Friday, August 26, 2011
Planning — or not — for the next disaster
Jeanne McManus ― The Washington Post

We should have known to have an extra box of AA batteries for the flashlights. We should have known to fill the bathtub with water for drinking and flushing. We should have known to bring in the patio umbrella before the winds arrived.

All day Friday I have watched the precise movements of Hurricane Irene on the Internet and on television. Sophisticated graphics and brilliantly colored radar whorls are measuring the second-by-second advance of its wind and rain on the coastline. And though I observe thoughtful and careful advance work, safety precautions and evacuations — real signs of emergency preparedness — I have to think that there will, in the aftermath, also be notable cluelessness. Oh: A power company is supposed to have a system to monitor electrical outages and to field calls from customers? Or, for my own part: Why didn’t I think to collapse that innocent-looking canvas deck chair before the wind took it and sailed it like a Frisbee into the neighbor’s window?

Pauleen Brewer 10:19 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Boeing gets 787 approval from U.S., Europe
Chicago Tribune

Boeing Co. shares jumped Friday after the aircraft builder said it received U.S. and European regulatory approval for its long-awaited 787 Dreamliner and announced the first delivery date for the jet.

The Chicago-based manufacturer said Japan’s ANA would receive the first 787 on Sept. 26, a day after its contractual delivery. The Dreamliner’s first passenger flight is scheduled for the end of October.

ANA is expected to receive 12 more 787s by the end of March.

Sammy 07:49 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
13 Plants Felt Earthquake, but Reactors Were Spared
New York Times

The earthquake Tuesday in the Eastern United States was felt at 13 locations with nuclear power plants, from North Carolina to Michigan, but reactors shut down at only one, North Anna in Virginia, 10 miles from the epicenter. There was no damage to nuclear systems at any of the sites, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The commission has been re-evaluating the earthquake vulnerability of reactors in the East, based on a recent reassessment by the United States Geological Survey of the likelihood of a big earthquake in the region. The review is independent of the quake on Tuesday, whose epicenter was near Mineral, Va., and predates the Japanese earthquake of March 11. That quake and a resulting tsunami caused a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Sammy 07:39 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Commissioners may join effort against land-use plan
Bethany Rodgers ― Frederick News-Post

The Frederick County Commissioners might join forces with leaders in nearby counties to push back against aspects of the Maryland governor’s land-use plan, a document they fear could erode local authority if carried out.
The idea of a partnership of central and western Maryland governments flowed out of a Friday breakfast that included Young and commissioners presidents from Washington, Allegany, Carroll and Garrett counties. Young said the board leaders agreed to go back to their counties and pitch the coalition plan to their fellow commissioners.

If they decide to organize, the county officials could team up to issue statements and strengthen their voices in Annapolis during the next round of discussions about PlanMaryland, Young said. The document is open for comment until Sept. 1, and after that, the state will come out with a second draft, said Andrew Ratner, spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Planning.

Sammy 07:30 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Facebook had 1 trillion page views in June, according to Google
Los Angeles Times

According to the Google data, Facebook had about 870 million unique visitors in June. Facebook has said it has more than 750 million users. The website Techland guessed that the disparity between the two numbers is likely due to visitors to Facebook who don’t have, or weren’t logged into, Facebook user accounts—sounds like a good guess.

Google doesn’t include or Gmail and other Google services in its monthly DoubleClick Ad Planner rankings. But YouTube, a Google-owned website, does get included and came in second in June with 790 million visitors, 100 billion page views and about a 42.6% reach of those online.

Sammy 06:57 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Electronic ‘tattoo’ could monitor vital organ functions
Amina Khan ― Los Angeles Times

Forget those old, bulky electrodes of the past. Researchers have created a device that can track your heart, brain and muscle activity as effectively as conventional monitoring systems — and is thin enough to be laminated onto the skin like a temporary tattoo. Down the line, such electronic patches could be used to monitor vital functions, aid in physical rehabilitation or perhaps be deployed in covert military operations.

John Rogers, a materials scientist with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, discussed the research and its potential future uses.

Sammy 06:55 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Worry more about Irene’s water than storm’s wind
SETH BORENSTEIN ― Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Forget the wind and fury. Hurricane Irene’s most worrisome weapon is water.

There’s just way too much of it: storm surge pushing seawater ashore and heavy rainfall causing flooding. That’s not unusual with hurricanes, but with Irene there are a couple of added factors that are making meteorologists nervous.

This massive, slow-moving hurricane is forecast to soak an already drenched Northeast and may come ashore at a time when tides are unusually high, making storm surge even worse - 4 to 11 feet with waves on top, forecasters say.

Sammy 06:47 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Hurricane Irene risk forces first-ever NYC shutdown
Martha T. Moore and Kevin McCoy ― USA TODAY

City officials ordered nearly 300,000 residents to leave waterfront neighborhoods and announced the impending shutdown of the city’s vast transit system, two unprecedented precautionary steps forced by the threatened fury of Hurricane Irene.

“You only have to look at the weather maps to understand just how big this storm is, and how unique it is. And it’s heading basically directly for us,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news briefing Friday afternoon. “This is very serious. Do not be fooled by the sun outside. You just can’t wait until gale force winds and driving winds begin.”

Sammy 06:42 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Laundry Detergent May Cause Cancer

A small study suggests scented laundry items contain carcinogens that waft through vents, potentially raising cancer risk.

“This is an interesting source of pollution because emissions from dryer vents are essentially unregulated,” said lead author Dr. Anne Steinemann, professor of civil and environmental engineering and of public affairs at the University of Washington, in a written statement. “If they’re coming out of a smokestack or tail pipe, they’re regulated, but if they’re coming out of a dryer vent, they’re not.” 
Their analysis found more than 25 “volatile” air pollutants - including the carcinogens acetaldehyde and benzene.

Benzene causes leukemia and other blood cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. Acetaldehyde has been shown to cause nasal and throat cancer in animal studies.

Sammy 06:38 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Warning: No Maryland Shellfish After Irene

The Maryland Department of the Environment said it is closing shellfish harvesting in state waters because of potential water contamination from Hurricane Irene flooding and runoff.

The department said the closure begins Sunday and ends Sept. 3, but could be extended based on water-quality monitoring.

The closure applies to Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay, Chesapeake tributaries and coastal bays. The closure applies only to the harvesting of shellfish such as oysters and clams and does not apply to fishing or crabbing.

Sammy 06:06 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Shelters opening in tri-county area

In Charles County, Milton M. Somers Middle School at 300 Willow Lane in La Plata will open 6 a.m. Saturday for use as an emergency shelter, Charles County spokeswoman Crystal Hunt said.

A nonemergency telephone number in Charles County, 301-609-3435, has been established for citizens who have questions to call during the weather event.

Residents who need to relocate should follow these procedures:

Sammy 02:58 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Hurricane Preparedness Meeting Scheduled for Cobb Neck Residents

A hurricane preparedness meeting for residents of Cobb Island, Swan Point, Woodland Point, Hill Road, Rock Point, Wicomico Beach Road, River Road, Morgantown Road, Chigger City, Issue, and Newburg areas is scheduled for today, August 26, at 7 p.m. at the Cobb Island Volunteer Fire Department (17069 Cobb Island Road). There will be a slideshow presentation and handouts with emergency preparedness tips and important telephone numbers will be distributed. Information will also be provided on what to expect from the fire department as the storm progresses and after the storm has passed.

For more information, contact Assistant Fire Chief William Lawman, Jr., Cobb Island Volunteer Fire Department & EMS, at 301-259-4258.

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

Sammy 02:55 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles County Residents in Designated Areas Advised to Evacuate

Due to forecasted impact of Hurricane Irene on Charles County, the Department of Emergency Services is advising citizens living near low lying waterways (especially Port Tobacco, Marshall Hall, Cobb Island, and Benedict areas) and in mobile homes throughout the county to evacuate their homes and relocate to areas further inland. If possible, residents are encouraged to stay with friends or family members, and remain there until it is safe to return home.

An emergency shelter will open at 6 a.m. on Saturday, August 27, at Milton Somers Middle School (300 Willow Lane, La Plata). Any citizens and their pets (cats and dogs only) in need of shelter during the storm may report to the emergency shelter during the weather event. If possible, bring pets in a pet carrier.

During evacuation, take warm clothing and blankets, flashlights, radio, personal documents and identification, and necessary emergency supplies including special food and medicine.


Sammy 02:51 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
State of Emergency Declared for Charles County


SUBJECT:  State of Emergency

SUMMARY:  For Immediate Release

State of Emergency Declared for Charles County

Commissioner President Candice Quinn Kelly declared a local state of emergency in Charles County at noon today, which will be in effect for up to seven days, until Friday, September 2, due to the forecasted high winds and flooding that may be produced by Hurricane Irene.

A declaration of a local state of emergency authorizes the Charles County Department of Emergency Services to engage, deploy, and coordinate available resources to protect life and property of Charles County residents.

Currently, the National Weather Service has placed the entire Southern Maryland region under a Tropical Storm Warning. This warning means that tropical storm conditions could begin affecting the region within the next 24 hours.

A non-emergency telephone number, 301-609-3435 has been established for citizens to call who have questions during this weather event. If you have an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Residents are advised to tune in to local radio and television news stations for emergency alerts and actions. Updated information is also available online at and on Charles County Government cable television stations (Comcast channel 95 and Verizon channel 10).

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

Pauleen Brewer 01:29 PM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Hoyer Celebrates Completion of Branch Avenue Capacity Improvements
Andy Marquis ― The Bay Net

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D: MD 5th) spoke about capacity improvements on Brandywine Road on Thursday afternoon in a ribbon cutting ceremony at Brandywine Road.  Governor Martin O’Malley was scheduled to attend but could not make it as his office is continuing to monitor the threat from Hurricane Irene.

Gov. O’Malley’s office did release this statement in support of the project: “This project is important to supporting jobs and preserving the quality of life for residents in Southern Maryland.  Thanks to Congressman Hoyer and all of our federal partners, we can provide much-needed relief for commuters and improve safety for residents and travelers in Prince George’s and Charles Counties.”

“For years, thousands of Prince George’s County and Southern Maryland residents have factored several minutes of gridlock along MD 5 between Brandywine Road and MD 373 into their daily commutes, negatively impacting their quality of life and the regional economy,” Hoyer said. “Widening this stretch to three lanes in both directions should go a long way toward alleviating this problem.  I am proud to have led the efforts at the Federal level to secure the investment necessary to complete this project.”

Sammy 07:31 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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