Tuesday, January 31, 2012


If you are currently hunting for a job and you only read one post from my blog you should read this post.

When interviewing for a JOB.  There are some simple rules to follow:

  1. Comb your hair.
  2. Iron your interview clothes
  3. Make sure your clothing is color matched including your socks!
  4. Remove the price tags from your clothing.
  5. Groom yourself, i.e. mow those eyebrows, trim the nose hair and take a shower!
  6. Sit up and pay attention to the interviewer.  Don't 'lounge' or slouch in the chair.
  7. Highlight the strong points in your life.  Do not write a book about it.
  8. Do not talk negatively about former employers and co-workers.  No matter how much they sucked and made your life miserable.
  9. Use that obscure website Google to learn more about the company you will be interviewing with.
  10. Practice having a firm handshake.
  11. Learn how to spell and use correct grammar. (Especially on your resume)
For those of you that are curious.  I am in the process of hiring a PC Technician.  I haven't had the opportunity to put out an ad for hire in over 3 years.  So I guess I have been out of the loop for too long.  In my delusional fantasy world, I thought that the unemployment rate was at an all time high and that people would be begging for jobs.  I thought that I would be inundated with resumes and phone calls.  I thought that I would have the position filled in less than a week.  After all there should be a large base of well qualified applicants just waiting for an opportunity.  Well folks, I thought wrong.

In reality here is what is happening.  I have received a total of 12 resumes in no more that a week of advertising the job on Craigslist and the state of Delaware's job site. Of the resumes I received I tried calling four (4) applicants for an interview.  I have currently interviewed 2 people and a third interview scheduled.  The fourth person has not gotten back with me.  Here is a good example of how I feel.  

 So here is my take on this situation.  I think to say the number of people not working is an "unemployment rate" should be renamed to "Deadbeats that no one wants rate".  Looking at the applicants I received it would seem that companies have been shedding the people that are not profitable and dare I say, lazy.  Hey wait, we can call it the "Lazy Rate".  Perhaps this is the result of the 'Entitlement Generation'.  It is the so called 99% that Occupy and basically does not want to work, yet want the 1% to share the wealth.  Is this just another symptom of the larger problem.  I say yes.

WAKE UP PEOPLE!  Nothing is free in life and you have to WORK for everything you want to achieve. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Markell FY’13 Budget Proposal Supports Job Growth, Invests in Education

Meets Growing Demands without Raising Taxes

Dover, DE – Governor Jack Markell today unveiled a balanced budget proposal that invests in jobs and public education, keeps the state’s commitment to critical areas like public health and safety and balances without the need to raise taxes or add new fees.
“Budgets are about priorities, and this budget makes clear that our top priorities are encouraging economic growth, making our public schools stronger, and ensuring that we are governing responsibly,” Markell said.
The budget continues years of efforts to govern responsibly by finding ways to cut costs. The state has cut over 1,000 state employee positions, enacted state employee health and pension reform that should secure over $480 million in savings over a 15-year period; reduced specific operating expenses like state-agency printing and advertising expenses; cut the state’s energy costs through reverse auctions; slashed the state’s fleet by 895 vehicles; and reduced costs by renegotiating state leases. These efforts have helped to reduce expenses while ensuring the state maintained its AAA bond rating, which keeps down the cost of borrowing.
“We remain very focused on investing and spending taxpayer dollars wisely.  In order to cover the cost of increasing demands on state government, we must continue to find savings and efficiencies in our state agencies, “ Director Visalli said.
While the recommended budget includes an additional $21.7 million dollars for Medicaid, the Governor made clear during his State of the State and in this budget address that the state will focus this year on bringing down those costs. Over the last 10 years, Medicaid spending has grown 127 percent, to the point where federal and state spending together now exceeds $1.2 billion each year.
“As I mentioned in the State of the State, tackling these spiraling costs – moving from paying for sick care to paying for health care – has to be a priority or we’ll lose the ability in the future to invest in areas like education that are critical to economic growth,” Markell said.
The budget proposal includes significant investments in public education, including additional state funding for 111 new teacher units in schools, step increases for school employees and salary increases for paraprofessionals. While federal Education Jobs Act funds had helped support local districts this year, the federal government did not renew that program. To support local districts and keep educators working, the Governor’s budget recommends the state replace those lost federal dollars with an additional $27.4 million dollars in state funds, which is the largest single additional investment in the Governor’s budget proposal. Public education also receives a boost in the Capital Budget, which dedicates $116.1 million for school projects.
With additional investments in early childhood education and support for the SEED and Inspire college scholarships, the budget recognizes that education cannot begin the day a child arrives for kindergarten or end the day someone crosses the stage with their high school diploma. The state’s recent success in the federal government’s second Race to the Top contest (the “Early Learning Challenge”) means federal resources will also be available to complement the state’s early childhood investments.
“Great schools are an important factor in our ability to attract new jobs to Delaware now. Great schools that graduate kids who are ready to succeed in work or college are critical to our state’s – and those kids’ – economic future,” Markell said.
With jobs remaining the Governor’s top priority, the budget proposal makes several investments in economic growth. The Capital Budget would replenish the state’s Strategic Fund, which has helped attract new employers and expand existing workforces at companies like Amazon, Mountaire Farms, Baltimore Aircoil, Nanticoke Hospital, Johnson Controls and PBF Energy, which reopened the Delaware City Refinery. These Strategic Fund resources would also support some of the Governor’s expanded efforts to help small businesses.
“We need to keep focused and keep pushing forward in our efforts to expand economic opportunity and make our state an even better place to start and grow a business,” Markell said. “Companies deciding where to invest and hire also look for places with clean air and water and for places parks and recreational trails that make life for employees and their families healthy and rewarding.  Quality of life matters deeply to them because it matters to their workforce.  If we overlook them, our state is likely to get overlooked.”
Given the importance quality of life issues can play in economic development, the Governor’s capital budget recommends $13.3 million for a series of Statewide Trails and Pathways; $2.6 million for libraries; a $1.3 million investments in the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $1.9 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, each of which will leverage several million in additional federal funds; $4 million for the state’s Housing Development Fund and $2.1 million to redevelop strategic sites like NVF and Fort Dupont. It invests in public-safety projects like the new Delaware State Police Troop 3 in Camden and Troop 7 in Lewes and supports $7.5 million in federal funds for the new Delaware National Guard Armory in Dagsboro with $2.5 in state capital funds.
While the unveiling of the Governor’s budget proposal traditionally focused on the Operating and Capital Budgets and was led by the Governor and Ann Visalli, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Transportation’s Secretary Shailen Bhatt included his proposals this year for the state’s Transportation Trust Fund. Bhatt explained the agency’s new approach to operating -  called TEAM DelDOT (for Transparent, Efficient, Accountable and Measured) – and new approach to budgeting, which includes more closely aligning agency staff and financial resources with the department’s capital program and operational needs.
“Sound management of our infrastructure and our transportation dollars is an important part of our state’s fiscal health,” Markell said. “DelDOT has made clear their budget priorities are to be realistic and responsible while maintaining a robust capital plan to create jobs and meet the state’s transportation needs.”
The Fiscal Year 2013 Recommended Operating Budget totals $3,544.5 million, an increase of 1.025% over the Fiscal Year 2012 budget.  The Fiscal Year 2013 Recommended Bond and Capital Improvements Act totals $448.0 million and the Governor has also recommended a Grants in Aid set-aside of $40.2 million.  Total recommended Fiscal Year 2013 General Fund appropriations are $42.6 million less than Fiscal Year 2012.
The Fiscal Year 2013 Operating Budget and Capital Improvements Act fully funds the state’s Rainy Day Fund, adheres to the state’s three-part debt limit, seeks to maintain the state’s AAA bond rating and appropriates only 98% of available revenue. A power point of the proposal is available online:http://budget.delaware.gov/fy2013/budget_presentation.pdf.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pet Peeves Part II

  1. Public cellphone use while standing in line at a retail store checkout lane.
  2. People out in public wearing Pajamas, slippers or any type of sleepwear.
  3. Employees that work for me arriving exactly on time or 1 to 2 minutes late.
  4. Cellphone use during work hours.
  5. People asking me to get something off the top shelf at the store since I am 'Tall'.
I know we have all seen those type people.  The ones that felt that it was ok to go out in public wearing their pajamas, slippers and or bath robe.  In fact there is a whole website devoted to the inappropriately dressed shopper.  I even read some of the comments that people leave about the website.  Some people feel that it is ok for these people to express their individuality in public and who are we to judge?

I don't know if it is right or wrong for me to feel this way but I just feel that if you find the need to leave the house you should dress in a manner acceptable to society as a whole.  These 'inappropriately dressed' people are, in my opinion, the outcasts of society.  I learned long ago that the first impression you get of a person is the opinion that they will hold about you.  

So if you are well dressed and polite, in general, you will be well received by most people.  If you are dressed like a freak you will be treated as such.  This isn't something that I came up with.  Quite the contrary, this is something that I have experienced.  Your appearance determines how people will react to you.  It is just human nature.

Let's face it no one wants to see this - Yuk

Lets face it, the pajama wearing people never look like this:

This in my opinion is the only acceptable type of person allowed to wear pajamas to the store.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Indian River Inlet Bridge Open to Traffic

First passengers include Gov. Markell, Sen. Carper, Sec. Bhatt;
All lanes to be open in spring
Indian River Inlet BridgeIndian River (January 20, 2012) – The Indian River Inlet Bridge is open to passenger traffic.
In an event commemorating the historic opening of the gleaming-new structure, Governor Jack Markell, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Department of Transportation (DelDOT) Secretary Shailen Bhatt drove the first passenger vehicle over the bridge.
Effective today, one lane of southbound traffic will be open.  In the next several days, one northbound lane will be open to vehicular traffic.  Demolition work will then begin on the old bridge.  In the coming months, Delaware contractor George & Lynch will complete the roadway approaches on the remaining two lanes on the northbound side of the bridge in preparation for a spring 2012 opening for all four lanes and the pedestrian and bikeway.
“Bridges are about connecting people and commerce,” said Governor Jack Markell.  “We depend on bridges to help us get from one place to another.  This new bridge helps move goods and services, Delawareans and visitors.   It’s one of the most important bridges in our state and a vital link for people driving to vacation destinations, businesses and jobs along the coast.”
The $150 million bridge was erected by Skanska Southeast under a design-build contract with DelDOT. Sixty Delaware business have been suppliers to the project. The bridge is 2,600 feet long, 108 feet wide and situated 45 feet above the inlet.
“This long-awaited day marks the opening of the Indian River Inlet Bridge connecting Sussex County communities along the coast,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) “The bridge will welcome visitors to the southern beach resorts and ensure local residents can continue to get to work, school and to the hospital. This state and federally funded infrastructure project will ensure safe travel for now and into the next century. ”
“For DelDOT, this milestone is more than just a big day,” said Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt.  “It is a time when we can reflect on the virtues and rewards of teamwork.  This project is just one example of the great things DelDOT is doing and will continue to do as we keep working toward a world-class multi-modal transportation system for the people of Delaware.”
Additional information is available on DelDOT’s website at www.DelDOT.gov or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DelawareDOT and Twitter at www.twitter.com/DelawareDOT.

A Message for the Masses

███ ██ trust █ ██████ your ████ █ ██ ███ ████ ██████ ████ ███government███ ████ ██████ █████ ██████ ████ ██████████ █everything█████████ ███ ████ ███ ██████████ ████████ ██ is ██████████ ██████████ ███████ ███ █████ fine.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

State of the State Address 2012 – Delaware’s Time to Lead

Governor Markell’s Fourth State of the State
Focuses on Jobs, Education and Governing Responsibly

Dover, DE – Governor Jack Markell’s fourth State of the State address today made clear that to lead in the future, Delaware must stay focused now on creating more jobs, making our schools stronger and governing responsibly. In the speech in the House Chamber, Markell offered new proposals in each critical area and updated the legislature on some successful efforts underway to get people back to work, ensure more Delaware children graduate ready to succeed and make government a sounder steward of state resources.
“This is Delaware’s time to lead. Creating more and better jobs. Improving our quality of life. Providing the best schools and learning opportunities for our children. Getting the most out of each tax dollar. Strengthening the trust of our people in their government. These are challenges even in ordinary times. We don’t live in ordinary times.”
As Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum recently wrote, companies and countries both gain the greatest amount of ground on their competitors “in the turns” which are periods of greatest change and uncertainty. After years spent battling challenges such as inheriting a historic budget shortfall and the effects of a national recession that hit the state particularly hard, Delaware has the chance now to leap ahead and lead forward. The state, Markell said, must seize this chance to “win in the turns.”
“When there are big shifts in the marketplace, when others are overwhelmed and in disarray, they put distance between themselves and their competitors. As tempting as it might seem to take this moment to pause and catch our breath, this is not the time to stand still. This is the time for Delaware to leap ahead, to lead.”
The division and derision that has marked debate in Washington, DC and other governing bodies has been largely absent in Delaware, where citizens and their legislators have pulled together across the state and across partisan lines to keep the state moving forward. The Governor thanked the legislature for their work to set the state up for success.
“At a moment when Washington, D.C. stands for deadlock and dysfunction, Delaware’s strength resides in the capacity of its people, even in challenging times, to work with common purpose, to choose perseverance in place of pettiness and partisanship.”
Job Creation: Capitalizing on our Economic Strength 
Expanded Focus on Small Business and Entrepreneurs
Jobs and economic growth have been, and remain, the administration’s top priority.
“We must put ourselves in the shoes of those who create jobs. We’ve got to understand the industries in our State better than any other state. And we’ve got to be more committed to the success of businesses in our state than any other state.”
“Winning the turns” means continuing to make progress with the state’s ongoing efforts at job creation, including fully funding the Strategic Fund, which has helped attract and retain jobs at significant employers like PBF Energy, Sallie Mae, Baltimore Air Coil, Fisker Automotive, Miller Metal, Bloom Energy, Mountaire Farms and Capital One; investing in infrastructure, including the use of the Delaware Infrastructure Fund to attract businesses expansion efforts like Amazon.com; and continuing to modernize the Port of Wilmington to increase our capacity to handle global trade.
It means demonstrating that economic development and environmental protection are compatible goals through existing efforts that have modernized our energy fleet while reducing air pollution by 8,600 tons per year of nitrogen oxide and 33,000 tons per year of sulfur dioxide (equivalent of taking 450,000 cars off the road); and connecting people with the First State’s history and natural beauty including the launch of the First State Trails and Pathways Plan, a $13 million effort to build miles of new and enhanced trails throughout the state for every Delawarean to enjoy.
Seizing Delaware’s time to lead also means adopting new efforts to get people back to work now and in the future by focusing on small businesses. This includes further supporting emerging start-ups and growing companies by applying best practices found at entrepreneurial support centers across the country and helping existing small businesses get access to credit through the federalSmall Business Credit Initiative. The state is pursuing innovative ways to give small businesses the edge, including the first statewide partnership with Facebook to help Delaware companies fully engage the powerful potential of social media.
“We already have terrific small businesses but we aspire to see more created and to see them grow quickly. To accomplish that, we must nurture the small businesses and new companies that will thrive in the hospitable soil for job creation that our leading employers and our world-class workforce create around them.”
For their work, the Governor also recognized two members of the Delaware National Guard in the audience, Sergeant Bruce Sevens of Dover and Senior Airman Jason Duricek of Wilmington, both of whom served in Afghanistan.
“The first thanks we owe all of our veterans when they come home is the chance to partake in the abundance of opportunity that they make possible for the rest of us. Their mission puts them in harm’s way, but their morale is high and their skills are exceptional. Let’s work together to ensure they have the opportunity to put those skills to work when they come home.”
Delaware recently added representation of veteran-owned businesses to our Supplier Diversity Council, to ensure that they have a fair opportunity to compete for state business. To encourage the private sector to hire returning veterans, the Governor proposed expanding tax credits to Delaware businesses that hire veterans.
Schools: Creating the Workforce of Tomorrow
Expanded Emphasis on Early Childhood Education
Just as a businesses’ greatest asset in growth is its people, the state’s greatest asset for economic growth can be its workforce. Keeping the state’s commitment to the strongest possible public schools provides significant economic benefits now and in the future.
“The biggest driver for a business when deciding where to locate and expand is the quality of the workforce. That talent will determine whether the business becomes an innovation leader or gets left behind in the creative dust of its competitors. This is why, when the history of our time here is written, the determined push we are making to raise student achievement will prove to be the biggest game-changer of all.”
The state has made significant commitments to making schools stronger, including a reform plan that won national recognition through the first Race to the Top Competition. Working together, parents, teachers, administrators, private employers, foundations and public officials haveestablished high standards to ensure an honest understanding of what is necessary for success in the global economy; improved the assessment system so parents and teachers can track student progress and identify student needs quickly; supported teachers with resources to help them student achievement; and made progress on evaluations for teachers based in part on the progress students make.
Over the past year, Delaware has also launched a World Language Expansion Initiative, increasing opportunities to study the languages needed for global competitiveness and making completion of a world language a graduation requirement. The Governor further proposed to create partial immersion programs in twenty schools over the next five years.
“In today’s global knowledge economy, those who are not pushing forward are falling behind. For Delaware to maintain its position of leadership, it is absolutely vital that we keep pressing ahead. Around the world, young people are working hard in schools that are dramatically improving and if we stop our own efforts now, it will be to the detriment of our kids and their future.”
To press forward, the Governor emphasized the importance of implementing without additional delay the state’s Performance Appraisal System, which has been crafted with the advice of hundreds of Delaware teachers. As a parent, he highlighted the need to ensure that these efforts help children develop a love for learning that inspires their imaginations and creativity, and committed to working with the Delaware State Teachers Association and the state’s business community on a new effort to raise awareness of the truly great things that are happening in Delaware classrooms.
“Finally, pressing ahead means acknowledging what research has clearly established — raising student achievement begins before children enter kindergarten. I’ve heard this message from hundreds of teachers — children receiving quality early care and education are more likely to be successful in school and in life. Investments that promise high yields get my attention and, in the realm of public policy, there is no higher yield investment than this one.”
Delaware announced historic investments in early childhood education during the spring of 2011, and the state was recognized for these plans with significant federal funding through the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge in December. The plan, which Delawareans are working together to implement, includes (1) the professionals who care for Delaware’s children will have the proper training; (2) the early childcare facilities will have the best teaching and learning tools; and (3) the successes and challenges of centers will be closely monitored to ensure continual improvement.
The Governor indicated that the state aims to raise the percentage of high-need children in quality-rated programs from 20 percent to nearly 80 percent over the next four years and committed to introducing a new kindergarten assessment through collaboration with the Delaware State Teachers Association and many kindergarten teachers.
Governing Responsibly: Transparency and Cost Containment
Expanded Focus on Driving Down Health Care Costs
To succeed, Delaware needs to invest in business-supporting infrastructure, quality of life, our children, and our workforce. Governor Markell emphasized that responsible governance is critical to ensuring the effectiveness of these investments.
“This requires a state government that is innovative, efficient and transparent. Governments that are open and transparent are more likely to manage taxpayer resources responsibly.”
Government transparency took several steps forward in 2011, with streamlined procedures for responding to requests for public records from the executive branch. The Governor called on counties, towns and school districts to join this commitment to ensuring citizens have access to information, and he commended the General Assembly for their significant progress over the past three years.
To build on this progress towards greater transparency, Governor Markell announced that the administration would work with President Pro Tempore DeLuca and Speaker Gilligan, and Majority Leaders Blevins and Schwartzkopf to implement a new online reporting tool where citizens can see which lobbyists are advocating for clients on specific pieces of legislation.
“We have been successful in pulling together in tough times in no small part because of faith in the responsiveness of Delaware government. The trust of people in their state government should not be undermined by a perception that lobbyists have hidden access here in Dover.”
The Governor has worked with state agencies and Legislators to make government more efficientthrough initiatives like the “I Found it Cheaper” website for state procurement, eliminate more than a thousand executive branch positions, slashed the state vehicle fleet, renegotiated leased space, and stopped unnecessary printing. In 2011, leaders from both parties and representatives of employees worked together—in contrast to the pitched battles in other states—to confront the unsustainable long-term costs of state employee pension and health plans, saving more than $480 million over the next 15 years.
Further efforts to increase efficiency are needed, including reforms to the criminal justice system. Through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, state officials are continuing to review opportunities to improve investments to achieve greater impact.
Governor Markell also highlighted health care as the cost driver that “looms above all others and will swamp all the savings we achieve elsewhere if not addressed.” State Medicaid spending increased by $56 million for the Fiscal 2012 budget, and the proposed increase for 2013 will be $21.7 million.
“The incentives we have in place in our health care system reward neither efficiency nor quality. These incentives encourage more services and tests, not better results. We have a system that doesn’t encourage healthy behavior in patients and doesn’t discourage unhealthy behavior. In essence, we don’t have a health care system; we have a sick care system.”
Because the Medicaid population combined with State employees and retirees represents nearly 40 percent of the health insurance market in Delaware, the Governor committed to work with the Delaware Medical Society, the Delaware Healthcare Association, and the community to insist onincentives for providers that are aligned to improve quality and discourage waste.
Some progress has already been made: starting April 1st, Delaware will replace a traditional reliance on institutional care for seniors with a strong emphasis on community living. State agencies are also coordinating efforts to improve the quality and reduce the cost of care for those who have traditionally been cared for in the state hospital and young people aging out of foster care.
The use of technology is critical to improving health care quality and reducing costs for individual patients and doctors. A next step is to leverage technology to create a claims and cost database to enable the state to understand what efforts are effective:
“Business leaders have come to understand the key to improving performance is harnessing the capacity of information technology to aggregate and analyze data. This database will allow us to figure out why some providers get better results and why some providers create more costs without better results to show for it. We will be in a position to reward what works and change what doesn’t.”
The Governor discussed the need to encourage individuals to take responsibility for making healthy choices by building on efforts begun by the Governor’s Council on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, the Sussex Outdoors Initiative, Delaware institutions of higher education, and others. He also announced that state campuses will become smoke-free.
“Turning around this cost curve will not be easy and it will take time. But it is work to which we must commit — urgently and earnestly — if we are to put ourselves on a sustainable financial course and retain the freedom to invest in our children and our future.”
Transcript of the Governor’s 2012 State of the State message.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The US Problem Explained!

I ran across this image on Google+, I shared it on Facebook.  I think that it gives everyone an idea of the situation we are in regarding the S&P credit downgrade.  Puts the situation into perspective.

Statement of Governor Jack Markell Regarding the Commutation of Sentence of Robert Gattis

Delaware State SealPursuant to my authority under Article VII, Section 1 of the Delaware Constitution, I have decided to commute the sentence of Robert Gattis to life in prison without the possibility of parole, subject to the conditions set forth below.
I realize my decision may cause pain to the family and friends of Shirley Slay. For that, I deeply apologize.
In reaching this conclusion, I give great weight to the decision of the Board of Pardons. In the exercise of its constitutional duties, the Board thoroughly reviewed Mr. Gattis’s application for clemency and the State’s response. The Board studied the entire historical record of this case, carefully listened to the statements made by parties on both sides, and had the opportunity to look Mr. Gattis in the eyes and question him. Having done so, the Board took the unusual and perhaps historic step of recommending, by a 4-1 margin, that Mr. Gattis’s death sentence be commuted to life without parole. I take the Board’s considered decision seriously.
Over the last two decades, executions pursuant to death penalty sentences imposed by the State have proceeded only in the absence of an objection from the Board of Pardons and the multiple courts having jurisdiction over the case. In essence, the multiple checks and balances that are in place have historically been in alignment before the extraordinary action of executing a criminal defendant proceeds. While I have supported the imposition of the death penalty in the past and I consider Mr. Gattis’s crimes to be heinous, I am not prepared to move forward with imposition of the sentence in this case.
I undertake this commutation after thorough review of the record presented and substantial contemplation. I have read Mr. Gattis’s application for clemency, the state’s response, and Mr. Gattis’s reply. I have reviewed the many affidavits submitted. I have spent substantial time considering the harm endured by Ms. Slay and her family, Mr. Gattis’s history, and the merits of the clemency application. I have prayed. At the end of the day, although I am not free from doubt, I believe moving forward with the execution of Mr. Gattis is not appropriate under the totality of the circumstances. After my review, I find myself in agreement with the four members of the Board of Pardons who concluded the mitigating evidence here is sufficiently substantial that an act of clemency on my part is warranted. In doing so, I am committed to the fact that Mr. Gattis will spend his remaining life in prison and will pose no threat to public safety.
Even if one were to discount certain of the allegations of sexual abuse recently alleged by Mr. Gattis (as the Board did), the fact remains that Mr. Gattis’s family background is among the most troubling I have encountered. As one of his former attorneys stated in an affidavit, the additional evidence about Mr. Gattis’s childhood “puts Mr. Gattis, his case, and his potential defenses to capital murder in an entirely different light.” This substantial dysfunction, abuse and neglect Mr. Gattis experienced as a youth does not in any way excuse the cowardly murder of Ms. Slay.
This commutation in no way relieves Mr. Gattis of his moral or legal guilt, and I am mindful of the fact that an innocent victim lost her life on the night of May 9, 1990. That is why I have conditioned Mr. Gattis’s commutation on the following: (1) Mr. Gattis shall forever drop all legal challenges to his conviction and sentence, as commuted; (2) Mr. Gattis shall forever waive any right to present a future commutation or pardon request and agree to live out his natural life in the custody of the Department of Correction; (3) Mr. Gattis will be housed in the Maximum Security Unit of the James T. Vaughn Correction Center for the remainder of his natural life, unless constitutionally required medical care is necessary; and (4) Mr. Gattis, after consultation with counsel, shall knowingly, willingly and voluntarily accept these conditions, as determined by the Superior Court. With these conditions, Ms. Slay’s loved ones can at least know that they will never have to go through the painful process again of trials, hearings or requests for release.
My decision is among the most difficult I have had to make in all my years in public service. But in light of the Board’s unprecedented decision and the reasons set forth above, I believe it is the correct one under the circumstances. My thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of Shirley Slay during this difficult time.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Hi Bob –

Below I’ve listed the email I always send out to our winners.  You’re friends and family have won, and now you’re the winner of this week’s drawing!  It’s a really nice Life Fitness Body Shape Kit (Accessory Kit - $299 Value).  Give me a call or email me and let me know when you can come over and pick up your prize, and get a couple pictures taken. Great job on the daily exercise, it’s a lifestyle!

Thank you for taking part in the Leisure Fitness – Be Fit, Stay Fit Challenge!

of the BE FIT, STAY FIT CHALLENGE – Holiday Giveaway!

You’re the winner of the Life Fitness Body Shape Kit, you have 30 days from today to claim your prize.  You can claim your prize by responding to this email, or by giving me a call at 302-224-5024, please leave a voicemail with your contact information if I miss your call!

Please let us know if you’d like to have this product shipped curbside, or if you would like to pick it up from one of our 20 retail stores!

be fit. stay fit. live well.

Tyler Bastianelli
Director of Internet Sales
Leisure Fitness Equipment
231 Executive Drive, Ste. 15
Newark, DE 19702
302.224.5024 office
302.224.5001 fax

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Governor’s Weekly Message: Legislative Focus Remains on Jobs

DOVER – In his weekly message, Governor Markell looks ahead to the work of lawmakers as they begin the second half of a two-year legislative session and looks back at the some of the significant accomplishments of the 2011 legislative session.   Last year, lawmakers passed and the Governor signed into law a number of efforts critical to Delaware’s success.   In his address, the Governor names some of those efforts.
  • Efforts to help get people back to work like the New Job Creation credit
  • Legislation that allowed Bloom Energy to pick the former Chrysler factory as its new manufacturing hub
  • Encouragement that led companies like Capital One to choose Delaware as a place it wants to put hundreds of people to work
  • Efforts to help our state’s kids go to even stronger public schools, including a bill to help local school districts attract top talent.
  • Significant new commitment last year to early childhood education, which is what helped Delaware win the federal Race to the Top contest
  • Legislation to improve public safety – including the new Fund to Combat Violent Crimes and efforts to crack down on repeat DUI offenders
  • Legislation to improve our state’s longer-term financial health through collaborative reforms around our state’s employee pension and health care costs.
  • Passage of another responsible and balanced budget
“It was a strong start to a two-year session, but the work is by no means done,” said the Governor.  “ The next few weeks we’ll be working with the legislature to unveil some new initiatives  so that we keep making progress on core issues to create jobs, improve schools and govern responsibly.  Those priorities remain our state’s priorities and will be a significant focus the rest of this session. ”
“I know how seriously our legislators take their responsibility to serve their constituents and how committed they’ve been to finding ways to work together to get things done, instead of letting smaller differences derail results. I hope that same spirit of resolve – that same shared commitment – continues to define how we tackle the challenges ahead and how we can keep working together to keep Delaware moving forward.”
About the Governor’s Weekly Message:
At noon every Friday, the Governor’s office releases a new Weekly Message in video, audio, and transcript form.  The message is available on:
Transcript of the Governor’s Weekly Message: New Legislative Session Begins

Friday, January 6, 2012

Delaware Awarded Nearly One Million Dollar Federal Grant to Protect Critical Coastal Wetlands in Delaware Bayshore

PORT PENN – A key coastal wetland property, part of the Thousand Acre Marsh near Port Penn, will be conserved thanks to a $829,400 federal grant awarded to DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife through the U.S. Department of the Interior’s 2012 National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program. The grant will be used, along with matching funds from the state Open Space Program and private contributions, to acquire a 194-acre property, bringing a total of 388 acres of the Thousand Acre Marsh under permanent protection. The conservation of the property protects and expands access to the globally significant wildlife habitat within the Delaware Bayshore and supports President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative by providing new recreational opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and learn about nature.
“Conserving and protecting this unique coastal wetland enhances the state’s natural resources and boosts our economy by encouraging more Delawareans and visitors to enjoy our state as a world-class birding and wildlife-watching destination,” said Governor Jack Markell. “This project ensures a diverse natural legacy for future generations.”
Acquisition of this property was a key priority of DNREC’s new Delaware Bayshore Initiative, which builds on the state’s long-term commitment to conserving our coastal zone and on the Delaware Bay shoreline’s reputation as a unique and beautiful natural resource. The Bayshore Initiative’s goals also include helping the local economy by encouraging Delawareans and visitors to enjoy the area through low-impact activities, such as birding, fishing, hunting, boating and ecotourism. The addition of this property enhances the management of the Augustine Wildlife Management Area, which is located at the northern end of the Delaware Bay. The Delaware Bayshore, extending from Delaware City to Lewes, is widely recognized for its expansive coastal marshes, bay beaches, agricultural lands and forests which provide diverse habitat to many species.
The new property includes approximately 145 acres of wetlands and 40 acres of forested uplands. With this property, the Augustine Wildlife Management Area, including the Thousand Acre Marsh, will total 2,770 protected acres. The Thousand Acre Marsh provides habitat for thousands of breeding and wintering waterfowl, serving as a stopover for migratory birds during spring and fall and as breeding grounds for waterbirds, as well as habitat for fish and muskrats. Protection of the property will help safeguard habitat for 10 species listed as State Endangered, as well as protecting foraging habitat for one of the largest and most diverse heronries on the east coast and critical wintering habitat for the bald eagle.
The new property also will provide public access to the southern portion of the Thousand Acre Marsh for wildlife-related recreation and viewing. Plans include building a platform for bird watching with interpretive signage, blinds for duck hunters and enhancing an existing walking path along the edge of the woodland and fields.
“For a small state like Delaware, it is vital that we work to conserve our precious lands and natural resources, including our wetlands and coastal areas. Preserving Delaware’s lands and natural habitat has been something that I have been committed to since I was Governor, including my work to help establish the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Program, and preservation remains an issue that I am committed to today,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper. “This grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services will enable Delaware not only to safeguard critical fish and wildlife habitat along the Thousand Acre Marsh in New Castle County, but also to provide Delawareans and Americans of all ages the opportunity to explore the treasured landscapes, ecosystems and wildlife of the First State.”
“The Thousand Acre Marsh is a treasured resource for Delaware’s natural environment and has been a source of great pride for the First State,” U.S. Senator Chris Coons said. “By expanding this area, we will work to further preserve this richly diverse habitat for future generations to enjoy. I look forward to continuing my work with the Department of the Interior and with President Obama to ensure the conservation of Delaware’s wildlife.”
“Delaware is blessed to have a beautiful natural habitat for both residents and visitors to enjoy,” said U.S. Congressman John Carney. “It is our responsibility to care for these resources and ensure that future generations have the same opportunity. The coastal wetland property that will be preserved through this federal grant is home to many species of fish, waterfowl, and birds, including the bald eagle. I’m excited that DNREC will now be able to undertake this project, and look forward to the improvements that will make it easier to enjoy this beautiful part of our state.”
“This National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant builds on public-private partnerships and will help transform Delaware’s Bayshore into a world-class conservation and recreational area,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “By leveraging federal, state and private resources to meet the goals of our Delaware Bayshore Initiative, we are connecting wildlife areas to urban centers and enhancing public recreational access to our precious natural resources.”
The Delaware grant was part of $20.5 million in grants announced by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to support 24 projects in 13 states to conserve and restore coastal wetlands and their fish and wildlife habitat. The grants will be matched by nearly $21 million in partner contributions from state and local governments, private landowners and conservation groups. The grants will be used to acquire, restore or enhance coastal wetlands and adjacent uplands to provide long-term conservation benefits to fish, wildlife and their habitat. States receiving funds include Alaska, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
“Coastal wetlands serve as some of nature’s most productive fish and wildlife habitat while providing storm protection, improved water quality, and abundant recreational opportunities for local communities,” Salazar said. “I am pleased that with these grants we are able to help our state partners implement some of their high-priority projects that support both conservation and recreation along their coasts.”
Delaware’s matching cost share for the grant is anticipated to be approximately $500,000 in state Open Space Program funds and partner contributions. Two conservation partner groups that plan to support the project are the Delmarva Ornithological Society and the Delaware Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.
“The Delmarva Ornithological Society is honored to partner with DNREC in the acquisition of this property within the Thousand Acre Marsh, a historically vibrant environment for migratory and breeding birds and a Top Ten birder’s hotspot within Delaware. The DOS funding comes from monies raised through the 4th Annual Delaware Bird-A-Thon in 2010, an event that involves numerous Delawareans and others throughout the United States in an effort to raise funds to protect vital migratory bird habitat. This wonderful acquisition matches the mission and the efforts of the Bird-A-Thon organizers and participants,” said Bill Stewart, DOS Conservation Committee Chair.
“The Delaware Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, along with other partners, recently completed a Delaware Basin-wide conservation framework with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to identify the best places for the protection and restoration of aquatic biodiversity within the watershed. As part of this initiative the protection of wetland complexes including those at Thousand Acre Marsh were identified as priority places for protection and restoration. A big tip of the hat to the Delaware Fish and Wildlife professionals for reaching out to partners on this project and for successfully competing at the national level to secure this grant. It will be money well spent and conservation will be well served,” said Andrew Manus, Acting State Director and Director of Conservation Programs for The Nature Conservancy in Delaware.
The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and funded under provisions of the 1990 Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act. Funding is provided by Sport Fish Restoration Act revenue – money generated from an excise tax on fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels.
The grants support President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative for conservation, recreation and reconnecting people to the outdoors. A recent 50-State Report from the U.S. Department of the Interior lists 100 of the country’s most promising projects – a result of 50 meetings with governors and stakeholders held by Salazar and other senior Interior officials to solicit ideas on how to best implement America’s Great Outdoors Initiative in their states – including the Delaware Bayshore Initiative. To view the full report, click here.