Tuesday, July 07, 2015
Guilford on the July 13 Planning Commission agenda — Their second chance to do the right thing
Smarter Growth Alliance for Charles County

On January 12, 2015, the inadequacy of our land-use regulations reached the breaking point when the Planning Commission (PC) balked at rubber stamping a staff recommendation to approve the Guilford Subdivision preliminary plan. One member asked how we could add more cars to an already dangerous Billingsley Road. Another member asked what the impact on Mattawoman Creek would be — better, worse or the same?

Both staff and the applicant choked on the answers. The vote was deferred and Guilford disappeared from view for the better part of four months.

Sammy 07:21 AM | (3) Comments | Email this post | Permalink

Board Docs - July 13, 2015, Charles County Planning Commission

6. [7:30-7:50] PRESENTATION


CSM-CTE-APF-Findings-Formatted.pdf (412 KB)

APF CSM_Aerial.pdf (4,100 KB)

APF CSM_Location.pdf (1,877 KB)

APF CSM_Zoning.pdf (1,668 KB)

Sammy 07:16 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Hughesville Village Zoning Study Public Meeting Scheduled for July 14
Charles County Government

The Department of Planning and Growth Management is conducting a study to draft zoning regulations for the Village of Hughesville.  A public meeting/open house is scheduled for Tuesday, July 14 at the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) auditorium (15035 Burnt Store Road, Hughesville) from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The public meeting will present background information on the study and give the public an opportunity to provide comments and input for consideration in drafting the new zoning.

The project is a key component in implementing the 2007 Hughesville Village Revitalization Plan, which calls for promoting infill development and revitalization while preserving and enhancing the village character. The study area contains land currently in the Village Residential (RV), Village Commercial (CV), and Light Industrial (IG) zoning districts.

Sammy 07:15 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration is beginning a $3.5 million pavement improvement project on northbound MD 210 (Indian Head Highway) in southern Prince George’s County.  Crews will apply concrete whitetopping on the travel lanes between Farmington Road and MD 373 (Livingston Road) near the Fort Washington, Friendly and Accokeek areas.

Starting tomorrow July 7 after the morning rush hour, crews will install temporary signs and barrier wall along northbound MD 210 and stripe for temporary lane markings.  In order to perform the work under an accelerated schedule, SHA will close one of the three lanes during the project.  Traffic shifts on the 1.43-mile section will occur through late August, weather permitting.  Crews will work behind concrete barrier, and are permitted to work on site at any time during the week. There may be times when there is no active work as the concrete cures / dries.

Sammy 07:13 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Audit finds Maryland owes $34 million for Medicaid claims
John Fritze ― Baltimore Sun

A federal inspector general has found that Maryland incorrectly billed Medicaid for services for the developmentally disabled in hundreds of thousands of cases and that the state owes the U.S. government more than $34 million, according to an audit to be released Tuesday.

The probe, by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, found the state did not ensure beneficiaries met requirements for “add-on” services — such as physical therapy or overnight, in-home help — and allowed many who did not qualify to receive the assistance.

The audit, a copy of which was obtained by The Baltimore Sun, is the second to hit the state’s Developmental Disabilities Administration in recent years. In 2013, the office found Maryland routinely billed the federal government for room-and-board costs that were ineligible.

Sammy 07:08 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Maryland casinos hauled in $91.4 million in June
Sarah Meehan ― Baltimore Business Journal

Maryland’s five casinos generated $91.4 million in revenue in June, marking the second-highest monthly revenue the gaming venues have seen.

But in a year-to-year comparison excluding the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, which opened in August, casino revenue fell by 5.1 percent or $3.7 million. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency attributed that loss to changes in each casino’s market share following the Horseshoe’s debut.

Sammy 07:05 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
U.S. government outlines solar power boost for the poor
Timothy Gardner ― Yahoo News

The White House took steps this week to boost the installation of solar power and other renewable energy in federally subsidized housing and increase the number of jobs in the industry for poor people.

The U.S. administration has set a goal of installing 300 megawatts of solar and other renewable energy in affordable housing by 2020, tripling a goal President Barack Obama set in 2013 that has already been surpassed.

It is “really important for everyone to have access to solar and other renewable energy technologies both for the energy itself and the cost savings there, and also the employment opportunities,” Brian Deese, a climate and energy adviser to Obama, told reporters in a teleconference on Monday.

Sammy 07:04 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Las Vegas completing last straw to draw Lake Mead water
KEN RITTER ― Yahoo News

It took $817 million, two starts, more than six years and one worker’s life to drill a so-called “Third Straw” to make sure glittery casinos and sprawling suburbs of Las Vegas can keep getting drinking water from near the bottom of drought-stricken Lake Mead.

The pipeline, however, won’t drain the largest Colorado River reservoir any faster. It’s designed to ensure that Las Vegas can still get water if the lake surface drops below two existing supply intakes.

“You turn on the tap, you don’t think about it,” said Noah Hoefs, a pipeline project manager for the Las Vegas-based Southern Nevada Water Authority. “These are the things being done in order to live the lifestyle we want in the places we want to live.”

Sammy 07:03 AM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
State Dept. stonewalls request for lobbying, contractor documents
Sarah Westwood ― Washington Examiner

A conservative watchdog group sued the State Department Wednesday over records related to a pair of security contracts awarded by the agency under Hillary Clinton’s watch.

Citizens United first sought documentation of talks between State officials, a lobbying firm called DLA Piper and a security contractor called Triple Canopy through a Freedom of Information Act request filed in August 2014.

The group sued the State Department after the agency ignored its FOIA request for 10 months. Citizens United had previously worked with State to narrow the scope of its inquiry, to no avail.

Sammy 06:59 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Scientists See Neurons Change as Memories Form
SINDYA N. BHANOO ― New York Times

Learning can be traced back to individual neurons in the brain, according to a new study.

“What we wanted to do was see if we could actually create a new association — a memory — and see if we would be able to see actual change in the neurons,” said Matias Ison, a neuroscientist at the University of Leicester in England and one of the study’s authors.

He and his colleagues were able to monitor the brain activity of neurosurgical patients at U.C.L.A. Medical Center. The patients already had electrodes implanted in their medial temporal lobes for clinical reasons.

Sammy 06:57 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Fiduciary standards draw ire of brokerage companies
Tim Grant ― Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh financial adviser Robert Fragasso traveled to Washington, D.C., last year to lobby Congress to vote against the Department of Labor’s plan to impose a fiduciary standard on all investment advisers who handle individual retirement plans.

“I have a problem with the Department of Labor requiring investment people to act as a fiduciary,” said Mr. Fragasso, who is chairman and CEO of Fragasso Financial Advisors, Downtown, as well as a member of the Financial Services Institute’s legislative committee.

“You can’t just wave a magic wand and sprinkle pixie dust and make a fiduciary. It requires education and experience, not just a guidebook.”

Sammy 06:52 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Crude oil tumbles 8 pct, points to low gas prices this fall
JONATHAN FAHEY ― Associated Press

A slew of global economic and geopolitical factors are working to pummel the price of oil and set up U.S. drivers for very low gasoline prices later this year.

The price of U.S. crude dropped 7.7 percent Monday to close at $52.53 a barrel and is now down nearly 15 percent from the high for the year set on June 10.

Gasoline prices in the U.S. will likely slide somewhat from a national average of $2.77 over the next few weeks. Experts then expect a substantial decline in late summer and fall, pushing average gasoline prices in some low-price states below $2 a gallon again.

Sammy 06:50 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
FDA clears drug for leading form of cystic fibrosis
MATTHEW PERRONE ― Associated Press

Federal health officials have approved a new combination drug for the most common form of cystic fibrosis, the debilitating inherited disease that causes internal mucus buildup, lung infections and early death. But it will come at a steep price - more than $250,000 for a year’s treatment.

The Food and Drug Administration cleared the twice-a-day pill from Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. for a variation of cystic fibrosis that affects about 8,500 people in the U.S. who are 12 years and older. The approval notice was posted to the agency’s website Thursday.

Sammy 06:47 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Car dashboards that act like smart phones raise safety issues
Sarah McBride and Paul Lienert ― REUTERS

When it comes to dashboard displays that are more like smart phones, two things are clear: Customers want them, and automakers are intent on supplying them.

But are they really a good idea?

Car companies answer with an emphatic yes. They say outsized dashboard displays that behave more like smart phones will boost revenue and attract buyers. And they also insist the new screens will make driving less dangerous, because of well-integrated voice controls and large touch screens that will keep drivers from fumbling with more dangerous mobile phones.

Sammy 06:46 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Open Thread - July 7, 2015

To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sammy 06:45 AM | (2) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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