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Delaware ranked third for state support of arts

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Delaware ranked third for state support of arts

Delaware Arts Alliance (DAA) shared the findings of The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies’ (NASAA’s) State Arts Agency Fiscal Year 2016 Legislative Appropriations Preview report. The report shows that Delaware is third in the nation for the Per Capita State Arts Agency Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2016.

DAA Executive Director Dr. Guillermina Gonzalez shared her thoughts on Delaware’s ranking as the third state in the nation with the highest legislative appropriations for the arts. “We are fortunate to live in a state where our administration and legislators are committed to the arts and can see their great impact on Delaware’s economy and culture. Arts advocacy efforts, by organizations like DAA as well as individuals, help ensure that arts organizations will continue to thrive.”

The calculations by NASAA show how each state arts agency’s appropriation must be used to serve the entire population of its state, making per capita funding an important metric for measuring the health of arts appropriations. The final report of appropriations will be released in January.

DAA is committed to advocating for the arts locally and federally. In Delaware, DAA advocates to the Joint Finance Committee each year for increased funding for the arts and the keeping the arts in schools’ curriculum. Federally, DAA participates in National Arts Advocacy Day (organized by Americans for the Arts), which impacts funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. DAA’s arts advocacy efforts federally and locally help bring 80 percent (state funding) and 20 percent (federal funding) of the state arts budget handled by the Delaware Division of the Arts. The Division of the Arts’ activities strengthens the arts sector in the state.

NASAA is a membership organization that serves the nation’s state arts agencies. NASAA helps state arts agencies fulfill their many citizen service roles by providing knowledge services, representation and leadership programs that strengthen the state arts agency community. NASAA also serves as a clearinghouse for data and research about public funding and the arts. For more information on the report, please visit www.nasaa-arts.org.

The Delaware Arts Alliance is the unifying voice for the arts and arts education throughout the state, advocating for the central role of the arts in advancing dynamic communities and a creative citizenry. DAA firmly believes that a strong creative culture enhances education, the economy, and civic life. Since its founding in 2009, the Alliance has made presentations to the Joint Finance Committee of the Delaware Legislature, hosted speaking events, and organized advocacy programs throughout the state. Learn more at www.delawareartsalliance.org.

Chemours to close Edgemoor plant

Chemours will shut down its Edgemoor plant beginning in September.  The company said the 200 employees will be reassigned whenever possible and those who cannot be reassigned will receive severance packages.

A company spokesperson said no decision has been made on whether Chemours will move its headquarters from Wilmington.

Speaking of the Edgemoor decision, E. Bryan Snell, president of Chemours Titanium Technologies, said, “A plant closure is never an easy decision, because of its impact on people who are valued members of our company. However, we believe this is the right business decision. Chemours is committed to the TiO2 [titanium dioxide] market, and these changes position us for growth in the industry.”

The Edgemoor plant makes a TiO2 product for use in the paper industry, and its applications have declined steadily for years. That slowdown in demand has resulted in underused capacity at Edgemoor, the company said. Chemours will move production to four manufacturing sites that make a full range of Ti02 products.

The closure of the Edgemoor plant and the company’s New Johnsonville, Tenn., plant are expected to save $45 million annually. The company will incur non-cash charges of about $110 million related to the facility closing in the third quarter. Additional restructuring and charges related to severance, decommissioning and site redevelopment are expected to be in the range of $75-$85 million during the next two to three years, the company said.

The company plans to stop production at Edgemoor at the end of September and decommission the plant around March. The plant will then be dismantled, which could take a year or longer, depending on the site’s future. Chemours said it will immediately begin exploring options for site redevelopment that align with the best interests of the Edgemoor community.

Chemours’ five-point transformation plan is focused on five goals: reducing structural costs, growing market positions, refocusing investments, optimizing the portfolio and enhancing the organization.

Feds pledge $211M for U.S. 301 in Del.

DOVER (AP) — Federal transportation officials say the U.S. 301 toll road in project in southern New Castle County from the Maryland-Delaware line to Del. 1 is eligible for federal funding.

State officials say that the federal government has agreed to provide a low-interest, direct loan of up to $211.3 million for the project.

Delaware officials say the federal loan provides several advantages, including below-market interest rates, and deferrals of interest payments for five years and principal payments for 10 years.

With the loan agreement, federal officials have agreed that the toll project remains financially viable despite a 2013 downward revision in projected vehicle counts.

The current estimated price tag for the project, which includes a two-lane spur road branching northward from the four-lane main toll road, is about $650 million.

SBA releases money to buoy small biz exports

Small businesses across the country will have access to $17.4 million in funding to help them enter and compete in the global marketplace, as the Small Business Administration – and Delaware business will have $276,741 of it.

“Exports are a central part of America’s economic growth; with export-supported jobs paying 15-18 percent more. Yet less than one percent of small businesses export; and of those that do, 58 percent of them export to only one country,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet in announcing the funding. “Unlocking trade opportunities for small businesses is key to continued growth and expansion. SBA’s STEP program ensures local resources are available to help small businesses tap global markets. By funding states and their export development partners, the SBA is delivering the tools and resources required for small businesses to launch their services and products abroad.”

Contreras-Sweet pointed out that 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S. She said the funding will assist small businesses with export-related activities, including foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits and workshops.

The STEP program is designed to increase both the number of small businesses that begin to export and the value of exports for small businesses currently exporting.

Blood Bank of Delmarva producing platelets

The Blood Bank of Delmarva, which provides blood transfusion products and services to patients and hospitals in the Delmarva region, is producing pathogen-reduced platelets.

The blood bank was the first blood center to sign an agreement with Cerus Corporation following the FDA approval of its INTERCEPT Blood System for platelets and plasma in December 2014.

BBD supplies approximately 13,000 platelet and 21,000 plasma units per year.

The INTERCEPT Blood System is designed to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections by inactivating many pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and parasites that may be present in donated blood. The nucleic acid targeting mechanism is designed to inactivate threats such as hepatitis B and C, HIV, West Nile virus and bacteria, as well as emerging pathogens such as Chikungunya, Malaria and Dengue.

“I am pleased that BBD is able to offer pathogen-reduced platelets to our hospitals and their patients. This product provides a greater level of safety by lowering the risk for transfusion-transmitted infections,” says Chris Nare, the blood bank’s lead executive of laboratory services and distribution.

“The INTERCEPT product closely aligns with our vision of being a best-in-class blood bank…Offering pathogen-reduced platelets to the hospitals we serve is a major milestone of our ongoing focus on innovation that supports patient well being,” said blood bank CEO Roy Roper.

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