Friday, December 19, 2014
Commissioners Appoint Hall as Acting County Administrator

Acting county attorney and acting economic development director positions filled

The Charles County Commissioners announce the appointment of Deputy County Administrator Deborah Hall as acting county administrator, effective Thursday, Dec. 18.  In this role, Hall will oversee all county departments and be responsible for the day-to-day management of county government, in accordance with the policies and directives of the Commissioners. Hall began working for Charles County Government in October 2007 as director of Fiscal and Administrative Services.

“I look forward to working with the Board of Commissioners in this acting role. While changes have been made, we are all committed to achieving the Commissioners’ goals and objectives and getting business done to serve the citizens,” said Hall.
 
The Commissioners appointed Elizabeth D. Theobalds as acting county attorney and Marcia Keeth as acting director of Economic Development, effective Thursday, Dec. 18.  Hall, Theobalds, and Keeth will continue serving in their acting roles until replacements are appointed. The Commissioners plan to conduct a competitive screening process to fill the positions.

Commissioner Vice President Ken Robinson (District 1) said, “All three individuals are uniquely qualified for the roles they have been asked to fill. They have been with county government for years, and they each possess the expertise required for county operations to continue in a seamless fashion. I applaud them for stepping up.”

Sammy 10:39 AM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Public Hearing: Villages of Wooded Glen & Piney Reach Master Plan Amendment

Notice is hereby given that the Planning Commission of Charles County will conduct a Public Meeting on a proposed amendment to the Villages of Wooded Glen & Piney Reach Master Plan, Planned Development Zone Amendment (PDZA) #14-90(18), on January 12, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. in the County Commissioners’ Meeting Room located in the Charles County Government Building, La Plata, Maryland.

Villages of Wooded Glen & Piney Reach Master Plan Amendment, PDZA #14-90(18)

The applicant, St. Charles Community LLC, has requested an amendment to the Villages of Wooded Glen & Piney Reach Master Plan encompassing Tax Map 15, Parcel 149, Tax Map 24 Parcels 1, 3, 9, 14, 91, 99, 102, 103, 106, 109, 114, 123, 125, 136, 137 and Tax Map 34, Parcels 3 & 149.  This amendment is to: decrease the number of apartment units allocated to the Village of Piney Reach by 620 units and decrease the number of apartment units allocated to the Village of Wooded Glen by 326 units (a total decrease of 946 units) for the purpose of reallocating those units for use in other St. Charles Villages; revise Tract 4 of Piney Reach Business Park to be residential as part of the Village of Piney Reach Neighborhood 3; revise the northern part of the residential Village of Piney Reach Neighborhood 3 to be part of Piney Reach Business Park; increase the acreage designated for the Business Park use; and, provide other updates to the current Master Plan.  The area subject to the application is more specifically shown on an exhibit in the Department of Planning & Growth Management.  The Staff Report will be available for review on BoardDocs on January 5, 2015.

Sammy 07:30 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Public Hearing: Fairway Village Master Plan Amendment

Notice is hereby given that the Charles County Planning Commission will hold a Public Meeting on a proposed amendment to the Fairway Village Master Plan, Planned Development Zone Amendment (PDZA) #14-90(19), on January 12, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. in the County Commissioner’s Meeting Room located in the Charles County Government Building, La Plata, Maryland.

Fairway Village Master Plan Amendment, PDZA #14-90(19)

The applicant, St. Charles Community, LLC, has requested approval for an amendment to the Fairway Village Master Plan also known as Tax Map 15, Grid 21, Parcel 759 and Tax Map 24, Parcels 1, 79, 87, 115, 116, 117, 121, 122 and 149.  This amendment is to: increase the number of apartment units allocated to Fairway Village by approximately 636 units (approx. 208 units to Fairway Village Parcel EE1 located at the southeast quadrant of St. Charles Parkway and Billingsley Road, approx. 208 units to Middle Business Park Parcel D located at the southwest quadrant of St. Charles Parkway and Billingsley Road, and approx. 220 units to Fairway Village Parcel AA, Lots 5 and 6, located on the North side of Demarr Road at its intersection with St. Charles Parkway); decrease the acreage designated for Commercial, Industrial or Retail Use within Parcels EE1, AA and Middle Business Park Parcel D; remove and provide alternatives to the pathway on St. Charles Parkway adjacent to Parcels EE1 and EE2; and, to provide other updates to the current Master Plan.  The area subject to the application is more specifically shown on an exhibit in the Department of Planning & Growth Management.  The Staff Report will be available for review on BoardDocs on January 5, 2015.

Sammy 07:30 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Planning commission set for overhaul
Jeff Newman ― Maryland Independent

With its two most senior members approaching their term limits and another recently having resigned to move to the West Coast, the Charles County Planning Commission is facing an overhaul at a time when it is finalizing work on the 2012 comprehensive plan update.

The second terms for both board Chairman Steve Bunker and Vice Chairman Bob Mitchell expire at the end of this year — planning commission members can only serve two four-year terms — and it was announced at the commission’s last meeting Dec. 8 that former member Joe Tieger had resigned after selling his Port Tobacco home and moving to Washington state.

The three departures will leave board member Joan Jones as the lone member whose tenure began prior to April 2013, when commission members Gilbert “Buddy” Bowling and Kenneth Smith were appointed. Fellow member Stacy Moreland was appointed in January.

Sammy 07:24 AM | (5) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Board of Education XVI takes office
TheBayNet.com

Members of the Board of Education XVI took the oath of office Monday during a swearing-in ceremony held St. Charles High School. Five new Board of Education members, Mark Crawford, Victoria Kelly, Margaret Marshall, Virginia McGraw and Barbara Palko, were elected in November to their first term in office and join incumbents Jennifer Abell and Michael Lukas, who were re-elected.

The Board members serve a four-year term and elect officers at the January meeting. Board members Patricia Bowie, Maura Cook, Pamela Pedersen and Roberta Wise did not run for re-election.

Sammy 07:21 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Charles County hospital gets grant for emergency generators
TheBayNet.com

12/18/2014
By Congressman Steny Hoyer

Today, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5) and U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-MD) announced a $1,987,432.00 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) program to the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center in La Plata, Maryland to fund the replacement of three undersized emergency generators and automatic transfer switches at the medical center to ensure critical services are supported during power outages. The grant will allow the installation of three new 1000KVA generators, a computerized emergency power bus, and new automatic transfer switches to assure that hospital-wide power and air condition requirements are met when utility power fails.

“This funding will provide the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center with the proper equipment and resources needed to be prepared for future natural disasters,” stated Congressman Hoyer. “Following Hurricane Sandy, the hospital recognized a need to have a plan in place to act quickly when there is a power failure. In the event of an emergency, these backup generators will now enable the hospital to remain open and help to keep patients and staff safe.” 

Sammy 07:18 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
U.S. Not Fully Prepared For Nuclear Terrorist Attack Or Large-Scale Natural Catastrophe GAO Says
HOPE YEN ― Huffington Post

A congressional audit says the federal government isn’t fully prepared to handle a nuclear terrorist attack or large-scale natural catastrophe. It finds that the government lacks effective coordination and in some cases is years away from ensuring adequate emergency shelter and medical treatment.

The report by the Government Accountability Office was obtained by The Associated Press. It says the Federal Emergency Management Agency didn’t always keep track of disaster efforts by agencies, even after Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Sammy 07:12 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Police stop pursuing nearly 79,000 fugitives
Brad Heath ― USA TODAY

Accused rapists, murderers are allowed to escape, and the victims aren’t told

[,,,]
Nationwide, police and prosecutors quietly told the FBI they had abandoned their pursuit of nearly 79,000 accused felons during the past year and a half, a USA TODAY investigation found. They have given up chasing people charged with armed robbery and raping children, usually without informing their victims. Police in one county in California reported they would no longer pursue three of their most-wanted fugitives and a man charged with a murder for which prosecutors have sought the death penalty.

The authorities had previously told the FBI – which maintains a vast index of the nation’s fugitives – that they would arrest each of those suspects if police anywhere else in the United States happened to find them, a process known as extradition. But in each case, police and prosecutors have since indicated they will no longer fetch the fugitives if they flee.

So each can now escape the charges simply by crossing state lines. And FBI records suggest many do.

Sammy 07:06 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Land, water rights needed for Nevada nuclear dump
KEN RITTER ― WTOP

The federal Energy Department will need to acquire water and land rights before it gets approval to entomb the nation’s most radioactive waste beneath a mountain in the Nevada desert, according to a report released Thursday by an the agency being asked to license the project.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission report said most administrative and program elements of the Yucca Mountain repository reviewed by NRC staff members meet commission requirements.

But Nevada has refused for years to provide water to the site, leaving the Energy Department without necessary water rights.

Sammy 07:03 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Young immigrants allowed to get driver’s licenses
JACQUES BILLEAUD ― WTOP

A judge cleared the way Thursday for thousands of young immigrants in Arizona who are protected from deportation under an Obama administration policy to get driver’s licenses.

The preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge David Campbell bars the state from enforcing Gov. Jan Brewer’s policy of denying the licenses to about 20,000 immigrants.

The injunction that takes effect Monday was a formality that carries out instructions issued in July by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sammy 07:01 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Colorado vows to defend pot law against states’ challenge
SADIE GURMAN and GRANT SCHULTE ― WTOP

Colorado’s top law enforcement official promises to vigorously defend the state’s historic law legalizing marijuana after Nebraska and Oklahoma asked the U.S. Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional, saying the drug is freely flowing into neighboring states.

The two states filed a lawsuit seeking a court order to prevent Colorado from enforcing the measure known as Amendment 64, which was approved by voters in 2012 and allows recreational marijuana for adults over 21. The complaint says the measure runs afoul of federal law and therefore violates the Constitution’s supremacy clause, which says federal laws trump state laws.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said the lawsuit was without merit.

Sammy 06:59 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Poll: Americans skeptical of commercial drones
JOAN LOWY and JENNIFER AGIESTA ― WTOP

Americans are skeptical that the benefits of the heralded drone revolution will outweigh the risks to privacy and safety, although a majority approve of using small, unmanned aircraft for dangerous jobs or in remote areas, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

By a 2-1 margin, those who had an opinion opposed using drones for commercial purposes. Only 21 percent favored commercial use of drones, compared with 43 percent opposed. Another 35 percent were in the middle.

With a few narrow exceptions, the Federal Aviation Administration prohibits commercial use of drones but is about to propose regulations that will broaden the use of small ones. It may be two or three years before the rules take effect, but once they do thousands are expected to buzz U.S. skies.

Sammy 06:58 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
EPA expected to treat coal ash waste like garbage
DINA CAPPIELLO ― WTOP

Environmentalists and industry experts widely expect the first federal standards for the waste generated from coal burned for electricity to treat the ash like household garbage, rather than a hazardous material.

The Obama administration is under court order to unveil the rule Friday, ending a six-year effort that began after a massive spill at a Tennessee power plant in 2008. Since then, the Environmental Protection Agency has documented coal ash waste sites tainting hundreds of waterways and underground aquifers in numerous states with heavy metals and other toxic contaminants.

Sammy 06:56 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
US agriculture has big appetite for Cuba trade
STEVE KARNOWSKI ― WTOP

U.S. agriculture has a big appetite for freer trade with Cuba. From wheat to rice to beans, the industry stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of President Barack Obama’s plan to ease economic and travel restrictions imposed against the communist-ruled island.

Agricultural exports have been among the few exceptions to the half-century old U.S. trade embargo, though they’ve been subject to cumbersome rules — requiring cash payments up front before products are shipped, and that the payments go through banks in other countries that charge hefty fees for their services.

As a result, Latin American and Asian countries with fewer restrictions and easier financing have gained market share in recent years.

Sammy 06:54 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Tips for getting through a rough flu season
Paula Wolfson ― WTOP

It’s the holiday present nobody wants. A lot of adults and children in the area are coming down with the flu.

A quick look at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s flu surveillance map tells the tale.  Flu is widespread in Maryland, while there are regional outbreaks reported in Virginia and sporadic cases in D.C.

School-age children, who are easily exposed to the virus in the classroom and on the playing field, have been hit especially hard early in the 2014-2015 flu season.
[...]
For all ages, the symptoms of flu are about the same: abrupt fever, headache. muscle aches, nasal congestion and coughs. Some of these symptoms mimic a cold, but others — including the achiness — are indications of a disease that is far more severe.

Sammy 06:49 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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