The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent our advertisers

Friday, March 27, 2015

Well Played Honey!

Can’t Pay Your Student Loans? In Some States It Might Cost You Your License To Drive Or Work

In addition to causing irreparable damage to their credit scores, student loan borrowers who default on their debts face a much more devastating and counter-intuitive danger: the lost of their driver’s or occupation licenses, including those used by nurses, doctors, teachers and emergency personnel

Bloomberg reports that 22 states currently have laws on the books giving authorities the power to revoke these privileges from consumers who are more than 270 days behind on paying their student loans.

While it might make sense to punish borrowers who don’t keep up with their obligations to repay debts, taking away their ability to get to work or to actually perform their job duties, seems to perpetuate an environment in which consumers already have few options to get out of debt.

With delinquencies and default rates on the rise, according to reports from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, more and more consumers face default and the real possibility of losing their licenses. Last year, reports found that nearly one in three borrowers are at least 90 days behind on their student loan payments.

According to Bloomberg, since 2007 Montana has suspended the driver’s licenses of 92 people, while Iowa suspended the licenses of more than 900 residents. The Iowa licenses were reinstated in 2012 after the state moved its student loan portfolio out of state.

As for occupational licenses, Bloomberg found that more than 1,500 professional licenses for nurses, teachers and others have been revoked in Tennessee because of student loan defaults.

Student loan debt collectors say the threat of taking away consumers’ ability to legally drive or work often propels them to deal with their debt.


Ghani warns ISIS is coming to Afghanistan 'like a dangerous virus

Afghan president Mohammed Ashraf Ghani told the U.S. Congress on Wednesday that the ISIS terror army has begun to infiltrate his country 'like a dangerous virus,' and warned his fellow Muslims not to be romanced by its 'anger and hatred.'

Ghani said Afghanistan is the new 'frontline' for the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, which has been 'sending advance guards to southern and western Afghanistan to test for vulnerabilities.'

So far, he told a joint meeting of Congress, 'Afghanistan's people have rejected the allure of violent Islam. But sooner or later extremism will come knocking at our door.'

He urged people in 'Muslim majority countries' to challenge Islamist terrorism 'from within the religion.'

'Silence is not acceptable,' the Afghan leader declared.


Motorist-Hostile Committee Kills Speed Camera Repeal, Reform Bills

The House Environment and Transportation Committee voted down Four bills that would have reformed aspects of speed and red light camera programs, while approving a bill which would authorize a $500 photo-ticket for a third type of photo ticket.

Committee Voted Down Repeal of SHA Speed Cameras
The Environment and Transportation committee voted down a bill which would have ended the SHA's speed camera program, with a 17-2 Vote. See Vote Count Here

The National Motorists Association (NMA) had supported the bill, noting in their testimony that over half of workzone accidents are actually caused by worker's own equipment. The NMA also noted that "A 2012 legislative audit of the Maryland State Highway Administration’s speed camera program found that the state’s “SafeZones” program had failed to adequately test the equipment and that the state flouted its own law regarding a requirement that speed cameras be independently certified. It’s clear that poor administration of the state’s various speed camera programs has led unfair treatment of countless motorists and represents a violation of the public trust." The NMA is the only nationwide organization dedicated to protecting motorist rights.


Mitt Romney pokes fun at Obama, jokes about Hillary Clinton's emails

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney poked fun at Barack Obama's penchant for golf, Hillary Clinton's emails and even discussed One Direction on the Tonight Show.

In the interview with Jimmy Fallon, Romney talked to his 'reflection' in the mirror and cracked jokes at the President's expense and at his own failed attempt to reach the White House.

Earlier this year Romney declared he would not be running for the presidency again, which gave him free rein in the interview.


MEMA Works with Local and Federal Partners to Secure $2.4 Million in Funding for Mitigation Projects Around Maryland

REISTERSTOWN, Md. - Federal funds made available as a result of Hurricane Sandy will help pay for eight disaster mitigation projects around the state, Maryland Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Clay Stamp announced today. MEMA worked with local officials to prepare grant applications to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which approved the projects in February.

“These projects will help to keep communities resilient by reducing flood risks and ensuring power to critical facilities,” Stamp said. “I would like to thank the property owners, local officials, our federal partners, and Governor Hogan for his leadership in helping to make these worthwhile projects a reality.”

Two of the projects will provide generators for critical infrastructure to remain operational during power outages. Five of the projects will elevate 15 residential properties two feet above base flood level, while the final project will purchase and demolish two residential structures in a flood zone.


Should the U.S. Move Away From Fee-for-Service Medicine?

Paul B. Ginsburg says fee for service pushes up costs; Richard Amerling says it leads to better care

Fee-for-service medical care, in which providers charge fees for specific services, is a prime battleground for policy makers in health care.

If providers stand to make more money the more tests and procedures they perform, critics of the system say it’s no wonder that health-care costs have skyrocketed in recent years.

Efforts are under way to reimburse providers based on the value, not the volume, of care—including paying doctors to keep patients healthy. Medicare plans to shift 50% of its payments to such programs by 2018.


How women should take compliments

When it comes to the role of women, and even the topic of compliments toward women in society, there appears to be a significant generational gap. What seems equally prominent is the cultural and regional gap about complimenting women.

If an urban female student had the misfortune of needing to take a pit stop on Interstate 70 in my town, she would be shocked. Young men in greased clothes (and some with questionable dental hygiene) would whistle at her, call her pet names and openly gawk at her figure as she tried to pump gas at our main station. Disgusted, she would return home to her feminist book club and tell stories of the primal men who objectified her and cared little for her intellect.

She would call them “animals governed by their sexual urges,” or she might simply say they were rude and uncouth. At the same time, the men at the gas station would return back to the garage or the farm and tell their buddies about some “stuck-up yuppie” who couldn’t take a compliment and who was probably “one of them damn hippies down in Warshington who’s ruinin’ America.”

Drones Will Look For Stray Dogs In Houston


Drones, as low-cost flying machines, make great rescue tools. They can look and go places people can’t--or at least can’t go safely--and with infrared cameras, they can sometimes see beyond what human eyes can. In Houston, the World Animal Awareness Society plans to use them to track stray dogs, combining a drone's utility as a mapping device with its rescue abilities.

While the world has never been better documented than it is today, maps are static, which make them inaccurate at best for tracking transient populations. Counting the homeless populations in dense cities like San Francisco, even with hundreds of human volunteers on foot, is an incredibly hard undertaking with imperfect results. Mapping, counting, and tracking stray dogs before the advent of drone technology would have been impossible to the point of laughable, especially in such a vast city as Houston.


Can’t slow down on the road? Soon, your car can do it

WASHINGTON — Are you tired of getting speeding tickets, but you just can’t seem to drive as slowly as the signs instruct? Technology might, once again, be your best friend.

Engadget reports that Ford’s new Intelligent Speed Limiter will use a camera mounted on the dashboard to look for speed-limit signs and adjusts the speed accordingly.

The switch for the limiter is on the steering wheel, and you activate it like you would cruise control. Also, it also displays the speed limits and other warnings from road signs (no passing, etc.) on the dashboard.


Hispanic Activists Want Tougher Immigration Laws

HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Pedro Rivera is 53 years old, Hispanic, and a retired military man. He's also part of a growing number of Hispanic Texans pushing for stronger immigration enforcement, including the passage of SB 185, which would stop cities from implementing policies banning local cops from asking immigration-related questions.

“I'm an American citizen and I believe in the rule of law,” Rivera said. “And being Hispanic, I should not be granted special privilege in avoiding the law. We need officers to have all the tools available to them to keep us safe. That includes asking the question, when you're being detained for a crime or being arrested for an offense, ‘ are you here illegally? Are you a US citizen?'”

Rivera is working with Maria Espinoza, director of the Remembrance Project. Espinoza's Houston-based organization works with families of Americans killed by people in the United States illegally.

“This is a new initiative,” Espinoza said, of an effort to recruit Hispanic conservatives to speak out in support of SB 185.

Espinoza's new group, which isn't exclusive to people of Hispanic origin, traveled to Austin last week and asked lawmakers to stop Texas cities, like Houston , from adopting their own immigration related policies. It's not a new fight. The Texas Senate actually passed a similar measure in 2011. It prompted protests, then stalled before becoming state law. Espinoza says a lot has changed in four years.

“We have more Latinos who are behind this issue and also law enforcement,” she said. “We have (four) sheriffs who testified with us to remove sanctuary city policies.“

More here

Md. Bill Would Add School Funds To Address High Enrollment

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch is backing a measure to boost school construction money for counties experiencing high student enrollment growth.

The measure outlined Friday is sponsored by two Montgomery County Democrats: Del. Sheila Hixson and Sen. Nancy King.

The bill would provide roughly $20 million annually to be divided among counties where student enrollment growth exceeds 150 percent of the statewide average over the past five years. Counties with an average of more than 300 re-locatable classrooms in the past five years also would be eligible.


REDNECK CENSUS FORM Check appropriate box

First name:
[_] Billy-Bob
[_] Bobby-Sue
[_] Billy-Joe
[_] Bobby-Jo
[_] Billy-Ray
[_] Bobby-Ann
[_] Billy-Sue
[_] Bobby-Lee
[_] Billy-Mae
[_] Bobby-Ellen
[_] Billy-Jack
[_] Bobby-Beth Ann Sue
Age: ____ (if unsure, guess)
Sex: ____ M _____ F _____ Not sure
Shoe Size: ____ Left ____ Right
[_] Farmer
[_] Mechanic
[_] Hair Dresser
[_] Waitress
[_] Un-employed
[_] Dirty Politician
Spouse's Name: __________________________
2nd Spouse's Name: __________________________
3rdSpouse's Name: __________________________
Lover's Name: __________________________
2nd Lover's Name: __________________________
Relationship with spouse:
[_] Sister
[_] Aunt
[_] Brother
[_] Uncle
[_] Mother
[_] Son
[_] Father
[_] Daughter
[_] Cousin
[_] Pet
Number of children living in household: ___
Number of children living in shed: ___
Number of children that are yours: ___
Mother's Name: _______________________
Father's Name: _______________________
(If not sure, leave blank)
Education: 1 2 3 4 (Circle highest grade completed)
Do you [_] own or [_] rent your mobile home?
(Check appropriate box)
Vehicles you own and where you keep them:
___ Total number of vehicles you own
___ Number of vehicles that still crank
___ Number of vehicles in front yard
___ Number of vehicles in back yard
___ Number of vehicles on cement blocks
Firearms you own and where you keep them:
____ truck
____ kitchen
____ bedroom
____ bathroom
____ shed
Model and year of your pickup: _____________ 194__

Boardwalk Display Changes Eyed To Clarify Enforcement

OCEAN CITY – Proposed changes to the section of the City Code regarding display of outdoor merchandise on the Boardwalk aims to clarify confusion and allow for easier enforcement.

Last week the Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing concerning proposed changes to the City Code involving outdoor display of merchandise standards for properties fronting the Boardwalk.

The first proposed change was amending the title of the Boardwalk Development Association (BDA) to the Ocean City Development Corporation Boardwalk Committee (OCDCBC) due to the association joining forces with OCDC.

The main issue was OCDCBC had proposed to scratch, “Properties with a 32-foot setback from the Boardwalk are allowed a 12-foot display area adjacent to the building. The display area within the setback may not exceed 30 percent of the setback display area; the allowed amount of merchandise may be displayed no closer than 10 feet to the Boardwalk” and “Properties with less than a 32-foot setback from the Boardwalk area are allowed an 8 foot display area to the building. The display area within the setback may not exceed 30 percent pf the setback display area; the allowed amount of merchandise may be displayed no closer than 10 feet to the Boardwalk.”


Police now say California woman's kidnap report was a hoax

VALLEJO, Calif. (AP) — Investigators in Northern California say they were suspicious from the start of a boyfriend's report of the violent abduction of his girlfriend for an $8,500 ransom, yet had to take it seriously for the two days she was missing.

But on the same day Denise Huskins reappeared 400 miles away in Southern California, police revealed Wednesday that they had no evidence of any kidnapping, and instead believe the entire affair was a hoax concocted by the couple.

"It was such an incredible story, we initially had a hard time believing it," Vallejo police Lt. Kenny Park said of the abduction report from Aaron Quinn. "Upon further investigation we couldn't substantiate any of the things he was saying."

The investigation will now turn to Huskins, 29, and Quinn, 30, to determine whether they did anything illegal, Park said. He would not say whether the two may have had any accomplices.

The day began with what seemed to be a happy ending when Huskins showed up unharmed outside her father's apartment.


Veterans Appreciation Day

Why more U.S. colleges will go under in the next few years

When officials at Sweet Briar College announced earlier this month that the Virginia women's’ school would close at the end of this year, the news drew the attention of countless national media outlets and panicked alumnae looking for ways to save the school.

After all, how often does a “rich girl’s school,” as one student described Sweet Briar in the New York Times, just suddenly shut down?

It’s pretty rare for a more than 100-year-old school with a national reputation for a beautiful campus, close-knit community and accessible professors to just up and close. In the 10 years leading up to 2013, five nonprofit colleges and universities closed a year on average, according to a study from higher education researchers at Vanderbilt University. But the trend is likely to accelerate in the coming years, as colleges cope with lower tuition revenue due in part to lackluster enrollment, student worries about employment prospects and being saddled with debt after graduation.

“We expect that there will be more college closures over the next three to four years,” Susan Fitzgerald, a senior vice president at Moody’s. “I don’t think it’s going to be a landslide of college closures, but we are coming through a very tough period of time.”


Beef & Beer Fundraiser

It looks like this for-profit college could be in financial trouble

Apollo Education Group, the parent company of The University of Phoenix, announced its second-quarter earnings this morning, and things don't look great for the for-profit college.

The company's shares fell 16% to $23.39, on news that total enrollments were down 15% and revenues were down 14%.

Apollo Chief of Staff, Mark Brenner, acknowledged the declining enrollment numbers and said that it was a challenging quarter and that certain changes should be made to improve the downward trend.

"I think what we've learned over the last couple of quarters we need to continued to invest in creating a better student experience, we need to have the best online classroom for students ... and we need to provide outsize value for students and align all of the curriculum and all of the teaching to career relevant outcomes for students," Brenner told Business Insider.


Gay country star Steve Grand: ‘99% of the hate I get is from other gay people’

Steve Grand has claimed that the majority of hateful comments he gets online come from people in the gay community.

Grand shot to fame with the release of his gay-themed single All American Boy in 2013. Following one of the most successful Kickstarter music campaigns in the crowdfunding site’s history, he released his anticipated debut album last week.

In a new interview, the openly gay singer has revealed that “99% of the hate” that he gets online is from gay people who appear to think that he is trying to represent the entire gay community.


Thoughts From A Retired Person's Perspective

1. I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people. I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem work itself out. 

2. I changed my car horn to gunshot sounds. People move out of the way much faster now. 

3. You can tell a lot about a woman's mood just by her hands. If they are holding a gun, she's probably ticked. 

4. Gone are the days when girls cooked like their mothers. Now they drink like their fathers. 

5. You know that tingly little feeling you get when you really like someone you've just met? That's common sense leaving your body. 

6. I don't like making plans for the day. Because then the word "premeditated" gets thrown around in the courtroom a lot. 

7. I didn't make it to the gym today. That makes 1,500 days in a row. 

8. I decided to change calling the bathroom the John and renamed it the Jim. I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning. 

9. Dear paranoid people who check behind shower curtains for murderers. If you find one, what's your plan? 

10. Everyone has a right to be stupid. Politicians just abuse the privilege.

19 Photos Sure to Make You Cry

State Dept's Jen Psaki: Bowe Bergdahl Swap ‘Absolutely’ Worth It

Governor Hogan Announces Supplemental Budget Supporting Maryland State Police

Actions Will Provide Funding For 100 New Troopers, Reopen Annapolis Barrack

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Today at a swearing-in ceremony for Colonel William M. Pallozzi as superintendent of the Maryland State Police, Governor Hogan announced the administration’s plan to introduce a second supplemental budget, which, in part, will add funding for 100 new Maryland State Police troopers and reopen the barrack in Annapolis.

The announcement reaffirms the Hogan administration’s commitment to making sure that the Maryland State Police remains among the most effective, trusted, and respected police forces in the United States.

The supplemental budget will provide an additional $6.8 million to recruit, train, and equip 100 new troopers. These troopers will be added through two classes, the first of which is scheduled for graduation this year. It will also provide an additional $1.4 million to reopen the Maryland State Police “Barrack J” in Annapolis that was closed by the previous administration in 2008. The governor has instructed Colonel Pallozzi to begin the process of restoring “Barrack J” to an operational state within the next few months.


2016 brawl breaks out on Senate floor

Paul lashes Cruz, Rubio for ‘dangerous' and ‘reckless' positions on government spending.

The 2016 Republican nomination contest spilled onto the Senate floor Thursday, turning a marathon budget debate into a battle over which candidate is prepared to lead the country at a time of war.

Four GOP senators are trying to gain the upper hand on the commander-in-chief test — Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham — and their competition was on vivid display as the Senate took up a Rubio plan to pump tens of billions of dollars more into the Pentagon budget. Paul blasted the idea because the new spending wasn’t offset by other cuts. And caught in the middle was Cruz, who’s pitching himself as a fiscal conservative who can appeal to the hawkish and libertarian wings of the GOP but ultimately sided with Rubio and Graham.


Woolly Mammoth DNA Successfully Spliced Into Elephant Cells


A group of researchers are getting closer to bringing the extinct woolly mammoth back to life. Geneticist George Church’s lab at Harvard University successfully copied genes from frozen woolly mammoths and pasted them into the genome of an Asian elephant.

Using a DNA editing tool called CRISPR, the scientists spliced genes for the mammoths’ small ears, subcutaneous fat, and hair length and color into the DNA of elephant skin cells. The tissue cultures represent the first time woolly mammoth genes have been functional since the species went extinct around 4,000 years ago.

The research has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal “because there is more work to do,” Church told the U.K.’s Sunday Times, “but we plan to do so.”


The Words Hillary’s Supporters Won’t Let You Say

Do you work in the media and have the gall to think that the entire Webster’s dictionary is at your disposal? Think again, you sexist.

When it comes to reporting on Hillary Clinton, George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” have turned into “Twelve Words You Can Never Say About a Powerful Politician.”

“We will be watching, reading, listening and protesting coded sexism,” the pro-Hillary group HRC Super Volunteers warned The New York Times’ Amy Chozick Wednesday.

Here are the words that you can’t use to describe Clinton:


Yup. Nothing polarizing about this.


I usually pair this with the term “cold.” As in, “Cold War.” Or, “cold, loveless marriage.”


Like when chicks say “I’m not looking for anything serious.” Or, you know, “I’m on the pill.”

Or when, you know, Bill pretended he was crying about the death of Ron Brown when actually he was laughing.

More here

SPD Press Release 3-27-15 (Telephone Fraud Investigation)

Congressman Harris: State of Maryland Misled the Federal Government in Health Exchange Debacle

Harris Requested Audit of State Exchange

Congressman Andy Harris (MD-01) commended the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General for releasing their report on the failed Maryland Health Exchange and uncovering that the state of Maryland intentionally misled the federal government in allocating funds to the exchange. Congressman Harris, along with then Congressman Jack Kingston (GA-01), requested this audit of the Maryland Health Exchange after the disastrous rollout. The audit found that the state had misled the federal government and misallocated $28.4 million in taxpayer dollars to the failed health exchange. The Inspector General is recommending to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that Maryland be forced to repay the money in total.

“We knew the launch of the website was a disaster, but now we know the O’Malley Administration misallocated federal funds. This audit was critically important, and I believe the state will have to return the appropriate amount of money to the federal government. This is just another example of Governor Hogan having to clean up Governor O’Malley’s mistakes,” said Congressman Harris.
It is possible the state may be able to lower the number from $28.4m because the money could be recouped from Medicaid. This audit did not look at other items related to the exchange but focused solely on whether the state followed federal guidelines. The audit looked at failures of the state as a whole, and does not assign specific blame to individuals.

BREAKING NEWS: Al-Shabaab gunmen launch attack on Mogadishu hotel, reportedly killing 7

Gunmen belonging to the Al-Shabaab Islamic terrorist group in Somalia attack popular Mogadishu hotel, reportedly killing 7 and possibly taking hostages, local police say.


Delmar School District Teacher of the Year

Do you know a classroom teacher who is dedicated, inspiring, and making a difference? If so, please take the time to recommend this person by completing and submitting this nomination form on/before Wednesday, April 15. Administrators, staff members, parents, students, and community members are encouraged to participate. Each candidate will be scored based on the criteria below: 1. Have a superior ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn. 2. Be an exceptionally skilled and dedicated educator in a public or charter school. 3. Have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues; and 4. Demonstrate a strong ability to foster excellence in education as evidenced by ongoing contributions to the improvement of student learning and the learning environment. IMPORTANT Note: According to state guidelines, nominees shall be skillful and dedicated teachers, pre-kindergarten through grade 12. The nominee must not have been the District Teacher of


Wicomico County Middle and High School Band and Chorus Students Receive All Shore, All State, Regional Honors

Congratulations to the 2015 All Shore musicians and singers from Wicomico County Public Schools. All Shore Band honorees will participate in All Shore Band April 10-11 at Easton High School, with the concert at 7 p.m. April 11. The All Shore Chorus concert for both middle and high school students will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, April 17 at Wicomico High School in Salisbury. These concerts are open to the public for a small admission fee, and tickets may be purchased at the door.

Ten students from Wicomico Schools also earned 2015 All State recognition, and they performed at the Maryland Music Educators Conference. In addition to the students included in the listing below, Parkside High School’s Miyuki Schoyen, viola, was selected for All State Junior Orchestra, and James M. Bennett High’s Teresa Miller, soprano, was selected for All State Junior Chorus.

Honors for three students who earned recognition at the regional level are also noted. The school system’s music education opportunities are music educators are top-notch: Wicomico County Public Schools recently learned that it has received the 2015 Best Communities in the United States for Music Education Award from the NAMM Foundation.


Come Join Us Tonight!

Dark Gold Jazz is a 3 piece Jazz Band with R&B and Funk mix. Members are ken, Dave, and ruke. They start at 9. 


Fears of martial law as special ops set to swarm Texas and Southwest

Seven Southwestern states will soon be swarmed by 1,200 military special ops personnel as part of a controversial domestic military training in which some of the elite soldiers will operate undetected among civilians.

Operation Jade Helm begins in July and will last for eight weeks. Soldiers will operate in and around towns in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado where some of them wil drop from planes while carrying weapons loaded with blanks in what military officials have dubbed Realistic Military Training.

But with residents of the entire states of Texas and Utah dubbed 'hostile' for the purposes of the exercises, Jade Helm has some concerned the drills are too realistic.


CBS tries getting Ted Cruz on Obamacare question, response is LEGENDARY

The NAACP's Fomenters of Fear

They just can't help themselves — and their agenda-driven media enablers never, ever learn.

This week, the NAACP made national front-page headlines with a local press release demanding that the feds investigate the hanging death of a local man in Port Gibson, Miss. Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP Mississippi State Conference, immediately invoked the specter of a "hate crime." In response, the Obama Justice Department flooded the zone with a whopping 30 federal agents.

News outlets grabbed the bait. USA Today asked ominously: "Was it a lynching?" The discovery of ex-con Otis Byrd's body swinging from a tree by a bed sheet "brought back unpleasant memories of America's violent, racially charged past," the paper's video reporter asserted. Voice of America similarly intoned: "Mississippi hanging death raises lynching specter." The Los Angeles Times leaped into the fray with: "Why this story haunts the nation."

Whoa there, teeth-gnashing Nellies. Didn't we just recently witness the implosion of an NAACP-incited non-hate crime with the same exact narrative? Why, yes. Yes, we did.

Continued here

Tree sitter protesting new golf course falls onto ground

NEW ORLEANS — A man who had occupied a cypress tree for 11 days to block construction of a premier golf course in New Orleans' large public park has fallen and injured himself.

The man, identified as Lloyd Boover, fell out of the tree in City Park on Tuesday morning.


Top DHS official gave special favors to Hillary Clinton's brother

A top Department of Homeland Security official improperly used his influence to help Tony Rodham – Hillary Clinton's youngest brother – with visas for his company's foreign investors, according to a new inspector general report.

Investigators said Alejandro Mayorkas helped efforts to secure the visas in ways that created the appearance of favoritism and special access.

He also helped Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's green-car venture in 'unprecedented' fashion, according to the inspector general, and a casino company whose success was a pet project of then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Mayorkas was at the time in charge of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Mrs. Clinton's latest 'brother eruption' could complicate her quest for the White House.


Oil prices go crazy as Saudis go to war in Yemen

There’s nothing like a scare about the safety of middle-eastern sea-lanes to send oil prices higher, particularly when the scare involves fears of a conflict between the region’s two biggest powers.

Crude oil prices were back at their highest in two weeks at $51.32 a barrel by mid-morning in Europe, after Saudi Arabia and its allies launched airstrikes against the Houthi rebels who have overrun much of Yemen, including a military airbase that was used until recently by U.S. forces.

Prices have now surged 8% in the last 48 hours. The impact of the flare-up has been magnified by the fact that many participants in the market have bet on prices staying low all through the year. Those caught in ‘short’ positions have had to cover those positions in a hurry as the price rebounds. Fundamentally, though, the market remains oversupplied, and U.S. stocks of crude and fuel are at record highs.


House effort would completely dismantle Patriot Act

A pair of House lawmakers wants to completely repeal the Patriot Act and other legal provisions to dramatically rein in American spying.

Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) on Tuesday unveiled their Surveillance State Repeal Act, which would overhaul American spying powers unlike any other effort to reform the National Security Agency.

“This isn’t just tinkering around the edges,” Pocan said during a Capitol Hill briefing on the legislation. “This is a meaningful overhaul of the system, getting rid of essentially all parameters of the Patriot Act.”

The bill would completely repeal the Patriot Act, the sweeping national security law passed in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, as well as the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, another spying law that the NSA has used to justify collecting vast swaths of people's communications through the Internet.


Audit: Maryland misallocated $28.4M for health exchange

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A federal audit says Maryland misallocated $28.4 million in federal money for its flawed health care exchange and is recommending the state pay the money back.

The inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services is releasing the audit Friday.

It says Maryland misallocated costs to federal grants instead of the Medicaid program in 2013 and 2014. The audit says Maryland did not use updated estimated enrollment data when it became available.


Details emerge in Berlin vandalism

The Worcester County State’s Attorney’s office continues a quiet approach to the Jan. 25 vandalism spree in downtown Berlin suspected to have been perpetrated by a trio of teenagers, but more details continue to emerge from other sources.

According to a statement of charges, Berlin Police were dispatched to the municipal parking lot at 103 Williams Street at approximately 11:38 that evening in response to a call that several vehicles had been spray-painted.

Law enforcement logged 10 vehicles, three buildings, four trashcans and 10 electric meters tagged with spray paint at the site.

On the following morning, police received 23 additional reports of damaged vehicles and recovered several discarded cans of spray paint.


Thank God Its Friday 3-27-15

What will you be doing this weekend?

Somerset School System to be featured on National Broadcast

On Saturday, March 28th, 2015, at 5:00 P.M. EDT, the Fox Business Network will air a program that will discuss nationwide educational issues and some which are close to home. In this special edition half hour show, the work of Somerset County Public Schools and its efforts toward greater excellence and system-wide improvement will be featured. It is a show that informs the viewer of ideas and solutions being utilized to continue to improve our school system. A number of staff and students will be featured. Larry King will serve as the host.

Hilarious! Daredevil Grandma rides roller coaster for the first time


Congressman Harris: Taxpayer Dollars are Going to Pro-Abortion Groups

WASHINGTON, DC: Congressman Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01) condemned findings from a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report that revealed millions of federal taxpayer dollars are indeed going to fund abortion advocacy organizations. In February of 2013, Congressman Harris and several of his colleagues in the House urged the GAO to investigate how much federal funding went to several abortion advocacy organizations, such as Planned Parenthood. The report found that from 2010 to 2012, the six abortion advocacy groups received $481 million in federal funding, in addition to $1.2 billion in combined federal and state funds within federal health programs that call for shared funding.

“This new report clearly shows that we are in violation of the Hyde Amendment, giving federal taxpayer funds to organizations that perform abortion procedures. As a physician, I find it hard to believe that Planned Parenthood, an organization where 94% of their services are made up of abortions, is not using any of their federal funding for these procedures,” said Congressman Harris.

Under the Hyde Amendment, no federal dollars are to be used to fund abortions, except for in cases of rape and incest. Planned Parenthood performed 327,653 abortions in 2013, yet they only provided 1,880 adoption referrals and 18,684 prenatal services in the same time. They are the largest abortion provider in the United States, and the GAO report found that, despite the Hyde Amendment, they receive more than $500 million a year in federal funding.

Since coming to Congress in 2010, Congressman Harris has fought for pro-life issues, including ensuring that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, a position shared by a majority of Americans.


State Superintendent of Schools Approves Wicomico's Three-Day Waiver Request; Last Day of School Will Be June 17

Maryland Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lillian Lowery has notified Superintendent Dr. John Fredericksen that the request by Wicomico County Public Schools for a waiver of three missed school days has been approved, making it possible for Wicomico to end the 2014-2015 school year on Wednesday, June 17. The last three days (June 15, 16 and 17) will be early dismissal days. The state superintendent, in granting the waiver request, said Wicomico has met the minimum threshold for instructional hours, and that it has modified the school calendar to make up six of the nine days missed due to weather and road conditions.

Wicomico’s waiver request letter included the change of a professional day to a regular school day (April 7) and the extension of the school year by five days (June 11, 12, 15, 16, 17) to make up six of the nine missed days. The Board approved the following calendar revisions last month and at the March Board meeting:

Tuesday, March 31: Early dismissal day for students, with schools dismissing two hours early for students to give teachers time for professional development work. (This had previously been scheduled as a full school day, but is now an early dismissal day.)

Tuesday, April 7: Regular school day (Professional day on that date moved to June, after the end of the school year). Wicomico students and schools will now have a regular school day on Tuesday, April 7 to make up one missed day. April 7 had been scheduled as a professional day, with part of the day for SLOs (Student Learning Objectives). Now, teachers will have time on March 31 to work on their SLOs. Parents and guardians of students who will be absent on April 7 due to prior family plans must provide the school with written notice before April 7 for the student to have an excused absence for that school day.

Thursday, June 11-Wednesday, June 17: Wicomico students will make up five of the nine missed school days by attending on these days, as stated on the approved 2014-2015 calendar. June 15, 16 and 17 will be early dismissal days.

Friday, June 19: Last day for teachers

Note: Bennett Middle School students will end the school year on Friday, June 5, as time is needed to relocate teachers, staff and equipment to the new Bennett Middle and to begin the decommissioning of the current Bennett Middle School.

WWI photos

Lest we forget
Photos, A Century Later

Hammer Time

Beer Goggles

Salisbury Advisory Council on Youth Activities Offers Summer Youth Sports Programs

Salisbury, MD – The Salisbury Advisory Council on Youth Activities (SACYA) will offer three youth sports programs this summer.

Tee Ball for boys and girls ages 4 – 6 will be held June 13 – July 25 (no program on July 4) on Saturdays from 8 – 9 a.m. at Billy Gene Jackson Jr. Park. Participants should bring their own glove. The program fee is $15 per participant.

Youth Tennis for boys and girls ages 7 – 15 will be held June 13 – July 25 (no program on July 4) on Saturdays from 8 – 9 a.m. at Billy Gene Jackson Jr. Park. Participants should bring their own tennis racket. The program fee is $20 per participant.

Youth Golf Lessons for boys and girls ages 7 – 17 will be held June 24 – July 29 on Wednesdays from 10 – 11 a.m. Lessons will be held at Billy Gene Jackson Jr. Park, UMES and Horse Bridge Golf Course. Golf clubs are recommended, but not required to participate. Lessons will be led by William Dillon of UMES. The program fee is $20 per participant.

Registration for these programs is open now through May 31 online or in person at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center Box Office (500 Glen Avenue, Salisbury, M – F, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.). For more information, contact Cortney Kline at 410-548-4900 x 109 or

Congressman Harris Applauds Veterans Choice Program Change

Harris has been outspoken advocate for this change

Congressman Andy Harris, M.D., a Navy veteran and physician who worked in both the military and veteran health systems, applauded the Department of Veterans’ Affairs announcement that will change the formula to determine eligibility in the Veterans Choice Program. Congressman Harris has repeatedly urged the VA to reconsider how they measure the 40 mile distance necessary to take part in the Veterans Choice Program and seek care from a private medical facility. The VA will now determine eligibility based on driving distance, instead of a straight line distance.

“Our veterans put their lives on the line for our nation; they deserve the best possible care, whether they seek it at the VA or a private facility. The change in policy for the Veterans Choice Program is great news for our veterans who have suffered long distances to get routine care. Many veterans will now have a choice in their health care,” said Congressman Harris.

The Veterans Choice Program was created by the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA), which was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President last August. Many of the veterans in Maryland’s First District that live on the Eastern Shore are separated from VA facilities in Baltimore by the Chesapeake Bay and must travel long distances to receive care.

“During my training, I worked in a VA hospital and I understand the bureaucratic mess that has done a disservice to those who have fought to protect our freedom. I will continue to fight for our veterans to ensure that they receive the care they need and deserve,” added Congressman Harris.

Congressman Harris has been a vocal leader in the fight to reform the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

For more information on the policy change, visit the VA’s website.