Thursday, January 28, 2010
Indian Head Students Visit the Solar System During Virtual Lesson
Southern Maryland Online

The fourth- and fifth-grade robotics teams from Indian Head Elementary School took a trip to Mars, the Moon, the Milky Way and other parts of the solar system on Friday, Jan. 15, without ever leaving their desks.

The more than 30 students were treated to a complimentary hour long distance learning lesson titled “Journey Through The Solar System,” one of 11 virtual lessons offered through the Space Center Houston’s Education Program. The lesson was taught by Kim Silvrants, a Space Center Houston teacher, and students climbed aboard NASA space crafts and probes to visit planets in the solar system.

Sammy 08:37 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Southern Maryland Newspapers -  Survey: What do you think?

Should county commissioners in Southern Maryland agree to raise the pay for those who will hold their jobs after this year’s election?

Sammy 08:25 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Fed chief Bernanke wins 2nd term in closest vote

And the swing to the far left, socialist agenda keeps on going… oh, wait… I mean, more of the business as usual

WASHINGTON – Embattled Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke won confirmation for a second term Thursday, but only by the closest vote ever for the crucial post and after withering criticism from lawmakers for bailing out Wall Street while other Americans suffered in recession.

The Senate confirmed Bernanke for a new four-year term by a 70-30 vote, a seemingly solid majority but 14 votes worse than the closest previous vote for a Fed chairman.

The battle over Bernanke’s confirmation has been a test of central bank independence, a crucial element if the Fed is to carry out unpopular but economically essential policies. Its decisions on interest rates can have immense consequences, from the success or failure of the largest companies to the typical home-buyer’s ability to get an affordable loan to the price of cereal at the grocery or gas at the corner station.


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County’s Advertising Expenditures

Board Docs - Charles County Commissioners’ Meeting - TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2010

1.09 [3:00 p.m.] Old Business: 1) County’s Advertising Expenditures (Ms. Deborah Hudson, Director of Fiscal & Administrative Services)

Newspapers Advertising Review.pdf

Related thread: Hodge asks for ad spending report

Sammy 01:59 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Md. officials consider $15 saltwater fishing license
Candus Thomson ― Baltimore Sun

State officials want to implement a comprehensive $15 saltwater fishing license starting next year to bring Maryland into compliance with federal law and keep revenue here that otherwise would be funneled to Washington.

The new license, which needs General Assembly approval, would end free fishing for anglers on the Atlantic Ocean and on the coastal bays behind Ocean City.

In addition, the bill: would increase the length of short-term licenses from five to seven days; would establish a free registry for anglers fishing aboard a pleasure boat, waterfront property owners and their immediate family fishing from their property and individuals fishing in a free fishing area; would create reciprocal fees for non-resident licenses; and would authorize a commercial pier fishing license.

Sammy 01:54 PM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Metro Board Approves 10-Cent Fare Hike

Service cuts avoided—for now

Metro’s facing a $40 million budget hole, and riders will be footing the bill.

The Metro Board approved a 10-cent fare increase at a meeting Thursday, NBC4’s Chris Gordon reported.  The increase will be in effect from Feb. 28 through July 1, and means no services will be cut—at least for now.

Sammy 01:33 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Marylanders Eligible For New IRS Tax Relief On Haitian Donations
The Bay Net

Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that Marylanders can take advantage of new federal legislation, recently signed into law by President Obama, allowing taxpayers who give to Haitian relief efforts this year to claim the donation on their 2009 tax return.

Normally, donations made after Dec. 31, must be claimed on the following year’s tax return.  Marylanders who take advantage of the new law will not have to add the donation back to their income when completing a Maryland tax return.

Sammy 01:12 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Dominion Cove Point LNG Pays State $175,000 for Alleged Water Pollution Violations
Southern Maryland Online

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) today announced an enforcement action against Dominion Cove Point, LNG which conducts business in Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s Counties. On December 28, 2009, MDE finalized a Complaint and Administrative Consent Order with Dominion Cove Point, LNG, LP and Sheehan Pipeline Construction Company to resolve alleged violations including:
The alleged violations occurred between March 2007 and December 2008 in connection with the installation of a 36-inch pipeline in Calvert, Charles, and Prince George’s Counties.

In accordance with the Order, Dominion paid MDE a penalty of $175,000 on December 29, 2008, and will perform remedial work at Ketts Pond by June 28, 2010.

Sammy 01:08 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Check out all the Charles County News Releases…

...dated after December 22, 2009…that weren’t posted on the County website when I checked yesterday, but are there today:

[Comment by Quack: you can see as of last night, there weren’t any, here’s a printout of the screen from last night. Odd that less than 24 hours after someone pointed out their lapse in releasing these to the public, they release them all.]

January 26, 2010  Commissioners Vote Not to Move Forward with Compensation Study

January 24, 2010 Sewage Overflow Swan Point

January 19, 2010  Open and Transparent Government

January 18, 2010  Commissioner Collins to Hold District Meetings in 2010

January 15, 2010 County Approved for Energy Grant

January 13, 2010 County Recognized by LGIT

January 13, 2010  Van Go Services Restored

January 12, 2010  Sewage Overflow Reported

January 08, 2010 MACO Winter Conference

January 07, 2010  Hodge Completes Two Terms

January 07, 2010  Cooper Sworn In as Vice President of MACO

January 04, 2010  County Weathers Winter Storm

January 04, 2010  Panel on Needs of Returning Veterans at MACO

Sammy 12:36 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Just some interesting bits from the Compensation Committee Documents

Despite comments and motions made at Tuesday’s Work Session, it may be hard to justify that the power and responsibility to set Compensation for the next Board’s term was an oversight. Additionally, it may also prove difficult to send this power back to the General Assembly.

From the County’s webpage on Code Home Rule:

From this document:

- under Code Home Rule the County Commissioner must now enact that public local law instead of the General Assembly.

From the Form of Government Committee’s report, prior to enacting Code Home Rule:

A review of the legislative package forwarded by the Charles County Commissioners for introduction in the 2000 session of the General Assembly reveals an even greater proportion of bills which could have been enacted locally…it would appear that nine (9) bills…could have been enacted locally. Among these nine were the park impact fee proposal; a noise ordinance with civil citations for violation thereof; Commissioners’ compensation in the next term; and the enactment of new nuisance abatement provisions related to housing quality.


Code Home Rule counties have greater authority in the imposition of impact fees than Charter counties. Both can approve their own structure of government. Both may decide on the compensation of its elected governing body, and both require minimum legislative requirements related to legislative days, publication of proposed bills, etc.

And even the Comparison Chart spells it out:

Commissioners may enact recommendation of a salary commission established by ordinance.

09:12 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles County Public Law Library - Newsletter

December, 2009—January, 2010

Sammy 08:01 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Study captures Benedict history
NANCY BROMLEY McCONATY ― Maryland Independent

From a British invasion to a recruitment camp for African-American Civil War troops, the sleepy little hamlet that is present-day Benedict has seen its share of action.

The county’s cultural resource study of Benedict highlights the importance it played in both local and national history and recommends ways to ensure that the town receives recognition during the state’s 200th anniversary celebration of the War of 1812.

Sammy 07:36 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
All clear? Head injuries get attention from states

At least a half-dozen states are considering measures that would toughen restrictions on young athletes returning to play after head injuries, inspired by individual cases and the attention the issue has received in the NFL.

Washington state led the way last year, passing what is considered the nation’s strongest return-to-play statute. Athletes under 18 who show concussion symptoms can’t take the field again without a licensed health care provider’s written approval. Several other states, including California and Pennsylvania, have similar bills pending.

Sammy 07:27 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Obama to Unveil $8B High-speed Rail System

One day after delivering his first State of the Union address aimed at fixing the country’s financial problems, President Barack Obama (web | news | bio) is taking his message of job creation on the road to show how he plans to make good on his promise.

President Obama is expected to unveil an $8 billion high-speed rail system during a town hall meeting Thursday in Tampa, Fla. Funded by economic stimulus money, the president hopes the new system will spark economic activity and create more jobs. The plan will include 31 states in 13 major corridors.


Sammy 07:25 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Missouri test drives ‘diverging diamond’ interchange
Didi Tang ― USA TODAY

The right way to make a left turn just might be to briefly drive on the opposite side of the road.

After years of traffic backups and accidents involving motorists trying to turn left at a popular intersection here, state transportation officials think they have found the solution in a new kind of highway interchange called the “diverging diamond” that is now getting serious looks from several other states.

Missouri unveiled the nation’s first such interchange last June at the intersection of Missouri 13 and Interstate 44. It is designed to move traffic more efficiently by giving left-turning cars uninterrupted, or “free” access to the highway through their own ramps by channeling traffic, temporarily, to the opposite side of the road, said Don Saiko of the Missouri Department of Transportation

Sammy 07:17 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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