Saturday, December 31, 2011
Frederick asks state to pitch in $1M for hotel
Patti S. Borda ― Frederick News-Post

McClement’s office asked the state earlier this month to include $1 million in the fiscal 2013 state budget for the project. That money would be used to help the city cover the cost of placing a right-to-purchase option on a property, as well as architectural, engineering and project management expenses, said Josh Russin, McClement’s executive assistant.

The estimated total cost of the public-private project is $45 million. The tentative completion date is December 2014.

The project is a joint initiative of the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, the largest 17 employers represented in the chamber, the city, the county, the Tourism Council of Frederick County and Downtown Frederick Partnership, but none of the private-sector partners is included in the proposed memorandum.
The Maryland Stadium Authority, a state agency, recommended the memorandum, Russin said. The authority may help finance and operate the conference center.

Sammy 09:22 AM | (5) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Our Bay: The bay’s grand experiment
TOM HORTON ― The Capital

I have enjoyed the Chesapeake Bay for more than 60 years and written about it for nearly 40. Early in my reporting career, I realized I was covering more than pollution or the vicissitudes of fish and crabs.

I had a front row seat to a grand experiment. We had taken a world-class ecosystem and screwed it up big time, then begun an unprecedented effort to restore it, even as millions more people moved into the watershed.

For better or for worse, we were going to learn some lessons; important for the whole planet. Could an affluent, technologically sophisticated society forge a healthy and sustainable relationship with the rest of nature?

Sammy 09:19 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Bridge tolls rising again

Drivers of largest trucks to pay more starting at midnight

Commercial truckers driving vehicles with more than four axles will start paying 60 percent more tomorrow to cross the Bay Bridge.

Drivers of some smaller commercial vehicles, however, will actually pay less than right now.

“Larger vehicles have more of an impact on the roadway,” said Teri Moss, spokeswoman for the Maryland Transportation Authority, explaining why some commercial vehicles will see a larger toll increase than others.

Sammy 09:14 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
US seals $3.48B missiles, technology sale to UAE
WILL LESTER ― Frederick News-Post

The United States has reached a deal to sell $3.48 billion worth of missiles and related technology to the United Arab Emirates, a close Mideast ally, as part of a massive buildup of defense technology among friendly Mideast nations near Iran.

Pentagon spokesman George Little announced the Christmas Day sale on Friday night.

He noted that the U.S. and U.A.E. have a strong defense relationship and are both interested in “a secure and stable” Persian Gulf region.

Sammy 09:12 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Wanna bet?
Frederick News-Post - Editorial

In a never-ending quest to increase participation in the Maryland Lottery, the state is investigating the feasibility of Internet sales.
According to a recent Washington Post story, the State Lottery Agency is pitching the idea to the legislature via a new report that, among other things, states that lottery receipts could increase 12 to 18 percent once an online sales program achieves “maturity.”

That should get everyone’s attention in Annapolis, where generating new revenue remains the prevailing passion.

A good chunk of the revenue from state lottery sales goes into Maryland’s general fund, that big pot of money that pays for education, public safety, and environmental and health programs. In fiscal 2011, sales for the state’s various lottery games reached $1.71 billion. Some $519 million ended up in the general fund.

Sammy 09:09 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Air Force buys an Avenger, its biggest and fastest armed drone
W.J. Hennigan ― Los Angeles Times

The new radar-evading aircraft, which cost the Air Force $15 million, has a maximum takeoff weight of 15,800 pounds and can fly at 460 mph. The drone, built near San Diego, is for testing purposes.

The Air Force has bought a new hunter-killer aircraft that is the fastest and largest armed drone in its fleet.

The Avenger, which cost the military $15 million, is the latest version of the Predator drones made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., a San Diego-area company that also builds the robotic MQ-9 Reapers for the Air Force and CIA.

The new radar-evading aircraft, also known as the Predator C, is General Atomics’ third version of these drones. The Air Force picked up only one of them, strictly for testing purposes.

Sammy 09:03 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
‘Silent strokes’ linked to memory loss in elderly
Alan Mozes ― USA TODAY

In some cases, memory loss among the elderly may be due to so-called “silent strokes,” new research suggests.

Such strokes, which may not cause any noticeable symptoms, result in small pockets of dead brain cells, and are found in roughly 25 percent of older adults, the study team noted.

“The new aspect of this study of memory loss in the elderly is that it examines silent strokes and [brain] shrinkage simultaneously,” study author Adam Brickman, of the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, explained in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology.

Sammy 08:58 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Shining a light on 401(k) fee reports in 2012
David Pitt ― USA TODAY

All too often workers with 401(k) accounts are in the dark. They view their retirement plan as a benefit and are unaware they’re paying for the privilege of investing for retirement.

But greater awareness will come in 2012 with new Labor Department regulations that require 401(k) plan providers to spell out some of the fees workers pay. Labor officials said the greater transparency will help workers and their employers make better decisions that could save them money.

Many investors don’t realize that more than a half a dozen fees may be charged against their 401(k) account for recordkeeping, administration, investment advisory, brokerage and management services. In addition, at least eight kinds of indirect fees and expenses could be charged. These are often shaved off the top of the account’s investment returns.

Sammy 08:56 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Verizon Wireless backs off $2 payment fee
Brett Molina ― USA TODAY

Verizon Wireless is backing off plans to charge customers for one-time payments made online or by phone with their credit cards.

In a statement released Friday, the wireless carrier cited customer feedback as the reason for canceling the fee.

“Based on their input, we believe the best path forward is to encourage customers to take advantage of the best and most efficient options, eliminating the need to institute the fee at this time,” said Verizon President and CEO Dan Mead in a statement.

Sammy 08:51 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
In a first, gas and other fuels are top US export
CHRIS KAHN ― Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

For the first time, the top export of the United States, the world’s biggest gas guzzler, is - wait for it - fuel.

Measured in dollars, the nation is on pace this year to ship more gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel than any other single export, according to U.S. Census data going back to 1990. It will also be the first year in more than 60 that America has been a net exporter of these fuels.

Just how big of a shift is this? A decade ago, fuel wasn’t even among the top 25 exports. And for the last five years, America’s top export was aircraft.

Sammy 08:48 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Intercounty Connector more popular than expected

The Washington Examiner reports the new highway attracted approximately 21,000 vehicles per day during the first two weeks tolls were in place along its newest section (

The new section opened Nov. 22 and runs from Georgia Avenue to just east of Interstate 95. The first seven miles of the $2.55 billion roadway opened in February.

Sammy 08:41 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Will raising the flush tax drain development in Md.?

Raising the flush tax in Maryland may become a new pipe line of revenue for the state.

Maryland’s already got a flush tax, it runs about $2.50 a month for sewer customers, and $30 a year for homes on septic systems. The money raised goes to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

Citing the continued damage to the watershed, Md. Governor Martin O’Malley told reporters he’d consider doubling or tripling the tax.

O’Malley says it might make sense to make it a progressive tax.

Sammy 08:40 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Prevnar 13 Vaccine Expanded for Use in People Ages 50 and Older
The Bay Net

Prevnar 13, a pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine, was approved today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for people ages 50 years and older to prevent pneumonia and invasive disease caused by the bacterium, Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Pneumococcal pneumonia, caused when the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae infects the lungs, is the most common disease caused by this bacterium in adults. When the bacterium invades parts of the body that are normally free from germs, such as the blood or spinal fluid, the disease is considered “invasive.”

“According to recent information for the United States, it is estimated that approximately 300,000 adults 50 years of age and older are hospitalized yearly because of pneumococcal pneumonia,” said Karen Midthun, M.D., director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Pneumococcal disease is a substantial cause of illness and death. Today’s approval provides an additional vaccine for preventing pneumococcal pneumonia and invasive disease in this age group.”

Sammy 08:37 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
A New Year For Agriculture
The Bay Net

By Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

As we enjoy the holiday season, it is a great time to celebrate all that American agriculture has accomplished, and to look ahead to a productive new year.

Our farmers, ranchers and growers make incredible contributions each day to the health and strength of this country.  Thanks to their productivity, Americans spend – on average – less than 10 cents out of every dollar they earn on food.  This is far less than families around the world.  It gives us the freedom and the flexibility to spend on our families and invest in our businesses.

We should also celebrate Agriculture as a bright spot in today’s economy.  Farm family household income is on the rise, and farm sector earnings and farm exports to other nations both reached new records in 2011.  Nationwide, agriculture is tied to 1 in 12 jobs.

Sammy 08:34 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Open Thread - December 31, 2011

Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve.  Middle age is when you’re forced to.  ~Bill Vaughn

Pauleen Brewer 05:00 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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