State announces annual free, reduced price meal policy

The Delaware Department of Education announces the U.S. Department of Agriculture policy for free and reduced price meals for children unable to pay the full price for meals served under the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and After School Snack Program. Each participating school and its administrative office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.


Meal benefit forms will be sent home with a letter to families. To apply for free or reduced price meals, households should fill out the form and return it to the school.  The information provided on the form will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by program officials. Information on the form may not be used for any other purpose unless consent is granted by parent/guardian.


For program officials to determine eligibility, households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and/or Delaware Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (DE-TANF) must list the child’s name, SNAP and/or DE-TANF case number, and provide a signature and name of an adult household member.  Households not receiving SNAP and/or DE-TANF must list: names of all household members; the amount of the gross income for each household member received last month; the income source and how often received; the signature of an adult household member; and that adult’s last four digits of Social Security Number, or the word “none” or “No Social Security Number” box marked if the adult does not have a number.  The form may be submitted at any time during the school year.


Under the provisions of the free and reduced price policy, the school nutrition services supervisor will review the form and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. Parents or guardians wishing to make a formal appeal may make a request either orally or in writing to the administrative office for a hearing on the decision.


Children who are enrolled in Head Start or are homeless, migrant, runaway or in foster care are eligible for free school meal benefits. In certain instances, children receiving WIC also may be eligible. Parents or guardians wishing to apply should follow the instructions on the form or contact the child’s school for more information.


Households may report changes or reapply for meal benefits anytime during the school year. The information provided by the household is confidential and will be used only for purposes of determining eligibility and verifying data.


The U.S Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination  against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department.  (Not all prohibited basis will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)


In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 


Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.


To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:


(1)        mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;


(2)        fax: (202) 690-7442; or


(3)        email:


This institution is an equal opportunity provider.


Media Contact: Alison May,, 302-735-4006.

Anglers invited to fish for free in Delaware waters June 2 and 3

DOVER – To celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week, June 2-10, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife invites you to fish, crab, and clam in any Delaware waters by offering free fishing days on Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3. On these two days, anyone, out-of-staters included, may fish the state’s waters without a fishing license.

Anglers are reminded that even though they don’t need a license to fish June 2 or 3, they are still required to obtain a free Fisherman Identification Network (F.I.N.) number, available online at or by calling 800-432-9228. Anglers also are required to comply with Delaware’s fishing regulations, including size and daily catch limits.

With the exception of Delaware’s annual free fishing weekend, most resident and non-resident anglers from the ages of 16 through 64 who fish, crab or clam in any Delaware waters are required to purchase a fishing license. Fishing licenses are sold online, at the licensing desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901 and by license agents statewide. To find a participating agent, or to purchase a license online, visit Delaware Licenses.

For more fishing information, click on 2018 Delaware Fishing Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, and from license agents throughout the state.

Follow the Division of Fish & Wildlife on Facebook:

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

Vol. 48, No. 132

DNREC’s Aquatic Resources Education Center to host ‘Go Fish Delaware!’ family fishing festival Saturday, May 12

SMYRNA – Visitors of all ages are invited to learn all about fishing at the Go Fish Delaware! Family Fishing Festival to be held, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 12, at the Aquatic Resources Education Center, a DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife facility located off Route 9 east of Smyrna. Admission is free and open to the public.

This free event aims to show kids and adults how much fun fishing can be and to encourage them to take up the sport as a regular outdoor activity. The festival will include basic fishing instruction for kids at the center’s two catch and release fishing ponds, as well as introductory lessons in fresh water fishing, fly fishing, surf fishing, and bass fishing for adult beginners who would like to learn the basics.

In addition to fishing, the center will offer children’s activities and crafts, a touch tank, traditional net making demonstrations, salt marsh tours on the center’s 940-foot boardwalk trail, and tours of the new building with aquariums and aquatic-themed exhibits. Visitors will find information about rain gardens and local wildlife at the outdoor Bayshore Byway interpretive area, and they can walk along an interpretive trail featuring natural and cultural history of the area.

Food vendors will be available onsite, or visitors are welcome to pack a lunch to enjoy outdoors.

Individuals age 16 and older who are not license exempt who wish to fish at the festival must have a current Delaware fishing license and a Delaware Fisherman Information Network (FIN) number. The free FIN number is included as part of a Delaware fishing license purchase. License-exempt anglers, including Delaware residents 65 and older, may visit, or call 800-432-9228 toll-free to obtain their free FIN number.

A resident annual Delaware recreational fishing license costs $8.50 for ages 16 through 64. Delaware fishing licenses are sold online, at the licensing office in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and by license agents statewide. To find a participating agent, or to purchase a license online, visit Delaware Licenses. For more information on Delaware fishing licenses, call 302-739-9918.

For more information on fishing in Delaware, click on the 2018 Delaware Fishing Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing office, and from license agents throughout the state.

The Aquatic Resources Education Center is located east of Smyrna at 2520 Lighthouse Road, which is off Route 9 just north of Woodland Beach. For more information, visit, or email

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

Vol. 48, No. 100

Delaware Tourism Office/Visit Delaware sponsors State Parks’ June 5 as ‘Free Day in the Park’ across Delaware

Fee-free day celebrates Delaware State Parks 65th Anniversary

DOVER – People will have a special opportunity June 5 to “Visit Delaware,” for Delaware State Parks’ “Free Day in the Park,” thanks to the Delaware Tourism Office – Visit Delaware. Every state park will be free to enter that day – excluding Fort Delaware, State Line Beach and the Brandywine Zoo.

“Delaware State Parks is celebrating their 65th Anniversary this year as well as being chosen as the recipient for the National Gold Medal Award from the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA). Visit Delaware has made it possible to waive entrance fees on June 5 – 6/5. This will be a wonderful opportunity to get folks out to experience our award-winning parks,” said Ray Bivens, Director of Parks & Recreation.

Park goers can enjoy beaches, rocky trails and everything in between throughout Delaware. For additional fees families can also experience things like zip-lining through the trees or horseback riding at Lums Pond, biking with the Rail Explorers on the Wilmington-Western Railroad through Auburn Heights and much more.

“The state parks system is a scenic and exciting way for visitors to discover what makes Delaware special,” said Delaware Tourism Director Linda Parkowski. “The parks are part of what drew a record 8 million people to the state in 2014. And Visit Delaware’s continued partnership with Delaware State Parks, through programs like the Delaware Outdoor Trail, helps keep that momentum going.”

More information on Delaware State Parks 65th Anniversary celebration and the “Free Day in the Park” presented by Visit Delaware can be found at

For more on Visit Delaware, including lists of things to do and ways to plan your next trip, go to

Media Contact: Caroline Foltz, Enterprise Development Coordinator, Delaware State Parks, 302-739-9185,

Vol. 46, No. 148

Governor Jack A. Markell to Present Awards in the Arts

The AwardGovernor Jack A. Markell will honor the recipients of the 2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts at a presentation starting at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, October 6, 2014 at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Delaware. The event, co-chaired by First Lady Carla Markell and Delaware State Arts Council Chair Lise Monty, will include videos celebrating the work of the winners, as well as performances by two young professional Delaware musicians: 2014 Emerging Artist Fellow Matthew Smith (guitar) and 15-year-old Pyerce Lateef Oates (piano). The event is free and open to the public. RSVP required: or 302-577-8278.

“I’m thrilled to join with the Delaware State Arts Council in recognizing the outstanding work of these eight Delaware artists and arts organizations,” said Governor Markell. “Through their art as well as their leadership, education, innovation and advocacy they have had a significant and profound impact on the artistic and cultural life of Delaware.”

The awards are being created by Milford, Delaware artist Michael Quattrociocchi, an award-winning wood craft artisan. “Treasure Box” is an Asian design made of wood with applied panels on front and back. The front and back panels are made of spalted maple in a “Landscape” design reminiscent of the Delaware shore. Landscapes may be a shoreline with fog, marshland scene, or estuary.

Individuals Award Winners (alphabetical order):

David Amado

Music Director of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra (DSO) since 2002, David Amado is a gifted artist with degrees in piano performance, instrumental conducting, and orchestral conducting from The Juilliard School and Indiana University. He has guest conducted throughout the world, including with the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa, among others.

Now in his 12th season with the DSO, Amado has expanded the capacity and reputation of the orchestra, reinvigorated the musicians, and provided leadership and oversight for the DSO’s first CD recording in 2010 (which debuted at number 11 on the Billboard classical charts and earned a nomination for a Latin Grammy Award). His commitment to collaboration and new ventures has been especially noteworthy. He created and nurtured partnerships with many of the state’s premiere arts organizations including Delaware Art Museum, Delaware Shakespeare Festival, Delaware Theatre Company, First State Ballet Theatre, Freeman Stage at Bayside, The Grand Opera House, Music School of Delaware, OperaDelaware, University of Delaware School of Music, and World Café Live at The Queen.

As a committed music educator, Amado has visited, made music and lectured at many of the state’s public and private schools. Leading the DSO through challenging times, Maestro Amado has utilized his uncompromising musical excellence to open dialogues, create partnerships and expand what music can do in and for our state.

Sharon Baker
independent filmmaker

Filling a blank canvas, an empty stage, and for the last 30 years, the viewfinder of a camera, Sharon Baker’s narrative and documentary storytelling has established her as an award-winning, working artist. Her films, television programs and screenplays have been recognized in esteemed festivals that include New York, Columbus, Hollywood, and Heartland. Drawing inspiration from Delaware history, Baker’s work has aired on American Public Television, PBS, The History Channel, Nickelodeon, BRAVO, and National Geographic. Her work as a writer, director, and producer has earned her prestigious national awards and nine regional EMMY’s.

Baker is co-founder of TELEDUCTION, Inc., founder of the non-profit Serviam Media, Inc. and its Hearts and Minds Film Initiative, and creator of the online portal, a video storytelling project for Delaware. Baker’s Hearts and Minds Film Festival promotes socially-focused, independent filmmaking. Her Media Mentors program trains underserved youth in the art and craft of digital storytelling.

Baker has filmed documentaries in Africa, China, Central America, Europe, and throughout the United States. Most importantly to her, she continues to create stories throughout her home state, helping to raise visibility and support for the arts in Delaware.

Xiang Gao

Recognized as one of the world’s most successful concert violinists and multifaceted musicians from China, Xiang Gao’s musical integrity and virtuoso technique have gained accolades from audiences and reviewers around the globe. He has performed solo with more than 100 symphony orchestras worldwide and for many world leaders. Gao is a founding member of the “China Magpie” ensemble of YoYo Ma’s Silk Road Project and “6ixwire,” a Delaware-based crossover duet with erhu (Chinese violin) soloist Cathy Yang.

Gao has notably contributed to the arts in Delaware by creating and directing the fastest-growing, unconventional concert series in the state, The University of Delaware Master Players Concert Series (MPCS), as well as creating original music productions to promote cultural understanding and exchange while changing the way live music is experienced. He recently finished composing music for “Campus Chatter: the new musical” that will open in 2015.

A two-time Delaware Division of the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship winner, Gao has performed countless times as a volunteer musician on behalf of MPCS at Delaware hospitals, senior centers, libraries, and inner-city schools, making music accessible to children and community members who might not normally be able to attend a concert.

Eunice LaFate

Eunice LaFate has infused Folk Art into everything she touches, and has used the art form to improve the lives of the people and communities she works with. Originally from Jamaica, LaFate’s creative vision finds its origin in the colors and tones of the island’s people, landscapes, and culture. An accomplished self-taught artist who has been painting for more than 20 years, her work is in the permanent collections of the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as the Blue Ball Barn Museum in Wilmington, Delaware.

As a speaker for the Delaware Humanities Forum, board member of Creative Vision Factory, and advocate for the Folk Art form, LaFate has encouraged participation in the creation of art by children and adults across the state, including bank employees, Job Corp students and people with disabilities. A recent highlight of LaFate’s work was her 20-Year Folk Art Retrospective Exhibition at the Blue Ball Barn Museum, complemented with the release of her documentary “ARTS AS PREVENTION” in the fall of 2013.

A social visionary, LaFate uses her canvas to address issues that affect the community and state – children and adults. She received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts in 2004.

Evelyn Swensson
lifetime achievement

Peggy Amsterdam Outstanding Achievement Award

This award was created in honor of Peggy Amsterdam, Director of the Delaware Division of the Arts from 1993-2000. Before her untimely passing in 2009, Peggy was a pillar in the arts world – recognized regionally and nationally for her leadership and vision, for expanding people’s access to the arts, and for supporting excellence in artistic expression.

Evelyn Swensson has been a powerful musical force in Delaware for 58 years: 13 years in Seaford and Dover, and 45 years in Wilmington. During her illustrious career she has been a conductor, composer, performer, lecturer, and educator.

As Director of Music at Mt. Olivet Church in Seaford, she organized a chorus of 120 singers to present free choral concerts. She conducted the Dover Choral Society, and in Wilmington, she was Director of Music at Aldersgate United Methodist Church (1969-2002). Swensson performed as a soloist with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, OperaDelaware, The Brandywiners, and Ardensingers, and after completing a Master of Music degree from West Chester University in 1972, she was the first woman to conduct all four of these organizations.

As Music Director for OperaDelaware’s Family Opera Theater (1974-2007), Swensson composed 12 musicals based on award-winning books in the school curriculum. A speaker/performer for the Delaware Humanities Forum, she has written and is still performing one-woman shows that illuminate the lives of women of historical importance.

Swensson has won many awards including Distinguished Alumna Awards from Harpeth Hall/Ward Belmont School in Tennessee, Hollins University in Virginia, and West Chester University in Pennsylvania. Her memoir, NOTES: My Life with Music, has recently been published.

Billie Travalini

Billie Travalini is an internationally-recognized, award-winning writer and educator, and the force behind many educational and literary ventures throughout the state. A concern for the individual voice – both literary and literal – is at the core of this native Delawarean’s work and life.

As the volunteer coordinator of numerous writing conferences, including co-founder and coordinator of the Lewes Creative Writers’ Conference, now in its seventh year, Travalini has organized numerous inspirational professional development opportunities for her colleagues and the public. She conceived and produced two anthologies of Delaware poetry and prose – On the Mason Dixon Line (University of Delaware Press, 2008) and No Place Like Here (Doll’s Eye Press, 2012) – volunteering her time to showcase work from dozens of established and emerging Delaware writers.

Travalini has spent years teaching students served by Delaware’s Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, where she uses creative writing to inspire critical thinking. Determined to share the students work with a wider audience, she gathered the students’ poems, stories, and works of art in Teaching Troubled Youth: a Practical Pedagogical Approach, an award-winning book with an important message on the human condition. The recipient of two Individual Artist Fellowships from the Delaware Division of the Arts, Travalini was recognized in 2005 for poetry and in 2007 for fiction.

Organization Award Winners (alphabetical order):

Joshua M. Freeman Foundation

The Joshua M. Freeman Foundation aims to create opportunities to elevate the human spirit through the arts, for residents of Sussex County and the surrounding area, by partnering to present memorable performances and provide inspired arts education for all.

The first season of arts programming at The Freeman Stage at Bayside (2008) began with 28 performances, all free to the public, serving more than 14,000 attendees. From that small start, The Freeman Stage has grown to presenting 50 performances each summer with annual attendance reaching more than 40,000. All art genres — full symphonic orchestras, pop and rock bands, country singers, jazz musicians, ballet and modern dance, opera, and theater — are represented in the season’s programming.

The Freeman Stage features regular appearances by established Delaware arts groups such as First State Ballet Theatre, OperaDelaware and Clear Space Theatre Company, as well as internationally-acclaimed guest artists. The Saturday morning children’s series runs for 12 weeks throughout the summer with programs including puppetry, children’s theater, dance, music, storytelling, painting lessons, juggling, and more. During the year, the Foundation also presents more than 20 performances for Sussex County school children at Delaware Technical Community College and area schools, all at no charge.

The Foundation has earned numerous grants and awards, including the 2013 Southern Delaware Tourism Award and Delaware Today’s “2012 Best Bandstand in Delaware” award.

VSA Delaware

Since its incorporation as a non-profit arts organization over 25 years ago, VSA Delaware (VSADE) has worked diligently to support artistic opportunities for individuals with disabilities throughout the state. By providing a unique link between the arts, disability and education communities, VSADE (formerly known as Very Special Arts) recognizes the need for children and adults with disabilities to be provided with opportunities to participate and achieve in the areas of performing and visual arts.

Using an established artist residency model to facilitate integrated arts education programming for students and adults with disabilities, VSADE provides cross-curricular learning with the arts as educational tools. The annual “Celebration of Creativity” traveling multimedia art exhibit celebrates the work of all visual arts residency participants. VSADE’s Arts Administration Internships and Performing Arts Residency programs provide opportunities for transitional-age students to develop relevant employment skills, as well as communication and interpersonal competency. Delaware schools recognize VSADE as a leader in providing accessible integrated programming to students with disabilities.

Partnering with more than 40 Delaware schools, districts and organizations, VSADE has worked diligently to develop dialogue about accessibility, cultural access and universal design, so that Delaware arts organizations may improve their accessibility and outreach to diverse audiences.

History and Coordination of the Awards
Governor Russell W. Peterson began the tradition of honoring Delaware artists in 1970. Since then, Delaware has paid tribute to 40 distinguished individuals and organizations that have had a profound and lasting impact on the state’s artistic and cultural life. This marks the 11th celebration since 1970.

The 2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts are coordinated by the Delaware Division of the Arts in conjunction with the Delaware State Arts Council and the Governor’s office. Award recipients were selected from a pool of candidates solicited during an extensive nominating process.

For a list of the previous award winners, visit our website.

The Delaware Division of the Arts is an agency of the State of Delaware. Together with its advisory body, the Delaware State Arts Council, the Division administers grants and programs that support artists and arts organizations, educate the public, increase awareness of the arts, and integrate the arts into all facets of Delaware life. Funding for Division programs is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware State Legislature, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.