Sunday, January 24, 2010
Amputee Dayton Webber, 11, excels at wrestling—and a whole lot more
Ruben Castaneda ― Washington Post

Here’s the scouting report on 11-year-old Dayton Webber: No arms. No legs. Huge heart.

Whether he’s wrestling, playing football, go-karting or ice skating, Dayton doesn’t just participate—he competes.

“I just like to do sports,” Dayton said. “I feel like I can play sports and kind of show people what I can do—that I can do sports just as good as them. I feel like I can do anything if I just put my mind to it.”

For four years, Dayton, whose limbs were amputated when he was 11 months old because of a life-threatening bacterial infection, has wrestled competitively in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. Dayton, who lives in the Charlotte Hall section of Charles County with his parents and his brothers Tyler, 17, and Justin, 5, started out with a club in Calvert County. Now he competes for Rampage Wrestling in Waldorf.

Sammy 07:17 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
To get NBC, Comcast still has persuading to do
WJLA-TV (ABC 7)

Before Comcast Corp. can transform the entertainment business by taking control of NBC Universal, it must convince Washington that the plan won’t hurt rivals and consumers. And the promises the cable company has made so far don’t impress opponents who want federal regulators to attach strict conditions to the deal. To show that it would not abuse its control over NBC’s broadcast networks, cable TV channels and movie studios, the nation’s largest cable provider is making nine pledges, including a vow not to move the NBC broadcast network to cable and a commitment to expand public interest programming.

But consumer groups and competitors say Comcast is offering token concessions that don’t address their biggest fears about the NBC combination.

Sammy 07:13 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Radiation Offers New Cures, and Ways to Do Harm
WALT BOGDANICH ― NEW YORK TIMES

[...]
Americans today receive far more medical radiation than ever before. The average lifetime dose of diagnostic radiation has increased sevenfold since 1980, and more than half of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy. Without a doubt, radiation saves countless lives, and serious accidents are rare.

But patients often know little about the harm that can result when safety rules are violated and ever more powerful and technologically complex machines go awry. To better understand those risks, The New York Times examined thousands of pages of public and private records and interviewed physicians, medical physicists, researchers and government regulators.

Sammy 07:08 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Corruption rampant in Pennsylvania coal country
MICHAEL RUBINKAM ― WTOP

[...]
Another day, another fallen politician in the coal fields of northeastern Pennsylvania, where FBI agents and federal prosecutors have spent the past year rooting out government corruption in a hardscrabble region known for its pay-to-play politics, suspicion of outsiders and resistance to political change.

Twenty-three people in Luzerne County _ including a school superintendent, three county judges, four courthouse officials, and five school board members _ have been charged so far in a variety of unrelated schemes.

Sammy 07:04 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
January School Allocation Cycle

Board Docs - Charles County Commissioners’ Meeting - TUESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2010

1.14 [1:30 p.m.] January School Allocation Cycle (Mr. Chuck Beall, PGM/Board of Education)

January 2010 School Allocation Cycle.pdf

Sammy 08:36 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Unemployed feel stranded by benefits process
Laura D'Alessandro ― The Daily Times

Dialing the Maryland Unemployment Division main telephone line, or any of its local bureaus, more than likely leads callers to a dead end.

The state agency admittedly isn’t prepared to answer the calls, and unemployed residents don’t know how—other than with persistence—to get their claims through. While helpful changes are in the works, unemployed residents are still having trouble.

Sammy 08:31 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Sunflower DNA map could produce plants for fuel
Dirk Lammers ― USA TODAY

A $10.5 million research project aimed at mapping the DNA sequence of sunflowers could one day yield a towering new variety for both food and fuel.
Researchers envision crossbreeding a standard sunflower with the Silverleaf species out of Texas to produce a hybrid with bright yellow flowers bursting with tasty seeds and thick stalks filled with complex sugars that can be turned into ethanol.

The wild, drought-resistant Silverleaf is known for its woody stalks, which can grow up 15 feet tall and 4 inches in diameter.

Sammy 08:20 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
More schools require students to learn personal finance
Christine Armario ― USA TODAY

[...]
The number of states requiring public high schools to offer a personal finance course rose from nine to 15 between 2007 and 2009, according to the Council for Economic Education. Thirteen states require a personal finance course for graduation, up from seven in 2007. Many schools elsewhere offer or require such courses. The U.S. Treasury Department also recently announced a national award program to encourage financial education in schools.

“The students are hungry for this information,” said John Parfrey, director of the National Endowment for Financial Education’s high school program. “They see what is going on in their own home.”

For many years, schools relegated personal finance to a home economics course, if they taught it at all. Students picked up the spending patterns of their parents — good and bad.

Sammy 08:15 AM | (4) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Waldorf Teacher Selected as Maryland Service Learning Fellow
Southern Maryland Online

Marjorie Watson, a special education instructional assistant at Theodore G. Davis Middle School in Waldorf, was recently named a Maryland State Service Learning Fellow for the 2009-10 school year by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).

Watson has served as the student service learning coordinator at Davis since 2007, and has implemented a variety of service projects for students, including the construction and installation of birdhouses on the North Point High School, Davis and William A. Diggs Elementary School campuses, and a student-led schoolwide recycling initiative.

Sammy 08:09 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Horticulture Survey Results Released for Md.
Southern Maryland Online

Highlights Jobs, Tenure of Family Businesses, Increase in Local Sales and Production

The results of the most comprehensive survey of the Maryland horticulture industry to date reveal an industry with nearly $2 billion in gross receipts occupying 20,900 acres, including 19 million square feet of greenhouse space, and employing more than 18,500 people with wages totaling $451 million. Supporting the movement toward “buying locally,” the survey also indicated a shift toward the purchase of plants from Maryland nurseries rather than importation of plant material from other states and countries. The statistical profile and economic survey, which queried 1,140 licensed nursery operations for 2007 business information with a 72 percent response rate, was officially released on January 6 at the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show in Baltimore. The last industry survey was conducted in 2003.

Sammy 08:07 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Economic Outlook: A New Year and Decade
Southern Maryland Online

Commentary by Bob Schaller, Director, St. Mary’s County Dept. of Economic Development

Welcome 2010 and the decade of the tens. The change brings new hope and new challenges. The new hope stems from our natural blessings and the success we’ve realized this past decade and past year in particular. We are a growing community, the anchor of the fastest growing region in the state. Strong job growth in the high quality technology sector has provided high growth rates in median income and population. Relatively low unemployment and an increasingly attractive workplace for young professionals and veterans provide the draw for families seeking good neighborhoods, quality schools, cultural and recreational opportunities.

Sammy 08:05 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
State to Sue Mirant Over Coal Combustion Byproducts at Brandywine Plant
Southern Maryland Online

The Maryland Department of the Environment has issued a notice of intent to sue under federal law to the Environmental Protection Agency and Mirant Mid-Atlantic, LLC and Mirant Maryland Ash Management, LLC for water pollution violations at Mirant’s Brandywine site related to the disposal of coal combustion products, including fly ash.
[...]
“MDE’s investigation reveals that Mirant has discharged and continues to discharge pollutants from leachate into groundwater without a permit. New State regulations that took effect in December 2008 require leachate collection, groundwater monitoring, liners, and increased analysis for all coal combustion byproduct disposal facilities, as well as annual reporting. In addition, new coal combustion byproducts disposal sites must meet stringent permitting requirements to ensure their safe disposal.

Related threads:

Md. to sue Mirant over water pollution from fly ash

Brandywine Fly Ash Landfill: An Information Meeting

Sammy 07:58 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles County Receives $560,30 Energy Grant via Stimulus Funds
Southern Maryland Online

The Charles County Commissioners announced that the County has been approved to receive $560,300 in Recovery Act funding for energy-related projects through a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG). This formula grant –- meaning that the County was eligible to apply for a specific amount -– was announced last spring. After a lengthy application and review process, the County received word in December that the full amount would be awarded.
[...]
The EECBG grant funds will be used to implement eight activities. They include:

Sammy 07:52 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
So. Md. Kicks Off the Big Read of ‘Fahrenheit 451’ Jan. 30
Southern Maryland Online

Southern Marylanders will launch into The Big Read Jan. 30 and Feb. 1 as the College of Southern Maryland partners with 18 organizations to offer programs focused on Ray Bradburys book Fahrenheit 451 as part of the National Endowment for the Arts literature program.

The community-based reading programs will feature a variety of activities such as book discussions and movie screenings, a writers workshop and book preservation workshop, and a lecture by author Sam Weller, the author of The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury.

Sammy 07:51 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Open Thread - January 24, 2010

Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.  ~Robert Fulghum

Sammy 07:45 AM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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