Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Protests born on Wall Street spreading nationwide
Ellen Wulfhorst ― Baltimore Sun

Anti-Wall Street protests that took shape in New York weeks ago, prompting hundreds of arrests, have spread across the nation with one organizer saying their message had “captured everyone’s imagination.”

Demonstrations have sprouted from Los Angeles to Boston, and in plenty of cities in between, led by protesters voicing discontent and anger over such issues as high unemployment, home foreclosures and the 2008 corporate bailouts.

Washington will be the site of a protest on Thursday, according to organizer Kevin Zeese, who said economic insecurity was encouraging people to take to the streets.

Sammy 07:12 PM | (17) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Pair charged in St. Mary’s with extortion

A Prince George’s County man and Charlotte Hall resident were jailed Tuesday on charges of extortion and attempted robbery in court papers alleging they demanded money last month from the young occupants of a car in Mechanicsville.

A woman told police that her daughter and son were leaving a Charlotte Hall restaurant on Sept. 3 when a pickup truck started following closely behind them on Three Notch Road, court papers state, and that the truck pulled in front of them and stopped at Mechanicsville Road.

Sammy 07:01 PM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Migration slowdown is Sun Belt’s loss and North’s gain
Haya El Nasser ― USA TODAY

The steady flow of people moving to the Sun Belt that fueled its head-spinning boom for decades now is sputtering — a blow to the region but a boost for Northern states.

It’s another sign of the decline in Americans’ penchant for moving, which has been waning since the 1980s and now stands at its lowest rate since the Great Depression.

Sammy 06:56 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
4 arrested in alleged government bribery case

Two employees of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and two others were arrested Tuesday in a $20 million bribery and kickback case that prosecutors say helped pay for the purchase of more than a dozen properties, Rolex and Cartier watches, fancy sports cars and hotel accommodations, first-class airline tickets and a trove of other personal luxuries.

Prosecutors say the case may be one of the largest procurement fraud schemes in the nation’s history.

An indictment unsealed Tuesday includes charges of bribery, conspiracy and unlawful kickbacks. The two Army Corps employees, Kerry F. Khan, a program manager, and Michael A. Alexander, a program director, received kickbacks in exchange for directing government contracts to a subcontractor specializing in software encryption devices and other information technology, prosecutors say. The men had the authority either to order products and services through government contracts or to secure funding for projects.

Sammy 06:51 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Temporary Weight Restrictions Imposed on Some Rural Roads
Andy Marquis ― The Bay Net

A restriction for vehicles weighing over 26,000 pounds was passed by the Charles County Commissioners on Tuesday morning.  The restrictions are effective for 30 days on Springhill-Newton Road, Bel Alton-Newton Road, Newport Church Road, Penns Hill Road, Stines Store Road, Bowling Drive, Trinity Church Road, Kentucky Avenue abd Dubois Road.  The restrictions will not take effect for another four or five days, giving the County time to notify trucking companies and others who may be affected by them.

The restrictions will not apply to the new bridge on MD-234 once it is built.

Sammy 06:44 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Growth Addressed in Joint Session
Andy Marquis ― The Bay Net

A joint retreat was held between the Charles County Commissioners and the Charles County Board of Education on Tuesday morning to discuss funding, school allocation and growth.

The growth in Charles County, primarily in Waldorf, dominated the agenda.  The rate of growth has been too much for schools to keep up with, increasing the need for the very unpopular “mobile classrooms”.  Charles County Board of Education Chairwoman Dr. Roberta Wise had many concerns about the growth.
During the joint session, the County Commissioners voted 3-2 to pass a motion moving the State Rated Capacity up two years.  The State Rated Capacity motion is designed to help with the overcrowding situation that faces every school in Charles County.  Commissioners Ken Robinson (D: 1st), Bobby Rucci (D: 4th) and Kelly supported the motion, with Kelly casting the tiebreaker vote.  Commissioners Debra Davis (D: 3rd) and Commissioner Vice President Reuben Collins (D) voted against the motion.

Sammy 06:40 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Oil drops below $78 to hit lowest price since 2010

Oil started the final quarter of 2011 with a whimper.

The benchmark price dropped below $78 per barrel to its lowest level in more than a year, as fears of another recession grew. Oil fell along with broad declines on Wall Street: The Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite were each down about 2 percent.

Investors are concerned about a pair of recent announcements that point to weaker demand and even lower energy prices this year. Greece, at the center of the European debt crisis, said over the weekend that it will miss its lower spending targets despite severe cost-cutting. And China’s manufacturing sector appeared to cool off in September.

Sammy 12:33 PM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Panel approves proposed redistricting map
Daily Record

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s advisory committee on legislative redistricting voted 4-1 Monday to approve its proposed new map for Maryland’s eight congressional districts, a measure that likely makes the state’s western district more competitive for Democrats.

The biggest changes made by the Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee are in the 6th congressional district, a seat now held by Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, who is serving his 10th term. Maryland currently has six Democrats and two Republicans in Congress.
There will now be a seven-day public comment period on the proposed map. O’Malley, a Democrat, will be able to make changes to the proposal. Lawmakers will take up the map in a special session later this month.

Sammy 12:23 PM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles County Commissioners Meeting Video




Sammy 12:19 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Hunters Brooke, Falcon Ridge Bonds Called
Andy Marquis ― The Bay Net

The Charles County Commissioners voted to call an escrow account on the Falcon Ridge development and call a bond on the Hunters Brooke development on Tuesday morning.  This is the latest development in a battle that has taken place for months between the commissioners and developers. Work in both developments was supposed to be complete by October 28, 2011.

In Hunters Brooke, a 25 page list of corrections was presented by County Attorney Barbara Holtz.  Most of the concrete work has not been completed, and 50% of what has been completed has not been done properly.  Earlier this year, Commissioners spoke about the Hunters Brooke development and the need for the work to get done.

Sammy 12:13 PM | (5) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles County Planning Commission Meeting Video




Sammy 08:00 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Fairfax County, Falls Church at odds over water service
Fredrick Kunkle ― Washington Post

Falls Church is accusing Fairfax County of a power grab in a long-running water war whose spoils could include millions of dollars supplying service to new developments in Tysons Corner and Merrifield.

After Fairfax took a step toward making its water utility the sole provider for parts of the county and setting rates for all county residents — including customers of municipal utilities, such as Falls Church’s — the city accused the county of trying to build a monopoly through Fairfax Water.

Sammy 07:56 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
If you want lower property tax rates, you’ve got to ask

For years, the mantra of American homeownership was to count on home appreciation. Every year like clockwork the value went up and houses were a growing source of wealth.

Now, more than three years after the housing market imploded, the tune is different. It may make sense for you to prove that your home’s value has dropped so you can file for reduced property taxes.

This is the time of the year when local assessors send out notices of your home’s assessed value. Note, however, that this is not your real market value. It’s a base value that’s used to calculate your property taxes. If you want to reduce your real estate taxes, start with paring your assessed value.

Sammy 07:49 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Emails show top Justice Department officials knew of ATF gun program
Richard A. Serrano ― Los Angeles Times

Senior Justice Department officials were aware that ATF agents allowed firearms to be “walked” into Mexico, according to a series of emails last year in which they discussed two undercover operations on the Southwest border, including the failed Fast and Furious program.

In the emails that the department turned over to congressional investigators, Justice Department officials last October discussed both the Fast and Furious gun-trafficking surveillance operation in Phoenix and a separate investigation from 2006 and 2007 called Operation Wide Receiver. In Wide Receiver, which took place in Tucson, firearms also were acquired by illegal straw purchasers and lost in Mexico, the emails say.

Sammy 07:43 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Lawmakers call for hearings into cantaloupe Listeria outbreak
Los Angeles Times

Congressional Democrats are seeking an investigation of the recent Listeria outbreak in cantaloupe that has sickened at least 84 people in 19 states, including killing at least 15 in the deadliest food-borne incident in more than a decade.

Reps. Henry A. Waxman of Beverly Hills, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), the ranking member on the oversight and investigations subcommittee, called on the energy panel’s chairman to conduct the investigation.

The lawmakers want to better understand what actions industry and government could take to prevent similar outbreaks. They also asked the committee to request several documents from Jensen Farms, including a customer list and inspection records.

Sammy 07:41 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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