Friday, April 02, 2010
The Charles Co. Sheriff’s Office Wants You

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The Quack 10:09 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Judge: City can’t ban sex offenders from libraries
TIM KORTE ― WTOP

A federal judge has barred Albuquerque from enforcing an ordinance that banned sex offenders from using public libraries, saying the law, as written, violated First Amendment rights.

U.S. District Judge M. Christina Armijo says she struggled to strike a proper legal balance in the case, since city officials have a legitimate interest in protecting children from harm, danger and crime, “especially crimes of a sexual nature.”

Sammy 04:39 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Homes with Chinese drywall should be gutted, feds say
Cain Burdeau ― USA TODAY

Thousands of U.S. homes tainted by Chinese drywall should be completely gutted, according to guidelines released Friday by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The guidelines recommend that electrical wiring, outlets, circuit breakers, fire alarm systems, carbon monoxide alarms, fire sprinklers, gas pipes and drywall need to be removed.

“We want families to tear it all out and rebuild the interior of their homes, and they need to start this to get their lives started all over again,” said Inez Tenenbaum, chairwoman of the commission, the federal agency charged with making sure consumer products are safe.

Sammy 04:34 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Maryland Independent Editorial:  School reform
Maryland Independent

[...]
Now a new wave of school reform is headed our way. It is being spearheaded by the federal government. States don’t have to accept these new requirements, or the federal funding attached. But Maryland education officials are making it clear they are fully on board, even if some local school districts are not.

New national curriculum standards won’t be significantly tougher than current Maryland standards. State schools are likely to require four years of math in high school. Currently three math credits are required for graduation in Charles County
[...]
Teachers unions in Maryland are lukewarm about these changes at best. But they have two choices; they can oppose what the state says is coming anyway, or they can be part of the process of coming up with this new evaluation system. The same goes for local school boards. There was some talk earlier by the Charles County school board that the competition for federal dollars in the Race to the Top initiative is a lot of work for very little extra federal money. But recently an official with the Maryland State Department of Education has made it clear to the school board that these changes likely will be adopted no matter what happens with the federal competition. Charles County can either get on board as the new state reforms are developed or be told what the new rules are after they are established.

Sammy 03:43 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
House approves $32 billion state budget
Gazette

The House of Delegates on Friday passed a $32 billion state budget on a largely party-line vote that Democrats said met the state’s needs, but Republicans said would mean tax hikes after the election.

The House and Senate must reconcile the differences in their spending plans before the General Assembly session ends April 12. That will likely be done through a 10-member conference committee that is scheduled to meet Monday afternoon.

Sammy 03:36 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Slot Machines Could be Fancy, and Pricey
Southern Maryland Online

By ADAM KERLIN

Pull a lever and win some coins. While this may be what a typical person thinks of when envisioning slot machines, gamblers in Maryland may be in for a much more interactive experience when the state’s slots parlors begin opening this fall.

Visiting the state’s gaming facilities might mean taking a mystical journey into an ancient Mayan realm to the sounds of “soothing world music.” Or gamblers might head to the farm and play Cock-A-Doodle-Dough, a state of the art video lottery terminal featuring farm animals that break into song with every winning combination of “nesting hens.”

But a proposal by the Maryland State Lottery Agencythat could allow spending more than $50,000 per machine has alarmed some public officials who think that’s too much taxpayer money, creating another obstacle for a state gambling industry already beset by problems.

Sammy 03:29 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Indy LTE:  Two sets of facts, yet two conclusions?
Maryland Independent

I read the article on the cross-county connector by Meredith Somers in the March 17 issue of the Independent [”Agencies wrapping up connector permitting procedure”]. It is strange how two sets of people can take the same set of facts and come to different conclusions.

The article essentially states that the process is all but finished. However, that happens not to be the case.
[...]
Based on all of the above, it is quite apparent that this process is far from over. It is up to the citizens of Charles County to ensure that this permit does not get steamrollered through. We can do this by standing up to be counted at each point in the process, and by spreading the word about the plans of the county commissioners.

We should all work to ensure that we get commissioners and delegates who truly represent the needs and desires of their constituents.

Sammy 11:32 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Nanjemoy research plan loses round
MEREDITH SOMERS ― Maryland Independent

Judge remands special exception request to board

The special exception case pitting Nanjemoy residents against a proposed research facility will return to the Charles County Board of Zoning and Appeals, but by no means is that a return to square one.

An opinion issued by Charles County Circuit Court Judge Robert C. Nalley ordered the case for an 80-acre research facility along Liverpool Point Road be sent back to the board so that a determination can be made on whether the proposal complies with the county comprehensive plan.

“It’s a great victory,” said Kurt Wolfgang, the attorney who filed the appeal on behalf of a group of Nanjemoy residents potentially affected by the proposal, as well as the Nanjemoy Potomac Environmental Coalition and Nanjemoy Vision.

“We’re not starting over,” said Charles County Assistant County Attorney John Buchanan. “The case was remanded for the sole purpose of having staff present to the board of appeals their analysis and findings as to the applicability of the master plan to the proposed use by the Washington Security Group.”

Sammy 11:28 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Baseball, bed races planned for La Plata’s celebration
By NANCY BROMLEY McCONATY ― Maryland Independent

Blue Crabs will parade at annual town jubilee

Everyone is invited to grab a baseball or mitt and a decorated bed and join in the fun at the Celebrate La Plata event this year.

The eighth annual event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. April 17 at town hall and a whole slate of activities is planned, including a parade featuring the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs and an autograph session with the team, said Courtney Freeland, the team’s marketing manager.

“This is the first time that the community can see the whole team together,” she said.

Sammy 11:25 AM | (3) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Pay Garnishments Rise as Debtors Fall Behind
New York Times

When the bank sued Leann Weaver for not paying her credit card balance, her reaction was typical for someone in that situation. Personal and financial setbacks weighed her down, and she knew she owed the $2,470. So she never went to court to defend herself.

She was startled by what happened next. When she swiped her debit card at the grocery store, it was declined. It turned out Capital One Bank had taken $224.25 from her paycheck, a quarter of her wages for two weeks of work at a retail chain, and her bank account was overdrawn.
[...]
One of the worst economic downturns of modern history has produced a big increase in the number of delinquent borrowers, and creditors are suing them by the millions. Concern is mounting in government and among consumer advocates that the debtors are not always getting a fair shake in these cases.

Sammy 06:56 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
2 million eager for health care on parents’ plans
CARLA K. JOHNSON ― WTOP

Congress voted to overhaul the health care system on a Sunday. On Monday, Patti Lawson e-mailed her employer’s human resources office to ask how soon she could get her 22-year-old daughter back on her health insurance.

In about six months, the new law will allow at least 2 million young adults to be covered under their parents’ policies. These are the “millennials,” those who came of age in the new century and now are struggling to get on their feet during the worst slump since the Depression.
[...]
The law will allow young adults to stay on or return to their parents’ insurance until age 26. To qualify, young people must be “dependents” of their parents. They don’t necessarily have to live under the same roof.
[...]
Regulations still have to be written, but here are some of the crucial specifics of the new law, based on a reading of the measure and interpretation by various experts:

Sammy 06:49 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Nuclear summit will cause massive gridlock in D.C.
WTOP

If you think Washington traffic is bad because of the tourists and the cherry blossoms, in just over a week it could get a lot worse.

Nearly 50 heads of state will be in the nation’s capital for the Nuclear Security Summit that’s scheduled to take place April 12 and 13. It’s expected to be one of the largest gatherings of heads of state in history.

While the summit will take place on a Monday and Tuesday, traffic and transit changes will likely begin the weekend before the huge event.

Sammy 06:45 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Health industry invests in state elections
Fredreka Schouten ― USA TODAY

The next battles over President Obama’s sweeping revamp of the nation’s health care system will be waged in the states — where health care interests are heavily invested.

Six of the 15 attorneys general who have challenged the new law count health care interests among the top five industries giving to their most recent campaigns, according to the non-partisan National Institute on Money in State Politics.

Sammy 06:40 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
The List: How does your legislator rank?
Douglas Tallman ― Gazette

Influence is in the eye of the beholder: A look at perceived highs and lows in the House and Senate

[...]
Rank hath its privileges.

We asked a select group of State House observers who has, and who lacks, influence. Influence, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe it’s the parliamentary prowess to pass a bill, or the legislative legerdemain to kill another. It could mean the brains to master a complex issue. Or a good sense of timing &mdash when to stand and when to stand pat.

The result is a highly unscientific poll. The margin of error is plus or minus a whole lot.

But even if the results need a grain of salt, political watchers with a sodium-restricted diet can enjoy some of the findings.

Sammy 06:33 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
New claims for unemployment benefits drop slightly
Daily Record

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week as the recovering economy moves closer to generating more jobs.

The Labor Department said Thursday that new jobless benefit claims dropped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 439,000, nearly matching analysts’ estimates. It’s the fourth drop in five weeks.

The four-week average of claims, which smooths volatility, fell by nearly 7,000 to 447,250, the lowest total since the week of Sept. 13, 2008, just before Lehman Brothers collapsed and the financial crisis intensified.

Sammy 06:30 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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