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Monday, December 10, 2012

25 Detained From Mexican Smuggling Boat

Authorities on Monday were searching for suspected undocumented immigrants who were believed to have been aboard a Mexican fishing boat discovered off the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Some 25 people -- 19 men and six women -- were detained after the U.S. Coast Guard discovered the 40-foot, open-hulled boat with an outboard motor, known as a panga, in an area off Palos Verdes known as Abalone Cove.

Two vans were waiting on a nearby road to pick up the suspected undocumented immigrants, authorities said.

Port police, Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies and others assisted in the search for possibly 15 other people believed to be aboard.

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U.S. Gas Prices 'Crash'

Gas prices have plummeted 46 cents a gallon over the past two months, according to a survey released Sunday.

"This has been a true price crash," said Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the Lundberg Survey.

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.38, down nearly a dime over the past three weeks, Lundberg said.

"This crash began back when refining problems around the country were being fixed, one after the other, at the same time that our seasonal gasoline demand was shrinking," she said.

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Female Genital Mutilation: An Islamic Crime

Asia News recently reported how the misogynist crime of female genital mutilation (FGM) continues to be a “widespread traditional practice” in “rural areas and more remote areas of Indonesia, particularly the island of Java.” The story makes sure to remind us, naturally, that while this crime is being perpetrated in a Muslim country, the crime “is not a rule set ina rigid manner by the precepts of Islam.” It is only widespread, we are consoled, because of the actions of “the more extreme and integral fringe.”

In her coverage of this news report, freedom fighter Pamela Geller shrewdly asks the key question that somehow mysteriously eludes the minds of every breathing human being in our mainstream media: “The fringe made it widespread?”

Indeed, if only the “extreme and integral fringe” supports this sadistic and vicious crime against women, and if it is “not a rule set in a rigid manner by the precepts of Islam,” then where are all the Muslim imams, muftis and clerics in the world, and in Indonesia in particular, vociferously denouncing and repudiating this crime as un-Islamic and coming to the defense of Muslim women?

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US Sending 20 More F-16s To Egypt, Despite Turmoil in Cairo

Instability in Egypt, where a newly-elected Islamic government teeters over an angry population, isn't enough to stop the U.S. from sending more than 20 F-16 fighter jets, as part of a $1 billion foreign aid package.

The first four jets are to be delivered to Egypt beginning Jan. 22, a source at the naval air base in Fort Worth, where the planes have been undergoing testing, told FoxNews.com. The North African nation already has a fleet of more than 200 of the planes and the latest shipment merely fulfills an order placed two years ago. But given the uncertainty in Cairo, some critics wonder if it is wise to be sending more top gun planes.

“Should an overreaction [by Egypt] spiral into a broader conflict between Egypt and Israel, such a scenario would put U.S. officials in an embarrassing position of having supplied massive amounts of military hardware … to both belligerents,” said Malou Innocent, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute. “Given Washington's fiscal woes, American taxpayers should no longer be Egypt’s major arms supplier.”

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THE MOST ABSURD 'LOOPHOLE' IN THE TAX CODE

And I mean absurd in the most literal sense. We all know that the U.S. tax code is riddled with "loopholes", exemptions and deductions intended to incentivize certain activities. Many of these are of dubious provenance and questionable utility. But, there is one that is particularly ridiculous. As in, how can this possibly be thought of as a loophole? But, to the technocrats in the federal government, the tax you don't have to pay on the value of rent you don't have to pay because you own your home is a loophole.

Read that last sentence again. Its called "The Imputed Net Rental Income on Owner-Occupied Housing" and the feds include it in their annual list of "tax expenditures." That term is how Washington officially refers to credits, deductions and exemptions. Here's how the federal government describes it:

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OBAMA, BIDEN COZY UP TO ANTI-AMERICAN RAPPER PSY

Had President-elect Mitt Romney posed for pictures with someone who once wished violent death upon the family members of U.S. soldiers the story would be swirling through the mainstream media for days. Maybe longer.

Vice President Joe Biden did just that earlier today with rap star Psy, while President Barack Obama shared a laugh with the South Korean rapper known for his wildly popular "Gangnam Style" video. Just don't expect it to make much noise in traditional media circles.

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‘COURAGE, SKILL, AND PATRIOTISM’: NAVY SEAL DIES RESCUING AMERICAN HOSTAGE FROM THE TALIBAN

A U.S. service member died during Sunday’s mission to rescue an American doctor from the Taliban, according to the White House.
Defense officials told CNN and NBC News that the service member was a Navy SEAL.
Reuters relates:
“Our special operators in Afghanistan rescued an American citizen in a mission that was characteristic of the extraordinary courage, skill and patriotism that our troops show every day,” the White House said in a statement.
“Tragically, we lost one of our special operators in this effort. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, just as we must always honor our troops and military families.”
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"Poor" Households Getting $168 in Welfare Per Day from Taxpayers

It's official. Taxpayers are no longer simply helping the poor, they're subsidizing the lives of welfare recipients at a better rate than their own. The Senate Budget Committee has released a report showing households living below the poverty line and receiving welfare payments are raking in the equivalent of $168 per day in benefits which come in the form of food stamps, housing, childcare, healthcare and more. The median household income in 2011 was $50,054, totaling $137.13 per day. The worst part? Welfare payments are equivalent to making $30 per hour for 40 hours a week. The median wage for non-welfare recipients is $25 per hour but because they pay taxes, unlike welfare recipients, the wage is bumped down to $21 per hour. From the report:
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U.S. Government Lends $105M to Brazil—to Build Aquarium

The U.S. Export-Import Bank, an agency of the federal government, is lending $105 million to the Brazilian state of Ceara to help build an aquarium in its capital city of Fortaleza.

“An anticipated tourist attraction, the aquarium will boast four floors housing 25 large tanks containing approximately 15 million liters of water and showcasing 500 marine species and 35,000 individual specimens,” the Export-Import Bank said in a press release.

“The aquarium will also feature interactive exhibits, two 4D cinemas, one 3D cinema, and an educational platform dedicated to the research and preservation of aquatic life along the Brazilian coastal regions,” said the U.S.-government-controlled bank. “When completed, Acquario will rank as the largest aquarium in the Southern Hemisphere and the third largest in the world.”

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Syrian rebels: Christians can only live in post-Assad Syria if they pay the jizya

"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." -- Qur'an 9:29

Muslim spokesmen in the West routinely claim that this verse has no applicability in the modern world. They're lying.

"Syria: Rebel Prisoners On Their Religious War," by Tim Marshall for Sky News, December 8 (thanks to Alan of England):
Interviewing people who, under different circumstances, might kill you is a strange experience.

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Fewer Families, Less Religion -- and Less Freedom

The kind of limited government, democratic republic America has always been is possible for only two reasons: (1) The government isn't the sole (or even major) source of economic and social support for its citizens; and (2) Principles, ethics and incentives other than the simple fear of punishment has been effective in deterring anti-social behavior.

That's why it's so disconcerting to learn that two big factors in President Obama's re-election was his electoral dominance among both unmarried Americans (at an all time high) and the religiously unaffiliated (also growing ever larger).

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Military Movement Bolsters Maryland Job Growth

Maryland's job growth over the last several years has been significantly bolstered by the shift of military personnel to facilities in the state -- something Gov. Martin O'Malley and other state politicians can't take credit for.

But the growth was not nearly the boon many predicted the Base Realignment and Closure process would bring.

Between the start of fiscal 2009 on July 1, 2008, and Sept. 15, 2011, BRAC added 19,090 jobs to Maryland's economy, the majority of which were civilian positions, according to Lt. Col. Melinda Morgan, a spokeswoman with the Department of Defense. To put that into perspective, the state as a whole lost nearly 47,000 civilian jobs during the period, which included the start of the recession, according to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In fiscal 2011 alone, BRAC added 11,091 jobs, while the state as a whole added 13,300 civilian jobs. BLS does not track uniformed military positions.

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Will Saddam’s WMDs Fall into the Hands of Al Qaeda?

Probably one of the most despicable lies perpetrated by the Democratic Party was the claim that Saddam Hussein had no WMDs. It was a lie of political convenience by a party whose top politicians had asserted the exact opposite until it became more convenient for them to jump on a new bandwagon.

After all that there would be a certain historical irony if Saddam’s WMDs were indeed finally found, but by Islamist terrorists into whose hands they fell after almost a decade of liberal political malfeasance culminating in their irresponsible support for the Sunni side in the Syrian Civil War.

Let’s map what that would look like

1. The Democrats sabotaged the Iraq War by preventing any enforcement action against the Syrian origin of the suicide bombers and terror squads in the early days of the post-war period. Meanwhile Syrian WMDs had been smuggled into Syria.

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Maryland Local Income Tax Returns - Wicomico County



FY No.of Income No. of Non- Population Average Tax

Tax Returns Tax. Returns State & Local

Filed Filed

2000 36,840 6,375 84,899 $1,984.14

2001 37,144 6,851 85,637 $1,954.27

2002 37,316 7,151 86,679 $1,950.31

2003 37,797 7,292 88,463 $2,058.52

2004 38,781 7,265 90,210 $2,316.36

2005 40,527 7,441 92,508 $2,396.71

2006 41,889 7,759 94,621 $2,445.84

2007 42,889 8,405 96,110 $2,495.16

2008 42,290 9,054 97,111 $2,287.58

2009 41,411 9,277 98,069 $2,209.82

2010 41,856 9,230 98,733 $2,240.00

2011 42,236 9,589 99,733 $2,220.45

Population data extracted from the Maryland Department of Planning .
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, release date: December 6, 2012
Number of Maryland State Income Tax Returns Filed extracted from State Comptrollers
Source: Income Tax Summary Reports


Above is the latest state/local 2011 income tax financial information for Wicomico County that was released this morning from the State Comptroller's office.What is alarming is the shear number of non-taxable state/local income tax returns. These individuals are exempt because they are not meeting the income filing thresholds.

You will notice that over the course of the past 11 years - (FY 2000 - FY 2011) - the total number of State/Local Income tax returns have grown by 5,396.
Of that amount - the number of Non-Taxable State/Local Income tax returns have grown by 3,214. Thus our net state/local income tax paying base has only risen by only 2,182 returns - although our county's population has increased by approximately 14,834 residents.

Bottom line - our local area workforce has dwindled dramatically and not kept pace with the population growth. This has resulted in diminished federal, state, & local income tax revenues, and, a sign of a very weak local economy.
Our area needs jobs and lots of them in order to help sustain our community. This is definitely not happening.

Take a look at the results another way - Maryland has a filing threshold. Essentially, if a resident falls below a certain income threshold, they are not legally required to file a Maryland return. Some individuals still do file a return, but usually for purposes of claiming a refund on withholding payments or to claim the Earned Income Credit. Over the past fiscal year - (2010 - 2011) - the total number of income tax returns being filed over this period increased by 380 returns. Of these 380 returns - (reporting income) - 359 of those did not pay any MD state/local income tax. Thus our county only gained revenue ground for 21 returns or realized a net income gain in state & local tax revenue of $23,136 over the past year - even despite a local income tax rate increase.

FY 2010 Total State & Local Tax Revenue - $93,759,616
FY 2011 Total State & Local Tax Revenue - $93,782,752
__________
$ 23,136 (Net Revenue Gain)

Marylanders are in dire need of jobs - and fast.
  

Why Work Anyway?

I was shocked by something I heard from one of my friend’s sons the other day. He is a college graduate with a business degree and fortunately has a job. We were all talking about the fiscal cliff and how it would affect people making over $250K a year. His reaction to the top rate rising to 39% along with the California State tax increase due to Proposition 30 prompted him to say, “Whew, I think I dodged a bullet! I was up for a promotion with a pay raise but someone else got it. I’m pretty sure my taxable income will be under the level where I would have gotten punished.” PUNISHED.

He was basically saying that he would rather earn less and stop advancing in his career than be hit with massive taxes. I asked him to explain and he said that basically he didn’t want to work and then fork over 50% or more of his earnings to the government. He said that he had gone to school, studied hard and gotten a job but was still burdened with excessive student loans and he felt that with that hanging over his head he couldn’t afford to pay more in taxes.

As for buying a home and starting a family, well that was not even an option for him. He said that if they were talking about taking away the mortgage home deduction then why buy a house anyway?

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Caption This Photo 12-10-12


USDA Chief: Rural America Becoming Less Relevant

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has some harsh words for rural America: It's "becoming less and less relevant," he says.

A month after an election that Democrats won even as rural parts of the country voted overwhelmingly Republican, the former Democratic governor of Iowa told farm belt leaders this past week that he's frustrated with their internecine squabbles and says they need to be more strategic in picking their political fights.

"It's time for us to have an adult conversation with folks in rural America," Vilsack said in a speech at a forum sponsored by the Farm Journal. "It's time for a different thought process here, in my view."

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Georgia Speed Trap

Former NASA Agent Appeals for Missing Moon Rocks

As America marks 40 years since the last man set foot on the Moon, a scientist has launched an appeal for missing Moon rocks – after almost half of those collected have since disappeared.

As the last in a series of only 12 men to walk on the Moon and gaze back at the Earth from 250,000 miles away, Apollo 17 Commander Eugene Cernan and lunar module pilot Harrison "Jack" Schmitt wanted to bring back something symbolic.

As they wrapped up their third and final moonwalk on December 13, 1972, they paused to reflect on the magnitude of their achievement and the message of peace, hope and unity they felt it should represent to people back on Earth.

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Help Wanted

Pet Grooming Assistant Needed, part time. Apply to Cathy's Pet Salon, Spa and Doggie Daycare, 1005 Mt Hermon Rd, Salisbury, Monday 8-3 and Tues - Fri 8-5.

Honor System, REALLY?

I came across a Downtown resident who told me an incredible story about his issues with owning property in Downtown Salisbury.

This gentleman bought a condo Downtown. Considering he has a 9-5 job he didn't feel the need to purchase a parking permit because he'd leave before they started giving out tickets and he comes home after the parking police went home for the day.

There came a time when he got week days off and he had to go out and purchase a permit, especially after the City stopped the $1.00 fee if you paid the ticket before 1 hour was up.

Nevertheless, I saw him this morning walking back and forth to the 2 hour free parking and I asked what he was up to. He explained to me how he has to move his car every 2 hours on his day off because he can't get a parking permit any more. I asked him to explain.

He said he had purchased a parking permit but when it expired he chose to wait to renew it until he got a ticket, then he'd go in and get a new permit. He got a phone call months later, (since he's rarely around when they're working) from the permit office saying his permit was expired. He responded saying he'd be in soon to purchase a new one.

When he arrived he asked for a permit for December. They told him that will be $150.00. He said, WHAT? They said, well, you have to pay for the months you didn't have a sticker, we work on the honor system. Needless to say he now moves his car every 2 hours on the days he's home during the week.

Salisbury is not inviting. The City will fine, set fees, ticket and punish those very people who pay enormous property taxes and even those people coming to visit Salisbury and spend money.

It's time for a major change in leadership. Wouldn't you agree?

Barone: Soul-Crushing Dependency


Children of a disabled coal miner stand in the doorway of their Appalachian home in 
the early 1960s. (Photo by Jack Corn, now belonging to Vanderbilt University.)

“This is painful for a liberal to admit,” writes liberal New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, “but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in soul-crushing dependency.”

Kristof is writing from Breathitt County, Ky.,deep in the Appalachian mountains, about mothers whose Supplemental Security Income benefits will decrease if their children learn to read. Kristof notes that 55% of children qualifying for SSI benefits do so because of “fuzzier intellectual disabilities short of mental retardation,” far more than four decades ago when SSI was just a new program.

Evidently SSI administrators decided to be more generous to parents of such children. But, as Kristof notes, giving parents an incentive to keep children from learning to read works against the children’s long-term interest.

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Crisfield Pride

Monday December 3rd the president has denied individual assistance to Crisfield. Gov Martin O'Malley has appealed but we are not putting much hope in it being overturned. The story of the town that has been forgotten just got stomped &spitted on in the walk out.

Most will pull up their bootstraps (Texas girl kickin in) and move on . Some like us will have to drain our savings and 401K to rebuild our home and our lives .Sadly though a lot will walk away from their homes that have been in their families for generations. Most of these homes are family homesteads passed down from generation to generation as part their inheritance.Some will live in their homes with mold growing daily because they have no where to go or the means to do so and come spring and summer the illness rate will greatly increase .
I am not native born and must confess with all the negative light put on Crisfield I have learned to love & appreciate this town and their people.
They are survivors ! They are also extremely resourceful and very proud of their town and their heritage . 
I have often said to my coworkers that if there was ever a nuclear war or any major disaster this is exactly where you would want to be . One road in and a town of people that will defend and survive. Many great artist have come from here( The Ward Bros being a example of some of many)
I believe the sunsets are the most beautiful I have ever seen!
Real people , living real lives . Hard workers and "True Patriots." 
God ,Guns & Glory . Great hunters and fisherman. They know how to live off the land and the sea .
There is a little place called Gordon's where all the locals come to get a cup of coffee that they already know just how you take it ,or a homemade Gordons coke ( fountain coke mixed with syrup stirred with a spoon ) and if you have a little headache you can get a little ammonia mixed in it. 
It is not fancy but is where you go to get all the local gossip. To walk in is like going back to another time. Everyone knows everyone and they also know your mother and father , grandparents and even great grandparents. If they don't they will def do some investigating and find out who you are and what your connection is. Not much goes on here that most don't know about whether you want them to or not.


My husbands grandmother was born and raised in the home we live in as was her mother. My husband use to tell her from the time he was a little boy that he wanted to live in this house with his family when he was all grown up. When his grandparents built a addition to the back of the house he was a toddler so they made the windows the exact height for him to look out to the barn and back woods to see his grandfather outside doing his many outdoor projects.There are still his teeth marks in the wood .It is sad to watch him walk through this house now with his memories being torn out. He loved his grandparents dearly and seeing the things like the pocket door in the kitchen that now has to come out or the little built in medicine cabinet that has all his grandfathers gun models all handwritten by his grandfather, now being removed. Don't worry though this things will be kept maybe even bolted to a wall ,hung as a valuable piece of art as a memory to important to throw away. There is a picture of my kitchen after hurricane Sandy with a man standing on the floor beams , floors torn all the way down to the dirt is of my husband . His expression in this picture depicts the feeling of it all.Proud , strong , hard working and the realist person I have ever known. Loves with his whole 6'4 self but proud and stubborn as they come. A "true Crisfielder" as they call them.

I felt that the facts are important but but sometimes forgotten but the real story is in the heart of the Crisfield people . If you would like to come down for a visit I could show u around town ,maybe even get a cup of coffee from Gordon's but you will have to tell them how you like it being a tourist and all...:-)

Muslim Students Look To Shed Light On Religion, Culture In First Muslim Monologues Event

Standing on the stage in Hoff Theater, Hannibal Kokayi recounted a train ride in which a vagrant-looking man interrupted him while he was reading the Quran.

He’d been focusing on the book and avoiding eye contact with the stranger, but once the man stopped him to ask about the Quran’s teachings, Kokayi found himself regretting his own arrogance. Through his enlightening conversation with the man, he realized he still had much to learn from others, Kokayi said, reading from his poem and revealing a side of himself he normally keeps hidden.

“That’s the good thing about performing — you’re vulnerable,” said Kokayi, a University of Maryland University College student. “They get a greater understanding of who you are.”

Kokayi joined eight other Muslim students in Stamp Student Union on Friday afternoon to share their religious experiences through poetry and narratives in the Muslim Students Association’s first Muslim Monologues. Between decades of conflicts brewing in the Middle East and cultural stereotypes, it’s not easy being Muslim in the United States, students explained.

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TEXT-Fitch Rates Wicomico County, Md. GOs 'AA-'

Sept 21 - Fitch Ratings assigns an 'AA-' rating to the following general obligation (GO) bonds of Wicomico County, Maryland (the county):

--$28.9 million general obligation consolidated public improvement and refunding bonds of 2012.

Bond proceeds will finance the Bennett Middle School Project and refund various outstanding series of outstanding bonds to achieve debt service savings with no
extension of maturity dates. The bonds will be offered by the county at a competitive sale on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012.

In addition, Fitch affirms the following rating:

--$91.6 million in outstanding GO bonds at 'AA-'.

The Rating Outlook is Stable.

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The Realities of Real Estate: Last call on the Homestead Tax Credit

For those who read our column on a regular basis, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve written about the Homestead Tax Credit several times.

The reason is simple. For those who qualify, it can save you literally thousands of dollars on your real estate taxes, and the deadline for having your application on file is Dec. 31.

So, take a break from holiday shopping and devote a few moments to make the Homestead Tax Credit application, or confirm that an application you may have previously made is approved and on file with the state. The possible savings might be enough to pay for all those presents under the tree.

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A PUBLIC SERVICE MESSAGE FOR AMERICA'S YOUTH: Here's How You're Being Ripped Off

Ever seen these numbers on your pay stub? The numbers I've highlighted?

That money is being taken from you -- or, more properly, it's being stolen from you -- to fund a myth. A mirage.

You're never going to see a dime of that "Social Security Retirement Insurance" you're paying for.

You'll never a see a nickel of that "Medicare Health Care Insurance" either.

That money is being taken from your pay -- your livelihood -- to fund a system that will be bankrupt in less than a dozen years.

Oh, and it's not me saying that: Medicare’s own actuary, Richard Foster, is. Social Security is in a similar situation,according to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who serves as the system's senior trustee.

Suffice it to say that these systems will actually go broke far sooner than anyone's really admitting because the economy remains poor and appears to be slowing down even further.


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Slumping Ravens Fire Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron; Jim Caldwell Will Take Over Offense

Cam Cameron was fired Monday as offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, who have lost two straight and are still striving for consistency in the running and passing game.

Cameron ran the Baltimore offense since the start of the 2008 season for coach John Harbaugh. Since that time, the Ravens’ attack has repeatedly taken a back seat to the team’s defense, and this year the offense ranks 18th with 344.4 yards per game.

Jim Caldwell, who was hired as quarterbacks coach before the season, will assume Cameron’s duties. Caldwell was head coach of the Indianapolis Colts from 2009-11. 

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How Much You Will Get if Your Pension Fails

If your company pension plan fails, you won’t necessarily end up without any retirement income. Most traditional pension plans, but not 401(k)s, are insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation up to certain annual limits. The maximum annual guarantee for a 65-year-old retiree whose pension plan ends in 2013 will be $57,477.24, up from $55,840.92 in 2012.

The PBGC assumes responsibility for a traditional pension plan when the plan runs out of money, the company liquidates, or the firm goes out of business. For example, this year the PBGC assumed responsibility for the retirement benefits for nearly 1,300 current and former employees of SP Newsprint Co., a newsprint producer in Greenwich, Conn. The company had only $74.4 million in assets to cover $150.7 million in benefits, and the PBGC now expects to pay for $73 million of the shortfall. “The guts of this agency is trying to maintain retirement security,” says PBGC Director Josh Gotbaum. “The way that we do it is by taking people’s worries away, and that’s what we are trying to do here. “

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No Community Programs At 'Ground Zero' Mosque A Year After The Controversy

It’s all pray and no play.

The Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero that opened with great fanfare a year ago is now an empty space with no community programs.

And while the developers behind Park51 insisted for two years that the project was more than a mosque, it now appears to be just that. Dozens of worshipers gather at the site on Park Place Friday for prayer services — but that’s the only activity in the building.

Gone are the Arabic classes, workshops in calligraphy, talks on the genealogy of Muslims in America, film screenings and art exhibits. The sole community event is a class in capoeira — an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines dance and music. The teacher of the twice-weekly class said she has five students.

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Kidnapped American Rescued From Taliban, Coalition Says

KABUL, Afghanistan -- An American citizen abducted by the Taliban five days ago was rescued Sunday in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S.-led military coalition said.

Dr. Dilip Joseph was captured by Taliban insurgents Wednesday outside the Afghan capital, in the Sarobi district of Kabul province, a statement by the coalition said.

He was rescued in an early morning operation ordered after intelligence showed that the doctor was in imminent danger of injury or possible death, according to a statement.

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Greene Turtle Locals' Xmas Party 12/10/12


Wicomico County Teacher Jeffrey Brabitz Arrested For Peeping Tom & More

Jeffrey Brabitz is the PE teacher at Beaver Run Elem. Was arrested on Friday for ALLEGEDLY having a hidden video camera in his storage room. Apparently, the room is also designated as a room for teachers to breastfeed or pump during school. All schools are required to have such rooms now per Dr. Freddy. 

Court System: DISTRICT COURT FOR WICOMICO COUNTY - CRIMINAL SYSTEM

Case Number: 2H00066607Tracking No:126348034632
Case Type: CRIMINAL
District Code: 02Location Code:03
Document Type: STATEMENT OF CHARGESIssued Date:12/06/2012
Case Status: ACTIVE

Defendant Information

Defendant Name: BRABITZ, JEFFREY M

Race: WHITE, CAUCASIAN, ASIATIC INDIAN, ARAB
Sex: MHeight:600Weight:240DOB:02/01/1980

Address: 29 GREENWOOD LN
City: BERLINState:MDZip Code:21811 - 0000

Court Scheduling Information

Trial Date: 03/01/2013Trial Time:08:30 AMRoom:01

Trial Type:

Trial Location:
SERV CTR,201 BAPTIST ST SALISBURY 21801-0629

Charge and Disposition Information

(Each Charge is listed separately. The disposition is listed below the Charge)

Charge No: 001Description:PEEPING TOM

Statute: CR.3.901.(c)Description:PEEPING TOM
Amended Date: CJIS Code:1 0013MO/PLL:Probable Cause:X

Incident Date From: 12/06/2012 To: 12/06/2012 Victim Age:

Charge No: 002Description:PRIV. PL.-PRURIENT INTENT

Statute: CR.3.902.(c)Description:PRIV. PL.-PRURIENT INTENT
Amended Date: CJIS Code:3 5715MO/PLL:Probable Cause:X

Incident Date From: 12/06/2012 To: 12/06/2012 Victim Age:

Related Person Information
(Each Person related to the case other than the Defendant is shown)

Name:JUDSON, S
Connection:COMPLAINANT/POLICE OFFICER

Agency Code: ZVAgency Sub-Code:2201Officer ID:W229

Event History Information
Event Date Comment
DOCI 12/06/2012 SC ISSUED 121206
INIT 12/06/2012 121206;00050000.00;HDOB;100;UPB ;2116
RELS 12/06/2012 DEFENDANT POSTED BOND AND WAS RELEASED
BOND 12/06/2012 121206;00050000.00;UPB ; ; ;100

ECCK!! How Offensive!


Clinton: Drug War 'Hasn't Worked'

Former President Bill Clinton says in a new documentary that his administration’s attempts to limit drug trafficking from Colombia “hasn’t worked.”

Clinton joined other world leaders — including former President Jimmy Carter — in filmmaker Sam Branson’s new documentary, “Breaking the Taboo,” which premiered Thursday at New York’s Google headquarters and charges that the global war on drugs is a failure.

Add This Group To Obama's Winning Coalition: 'Religiously Unaffiliated'

The big demographic story out of the 2012 presidential election may have been President Obama's domination of the Hispanic vote, and rightfully so.

But as we close the book on the election, it bears noting that another less obvious bloc of key swing state voters helped the president win a second term.

They're the "nones" — that's the Pew Research Center's shorthand for the growing number of American voters who don't have a specific religious affiliation. Some are agnostic, some atheist, but more than half define themselves as either "religious" or "spiritual but not religious," Pew found in a recent survey.

They are typically younger, more socially liberal than their forebears, vote Democratic, and now make up nearly 20 percent of the country's population. Exit polls suggest that 12 percent of voters on Election Day were counted as "religiously unaffiliated."

"This really is a striking development in American politics," says Gregory Smith of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. "There's no question that the religiously unaffiliated are a very important, politically consequential group."

Too Much Religion At Military Academies?

West Point cadet revives charge.
Citing overt religiosity on campus, a West Point Academy cadet publicly quit this week just months before graduation. This is not the first time the military has come under fire for practices that nonreligious students see as aggressively evangelical.

When Blake Page announced this week that he was quitting West Point a few months before graduation, citing the overt religiosity on campus, he raised recurring questions about the pervasiveness and impact of evangelical Christianity within the ranks of the US military.
“I do not wish to be in any way associated with an institution which willfully disregards the Constitution of the United States of America by enforcing policies which run counter to the same,” Mr. Page wrote in his letter of resignation to the US Military Academy at West Point, in New York. 

He cites, among other things, routine prayers at mandatory events for cadets and the practice of awarding off-campus passes and credit to students who take part in religious retreats and chapel choirs. These activities, in turn, foster “open disrespect of non-religious new cadets,” Page argued, adding that he had been told at West Point that it was not possible for people to have morals without believing in God.

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Sandwiches

Prison Labor Booms In US As Low-Cost Inmates Bring Billions

Family Grieves For Nurse Who Died After Royal Prank

The family members of a nurse who apparently killed herself after falling victim to a hoax call last week from an Australian radio station, patching two disc jockeys through to another nurse who revealed details about the health of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, have begun to tell of their devastation at the nurse’s death.

Benedict Barboza, the husband of the dead nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, posted on his Facebook page, according to The Daily Mail: “I am devastated with the tragic loss of my beloved wife Jacintha in tragic circumstances. She will be laid to rest in Shirva, India.” Saldanha, who died on Friday, was the mother of two teenage children, a boy and a girl.

Shift Among African Americans Helped Pass Same-Sex Marriage

Same-sex marriage opponents counted African-American voters as allies, expecting them to vote in the general election to overturn legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry in Maryland.

Polls in the months prior to November’s referendum seemed to back them up, with African-Americans registering less support of Question 6 than whites.
But as the months wore on, opposition softened, especially in the face of endorsements from President Barack Obama and prominent entertainers, as well as a media campaign that included clergy, athletes and other public figures.

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Today's Advertiser Of The Day 12-10-12


I Got 15 Kids & 3 Babydaddys-SOMEONE'S GOTTA PAY FOR ME & MY KIDS

You have to see this. HERE

Holiday Season At Public House



Happy Holidays from
Evolution Public House! 

Greetings!

Evo Public House Gift Cards are available! They make great stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, and Christmas presents and can be used at FOUR Southern Boys Concepts locations: Evo Public House, SoBo's Wine Beerstro, Boonies Restaurant and Tiki Bar, and The Red Roost (does not include Specific Gravity). Buy $100 worth of gift cards at one time this holiday season and receive a complimentary bonus $20 gift card from us! Happy Holidays!

New Year's Eve at Evo Public House!
Join us this New Year's Eve for the biggest bash in Salisbury! We've got live music from "Red No Blue" and a DJ, a Casino set up to support the Fruitland Falcons, delicious food, a champagne toast, party favors and more! Tickets are limited so call today to reserve your spot!
Tickets: $50
Phone Number: 443.260.BEER (2337)


According to the Mayans, December 21, 2012 is the end of the world and you know what that means... it's time to party! Help us go out with a bang! Great drink specials and an apocolyptic menu with Chris English singing the blues. See you then!

When Numbers Are Used To Distort The Truth

Early in its article last Sunday (December 2), the Daily Times repeated an assertion by the Mayor that “21 major policy proposals” were being blocked by a majority of the Council. The newspaper offers its readers little to no information about whether that assertion is correct or what that “21” means. The article references a few of the issues, but again with little to no meaningful discussion about what the differences of opinions are or whether all of the proposals should move forward. (Some of the issues referenced by the paper will be addressed later on this site.)

A meaningful discussion for the public would have entailed putting the “21” in context, asking questions such as:

What is the full list of “21”?

Does it include issues like the aggressive dog ordinance (as mentioned in the article), which were not delayed by Council, but instead were delayed six times at the request of the City Administrator?

Of the hundreds of items Administration has advanced to Council (most of which Council has advanced for a vote), could any have been sent to a back burner so Council and City Attorney time could have been devoted to issues on the list of “21”? For example, the Mayor and Administration advanced an ordinance to regulate portable storage devices (e.g., brand names “Cubes” and “PODS”).  Upon discussion, the Council and the City Attorney learned this had only had 3 or 4 complaints in recent years.

Should the numerous issues on which the Council supported the Mayor (e.g., Wicomico River environmental improvements, Tenants’ Rights Addendum) or got to “yes” (e.g., Onley-Bateman intersection, River’s Edge project, firefighters SAFER grant) have taken a back seat to the issues on this list of “21”?

Are some of the issues really “stalled” or “blocked,” or are they actually multi-step processes?

Are some of the “21” issues those with highly complex implications that require extensive legal research to avoid costly court battles for the City?

Is the time frame expected for turnaround by Council realistic given the workload of competing priorities? For example, issues like the state-mandated Ethics Ordinance or the Wastewater Treatment Plant could not be set aside.

These questions come back to a discussion of priorities, or as one legislative advisory service said, “Organizations cannot do everything at once.” In November, I extended an invitation to the Mayor to join the Council in December for a discussion of priorities for the remainder of the fiscal year (i.e., through June 30), but he declined.

Taking stock mid-year of where we are and where we want to be is a good way to ensure our time, resources and taxpayer money are devoted to the highest priorities. Let’s not waste City Attorney time and money, staff resources or Council deliberation time again on a portable storage ordinance when we have matters of greater importance to consider.

By simply tossing the “21” out there, the Daily Times gave the impression that all “21” are worthy of moving forward, which may not be the case. Does the list contain initiatives the Mayor is advancing that could undermine years of building a “growth pays for growth” discipline into our policies, inviting a return to a form of developer reimbursements that have not served the taxpayers well?

As you can see, context is vital when tossing numbers around. The Daily Times can claim journalistic innocence by saying it was merely quoting the Mayor. However, it built a so-called “news” story around such claims. This was not a time-sensitive topic. The newspaper could have delivered a well-balanced piece by waiting the few days for when I offered to meet and discuss it.

That might have resulted in real questions and answers the public would have found meaningful, which the Daily Times does not appear to find as juicy a story to tell. That’s truly unfortunate because the real story is newsworthy and, when the public is fully informed, people participate at a level that is really beneficial to producing good government.

Read More HERE

USDA To Allow More Meat, Grains In School Lunches

The Agriculture Department is responding to criticism over new school lunch rules by allowing more grains and meat in kids' meals.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told members of Congress in a letter Friday that the department will do away with daily and weekly maximums of meats and grains. Several lawmakers wrote the department after the new rules went into effect in September saying kids aren't getting enough to eat.

School administrators also complained, saying set maximums on grains and meats are too limiting as they try to plan daily meals. 

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Progress Doesn’t Come From Ultimatums

Last Sunday, the Daily Times devoted an extensive amount of space, words and pictures on its front page, news and opinion pages about disputes in Salisbury city government. There were, unfortunately, numerous inaccuracies and misleading statements.

For example, the aggressive dog ordinance isn’t delayed because of council. I scheduled it six times for discussion since July as requested by the administration. Each time the city administrator asked that it be postponed. My space to respond is very limited on a monthly basis by the newspaper, so I will have to refer readers towww.OnYourSideSBY.blogspot.com for a fuller correction of the record.

Today, I’d like to talk about one step for reducing conflict.

The Annapolis chief financial officer who spoke at a Maryland Municipal League (MML) conference a couple of years ago discussed 5-year budgeting. His audience was a mix of municipal legislators, mayors and administrative staff members, but his wise advice was directed to the mayors and staff:

“Get early buy-in from your councils.”

Good advice. It is the council that makes policy, so it’s good business to get these decision-makers on board early to move a goal forward, rather than surprising them with an ultimatum at the end of the process. This is true whether it’s a mayor-council form of government or a city manager-council form of government.

I have been asking the administration for an early buy-in process since I was first elected in 2007. Voters expressed their dissatisfaction with the council functioning as a rubber stamp.

Grants are a perfect opportunity to apply the early buy-in principle – not the small, “reimbursement” grants (such as police overtime), but those that involve city assets (such as real estate) or a large commitment of resources in the future, whether required as a “match” or not.

For the grant that added four new police officers to our force, the federal government required the legislative body’s approval for applying. This ensured that the budget makers were aware of, understood and prepared to meet the grant’s financial and resource obligations.

The result? Salisbury applied as a unified government, prepared for future obligations. The city got four new officers – and everyone was spared the current dramas.

The recent grant for additional firefighters did not have an early buy-in process, resulting in unnecessary drama. Even when grant-making agencies don’t require proof of application submission approval from the legislative body, they often expect that the council is informed and concerns are already addressed. After all, the city government – which by charter means the mayor and the council – is making application, not just the mayor’s office.

The council did not vote down the grant for additional firefighters as the Daily Times erroneously reported. The grant was not moved forward for a vote due to the lack of information in a short window for consideration.

The technical difference is important. If the council had voted to accept the grant right away, the taxpayers could have been on the hook each year for the $400,000 benefits mistake in the grant application that Council Vice President Debbie Campbell’s questions uncovered. Some want to label that “micro-managing,” but there is nothing “micro” about $400,000.

Early “buy-in” also promotes a good reputation and relationship with higher government agencies because the city government is applying with a unified voice. No council should be politically cornered to approve a grant for which they have insufficient information or sincerely feel the terms of a grant aren’t in the best interest of our city. Don’t place these valuable relationships or the city’s reputation at risk in the first place and they won’t be.

Progress does not come from ultimatums. Ultimatums create political drama and divisiveness, which drains time, money, resources and emotions. An early buy-in process is common to success in business and government, identifying and solving problems in a timely and effective manner.

Terry Cohen is president of the Salisbury City Council.

Fundraiser Concert For Seaford Christian Academy


8 Years Later Mayor Ireton Tables Trash Again

Images taken this morning.

The Daily Times published "Plaza trash raises a stink" this morning explaining some of the problems business owners and residents have referencing trash pickup, (or the lack thereof) Downtown.

What wasn't mentioned was just how long we've been fighting this problem and how many Council's we've been through addressing the problem.

Mayor Jim Ireton has been well aware of this problem for years and now all of a sudden he's delaying yet another agenda item because the media is all of a sudden interested days before the problem is to be addressed. 

The images shown above were taken early this morning and shows the overflow of trash as well as Public Works coming by at 10:15 AM to finally pick it up. 

When Jeremy called me to interview me on Friday I expressed to him that the only time the Plaza gets cleaned up is the day before 3rd Friday. I, (along with many others) walk the Plaza a few times a day and whenever I come across trash I pick it up and throw it in the trash cans when they're not overflowing. 

I'll never forget Mike Dunn and Gary Comegys saying something must be done about this trash on the Plaza, yet nothing ever happened. This was back in the day when people used to give me a hard time on Salisbury News because I would show pictures on a regular basis of just how bad the trash problem was Downtown. 

Now we're some 8 years later and guess what, Ireton can't even figure out how to resolve such a simple problem. Its all about fees in the City. We pay monstrous taxes yet we get no services. We get no parking for property owners, no trash pickup, NOTHING! Heck, we get fined from the City if a weed grows in the curb on the street in front of our properties.

These are yet another reason I'm running for Mayor. I want to get rid of the parking meters. I want to provide trash pickup for the Downtown area and not spend 8 years figuring out how Salisbury can be more inviting. ALL of which can be done WITHOUT it costing a penny to the taxpayers.

The Council has no problem addressing this issue. It's the Mayor who keeps tabling these items as expressed in Terry Cohen's Op Ed in yesterdays paper. 

Today's Survey Question 12-10-12

Do you expect to collect social security when your eligible?

THE REAL FISCAL CRISIS

The fake fiscal cliff crisis will not impact you directly until the economic system grinds to a halt at some point in the future when confidence in the USD dissolves. In the meantime, the Federal government can keep generating $1.4 trillion annual deficits and the Federal Reserve will buy all the newly issued debt. The Federal government can get away with deficit spending because the Federal Reserve can debase our currency.

States must balance their budgets every year. The unfunded pension liability for state government union workers is real and the contributions to fund these liabilites must be made every year. As I’ve pointed out previously, the 8% return assumption for these pension plans is complete and utter bullshit. They will be lucky to generate 4% returns over the long haul. There will be a showdown between the taxpayers and government unions in the next few years. The only way to balance state budgets will be to massively increase taxes on the citizens or to drastically cut the pensions of of government union drones.

Ed Easterling lays out all the ugly data in this excellent article.

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Here's The Reason

Why Mitt lost the election.
Romney said, "When I'm elected, I will put Americans back to work,"
and 51% said, "Screw That!!"

QUOTES OF THE DAY 12-10-12

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”
T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph
“He was old and wise, which meant tired and disappointed…”
T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom

“Mankind has had ten-thousand years of experience at fighting and if we must fight, we have no excuse for not fighting well.”
T.E. Lawrence

“You wonder what I am doing? Well, so do I, in truth. Days seem to dawn, suns to shine, evenings to follow, and then I sleep. What I have done, what I am doing, what I am going to do, puzzle and bewilder me. Have you ever been a leaf and fallen from your tree in autumn and been really puzzled about it? That’s the feeling.
(T.E. Lawrence to artist Eric Kennington, May 1935 )”
T.E. Lawrence

Drug Makers’ Settlements Get Supreme Court Review


The Supreme Court will take a close look at payments from brand-name drug makers to manufacturers of generic equivalents to keep the no-name products off the market at an estimated cost of $3.5 billion a year to consumers.

The justices said Friday they will consider competing appeals court decisions about whether the practice known as reverse payments or “pay for delay” illegally reduces competition by delaying the sale of substantially cheaper generic drugs.

The payments typically are made to resolve patent infringement claims by the brand-name manufacturers against the makers of the generic drugs. What is unusual about the practice is that the claim is resolved by a payment from the company that holds the patent rights to the company accused of violating them.

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LINCOLN - THE MOVIE

I was invited to go and see Lincoln last night. Ugh. What a piece of trash. It uses every trick in the Hollywood filmmaker’s book to manipulate your emotions and color your perception of Lincoln and his actions to put him in a positive light. Yes, the screenwriters touch on Lincoln’s unconstitutional seizing of war powers, but the film clearly intends you to believe that it was due to his motives to end slavery once and for all.

Spielberg does it all: soaring music at the right moments; the use of light around Lincoln when the 13th Amendment is passed; in most of the images of Union soldiers they are black; the Confederate peace delegates appear small and sniveling; throughout the movie it is remarked about Lincoln how much he is loved ad nauseum; at the news of his death we see his young son screaming as a reaction. All of Hollywood’s tools are employed to make him appear great. One of my wife’s friends was crying at the end. Leni Riefenstahl would be proud.

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WATCH YOUR MAILBOX

Just wanted to let you know - today I received my 2013 Social Security Stimulus Package. It contained two tomato seeds, cornbread mix, two discount coupons to KFC, an 'Obama Hope & Change' bumper sticker, a prayer rug, a machine to blow smoke up my behind and a 'Blame it on Bush' poster for the front yard. The directions were in Spanish.

Yours should arrive soon.

Foodstamps Soar By Most In 16 Months: Over 1 Million Americans Enter Poverty In Last Two Months

And we thought last month's delayed foodstamp data [3]was bad. The just reported foodstamp number for September was a doozy, with 607,544 new Americans becoming eligible for foodstamps, as a record 47.7 million Americans are now living in poverty at least according to the USDA. The monthly increase was the highest since May 2011, and with August's 421K new impoverished America, over 1 million Americans made the EBT card their new best friend. It is unclear just which atmospheric phenomenon will get the blame for this unprecedented surge in poverty, which comes at a time when the pre-election economic data euphoria was adamant that the US economy was on an escape velocity to utopia. Instead what we do know is that in August and September, over three times as many foodstamp recipients were add to the economy as jobs (324,000). We also know that with the imminent impact of Sandy, which will send foodstamp recipients soaring, it is now looking quite possible that the US may end 2012 with just over a mindboggling 50 million Americans living in absolute poverty and collecting the $134.29 average monthly benefit per person, instead of working. Welcome to the recovery indeed.
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Senate Filibuster Challenged In Court

Filibusters in the US Senate have become the parliamentary maneuver everyone loves to hate. The technique may be losing its luster, but is it unconstitutional?

A federal court in Washington on Monday takes up a legal challenge to the Senate filibuster brought by four House Democrats and the political reform group Common Cause, which calls the procedure "an accident of history, not included in the Constitution and never contemplated by its drafters."

At issue are Senate rules allowing discussion without time limit and requiring a vote of three-fifths of the members, or 60 senators, to end debate. That 60-vote super-majority, the lawsuit contends, is at odds with the Constitution, which specifies only a small number of circumstances in which more than a simple majority is required -- overriding a veto, impeaching the president, or expelling a member, for example. 

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Somerset County Sheriff's Office Press Release 12-10-12

Travis James Shreaves of Atlantic Georgia, arrested 12-3-12 on a warrant for failing to appear in court. Shreaves was released after posting a $ 5,000 bond.

Tiffany Rochelle Marshall of Princess Anne, criminal summons served 12-3-12 for 2nd degree assault, and trespassing. Marshall was released on signature pending court actions.

Angela Leigh Losiewski of Chance, criminal summons served 12-3-12 for theft under $10,000. Losiewski was released on signature pending court actions.

Galaleldin Hammad Kamandego of Princess Anne, arrested 12-6-12 on a civil body attachment warrant. Kamandego was held on a $ 5,000 bond.

Stephen Wayne Carey Jr. of Eden, criminal summons served 12-6-12 for possession with the intent to distribute cds, and possession of cds other than marijuana. Carey was released on signature pending court actions.

D’vonte William Gregory of Crisfield, arrested 12-6-12 on a warrant for violation of probation. Gregory was held on a $ 10,000 bond.

Lawrence Antonio James of Crisfield, arrested 12-6-12 on a Circuit Court indictment for cds distribution, and possession of cds. James was held on a $ 150,000 bond.

Joshua mark Hill of Princess Anne, criminal summons served for cds possession of marijuana. Hill was released on signature pending court actions.

Danita Dalores Singletary of Baltimore, arrested 12-7-12 on a warrant for failing to appear in court. Singletary was held on a $ 500.00 bond.

KEEP HANDS CLEAN THIS DECEMBER

And don’t forget, it’s not too late to get your flu shot!

The Wicomico County Health Department is reminding their residents that the first full week of December is National Hand Washing month. From December 2, 2012 - December 8, 2012, spread awareness by educating others on the safety benefits of hand washing. Children especially need to understand the best ways to handle their germs and colds to prevent the spread of germs.
Health Officials offer some simple ways to maintain health and safety when it comes to clean hands. Here are a few simple rules to follow:

1. Wash hands when they are dirty and before eating.

2. Do not cough into your hands.

3. Do not sneeze into your hands.

4. Above all, do not put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth.
In addition to keeping hands clean this winter, remember it’s not too late to get your flu shot! “Vaccination is the single most useful tool for preventing the flu,” says Lori Brewster, Heath Officer of the Wicomico County Health Department. “We are still in the midst of flu season, so prevent the spread of germs and diseases by getting vaccinated and washing your hands often.”
There are several locations you can visit to get your flu vaccination. Visit http://flushot.healthmap.org to find a location near you. For more information on the seasonal flu, visit www.cdc.gov, and for more information on hand washing visit www.henrythehand.com.

Bigfoot And The Nation’s Top Monster Trucks Return To The Wicomico Youth & Civic Center February 1 & 2

Bigfoot and the nation's top monster trucks will return to the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center for the Monster Truck Winter Nationals on Friday, February 1 & Saturday, February 2. The adrenaline-pumping show will offer excitement for the whole family with larger-than-life thrills and stunts including wheelie contests, side-by-side racing and a car crushing contest.

The Monster Trucks Winter Nationals will have three showings; Friday, February 1 at 7:30pm and Saturday, February 2 at 2:00pm and 7:30pm. Purchase tickets in advance and save. Feel the power with VIP reserved seats, available for all three shows, $25 for adults and $12 for children under 12. Super value end zone tickets are $17 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Get your tickets at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center Box Office (Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm), online atwww.WicomicoCivicCenter.org or charge by phone at 410-548-4911. (Additional fees may apply.)

Want in on the action? Local licensed drivers over the age of 18 are invited to participate in a Tuff Truck Competition. For more information on the Tuff Truck Competition call Checkered Flag Productions at 940-683-4742 between 9am-5pm.

Md. Panel Recommends Taxes, Fees To Pay For Health Exchange

A Maryland panel is recommending that the state charge a combination of taxes and fees to pay for the roughly $35 million annual cost of running the state's health benefits exchange, the insurance marketplace required under the federal health care law.

Among the fees the committee of state lawmakers and health officials suggests are new charges on individual ratepayers and increases to existing charges on health care professionals. Gov. Martin O'Malley and the state legislature will make the final call when the General Assembly session starts in January.

The panel also recommended an increase in the state's tobacco tax. If 18 cents from a tobacco tax increase went to the program, it would cover the exchange's estimated $21.3 million in annual fixed costs, according to the report.

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A Brighter Future For Maryland

You’ve probably driven past them and not even noticed. For the past five years, more and more citizens of Maryland have been putting solar panels on their roof and producing the power that runs their television, microwave and computer themselves. The electricity they are producing is clean solar energy produced by systems installed by Maryland companies and Maryland workers.
Solar Energy


Astrum Solar is one of the companies helping to bring solar to Maryland homes. Started in 2008 by Vadim Polikov, Josh Goldberg and Ben Davis (Vadim and Josh are Maryland natives) and headquartered in Howard County, Astrum has installed nearly 1,000 solar electric systems in Maryland alone. Astrum Solar’s mission is to spread solar power to the rooftops of America. More and more people around the country are ready to take control of their unpredictable utility costs and reduce their electricity bills and carbon footprints. When they make that decision, Astrum is there to guide them and make going solar easy and rewarding.

With that mission, in under five years Astrum Solar has expanded to twelve states, created 100 Maryland jobs and been named the 2nd fastest growing company in the nation by Inc. Magazine. As Astrum has grown, Maryland as a state has seen an explosive growth in solar installations. In the past 22 months alone, solar capacity in the state has grown by approximately 700%. This growth was made possible by considered policies put in place by the state years ago. Maryland instituted a broad but responsible grant program that seeded the market by helping home and business owners afford the upfront cost associated with solar. Maryland also affirmed its commitment to clean energy by demanding that a percentage of its power be produced by clean sources, specifically solar. These policies are largely the result of the smart government and vision of Governor Martin O’Malley, a trusted partner of Astrum Solar.

The solar industry has changed a lot since Maryland took those first steps. Declines in the cost of materials have made solar affordable for everyone without state assistance. Accordingly, the grant has decreased dramatically. Advances in financing now allow people to go solar for no money down. The market for solar is taking off nation-wide, and Maryland has positioned itself to benefit from the economic development and local jobs that come with this expansion. And let’s not forget that this growth helps Maryland to preserve its air and water quality while limiting its dependence on foreign fuels.

Despite this initial success, there is much more to do. Renewables and solar are still only emerging as major power sources and Astrum Solar has considerable growth ahead of it. Maryland will need to continue to take appropriate and considered steps toward a clean energy future to preserve and expand the considerable gains it has already made. As it does this, Astrum Solar will continue to grow and give Maryland citizens the ability to choose clean, affordable, self-produced electricity.

The All-Important Reading Lesson

A thorough lesson on the Six Types of Syllables should be taught to new readers; to poor readers; to damaged readers; to anyone wanting to speed up and improve reading and spelling skills. With deeper Code knowledge, and improved automaticity, readers of any age will decode and interpret Print with greater finesse and fluidity. When the brain is trained to automatically handle the decoding side of reading, the reader can then focus completely on drawing meaning from the print; on comprehension. Few understand the importance of the syllables for precise speech and accurate use of English in all of its expressive and receptive forms and levels.

In fact, the ability to instantly see, identify, and use the Six Syllable Types is so important that, if I was given but one opportunity to teach onereading lesson, that lesson would be "How to Use Syllables to Improve Reading and Spelling Skills."

I purposely use the structure "if I was" because some months ago, I was given the opportunity to teach that lesson. A young man, who had always struggled with reading, was here working on my computer. I suggested that we trade skills: a reading lesson for his computer assistance. During a 90 minute lesson, I taught him to spot and use the Six Types of Syllables. I have not seen him since, but he did phone to report that the one lesson has made all of the difference; that he is now reading everything he has long wished to read; and that he is reading smoothly with rapid decoding and effective comprehension.

________________________________

Reading Comprehension depends on…and is limited by…the brain’s Ability, Agility, and Fluidity as it rejects or make connections among and between: automatic Code processing; streaming thought processes; vocabulary and concept banks; language and communication skills; storage of aural and oral information; and the reader’s knowledge and experience base.

By teaching both Phonics and the Six Syllable Types to automaticity, the brain takes over the responsibility for rapid Code processing thereby vastly improving the ability of the reader to develop brain processes that are agile and fluid while interweaving thought; while checking and rechecking knowledge, experience, and language against a developing mental image.