Sunday, March 29, 2015
Indian Head citizens hear Joint Land Use Study’s findings
Joseph Norris ―

Indian Head, MD - Keep development to a minimum around the Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center. That’s what the Town of Indian Head was told at a public hearing Wednesday, March 25, after a recent joint land use study encouraged compatible uses between the Navy base and the surrounding community.

But citizens were asking just how do you do that when the Charles County Planning Commission just approved, on Monday evening, a major development within what the study designates is a moderate noise pollution area?

How to fulfill the study’s findings and still work within the perimeters of the plan was front and foremost during an exchange between drafters of the joint land use study and citizens of the town.

Sammy 04:39 PM | (4) Comments | Email this post | Permalink

Fiscal Year 2015

Sammy 07:43 AM | (15) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles County Planning Commission -  Meeting Minutes

March 9.pdf (225 KB)

Sammy 07:39 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Maryland Association of Counties - This Week on Conduit Street

This Week on Conduit Street - March 27, 2015

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Bill to Stop New Home Sellers From Seizing Down Payments Passes Md. Senate
Ashley Brown ― WRC-TV (NBC4)

A bill prompted by a News4 I-Team investigation cleared a major hurdle in Maryland’s General Assembly Thursday.

The state Senate unanimously approved SB649, which aims to keep new home sellers from seizing down payments from buyers who cannot get the financing they want to purchase a house.

State Sen. C. Anthony Muse introduced the bill after he saw the I-Team’s report, which found one company reported more than $125 million made off seized down payments.

Sammy 07:28 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Open Space funds should not be raided
Herald-Mail - Editorial

Over the past 45 years, it would be difficult to find a government initiative that has worked better or benefited more constituencies than Maryland’s Program Open Space.

Funded with property transfer taxes, Open Space money has built parks, saved forests, promoted history and heritage, and protected farms across the state. Its benefits have been both aesthetic and practical, helping keep our waters clean, our lands productive and our views unspoiled. It’s especially critical to areas such as Washington County, which depend on rural heritage as a major selling point for our community.

Program Open Space has weathered numerous attacks on its funding through the years, but as we look forward to a time of year when our rural lands’ beauty is at its height, the state government is once again plotting to raid Program Open Space revenues. And this time it appears the threats are the greatest in the program’s history.

Sammy 07:24 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Maryland hospitals reduced readmissions in first year of new waiver
Tina Reed ― Baltimore Business Journal

More than 30 hospitals across Maryland reduced their patient readmission rates by 4 percent last year — avoiding 5,000 potential readmissions – in the first year of Maryland’s new Medicare payment waiver that allows the state to set its own rates.

A new report from the Maryland Hospital Association shows Maryland hospitals participating in an initiative to target readmission rates of patients within a month of discharge were able to decrease their rates below 12 percent for patients from private insurers as well as Medicare and Medicaid last year. Readmission is considered a key quality indicator for measuring not only how well hospitals treat their patients, but also how well hospitals coordinate ongoing care with outpatient providers once the patients leave.

Sammy 07:20 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Lawmakers stir travel industry furor over taxing online hotel bookings
Timothy B. Wheeler ― Baltimore Sun

Legislation aimed at changing how online travel companies pay taxes on Maryland hotel bookings is roiling the business community, pitting big chains like Bethesda-based Marriott International against Internet giants such as Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline. It’s also upsetting small travel agencies, who fear they’re going to be hurt in the tug of war.

Proponents say the bill would close a loophole in Maryland law that allows online travel companies to pay less in sales tax on hotel bookings than the hotels themselves must charge when the same room is booked directly with them. After passing the Senate this week by a vote of 32-15, the measure is scheduled for a House hearing Wednesday.

Sammy 07:19 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Flurry of bills take aim at plastics that persist in local waters
Whitney Pipkin ― Bay Journal

Beads, bags, balloons and polystyrene — each made of plastic and each the subject of recent legislation in Chesapeake Bay states — could become less common in local waters if the number of bills banning or attaching fees to them continues to grow and gain favor in the legislatures.

Even as ongoing surveys are determining the spread of plastics and scientific studies are identifying their ecological impact, state and local governments have considered a flurry of bills this legislative season to curtail a mounting plastics problem.

“I’m excited that the Chesapeake Bay Commission has really taken an interest in this from a tri-state perspective,” said Del. David Bulova of Virginia’s Fairfax County, who introduced a bill to ban the sale of certain products, such as exfoliating face washes, that use plastic microbeads in his state. It failed — as did all of the bills related to plastics pollution in the state — but Bulova expects to carry a similar bill next year.

Sammy 07:15 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Toxic emissions in Virginia increase 10 percent in 2013

Toxic emissions in Virginia increased in 2013 for the first time in seven years, according to an annual state Department of Environmental Quality report released this week.

After years of declines, the report shows factories, power plants and other operations released about 36 million pounds of the potentially dangerous chemicals in 2013, up 10 percent from 32.7 million pounds in 2012.

Officials with the agency say spot checks indicate the pollution went up because of increased production at some factories and power plants.

Sammy 07:13 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Bird flu found in a top Minnesota turkey producing county
STEVE KARNOWSKI ― Houston Chronicle

An outbreak of a deadly bird flu strain spread to one of the top poultry producing counties of the nation’s top turkey producing state of Minnesota, government officials confirmed on Saturday, raising fears that the that the highly contagious disease could seriously damage the industry.

The highly pathogenic H5N2 strain of avian influenza has infected a third turkey farm in the state, this time a commercial flock of 39,000 birds in Stearns county in central Minnesota. The county is No. 2 in turkey production in Minnesota and is also one of the state’s top chicken and egg producers.

Sammy 07:11 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Energy Dept. hears fighting words on furnace rule’s costs
John Siciliano ― Washington Examiner

The Energy Department got an earful from critics Friday on its plan to raise the fuel efficiency of household gas furnaces, which industry groups say will raise costs and unnecessarily burden consumers.

The department’s proposed rule “makes no sense for anyone,” said Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute President and CEO Stephen Yurek ahead of Friday’s meeting at Energy Department headquarters in Washington.

“America’s furnace manufacturers intend to fight — and fight hard — to protect our customers from this economically…devastating rule,” Yurek said. Industry officials say the rule will increase costs for consumers by $6-12 billion, with most of of that burden falling “unevenly” on low and fixed-income residents.

Sammy 07:09 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Housing markets facing longest road to recovery
Mark Lieberman and Thomas C. Frohlich ― USA TODAY

Location, location, location, it is said, are key to succeeding in real estate. While the value of a single family home nationally may — at the current pace — be about 2.5 years away from a full recovery, in some large urban areas it might take more than 10 years for homes to recover their value.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed home values in the 50 largest core based statistical areas (CBSA) from Corelogic to determine how long it would take for home values to return to their peak values in the aftermath of the collapse of the housing bubble and subsequent recession. These are the housing markets with the longest recovery periods.

Sammy 07:04 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
9 medical procedures that cost way too much
Chloe Della Costa ― USA TODAY

When Americans think about health care, they don’t typically think “affordable.” A recent study from the Commonwealth Fund ranked the U.S. as the worst of 11 developed countries in terms of the overall effectiveness of health care. The high figures for health expenditures per capita in the U.S. showed a particularly troubling discrepancy. It’s no wonder that medical tourism is on the rise.
The International Federation of Health Plans (IFHP) compiled data covering differences in medical prices by country in its 2013 Comparative Price Report. The organization’s annual report compares the total hospital and physician price (USD) of several routine medical procedures. In addition to these procedures, it also shows the price disparity for diagnostics and prescription drugs, which can be drastic. For example, the average price for cancer drug Gleevec ranges from $989 in New Zealand to $6,214 in the U.S. The report also shows the average hospital cost per day as $4,293 in the U.S. but only $481 in Spain and $702 in Argentina.

Sammy 07:03 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
New kind of identity theft you haven’t heard of
Selena Maranjian ― USA TODAY

You surely know about the dangers of identity theft, where someone who has obtained some of your personal information, such as your Social Security number, uses that to get money (often yours) or credit. It can cause massive headaches, at the very least. There’s not just a single kind of identity theft, though. There’s one kind in particular that has been happening more often lately. You probably don’t know about it and you definitely should. It’s medical identity theft.

The Federal Trade Commission has warned consumers about this growing danger, explaining medical identity theft thusly: “A thief may use your name or health insurance numbers to see a doctor, get prescription drugs, file claims with your insurance provider, or get other care. If the thief’s health information is mixed with yours, your treatment, insurance and payment records, and credit report may be affected.”

Sammy 07:01 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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