2013 Delaware Junior Duck Stamp winners announced

Elizabeth Vander Laan, winner of the 2013 Junior Duck Stamp competitionDOVER (March 27, 2013) – On March 23, artistic entries from students in grades K through 12 throughout the state were judged in the 2013 Junior Duck Stamp Contest. Winners are on display at the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center near Milton now through Saturday, March 30. 

Elizabeth Vander Laan, a 12-year-old from Greenville, won best of show in her first year entering the competition. Her watercolor painting of a harlequin duck, titled “Cruising Downstream,” also won first place for grades 7 through 9. Elizabeth’s winning Duck Stamp entry will be judged along with other state winners on April 19 in the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest, sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of the Interior and slated to be held this year at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va. The best of show winner of the federal competition will become the 2013-2014 Junior Duck Stamp and will also receive a $5,000 scholarship.

“The Junior Duck Stamp program is unique because it teaches biology and habitat conservation through scientific observation and artistic interpretation to K through 12 students,” said Dawn Webb, coordinator of the Delaware Junior Duck Stamp program.

Sponsored by the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife in partnership with Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, the Junior Duck Stamp competition provides an opportunity for students throughout Delaware to participate in a national art competition keyed to native waterfowl and wetland values. Students learn hands-on activities in waterfowl, wetland and habitat education and conservation while completing duck stamp art entries.

The judging panel included Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife Biologist Matt DiBona; retired wildlife biologist Bill Whitman, who founded the Delaware Junior Duck Stamp Contest in 1994; well-known wildlife artist and Federal Duck Stamp Competition winner Richard Clifton of Milford; and Biologist Bill Jones, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Judges base their decisions on anatomical accuracy of the waterfowl depicted, how well the work illustrates the species and its habitat, and which artwork would translate best into a stamp.

Runners-up for Best of Show were:

Second runner-up: Alicia Hale, age 16, Bridgeville, “Sunset Melody”

Third runner-up: Sarah Ding, age 9, Newark, “The Swimming Snow Geese”

First place winners are:

Grades K-3: Samuel Winston, age 6, Milford, “Mallard”

Grades 4-6: Sarah Ding, age 9, Newark, “The Swimming Snow Goose”

Grades 7-9: Elizabeth Vander Laan, age 12, Greenville, “Swimming Downstream”

Grades 10-12: Alicia Hale, age 16, Bridgeville, “Sunset Melody”

Second place winners are:

Grades 4-6: Kayla Booros, age 12, Bridgeville

Grades 7-9: Rachael Winston, age 14, Milford

Grades 10-12: Josiah Winston, age 16, Milford 

Third place winners are:

Grades 4-6: Tony Monaco, age 12, Seaford

Grades 7-9: Hannah Doyle, age 14, Seaford

Honorable mentions are:

Grades 4-6: Dorothy McCormick, age 9, Millsboro; Mercy Winston, age 9, Milford; Mckenna Breeding, age 10, Felton; Grace Winston, age 11, Milford; Marley Fishburn, age 11

Grades 7-9: Daniel Winston, age 13, Milford

Conservation message winners are:

First Place: Hanna Doyle, age 14, Seaford – “It is important to conserve today to ensure that wildlife will have a home tomorrow.”

Second Place: Kayla Booros, age 12, Bridgeville – “Protect and preserve our wetlands so that wildlife can have a place to call home.”

Third Place: Josiah Winston, age 16, Milford – “Let us safeguard our wetlands and wildlife habitats, so as to safeguard our country’s beauty!”

Honorable Mentions:

  • Samuel Winston, age 6, Milford – “Keep the ducks home clean and safe!”
  • Elizabeth Yocher, age 9, Dover – “Wetlands provide clean water for many animals.”
  • Sarah Ding, age 9, Newark – “Protect our wetlands to insure strong ecosystems.”
  • Dorothy McCormick, age 9, Millsboro – “The paddle of webbed feet, recycling a can, will make a difference in God’s wildlife plan.”
  • Mercy Winston, age 9, Milford – “Keep our waters clean!”
  • Mckenna Breeding, age 10, Felton – “In order for wildlife to survive, and focus to have clean water, we have to take good care of our wetlands.”
  • Marley Fishburn, age 11, Seaford – “I live on the water and can’t imagine life without ducks, geese, and herons!”
  • Grace Winston, age 11, Milford – “Protect, preserve and keep habitats safe!”
  • Tony Monaco, age 12, Seaford – “Protecting our wildlife and their habitats will help to keep them alive for years to come.”
  • Elizabeth Vander Laan, age 12, Greenville – “Keep wetland water clean so ducks can swim.”
  • Daniel Winston, age 13, Milford – “Don’t let the duck sit in the muck!”
  • Rachel Winston, age 14, Milford – “Keep duck habitats clean, and they will be able to soar to new heights.”
  • Alicia Hale, age 16, Bridgeville – “Conservation: Fighting for a brighter future.” 

All 16 participants in the 19th annual contest received a certificate, ribbons and prizes from sponsors. Entries, which depict a species chosen from a list of North American waterfowl, were sponsored by teachers, schools, organizations and individuals.

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center is located at 11978 Turkle Pond Road, Milton. The refuge’s visitor center is currently open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through March 31. Beginning April 1, the visitor center will stay open until 4 p.m. on weekends. Entrance fees apply. For more information about the refuge, please visit www.fws.gov/northeast/primehook.

The 2013 Junior Duck Stamp entries also will be displayed along with this year’s Delaware Waterfowl Stamp and Delaware Trout Stamp entries at the Delaware Agriculture Museum and Village in Dover for two weeks beginning Thursday, April 11.

For more information about displaying the artwork or about the Delaware Junior Duck Stamp Contest, please contact Dawn Webb, contest coordinator, 302-422-1329.

The Delaware Junior Duck Stamp Competition supports Delaware’s Children in Nature Initiative, a statewide effort to improve environmental literacy in Delaware, create opportunities for children to participate in enriching outdoor experiences, combat childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles. Delaware’s multi-agency initiative, which partners state and federal agencies with community organizations, is part of the national No Child Left Inside program.

CONTACT: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902


Vol. 43, No. 112


DSHA Awarded $5.1 Million To Create Housing For The Disabled

Delaware State Housing Authority Director (DSHA) Anas Ben Addi was joined today by Senator Tom Carper, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Administrator Jane C.W. Vincent, and Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Rita Landgraf to celebrate Delaware’s award of $5.1 million to create and sustain 170 units of affordable housing over five years for persons with disabilities through the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration Program.  This federal program, funded through HUD and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, enables people with disabilities who have extremely low incomes to live in integrated mainstream settings.  DSHA and DHSS are working closely together to identify persons with disabilities who require long-term services and support to live independently in the community.

“People with disabilities are facing disproportionate housing and employment challenges,” said Governor Jack Markell.  “It’s important to them, and important to us, to give these individuals the opportunity to live independently with safe, secure, long-term housing and appropriate support services so they can be successful.”

“Providing basic needs like safe, affordable housing to those who desperately need it is a moral imperative,” remarked U.S. Senator Tom Carper. “This grant award will help Delawareans have a place to call their own and is one important step to those folks achieving independence.”

“In a state of neighbors, it’s up to all of us to ensure that all Delawareans have a roof over their heads and a safe place to sleep at night,” Senator Coons stated. “Unfortunately, there are still too many Delawareans who struggle to afford a place to call ‘home.’ I applaud the work of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Delaware State Housing Authority in securing this funding to help Delawareans with disabilities live safely and independently.”

“Everyone deserves a safe, affordable place to call home,” commented Congressman Carney.  “The funding announced today will provide that for Delawareans who have disabilities and need long-term support.  This is an investment that benefits individuals and their families, and strengthens the entire community.  I look forward to visiting some of the new residents once they’ve settled in.”

“HUD is pleased to support the First State in its efforts to offer real and lasting solutions for persons who might otherwise be institutionalized or living on our streets,” said Jane C.W. Vincent, HUD’s Regional Administrator of the Mid-Atlantic region. “These funds will provide a significant increase in the inventory of permanent, supportive housing, and also enable us to identify innovative and replicable ways to better serve very low-income people with disabilities.”

Building on the existing DSHA/DHSS partnership developed in recent years as part of the state-funded State Rental Assistance Program (SRAP), the Section 811 PRA Demo Program will leverage the successes of the SRAP and contribute significantly to the State’s ongoing efforts to develop a continuum of community-based housing choices as part of a system of long-term care that prioritizes living and providing services in the community.

DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi said, “With the achievements of SRAP, incorporating the 811 program seemed natural to us.  We are pleased the federal agencies have confidence in our abilities, and we are looking forward to expanding the number of people and families we are able serve.”

“This federal funding allows the state to help more individuals with disabilities to live in the community,” noted DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf. “A home provides that critical foundation for people with disabilities to be included in all aspects of community life.”

The 811 program is anticipated to assist 170 individuals and very low-income families with housing and community-based services each year for five years. DHSS case managers will identify eligible applicants and coordinate their care and services while DSHA manages the housing subsidy. This includes ensuring the homes are safe through initial and yearly inspections and processing the rental assistance.  Approved clients will contribute a portion of their monthly income toward their housing expenses.

For additional information about eligibility requirements and other affordable housing programs, programs, please call (888) 363-8808.

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: (888) 363-8808 or visit our website at: www.destatehousing.com.

Delaware Launches State’s First Windows 8 App With Delaware Fresh

DOVER — Windows 8 users can now take advantage of the popular Delaware Fresh farm-market location app from the Delaware Department of Agriculture. The app is now Delaware Fresh appavailable for all Windows 8 devices, from mobile phones and tablets to Windows 8 desktops, joining existing iPhone and Android versions. The app was developed by Delaware Interactive as part of the Delaware eGovernment Initiative. This is the first Windows 8 application for the state of Delaware, continuing the eGovernment Initiative drive to bring state information and services to Delawareans.  The app is free and available for download at apps.delaware.gov.

The Delaware Fresh app provides an interactive map of farmers’ markets, agritourism spots and other public farm operations across the state, highlighting specialty locations such as Christmas tree farms during those seasons. It provides market names, addresses, phone numbers, and hours of operation. The app includes a listing of just what each market has to offer. If the market has a website, the user can easily click to that site through the app.

“This app is a great way for Delaware residents and travelers to instantly find the best local vegetables, fruits, meats and other products close by,” said Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee. “It’s connecting our tech-savvy consumers with the best Delaware farmers have to offer.”

“We’re committed to creating new and convenient eGovernment tools for Delaware,” said Greg Hughes, Director of the Delaware Government Information Center (GIC), which leads eGovernment efforts in the First State. “Governor Jack Markell has directed us to look for ways to make government more efficient, effective and open. Mobile apps and eGovernment tools like Delaware Fresh help us meet that goal.”

# # #

Dan Shortridge
Chief of Community Relations
Delaware Department of Agriculture

Delaware farmers’ market season soon to begin

New markets join in Bellefonte, Dover

Photos from the 2012 farmers’ market season are available for media use on Flickr.


DOVER – The Delaware farmers’ market season will launch next month featuring new markets in Dover and Bellefonte, with farmers and markets fresh off a record-setting salesMilton Farmers' Market 2012 season of nearly $2 million last year.

Twenty-five local farmers’ markets will be open during the spring and summer this year, offering fresh Delaware produce and other products as they come into season. The Milton Farmers’ Market will kick off the season on April 19, with 13 markets to start in May, nine in June and one in July, with one market operating year-round. This is the eighth year of Delaware’s farmers’ market program.

The success of the locally-run markets is due to a strong interest in healthy eating and locally sourced food, Delaware leaders said. Last year saw explosive growth in the number of markets, growing from 16 locations to 29. This year includes new markets in Bellefonte and in downtown Dover.

“The strength of our farmers’ market program benefits farmers and consumers alike, making the agricultural industry strong and supporting local jobs,” Governor Jack Markell said. “These gathering places help make our communities more vibrant and lively.”

The farmers’ markets provide a significant economic boost to Delaware agriculture. Last year, farmers’ markets sold $1.96 million worth of goods at 29 locations. The 2011 season featured 16 market sites and brought in $1.8 million, while the 2010 season had 14 sites and $1.3 million in sales.

“Each of these markets helps bring people face-to-face with their local farmers, which broadens Delawareans’ understanding of agriculture and deepens their appreciation for farmers’ contributions,” said Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee. “They are a joy to visit and see how consumers and farmers learn from each other.”

Five markets will offer Electronic Benefits Transfer card transactions this year, allowing families to purchase local produce and food items as part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Historic Lewes, Wilmington Farmers’ Market at Cool Spring, Village Fresh (Wilmington), Co-Op Farmers’ Market (Newark) and Western Sussex (Seaford).

Depending on the vendors, other products such as cut flowers, bedding plants, baked goods, jams, jellies or honey may also be offered. Consumers also will be able to attend special programs and pick up information on nutrition, community events and recipes.

The farmers’ markets are supported and coordinated by the Delaware Department of Agriculture, but are funded and hosted by local groups, organizations and municipal governments.

For a complete list of farmers’ markets and on-the-farm markets, along with opening dates and hours, visit dda.delaware.gov.

Photos from the 2012 farmers’ market season are available for media use on Flickr.


# # #


Dan Shortridge
Chief of Community Relations
Delaware Department of Agriculture

New DSCYF Secretary Jennifer Ranji Sworn In

Wilmington – The State agency responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of children throughout Delaware has a new leader. Jennifer Ranji was sworn in as the 7th Cabinet Secretary for the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF) on Monday March 25th. Ranji was joined by members of her family, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, DSCYF staff, representatives from the Judiciary, General Assembly, Department of Justice, child advocacy organizations and special guests. Both Governor Markell and Senator Patricia Blevins provided remarks during the simple half hour ceremony. The Oath of Office was administered by Thomas P. McGonigle, former Chief of Staff for Governor Markell and Ranji’s supervisor when she served as the Governor’s Education Policy Advisor.

“I am honored and excited for the opportunity to lead the Department that works to address some of the most fundamental needs of our kids — the need to be safe, to be supported, to be healthy, and to make good choices for themselves and their communities,” said Ranji. “I look forward to using my background in child advocacy and policy so we can continue to improve positive outcomes for the youth and families that we serve.”

Ranji said her first priority will be to visit each of the Department’s facilities statewide and meet not only with leadership, but also front line workers. She takes over a staff of 1,200 individuals spread across four Divisions: Family Services, Management Support Services, Prevention and Behavioral Health Services and Youth Rehabilitative Services. She will also be focused on improving continuity for adolescents in services, stable placements, and education in an effort to reduce the stress and challenges that may be faced when transitioning back to the home, community or ‘aging out’ of foster care.

“Jennifer’s experience as a fierce advocate for children in her private legal practice, and the depth and breadth of her experience with policy and education issues have prepared her well to lead our Children’s Department,” said Governor Jack Markell. “She is committed to working with the staff to find new, innovative ways to better serve our children and families, making a lasting difference for Delaware’s children and their families.”

Secretary Ranji served as Education Policy Advisor in the Office of Governor Markell from September 2009 to July 2012 and was the lead staff person on Race to the Top and Early Childhood Race to the Top initiatives. Prior to that, she served as Deputy Legal Counsel in the Office of Governor Thomas Carper, and as Director of Legal Affairs for Family Court of the State of Delaware. She has also practiced law privately and provided pro bono representation to domestic violence victims through Delaware Volunteer Legal Services and to child abuse victims through the Office of the Child Advocate.

Ranji received her B.A. from Rutgers University in 1991 and earned her Juris Doctorate in 1995 from Widener University School of Law. She is a former Chair of the Women and the Law Section of the Delaware State Bar Association, the Delaware Child Protection Accountability Commission and the Governor’s Synar Advisory Committee.
The Children’s Department provides services to children who have been abused, neglected, are dependent, have mental health or substance problems, have been adjudicated delinquent by the Courts, as well as prevention services for youth. For more information, please visit www.kids.delaware.gov.