“Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow - that is patience.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday proposed an overhaul of safety standards for transporting crude oil and ethanol by rail, after a number of explosive accidents over the past year.
The draft rules, which are subject to a 60-day public comment period, propose new tank-car braking systems, train-speed restrictions, more testing for volatile gases and liquids, and a two-year phase out of older tank cars that officials have said are prone to puncture and fire when derailments occur.
The rules follow an 18-month period which saw more than a dozen derailments of trains carrying crude oil, six of which led to major fires and one of which caused the death of 47 people in the Canadian town of Lac Megantic, in Quebec province.
If you seem to consistently get your mail late, you’re not alone. A new inspector general’s report ranks the nation’s capitol as No. 1 in the nation for late mail delivery. The report found that more than two-thirds of the time, mail is delivered after 5 p.m. in the D.C. and Maryland suburbs, The Washington Post reports. Northern Virginia didn’t fare much better. It ranked in the top 5 areas receiving mail late. The review found 69 percent of carriers still working their routes at night last year.
Besides the frustration late delivery poses to customers, it also raises safety concerns. The investigation into late delivery was spurred by the killing of a carrier in Prince George’s County in November. He was shot in his truck at 7:30 p.m. The late hours also cost the already cash-strapped agency in overtime, which in the DMV costs about $4.5 million annually. That’s a problem for an agency dealing with multibillion dollar losses as more and more people use paperless correspondence.
Cyber thieves got into more than 1,000 StubHub customers’ accounts and fraudulently bought tickets for events through the online ticket reseller, a law enforcement official and the company said.
Arrests were expected in a case that sprawled across international borders, said the official, who wasn’t authorized to discuss it ahead of arrests being announced and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
StubHub, which is based in San Francisco, said that the thieves didn’t break through its security — rather, they got account-holders’ login and password information from data breaches at other websites and retailers or from key-loggers or other malware on the customers’ computers, spokesman Glenn Lehrman said.
You can’t buy a house on Amazon.com for self-assembly. Not yet, anyway.
But prefab (or prefabricated) houses, long a modernist fantasy, are having a kind of moment. Over in Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards, cranes are stacking factory-built modules on top of one another like Legos. When the stacking is done, it’ll be a 32-story apartment complex, and the tallest prefab in the world, according to the developer, Forest City Ratner. Prestige architects like David Rockwell (better known for luxury hotels and restaurants) are throwing their hats in the prefab ring, too. And a brash startup called Blu Homes, established in 2008, is spurring envy and some resentment: It has about $150 million in investment, as well as technology that folds glass walls and high ceilings on flatbed trucks — and says it’s already doing more volume than anyone in the prefab business.
Some rankings of Maryland’s business climate put it at the bottom of the pack, as the Tax Foundation does. A few put it at the top, as does the U.S. Chamber’s #1 rating for innovation and entrepreneurship the governor likes to cite.
And it is not unusual for Maryland to rank in the middle of the pack, as it does in a new Thumbtack-Kaufman Foundation survey of business friendliness.
What’s different about the grade of C- Thumbtack-Kaufman gave Maryland, ranking it 27th in the U.S., is that the grade is based on a sample of 359 Maryland businesses from a national survey of more than 12,000 firms who use Thumbtack to connect with customers. Other rankings are often based on government or private data.
Chemical use in fracking a concern to all
The idea of fracturing for natural gas makes many people anxious about potential harmful effects. For that reason alone, it is incumbent on Maryland government to require full disclosure of chemicals used in the process.
But a group representing some physicians and a coalition of health and environmental groups are calling out the Maryland Department of Environment for its decision to allow oil and gas companies to keep chemical use information secret in the event the state allows fracking to occur in Maryland. While the commission appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley won’t release its final report until later this year, the physicians’ group said MDE is recommending the chemical use in the fracking process be kept confidential.
Gov. O’Malley, his commission and the Maryland Department of the Environment need to put the protection of public health at the top of the priority list. Allowing companies to keep secrets about chemical use should be unacceptable.
Scientists tally crabs and fish to see how reef rebuilding affects them
“Fish on!” called P.J. Klavon, as he reached for a trap hauled from the placid waters of the Tred Avon River. Inside the black metal cage wriggled a single white perch, a safe distance from a blue crab.
The fish weren’t exactly jumping last week into the Bay Commitment, a 41-foot research vessel owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. After a morning’s work collecting more than 100 traps set in the river the day before, the vessel’s crew had seen barely a half-bushel of crabs, fewer than two dozen fish and a single eel. Klavon, a lieutenant junior grade in NOAA’s uniformed service, didn’t have many opportunities to sing out.
Fortunately for these trappers, they were fishing for science, not a living. And all their catch went back into the water to live another day after being painstakingly measured and tallied.
Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. on Wednesday will cycle down air conditioners for customers who use its rewards program and ask smart meter users to voluntarily cut back as it prepares for peak power demand.
The company said it would launch its first Energy Savings Day of the summer, asking customers to conserve energy between 1 and 7 p.m. in order to receive a credit on their next bill.
BGE typically schedules Energy Savings Days when an increased demand for electricity throughout the mid-Atlantic region is anticipated. Temperatures are expected to climb to around 90 Wednesday, although high humidity will make it feel much warmer.
Beretta U.S.A. announced Tuesday that company concerns over a strict gun-control law enacted in Maryland last year have made it necessary to move its weapons making out of the state to Tennessee.
The well-known gun maker said it will move to a new production facility it is building in the Nashville suburb of Gallatin that is set to open in mid-2015.
Beretta general manager Jeff Cooper said that a sweeping gun-control measure that was passed last year initially contained provisions that would have prohibited the Italian gun maker from being able to produce, store or even import into Maryland the products that the company sells around the world. While the legislation was changed to remove some of those provisions, Cooper said the possibility that such restrictions could be reinstated left the company worried about maintaining a firearm-making factory in Maryland.
Maryland is investing in cities and towns to improve quality of life and economic vitality in communities and provide the environmental benefits of reinvesting in buildings and infrastructure.
To foster more and better quality infill, redevelopment & revitalization, the Sustainable Growth Commission is reviewing relevant state and federal programs and, analyzing selected Maryland communities to gain insight into their progress toward creating healthy, vibrant communities with a range of housing, employment and transportation options.
On July 21, the commission released its preliminary draft recommendations for public review and comment. Commission members would like to hear from anyone interested in the future of Maryland communities during a 30-day review period ending August 20. Read the press release.
The Charles County Charter Board presented to the county commissioners Tuesday its final charter that if approved by voters in the Nov. 4 general election will overhaul the local government to one led by a county executive and county council.
Under the charter, the county would be divided into three election districts that would each elect directly one council member. The remaining two members would be elected by county voters at large. The council would choose its presiding officer annually.