contact Maggie Pletta, Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, 302-739-6377 or visit http://de.gov/blackbirdfestival.

Contact: Maggie Pletta, DNREC Delaware Coastal Programs, 302-739-6377

Vol. 49, No. 244


Delaware Public Health Officials Confirm First Flu Case of the 2019-2020 Season

DOVER – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing the state’s first laboratory-confirmed case of influenza for the 2019-2020 flu season. The case, which also marks Delaware’s first pediatric case of the season, involves an 8-year-old from New Castle County.

“The flu is here,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Now that we have lab-confirmation of our first case, we hope this further motivates individuals who have not yet gotten their annual flu shot to do so right away. Getting a flu shot is quick, easy, and not only protects you, but also those around you. Most of us frequently spend time around someone who is likely to have more severe consequences from influenza. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones.”

The flu vaccine is recommended for Delawareans 6 months of age and older. Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection to develop in the body, it is important to get vaccinated as early as possible to give your body time to build immunity. Getting the flu vaccine now will also provide protection during the entire flu season. During the 2018-2019 flu season, Delaware recorded 6,387 laboratory-confirmed flu cases. More than 1,000 Delawareans were hospitalized due to the flu and 24 people died from flu complications.

Governor John Carney rolled up his sleeve and received his flu shot during Tuesday’s Drive-Thru Flu Clinic, held by DPH on the main campus of the DelDOT Administrative Building in Dover. He asked Delawareans to get their flu vaccines early, preferably by the end of October, to protect against influenza and its complications. 

“Getting an annual flu vaccine is the best thing you can do to keep from getting and spreading the flu, and from missing work, school, and important family events,” said Governor Carney. “This is something you can do to protect your own health as well as the health of your grandparents, your children, co-workers or friends.”

Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long also drove through in her vehicle to get her flu vaccine. She reminded everyone that getting the flu vaccine is important for people of all ages, and not just those in high-risk groups such as those who are older or with compromised immune systems. She said the vaccine is also the best way to prevent not only flu illness, but also serious flu complications that may lead to hospitalization or death.

“The flu is unpredictable,” said Lt. Governor Hall-Long. “That’s why it’s important to get vaccinated every year, since we never know what kind of flu season we will see. Remember that a flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness. Your arm may feel achy where the vaccine was given, but that usually only lasts one or two days and is far less painful than a bout with the flu.”

DPH nurses, joined by nurses from the Division’s partners at Bayhealth and the Delaware Medical Reserve Corps, administered free intramuscular flu vaccines to drivers, their passengers and even pedestrians age 9 years and older. By noon, 615 vaccinations had been administered during the drive-thru clinic. In addition, DPH administered 151 vaccinations during its walk-up flu clinic held at Porter State Service Center in Wilmington on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. The clinics are DPH’s two primary public events. DPH will also offer various other flu clinics throughout the season. A schedule can be found at https://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinics.html. Flu vaccines are also offered through physician offices, many pharmacies and some grocery stores. To locate where flu vaccines near you are being offered, Google “CDC flu finder” and enter a ZIP code.

The flu is easy to transmit and you can get it even from seemingly healthy, but unvaccinated, children and adults. Children, older adults, and those who have chronic underlying medical conditions are most at-risk for complications from the flu and are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated now.

In addition to getting an annual flu shot, Delawareans can prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illness with good hygiene: Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and dispose of tissues immediately. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your inner elbow. Droplets from a sneeze can travel up to six feet. Also avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Keep your distance from people who are coughing or sneezing.

Flu symptoms come on suddenly, and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and body aches, chills and fatigue. Some people get complications including pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. Those sick with the flu should stay home from work, school and other gatherings and not return until they have been free of fever – with a temperature of less than 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), without the use of fever-reducing medications – for at least 24 hours.

People with flu symptoms should avoid close contact with well people in the household and stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other clear liquids. Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if you suspect you have influenza, call your doctor as they may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications. This is particularly important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions.

For more information about the flu and where to get vaccinated, visit flu.delaware.gov or call 1-800-282-8672.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

The Delaware Department of 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. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Delaware Electric Cooperative and the Delaware Department of Agriculture launch new grant program

GREENWOOD, Del. – The Delaware Department of Agriculture has partnered with the Delaware Electric Cooperative to launch a new irrigation grant program to help Delaware farmers install environmentally friendly irrigation systems. The program will provide $10,000 in funding to farmers to convert diesel-powered irrigation systems to electric.

Under the program, Delaware Electric Co-op will offer farmers up to $5,000 to cover the cost of running electric to converted systems. Funding from the Delaware Department of Agriculture will provide farmers up to an additional $5,000 to cover costs including parts and labor associated with the electric motor and starter installation, removal of the existing gear head and components, and electrician costs involved in the irrigation system conversion. The State funding was approved by the Delaware General Assembly in June. The grants are only available to farmers served by Delaware Electric Cooperative.

“The availability of this program is important to Delaware family farms that are still utilizing diesel-powered irrigation systems to water their crops,” said Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “There are approximately 500 of these systems remaining throughout the state. By replacing them with more energy efficient electrical systems, there will be a decrease in carbon emissions thereby improving air quality, and a reduction in noise pollution. The conversion will help to increase farmers’ long-term profitability and the ability to utilize smart technology.”

Farmers, who receive a grant from the Delaware Electric Co-op, will also save money by participating in the Co-op’s load control program, which allows the Co-op to cycle-off power to irrigation units during peak energy usage times. Participants in the load control program typically enjoy a savings of 18 to 25 percent on their energy bills.

According to Bill Andrew, President and CEO of Delaware Electric Co-op, “This new program will allow Delawareans to breathe cleaner air and will also help to lower the cost for farmers to irrigate their crops. Electric powered irrigation pivots are cheaper to operate and maintain than diesel systems and have less of an impact on the environment.

To be eligible for the program, proposed irrigation systems must have a minimum 20 kilowatt load. Farmers will also be required to sign a contract for controlled load service with the Co-op for 60 months. For more information about the program, contact Tony Rutherford, Manager of Engineering at 302-349-3144 or by email at trutherford@delaware.coop.

Delaware Electric Cooperative is a member-owned electric utility serving more than 100,000 member-owners in Kent and Sussex County, Delaware. For more information, visit us on the web at www.delaware.coop or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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DDA Media Contact: Stacey Hofmann, (302) 698-4542, Stacey.Hofmann@delaware.gov
DEC Media Contact: Kevin Yingling, (302) 381-9208, kyingling@delaware.coop


Department of Education to host public meeting on school-level financial reporting

The Delaware Department of Education invites the public to a meeting later this month to learn more about school-level financial reporting.

Last fall the department hosted a series of hearings in each county to solicit public input on standardized reporting. Written comment also was accepted. School-level financial reporting launched with the Delaware Report Card in January. This meeting will provide an overview on current reporting and discuss ideas for refinement in the future.

Senate Bill 172, passed by the 149th General Assembly last year, require the development of a statewide approach to define and report school-level expenditures so school leaders and the public can better compare per-pupil spending across Delaware.

 

Public meeting

6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, October 23

2nd floor Cabinet Room, Townsend Building

401 Federal Street, Dover

 

Media contact: Alison May, alison.may@doe.k12.de.us, 302-735-4006