Friday, October 07, 2011
‘Flipped’ classrooms take advantage of technology
Greg Toppo ― USA TODAY

Pressed for time and struggling to reach a generation raised on YouTube, Roshan, like a growing number of teachers, digitally records her lessons with a tablet computer as a virtual blackboard, then uploads them to iTunes and assigns them as homework. In class the following day, she helps students work out exercises and answer knotty questions.

It’s the latest way technology is changing teachers’ jobs — in this case it’s literally turning their workday upside-down. But teachers say flipped, or upside-down, classes offer greater control of material and more face time with students.

In many cases, software allows students to chat online while watching the videos. Tegrity, a Silicon Valley firm that specializes in flipped instruction, allows students to time-stamp lecture notes. It boasts more than 1million student users, many of them in higher education.

Sammy 06:47 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Scientists fault risk review for Fort Detrick lab
Daily Record

The National Academy of Sciences says the Army should do a more thorough job of assessing the risks of a planned biodefense animal laboratory at Fort Detrick in Frederick.

An expert panel says in a strongly worded report that the planning document for the proposed Medical Countermeasures Test and Evaluation Facility isn’t sufficient to ensure that the laboratory design will protect human health and the environment.

Maryland’s two U.S. senators urged the Army on Friday to make the necessary modifications to protect lab workers and the surrounding community.

Sammy 01:26 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Purple Line gets federal OK for preliminary engineering
Daily Record

The Federal Transit Administration has given its approval for the Purple Line, a proposed 16-mile light-rail line that will operate between Bethesda and New Carrollton, to enter preliminary engineering.

With that permission, the Purple Line becomes one of a small of number of projects nationwide that are eligible for federal funding. The capital cost of the project is approximately $1.9 billion, according to state mass transit officials.

Sammy 01:25 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Storms Dominate Indian Head Town Council Meeting
Andy Marquis ― The Bay Net

During the meeting, Mayor Dennis J. Scheessele and Vice Mayor Edward W. Rice appointed Thomas N. Blake, Sr. to a two year term on the Indian Head Planning Commission.  His term starts effective immediately.  Blake was not in attendance during Monday night’s meeting.

Town manager Ryan Hicks said the Town of Indian Head was still looking for members to serve on the Planning Commission as well as the Board of Appeals and Indian Head “Green Team”.

Sammy 01:21 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
New tropical storm to develop near Florida
Doyle Rice ― USA TODAY

A strong storm — potentially Tropical Storm Rina — is forecast to develop near Florida over the weekend and possibly move up the Southeast coast and then toward portions of the flood-ravaged Mid-Atlantic and Northeast by the middle of next week.

Even before this storm forms, heavy rain, beach erosion and deadly rip currents are forecast in Florida on Friday and throughout the weekend, thanks to strong winds circulating around an area of high pressure in the Atlantic, says Weather Channel meteorologist Tom Moore.

Although the storm had yet to develop as of late Thursday, all reliable computer models are indicating that a storm will eventually develop somewhere near Florida, according to Moore. The storm is most likely to form Sunday, and may or may not be tropical in nature, he says.

Sammy 11:32 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Town starts lessons on updating zoning ordinance

The La Plata Planning Commission is getting training on updating the town’s zoning ordinance so that it can be well-informed in future updates to the zoning ordinance.

Tuesday marked the first meeting where the commission conducted educational sessions.

David Jenkins, director of planning and community development, guided the commission members through a slide presentation and educational materials prepared by the American Planning Association.

Sammy 11:16 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Commissioners call Hunters Brooke developers’ bonds

County seeks money to perform repair work itself

The Charles County commissioners voted Tuesday to call surety bonds and use escrow funds, respectively, to make long-awaited repairs in the Indian Head developments of Hunters Brooke and Falcon Ridge.

“It sounds like we have given the developer ample time to fix issues in these communities and I think we’re being played. I think it’s time to call the bond,” Commissioner Ken Robinson (D) said.

Hunters Brooke LLC, a corporation based in Falls Church, Va., and White Oak LLC, which is based in Chevy Chase and is responsible for Falcon Ridge, have until Oct. 28 to make repairs to roads, sidewalks and other facilities under the terms of June 28 agreements with the county.

Sammy 11:12 AM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
County has new targets for cleaning up watersheds

Plans to target reducing nutrients by 2017, 2020

Charles County now has targets to reach by 2017 and 2020 to reduce the amount of nutrient pollution flowing into the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Maryland Department of the Environment developed the targets for reducing the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus flowing into the bay’s watershed.

While nitrogen and phosphorus provide nutrients for healthy ecosystems, too much can lead to too much algae, which can cloud the water, decrease the amount of oxygen in the water and hurt underwater plants and animals, according to EPA’s website.

Sammy 11:10 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Capacity vote means fewer school seats

Commissioners accelerate process of planned change

The Charles County commissioners voted to push up a move to state-rated capacity for school allocations by two years Tuesday during a joint meeting of the commissioners and the Charles County Board of Education.

The move will slow residential growth in the county in the future.

Both boards and their staffs met at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building for an annual retreat.

School allocations are determined by looking at a school’s maximum capacity, school enrollment numbers and the number of students estimated per household.

Sammy 11:07 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Business-friendly comp. plan option dumped

New scenario kills development district proposal

The Charles County Comprehensive Plan update team has dropped a land use scenario that business groups supported that focused on distributed growth and has instead prepared two scenarios for an open house set for Oct. 19.

Previously, the comprehensive plan team, which included consultants from Environmental Resources Management in Annapolis and EDSA in Baltimore, had developed three land use scenarios as options to consider to guide the 2012 comprehensive plan.

Planning Director Steven Ball told the Charles County Planning Commission on Monday that scenario two was not popular at public outreach meetings and has been dropped.

Scenario two maintained the development district from 2006, which includes Waldorf, St. Charles and Bryans Road, and included projected growth areas for La Plata and Indian Head. In place of a priority preservation area, the scenario recommended downzoning a PPA-like area to one unit per 10 acres.

Sammy 11:04 AM | (11) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Tour Southern Maryland’s solar energy systems - LTE

As part of a nationwide effort, there will be a Southern Maryland Solar Tour on Saturday, Oct. 8, organized by Solar Tech of Hollywood. There are 14 systems on the tour, residential and commercial. You can get a map of the tour and a description of the systems by going to the Solar Tech website at Whether you are seriously interested, looking for information or just curious, please visit one or several sites.

Currently there are more than 100 medium to large systems in Southern Maryland and several installers. The sites are growing by five to 10 per month. A typical residential system is in the eight-to-10 kilowatt range, producing 880 to 1,100 kilowatt-hours per month. While Southern Maryland is not ideal for solar, it does quite well. The basic requirement is exposure to sunlight during the middle six hours of the day. Full exposure will increase that production by 15 to 30 percent.

Sammy 10:58 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Insurance Companies Using Social Media To Catch Fraud

Kurt Norland never dreamed photos he posted on his Facebook page would create huge problems.  The pictures show him drinking a beer and relaxing with his pals at the beach.

Who would have guessed investigators from the insurance company paying his worker’s comp benefits were watching his Facebook account? 

Sammy 08:45 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Police: Burglars Report Man’s Child Porn

A central California man has been arrested for possession of child pornography, thanks to a tip from burglars who robbed the man’s property, authorities said.

Last month, a juvenile and a 19-year-old illegally accessed the property of Kraig Stockard, 54, of Delhi, California, according to a statement from Deputy Tom MacKenzie of the Merced County Sheriff’s Department. They broke into Stockard’s barn and stole approximately 50 CDs they believed were blank.

Stockard filed a police report on the incident on September 12, according to MacKenzie.

Sammy 08:35 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
D.C. to start building sewage tunnels in effort to cut pollution
Darryl Fears ― Washington Post

The District is preparing to start building underground tunnels big enough for Metrorail cars. But the only things that will commute through these pipes are stormwater and sewage.

Officials with the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority, which operates the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, are to break ground next week on the $2.6 billion project, which is meant to end to polluted discharges into waterways.

The city will build two tunnels as part of the project. The Anacostia tunnel will extend from Blue Plains along the Anacostia River to near RFK Stadium.

Another tunnel will run 120 feet underground along M Street SE between Ninth and 14th streets. The pipes will retain stormwater from heavy rains so it can be treated to remove filth before being released into the Anacostia and Potomac rivers, as well as Rock Creek.

Sammy 08:27 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles Co. Will Receive HUD Disaster Assistance for ‘Lee’
Southern Maryland Online

Foreclosure protection offered to displaced families in four counties

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan on Thursday announced HUD will speed federal disaster assistance to the State of Maryland and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes following remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.

On Wednesday, President Obama issued a disaster declaration for Anne Arundel, Cecil, Charles, and Prince George’s Counties. The President’s declaration allows HUD to offer foreclosure relief and other assistance to certain families living in these counties.

“Families who may have been forced from their homes need to know that help is available to begin the rebuilding process,” said Donovan. “Whether it’s foreclosure relief for FHA-insured families or helping these counties to recover, HUD stands ready to help in any way we can.”

Sammy 08:06 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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