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When lightning ignited a wildfire near Idaho’s Sun Valley in 2007, environmental regulators used monitoring gear to gauge the health effects for those breathing in the Sawtooth Mountains’ smoky, mile-high air.
That equipment sits idle today after the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality was hit by $4 million in spending cuts, a quarter of its budget, since the recession began. Water testing on selenium-laced streams in Idaho’s phosphate mining country also has been cut back, as have mercury monitoring and hazardous waste inspections.
The cuts to environmental programs in Idaho provide a snapshot of a national trend. Conservation programs and environmental regulations have been pared back significantly in many states that have grappled with budget deficits in recent years.
The past year in the political career of Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) will be remembered as one in which he spread his wings far from Annapolis. The start of the coming year is shaping up as a reckoning back in the state capital.
O’Malley is gearing up to push his most ambitious — and politically perilous — 90-day legislative agenda since taking office in 2007. His success or failure in a state dominated by fellow Democrats could well determine whether talk continues about a future beyond Maryland.
Parents across the Washington region will soon have more readily available — and useful— information about how their public schools are doing, the result of new initiatives underway at the local and state level for reporting and displaying education data.
The District, Maryland and Virginia are pledging some changes as part of their applications to the Obama administration for exemption from unpopular requirements of the No Child Left Behind law, among them the mandate for 100 percent proficiency by 2014 on standardized reading and math tests.
RICHMOND, Va. - The Virginia Farm Bureau will discuss plans this week to lobby the 2012 General Assembly for a constitutional amendment to limit the government’s ability to take private land.
The state’s largest farm lobby meets Tuesday through Thursday in Norfolk for its annual convention. Voting delegates will take up the Farm Bureau’s 2012 legislative agenda on Wednesday.
Both chambers of the Virginia legislature approved a constitutional amendment in the 2011 session to make changes to the state’s eminent domain law. If approved in the 2012 session, it would be on the ballot for voters’ consideration.
Space, the final frontier for Virginia jobs? It could be.
Wallops Island, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore has now been labeled the best commercial space launch facility in the country.
That according to a study commissioned by the state to monitor the investment in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS).
Ocean Spray announced it has taken the precautionary measure of voluntarily recalling certain production lots of its Original Flavor Craisins® Dried Cranberries product in 5-ounce, 10-ounce and 48-ounce packages as well as bulk sweetened dried cranberries in 10-pound packages due to the possible presence of very small hair-like metal fragments that are unlikely to cause consumer injury.
To date, the company has not received any reports of consumer complaints relating to this recall. No injuries or adverse effects have been reported regarding these products to date. Ocean Spray issued the voluntary recall out of an abundance of caution to ensure the safety of our consumers.
Board Docs - Nov 29, 2011 - Charles County Commissioners’ Meeting
3.04 [3:00 p.m.] Follow-up Work Session: Sign Ordinance (Mr. Roy Hancock, Assistant to the County Administrator)
SUPPLEMENTAL REPORT.FINAL_1.pdf (504 KB)
Board Docs - Nov 29, 2011 - Charles County Commissioners’ Meeting
3.03 [2:30 p.m.] Bi-Monthly Update/Status: Commissioners’ Goals & Objectives (#4&5) (Mr. Roy Hancock, Assistant to the County Administrator)
Goal&Objectives 4 &5 DRAFT 11.29.11.pdf (4,537 KB).
Norman Smith, who has been fighting cancer for two years, needs a new liver.
He was placed on the transplant list at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center last year but doctors removed him in February because he was using medical marijuana and failed to show up for a drug test.
To get back on the list, Smith, 63, has to spend six months avoiding medical marijuana, submitting to random drug tests and undergoing counseling. Meanwhile, he is still undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for the cancer, which recently returned after being in remission.
More than 16,000 people are in line for livers nationwide and the average wait is about 300 days, according to the network.
A Maryland woman’s weekly prison class for men is in high demand. She says knitting has a calming effect.
Defying every expectation, Zwerling’s Thursday night program, “Knitting Behind Bars,” has become in two years the most exclusive club at the Pre-Release Unit, an all-male, minimum-security penitentiary in Jessup, Md., about 15 miles southwest of Baltimore.
Men beg to get in. There’s a waiting list. And no one’s more surprised about that than the prison official who couldn’t help but harrumph when Zwerling told her she wanted to teach inmates how to make stuffed dolls and woolly hats. Every other prison in the area had turned her down.
“I was like, ‘Mmmm, I don’t know,’ ” said Margaret M. Chippendale, the unit’s warden. “I just had a hard time trying to grasp that an inmate that might have committed a violent crime or been a gang affiliate was going to want to sit in a room and knit.”
The Federal Aviation Administration plans to propose new rules for the use of small drones in January, a first step toward clearing the way for police departments, farmers and others to employ the technology.
Drone aircraft, best known for their role in hunting and destroying terrorist hide-outs in Afghanistan, may soon be coming to the skies near you.
Police agencies want drones for air support to spot runaway criminals. Utility companies believe they can help monitor oil, gas and water pipelines. Farmers think drones could aid in spraying their crops with pesticides.
“It’s going to happen,” said Dan Elwell, vice president of civil aviation at the Aerospace Industries Assn. “Now it’s about figuring out how to safely assimilate the technology into national airspace.”
Walgreens is the latest store to return to explicit references to Christmas, switching its position a day after some Christian groups threatened to boycott over its generic holiday wording.
The American Family Association and the Liberty Counsel—Christian groups that maintain lists of “naughty” and “nice” retailers based on which stores reference Christmas—applauded Walgreens’ switch, along with several other big stores who are coming off the naughty list for the first time in years.
Among the other “naughty to nice success stories” are Best Buy, Disney, CVS, Target, Macy’s, Martha Stewart and Kohl’s, all of which have brought back references to Christmas, according to the Liberty Counsel, which advocates for religious freedom protections.
Outdoor skating will draw people to the business center
Sharpen those edges; a Rockville realty firm plans to open an outdoor skating rink in Rockville Town Center by year’s end.
Barring any unforeseen construction delays due to weather, Federal Realty Investment Trust plans to open the largest rink in Montgomery County — measuring 7,200 square feet — before Jan. 1, according to Federal Realty.
Maryland insurance plans are outperforming others in the region, according to a report released this week by the state Health Care Commission.
The report shows that health maintenance organization plans in the state perform, on average, at or better than the regional average on 13 of 22 standards used to measure plans.
It also indicates that HMO and point-of-service plans for Kaiser Permanente had scores above the state average on 14 of 22 measures.