Saturday, August 13, 2011
Nuclear plant owner enriched by $35.5 million
C. Benjamin Ford ― Gazette

Constellation Energy is the latest nuclear plant owner to receive a multimillion-dollar settlement from the Department of Energy stemming from the federal government’s decade-old broken promise to establish a long-term repository for the nation’s spent nuclear fuel.

The Baltimore energy company, which has had to store the highly radioactive fuel at its Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby, received $35.5 million, according to its second-quarter earnings report with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The payment helped Constellation’s second-quarter profit grow to $108.1 million from $83.8 million in the prior-year quarter.

Sammy 08:53 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Affordable rentals tough to come by in state
Margie Hyslop ― Gazette

Maryland among least-affordable states; waiting lists for housing vouchers boast thousands of applicants

In the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, which includes the suburbs, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s calculations show renters in many nearby counties also need to make about $28 per hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
On average, it takes 3.4 full-time jobs at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour to afford rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the Free State, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition report.

That ties Maryland with New York and New Jersey for the dubious distinction of least-affordable states this side of Hawaii, where 4.3 minimum-wage jobs are needed for decent housing, regarded as a key to building stable lives and communities.

Sammy 08:49 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Drawing the line on development
Baltimore Sun - Editorial

Our view: Anne Arundel County rezoning debacle shows why local governments are often ill-equipped to say no to developers and preserve open space

For anyone looking into why Maryland’s 14-year-old campaign to reduce sprawl development has proved so ineffective, we present the learned members of the Anne Arundel County Council. Next week, they’re scheduled to give a demonstration of how not to follow the growth restrictions advocated by their own constituents.
Such egregious spot zoning is not only a violation of the Anne Arundel County General Development Plan, but it runs counter to the subsidiary Edgewater Small Area Plan and the wishes of countless local residents who have advised the county on its “vision” of the future in recent years. The rezoning was also rejected by the county’s planning department, where professional land use experts have been reviewing requests to rezone such properties since the General Development Plan was updated in 2009.

How does such a thing happen? In case after case, whether in Anne Arundel or any other county, the pattern is clear. County residents endorse a master plan for their county directing growth toward specific areas, and then elected officials grant exceptions and rezoning to developers with political clout and a history of campaign contributions.

Sammy 08:39 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Maryland to regulate abortion clinics for first time

In the past 20 years, five Maryland doctors have been disciplined for harming patients during abortion procedures. In each case, there was an issue involving anesthesia.

Now, supporters of a proposal to ensure that abortion clinics meet the same standards as facilities that perform outpatient surgeries say they are hopeful that deaths like Crowe’s can be prevented.

Under procedures drafted by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the state would for the first time regulate clinics that perform surgical abortions, said spokeswoman Karen Black. Facilities that offer only abortion pills, and physician’s offices that perform occasional abortions would not be affected.

Sammy 08:35 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
SMECO reliability project moving forward

More new Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative utility poles are coming to Calvert, but there will be fewer than currently exist and, officials said, energy to southern county customers will not be reliable without them.

SMECO representatives updated the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday on the status of the Southern Maryland Reliability Project, proposed improvements and an updated project timeline. The project will loop around through Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties, connecting southern Calvert to the Hewitt Road SMECO station in Lexington Park by building a new station at Sollers Wharf and Pardoe roads and constructing an underwater line 30 feet below the Patuxent River bottom. The project also involves upgrading SMECO’s existing 400 69-kV transmission line poles to 240 230-kV line poles. There will be fewer poles with a greater distance between each, though the new poles will be built in the same locations as the previous poles to reduce tree disruption, SMECO officials said.

Sammy 08:31 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
PlanMaryland Progress Report

Maryland Department of Planning

July 2011

Sammy 08:20 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
FBI: Mortgage fraud still prevalent, hard to catch
Daily Record

Mortgage fraud remains widespread in the depressed housing market, with perpetrators motivated by high profits and little risk of getting caught, the FBI said Friday.

The FBI’s annual report said mortgage schemes are particularly resilient and hard to discover, and their total cost is unknown. Real estate firm CoreLogic says more than $10 billion in loans originated with fraudulent application data last year, the report noted.

Sammy 08:11 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles County Board of License Commissioners Meeting Audio and Video



Sammy 08:05 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles County Planning Commission Meeting Video and Audio




Sammy 08:02 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Maryland Receives $27 Million Federal Grant
The Bay Net

Today, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown announced that the State of Maryland has received a $27.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to fund the establishment of Maryland’s health benefit exchange, a transparent marketplace that will offer individuals and small employers high-quality, affordable private health plans that fit their needs at competitive prices. 

“This grant is further recognition of Maryland’s national leadership in implementing health care reform in order to reduce costs, expand access, and improve the quality of care for all Marylanders,” said Lt. Governor Brown.  “The Exchange will provide individuals and small businesses with a competitive marketplace offering affordable health insurance options that meet their needs. Because we have taken smart and aggressive steps forward to establish our exchange, Maryland has received these critical dollars that will ensure State funds are not needed to get the Exchange ready and operational by the January 1, 2014 federal deadline.”

Sammy 07:06 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Verizon claims sabotage, calls cops on strikers
David Goldman ― CNN

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)—The rift between Verizon and its 45,000 striking employees grew wider on Friday, after the telecommunications giant called in the FBI to investigate allegations of sabotage.
Verizon spokesman Rich Young said more than 90 acts of sabotage have taken place since the strike began on Sunday. Saboteurs have cut phone lines, affecting the service of several thousand customers primarily in New York and New Jersey but also in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

Pauleen Brewer 06:45 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
The stories of those who lost their lives in Chinook crash
Pauleen Brewer 06:42 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Dozens of teens detained after Philadelphia’s earlier curfew
Susan Candiotti and Ross Levitt ― CNN

(CNN)—Not long after the Philadelphia clock tower chimed to mark the 9 p.m. hour Friday, police picked up almost two dozen teens during enforcement of the city’s new curfew.

“We took 22 into custody by 10 p.m. along South Street” in downtown Philadelphia, police spokesman Ray Evers said.

He said the juveniles ranged in age from 14 to 17.

The teens are among the first charged with violating a newly strengthened city ordinance, which forbids anyone under 18 from being out on the street after 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in two parts of the city—including downtown.

Pauleen Brewer 06:39 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Former judge gets 28 years for scheme to unjustly jail youth

(CNN)—A former Pennsylvania juvenile judge was sentenced to 28 years in prison Thursday after being convicted for a scheme to make millions off unjustly incarcerating young people, court officials said.

Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella was also ordered by a federal judge in Pennsylvania to pay about $1 million in restitution.

The sentence was four times the 87 months sentence that Ciavarella and federal prosecutors had agreed to when he pleaded guilty to charges in 2009.

But that plea deal was thrown out by a federal judge and the case went to trial.

Ciavarella was found guilty in February of 12 of 39 racketeering and fraud charges for accepting millions of dollars in bribes from friends who owned detention centers to which he sent juveniles.

Pauleen Brewer 06:36 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Open Thread - August 13, 2011


Pauleen Brewer 04:00 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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