Maryland Says It Intends To Deny Permit To Continue Operating Conowingo Dam

Map of Maryland highlighting Cecil County

Map of Maryland highlighting Cecil County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A week after a report found that dams in Lancaster County and Maryland are no longer trapping polluting farm and urban stormwater runoff, the Maryland Department of the Environment says it plans to deny a water-quality permit renewal to the Conowingo Dam.

Exelon, the owner of the hydroelectric dam on the Susquehanna River in Cecil County, Maryland, has been seeking relicensing renewal from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The dam also needs a water-quality permit from Maryland to operate.

The state’s Department of the Environment says Exelon hasn’t fully supported its contention that the dam’s reduced ability to trap sediment is not harming the Chesapeake Bay, about 10 miles downriver, the Associated Press reported.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/maryland-says-it-intends-to-deny-permit-to-continue-operating/article_c91f5770-7198-11e4-bd9a-071fc8f2b5d3.html

UTILITIES SCRAMBLE TO RESTORE POWER IN PA., MD.

Editor’s note:  Ash, you’re a class act!

HARRISBURG, PA (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of people spent a second day without electricity Thursday as utility crews from as far away as Canada and Arkansas scrambled to restore power lost when ice took down trees and limbs in the mid-Atlantic. Forecasters said a bone-chilling cold would remain in place for days.

Nearly a half-million customers lacked power in Pennsylvania and Maryland. In Pennsylvania, where most of the outages were located, officials likened the scope of the damage to a hurricane. Some who might not get power back for several days sought warmth — or at least somewhere to recharge their batteries — in shopping malls, public libraries and hastily established shelters.

One cafe in downtown Pottstown gave about 15 free meals to people without power, encouraged them to plug in devices and even let a few get a warm shower.

“It’s just kind of giving back to the community — there’s no other purpose of this,” said iCreate Cafe owner Ashraf Khalil.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/storm-leaves-hundreds-thousands-dark

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Police Disable Devices Found In Maryland Gunman’s Bag

English: Mall of Columbia interior Photo by up...

English: Mall of Columbia interior Photo by uploader, released to public domain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What happened A shooting at a suburban mall Saturday morning in Columbia, Md. left three people dead, including the suspected shooter.

The suspect and motive Police believe the shooting, which took place in or around the Zumiez skate shop in The Mall in Columbia, was a murder-suicide.

Police said Saturday night that they had found and disabled “two crude devices that appeared to be an attempt at making explosives using fireworks.” The suspect was also carrying a lot of ammunition, police said.

But the motive of the suspected shooter, an as-yet unidentified man, has not been determined and police said Saturday they didn’t yet know whether the shooting was random or whether he may have known the victims.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140125/police-disable-devices-found-in-md-gunmans-bag

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Fulton Financial To Cut 14 Branches, Including 1 In Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fulton Financial is closing 14 branches, including one in Lancaster County, as part of a cost-cutting program worth $8 million annually.

The action was disclosed Wednesday by E. Philip Wenger, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Wenger spoke during a conference call to discuss Fulton’s fourth-quarter and 2013 results with analysts who follow the firm.

Fulton is closing six branches in Pennsylvania, five in Maryland and three in New Jersey by the end of the second quarter.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/business/local_business/fulton-financial-to-cut-branches-including-in-lancaster-county/article_10b11eee-8436-11e3-bf19-001a4bcf6878.html

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Proposed Power Plant On Lancaster County-Maryland Line Would Mean New Gas Pipeline And Water Line In Solanco

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A proposed $675 million natural gas power plant on the Lancaster County-Maryland line would mean a new 9-mile gas pipeline and a 7-mile water line through southern Lancaster County.

Williams, the Tulsa-based company that would build the $80 million 20-inch Rock Springs gas line in Drumore and Fulton townships,  is holding a public workshop to explain the project and receive feedback from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at Solanco High School in Quarryville.

There will be detailed aerial maps of the proposed pipeline’s route.

There should be plenty of interest.

Read more:  http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/926945_Proposed-power-plant-on-Lancaster-County-Maryland-line-would-mean-new-gas-pipeline-and-water-line-in-Solanco.html#ixzz2mS0QQABj

Postal Service Is On Its Last Legs, With Little Help In Sight

English: U.S. Post Office Lincoln Branch in Ma...

English: U.S. Post Office Lincoln Branch in Madison Township near Mansfield, Ohio. This United States Postal Service branch closed its doors at 4:30 p.m. on Friday February 11, 2011 due to the fiscal crisis that the United States Postal Service is in as of 2010-2011 and the drastic decline in mail volume. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON — With a wide grin and a quick step, letter carrier Kenny Clark brings more than the day’s mail to the people on his route in suburban Maryland.

Clark, 49, greets nearly everyone he sees by name. He puts packages under eaves on overcast days to keep them dry, reminds people to retrieve keys they might have left in keyholes, and shouts a quick “You OK?” at the doors of seniors.

“He’s a neighborhood icon — him and his truck,” said Amy Dick, who lives on Clark’s route.

But his future, and that of the U.S. Postal Service, is in doubt. The Postal Service lost $1.9 billion between January and March, and $15.9 billion last year. The 238-year-old institution loses $25 million each day, and has reached its borrowing limit with the federal Treasury. Daily mail delivery could be threatened within a year, officials say.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/la-na-postal-service-20130528,0,4812985.story

Baltimore City Council Approves Tax Break For New Apartments

Developers converting older office buildings into apartments or building new complexes could get a significant tax break under a measure the Baltimore City Council approved Monday.

The legislation is aimed at addressing a glut of vacancies in office buildings downtown, encouraging new or converted apartments in six other neighborhoods, and drawing new residents to the city.

The list of requirements to qualify for the tax break is short: The development must be in one of the seven areas, must be a project involving at least 50 apartment units, and must have an environmentally friendly certification.  Supporters said this tax break would be more “predictable” for developers, who typically have to lobby City Hall for individual incentives.

“It can open up the development market to outside developers,” said Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, which lobbied for the credit.  “Before, developers had to know the system in order to access some [tax] credits. It will create more predictability and transparency.”

Read more:  http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-apartment-tax-incentive-20130408,0,332010.story

Snow: Lots In D.C., Less For Philly

The storm dubbed Saturn by the Weather Channel and Snowquester by the Washington Post is shaping up as a major event for D.C. and Baltimore, less so in the Philadelphia area.

West Virginia and western Virginia could see a foot-and-a-half of snow and areas closer to I-95 in Virginia and Maryland could see 10 inches of heavy wet snow that “will lead to power outages,” according to the National Weather Service.  Snow is expected there thoughout the day into the evening.  Federal offices in Washington closed this morning.

This morning’s revised forecast for most of the Philadelphia area, though, is calling for rain today that will start turning to snow in the early evening, producing an accumulation of perhaps two to four inches by Thursday morning.

Chester and Lancaster Counties, though, could see snow all day, with slushy conditions at first, as temperatures will be above freezing. But the snow could be heavy at times and accumulate more overnight, perhaps up to four inches.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Snow_Lots_in_DC_less_for_Philly.html

A Super Bowl Victory That Was Baltimore To The Bone

English:

English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With a parade on Tuesday, the city will celebrate a world championship that was Baltimore to the bone — perfectly imperfect, an overachievement by an underdog and a surprise to sneering outsiders.

“I tell you what, we don’t make it easy,” said an uncharacteristically eloquent Joe Flacco as the Ravans quarterback held the Lombardi trophy, savored his selection as the Super Bowl’s most valuable player and, in this town, elevation to Johnny Unitas status.  “But that’s the way the city of Baltimore is, that’s the way we are.  We did this for them back home.

Though it started out that way, there was nothing easy about the Ravens’ win in the Big Easy.  Even the lights went out in the Superdome.

Read more:   http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-rodricks-0205-20130204,0,1206003.column

Sparrows Point Purchased For $72 Million By Plant Liquidator

Steel mill workers were hoping for an operator, but none show at auction

BETHLEHEM STEEL PLANT AT SPARROWS POINT - NARA...

BETHLEHEM STEEL PLANT AT SPARROWS POINT – NARA – 546808 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A liquidation firm won the bidding for Sparrows Point, offering $72 million for the Baltimore County steel mill — less than a tenth of what the complex sold for just four years earlier — and realizing the worst fears of its roughly 2,000 employees.

Mill advocates vowed to push for a miracle to keep steelmaking going there.  The local United Steelworkers union had hoped for a steelmaker would buy and restart the mill — idled after owner RG Steel filed for bankruptcy in May.  But no steelmaking companies showed up to bid at the Tuesday afternoon auction in New York, said Joe Rosel, president of Local 9477 in Locust Point.

The mill’s general manager, Glenn Mikaloff, sent an email to managers late Tuesday that identified Hilco as the winner and the size of its bid.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/bs-bz-sparrows-point-sold-20120808,0,1409767.story

Former Bethlehem Steel Property To Idle

 

BETHLEHEM STEEL PLANT AT SPARROWS POINT - NARA...

BETHLEHEM STEEL PLANT AT SPARROWS POINT – NARA – 546882 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The owner of the financially ailing Sparrows Point steel plant is idling operations there, warning 1,975 workers Thursday that they would be laid off starting next month.

The news, which casts doubt on the future of the Baltimore County facility that was once owned by Bethlehem Steel, came as RG Steel is shopping the steel mill and its other assets to potential buyers.

RG Steel informed the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations that layoffs would begin June 4 and continue through June 18. The state said the company would be laying off 1,714 hourly and 261 salaried workers, losses that would be a significant blow to the economy.

For years, the plant has faced uncertainty before last-minute deals salvaged the mill. RG Steel is the latest owner to try to sustain steel production at the once-flourishing facility.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-allentown-sparrows-point-idle-20120525,0,7750660.story

Stink Bug News

There’s a new sheriff in town for stink bugs. The EPA is temporarily permitting orchards to use the pesticide dinotefuran. Dinotefuran is normally used on leafy plants but the EPA is allowing orchards to use this weapon to combat stink bugs in PA, MD and NJ. The pesky bugs have been responsible for destroying as much as 40% of some orchards crop!

Back at the ranch, the USDA is working away on a biological weapon but that is at least a year away from being ready. This temporary pesticide exemption is to help farmers combat the voracious stink bugs until the biological weapon can be deployed.

For more information on dinotefuran, click here:
http://www.mitsuichemicals.com/dinotefuran.htm

 

Limerick Acme To Close In February

Acme closed their Collegeville Shopping Center store and moved it to 31 W. Ridge Pike, next to the new Court At Upper Providence Shopping Center, a few years ago.  Now it would seem the “new store” is under performing due to competition from Giant, Target and Wegman’s and will close by the end of February.

With the departure of Acme from Ridge Pike, the closest Acme stores within a 20 mile radius of zip code 19468 are Phoenixville, Norristown, Lansdale and King of Prussia.

The Wayne Acme is also on the chopping block along with three stores in New Jersey and one in Maryland.

Another big empty building!  Ironically, the old store in Collegeville was doing much better!  Just proves the grass is not always greener!

More Cheery Economic News

Maryland state welcome sign, along Interstate ...

Image via Wikipedia

Bankruptcies are on the rise in a big way.  Maryland, which ranks 21st out of 50 states for bankruptcy filings, has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people filing for bankruptcy since 2007, when the recession began.

In 2007, 11,200 bankruptcy cases were filed.  In 2008 the number increased 46% and in 2009 the number again increased 36% for a total of 29,000 Marylanders filing for bankruptcy.  This statistic includes business and personal filings.

Nationally, bankruptcies increased 20% last year.  1.6 million Americans filed for bankruptcy in the fiscal period ending June 30, 2010. This compares to 1.3 million filings for the same 12 month period ending June 30, 2009.

In October 2005 bankruptcy laws were changed due to people abusing the system.  These recent figures have returned to levels prior to the 2005 changes.

York County Benefits From Maryland’s Northern Migration

For whatever reason, Marylanders are crossing the Mason-Dixon Line and moving into southern York County.

According to the US Census Department, during the last decade housing units increased in York County by 12.8%.  Northern migration from Maryland was a substantial part of that gain, according to Steve Snell, executive director of the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties.

I wonder what is luring these people out of Maryland?  The adjacent Maryland counties are Hanford, Baltimore and Carroll.