Friday, October 28, 2011
Tax on rental cars in St. Mary’s proposed
JASON BABCOCK ― SoMdNews.com

Two proposed new laws for St. Mary’s County would increase taxes, with visitors to the county picking up some of the tab.

County Commissioner Todd Morgan (R) suggests increasing the hotel accommodations tax from 5 percent to 7.5 percent and introducing a tax on rental cars.

Both proposals would need approval by the Maryland General Assembly and the governor.
[...]
“Charles and Calvert both have a power plant” that pay a large property tax bill, Morgan said, and Calvert brings in amusement taxes from North Beach while Charles County has Regency Furniture Stadium.

Sammy 07:29 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Flexible Corrugated Stainless Steel Gas Pipe Found to be…
The Bay Net

... Potential Fire Hazard

State Fire Marshal William E. Barnard urges all Marylanders with buildings and homes constructed between 1989 – 2009 that have CSST installed, to have the tubing checked for proper bonding/grounding. Marylanders are encouraged to have these systems checked by a qualified and licensed electrician, plumber and/or gasfitter. CSST is a flexible metal gas tubing used in many homes and buildings since 1989. It typically has a yellow outer covering and is used to supply natural gas or propane to furnaces, water heaters and/or other gas appliances. (See attached photos). Lightning strikes on or around a structure have been shown to cause an electrical current to travel into the structure and upon reaching the CSST tubing, when not properly bonded/grounded, has in some cases caused a perforation in the sidewall of the tubing as it arcs outward seeking for a ground. This arcing can ignite the pressurized gas leaking from the perforation and in some cases has caused a significant fire. Costs associated with performance of these services vary between service companies. It is suggested to compare prices for this service before selecting a company to perform a safety check of your system.

Sammy 07:19 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Court says Cape Wind’s offshore project won’t fly
Jay Lindsay ― USA TODAY

A federal appeals court on Friday rejected the Federal Aviation Administration’s ruling that the Cape Wind project’s turbines present “no hazard” to aviation, overturning a vital clearance for the nation’s first offshore wind farm.

A decision Friday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the FAA didn’t adequately determine whether the planned 130 turbines, each 440 feet tall, would pose a danger to pilots flying by visual flight rules.

The court ordered the “no hazard” determinations vacated and remanded back to the FAA.

Sammy 06:58 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
‘Consumer Reports’: People ‘ripped off when they buy fish’
Bruce Horovitz ― USA TODAY

Mystery meat has met its aquatic match: mystery fish.

Consumer Reports Friday will reveal a mislabeled seafood scam that leaves millions of consumers clueless whether the fish they think they’re buying is the fish they’re actually getting.

The world’s largest independent product-testing organization Friday will reveal that 22% of the seafood it tested at supermarkets, restaurants, fish markets, gourmet stores and big-box stores in three states was either mislabeled, incompletely labeled or misidentified by store or restaurant employees.

Sammy 06:56 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
That muffin didn’t cost taxpayers $16 after all
USA TODAY

Remember the $16 muffin, a sign of government spending out of control? It turns out that all the criticism was half-baked.

The Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General is apologizing for erroneously concluding that a hotel charged the government $16 apiece for breakfast muffins.

The IG’s assertion last month prompted widespread criticism of government spending. A swift rebuttal came from Hilton Worldwide, which manages and franchises hotels including the Capital Hilton, the location for a Justice Department conference that served the muffins.

Sammy 06:53 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Is there a cougar on the loose in D.C.?
Amy Hunter ― WTOP

There’s a cougar on the loose in Northwest D.C.

We’re not talking about a good-looking, older lady. We’re talking about an actual cougar, or mountain lion or puma.

And we can’t say for certain that there is, actually, a predatory cat roaming Glover Park. But we can say that animal control officers are scouring the streets in search of such a creature.

Sammy 06:49 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Why can’t Johnny walk to school? (Soon, he might)

[...]
On Wednesday, October 19, 2011, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved a set of regulatory changes governing the Maryland Public School Construction Program.  These changes promote location decisions and school construction funding for sustainable community-based new public school construction throughout Maryland. These changes to Section 23.03.02 of COMAR, Administration of the Public School Construction Program, are focused in two areas:  The Capital Improvement Program and Site Selection for New Schools.

How does this change affect the process? Well, when a school system – more formally known as a Local Education Agency or LEA – proposes to build a new school or to increase the state rated capacity (student seat capacity) of a replacement school outside of a PFA, the LEA must request a waiver for approval of planning of the school facility and also funding for construction.

Additionally, unless a waiver is granted, a proposed site for a new school or a replacement school that adds capacity must be located within a PFA.

By requiring PFA review of school construction projects and site approval, Maryland has created a powerful incentive for communities to build new schools in existing neighborhoods, which are far more likely to be pedestrian-friendly or capable of being retrofitted than locations in outlying areas.

Sammy 05:45 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Dream Act Referendum Supporters Intervene in Lawsuit
Southern Maryland Online

By JESSICA TALSON

An Anne Arundel County Court has ruled that MDPetitions.com can intervene in a lawsuit between proponents of the recently passed Maryland DREAM Act and the Maryland State Board of Elections. The group will legally be able to defend the petition drive that put the DREAM Act to a referendum.

DREAM ACT proponents had sued the Maryland Board of Elections to stop the law from going to referendum on the grounds that tens of thousands of the signatures were invalid.

MDPetitions.com, led by Delegates Neil Parrott, R-Washington, and Patrick McDonough, R-Baltimore, opposes the DREAM Act and collected the signatures to put the law to a vote.

Sammy 03:09 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Scary Halloween Snowstorm to Plaster Northeast Saturday
Southern Maryland Online

By Alex Sosnowski, Senior Expert Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com

AccuWeather reports a foot of heavy wet, back-breaking snow will plaster areas north and west of I-95 Saturday, causing massive power outages, downed trees and travel nightmares.

The storm will hit hard and fast, traveling from southwest to northeast over the mid-Atlantic and New England in less than 24 hours.

The heaviest snow from the storm will stretch from along the Virginia/West Virginia border through a large swath of central and eastern Pennsylvania to southeastern New York state, northwestern New Jersey, northern Connecticut, central and western Massachusetts to southern New Hampshire and southwestern Maine.
[...]
Thousands of trees could come down, and over a million people could be without power. Some rural roads could be blocked for days by fallen trees. Driving or walking through wooded areas during and immediately following the storm could be dangerous.

Sammy 03:04 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Comprehensive plan evaluation process hits a snag
SoMdNews.com - LTE

The inclusive process to develop the Charles County Comprehensive Plan hit a serious snag at the open house Oct. 19. The previous good work was diminished by the process used to evaluate the two land-use scenarios.

I feel it was inappropriate for the same consultants who constructed the scenarios to also be the evaluator of the scenarios. The criteria for any evaluation should have the benefit of public review, questions and comment, just as the scenarios themselves did.

The citizens should have input into the objective rating system. Of course, the consultants are going to try to satisfy the desires of the client, the planning commission, and there has been a historic bias toward unfettered development by the commission.

Sammy 02:59 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Sloppy, yellow journalism
SoMdNews.com - LTE

I have always enjoyed Charles County news coverage provided by the Maryland Independent, but I am troubled by an obvious decline in the quality of journalism.

Over the past year, a number of stories have been printed that included unconfirmed and inaccurate information often paired with misleading, unnecessarily provocative or incendiary headlines. Coverage of local politics seems to have suffered the most from this trend.

To the casual reader, accustomed to the brevity of tweets and social media communication, scanning the headline might be the sum total of consumption.

Sammy 02:57 PM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Posey asks for ‘fair’ ethics board
ERICA MITRANO ― SoMdNews.com

Nanjemoy housing activist Cornell Posey was the only person to speak at an Oct. 19 public hearing about new ethics standards for county commissioners and staff proposed by Charles County government.

“I just want the board of ethics to be fair. That’s my only comment. They have a tough job. That’s what I have to say just to be fair to the citizens of Charles County,” Posey said.

Sammy 02:54 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Economic forum aims closer to home
ERICA MITRANO ― SoMdNews.com

Speaker says more support for locals is best way

In 2008, county commissioners at the annual county economic development summit announced that a British military contracting company would open an office in Bryans Road.

Ejection seat maker Martin-Baker never arrived, and speakers at the Charles County 2011 Economic Summit suggested that, in the wake of the Great Recession, local government’s best bets will be found much closer to home.

Instead of struggling to attract branches of major corporations, economic development efforts should focus on supporting existing local businesses, a development expert told local officials and business leaders Wednesday at the summit, titled, “Harvesting Our Own: Cultivating Growth and Job Creation From Within.”

Sammy 02:51 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Local Habitat for Humanity to close
JEFF NEWMAN ― SoMdNews.com

Local Habitat for Humanity to close

After years of inactivity and tepid fundraising, the Charles County Habitat for Humanity affiliate has decided to shut down along with its Waldorf ReStore.

Though he could not say “officially” whether the affiliate’s board of directors would vote to close up shop during a Thursday night meeting, board President Bob Buehler said he was “fairly confidently predicting” that would be the case.

“We are basically at this stage as an organization taking the steps that will be necessary to wind down our operations in Charles County,” Buehler said.

Sammy 02:49 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Missing Autistic Boy Found Alive in Virginia
Matthew Stabley ― WRC-TV (NBC4)

A boy missing for five days was found alive in Hanover County, Va., Friday.

Eight-year-old Robert “Robbie” Wood Jr., who is autistic, wandered away while with his father, brother and a woman at North Anna Battlefield Park about 2:45 p.m. Sunday, police said.

He was found near a quarry and flown to VCU Medical Center, NBC12 in Richmond reported.

Sammy 02:38 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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