Tuesday, October 18, 2011
DC Weather: Big Storms Possible Wednesday

WASHINGTON (WUSA)— We have declared a Severe Weather Alert Day for Wednesday. Flash flooding and big storms are the main threats. The greatest risk for severe weather is south and east of Town in Southern Maryland.

Showers and storms will move in for the morning commute. In fact it looks wet for both commutes Wednesday.Right now one to two inches of rain are possible but mainly south and east of Town.

Sammy 08:30 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Additional helicopter traffic expected at five county hospitals…
Danielle E. Gaines ― Gazette

...for Wednesday terror drill

Hospitals will test new technology during simulated mass casualty event

Five Montgomery County hospitals will participate Wednesday in a full-scale realistic exercise to test the D.C. region’s ability to respond to a mass casualty terrorist attack.

A total of 13 hospitals in Montgomery, Prince George’s, Calvert, St. Mary’s, and Charles counties, along with Montgomery and Prince George’s County emergency responders will test their response to a terrorist attack.
More than 80 federal, state, and local agencies will participate in the exercise, which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m..

Sammy 08:23 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
U.S. healthcare system lags other countries on quality, access
Noam N. Levey ― Los Angeles Times

The U.S. healthcare system is lagging further and further behind other industrialized countries on major measures of quality, efficiency and access to care, according to a new report from the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, a leading health policy foundation.

That is having a profound effect on overall health in the U.S., the report found.

Americans die far more frequently than their counterparts in other countries as a result of preventable or treatable conditions, such as bacterial infections, screenable cancers, diabetes and complications from surgery.

Sammy 08:14 PM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Meteor shower alert: 2011 Orionids are on their way
Los Angeles Times

Sky watchers, mark your calendars: The 2011 Orionid meteor shower is on its way, and scientists say it’s expected to peak just before dawn on Oct. 21 and 22, otherwise known as Friday and Saturday of this week.

The Orionids occur each October as the Earth passes through a trail of dust left by Halley’s comet. When one of those dust particles — about the size of a grain of sand — enters Earth’s atmosphere, it excites the air molecules through which it passes, causing them to give off light.

The annual shower has been dubbed the Orionids because the meteors appear to be emanating from the constellation Orion.

Sammy 08:10 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Experts: Bay pollution diet will be difficult and costly
PAMELA WOOD ― The Capital

The road to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay is going to be long, difficult and expensive.

That was the message last week by experts at a forum designed to demystify the latest attempt to rescue the bay’s health - a federal program called the “total maximum daily load” or TMDL.
Though the pollution diet was officially set at the end of 2010, it doesn’t require all of the pollution-busting practices to be in place until 2025.

Along the way, the bay-area states are trying to meet a two-year pollution target.

Sammy 08:04 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
‘Kudzu bug’ threatens to eat US farmers’ lunch
ALLEN G. BREED ― Frederick News-Post

BLACKVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Kudzu — the “plant that ate the South” — has finally met a pest that’s just as voracious. Trouble is, the so-called “kudzu bug” is also fond of another East Asian transplant that we happen to like, and that is big money for American farmers.


“When this insect is feeding on kudzu, it’s beneficial,” Clemson University entomologist Jeremy Greene says as he stands in a field swarming with the brown, pea-sized critters. “When it’s feeding on soybeans, it’s a pest.”

Sammy 08:02 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Budget cuts claim hundreds of thousands of county, city jobs
Paul Davidson ― USA TODAY

Local governments, once a steady source of employment in tough economic times, are shedding jobs in unprecedented numbers, and heavy payroll losses are expected to persist into next year.

The job cuts by city and county governments are helping offset modest private-sector employment gains, restraining broader job growth.
Localities have chopped 535,000 positions since September 2008 to close massive budget deficits resulting largely from sharp declines in property tax receipts. That exceeds the 413,000 local government jobs cut from 1980 to 1983, the only other substantial reduction in local government employment, according to federal records that go back to 1955.

Sammy 07:58 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Little Island saga heads to state appeals court
TIM PRATT ― The Capital

Lawyers argue if CBF should have a say

The long-running dispute over Daryl Wagner’s island home went before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals last week.

Jon Mueller, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s attorney, urged the court to send the dispute back to the county Board of Appeals. About ten years ago, the house was built without permits on Little Island. Mueller argued the board denied the environmental group a fair say, and made it possible for Wagner to keep his illegally built home.

Robert Fuoco, an attorney for the homebuilder, argued that just about everything that can be said about the disputed island home has been said, and sending the case back to the board would drag the battle out for several more years.

Sammy 07:55 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Social Security to hand out first raises since ‘09
Daily Record

Social Security recipients will get a raise in January — their first increase in benefits since 2009. It’s expected to be about 3.5 percent.

Some 55 million beneficiaries will find out for sure Wednesday when a government inflation measure that determines the annual cost-of-living adjustment is released.

Sammy 04:58 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Obama Administration’s Regulatory Reductions to Save…
The Bay Net

... Health Care System Nearly $1.1 Billion

New proposed rules released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would reduce unnecessary, obsolete, or burdensome regulations and save hospitals and healthcare providers nearly $1.1 billion each year and over $5 billion over 5 years.  The new proposals regarding the rules for hospitals that treat Medicare and Medicaid patients were developed in response to President Obama’s call on all Federal agencies to eliminate burdensome and unnecessary regulations.

“The President and I have challenged agencies to hunt down burdensome regulations,” said Vice President Joe Biden.  “Today’s steps will remove outdated, duplicative, unnecessary burdens on hospitals - saving money and improving care.”

“President Obama has been clear: it’s time to cut the red tape,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “Our new proposals eliminate unnecessary and obsolete standards and free up resources so hospitals and doctors can focus on treating patients.”

Sammy 04:54 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Hoyer Criticizes Congressional Republicans
Andy Marquis ― The Bay Net

Congressman Steny Hoyer (D: MD 5th, House Minority Whip) criticized Republicans in Congress for failing to pass the American Jobs Act and for continued gridlock on Monday afternoon.  Hoyer also said he was hopeful that Congress would pass the American Jobs Act, but was careful about being optimistic.

“I’m hopeful that Congress will get something done,” Hoyer said.  “I won’t say I’m confident because they haven’t passed any jobs legislation through the Congress this year.  They’ve passed legislation through the House of Representatives that claimed to be jobs legislation, but no economist says we’re growing the economy.”

When asked about the types of legislation being passed through the house dealing with restricting abortion and other divisive, social legislation, Hoyer addressed his frustration.

Sammy 04:50 PM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Cardin Says Advanced Planning Buffered the Severity of Storm Damage
The Bay Net

During a hearing to review the efficacy of the nation’s flood system in 2011, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, hailed the Army Corps of Engineers for advanced planning that saved Ocean City, Maryland, and other local communities from more severe damage during the recent Atlantic coast storms.  While not all communities escaped unscathed, the Army Corps Baltimore District was able to meet the challenge of a one-two punch of Hurricane Irene, which hit the eastern portion of the watershed Aug. 27-28, and Tropical Storm Lee, which hit two weeks later, and dumped more than 2 feet of rain in a two-week period on some parts of the watershed.

“Waters that overflowed their banks from coast to coast will make 2011 among the costliest years of flooding in U.S. history. As we deal with the reality of climate change, we will no doubt be seeing weather extremes like we saw earlier this year become the norm.  That will put a whole new level of demands on the system that is already under tremendous pressure,” said Senator Cardin. 

Sammy 04:49 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
China vaccinates 9 million amid polio outbreak

Chinese health authorities have vaccinated more than 9 million people in a far western region against polio amid an outbreak of the disease that has paralyzed 17 people and killed one of them.

China had been free for 11 years of the paralytic disease that mostly hits children before the first few cases were reported in July in Hotan prefecture in Xinjiang. The outbreak has exposed gaps in vaccination coverage in the remote region where access to quality health services is poor.

The World Health Organization says the polio strain detected in China had traveled from Pakistan, which borders Xinjiang and is one of four countries where the disease remains endemic. The other countries are India, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

Sammy 11:53 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles County Planning Commission Video




Sammy 11:21 AM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Our Say: Raises for judges?
The Capital

The Judicial Compensation Commission is pretty brazen to suggest to the state that judges be given a 6 percent salary increase per year, starting in fiscal 2014. When state employees - from the governor on down - aren’t getting raises, what makes them an exception?

The commission has undoubtedly determined that judges could earn more money in private law practice, so to keep them behind the bench requires better compensation. But the same can be said for all state employees. Imagine how it would look if the state awards an increase to a judge’s $190,000 salary while denying it to a clerk’s $40,000 salary.

Under the proposal, a Circuit Court judge would make $169,358 and a District Court judge would earn $156,258. A Court of Appeals judge would earn the highest at $191,358 - more if he’s the chief judge of that court. Court of Special Appeals judges would make $178,558.

Those are pretty good salaries on top of a handsome pension plan that averages $68,000 a year for the state’s 351 retired judges.

Sammy 11:17 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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