Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Has Your Recalled Car Been Fixed? Here’s How to Find Out

The U.S. government is offering a free online service for drivers to find out if their vehicles have been recalled but not repaired.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the service started Wednesday on its website,

Drivers can key in their vehicle identification number to get the results. The number can be found on the dashboard near the windshield or on the driver’s door post near the latch.

Also starting Wednesday, automakers must keep the same data on their own websites, and they have to update it at least once a week

Sammy 01:33 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles County Entrepreneur to Sell Indoor Composter at New Whole Foods Market

Heidi Briguglio, inventor of the Compact Composter and co-owner of azure b llc, a Charles County family farm, has entered into an agreement to sell her one-of-a-kind indoor composting system at the new Whole Foods Market in Columbia, Maryland which opens on Wednesday, August 20, 2014. This will be the first time that the product has been available through a major retail outlet. Briguglio hopes to make it the next step in getting her composters into stores throughout the region and into kitchens of homes where outdoor composting isn’t an option.

Briguglio created the Compact Composter as a response to the alarming costs – environmental and economic – associated with food waste in landfills. Recognizing that people want common sense ways to do good things, Briguglio devised a clean, odorless composting system no bigger than a household bucket that takes up about as much counter space as a coffee maker.

Sammy 01:26 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
State chided for commitment to military installations

“Maryland really isn’t a business friendly state.” The statement was from the president of the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance (SMNA) Glen Ives during a briefing Tuesday to the St. Mary’s County Commissioners.

Ives’ comments came in a response to a question by Republican Commissioner Todd Morgan about whether Ives had seen any change in attitude during the administration of Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley regarding the state’s military installations. Ives responded; “Over the last few year Maryland has taken for granted what we have done militarily.” Ives said Maryland needed to “wake up” or it could be a loser in the next round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decisions.

Sammy 01:24 PM | (4) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Google Wants Sites to Use Encryption, Except When It Doesn’t
Rolfe Winkler ― Wall Street Journal

Google wants websites to use encryption, to protect themselves and users from hackers. Unless they are e-commerce sites, in which case Google doesn’t want them to use encryption too widely.

The dissonance arises from the requirements of Google’s “Trusted Stores” program, an effort by the search giant to show users where they can “shop online with confidence.”

Here’s the rub: According to emails Google sent one merchant, the Trusted Stores program doesn’t play nice with encryption.

Sammy 01:19 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Symantec to Overhaul Its Norton Security Line
Wilson Rothman ― Wall Street Journal

Symantec is overhauling its Norton security software, going from nine products to just one as the company turns its attention to smartphones and connected devices.

The new product, called Norton Security, doubles down on the company’s renewed focus on subscription models. In its most recent quarter, when Symantec reported a $236 million profit on a 2% gain in revenue to $1.74 billion, the company said it planned to optimize the Norton business while streamlining product support.

Norton Security, which goes on sale Sept. 23 and costs $80 a year, will combine all of the antivirus, spyware, spam-monitoring and other features scattered across various versions of Norton AntiVirus, Norton Internet Security and Norton 360. It most closely resembles the Norton 360 Multi-Device offering that previously had cost $100 a year but is now $70.

Sammy 01:17 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
US officials: Military mulling more troops to Iraq
LOLITA C. BALDOR and LARA JAKES ― Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

U.S. officials say military planners are weighing the possibility of sending more American forces to Iraq mainly to provide additional security around Baghdad.

A senior U.S. official says the number of troops currently under discussion would be fewer than 300, but there has been no final decision yet by Pentagon leaders.

The talks come as American fighter jets and drones conducted nearly a dozen airstrikes in Iraq since Tuesday when Islamic State militants threatened to kill a second American captive in retribution for any continued attacks.

Sammy 01:15 PM | (3) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Online video stars mobilize for U.S. net neutrality
Lisa Richwine ― REUTERS

Online video personalities are joining together to advocate for equal treatment of Internet traffic, aiming to stop the U.S. government from allowing what they worry will be fast and slow lanes for delivering content.

The video creators are signing an online petition that will be submitted to the Federal Communications Commission, which is now considering new “net neutrality” rules governing how broadband providers route Internet traffic. Some stars have posted videos about the issue to rally their legions of fans.

Internet campaigns have impacted policy issues in the past. In 2012, a massive online mobilization of Internet users and major websites helped sink anti-piracy legislation.

Sammy 01:13 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Could rooftop apartments transform suburban retail?
Ryan Arnold ― Greater Greater Washington

Suburban retail areas are redeveloping into mixed use neighborhoods all over the DC region. Usually redevelopment means mid-rises replace single-story retail, but could another model work? What if retail strips added rooftop apartments?

From more livable communities to less congested highways, mixed-use development has many benefits, and is in high demand. In places where market demand or zoning regulations prohibit larger scale mid-rises, maybe innovative design can help bring those benefits too.

Sammy 12:46 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Survey shows county teens still speed, text, drive drunk
Jeremy Bauer-Wolf ― Maryland Independent

In the mid-2000s, Charles County saw an outbreak of teens dying in car accidents, prompting the Charles County Sheriff’s Office to scramble to beef up its efforts to reduce traffic fatalities.

The sheriff’s office launched the We Care program in 2008, an educational partnership between the agency and Charles County’s public high schools, which continues today. The curriculum and activities vary from year to year, each year chosen by a group of students who have a better idea of what will appeal to their peers.

Overall, the program was successful in mitigating the deaths, said sheriff’s office spokeswoman Diane Richardson, who said only one teenager has died on a Charles County roadway since We Care’s inception.

Sammy 07:03 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
New section of Piney Church Road opens
Jeff Newman ― Maryland Independent

The nearly 1-mile section of Piney Church Road under construction since March 2013 in Waldorf opened to traffic Monday, connecting the road to Route 488 a mile north of its current intersection.

Defined as a “major collector” by Charles County, Piney Church Road runs by the new St. Charles High School and Regency Furniture Stadium, home of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.

The old section of Piney Church Road — the portion south of the stadium that runs through a wooded area — has been marked St. Jacob’s Drive but could be renamed in the future, The St. Charles Cos. spokesman Craig Renner said.

Sammy 07:01 AM | (4) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles schools hopes to expand smart device pilot program
Jeremy Bauer-Wolf ― Maryland Independent

Charles County Public Schools officials say they hope to expand the Bring Your Own Device program to every school in the system by the end of the school year.

BYOD, piloted at an elementary, a middle and a high school in May, allows students access to their personal smart devices — smartphones, tablets and laptops — for use during lessons at specified times.

Sammy 06:58 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Wind company still hopes to complete project
Nicole Clark ― The Enterprise

Pioneer Green executives say they’re growing weary of attempts to delay their project to set up 25 turbines on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Efforts to stall the project have largely been pushed by the business community in St. Mary’s County and lawmakers supporting Patuxent River Naval Air Station, who say it would interfere with radar testing. The most recent, and its advocates hope perhaps effective, is by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who included language in the defense spending bill to delay the turbine project until a study by MIT, commissioned by the Navy, is complete. The bill was passed by the Senate committee and has moved to the full Senate for a vote, which has not yet been scheduled. Mikulski’s office declined to comment on the record about the measure.

“It’s nonbinding,” Paul Harris, Pioneer Green development manager, said Tuesday. “But it has a chilling effect.”

Sammy 06:56 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Open Thread - August 20, 2014


Pauleen Brewer 06:55 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Next steps for county after Dominion zoning exemption decision unclear
Sarah Fleischman ― The Recorder

The exact implications aren’t fully clear as to how the recent ruling that the county’s exemption of Dominion Cove Point from zoning ordinances will affect the export project at the existing facility.
Now that the zoning exemption has been deemed invalid, Holzer said it could potentially mean some parts of the site plan may not be in compliance with the local zoning regulations, such as the 60-foot-tall barrier around parts of the proposed facility expansion and the forest buffer area.

Norris said the exact implications of the decision as far as the zoning regulations for the expansion at Dominion Cove Point, a $3.8 billion project to export liquefied natural gas, have not yet been thoroughly evaluated by the county, as information first has to be gathered to determine if there are sufficient grounds to appeal the decision.

Sammy 06:54 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Italian firm wins Maryland offshore wind leases
Timothy B. Wheeler ― Baltimore Sun

An Italian renewable-energy company won the rights to develop offshore wind projects in nearly 80,000 acres of Atlantic waters off Maryland’s coast with an $8.7 million bid Tuesday.

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management declared US Wind Inc. the provisional winner of a daylong auction for a pair of federal leases 10 nautical miles offshore, where federal officials say enough turbines could be placed to power 300,000 homes. US Wind is an offshoot of Renexia, the renewable-energy arm of Italian construction giant Toto S.p.A.

Construction remains years off and still faces significant financial and regulatory hurdles. Though there are dozens of offshore wind energy projects in Europe, none has started construction in the United States.

Sammy 06:43 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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