Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Supreme Court: Keep jury selection public
Daily Record

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Constitution’s guarantee of a public trial means judges may not ordinarily close their courtrooms during jury selection.

In an unsigned 7-2 opinion, the court set aside the cocaine trafficking conviction of a Georgia man who challenged the trial judge’s decision to prohibit the public from attending proceedings in which lawyers questioned prospective jurors.
The significance of Tuesday’s ruling is that it gives defendants the ability to insist on a courtroom that is open to the public even when there is no news media interest in a case.

Sammy 09:06 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Tire-deflating judge pleads ‘remorseful’
Steve Lash ― Daily Record

An “extremely remorseful” Circuit Judge Robert C. Nalley would accept a public reprimand for having deflated the tire of a cleaning woman who parked in a restricted area of the Charles County Courthouse, his attorney stated in papers filed with the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities.

The document, submitted by attorney William C. Brennan Jr., comes as the commission weighs administrative charges that Nalley’s deflation of Jean Washington’s tire last summer violated judicial canons of integrity and avoidance of impropriety. Nalley pleaded guilty in October to a misdemeanor charge of vehicle tampering.


Sammy 08:37 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Maryland must borrow $300M to keep unemployment trust afloat
Nicholas Sohr ― Daily Record

Maryland will need to borrow up to $300 million from the federal government to keep its floundering Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund afloat, state business regulators told a panel of legislators Tuesday.
DLLR received 416,300 initial claims for unemployment benefits in 2009, an increase of more than one-third over the fewer than 300,000 filed in 2008, and nearly double the total in 2007. In 2008, 35,389 people exhausted the 26 weeks worth of benefits available to them, compared to 93,347 last year.

The fund was shelling out about $23 million every week in March. Weekly payments had retreated to about $20 million in December, but not enough to ease the pressure on the fund. There was about $95 million in the account at the most recent check, Squire said.

Sammy 08:33 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
2010 Southern Maryland Farm Grants Available
The Bay Net

The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission is offering a round of farm viability grants to farms in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties.

These funds are being made available as a continuation of the Agriculture Commission’s ongoing Southern Maryland Farm Viability Enhancement Grant Program. This program was established to increase the sustainability of existing farms and encourage the development of continuing and new farming enterprises in the five county region of Southern Maryland.

Sammy 08:29 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Start thinking now about 2010 taxes

It’s not too early to start thinking about your 2010 taxes _ even though the deadline for filing 2009 returns is still months away.

Some of the credits and deductions put in place last year will continue. Others will disappear. And there are some new things to consider.

Sammy 08:20 PM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Baltimore soccer stadium feasibility study is approved
Kevin VanValkenburg ― Baltimore Sun

The Maryland Stadium Authority voted Tuesday to approve a $100,000 feasibility study to examine the financial viability of building a soccer stadium that could be used to lure a Major League Soccer franchise.

The study, after a lengthy negotiation between the city and the Maryland Stadium Authority, will be paid for entirely by the city of Baltimore. In September 2009, Mayor Sheila Dixon wrote a letter to the Maryland Stadium Authority asking that it consider a 42-acre waterfront Westport project as a potential site for a soccer complex that could hold between 17,000 and 20,000 people and be used to lure D.C. United into making Baltimore its permanent home.

Sammy 08:03 PM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Harford offers buyouts to one-third of employees
Mary Gail Hare ― Baltimore Sun

One Maryland county is willing to sacrifice some of its most experienced employees to help close an $8 million budget gap and avoid lay-offs.

Facing the same revenue shortfalls plaguing all levels of government, Harford County is offering a generous early retirement package to its oldest and longest serving employees. About a third of the county’s 1,000 workers are eligible, and their departures could save the county as much as $5 million.

Sammy 08:01 PM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Scores of Md. watermen protest oyster proposals
Baltimore Sun

Dozens of Maryland watermen are coming ashore to protest possible changes to state oyster policy in Annapolis.
The plan will increase the number, size and quality of Maryland’s network of oyster sanctuaries from 9 percent to 24 percent of remaining quality habitat and increase the state’s ability to enforce protections for sanctuaries. Watermen say the proposed changes will affect their ability to harvest oysters and could put them out of business.

Sammy 07:58 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
A Maryland Budget Layoffs Less Than 50

Gov. Martin O’Malley has avoided making many layoffs in a budget proposal for the next fiscal year.

Instead, he’s relying largely on taking on debt and transferring money from various pots of money to help fill a $2 billion budget hole.

Related Baltimore Sun article: About 250 state positions would be cut, but no new taxes in governor’s proposal

Sammy 07:52 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Keeping Charles County Residents Properly Informed!

Charles County News

Pauleen Brewer 03:42 PM | (18) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Brandywine Fly Ash Landfill: An Information Meeting

State records reveal pollution at a coal fly ash landfill located at 114700 North Keys Road in Brandywine, MD.

Information Meeting Date: January 27, 2010 - 6:00 PM

Baden Fire Station 16608 Brandywine Road
Brandywine, MD

Related thread: Md. to sue Mirant over water pollution from fly ash

Sammy 08:34 AM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Transportation Public Hearing

The Charles County Department of Community Services Transportation Division will hold two public hearings Tuesday, February 23, 2010. The first will be held 1:00-3:00pm at the Waldorf Jaycees at 3090 Crain Highway, Waldorf, Maryland 20601. The second will be held 5:00-7:00pm at the La Plata Library at 2 Garrett Avenue, La Plata, Maryland 20646.

The purpose of the Public Hearings is to obtain citizen comments concerning the FY2011 Transportation Service Plan for Charles County. Funds are being applied for from the Maryland Transit Administration and the Federal Transit Administration. Charles County is requesting $2,239,905 in Federal/State operating funding through a variety of grants for FY2011, with a local match of $2,698,973. These grants include the Statewide Special Transportation Assistance Program (SSTAP) as enacted by the Maryland General Assembly, Section 5311 of the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and Section 5307 Urban program. Local match includes funds for the Department of Social Services and the Charles County Government. Capital funding is also being requested in the amount of $364,758 Federal/State matched by $40,529 in local funds for capitalized preventive maintenance, bike racks for transit buses, passenger amenities and a security and video surveillance system.

Sammy 08:22 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Coast Guard Medavacs Man from Boat in Chesapeake Bay Near Cove Point
The Bay Net

The Coast Guard medevaced one man from a boat in the Chesapeake Bay Monday, Jan. 18 after he was reportedly suffering from seizures.
The Coast Guard urges all mariners to carry marine-band radios onboard their vessels. Marine-band radios are the quickest and most reliable way to contact rescue personnel in the event of an emergency. Cell phones are not a reliable means of communications while on the water due to gaps in coverage and limited battery life.

Sammy 07:49 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Major Prince George’s multi-use project still in foreclosure
Lindsey Robbins ― Gazette

Months after the Prince George’s County Council approved the site plan for a major multi-use project in Upper Marlboro that promised more than 4,300 residential units, 600 hotel rooms and more than 5.4 million square feet of commercial space, the project still faces foreclosure.

Sandler at Westphalia LLC, the Virginia owner of the long-heralded Westphalia Towne Centre, owes more than $47.4 million in default payments to Wells Fargo Bank, according to documents filed in Prince George’s County Circuit Court. This does not include the $9,814 in interest owed to Wells Fargo for each day after July 16.

Sammy 07:37 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Insurer okayed out-of-network care for heart patient but family faces huge bill
Jordan Rau ― Washington Post

What ensnared the Lemackses was something called “balance billing,” which occurs when doctors, hospitals or medical labs bill their patients the difference between what they charge and what insurers pay for their services. It comes into play when patients use providers who aren’t part of their insurers’ networks and thus haven’t agreed to prearranged payment rates.

For patients who voluntarily chose an independent caregiver over in-network options, the additional bills, while often unwelcome, are generally considered justifiable. But consumer advocates want the government to protect people who unwittingly end up out of network because of an emergency, such as when they are taken to the nearest hospital after a car crash; or who get an insurer’s permission to see a specialist out of network; or who were unknowingly treated by out-of-network doctors while at an in-network facility. The Lemackses fell into the last two of those three categories.

To these advocates’ dismay, both the House and Senate health-care reform bills explicitly permit balance billing, even though it’s a major contributor to health-related bankruptcies.

Sammy 07:28 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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