Wednesday, October 19, 2011
When it comes to planning, no more business as usual - LTE

Scenario 1 of the comprehensive plan update process is a remedy for a long-endured business-as-usual affliction, which is precisely why it intimidates those who have amassed their wealth by creating sprawl, making our commute the longest in the nation, forcing our school kids into trailers and destroying our functioning ecosystems.

Elements of Scenario 1 replace the historic haphazard lack of intelligent planning with modern, forward-thinking principals designed not to privatize profits for land speculators and developers, but to create a prosperous, high-quality, sustainable future for all county residents.

Business as usual is not a strategy. Citizens can no longer afford taxes increased to subsidize sprawl for speculators in forest and farm lands far from infrastructure, and jurisdictions can no longer financially support services for sprawl development. With the gap between rich and poor widening, cities around the world are assessing how to mitigate the damages of climate change. Even here, drinking water and food supplies top the challenges.

Sammy 01:13 PM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Who’s off the mark? - LTE

Joe Richard’s letter, “Story’s headline was ‘downright off the mark’” [Maryland Independent, Oct. 12], was itself off the mark in several aspects.

First, the tone of the entire letter indicates that Mr. Richard, who stated he is a member of the Charles County Planning Commission, has already decided to favor Scenario 2.

That is astonishing. The county commissioners mandated that the planning commission solicit public comment on the 2012 comprehensive plan at numerous public hearings. They wouldn’t have done that unless they expected the planning commission to listen to what the public has to say and make its recommendations accordingly.

Sammy 11:13 AM | (6) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Planning board erupts over subdivision rules proposal

4-3 vote sends amendment back to staff for 90 days

Changes meant to clarify the county’s subdivision code led to strong words among commission members, and what Charles County Planning Commission Chairman Courtney Edmonds called an “unreasonably unjustified” 90-day delay in consideration of the rule changes.

Commission member Lou Grasso said the commission shouldn’t force the new policies on property owners and that the commission “can’t just shove it down their throats.”
Commission members Lou Grasso, Bob Mitchell, Joan Jones and Vice Chairman Joe Richard voted for the motion to send the amendments back. Edmonds and members Steve Bunker and Joe Tieger voted against the motion.
Shelley Wagner, subdivision and site plan administration program manager, said in the past year, staff had found that applicants were using the boundary line adjustment process to create a larger parcel and subdivide into minor subdivisions, which comprise less than five lots. Environmental and other rules are less stringent for minor subdivisions.

Sammy 10:53 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles County Commissioners Meeting Video




Sammy 10:49 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Amish Girl’s Father Speaks Out
Dick Myers ― The Bay Net

The father of the 12-year old Amish girl killed in a horse and buggy accident in Charlotte Hall has spoken out about the crash. Melvin Stoltzfus, father of 12-year-old Saloma Kathleen Stoltzfus, spoke recently to St. Mary’s Commissioner Larry Jarboe (R: 3rd), who represents the area and has long-standing ties to the Amish community.

Jarboe told his fellow commissioners on Tuesday that Stoltzfus believes the time for the yellow caution light should be extended at several Route 5 intersections to give horse and buggies more time to navigate the intersections.

Sammy 10:46 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Reminder:  Comprehensive Plan Open House is tonight

Wednesday · Oct 19, 2011 · 5-8 p.m.

At La Plata High School

Open to the Public

Please join us for an opportunity to share the results of the recent public meetings on the Comprehensive Plan Update. Learn about the final two scenarios now under consideration. Citizens will be asked to weigh in on their preferred land use scenarios now under consideration.

This meeting is part of the public input process, and no final decisions will be made as a result.

For details, please contact Ms. Amy Blessinger at 301-645-0650 or at


Meeting Materials:

Open House Packet 

Comprehensive Plan Scenario 1 (Large File) 

Comprehensive Plan Scenario 2 (Large File) 

Comprehensive Plan Scenario Evaluations (Revised 10/18/11)

Sammy 09:00 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
U.S. Postal Service lifts stamp price by 1 cent
Emily Stephenson ― Baltimore Sun

The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service announced on Tuesday a one-cent increase in the cost of mailing a letter, starting in January.

The new prices lift the cost of a first-class stamp to 45 cents starting on January 22, 2012, the first increase in more than two years.

Sammy 08:56 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Obama health care plan headed to high court
Joan Biskupic ― USA TODAY

It now looks like the Supreme Court’s opening action on the Obama-sponsored health care law could be just weeks away.

The administration and challengers to the new law have—on their own—accelerated filings to the court and are submitting preliminary arguments ahead of formal deadlines that had stretched into mid-November.

Twenty-six states and the National Federation of Independent Business are among those who have sued over the legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president on March 23, 2010.

Sammy 08:42 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Very few homeowners have earthquake insurance
Keith Matheny ― USA TODAY

Earthquake insurance is even more of an afterthought away from the Pacific Coast, but the magnitude-5.8 earthquake in Virginia on Aug. 23 showed that the rest of the country isn’t immune from earthquakes. According to the American Insurance Association, about 90% of the U.S. population lives in areas that are seismically active.

Louisa, Va., resident Rick Waugh said his home developed cracks in its foundation and along door and window frames during the unusual quake. He estimates the damage to his home at up to $40,000 — and insurance isn’t covering it.
The median price for earthquake coverage in California is between $800 and $825 a year, said Insurance Information Network spokesman Pete Moraga. The earthquake authority offers a standard deductible of 15% of the insured value of the home, or a more expensive 10% deductible. A homeowner with an insured value of $200,000, for example, would pay a $30,000 deductible before insurance kicked in if the policyholder took the standard deductible.

Sammy 08:39 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Student loan debt hits record levels
Dennis Cauchon ― USA TODAY

Students and workers seeking retraining are borrowing extraordinary amounts of money through federal loan programs, potentially putting a huge burden on the backs of young people looking for jobs and trying to start careers.

The amount of student loans taken out last year crossed the $100 billion mark for the first time and total loans outstanding will exceed $1 trillion for the first time this year. Americans now owe more on student loans than on credit cards, reports the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Sammy 08:34 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Public Hearing: Bill Number 2011-08 Code of Ethics

Board Docs - Oct 19, 2011 - Charles County Commissioners’ Meeting

2.01 [7:00 p.m.] Public Hearing: Bill Number 2011-08 Code of Ethics (Ms. Barbara Holtz, Acting County Attorney)

2011_08 Public Notice for Bill 2011-08 Code of Ethics.pdf (59 KB)

Bill 29011-08 Code of Ethics.pdf (306 KB)

Sammy 08:19 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Annual Maryland Department of Transportation Meeting

Board Docs - Oct 19, 2011 - Charles County Commissioners’ Meeting

1.02 [6:00 p.m.] Annual Maryland Department of Transportation Meeting (Secretary Swaim-Staley)

Regional Transportation Priorities_Tri Co Council.pdf (780 KB)

Charles Co Transportation Priorities FY12.pdf (1,902 KB)

Transportation Network Strategy.pdf (2,700 KB)

Sammy 08:14 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Hairline cracks found in three Intercounty Connector overpasses
Katherine Shaver ― Washington Post

Inspectors have found hairline cracks in three newly built overpasses on the Intercounty Connector, requiring that parts of their concrete piers be reinforced immediately and perhaps rebuilt, ICC officials said Tuesday.

Inspectors for the Maryland State Highway Administration discovered the cracks last week on bridges that carry traffic across the six-lane ICC on Georgia Avenue, Emory Lane and Needwood Road in Montgomery County, officials said. The $2.56 billion toll highway’s 7.2-mile western segment opened in February between Interstate 370 and just east of Georgia Avenue.

ICC officials said the overpasses are safe for motorists to continue using but will need to be reinforced or rebuilt to last for the 50 to 100 years of a typical bridge’s life span.

Sammy 08:08 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Lollar to Decide on Political Future Soon

Former Republican candidate for Maryland’s 5th Congressional District, Charles Lollar told audience members at the St. Mary’s County Lincoln/Reagan Dinner that he will decide whether to seek political office by Oct. 23.

Lollar, of Newburg, told GOP insiders that the strain of campaigning last year against incumbent Democrat Congressman Steny Hoyer, as well as multiple deployments to the Middle East as a senior Marine Corps officer, took a toll on his family.

He said that his political future rests in the hands of his wife, Rosha, but the talk he gave this weekend sounded much like a man who can still energize Republicans.

Sammy 08:03 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles County Sheriff’s Reports
Southern Maryland Online

LA PLATA, Md. (October 18, 2011)—The Charles County Sheriff’s Office today released the following incident and arrest reports.

Sammy 07:59 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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