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.
... juvenile accountability programs
The Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention (GOCCP) today announced that 12 local government and nonprofit programs have received a total of $582,196 under federal and state initiatives for juveniles.
Federal funds totaling $276,862 are from the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JABG), a grant program administered by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). The grant provides funding for six agencies that support effective programs that provide alternatives to detention, services and diversion to keep juveniles from penetrating deeper into the system so they are less likely to reoffend, while still holding them accountable. In addition, GOCCP awarded $305,304 in state funding to six programs to implement similar juvenile justice programs.
The St. Mary’s County Commissioners on Tuesday formally received a 152-page report that analyzes the “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats” (SWOT) of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and associated facilities. The SWOT analysis was prepared for the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance by PPSG, an Alexandria, VA consulting firm.The county provided the alliance with $75,000 to complete the report.
The commissioners had received the report in advance and on Tuesday were given a greatly abbreviated Power Point presentation of it by Keith Williams, who chaired the alliance’s committee that oversaw the project. Williams said the consultant started the work a year ago in anticipation that another BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) process would be beginning in Federal Fiscal Year 2015.
Williams said the next BRAC will now most likely start in Federal Fiscal Year 2017 instead. “This Congress doesn’t seem to have the stomach for this now,” he said. That next BRAC will most likely “look at capacity and shutting down bases,” he explained.
A building permit for the first new movie theater for St. Mary’s County in almost 30 years is ready; it just has to get picked up.
R/C Theatres is bringing a 12-screen, 45,000-square-foot movieplex with 2,248 seats to the Lexington Exchange commercial project in California, across Route 235 from the Wildewood development.
Nothing else has been built in Lexington Exchange yet.
Starting next year, students will face tougher requirements to graduate from Maryland’s public high schools.
The state school board voted Tuesday to replace the English and Algebra I High School Assessment — graduation requirements since 2009 — with new tests, tied to the Common Core curriculum, that are expected to be more difficult to pass. The tests, generally given by the time students finish the 10th grade, will be phased in starting with this fall’s rising freshmen and sophomores.
Education advocates expect the number of students failing the exams to increase.
...Times Since 2007
Strained by limited resources and the rapid expansion of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania, environmental regulators have failed to adequately monitor well safety or to provide clear and timely information to citizens, the state auditor general said Tuesday.
Eugene DePasquale released a performance audit report that says the Department of Environmental Protection lacks a clear policy on the timeliness and frequency of inspections of the thousands of wells and does not routinely verify information the industry provides about waste disposal.
The more than 150-page report, covering a four-year period ending in 2012, also says the DEP does a poor job of communicating with citizens who file complaints about drilling-related water problems and lacks a reliable system for tracking citizen complaints.
U.S. regulators are expected to adopt rules on Wednesday that force “prime” money market funds used by large institutions to float their share price.
Proponents have suggested that moving from the current stable $1 per share net asset value (NAV) to a floating NAV would help prevent investors from getting spooked by the prospect of funds “breaking the buck,” or falling lower than that amount.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is also likely to finalize a second provision that will permit fund boards to lower so-called redemption “gates” or charge fees in stressed market conditions, according to people familiar with the matter.
Oregon voters will get to decide this November whether they want to legalize recreational marijuana for people 21 or older.
The New Approach Oregon campaign announced Tuesday that the initiative cleared the Secretary of State’s signature hurdle, earning the measure a place on the November ballot.
“This is our moment to be part of history and lead a movement,” Dominique Lopez, metro regional organizer for New Approach Oregon, said in a statement. “Treating marijuana use as a crime has failed, but together we can win a more sensible approach and better the lives of Oregonians.”
From police departments and prisons to courthouses and jails, the care of those who are mentally ill weighs heaviest on law enforcement authorities, many of whom readily acknowledge that they lack both resources and expertise to deal with the crushing responsibility.
In a series of stories in the coming months, USA TODAY will explore the human and financial costs the country pays for not caring more about the nearly 10 million Americans with serious mental illness.
About 1.2 million people in state, local and federal custody reported some kind of mental health problem, a 2006 Justice Department analysis concluded. It is among the most recent national assessments of prisoners’ mental status.
Freddie Mac is revising its forecast for the housing market, expecting little change in sales or mortgage rates for the rest of the year.
Freddie Mac’s economic and housing market outlook projects new housing construction will increase by 14 percent compared with 2013, with multifamily construction accounting for about one-third of new construction this year.
“The multifamily rental market has led the rest of the housing sector into recovery,” said Freddie Mac (OTC FMCC) chief economist Frank Nothaft. “There’s no question the single-family recovery is moving slowly, but it continues to doggedly press forward and we are cautiously optimistic.”
Delaware officials are increasingly concerned about a spike in the number of businesses reincorporating overseas to dodge U.S. taxes.
The concern for Delaware, the legal home of choice for most Fortune 500 companies, is that corporate desertions could threaten the $1 billion in revenue the state draws each year from corporate franchise taxes and fees, said Jeff Bullock, Delaware’s secretary of state.
“It’s a matter of some importance to us, not only in terms of the Delaware corporate franchise but our country’s competitiveness, that needs to be addressed,” he said.
Ten years ago Tuesday, the members of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States issued the 9/11 Commission Report, the official account of the horrific attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
A decade later, the members have reconvened as private citizens to reflect upon the changes of the past 10 years and the emerging threats the U.S. faces as a country. In recent months, they have spoken with some of the country’s most senior national security leaders—current and recently retired. What the former commissioners, now working as the Bi-Partisan Policy Center, found: “counterterrorism fatigue and a waning sense of urgency among the public threaten U.S. security.”
According to their report, “many Americans think that the terrorist threat is diminishing—that, as a country, we can begin turning back to other concerns. They are wrong.”
... industrial base support
The commander of the Air Force’s Space Command says it’s time for the U.S. to get moving on a multi-year program to build a new rocket engine for space launches.
Not only would it reduce the nation’s dependence on Russia, Gen. William Shelton said, but the program would bolster a vital but dwindling portion of the defense industrial base.
For now at least, it’s business as usual in terms of U.S. procurements of the Russian-made RD-180 engine, Shelton said, despite recent political tensions between the two countries.