Thursday, May 20, 2010
Retailers urged to welcome food stamps
Daily Times

Attention food stamp recipients: Your business is appreciated.

The Agriculture Department announced Wednesday it will encourage grocery stores and other retail outlets that accept food stamps to post signs reading “We Welcome SNAP Benefits.” The move is part of an effort to decrease the stigma of using government food assistance in a tough economy.

Attempts to reduce such stigmas have been ongoing for years. SNAP is an acronym for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a recent name change designed to get away from the loaded phrase “food stamps.” Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT, is an electronic way of paying for items so it just appears that a customer is using a credit card.

Sammy 08:05 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Researchers Say They Created a ‘Synthetic Cell’
Nicholas Wade ― New York Times

[...]
Dr. Venter calls the result a “synthetic cell” and is presenting the research as a landmark achievement that will open the way to creating useful microbes from scratch to make products like vaccines and biofuels. At a press conference Thursday, Dr. Venter described the converted cell as “the first self-replicating species we’ve had on the planet whose parent is a computer.”

“This is a philosophical advance as much as a technical advance,” he said, suggesting that the “synthetic cell” raised new questions about the nature of life

Sammy 08:01 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
FEMA offers insurance rate cuts under remapping
JIM SUHR ― Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Property owners across the country fearing they may be forced to buy expensive flood insurance under a push to draw up new floodplain maps will catch a break by being offered the coverage at sharply lower rates for two years, a key lawmaker said.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision to offer the cheaper rates on properties affected by changes to flood hazard maps dramatically softens the financial blow for southwestern Illinois and other affected regions - at least for now.

FEMA has agreed to offer up to two years’ eligibility for the National Flood Insurance Program’s Preferred Risk Policy - the program’s lowest-cost option - to small businesses and homeowners on any land the new maps show are in newly designated special flood hazard areas. The new rates are available after the redrawn maps take effect, in many cases this fall or early next year.

Sammy 07:56 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
The Oyster Outlook in St. Mary’s
The Bay Net

The benefits of State oyster restoration initiatives are well understood, but just where they place sanctuaries in the St. Mary’s River and exactly how they spell out the rules is still a hot debate.

On Saturday, May 22, Md. Department of Natural Resources Secretary John Griffin will speak at the St. Mary’s River Watershed Association’s annual meeting and is expected to address those issues.

TheBAYNET.com met up with SMRWA’s Executive Director Bob Lewis in the southern end of the county to see first-hand how oyster operations are going in the river and learn more about the future of what Lewis calls “the most important tool in our restoration-of-the-bay toolbox.”

Sammy 07:42 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
O’Malley signs cell phone ban
Michael Dresser ― Baltimore Sun

In a move that could affect millions of Maryland drivers, Gov. Martin O’Malley today signed a bill that bans the use of hand-held cell phones while driving — enacting a measure that took more than a decade to pass the General Assembly.

At what is presumably the last signing ceremony of his term — barring an unexpected special session in an election year — the governor’s action adds Maryland to a short list of states with similar laws. Maryland’s law would take effect Oct. 1.
[...]
The compromise measure, which exempts devices that let drivers talk with their hands free, squeaked through the Senate along highly partisan lines but passed the House of Delegates with a solid bipartisan majority.

Read more...

Sammy 02:05 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Solar goes sleek with new home products

Solar panels, known to be costly and unsightly, may soon give way to new products that seamlessly blend photovoltaics with conventional asphalt or metal roofs.

CertainTeed, based in Valley Forge, Pa., is scheduled later this year to begin offering EnerGen, a product that integrates thin-film solar laminates with traditional asphalt roofing shingles.

Sammy 01:37 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
New List Of Most Endangered Historic Places Released
WUSA-TV (CBS 9)

Turning out the lights on historic sites might save cash-strapped states a few bucks but could cost much more if vandals find such properties left vacant.

A new listing of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for the first time includes state parks and historic sites at-large, saying they’re threatened by slashed budgets.

Sammy 01:16 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Sanitary Sewer Overflow - 2299 South Hampton Drive

The Department of Utilities is working to resolve a recent sewer overflow of 5,872 gallons that occurred at 2299 South Hampton Drive in Bryans Road between 4:52 and 8:25 p.m. on May 19, 2010.  Signs have been posted along an unknown tributary of the Pomonkey Creek.  Avoid contact with tributary until signs are removed.  Contact the Department of Utilities at 301.609.7400 for further information.

Click here to view the notification on the Charles County CNS website

Sammy 01:05 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Special Meeting: Charles County Economic Development Component

Special Charles County Commissioners’ Meeting

College of Southern Maryland, Center for Business & Industry, La Plata, MD

Friday, May 21, 2010 at 9:00 a.m.

Source:  Board Docs No documents attached.

Pauleen Brewer 11:46 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
FDIC says more banks are troubled even as industry recovers
Daily Record

The government says the number of troubled banks kept growing last quarter even as the industry as a whole had its best quarter in two years.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Thursday that the number of banks on its confidential “problem” list leaped to 775 from 702 in the January-March period. But banks overall posted net income of $18 billion. That was up from $5.6 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.
[...]
The pace of bank collapses this year exceeds last year’s. So far, 72 banks have failed in 2010. As a result of those failures and bank mergers, the number of FDIC-insured institutions fell to 7,932 in the first quarter. That’s the first dip below 8,000 in the history of the FDIC, which was created in 1933.

Sammy 11:42 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles County Planning Commission Meeting Video…

...Monday, May 17, 2010

Sammy 11:38 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Governor Martin O’Malley Signs Legislation Helping Marylanders Keep their Homes

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 20, 2010) –Governor Martin O’Malley joined Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., and House Speaker Michael E. Busch in signing a tough new law bringing mortgage giants to the table when beginning a foreclosure proceeding in Maryland.  This morning, Governor O’Malley met over breakfast with more than 200 faith leaders, acknowledging their efforts in foreclosure prevention outreach and their role moving forward under this new legislation.

“With my signature today, we are empowering our fellow Marylanders, putting them on a more equal footing with mortgage companies that too often can’t be bothered to pick up the phone before beginning a foreclosure proceeding against a Maryland family,” Governor O’Malley said.  “It gives borrowers the information they need at an early stage, and gives every Maryland family the right to have access to their lenders when they feel they are unfairly denied a loan modification or other mitigation option.  This legislation will help keep more Marylanders in the homes they worked hard to purchase.”

Sammy 11:32 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
CDC: 1 in 8 swimming pools closed, many too dirty
MIKE STOBBE ― WTOP

Health officials say many public swimming pools aren’t as clean as they should be.

According to a new report, one in eight public swimming pools were shut down after inspections. Some were too dirty and some had other problems, like missing safety equipment.

Sammy 11:28 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Jobless claims rise by largest amount in 3 months as volatile labor market drags on recovery
MARTIN CRUTSINGER ― Baltimore Sun

The number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week by the largest amount in three months. The surge is evidence of how volatile the job market remains, even as the economy grows.

Applications for unemployment benefits rose to 471,000 last week, up by 25,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the first increase in five weeks and the biggest jump since a gain of 40,000 in February.
[...]
Lawmakers responded Thursday to the persistently high jobless rate by announcing a deal to extend expanded unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed through the end of the year. Laid off workers would also continue to get subsidies to buy health insurance through the COBRA program. House leaders plan to vote on the bill Friday, with the Senate voting next week.

Sammy 11:20 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
VANGO TRANSIT ADVERTISING

Bid Number:  10-38 - Type:  RFP  
  Open Date:  05/21/2010 - Close Date:  06/21/2010  
  Pre-Bid Propsal:  none  
  Bond Requirements:  See Solicitation

The Charles County Commissioners are soliciting proposals from qualified, Marketing and Advertising firms to market, sell, produce, place and maintain advertising panels on VanGO transit vehicles. The successful offeror will have the exclusive rights to the advertising space on VanGO vehicles. The objective of this solicitation is to obtain marketing and advertising management services that will produce the maximum revenue possible for the County.

Sammy 11:15 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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