Sunday, July 27, 2014
2015 Update Patuxent River Policy Plan - Proposed Resolution 2014-23

Board Docs - Jul 29, 2014 - Charles County Commissioners’ Meeting

1.07 [10:00 a.m.] Briefing: 2015 Update Patuxent River Policy Plan - Proposed Resolution 2014-23 (Mr. Peter Aluotto, Director/Mr. Steve Ball, AICP,LEED AP, Planning Director, Department of Planning and Growth Management)

2015 Update Patuxent River Policy Plan.pdf (24,769 KB)

Draft local resolution Patuxent Policy Plan 5-21-14.pdf (149 KB)

Sammy 07:13 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Do You Know the Warning Signs of Summer?

As we dive deeper into summer, Charles County Government urges citizens to keep summer safety in mind. Knowing basic safety tips this summer may keep you out of the emergency room, so you can focus on having fun.

First, know the difference between the various types of summer storm alerts issued by emergency agencies:

Sammy 07:12 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Incubator farms nurture agriculture entrepreneurs
Frederick News-Post

[...]
There are about 105 incubator farms in 38 states, many of them still in the planning stage or just a few years into operation, according to the National Incubator Farm Training Initiative at Tufts University in Massachusetts. The program, launched in 2012, advises new incubator farms and helps farmers connect with them.

More than half the farms serve immigrants and refugees, but others nurture a range of new farmers including young people, career changers and retirees.

In 2008, new grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program spurred a number of incubator programs into existence. The USDA program was a response to the rising average age of U.S. farmers and the 8 percent projected decrease in the number of farmers from 2008 to 2018. The 2014 farm bill includes $100 million for the program.

Sammy 07:09 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Tech companies tap visa program to meet workforce needs, despite challenges, controversy
Scott Dance ― Baltimore Sun

Md. firms sponsoring nearly 12,000 foreign workers with high-tech skills

[...]
Merkle is among dozens of companies and institutions in Maryland that rely on a controversial visa program to bring skilled workers to U.S. soil — others include Millennial Media, Ciena Corp., Micros Systems, Laureate Education and Sourcefire, according to government data. Maryland companies, universities and research institutions are sponsoring nearly 12,000 foreign workers through what is known as the H-1B visa program.

But tech industry advocates say those are no simple hires, requiring thousands of dollars in legal fees and at least six months of lead time, with no certain payoff as companies nationwide share 85,000 visas allotted in a lottery each April. They say reforms are needed to align the immigration system with an increasingly global labor market — reforms similar to those that freed academics from the visa cap, though not from a burdensome application process.

Sammy 07:04 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Other hospitals help Hopkins pay big settlement in Levy case
Meredith Cohn ― Baltimore Sun

When Johns Hopkins Hospital agreed this week to a $190 million settlement with thousands of patients who were secretly photographed during gynecological exams, it put a number of prominent East Coast medical institutions on the hook.

Hopkins joined with hospitals and schools affiliated with Yale, Cornell and Columbia universities and the University of Rochester years ago to create a pair of insurance companies to save money and pool risk, but they now face one of the largest claim settlements of its kind.

Hopkins has said little about the settlment with patients of Dr. Nikita Levy, who worked in a Hopkins clinic in East Baltimore, and how it will be paid, aside from saying it would be covered by insurance and the hospital’s quality of care wouldn’t be affected.

Sammy 07:03 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Maryland hospitals aren’t reporting all errors and complications, experts say
Meredith Cohn ― Baltimore Sun

[...]
While hospitals are supposed to report serious medical errors to state regulators, the mostly confidential system still doesn’t capture all of those happening in the Maryland facilities, patient safety experts and regulators acknowledge. Confusion over reporting rules and fear of legal or financial repercussions can thwart disclosure, they say.

Details about even the most severe and deadly mistakes, called “adverse events,” only become public if someone sues, or if regulators catch a hospital failing to report and launch an inquiry, the results of which are subject to open records laws.

“Are they grossly underreported? Shamefully, no one knows,” said Dr. Peter J. Pronovost, a leading patient safety expert at Johns Hopkins Hospital. “If you added up all the adverse events in hospitals, they would probably be about the third leading cause of death. The public should be screaming that we deserve better.”

Sammy 07:01 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
McDonnell trial tells politicians that feds are watching
Bill Sizemore ― Virginian-Pilot

The upcoming corruption trial of former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife is sure to have Virginia politicians riveted - with good reason.

For the state’s elected leaders, the courtroom drama that will begin unfolding Monday underlines a stark reality that has become increasingly apparent over the past five years:

The feds are watching you. Closely.

Sammy 06:58 AM | (4) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
US opens probe of Impala air bag performance
TOM KRISHER ― Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The U.S. government’s highway safety agency has opened a formal investigation into air bag failures in some Chevrolet Impala full-size cars made by General Motors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday it began the probe after receiving a petition from Donald Friedman of Xprts LLC, a Santa Barbara, California, company that examines crashes.

Sammy 06:56 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Paying rent with a credit card can make sense
Steve Nicastro ― USA TODAY

You use your credit card to pay for everyday essentials like gas, groceries, medical bills and even your taxes. But did you know you might also be able to use your card to pay your rent each month?

This may sound like a risky idea, but it can make sense with the right credit card and if you have discipline.

When it makes sense

The first thing you need to do is call your landlord to ask if they will accept credit card payments. If they say yes, you should check to see if there will be any additional charges or processing fees.

Sammy 06:51 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Scammers lurk behind goverment agency names
Susan Tompor ― USA TODAY

For scam artists, some rip-off strategies work so well that they just keep going with the same old tricks.

So we’re hearing another warning for small business owners to be on watch for imposters claiming to be representatives from the State of Michigan Corporations Division.

And we have more warnings about a continuation of the con artists claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service, fake checks being mailed to job hunters in a secret shopper scam and other ways to get small business owners to hand over money.

Sammy 06:49 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
States with the highest gas prices
Alexander E.M. Hess and Alexander Kent ― USA TODAY

After remaining persistently high early in the summer, gasoline prices have tapered slightly in recent weeks. Drivers in some states, however, continue to feel the pinch at the pump.

National gas prices have fallen by six cents over the past month through July 16. But this lower-than-expected drop has not been enough to provide consumers with much relief, Avery Ash, Director of Federal Relations for AAA, explained. “For the last several months we’ve seen prices staying stubbornly high at a time of year when motorists are used to prices declining.”

Geographical location often impacts gas prices in a state. “Proximity to refineries can help with cutting down the distribution costs,” Ash said. Average gas prices in Texas — the state with the most refineries — are generally 14 cents lower than the national average prices. By contrast, states in the Northeast often pay higher gas prices, given their distance from oil-producing and oil-refining states. With the exception of California, all the states with the highest gas prices have fewer than 10 refineries.

Sammy 06:48 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Detroit not alone in shutting off water for unpaid bills
John Wisely ― USA TODAY

Detroit has drawn fire from all over the world for shutting off water to customers delinquent on their bills, but the city isn’t unique. Cities across the country do it also.

In Michigan, Hamtramck, Warren, Pontiac, Eastpointe, Romulus and other cities have shut off delinquent customers as a way to improve collections. Elsewhere, so have other big cities such as Baltimore and St. Louis.

“It’s universal in the utility world that at some point, you have to shut off service as part of your larger commitment to the community,” said Tom Curtis, deputy executive director of the American Water Works Association, a nonprofit group with more than 50,000 members who work in the industry. “If you never shut the water off for anybody, those people who continue to pay have to shoulder the entire cost of a system that is servicing a lot of customers that aren’t paying. That’s not a sustainable business model.”

Sammy 06:46 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Surprise! New health plans’ limitations anger enrollees
Julie Appleby ― USA TODAY

Nancy Pippenger and Marcia Perez live thousands of miles apart but have the same complaint: Doctors who treated them last year won’t take their insurance now, even though they haven’t changed insurers.
[...]
Nationally, regulators and insurance agents are inundated with complaints, while lawmakers are considering rules to ensure consumers’ access to doctors. For plans being submitted for sale next year, the federal Department of Health and Human Services said it will more closely scrutinize whether networks are adequate.

Insurers say they are simply trying to provide low-cost plans in a challenging environment. The new federal health law doesn’t let them reject enrollees with health problems or charge them more just because they are sick. So they are using the few tools left to them — contracting with smaller groups of hospitals and doctors willing to accept lower reimbursements; requiring referrals for specialty care; and limiting coverage outside those networks.

Sammy 06:43 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Despite Clinton: O’Malley in Iowa amid 2016 talk
KEN THOMAS ― WTOP

Martin O’Malley’s latest foray into Iowa began, appropriately, in a place called Clinton.

The Maryland governor is filling the void in Iowa, New Hampshire and beyond during the early stages of the 2016 presidential race, campaigning for fellow Democrats and making personal appeals while former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton remains the prohibitive—if yet undeclared—favorite.

Sammy 06:37 AM | (3) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Open Thread - July 27, 2014

“He that can have Patience, can have what he will.” Benjamin Franklin

Pauleen Brewer 04:00 AM | (20) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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