Heritage Commission Honors Randy J. Holland, Supreme Court Justice and Delaware Historian


A Portrait of The Honorable Randy Holland
The Honorable Randy J. Holland

It is with heavy hearts that we observe the passing of Delaware Supreme Court Justice and Historian Randy J. Holland. Justice Holland was appointed to the Delaware Supreme Court in 1986 and served until his retirement in 2017.

During his long career, Justice Holland received numerous awards and accolades for his service, wrote several publications concerning constitutional law and Delaware history, and became a preeminent expert on Delaware’s constitutional history. The Delaware Heritage Commission is proud to have worked directly with Justice Holland to publish his work “Delaware’s Destiny Determined by Lewes”.

To honor his memory, the Delaware Heritage Commission is honored to present Justice Holland’s work online, so all Delawareans can share in his passion for Delaware’s history.


You can view and/or download a PDF version of this book here.










Find out more about the Delaware Heritage Commission here.

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Agreement Signed by DNREC, DHSS to Connect Donovan Smith Community to Public Sewer and Water

$5.6 Million in Funding to Lewes BPW for Pilot Project of State’s Clean Water Initiative for Underserved Communities

Delaware state agencies today officially moved to connect the Donovan Smith community in Lewes to municipal water and sewer, which is the pilot project of the Clean Water Initiative for Underserved Communities established by Gov. John Carney.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed today by the secretaries of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) to authorize a $2.74 million loan to the Lewes Board of Public Works (Lewes BPW) for connecting the Donovan Smith manufactured home community into Lewes’ central sewer system, and a $2.87 million loan to Lewes BPW for connecting the community to the Lewes municipal water system.

The projects will be funded by loans from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). Under the terms of the MOU, once construction is complete, the loans will be forgiven. While the MOU and other legal documents for the transaction must still be signed by Lewes BPW, the city of Lewes, the community owner Donovan-Smith MHP, LLC and the community owner’s loan servicer, respectively, negotiations among all parties over the last several months have been finalized and all parties are expected to fully execute the legal documents in the coming days.

The Clean Water Initiative for Underserved Communities, or CWI, is administered by DNREC and was proposed by Gov. Carney to protect public health and minimize environmental hazards and risk for all Delawareans.

“Through the Governor’s Clean Water Initiative, state agencies – particularly DHSS Division of Public Health and DNREC – are in a stronger position to protect, uplift and enhance the standing of Delawareans who until now might have been thwarted by circumstances, costs or lack of community governance structure hampering their rights to safe drinking water and proper wastewater treatment,” DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin said.

The DWSRF, within DHSS, provides support to Delaware drinking water systems through the Disadvantaged Community Subsidy program. This program ensures that DWSRF loans can be forgiven for projects benefitting the most vulnerable communities. Forgiveness of these loans ensures safe drinking water is provided without creating substantial burden on household budgets.

“We are grateful to the Governor, DNREC, the Division of Public Health and all of the entities involved in this clean water initiative benefiting this Lewes community,” DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik said. “Nothing is more inherently important to someone’s health than having clean water to drink and a safe sewer system.”

This CWI pilot project follows DNREC’s citation of the community’s owner twice in the last year with DNREC notices of violations for unsanitary conditions from its failing septic system that posed a threat to residents’ public health and safety.

Among other benefits to the community stemming from this pilot project, under the terms of the transaction, for a period of 20 years, the community owner (not the residents) will bear all of the community’s water and sewer utility costs and current community residents will be insulated from rent increases by the community owner that are based on the owner’s expenses for the community’s utility charges and the arising from installation of the water and sewer.

Construction on the sewer connection project is expected to begin in the first half of 2022, after the project is bid by the Lewes BPW. The CWI will facilitate the installation of approximately 5,000 feet of sewer main (connected into the existing Lewes sewer collection system on Donovan Road), 23 manholes, and approximately 1,500 feet of house sewer services with cleanouts, sewer main and service trench restoration, for 88 existing mobile home units within the Donovan Smith community. Installation of the Lewes BPW public sewer system will eliminate the failing onsite community systems and provide a safer, more sustainable sewage collection and treatment alternative.

The DWSRF-supported component of the pilot project calls for replacing an aging water system sited under the community’s mobile homes and through narrow spaces between the homes. Lewes BPW will install nearly 1,000 feet of 12-inch main to connect to an existing main, and 4,500 feet of internal main within the park, along with meters, service lines, valves, and fire hydrants inside the Donovan Smith community. All this – under the management of DHSS’ Division of Public Health, Health Systems Protection section – reduces potential for system contamination, provides reliable water service to the community and provides fire protection capability to the community.

More information about the Clean Water Initiative for Underserved Communities can be found at de.gov/cwi. More information on the Disadvantaged Community Subsidy and the DWSRF is available on the DHSS website.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Environmental Finance team administers Delaware’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, making funding available to municipalities, the private sector, nonprofit organizations and individuals. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov or Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov


Block House Pond Delaware Historical Marker Unveiling

More than fifty-five friends, dignitaries and guests gathered in Lewes, Delaware on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 to celebrate the unveiling of the Delaware Public Archives’ newest marker that commemorates the Block House Pond.

Block House Pond, a natural spring-fed pond was named for a nearby blockhouse that was built to protect Lewes in the 1670s. Additionally, Block House Pond is where town residents sought shelter during the Bombardment of Lewes in 1813. The original pond was drained by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1934 but was restored by the City of Lewes in 1976 which led to the creation of the Block House Pond Park. In 2003, the park was renamed in honor of former five-term City of Lewes Mayor, George H.P. Smith.

The marker was unveiled at a ceremony that included remarks from George Cole, President, Friends of the George H.P. Smith Park; Janet Reeves, Parks & Marina Administrator, City of Lewes; The Honorable Theodore Becker, Mayor, City of Lewes; The Honorable Stephen Smyk, Delaware House of Representatives; and Stephen Marz, Director & State Archivist, Delaware Public Archives. Block House Pond Delaware Historical Marker was sponsored by Representative Smyk.


Photo from 10/20/2021, at the Black House Pond Dedication. Pictured from Left to Right: Stephen Marz, Director & State Archivist, Delaware Public Archives; The Honorable Theodore “Ted” Becker, Mayor, City of Lewes; The Honorable Stephen Smyk, Delaware House of Representatives and Mr. George Cole, President of the Friends of George H.P. Smith Park and the new Delaware Historical Marker for Block House Pond


Delaware Celebrates Lewes Canal Living Shoreline Project

A crew of 13 installed the living shoreline on the Lewes Canal in just one day in June. DNREC photo.


A living shoreline project developed by the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary to help Lewes, Delaware with shoreline stabilization was completed in partnership with Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Delaware Living Shorelines Committee.

The Lewes Canal project was a joint effort to add a 180-foot feature adjacent to an already existing living shoreline constructed in 2014 behind the Lewes Little League ball field. A method of shoreline stabilization and protection for wetlands, living shorelines absorb storm energy and protect property while reducing the potential for shoreline erosion issues. They also filter pollutants to improve water quality, a notable benefit as Delaware recognizes National Water Quality Month in August.

“Living shorelines are an innovative and environmentally friendly alternative that uses natural materials such as oyster shells,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “This project is a good example of the benefits living shorelines provide: pollutant filtering to improve water quality; habitat for animals, fish and birds; and protection from erosion and of infrastructure; as well as aesthetics for property owners.”

The new portion was constructed using natural materials: a small amount of coconut fiber coir logs and 1,300 recycled oyster shell bags. A crew of 12 configured the oyster shell bags in long, wavy pyramid formations along the intertidal zone to reduce wave energy and allow wetland habitat restoration. The design includes breaks in the structure to allow tidal exchange, fish and fauna passage, and runoff outflow. This project will be monitored through a collaborative effort for several years to document increase of wetland size and populations of ribbed mussels and oysters.

“From fisheries and water quality to flood protection, the ecological health and resilience of the Delaware Estuary depends on our historically abundant coastal marshes, but sadly we are losing about an acre per day,” said Kathy Klein, executive director at the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, which launched the Delaware Estuary Living Shoreline Initiative in 2008. “Thanks to its science-based design and monitoring, this project showcases how innovative, nature-based tactics can help stem these wetland losses.”

The project is a launching point for developing more partnerships and solutions to coastal restoration, as well as promoting green infrastructure efforts of the Delaware Living Shorelines Committee, a working group dedicated to facilitating the understanding, peer review and implementation of living shoreline tactics within the state. DNREC’s participation is represented by the Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program.

Supporters of the project include the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, United States Fish and Wildlife Service Delaware Bay Estuary Project, who provided funding through a small grant, and continued support from the Environmental Protection Agency. Property access and shoreline coordination provided by Lewes Historical Society and the Overfalls Foundation.

For more information, visit Delaware Living Shorelines at delawarelivingshorelines.org.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship develops and implements innovative watershed assessment, monitoring and implementation activities. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

DNREC Recycling Program offers compost bins for sale online at discount price for pickup at three locations statewide

DOVER – DNREC’s Recycling Program within the Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances is offering compost bins that can be pre-ordered online at a discount price of $50, half the retail price of the bins. The bins must be picked up by the purchaser at any of three locations: Dover, Lewes, and Delaware City.

Locations, dates and times for pick up for the discounted compost bins are:

Dover – Saturday, April 27: Pick-up location adjacent to the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) collection event at the Blue Hen Corporate Center, 655 S. Bay Road (8 a.m. – Noon). Pre-order deadline for Dover pickup is April 21.

Lewes – Saturday, May 11: Pick-up location at the DNREC Lewes Field Facility, 901 Pilottown Road, Lewes, DE 19958 (8 a.m. – Noon). Pre-order deadline for Lewes pickup is May 5.

Delaware City – Saturday, June 8: Pick-up location adjacent to the DSWA collection event at Fort DuPont State Park on the corner of Old Battery Lane and Hall Road (8 a.m. – Noon). Pre-order deadline for Delaware City pickup is June 2.

Orders for discounted compost bins must be placed online at www.enviroworld.us/delaware, with major credit cards and PayPal accepted.

Bins must be picked up between 8 a.m. and noon at each location – during which time DNREC’s Recycling Program will be onsite to provide assistance ensuring that Delawareans can use their new backyard compost bins for successfully converting organic waste to compost. These compact compost bins can quickly turn food scraps and yard waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment that replaces traditional fertilizers to produce healthier plants and vegetables in home gardens.

To learn more about composting in Delaware please visit: https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/waste-hazardous/recycling/composting/. For more information about DNREC’s Recycling Program within the Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances, please contact Don Long by email Donald.long@delaware.gov or by calling 302-739-9403 (option 4).

Vol. 49, No. 52