Senator Hansen Co-Hosts Constituent Breakfast In Glasgow

State Senator Stephanie Hansen along with State Representative Earl Jaques held a constituent breakfast at the Whereabouts Café in the People’s Plaza Shopping Center, Glasgow. They welcomed Kevin Donelly of the New Castle County Conservation District and Shawn Garvin, the Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources (DNREC).

Donnelly talked about the Conservation District and their purpose saying that it was designed as a local venue for federal farm services and has been in operation for about 75 years. Donnelly said the New Castle County Conservation District is subdivision of state government and operates through DNREC to work on private property. They usually offer technical assistance as well as financial support for farmers at no fee to the users. Donnelly also talked about tax ditches which are perhaps unique in Delaware which has more than 2,000, mostly in the southern part of the state. Donnelly said that a tax ditch is a court established structure to aid in agricultural production as farmers tax themselves to improve drainage.

Shawn Garvin of DNREC talked about some of what his department is working on and he said that with the summer season here, he is focusing more on parks, beaches, and boating ramps. He said that a Regulatory Advisory Committee on the Coastal Zone Advisory is being assembled and that they are keeping up with the home stretch of the General Assembly session. He said deer management issues is taking a lot of his time as the deer population is out of control and they are looking at ways of dealing with it, including expanding Sunday deer hunting. He said it looks like they mayl have $10 million dollars restored to open space funding by the state government which DNREC can use for farm preservation. Rep. Jaques brought up yard waste issues with Garvin saying that Delaware has banned yard waste in normal trash. He said that some of their efforts at using yard waste, such as compost, is dependent on the marketplace to fill a need. He said the yard waste disposal site on Polly Drummond Road is at the end of its useful life and will remain open this year but they need to look at long term solutions.

During the audience participation portion, one resident asked about problems with the geese overpopulation especially since they are a protected species. Garvin said he will work on this after tackling the deer problem, but one of the issues with geese is that unlike deer, they don’t stay in one area and migrate in from other areas. Garvin also talked about lead paint issues especially with painting water towers where lead paint may have issues with the drinking water. Rep. Jaques said that Delaware law bans lead paint indoors, but not outdoors. When asked about how federal budget cuts in environmental spending is affecting the state, Garvin said he is not sure yet but the federal government plays a role in offering technical support for things the state cannot do. Garvin also said that a state can only control what in within its borders and that the federal government needs to be the enforcement arm when environmental threats cross state borders.

Finally, Sen. Hansen gave an update on what she is working on the General Assembly and is working on anti-dumping legislation. She also talked about the environmental dangers of releasing balloons into the environment and said she is pushing for municipalities to ban the use of balloons in parades. She talked about plastic recycling efforts due to the discovery that adding plastic to asphalt strengthens the asphalt and could be an economic opportunity for recycling plastic.

Sen. Hansen talked about the Behavioral Health Consortium she is a part of to combat the opioid addiction crisis and said that over 1,000 comments from the public have been condensed to 117 recommendations. She is working on imposing an impact fee on pharmaceutical companies who manufacture opioids.

Sen. Hansen said that a state collaboration with the University of Delaware should lead to good jobs in Delaware and that they are working on improvements to the transportation system, including the train station near the campus.

Sen. Hansen promoted a School Safety Forum scheduled for June 18 at Glasgow High School and one of the guests will be Appoquinimink School District Superintendent Dr. Matt Burrows who recently had to deal with an incident where a Middletown High School student was able to bring a gun into the school. She also talked about changes to the bump stock bill that would change possession from a felony to a misdemeanor citing that it would be unfair to punish someone already in possession, especially if a gun with a bump stock is handed down to them within the family. She also talked about a gun stock buyback program.

Photo credits of Sen. Hansen (front page) plus Kevin Donnelly (left) and Shawn Garvin (right) in collage: Keith Thompson   

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