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Delaware Governor: Jack Markell

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  Archived Posts From: 2011


Delaware State Fair: Celebrating Agriculture and Communities

Written on: July 23rd, 2011 in AgricultureGuest Posts

I’m looking forward to this year’s Delaware State Fair!  Here’s a guest post by Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee.


July in Delaware means it is State Fair time.

Secretary KeeThe Fair means a lot of different things to different people, but there is no doubt that celebrating our agriculture is the major theme.  After all, Delaware agriculture is based on 2,500 farmers and generates $1.2 billion in sales every year, which expands to $8 billion worth of economic activity in the state. 

Our state ranks 9th nationwide in the percentage of land area devoted to cropland.  Thirty-five percent of Delaware’s land mass is devoted to cropland, 42% of our land is in farms.  When cropland (35%) is combined with forestlands (31%), 65% of Delaware is open space.

The livestock competitions, the 4-H and FFA youth exhibits and contests, the produce and crop-judging contests and the incredible display of farm equipment illustrate that Delaware agriculture is alive and well.

In the Department of Agriculture’s Commodity and Education Buildings, virtually all of Delaware’s agricultural commodities will be on display.  The building will be full of farmers and producers to explain, demonstrate, and promote the farm products they depend upon to make a living.

All of this activity reflects the diversity of our agriculture.  We also have a great new display that illustrates Delaware Agriculture’s 300-year history and celebrates its critically important role for our state.

The Fair, to me, and I am sure to hundreds of others, is about people and the memories of being with those great people over the years.

I’ve kissed a pig, cleaned the stalls and laughed so hard my ribs hurt. Most of my best fair memories revolve around my great friend and former colleague Dave Woodward and all the other University of Delaware Extension workers and Department of Ag riculture staff who have been dedicated to the fair and what it stands for.  Of course, we were all there for the farmers and the youth, which is a great and continuing reason to be at the Fair.

I also must reveal my favorite Fair foods: The Grange chicken platters; the Farm Bureau cheeseburgers and milkshakes, and a long-gone lemonade stand sponsored by the Red Clay Lions Club.  Just thinking of those treats, brings back a flood of memories of fun and fellowship with a wide array of friends at the fair.

State Fair Cooking


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Are You Prepared for the Heat Wave?

Written on: July 20th, 2011 in Helping Our Neighbors

Please take a look at the information below from the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) to prepare for this heat wave.  We could use your help to raise awareness, protect our children, and keep an eye out for our elderly family, friends and neighbors.  Thank you!


Delaware Emergency Management AgencyWith a significant heat wave smothering the region this week, emergency management officials urge the public to constantly monitor the weather situation in their areas and to take precautions for the health and safety of all.

According to the National Weather Service, heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States. Persons of all ages are susceptible to heat-related illness and life-threatening conditions, but infants and small children and elderly persons are often at higher risk.

Actions that help in avoiding heat related health issues include drinking plenty of water, staying out of the sun and remaining in an air-conditioned location whenever possible. Those without air conditioning are encouraged to seek cool locations such as indoor shopping malls, libraries and public buildings that are not restricted.

Delaware Emergency Management Agency Director Jamie Turner said, “Listen to local media for updates on cooling stations or facilities that might open for use by the public. It’s also a good time to look out for others. Be sure to check on elderly relatives and neighbors. Make sure you keep your pets in a cool location with plenty of water available.”

No one, especially children, the elderly and pets, should remain in a parked car during periods of moderate to extreme heat. Even with windows open for ventilation, extremely high temperature develops in a very short period of time. According to the National Weather Service, tests show that with an outside temperature of just 80 degrees, the thermometer in a parked car can rise to a reading of 123 degrees F. in less than an hour. In just over two minutes, the car can go from a safe temperature to 94.3 degree F.

If you must work or spend time outside, take extra precautions. When possible, reschedule strenuous activities for the early morning or late evening hours. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk when working outdoors, it is recommended that frequent rest breaks in a shaded or air conditioned environment are scheduled. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is a life threatening emergency, call 911 for assistance.

Alcoholic beverages should be avoided during exposure to extremely hot weather and caffeinated beverages should be limited.

Special tips on child and car safety during extreme heat:

  • Make sure your child’s safety seat and safety belt buckles aren’t too hot before securing your child in a safety restraint system, especially when your car has been parked in the heat.
  • Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle in warm weather, even with the windows down.
  • Teach children not to play in, on or around cars.
  • Always lock car doors and trunks–even at home–and keep keys out of children’s reach.
  • Always make sure all children have left the car when you reach your destination. Don’t leave sleeping infants in the car ever!

The impact of the current heat wave will intensify in the region starting Thursday, July 21.  According to the National Weather Service, Friday, July 22 looks like it will be the “hottest” day. Heat index values (a measure of the combination of temperature and humidity) will approach a maximum of 105 degrees on Thursday, and 110 degrees on Friday. The highest values will be experienced in highly urbanized areas. Overnight low temperatures may not drop below 80 in those areas.

There is some uncertainty regarding high temperatures on Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24, as a cold front may approach the region. However, maximum heat index values may again exceed 105 on Saturday and Sunday.

For additional safety and preparedness information visit:

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Looking Back at the Legislative Session

Written on: July 11th, 2011 in Effective & Efficient Government

I want to thank the Legislature for a very productive session. We worked together to achieve many of the priorities I set forth in my State of the State address: enhanced tools to create jobs, investments in education and infrastructure, pension and health reform, public safety initiatives and responsible tax reductions.

Signing FY 2012 Budget

This session presented us with both a chance and a choice. A chance to make progress on the issues we care most passionately about and a choice on how we were going to get there — whether it was going to be through the kind of bitter and divisive debates that you see in other states, or whether we were going to work together.

We not only chose to work together, but we chose to do so in a way that was financially responsible. Here are some of the highlights of what got done this session:

  • Enhanced tools to help create jobs, including the New Jobs Infrastructure Fund and the New Job Creation Credit, based on practical feedback from employers.
  • Investments in infrastructure and higher education projects to create jobs immediately while strengthening our long-term economic foundation.
  • Responsible tax reductions to provide help for industries critical to Delaware’s economic core — manufacturing, small business and financial services — promoting job creation and our state’s competitiveness.
  • Pension and health reform, which will result in more than $480 million in savings over the next 15 years. We took a more respectful and inclusive approach, and it succeeded.
  • Landmark civil unions legislation, taking a step forward in civil rights that will make a real difference in the lives of many Delaware families.
  • Investments in early childhood education that will have a lasting impact on our economy and our children’s future.
  • Continued efforts to improve K-12 education with legislation to strengthen the charter school system, better enable schools to attract the best teachers, add more teachers, improve accountability, expand language education and deliver services for children with disabilities more equitably and effectively.
  • Concrete steps to improve public safety, working together with local law enforcement and moving forward efforts to keep guns out of the hands of people who are not legally eligible to have them.

To learn more about the FY 2012 Budget and read a more in-depth summary of our legislative accomplishments, please click here.

As we move forward to implement these efforts together, we want your ideas and feedback. Please join the conversation on our Facebook page, find us on Twitter, or contact us through

Scenes from Around the State

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