The Maryland Catholic Church lost more than 100,000 members between 2000 and 2010 according to the U.S. Religion Census, but a more direct and humble approach by Pope Francis is drawing mostly favorable reviews inside and outside the church, leading many to believe he may help re-energize the faithful.
“I would say the majority are thrilled by Pope Francis,” said Katie Erskine, a 22-year-old youth minister at St. Louis Church in Clarksville. “The vast majority are proud to be Catholic again.”
In an unusual move, the pope recently sent out a survey to Catholic families asking—among other questions—about their feelings towards same-sex marriage. He’s also said the church is “obsessed” with gays and abortion and said, “who am I to judge (homosexuals)?”
After 18 years of rubbing elbows with politicians in Washington, former Republican congressman Wayne Gilchrest has returned to his roots as an educator, building bamboo fishing poles with students on the Eastern Shore.
The once clean-shaven, suit-clad Republican congressman has transformed into an outdoorsman—bearded, dressed in a plaid shirt and jeans.
A cardboard box full of animal bones and skulls, found by his students, sits in the bed of his black Toyota pickup truck. He spends his days hiking, canoeing and fishing on a stretch of more than 1,000 acres of public land.
A case involving the disposal of industrial wastewater pits two interests that are dear to many Texans against each other: oil and gas resources versus private property rights.
A decision by the state’s highest civil court could have major implications for both. The Texas Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on Jan. 7 in a dispute between a company that operates injection wells in Liberty County and a nearby rice farm that says wastewater from those wells has migrated into a saltwater aquifer below its land. It calls the migration trespassing, for which it should be compensated. Among several smaller questions, the court will weigh a broad one: Just how far below the earth’s surface do property lines extend?
“This is the classic battle between the two quintessential values that are in direct conflict with each other,” said Matthew J. Festa, a professor at the South Texas College of Law. “On a lot of different levels, this case could make some new law.”
It’s not just Detroit retirees who are worried about their pensions. Financially troubled cities in California, Illinois and Pennsylvania will soon face decisions on what to do with chronically underfunded pension funds, and experts say the Detroit ruling has made it easier for cities to argue that pensions must be cut.
“If I were a retired public-sector pensioner, I’d be worried today,” said Olivia Mitchell, a professor at the Wharton School of Business and the director of the Pension Research Council.
For decades, representatives of public-sector pensions have depended on constitutional provisions in various states, including Michigan and Illinois, that protected pensions. Now, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ ruling has shown that federal bankruptcy laws preempt those state provisions. Any city that has underfunded pensions and troubled finances could soon look to bankruptcy as a way out of paying pensions, experts say, as long as their state allows them to file for Chapter 9 protection.
Increased southbound pipeline and rail service has reduced a crude oil backup at the Cushing, Okla. pipeline hub, but has created a glut on the Gulf Coast—possibly presenting opportunities for investment in transportation infrastructure.
Alembic Global Advisors said in a report this week that the smoother flow through Cushing has sent more crude to the Gulf Coast from prolific fields including the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and Permian Basin in West Texas.
James Sullivan, an analyst with Alembic, wrote that a resulting oversupply is depressing Gulf Coast prices, and may increase enthusiasm for more investment in transportation from the Bakken and Permian directly to the east and west coast.
Board Docs - Dec 10, 2013 - Charles County Commissioners’ Meeting
1.06 [9:45 a.m.] Briefing/Approval: Standard Operating Procedures (Ms. Deborah Hall, Deputy County Administrator)Read more...
La Plata High School’s It’s Academic team earned the top spot in the annual Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) competition held Dec. 4 at Thomas Stone High School.
The La Plata three-member team of Matthew Kamin (team captain), Colin McNulty and Sarah Bard won in the championship round against Thomas Stone and Maurice J. McDonough high schools to earn first place. Thomas Stone earned second place in the championship round, followed by McDonough in third place.
Each year, the first-place team goes on to compete in a regional match. This year’s match is against Magruder and Stonewall high schools and airs April 5 on NBC4. The second-place winner at the county level earns a chance to also compete in a regional match to air in early fall.
Brokers are reporting that some of their clients are in insurance limbo as they wait for the error to be corrected by HHS or their states.
The federal health care exchange is incorrectly determining that some people are eligible for Medicaid when they clearly are not, leaving them with little chance to get the subsidized insurance they are entitled to as the Dec. 23 deadline for enrollment approaches.
State and industry officials haven’t quantified the problem yet, but the National Association of State Medicaid Directors may release information next week after following up on reports from around the country, says Executive Director Matt Salo.
Here’s what happens: When consumers applying for insurance put their income information into subsidy calculators on HealthCare.gov — the exchange handling insurance sales for 36 states — it tells them how much financial assistance they qualify for or that they are eligible for Medicaid. If it’s the latter, consumers aren’t able to obtain subsidies toward the insurance, although they could buy full-priced plans.
The National Security Agency isn’t the only government entity secretly collecting data from people’s cellphones. Local police are increasingly scooping it up, too.
Armed with new technologies, including mobile devices that tap into cellphone data in real time, dozens of local and state police agencies are capturing information about thousands of cellphone users at a time, whether they are targets of an investigation or not, according to public records obtained by USA TODAY and Gannett newspapers and TV stations.
The records, from more than 125 police agencies in 33 states, reveal:
Blood transfusions are among the most common medical procedures at U.S. hospitals, but when it comes to this lifesaving treatment, more is not always better.
Patients receiving too many blood products — blood, plasma, and so on — are more likely to experience medical complications, including infections and organ damage.
A growing number of hospitals hope to reduce these risks by limiting their use.Read more...
...choose a $2,000 alternative.
Doctors choose the more expensive drug more than half a million times every year, a choice that costs the Medicare program, the largest single customer, an extra $1 billion or more annually.
Spending that much may make little sense for a country burdened by ever-rising health bills, but as is often the case in American health care, there is a certain economic logic: Doctors and drugmakers profit when more-costly treatments are adopted.
Doctors, meanwhile, may benefit when they choose the more expensive drug. Under Medicare repayment rules for drugs given by physicians, they are reimbursed for the average price of the drug plus 6 percent. That means a drug with a higher price may be easier to sell to doctors than a cheaper one. In addition, Genentech offers rebates to doctors who use large volumes of the more expensive drug.
On Friday, we editorialized on Delegate Michael Hough’s “Agenda to Fix Maryland,” which had four reasonable, but doomed, proposals to cure what he termed the state’s “broken” political system: more transparency, term limits, more restrictions on lawmakers and political aides becoming lobbyists, and a supermajority vote to raise taxes.
As a member of that system, Hough has to balance what’s needed with what’s realistically achievable, even if, as we also said, it’s highly unlikely the Republican will get any of his legislation passed the Democratic majority that holds both chambers.
Too often, to discourage the public seeking documents, public agencies make the information so costly, it’s impossible to afford: It should be free. Why? Because you paid for it: Your tax dollars already went to creating the records. You shouldn’t have to pay for them twice.
The Maryland Open Meetings Act Commission, which determines whether public bodies violate the law, should have some real enforcement authority rather than only being able to recommend courses of action, as it does now. And it should be able to subpoena witnesses and related information, such as closed meeting minutes, that it needs to do the job.
MGM would likely bring in more gaming revenue than the other two companies competing to build Maryland’s sixth casino in Prince George’s County, economic consultants told state gaming regulators Friday.
MGM’s proposed casino at National Harbor would bring in between $713 million and $719 million in fiscal 2019, according to consulting companies that analyzed MGM’s proposal for the state.
Greenwood Racing’s proposed Parx Casino Hotel and Spa would bring in between $617 million and $682 million, and Penn National Gaming’s proposed Hollywood Casino at Rosecroft Raceway would bring in between $551 million and $560 million, the consultants said.
They have yellow eyes like a cat. Their wingspan can reach 5 feet. They turn white with age.
And they’re coming.
Arctic owls are ranging south this winter in what could be record numbers. They’ve been seen in Baltimore and Calvert counties in recent days.
Agriculture economists have long warned that farmers are getting old and staying on their land longer, delaying the turnover to a younger generation. But an Ohio State University professor argues that those fears are overstated and the United States likely will have little problem replacing aging farmers as long as business is good, as it has been for the past decade.
Others aren’t so sure, saying while they agree with OSU agriculture economist Carl Zulauf’s assessment that concerns about the unquestionably aging farmer population remain valid and create uncertainty about who will produce the nation’s crops in the future.