Sunday, November 23, 2014
Commissioners Recognize World AIDS Awareness Day

On Tuesday, Nov. 18, the Charles County Board of Commissioners proclaimed Monday, Dec. 1 as World Aids Day in Charles County.  We encourage residents to be become educated on AIDS and HIV by attending the upcoming World Aids Day events.  The Charles County Department of Health will conduct on-site HIV screenings.

Monday, Dec. 1
New Life Church, (9690 Shepherds Creek Place, La Plata)  7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
HIV/AIDS spokeswoman Kimberly Canady Griffith from Love Heals, the Alison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education, is a featured presenter. She will share her personal story of learning she had AIDS at the young age of 10.
Free HIV testing is available during this event.

Sammy 08:07 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Environmentalists worried about Hogan
Southern Maryland News Net

The annual awards ceremony by Maryland’s environmental community was tinged with trepidation Tuesday night as they worried about what was in store from the new Republican governor.

“These are uncertain times,” said Marcia Verploegen Lewis, board chair of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, which puts on the awards dinner. “We need to protect the regulations we have in place” and “maintain our legacy programs.”
Gov.-elect Larry Hogan Jr. took few detailed positions on environmental policy during the campaign, but he has emphasized getting Pennsylvania and New York to pay their fair share to clean up Chesapeake Bay pollution caused by the Susquehana River watershed. Hogan has criticized policies such as the “rain tax” that push too much of the costs of bay cleanup onto Maryland taxpayers.

Sammy 08:05 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Blue crab industry struggles persist in Virginia
Brock Vergackis ― Virginian-Pilot

The downtown waterfront here at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay used to be dotted with so many crab processing plants that Hampton was once known as Crabtown.

But after decades of declines in the blue crab population, only one of the original 13 processing plants downtown remains. And today, packages of fresh crab meat and crab cakes shipped out by Graham and Rollins to customers around the nation year-round are just as likely to come from another continent as they are from the waters in the Chesapeake Bay.

“The crab picking industry as we once knew has perished,” said Johnny Graham, an owner of Graham and Rollins.

At its peak in 1966, Virginia watermen landed more than 64 million pounds of crab. Last year, that figure was down to less than 18 million pounds.

Sammy 08:00 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
U.S. plans to arm Iraq’s Sunni tribesmen with AK-47s, RPGs, mortars
Phil Stewart ― REUTERS

The United States plans to buy arms for Sunni tribesmen in Iraq including AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar rounds to help bolster the battle against Islamic State militants in Anbar province, according to a Pentagon document prepared for Congress.

The plan to spend $24.1 million represents a small fraction of the larger, $1.6 billion spending request to Congress focusing on training and arming Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

But the document underscored the importance the Pentagon places on the Sunni tribesmen to its overall strategy to diminish Islamic State, and cautioned Congress about the consequences of failing to assist them.

Sammy 07:57 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Exclusive: U.S. increasing non-lethal military aid to Ukraine
Warren Strobel and Patricia Zengerle ― REUTERS

The United States plans to increase non-lethal military assistance to Ukraine, including deliveries of the first Humvee vehicles, having decided for now not to provide weapons, U.S. officials said.

The increase in non-lethal aid to Ukraine, which is grappling with a Russian-backed separatist movement in its east, is expected to be announced on Thursday during a visit to Kiev by Vice President Joe Biden.

The officials, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, described it as an expansion of U.S. support for Ukraine’s armed forces, but one that was unlikely to significantly alter the conflict.

Sammy 07:55 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
U.S. lawmakers plan bill to encourage auto employees to report faulty parts

Two U.S. senators plan to introduce legislation on Thursday to encourage employees in the auto industry to report information on faulty parts to federal authorities, a spokeswoman for one of the lawmakers said.

The bill, sponsored by Republican John Thune and Democrat Bill Nelson, “is intended to incentivize whistleblowers from the automotive sector to voluntarily provide information to the U.S. Department of Transportation to prevent deaths and serious physical injuries by identifying problems much earlier than would have otherwise been possible,” Thune’s spokeswoman, AshLee Strong said.

Sammy 07:54 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Watchdog: Patent telework program invites abuse
Daily Record

An internal watchdog says thousands of federal patent workers are allowed to work from home with little supervision and face almost no discipline even if they lie about the hours they put in.

The Commerce Department inspector general says senior managers at the Patent and Trademark Office are blocked from ensuring that employees actually work the hours claimed, making it appear that time-card abuse is “tolerated” at the agency’s highest levels.

Inspector General Todd Zinser told a House hearing Tuesday he has seen no evidence that time-card or attendance abuse is “systemic” at the patent office, where more than half of all examiners work from home.

Sammy 07:52 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Feds confirm gray wolf is roaming north of Grand Canyon
Dylan Smith ― Tucson Sentinel

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials announced Friday that they’ve got the straight poop on an animal seen near the Grand Canyon, confirming that a gray wolf from the Northern Rockies is making a home on the North Rim. While biologists were unable to capture the wolf for testing, DNA analysis of the wolf’s scat showed that she is a member of the endangered species.

The wolf was first spotted north of Grand Canyon National Park in the North Kaibab National Forest, and is the first gray wolf known to be in the area for over 70 years.

The wolf’s “epic journey through at least three western states fits with what scientific studies have shown, namely that wolves could once again roam widely and that the Grand Canyon is one of the best places left for them,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Sammy 07:49 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Arizona’s Arpaio sues Obama on immigration
Laura Mandaro ― USA TODAY

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has frequently butted heads with the federal government over the treatment of undocumented immigrants in Arizona, said Thursday that he was suing President Obama over Obama’s recently unveiled immigration reform order.

A group called Freedom Watch released news of the suit, which included a statement from Arpaio that said “among the many negative affects of this executive order, will be the increased release of criminal aliens back onto streets of Maricopa County, Arizona, and the rest of the nation.”

Sammy 07:46 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
NASA: Big sunspot is an odd one
James Dean ― USA TODAY

NASA scientists are monitoring an enormous and strangely behaved sunspot that has rotated back into Earth’s view, but don’t expect it to cause problems on the ground or threaten upcoming rocket launches.

When last seen about a month ago the sunspot was the largest in 24 years, anywhere from 10 to 15 times bigger than Earth. It has since shrunk a bit.

The sunspot produced some powerful flares, but surprisingly no major eruptions of high-energy charged particles that in extreme cases can damage satellites and power grids.

Sammy 07:44 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Texting at movies has gotten out of hand
Jefferson Graham ― USA TODAY

Texting in movie theaters is clearly getting out of hand.

Consumers are up in arms about it, and looking to cinema operators to get a handle on this growing problem.

Just this year alone, there have been two big incidents at theaters involving texting that ended poorly.

Sammy 07:39 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Open Thread - November 23, 2014


Pauleen Brewer 04:00 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Aw, Shucks!
Lydia Woolever ― Baltimore Magazine

The oyster wave hits Baltimore.

We used to have to wait around for the “R” months to eat a decent oyster. Sure, we had crabs to tide us over in the summertime, but we still have to admit: the wait was long. And hard.

Luckily, those days are over—thanks to refrigeration and the advent of the triploid oyster, which are sterile and thus eliminate the shellfish’s summer spawning season, when their flesh is too weak and watery for market—and now oysters are readily available all year-round.

Maryland’s oyster-farming industry, also known as “aquaculture,” has grown exponentially in recent years, and with it just starting to hit its stride, local oyster-lovers are beginning to reap the rewards right here at home. Farms have been popping up all across the state and now nearly 4,000 acres of them dot our shores of the Chesapeake Bay. These days, their bounties are being shucked from their shells and served up at a growing number of restaurants, bars, street stands, and festivals.

Sammy 05:53 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Baltimore moves higher on murder rate list
Justin Fenton ― Baltimore Sun

Baltimore had the fifth-highest murder rate last year among major U.S. cities — 37.4 per 100,000 people, according to statistics released last week by the FBI.

Cities with higher rates last year were Detroit, New Orleans, Newark, and St. Louis. Both Detroit and New Orleans saw sharp declines.

Data from 2012 showed Baltimore with the sixth-highest murder rate. It moved up a spot in 2013 because the city that had the highest rate the previous year — Flint, Mich. — saw its population dip under 100,000 and fall off the major cities list.

Sammy 05:50 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Could Washington D.C. or Baltimore get Chesapeake “Bay effect” snow?
Jason Samenow ― Washington Post

When frigid air streamed over the relatively warm waters of Lake Erie this week, a “lake effect” snow event for the ages unfolded in the Buffalo area, with up to 88 inches of snow.

This historic event has raised the question whether the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore region could get snow from cold air passing over the Chesapeake Bay.  The answer is no, but “Bay effect” snow can and does sometimes occur in southeast Virginia.  The reason is simple geography.

Sammy 05:48 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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