Monday, August 29, 2011
Charles schools to reopen Aug. 30

Though one day late, Charles County public schools will open for the first day of school Tuesday.

School officials met Monday afternoon to discuss school and road conditions.

Schools were closed Monday due to power outages and hazardous road conditions from the weekend’s Hurricane Irene.

Sammy 11:46 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Bottled Water Available for Residents Today

The Charles County Department of Emergency Services will have cases of water available for citizens today beginning at 1 p.m. The water distribution location will be the same as the ice distribution location, in the lower parking lot of the Government Building, 200 Baltimore Street in La Plata. One case of water per family.

For more information, call 301-609-3435.

Updated information on the county’s post-hurricane recovery efforts is available online at, on the Charles County Government Facebook page, and on Charles County Government cable television stations (Comcast channel 95 and Verizon channel 10).

Sammy 11:36 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
50,000 still without power

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative reported on its website at 9 a.m. Aug. 29 that there were 48,376 outages in the co-op’s coverage region; 7,910 in Charles County, 14,280 in Calvert County, 25,071 in St. Mary’s County and 1,115 in Prince George’s after Hurricane Irene came through the region Saturday and Sunday.

SMECO spokesman Tom Dennison said the utility hoped to have the bulk of the Charles County outages taken care of by the end of the day Monday, though some outages, “if you have, say three or four houses at the end of a rural road,” were likely to persist.

Sammy 11:32 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
County Continues Ice Distribution for Residents

The Charles County Department of Emergency Services has resumed distribution of ice to county residents today until 4:30 p.m. this afternoon in the lower parking lot of the Charles County Government Building at 200 Baltimore Street in La Plata, as it is the central location for the highest concentration of power outages in the county. Each household can receive one 20-pound bag of ice.

For more information, call 301-609-3435.


Sammy 10:46 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles County Update: Fall Guide


Sammy 09:02 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Citizens Asked to Report Damage

Charles County Government is asking citizens to call the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 301-609-3435 to report hurricane-related damages to their homes or businesses, trees blocking roadways and power lines across roads. Power outages should be reported to SMECO at 877-747-6326.

Damage assessment teams are currently surveying the county. This will assist them in focusing their efforts in areas were damage has occurred. This will help the county return its application for federal disaster assistance. Your assistance will help in that process.

Sammy 08:58 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Boy found, police look for parents
Martin Weil ― Washington Post

A child was found Sunday in Prince George’s County, but police said they could not find his parents.

The child was found about 2:30 p.m. in the 2300 block of Vermont Avenue in the Landover area, police said.

They said they carried out an extensive search in that neighborhood but could not find any relatives.

Sammy 07:43 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Wind farms under fire for bird kills
Darryl Fears ― Washington Post

Six birds found dead recently in Southern California’s Tehachapi Mountains were majestic golden eagles. But some bird watchers say that in an area where dozens of wind turbines slice the air they were also sitting ducks.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating to determine what killed the big raptors, and declined to divulge the conditions of the remains. But the likely cause of death is no mystery to wildlife biologists who say they were probably clipped by the blades of some of the 80 wind turbines at the three-year-old Pine Tree Wind Farm Project, operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Windmills kill nearly half a million birds a year, according to a Fish and Wildlife estimate. The American Bird Conservancy projected that the number could more than double in 20 years if the administration realizes its goal for wind power.

Sammy 07:39 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Hurricane Irene Vegetative Debris Removal

To help serve residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the Charles County Commissioners are pleased to announce that vegetative debris removal will be conducted throughout the county until Friday, September 30.  Vegetative material consists of trees, branches, and brush.

All citizens with large amounts of debris are requested to place their material curbside and contact the Department of Public Works at 301-932-3599 to schedule a pick-up.  In addition, residents who are served by the county’s curbside yard waste service will continue to receive pick-up service on their scheduled service day, following the regular policies and procedures.


Sammy 07:30 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Drought, high demand makes hay hard to find
JOSH FUNK ― Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A scorching drought in the southern Plains has caused hay prices to soar, benefiting farmers to the north but forcing many ranchers to make a difficult choice between paying high prices or selling their cattle.

Ranchers in much of Texas, Oklahoma and even Kansas are having to pay inflated prices for hay and then shell out even more to have it trucked hundreds of miles from Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska or South Dakota. Their only other options are to reduce the size of their herds or move cattle to rented pastures in another state.

Sammy 07:24 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Number of short sales on the rise
Julie Schmit ― USA TODAY

Short sales are increasing as a percentage of home sales in many states, helping some neighborhoods and homeowners avoid the more devastating impacts of foreclosures.

Short sales — when lenders allow financially strapped borrowers to sell homes for less than their unpaid mortgage — accounted for 12% of home sales nationwide in the second quarter. That’s up from 10% in the same period last year, says researcher RealtyTrac.

Sammy 07:20 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Medical clinics in retail settings are booming
Mary Brophy Marcus ― USA TODAY

Insured patients are increasingly turning to the convenience of drugstore clinics like Minute Clinic and other medical resources outside the traditional doctor’s office setting when they can’t schedule day-of appointments with their primary-care provider. Some without health insurance say they find them a faster, less pricey alternative to urgent care or emergency room visits.

Almost half of Minute Clinic’s clientele don’t have a primary-care doctor of their own, Sussman says.

The satellite medical suites address acute, but not typically life-threatening conditions such as strep throat, flu symptoms and bladder infections. Many offer vaccinations, and sports and camp physicals as well.


Sammy 07:14 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Pentagon pays $720M in late fees for storage containers
Tom Vanden Brook ― USA TODAY

The Pentagon has spent more than $720million since 2001 on fees for shipping containers that it fails to return on time, according to data and contracts obtained by USA TODAY.

The containers — large metal boxes stowed on ships and moved from port on trucks — are familiar sights on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan where troops use them for storage, shelter and building material. Yet each 20-foot container returned late can rack up more than $2,200 in late fees. Shipping companies charge the government daily “container detention fees” after the grace period ends for the box to be returned.

Sammy 07:12 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Egg farm regulations still skimpy
Clark Kauffman ― USA TODAY

One year after 1,900 people were sickened and a half-billion Iowa eggs were recalled, government inspectors continue to find unsanitary conditions and inadequate protections against salmonella on Iowa’s egg farms.

None of the violations has resulted in penalties from state or federal agencies, and Iowa’s egg producers still aren’t required to tell state officials when they find salmonella.

Records obtained by The Des Moines Register under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that some of Iowa’s major egg producers aren’t meeting minimum federal standards intended to protect consumers from salmonella enteritidis — a potentially fatal bacterial infection that triggered a nationwide egg recall last August.

Sammy 07:10 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
UN concerned about Iraq strength before US exit
LARA JAKES ― Frederick News-Post

The U.N.‘s outgoing top diplomat in Iraq on Sunday said the government in Baghdad must determine whether its security forces are strong enough to thwart violence before requiring U.S. troops to leave at the end of the year.

In his last interview after two years in Baghdad, U.N. envoy Ad Melkert said Iraqi security forces have made “clear improvements” but declined to say if he thinks they are ready to protect the country without help from the American military.

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