Sunday, April 26, 2015
All are fed at the farm

Serenity Farm in Charles County should no longer exist. Mid-sized farms in the U.S. have been disappearing at a dramatic rate, as ag operations have continued to scale up to compete in the global markets. In fact, this farm has struggled as farm profits continued to decline in the last few decades.

Ironically, the farm is on the rebound now due to a nonprofit called Farming 4 Hunger, which had its second Annual Blessing of the Farm event on Saturday. In the last three years, the farm has raised over 3 million pounds of produce that were donated to those in need. The farmers are paid to raise the food and MD Department of Correction (DOC) pre-release participants and hundreds of volunteers harvest it.

Sammy 06:24 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
CSM receives energy award
College of Southern Maryland ―

As the country celebrates Earth Day, the College of Southern Maryland celebrated its recognition of its newest building on the La Plata Campus earning Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Community Education (CE) Building has 48,000 square feet with 18 classrooms, as well as specialized rooms for certified nursing assistant and geriatric nursing assistant programs, veterinarian tech, criminal justice, geography and a Macintosh computer lab.

“This is a green classroom building, the first built on this La Plata Campus, with materials and systems designed and selected to reduce the building’s impact on the environment,” said CSM Trustee Chair Michael Middleton during the building’s fall dedication ceremony. “[The building] incorporates a number of LEED features throughout. As a green building, it is designed with a compact footprint to reduce the impact on the natural environment, with expansive daylight in learning spaces and a high efficiency mechanical and lighting system.”

Sammy 06:23 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
A new bridge is coming—but when
Dick Myers ―

More than 200 people attended the State Highway Administration (SHA) informational workshop on the Gov. Thomas Johnson Bridge project. The thought on the minds of many attendees was when is it all going to happen. Many of them sit in traffic every day trying to get over the bridge and for them the answer they hope for is “more sooner than later.” But with the estimated cost of at least $650 million, the real answer may be more “later than sooner.”

St. Mary’s County Commissioner Mike Hewitt [R - 2nd District], who attended the workshop, said he was hearing concerns from his constituents there about how long the project would take to commence. Some of the older attendees quipped to The Bay Net that they wouldn’t be living to see it.

Sammy 06:20 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Gov. Hogan tried to stop state agency from leaving Anne Arundel
Joanna Sullivan ― Baltimore Business Journal

Gov. Larry Hogan said the state would lose $68 million to stop the move of 380-person state agency from Anne Arundel County to neighboring Prince George’s County.

Hogan said he immediately tried to reverse the O’Malley administration’s decision to move the Department of Housing and Community Development out of Crownsville when he took office in January.

“Can we stop this from happening?” he said he asked state lawyers. But he was told breaking the lease on the new space would be too costly.

Sammy 06:17 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Maryland tourism industry sees boost through first 8 months of fiscal 2015
Sarah Meehan ― Baltimore Business Journal

The major tourism events that graced Maryland in the second half of 2014 paid off in terms of the tax revenue they generated for the state during the first part of the fiscal year.

Hotel room sales, tourism-related tax revenue and employment in the hospitality field all grew in Maryland during the first eight months of fiscal 2015, according to a new report from the Maryland Office of Tourism Development.
Tourism-related state tax revenue grew 7.5 percent in the first eight months of the fiscal year compared with the same period in the prior year. That increase in tax revenue was driven primarily by growth in tourism merchandise sales, recreation and amusement taxes, and taxes on commercial airlines.

Sammy 06:15 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Michigan vote tests pothole angst vs. will to raise taxes

Drivers in the state that put the world on wheels are flat-out embarrassed by the state of their roads. Some are even scared.

Mary Jo Walentovic was driving on a Detroit-area interstate in February when a car kicked up a large chunk of road that smashed through her van’s windshield, destroying the rearview mirror and an armrest. If it’d struck inches either way, the 50-year-old church ministries coordinator is convinced that she, her teenage daughter and other motorists would be dead.

Fed up, she plans to vote for a 1-cent sales tax increase on Michigan’s May 5 ballot that would put an additional $1.2 billion a year into fixing deteriorating roads and bridges in the auto-centric state.

Sammy 06:10 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Warren’s fight with Obama puts Hillary in hot seat
T. Becket Adams ― Washington Examiner

Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s increasingly vocal opposition this week to the Obama administration’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal has put Hillary Clinton in the awkward position of having to choose sides.

True to form, the former first lady and newly-announced Democratic presidential candidate, who is currently dealing with a media storm over reports she engaged in ethically questionable behavior when she served as secretary of state, has so far avoided doing just that.

Sammy 06:09 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Fed to weigh whether recovery is still in place
Joseph Lawler ― Washington Examiner

Chairwoman Janet Yellen and the other members of the Federal Reserve will face a tough question next week as they meet in Washington: Is the U.S. economic recovery faltering?

Throughout the winter and earlier spring, there were some signs of economic weakness: Weak consumer spending, slow new-home construction and declining manufacturing and mining. But those worrisome indicators could be brushed aside given the ongoing strong job growth.

But the jobs report for March revealed that much of that employment growth was illusory.

Sammy 06:05 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Russian hackers read Obama’s unclassified emails last year: NYT

Russian hackers who penetrated sensitive parts of the White House computer system last year read President Barack Obama’s unclassified emails, the New York Times reported on Saturday, quoting U.S. officials.

“There is no evidence that the president’s email account itself was hacked, White House officials said. Still, the fact that some of Mr. Obama’s communications were among those retrieved by hackers has been one of the most closely held findings of the inquiry,” the paper said.

The White House confirmed the breach earlier this month, saying it took place last year and that it did not affect classified information.

Sammy 06:02 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Countries spending the most on war
Thomas C. Frohlich and Mark Lieberman ― USA TODAY

Global military spending totaled $1.78 trillion in 2014, down slightly from the year before. Military expenditures in North America, Western and European countries continued to slowly decline, while spending rose in Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. The United States still accounted for more than one-third of military spending worldwide.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) measures annual military spending for most of the world’s armed countries. According to SIPRI, the United States spent $610 billion on its military last year, several times the $216.4 billion budget of second place China. Based on nominal military expenditure figures, these are the countries with the largest military budgets.

Sammy 05:54 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
A boss often can fire you while you’re hospitalized
John Hult ― USA TODAY

Five days — that’s how many sick days Tom McLaughlin took to lose his job at a carton manufacturer.

McLaughlin was in the hospital for three of those days, being treated for a potentially life-threatening flare-up of an infection in two sores on his right leg.

His doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., pleaded last week with Bell Inc. to keep McLaughlin, saying his medical care was necessary. He had ignored her advice and returned to work once already in April, even as his daughter pleaded with him to stay in the hospital.

Sammy 05:50 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Nepal hit by major aftershock as search for quake survivors intensifies
Kim Hjelmgaard ― USA TODAY

The Kathmandu area of Nepal was struck by a magnitude 6.7 aftershock Sunday, just a day after a massive earthquake in the region killed over 2,000 people and devastated a large swathe of the capital city’s buildings and infrastructure.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the aftershock was very likely within a radius of 31 miles of Kathmandu. The aftershock sent people in the city running for open ground. It was not clear what damage was sustained.

Sammy 05:44 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Open Thread - April 26, 2015

There is no glory in star or blossom till looked upon by a loving eye; There is no fragrance in April breezes till breathed with joy as they wander by.

~William C. Bryant

Sammy 05:43 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Saturday, April 25, 2015
2016-2019 Area Plan for Services that Serve the Aging and Adult Disabled Population
Charles County Government

Charles County is preparing its 2016-2019 Area Plan for services funded by the Older Americans Act and various state grant programs that serve the aging and adult disabled population.  Citizen input regarding the development of this plan is welcome at this time.

Specified services in the plan include: Home and Community Based Services for qualified older adults, Senior Center programs and activities, Senior Nutrition Programs, Resident Advocacy for persons residing in licensed long term care facilities, as well as information, assistance, and benefits coordination provided through the Maryland Access Point of Charles County.


Sammy 07:10 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Budget Work Session- Fiscal Year 2016 General Fund Budget

Board Docs - Apr 28, 2015 - Charles County Commissioners’ Meeting

2.07 [9:40 a.m.] Budget Work Session- Fiscal Year 2016 General Fund Budget (Mr. David Eicholtz, Director of Fiscal & Administrative Services/Ms. Jeni Ellin, Chief of Budget, Dr. Brad Gottfried, President, College of Southern Maryland; Ms. Diane Johnson, Acting Director, Charles County Library, and Sheriff Berry, Charles County Sheriff’s Office)

Sheriffs FY16 Budget Report for April 28..pdf (270 KB)

Charles County Futures Fund April 2015.pdf (63 KB)


Sammy 07:02 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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