Green Notes


Web site showcases scenic trails at state parks

Winter is the perfect time to experience the Delaware Bay’s unique and surprising amenities – minus all the crowds, state natural resources officials noted recently, adding that the “Thank You Delaware Bay” Web site, at www.tydb.org, makes it easy to explore the bay by featuring close-to-home winter destinations for the entire family.

“Exploring the Delaware Bay is not just for the summer,” said Kimberly Cole, Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve. “The ‘Thank You Delaware Bay’ Web site showcases the bay’s many natural places to discover and enjoy – including pedestrian trails with outstanding vantage points of the Delaware River or Bay. The trails are ideal for walking, jogging and bicycling and provide the perfect remedy for the winter blues.”
Three Delaware State Parks offer pedestrian trails that run alongside the Delaware River or Bay - natural and scenic refuges from the traffic and noise of nearby highways. The trails travel through a vital statewide greenway that helps preserve the diversity of plants, animals and habitats unique to the state, Cole said.

At Fox Point State Park, north of Wilmington, bicycle and pedestrian trails offer views of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the skyline of Philadelphia, and the thousands of tugboats and tankers that use the shipping channel each year. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll and view the interpretive displays that describe the various watercraft that ply the river.

Fort Dupont State Park, just south of Delaware City off Route 9, features 322 acres along the Delaware River and C & D Canal. A self-guided trail provides joggers and outdoor enthusiasts with plenty of space to explore the park’s rich history.

Cape Henlopen State Park near Lewes offers several vantage points for taking in outstanding views of the Delaware Bay. They can hike the 0.6 mile Seaside Nature Trail or stroll the 1,800-foot Cape Henlopen fishing pier that stretches into the Delaware Bay. They can also leave the car at The Point parking lot for a beachcoming experience along the bay.

For more information on the pedestrian trails and other winter destinations, visit www.tydb.org.

The “Thank You Delaware Bay” Web site was designed to showcase the beauty and amenities of the bay and encourage actions to help protect its health and resources. Developed by program partners, DNREC’s Division of Soil and Water Conservation, Delaware Coastal Programs, The Nature Conservancy and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, the Web site challenges citizens to learn more, get involved, be heard and take steps to help protect the bay.

The site aims to make it easier for citizens to be good environmental stewards by providing information on everyday actions people can take that will help protect the bay from pollution. Links to organizations committed to safeguarding and protecting the bay are also provided, so citizens can “Get Involved” and join an organization, volunteer on a bay program and report pollution impacts and threats to bay animals and marine life.
The Web site also serves as a place to “Be Heard” by officials, including a page where citizens can learn more about policy work and pending legislations at the local, state and federal level that affects the bay. State and federal links are included to encourage public input and comment.

For more information on “Thank You Delaware Bay,” visit www.tydb.org or contact Kim Cole at (302) 739-3436.

How to dispose of your unwanted electronics

Now that your family has opened the new computers, iPhones, DVD players and televisions, what are you going to do with the old stuff?

Donating used (but still operating) electronics for reuse extends the lives of valuable products and keeps them out of the waste stream for a longer period of time. Reuse, in addition to being an environmentally preferable alternative, also benefits society. By donating your used electronics, you allow schools, nonprofit organizations, and lower-income families to obtain equipment that they otherwise could not afford.

Before donating your computer or other electronics, make sure the equipment is reusable. Donation organizations have limited or, in many cases, no resources and employees to diagnose and repair hardware. A functional, working system – especially with monitor, wiring and software licenses – is a lot more useful and requires less upgrading than a nonworking, incomplete computer.

Check to see what the donation organization’s minimum computer requirements are (e.g., Pentium processor, Windows 95). Donation-organizations might not accept (or might charge a fee for) older, less useful equipment (e.g., 386 processors, dot-matrix printers, less than 14-inch color monitors).

As a business, you might be able to take advantage of tax incentives for computer equipment donations. The 21st Century Classrooms Act encourages large companies to donate computer equipment to public and private schools. When donating equipment to a nonprofit organization, inquire about documentation that can be applied toward your income tax return.

The most appropriate donation organization for computers can vary from area to area. In some cases, the most viable donation organization might be a charity, but in other areas, the appropriate donation organization might be the local school district or materials exchange.

Broken electronics and computers too outdated to donate can be recycled. Computer monitors and older television picture tubes can pollute the environment if not recycled or disposed of properly.

Check with your product’s manufacturer to see if they will take back or trade in your product for recycling – many manufacturers do, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Toshiba and Sony. See if your retailer has an in-store collection program or if they are hosting an electronics collection event. Cingular, Best Buy and Staples offer ongoing in-store collection of used cell phones, and Best Buy and Staples sometimes host collection events. Local governments often collect electronics as part of their household hazardous waste management program.

For specific suggestions on where to recycle, go to:

http://www.epa.gov/reg2wcmd/ eCycling/eCyclingcollections.htm. Or go to: www.earth911.org or 1-800-CLEANUP, to find collections sites and events using your ZIP code.

www.eiae.org - The Electronic Industries Alliance for recyclers in your state.

www.techsoup.org – TechSoup, for information on computer reuse.

Compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Staff.

Senators call for ‘economic disaster’ relief for communities with massive job loss

As Congress and the incoming Obama administration craft an economic recovery package, a group of Senators last week called for targeted economic development assistance for communities with massive job loss.

In a letter to President-Elect Barack Obama, Vice President-Elect Joseph Biden and members of congressional leadership, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) outlined how federal assistance can bring new jobs and economic activity to communities facing the double-blow of national economic recession and massive local job-loss.

“What may start as an isolated layoff or plant closing can quickly ripple through an entire community,” wrote the senators. “Mass layoffs and plant closings undermine the local tax base, at the expense of key government services, Main Street businesses, schools and libraries.”

“These communities cannot recover from the double blow of national economic recession and massive local job loss without specialized assistance from the federal government,” continued the senators in their letter. “Absent such assistance, communities that could contribute to national prosperity may instead require long-term safety net assistance. Investing now in the economic revitalization is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.”

The senators referenced examples of job loss in their states that have had far-reaching effects on local communities. These include DHL’s plans to close its plant in Wilmington, Ohio; G.M. layoffs in Detroit and Pontiac, Mich.; and Chrysler’s plant closing in Newark, Del. They also reference pockets of the country with unemployment rates well above the national average, including Providence County, R.I., with a 9.6 percent rate.

The letter outlined how, in addition to investment in infrastructure and state fiscal relief, an economic recovery package could help rebuild communities facing massive job loss. The Senators recommended investments in the following programs:

• Providing $2 billion through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) “Economic Adjustment Assistance” programs, including its University Centers program, with priority consideration given to areas that have experienced sudden and severe economic dislocation or persistent and long-term economic distress due to corporate restructuring.

• Increasing by $50 million the “TAA for Firms” program, administered by EDA, which helps trade-impacted firms make adjustments that allow them to remain competitive.

• Investing an additional $700 million through the Wagner Peyser Act for reemployment services for unemployment insurance claimants, labor market information to help guide state and local decisions about economic development strategies, and other labor market exchange services.

• Investing an additional $1.5 billion in the existing WIA dislocated worker fund to retrain workers recently laid off, with $300 million reserved for National Emergency Grants (NEG) and for the remaining $1.2 billion, 25 percent reserved at the state level for supporting rapid response efforts in economically distressed areas.

President signs Castle’s National Parks Quarter Program into law

Castle urges swift establishment of a Delaware National Park

This week President George W. Bush signed H.R. 6184, the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008, into law. This bill, which was introduced in May of 2008 by U.S. Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), establishes a program in which the reverse side of quarters will have designs emblematic of a national park or other national site in each state, the District of Columbia and each territory of the United States, issued beginning in 2010.

“Since the launch of the successful 50 State Quarters Program 10 years ago, I have been thinking about a follow-up program,” said Castle. “I am encouraged that this program has the potential to be every bit as successful as its predecessor – both as an educational tool and as a collector’s item.

“However,” Castle said, “this program is unique in that Delaware may be the last coin instead of the first, as we do not yet have a National Park. I am pleased that this bill quickly moved through the legislative process and look forward to working with the Delaware Delegation to establish a National Park in the great State of Delaware.”

The program requires these coins to be issued at a rate of five new designs each year in the order in which the sites selected were established. The site selections will be made by the Treasury Secretary after consultation with the Interior Secretary and the governor of each state.

The announcement came just weeks after the U.S. Mint deemed Castle’s 50 State Quarter’s Program the most successful coin initiative in American history, netting between $2.7 and $2.9 billion in revenue.

“This groundbreaking initiative has been the most successful coin program in the Nation’s history,” said United States Mint Director Ed Moy, in a press release praising the program’s success. “The 50 State Quarters Program has educated a generation of Americans about the history and geography of the States. It has also generated tremendous state pride and encouraged citizens to consider which images should symbolize the region where they live.”

To read more about the programs, visit www.castle.house.gov online.

Hands-on Ivy topiary workshop to be held Jan. 13

The Sussex County Master Gardeners of Delaware Cooperative Extension for both Delaware State University and University of Delaware have announced that they are holding their first workshop for 2009, on Jan. 13 at 1 p.m., at the Sussex County Extension Office.

The public is being invited to join Sussex County Master Gardeners Emily Peterson and Betty Boettger to learn the art of creating various types of topiaries to decorate the home or for a place on the porch or patio. Participants will be making a topiary to take home.

A $5 fee for materials will be collected on the day of the workshop. The program is limited to 25 participants. Participants should pre-register with Karen Adams at (302) 856-2585, ext. 540. Anyone with special needs should notify Adams upon registering.