Monday, October 10, 2011
Bronx, N.Y., chamber executive takes Charles position

The Charles County Chamber of Commerce will have a new executive director, more than five months after the controversial firing of former director Ken Gould.

Arlene McLaren, most recently the president and CEO of the Bronx Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in New York City, will take the business group’s helm Oct. 24, according to an announcement by the chamber issued Friday.

“As the Chief Administrative Executive, Ms. McLaren was responsible for the overall operation of the organization, serving as the primary point of contact for the Board of Directors, leading the organization’s efforts in developing consequential partnerships, securing procurement opportunities for training and development and positioning the organization as a valuable resource hub for the Hispanic business community in New York,” the release states.

Sammy 01:29 PM | (4) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
U.S. officials: Libya may have lost anti-aircraft missiles

Portable anti-aircraft missiles may have already been smuggled outside Libya’s borders even as the United States races to help account for thousands of the weapons stockpiled by the regime of Moammar Gadhafi, U.S. officials say.

“We have reports that they may have in fact crossed borders,” Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told USA TODAY.

Rogers says al-Qaeda would like to get its hands on the weapons, which fit in the trunk of a car and can take down a commercial jet.

Missiles like those have been used in attacks on 40 aircraft, causing 28 crashes and more than 800 deaths since 1975. Under Gadhafi, Libya had stockpiled about 20,000 of the missiles, called Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS).

Sammy 11:21 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
New end-of-life health care regulations to take effect

It is never easy to make end-of-life health care decisions for yourself or a loved one.
In an effort to minimize concerns and streamline the decision-making process, a new regulation in Maryland, referred to as Maryland MOLST—Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment—has been initiated to help guide patients and health care professionals through the process and ensure the patient’s wishes for medical care are carried out.

The law, scheduled to go into effect this year, requires a Maryland MOLST form be completed by or for all individuals admitted to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospices, home health agencies, and dialysis centers.

Sammy 11:15 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Insurers try basing rates on individual cars’ data
Ameet Sachdev ― Los Angeles Times

A few months ago, Saman Jayasekara was shopping online for cheaper car insurance when he came across a new product from Progressive Corp. that offered him the chance to save as much as 30%.

But there was a catch. He would have to install a device in his Hyundai Sonata that would monitor his driving habits, such as when he drove, miles driven and number of sudden stops. Progressive would analyze the data to determine whether he deserved a discount.

The New Jersey software programmer enrolled, and after a month he received a 23% discount, which could save him hundreds of dollars a year.

Sammy 08:45 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Banks sitting on larger piles of cash
Danielle Douglas ― Washington Post

Consumers and businesses are stashing more money at local banks, showing a reluctance to spend amid continued economic uncertainty, according to newly released data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The agency’s annual summary of deposits, a snapshot of holdings on June 30, revealed that deposits at metropolitan Washington banks rose $7 billion, or 5.2 percent, from a year ago (deposits from ETrade Financial were excluded from this calculation). Across the country, meanwhile, deposits shot up 7 percent, to $8.25 trillion from 2010 to 2011, outpacing the 2 percent deposit growth that occurred between 2009 and 2010.

Consumers have become so risk-averse that they are pulling money out of mutual funds and staying away from the gyrating stock markets to accept low returns on checking and savings accounts, said Alexandria-based banking consultant Bert Ely.

Sammy 08:31 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Marijuana-shaped candy alarms parents, officials
CAROLYN THOMPSON ― Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Candy shaped like marijuana that’s showing up on store shelves around the country won’t get kids high, but aghast city leaders and anti-drug activists say the product and grocers carrying it represent a new low.

“We’re already dealing with a high amount of drug abuse and drug activity and trying to raise children so they don’t think using illegal substances is acceptable,” said City Councilmember Darius Pridgen. “So to have a licensed store sell candy to kids that depicts an illegal substance is just ignorant and irresponsible.”

The “Pothead Ring Pots,” “Pothead Lollipops” and bagged candy are distributed to retail stores by the novelty supply company Kalan LP of the Philadelphia suburb of Lansdowne. It also wholesales online for $1 for a lollipop and $1.50 for a package of three rings.

Sammy 08:25 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
4 generator failures hit US nuclear plants
RAY HENRY ― Virginian-Pilot

Four generators that power emergency systems at nuclear plants have failed when needed since April, an unusual cluster that has attracted the attention of federal inspectors and could prompt the industry to re-examine its maintenance plans.

None of these failures has threatened the public. But the diesel generators serve the crucial function of supplying electricity to cooling systems that prevent a nuclear plant’s hot, radioactive fuel from overheating, melting and potentially releasing radiation into the environment. That worst-case scenario happened this year when the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan lost all backup power for its cooling systems after an earthquake and tsunami.

Sammy 08:17 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
AP IMPACT: Foreign insects, diseases got into US
TRACIE CONE ― Virginian-Pilot

Dozens of foreign insects and plant diseases slipped undetected into the United States in the years after 9/11, when authorities were so focused on preventing another attack that they overlooked a pest explosion that threatened the quality of the nation’s food supply.

At the time, hundreds of agricultural scientists responsible for stopping invasive species at the border were reassigned to anti-terrorism duties in the newly formed Homeland Security Department - a move that scientists say cost billions of dollars in crop damage and eradication efforts from California vineyards to Florida citrus groves.

The consequences come home to consumers in the form of higher grocery prices, substandard produce and the risk of environmental damage from chemicals needed to combat the pests.

Sammy 08:06 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Maryland office market lags despite spike in federal leasing

Landlords in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties had more office space available at the end of the third quarter and face continued weak demand, even after a jump in federal leasing, according to the latest commercial real estate market report by broker Cassidy Turley.

Office space absorption turned negative 248,000 square feet over the past three months, showing a sharp reversal from positive 223,000 square feet during the second quarter. At the same time, Washington, D.C., showed positive absorption of 131,400 square feet and Northern Virginia was positive by 172,000 square feet.

The vacancy rate also continued to climb in the Maryland suburbs, rising to 15.6 percent. Although that barely moved from 15.4 in the second quarter, the amount of empty space remains far above the historical rate of 13 percent and is up by about 50 percent since its recent low in 2006.

Sammy 08:03 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Maryland legal case seen as victory for gun opponents
C. Benjamin Ford ― Gazette

Gun-rights advocates had hoped a Prince George’s County man’s arrest after he hid a gun in a bush would lead to a landmark decision overturning gun-control laws.

Instead, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down his appeal, upholding Maryland’s gun permit law and dealing the gun lobby a setback, an anti-gun group said.

“This was a decisive loss for the gun lobby,” said Daniel Vice, senior attorney for the gun-control advocacy group The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Sammy 08:00 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
UM faculty optimistic with campus merger possibilities
Abby Brownback ― Gazette

University of Maryland students could benefit from increased collaboration if the College Park and Baltimore campuses merged, faculty and staff said at a forum on the proposal Wednesday in College Park.

But students questioned if a merger would impact tuition, the ratio of students to professors, and the reputation of the schools.

Sammy 07:56 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Farmers, researchers take on stink bugs anew
Margie Hyslop ― Gazette

Pesticides and experience are helping Maryland growers and residents get ahead of the alien stink bug invasion that caught them unprepared last year.

But the smelly produce-sucking insects are expanding their seasonal feeding frenzy to new targets this year, as researchers from several states hope to begin a massive project aimed at learning how best to cope with the pest.

Some areas seem to have more stink bugs, some fewer and others about the same number as last year, said Tracy Leskey, a research entomologist and recognized expert on the pest who is based at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, W. Va.

Sammy 07:53 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Paralyzed man uses mind-powered robot arm to touch
Frederick News-Post

Giving a high-five. Rubbing his girlfriend’s hand. Such ordinary acts — but a milestone for a paralyzed man.

True, a robotic arm parked next to his wheelchair did the touching, painstakingly, palm to palm. But Tim Hemmes made that arm move just by thinking about it.

Emotions surged. For the first time in the seven years since a motorcycle accident left him a quadriplegic, Hemmes was reaching out to someone — even if it was only temporary, part of a monthlong science experiment at the University of Pittsburgh.

Sammy 07:48 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Dominion seeks exports of Marcellus Shale gas
Daily Record

An energy company is seeking federal approval to allow exports of liquefied natural gas from the booming Appalachian drilling industry, saying that the nation’s natural gas supply is outpacing demand.

Richmond, Va.-based Dominion Resources Inc. announced last week that it has applied to the Department of Energy to allow 1 billion cubic feet per day to be exported through a terminal it owns in Maryland. The application, filed Sept. 1, seeks permission for the exports of liquefied natural gas to any country with which the United States does not prohibit trade, the company said.

The terminal, Dominion Cove Point on the Chesapeake Bay in Lusby, Md., is well-situated to export gas from the prolific Marcellus Shale and the promising Utica Shale formations, Dominion’s chairman and CEO, Thomas Farrell II, said in a statement.

Sammy 07:44 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Sex trafficking is a growing threat in D.C. area

It’s a growing crime that many in our area can’t see—the sex trafficking of teenage girls and boys.

Dr. Gary Jones, CEO of Youth for Tomorrow, a Bristow, Va., based home and school for at-risk youth, says sex trafficking is on the rise Fairfax, Loudoun, Arlington and Culpeper counties.

“These girls are kept out of the sight of everyone. Other than law enforcement there are very few people that can see this,” says Jones.

The FBI has ranked the Washington, D.C. area as the 14th worst place in the country for sex trafficking.

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