Friday, August 19, 2011
Port Tobacco River Watershed Environmental Recovery Area - Public Meeting

Notice is hereby given that the Charles County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to obtain input on a proposed Port Tobacco River Watershed Environmental Recovery Area. The meeting will take place on September 12, 2011, at 7:00 pm in the County Commissioners Meeting Room located in the Charles County Government Building, 200 Baltimore Street, La Plata, MD. An Environmental Recovery Area could allow for higher density development in
exchange for significant environmental improvements and benefits.

A draft proposed policy document for an Environmental Recovery Area is available for review at the County’s website,, under the Planning Division’s Comprehensive Plans and Programs, Environmental Planning. For further information, contact Charles Rice, Program Manager, Environmental Planning, at (301) 645-0540 or by e-mail at

Sammy 02:17 PM | (4) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Hazard Mitigation Plan Meeting

Time: Thursday, September 1 · 11:00am - 12:00pm

Location: CSM La Plata - Science & Technology Building, Room ST-140
          8730 Mitchell Road
          La Plata, Maryland


Sammy 02:12 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Residents Want Less Growth, Preservation of Rural Areas
Andy Marquis ― The Bay Net

During the final two Charles County Comprehensive Plan charettes held on August 11, 2011 (at Mt. Home/Nanjemoy Elementary School in Nanjemoy, MD.) and August 18, 2011 (at Westlake High School in Waldorf, MD.), residents voiced their opinions and suggestions on the three proposed plans.  At the end of Thursday night’s charette at Westlake High School, a majority of residents seemed the favor a plan that protects rural areas from development.

Sammy 02:07 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Developer presents amenities package

Says projects to cost more than golf course plan

Representatives from GP Homes gave a presentation to the La Plata Town Council on Tuesday night on a recreational amenities package for the Heritage Green neighborhood that could replace a golf course planned for the neighborhood.

Pat Faux of The Faux Group, a landscape architecture firm based in Annapolis, outlined what recreational amenities are already in the annexation agreement, its Traditional Neighborhood Design designation and what the recreational amenities package would add and take away from what is currently proposed.

Sammy 02:01 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
2010 crime rate flat after steep ’09 drop

Slight decrease in total offenses, but burglaries up

After a steep decline in 2009, the number of major crimes in Charles County remained relatively stagnant last year, according to data released this week by the Maryland State Police.

There were 4,425 total index offenses in the county last year, 12 less than in 2009, and a 0.2 percent decline from the year before, the 2010 Uniform Crime Report showed. But, thanks to a 1.1 percent increase in the county’s population, the overall crime rate dropped a little further, from 3,082 to 3,044.4 crimes per 100,000 residents, a 1.2 percent fall.

Index offenses include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft.

Sammy 01:57 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Home costs are driving teacher applicants away

System hires 131 new employees; 5 vacancies remain

High rental prices might be keeping qualified teachers from accepting positions in Charles County, school officials said.

Keith Hettel, assistant superintendent of human resources for Charles County public schools, told school board members last week the system hired 131 new teachers and five positions remain vacant with school starting in two weeks.

The system is looking to fill positions for one high school math teacher, three special education teachers and one elementary teacher.

Sammy 01:56 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles to lag in job growth

Employment and population are expected to expand in the greater Washington, D.C., region during the next 30 years, but Charles County will see a relatively small proportion of the growth, according to an analysis solicited by Charles County government.

In job creation, which is expected to be larger than population growth regionally, the county is likely to lose out to Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs, including Prince George’s County, for reasons including the presence of large military contractors in Northern Virginia and Charles County’s relative distance from the capital and poor mass transit availability, the report states.

Sammy 01:53 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Medicare Cuts Could Up Nursing Home Costs

Nursing home residents may soon face higher costs and reduced services, as planned Medicare spending cuts take effect this fall.

IIt’s an indirect—and, some say, unanticipated—consequence of more routine cost-cutting for the nation’s biggest health-care provider. On July 29, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that, starting in October, it will begin cutting their reimbursement rates to nursing homes by 11.1% to make up for $4 billion shortfall last year. And while that doesn’t directly raise residents’ costs, there may be pressure on nursing homes to make up the shortfall somewhere, says Toby Edelman, a senior policy attorney with the Center for Medicare Advocacy. Already the news has hurt shares of nursing home companies, as investors worry that profits will shrink.

Sammy 06:23 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Governor Harry Nice Bridge

Detour Plan Draft

Alternate Commuter Routes

Sammy 06:12 AM | (4) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Fourth Annual Going Green/Tech Night to be Held at Regency Stadium

Charles County Government will be among the vendors at the 4th Annual Going Green/Tech Night, Regency Furniture Stadium’s largest gathering of tech and green tech companies. Again this year, Charles County Government will raffle off a bottle-shaped recycle bin to one lucky winner. Going Green/Tech Night will be held on Saturday, September 10, at 5:30 p.m. This event is open to attendees of the baseball game, and will feature:

• Local Innovators in Technology
• Environmentally Friendly Energy Solutions
• Tech & Green Tech Products & Services
• Energy Efficient Automobiles
• The Future of Our Communities
• State & Regional Green Initiatives
• Robotics Demonstrations
• Displays, Giveaways, Door Prizes & Fun

Sammy 06:08 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Tracking the 401(k) fees

It didn’t attract much attention. But earlier this summer 401(k) service providers were lobbying Congress, hoping to kill a new federal rule that will require them to disclose the fees they’re charging to their clients and, in turn, to the employees who participate in the popular retirement plans.

But the debt ceiling debate got in the way, leaving Congress with little time to consider anything else, said Louis Harvey, president of Dalbar Inc. in Boston, which researches and analyzes retirement plans for the investment industry. And stopping the disclosure isn’t exactly a winner from a political standpoint, added Harvey.

Most employees don’t know it, but they pay nearly all the administrative costs of their 401(k) plans. A fee called an expense ratio, based on a percentage of the balance in their accounts, pays for items like record keeping, auditing, broker commissions and fund management. Current rules don’t require that monthly statements include expense ratios.

Sammy 06:04 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Are military pensions too ‘generous’?
PAULINE JELINEK ― Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It sounds like a pretty good deal: Retire at age 38 after 20 years of work and get a monthly pension of half your salary for the rest of your life. All you have to do is join the military.

As the nation tightens its budget belt, the century-old military retirement system has come under attack as unaffordable, unfair to some who serve and overly generous compared with civilian benefits.

That very notion, laid out in a Pentagon-ordered study, sent a wave of fear and anger through the ranks of current and retired military members when it was reported in the news media this month.

Sammy 05:54 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
US makes criminals priority for deportation
ALICIA A. CALDWELL ― Frederick News-Post

The Obama administration has decided to put on hold deporting many immigrants who have committed no crimes.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the department will focus on deporting illegal immigrants who are criminals or pose a threat to national security or public safety. The decision will allow many illegal immigrants to stay in the country and apply for a work permit.

Sammy 05:51 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Team begins work on model program for medical marijuana in Maryland
Daniel Leaderman ― Gazette

Officials plan to sort out details with legalization as goal

A team of lawmakers, doctors, law enforcement officials and patient advocates will spend the next few months creating a plan and drafting state legislation for medical marijuana to be legalized for use by seriously ill patients.

The work group, which began meeting Wednesday and is chaired by Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, state secretary of health and mental hygiene, was created by legislation passed during the 2011 General Assembly session to develop a model program for medical marijuana use in the state.

Sammy 05:47 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Committee to make recommendations on debt spending next month
Sarah Breitenbach ― Gazette

State unlikely to jeopardize credit rating, expert says

With Maryland possibly reaching its projected borrowing limit in five years, the state’s Capital Debt Affordability Committee will make recommendations next month on how aggressive — or not — officials should be in paying off the debt obligations.

The committee, which caps state spending on debt service at no more than 8 percent of revenues, reported last week that Maryland could come within $43 million of its debt limit in 2017, the same year the committee has recommended the state begin increasing debt funding. The committee also has suggested that paying down the debt remain flat for the next five fiscal years.

Sammy 05:45 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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