Friday, February 27, 2015
SMECO files to reduce energy charges

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) has filed an application with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to reduce its energy charges by more than 12 percent for residential customers.

SMECO is filing to reduce the residential winter energy charge from 9.25 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to 8.13 cents per kWh. Winter energy charges appear on bills rendered October through April. Residential energy charges for summer will decrease from 8.61 cents per kWh to 7.53 cents per kWh, a reduction of 12.5 percent. The filing was submitted February 27, and, if approved by the PSC, the reduced charge will appear on customer-members’ May 2015 bills.

Sammy 03:59 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Fracking is not an issue that affects Western Md. only
Cumberland Times-News - LTE

Maryland is the only state that taxes rainwater (pollution run-off), which sounds like they are “stewards of the environment” and have great concern for the streams and rivers flowing into the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Flash forward to 2015 and the concern of arsenic, hydrochloric/muriatic acid, potassium chloride, radon and radium (to name a few) leaching from fracking well sites into that same watershed is somehow nonexistent, and no cause for alarm?
A recently released list from the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) (

BOGM/BOGMPortalFiles/OilGasReports/Determination_Letters/Regional_Determination_Letters.pdf) in neighboring Pennsylvania documents over 250 identified cases where a private water supply has been impacted by gas activities.

I hope the counties down state and its constituents realize fracking not only affects Western Maryland and are aware of the Taylorsville Basin which runs under the Potomac River and through Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s counties.

Sammy 03:52 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Analysts Target Ag Preservation, Rural Legacy For $18m Cuts
Michael Sanderson ― Maryland Association of Counties - Conduit Street

The Department of Legislative Services, the legislative staff agency, has offered a recommendation that the capital budget funding for two programs – Agrcultural Land Preservation and Rural Legacy – be reduced by roughly half for the coming year. The two cuts would total nearly $18 million.

The recommendation is included as part of the DLS analysis of the capital budget for the Department of Agriculture, and also references the Department of Natural Resources (DLS capital analysis not yet available). The funds at hand are from state general obligation (GO) bonds.

Sammy 03:50 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
MD manure-to-energy plant appears to be going nowhere
Rona Kobell ― Bay Journal

Maryland was supposed to be deep into the planning stages for a manure-to-energy plant by now, a plant that was a key component in the state’s strategy to reduce pollution from poultry manure.

The state signed a contract in October 2013 with Maryland Bio Energy, a subsidiary of California-based Green Planet Power Solutions, to construct a power plant on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The plant was to turn 175,000 tons of poultry manure — about 75 percent of Maryland’s Eastern Shore’s excess manure — into electricity. The state and the University of Maryland signed on as customers. A federal subsidy was in place. The plant was to be built in the fall of 2015 and to generate energy by 2016.

Sammy 03:48 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Hundreds of Maryland teachers disciplined by the state
Andrea A McCarren ― WUSA-TV (CBS 9)

Nearly 400 teachers in Maryland have had their teaching licenses yanked in just the last few years. Child sex abuse. Child exploitation. Drug and alcohol use. The list goes on and on.
The database comes from the Maryland State Department of Education. It includes teachers facing disciplinary action from 2008 until now. The list consists of 397 teachers in seven years. Fourteen of them are from Montgomery County. The list does not include other school personnel or contractors facing similar accusations.

Here’s a breakdown of disciplinary action against teachers by county and by cause:

Sammy 03:42 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Md. lawmakers consider enhanced penalty for student hazing

The Maryland Senate Judicial Committee heard testimony Thursday from a Bowie State University student about his hazing experience as it consider a measure to impose stricter hazing penalties.

Kevin Hayes spoke in support of Sen. Jamie Raskin’s anti-hazing bill that would raise the penalty for violent hazing from a $500 fine to $5,000.

Sammy 03:41 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Md. senator Ron Young proposes lowering drinking age for active duty service members

Eighteen-year-old active duty service members can vote, smoke and fight for their country, but they can’t have a drink - a Maryland Senator is looking to change that.

A bill proposed by Sen. Ron Young, D-Frederick, would allow active duty service members who are at least 18-years-old to be served beer and wine.

Sammy 03:40 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Scientists witness carbon dioxide trapping heat in air

Scientists have witnessed carbon dioxide trapping heat in the atmosphere above the United States, chronicling human-made climate change in action, live in the wild.

A new study in the journal Nature demonstrates in real-time field measurements what scientists already knew from basic physics, lab tests, numerous simulations, temperature records and dozens of other climatic indicators. They say it confirms the science of climate change and the amount of heat-trapping previously blamed on carbon dioxide.

Researchers saw “the fingerprint of carbon dioxide” trapping heat, said study author Daniel Feldman of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. He said no one before had quite looked in the atmosphere for this type of specific proof of climate change.

Sammy 03:34 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles County Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes

Jan.27.15.pdf (115 KB)

feb 3 15.pdf (122 KB)

Sammy 08:26 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Region tops electricity use record on frigid morning
Jason Babcock ― Maryland Independent

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative hit a new peak energy usage level last week as people in homes and businesses tried to keep warm during extreme cold.

SMECO customers were using 1,003 megawatts of electricity at 7:30 a.m. Feb. 20, said Tom Dennison, public affairs manager and spokesman for the utility.

SMECO’s former energy-use record came in January 2014, when customers were using 941 megawatts.

Sammy 08:22 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Miller: Let jurisdictions solve ‘rain tax’ payment problem
Jeff Newman ― Maryland Independent

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. introduced legislation Wednesday that would repeal the state’s “rain tax” mandate and allow its nine largest counties and Baltimore city to devise their own methods for funding stormwater programs.

Sponsored by 30 senators, including Miller (D-Calvert, Prince George’s, Charles), Thomas “Mac” Middleton (D-Charles) and Steve Waugh (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert), the bill would remove the mandate that jurisdictions whose populations require a federal pollutant discharge permit charge their residents an annual stormwater fee, known derisively as the “rain tax,” and instead require proof that the costs of stormwater remediation will be met via a combination of revenues, bonds and operating funds.

Sammy 08:18 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Excessive testing in schools challenged by bipartisan group of legislators
Rebecca Lessner ―

An unusually bipartisan group of 39 Maryland lawmakers, lead by a freshman delegate who is a veteran high school math teacher, is calling for reconsideration of Maryland’s use of standardized testing in public schools.

Del. Eric Ebersole, D-Baltimore-Howard, told the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday that standardized test results do not help teachers realize areas where students are struggling, as they were designed to do. Instead, they are pitting communities and schools against each other.

H 452 proposes the creation of a 19-person commission dedicated to studying the effectiveness of Maryland assessments and standardized tests in public school. The bill is co-sponsored by 27 Democrats and 11 Republicans, including the House majority and minority leaders and the Ways & Means chair.

Sammy 08:14 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Innocent homeowners could be sued after alleged dirty development deal

When Steven Johnson bought his stately home on Dellabrooke Farm Lane in 2003 for $610,000, he had no idea the developers of his subdivision would eventually be accused of “falsely” erasing an historic road from state records, and including a “fictional” conservation easement in their plans.

Now, Johnson is stunned to learn he and some of his neighbors in the Dellabrooke subdivision may be sued over alleged wrongdoing they had nothing to do with, unless Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett steps in to solve the long simmering issue.

“I’m just totally shocked,” Johnson said standing at the front door of his 3200-square foot brick home. “I bought a property in full faith and confidence that everything was fine.”

Sammy 08:10 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Maryland School Systems Grapple with Influx of Central American Minors
Annika McGinnis ― Capital News Service

In July, she came on foot and by bus, traversing thousands of miles on a harrowing month-long journey through Mexico to the United States.

She had hoped to come legally — but, threatened by gangs in El Salvador, 18-year-old Yanci said she was forced to flee.

Now a student at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, Yanci is one of thousands of Central American “unaccompanied minors” finding a new home in Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. Since August, most of the minors who came to Maryland over the summer — often to escape gang violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — moved into the two jurisdictions.

Sammy 08:08 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Grandparents’ college help, even savings plans, could end up hurting students
Tim Grant ― Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Grandparents want the best for their grandchildren, but sometimes their good intentions can wreak havoc with a student’s financial aid package.

Students could become less eligible for federal financial aid when grandparents help them pay college expenses — even when the distributions come from 529 savings plans, which are usually marketed as a tax-friendly way for grandparents to help fill the college savings gap.

Sammy 08:04 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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