The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau started just last summer taking complaints about shady debt collection practices, but already they’ve zoomed to the second most frequent type of complaint the agency receives, topped only by disputes about home mortgages.
From July 10 through Jan. 31, the federal consumer watchdog agency logged some 12,000 complaints about debt collectors—outpacing grievances in seven other categories, including credit cards, bank accounts and student loans, according to an analysis by U.S. Pirg in Washington, D.C.
Every Wednesday afternoon, Doug Varrieur steps into his backyard in the Florida Keys, aims his .380 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol and fires shots that ricochet through city halls around the state.
Varrieur, 57, discovered a little-noticed part of Florida law which prohibits local governments from restricting gun rights in any way, and in December he set up a personal gun range on his property in a residential subdivision.
Neighbors were outraged by the live gunfire, but their surprise was nothing compared to that of municipal leaders, who were shocked to realize there was nothing they could do about it.Read more...
A booming stock market and recovering home values boosted Americans’ household wealth by nearly $10 trillion last year, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday.
The net worth of households and non-profits was $80.7 trillion at the end of 2013, a 14% increase from 2012. More than half of the increase — $5.6 trillion — came from stocks. Real estate holdings rose $2.3 trillion in value.
Household wealth, or net worth, reflects the value of homes, stocks, bank accounts and other assets minus mortgages, credit cards and other debts.
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Some Pepco customers are alarmed by Maryland regulators’ decision to let utilities charge them extra fees totaling more than $200 in the first year for refusing to have a smart meter installed on their homes.
Pepco, Baltimore Gas and Electric, Delmarva Power and Light and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative are installing the digital meters, which transmit usage and other data through radio waves.
The Maryland Public Service Commission issued an order late February allowing those utilities to charge household and small commercial customers a one-time $75 fee, plus monthly fees, for opting not to have one of the “advanced” meters.
The service commission set monthly fees at $14 for Pepco customers, $11 for BGE customers and $17 for SMECO and DPL customers.
Immigrants in the country illegally can’t be given a license to practice law, a question that was raised when a man who moved here from Mexico when he was 9 years old sought a license in Florida, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
The court said federal law prohibits people who are unlawfully in the country from obtaining professional licenses. The justices said state law can override the federal ban, but Florida has taken no action to do so.
The case involves Jose Godinez-Samperio, whose parents brought him to the United States on tourist visas and then never returned to Mexico. He graduated from New College in Florida, earned a law degree from Florida State University and passed the state bar in 2011.
Several members of the local Agriculture Commission met with the Calvert County Commissioners Tuesday, March 4 to discuss a proposed restructuring of the panel.
“Agriculture is a vibrant industry in Calvert,” said current ag commission Chairwoman Susan S. Cox. “The tobacco buyout has changed the agriculture landscape of Calvert County.”
Cox reported county farms which participated in last decade’s buyout continue to transition from growing the region’s famous cash crop and “explore new agri-businesses.”
As Charles County continues to struggle with growth amid the ongoing search for a cohesive Comprehensive Plan with which to regulate development, along comes the Tier Map Comprehensive Plan Committee with its report to the Charles County Commissioners March 4. Tier maps are requirements of Maryland’s Sustainable Growth & Agricultural Bill of 2012, otherwise known as the Septic Bill.
Greg Bowen, former director of Planning and Zoning for Calvert County, chaired the group and presented to the commissioners their final version of the so-called tier map, designating areas where development can or cannot flourish. Also present were four of the committee’s remaining five members, Steve Bunker, Maryland State Department of Planning Secretary Richard Hall, , David Lines and Doug Meeker.
Bowen admitted that people come into the process of creating a comprehensive plan with different perspectives, but added, “The Tier Map and Comprehensive Plan changes need to go hand in hand.”
... TRANSITIONAL ZONING, ZTA 13-132
Board Docs - March 10, 2014, Charles County Planning Commission
B. WALDORF URBAN RE-DEVELOPMENT CORRIDOR (WURC) TRANSITIONAL ZONING, ZTA 13-132, Applicant: Charles County Planning Commission
Board Docs - March 10, 2014, Charles County Planning Commission
A. SOLAR & WIND ENERGY SYSTEMS, ZTA 13-129 (Revised), Applicant: Charles County Planning Division
Several small clusters of development were given the green light to move forward by the Charles County Commissioners during an abbreviated weekly meeting March 4. Six separate projects ranging from two houses to 45 lots were presented before the board for its approval before moving forward in the planning process.
Commissioners’ Vice President Reuben Collins, sitting in the president’s chair after Commissioner President Candice Quinn Kelly recused herself from the agenda item, told the board they could approve some or all or none of the projects. Commissioner Bobby Rucci made the motion to move the projects forward to staff review and to public hearing, which was seconded by Commissioner Debra M. Davis. The motion carried three-to-one with Commissioner Ken Robinson opposed.
The items were placed on the calendar for public hearing March 26 at 6 p.m.
The potential for citizens to receive a suspicious package or locate an explosive device exists in today’s environment. The Office of the State Fire Marshal is offering the below listed safety tips when dealing with the possibilities of encountering suspected explosive devices.
A suspicious package or letter may contain explosives, chemicals or even biological agents. If you are unsure of the package or letter, do not handle or touch it. Instead, isolate the area and contact 911.Read more...
The latest off-post drilling project near a Fort Detrick Superfund site has revealed unsafe levels of groundwater contamination about 100 feet from the Army’s property line.
In a preliminary observation, the Army has detected TCE levels above the maximum contaminant level on an adjacent property owned by Waverly View Investors LLC. The discovery is an early observation that could change as work continues on the property, Fort Detrick officials explained Wednesday night during a meeting with the Restoration Advisory Board.
Staples will close 225 stores by the end of next year and the office-supply retailer is initiating a plan to save about $500 million annually by 2015,
The Framingham, Mass., company says nearly half of its sales are now generated online, so it will aggressively cut costs to become more efficient. The closings, all in North America, will help the company meet its pre-tax savings goal.
Under pressure from gun control advocates, Facebook agreed Wednesday to delete posts from users seeking to buy or sell weapons illegally or without a background check.
A similar policy will be applied to Instagram, the company’s photo-sharing network, Facebook said. The measures will be put into effect over the next few weeks at the world’s largest social network, with 1.3 billion active users.
“We will remove reported posts that explicitly indicate a specific attempt to evade or help others evade the law,” the company said in a statement.
The number of farms in the United States continues to decline in what has been a concerning trend in the past 25 years. In the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2012 Census of Agriculture, the number of farms in the country dropped to 2.1 million, down from 2.2 million in 2007 and 2.48 million in 1982.
Susan James’ family has farmed in Virginia since 1725. Throughout the years, she has seen a response to the disappearing farms: backyard farming—a term used to encompass everything from independent vegetable gardens, to at-home beehives, backyard chickens and more.