Local News

Governor Larry Hogan Proposes Major Investments for Maryland Environment, Chesapeake Baynts for Maryland Environment, Chesapeake Bay

ANNAPOLIS, MD -  For the fifth year in a row, Governor Larry Hogan has proposed major funding for restoring the Chesapeake Bay and protecting the environment and well-being of Marylanders.
“Through his funding priorities, Governor Hogan continues to demonstrate unprecedented support for initiatives that protect our lands and waters and prepare our citizens for the future,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton.
“This year’s budget continues to advance in major and innovative ways the Hogan administration’s leadership in restoring the Chesapeake Bay and tackling climate change,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles.
“Maryland farmers are often recognized as the gold standard for soil and water conservation,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “This budget reflects the strong commitment the Hogan administration, our state agencies, and the agriculture industry have to improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay and protecting our natural resources. I fully support this budget that will ensure our farmers continue to be national leaders in conservation.”
The fiscal year 2020 budget continues Governor Hogan’s commitment to fully fund transfer tax programs – including Program Open Space – with no diversions of special fund relief revenue to the general fund. Programs funded by the transfer tax receive $267.5 million, a $14.5 million increase from FY 2019. The money provides additional support for state and local land conservation and recreation programs, Maryland Park Service operations, and capital maintenance and development projects in state parks.The budget includes $3.5 million in Payments in Lieu of Taxes for counties with the highest acreage of state-owned protected and preserved lands.
The budget also includes $117.1 million in Bay Restoration Funding (BRF) that supports grants to upgrade major municipal sewage treatment plants, cover crops, and grants for other nutrient reduction programs such as sewer hookups for failing septic systems -- all in support of a cleaner Chesapeake Bay. Included in that money is $10 million in BRF money -- a $4 million addition over FY19’s $6 million appropriation -- authorized by the Clean Water Commerce Act to purchase cost-effective nitrogen, phosphorus, or sediment load reductions.
In addition, the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund will receive $53.6 million, which is the fourth year in a row that the Hogan administration has fully funded that fund for Bay restoration efforts. Governor Hogan also proposes to double the tax credit for zero-emissions vehicles, which will assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and nitrogen pollution in the bay.
The Hogan administration continues to emphasize climate resiliency and preparedness, such as Coast Smart and Climate Resiliency programs and new funding for the Flood Hazard Mitigation Fund, which will fund capital projects that assist with comprehensive flood management techniques in the aftermath of Maryland’s wettest year on record. MDE’s Energy-Water Infrastructure Program has $13.3 million in continuing funds for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and combined heat and power projects at water and wastewater treatment plants to help reduce the cost of treating water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
For the third year in a row, $2.5 million is provided to help young farmers acquire farmland to implement sustainable agricultural practices under the Next Generation Farmland Acquisition program. The budget also includes $200,000 to match county contributions towards efforts to control nuisance insects.

Shutdown Stress Could Increase Heart Disease Risk

Annapolis, MD – As the partial government shutdown continues, medical professionals are urging people to be mindful of the unseen effects on federal workers and their families, including prolonged stress that could put them at risk for health troubles, including heart disease. 
Stress can affect a person's mental and physical health in many ways, and as the government shutdown keeps many in financial stress, a new study shows fluctuating personal income may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease. According to research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, sudden drops in personal income during adulthood nearly double the risk of death, and more than double the risk for heart disease. Although the study is observational and not designed to prove cause and effect, cardiologist Reggie Robinson says it acknowledges the social determinants of health, rather than focusing on diet and exercise.
"But there are a lot of social factors – like this income volatility and poverty, and loss of job – can play a huge role on long-term health outcomes, which showed in this study." says Dr. Reggie Robinson, cardiologist, MedStar Cardiology Associates, LLC.
The study began in 1990 tracking nearly four-thousand participants in cities across the country between ages 23 and 35. The research also found women and African Americans are more likely to experience high income volatility and income drops than white men.
Even though the research looked at a younger population, Robinson says the conclusions can easily apply to other age groups – especially considering that as people get older, they develop more risk factors, many of which can be triggered by worrying too much.
"That acid build up in the stomach from all the stress that you may have may lead to potentially increasing your risk of having ulcers and inflammation in the stomach or esophagus. It's something that's probably under-appreciated, how work-life stress can impact your health."
While it's easier said than done, Robinson recommends finding time to exercise or meditate, discuss issues with friends and just take a deep breath from time to time to reduce stress. He recommends trying these natural measures before pursuing any that involve drugs.

Governor Larry Hogan Announces Fiscal Year 2020 BGovernor Larry Hogan Announces Fiscal Year 2020 Budgetudget

ANNAPOLIS, MD - Governor Larry Hogan today announced major items in the administration’s fiscal year 2020 budget, which will be officially submitted on Friday, January 18. The governor’s budget fully funds not only the administration’s priorities, but also all legislative mandated spending programs without raising taxes, cutting services, or raiding dedicated special funds. The budget leaves $1.3 billion in reserves and continues – for the fifth straight year – to fund K-12 public education at an all-time record level.
“Once again, we will provide historically high, record funding for K-12 education - our fifth consecutive budget to do so,” said Governor Hogan. “Not only will every single penny that every single jurisdiction anticipates from the state for education be fully funded at 100 percent, but every single school system in Maryland will again see increased investment by the state.”
The FY 2020 budget continues the Hogan administration’s legacy of fiscal responsibility, adhering to recommendations from the Spending Affordability Committee and maintaining structural balance while making vital investments in education, healthcare, and job creation. This budget also makes prudent use of what is likely a one-time surplus to both save for the future and make critical infrastructure investments. More than $1.3 billion has been set aside to guard against any potential downturn in the economy while still investing $3.3 billion in Maryland’s transportation network and nearly $250 million for a wide range of improvements to facilities or projects that provide services to Maryland citizens, including $63 million in critical maintenance funding to Maryland higher education institutions.
“As a direct result of our fiscal discipline, belt-tightening, and business-friendly policies over the past four years, our state has had one of the best economic turnarounds in the nation,” said Governor Hogan. “We must remain vigilant about maintaining savings in order to be better prepared for those times when more flexibility is needed, while also making necessary, targeted one-time investments. That is what our budget has once again accomplished.”
The FY 2020 general fund operating budget totals $19.5 billion, continuing to provide record investment in the administration’s top priority – education. This budget provides $6.9 billion toward our public schools, going above and beyond the levels required by state aid programs. Aid to local schools grows by $347 million, which is the administration’s largest increase to date. The budget also reserves $200 million in state funding to implement the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission.
The governor’s proposed budget also includes the initial investment in the “Building Opportunity Fund,” a transformative and historic five-year, $3.5 billion school construction program. Reflecting that, this year’s school construction budget totals more than $438 million, the most ever in one year.
This budget continues our commitment to our world-class higher education system, providing a record $1.45 billion in state funds for the University System of Maryland, a 4.2 percent increase over last year. This includes $20 million, twice the level of last year, to develop academic programs in science, engineering, cybersecurity, and other critical areas. For the fourth year in a row, undergraduate tuition growth at Maryland’s public four-year institutions will be limited to 2 percent. In addition, this budget includes record funding for the 15 local community colleges funded through the Cade formula and provides funding for the Community College Promise Scholarship and the Governor’s Promise Plus Scholarship. Further, the capital budget includes $325 million for higher education projects.
Since taking office, the Hogan administration has delivered on the promise to grow the private sector, be more friendly to both businesses and families, create jobs, and turn Maryland’s economy around, going from losing 100,000 jobs to gaining more than 120,000 jobs, while delivering $1.2 billion in tax, toll, and fee relief. New this year, in order to encourage investments in Opportunity Zones all over the state, the budget dedicates $56.5 million toward attracting new or expanding businesses and developing our workforce.  
The FY 2020 budget reaffirms Governor Hogan’s commitment to environmental stewardship, once again fully funding important environmental programs including Program Open Space, the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays 2010 Trust Fund, and the Maryland Park Service, along with increasing incentives for zero-emission vehicles.
The budget also continues to ensure that Maryland’s most vulnerable citizens have access to critical healthcare services and other important programs by containing nearly $11.5 billion for Maryland’s Medicaid program, which provides health coverage to nearly 1.4 million Marylanders, including more than 153,000 children through the Maryland Children’s Health Program. The budget also includes nearly a quarter billion dollars for substance use disorder services, an increase of 20 percent over FY 2019.
This budget invests in Maryland’s dedicated state employees, providing at least a 3 percent raise to every state worker. Further, in order to improve the recruitment and retention of vital correctional officers at state facilities, the governor has allocated $13.1 million toward an additional 4 percent increase for these officers, along with $7.6 million to extend a bonus program through the rest of the current year.
The FY 2020 budget also accounts for the governor's proposals for targeted tax relief, including expanding the More Jobs for Marylanders tax credit to include all 149 Opportunity Zones across the state, expanding the Hometown Heroes program, expanding the types of retirement income that are excluded from taxation, and to help all Marylanders make college more affordable, increasing the deduction for contributions to a 529 investment plan from $2,500 to $5,000 and increasing the permitted tax deduction on student loan interest to 100 percent.
Below are highlights of the FY 2020 Budget:
Investing in Education:
For the fifth consecutive year, the Hogan administration is providing record funding for K-12 education. The FY 2020 budget includes a $6.9 billion state investment in Maryland’s public schools, fully funding state aid programs. Aid to local schools grows by $347 million, the largest increase to date under Governor Hogan.
The governor’s education budget goes above and beyond required statutory funding formulas to ensure that every Maryland jurisdiction receives more direct education aid than in FY 2019. Baltimore City will receive an additional $11.1 million and Cecil County nearly $800,000.
This year’s school construction budget totals more than $438 million, the most ever in one year.
Consistent with passage of the constitutional amendment establishing the education “lockbox,” $125 million in gaming revenues are dedicated to the following educational enhancements: $65 million for school construction (including $20 million to start a revolving loan fund to assist local jurisdictions), $15 million for prekindergarten expansion, $4.5 million for Learning in Extended Academic Programs (LEAP) to provide extended academic programming for at-risk students at schools, $2.5 million for the Maryland Early Literacy Initiative, $2 million for innovative Career Technology Education programs, $250,000 to expand teacher recruitment and outreach, and $35.8 million for future initiatives as determined by the Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education.
In addition, $200 million in state funding remains reserved to implement recommendations of the Kirwan Commission.
The budget includes $300,000 to establish three new P-TECH schools in Maryland, bringing total funding for P-TECH schools to $1.2 million.
$20 million in state funding is included to expand access to prekindergarten throughout the state, bringing total state enhancement funding to $43.5 million. Under the Hogan administration, state funding to expand access to prekindergarten education has grown by 1,011 percent.
The Hogan administration has taken great strides this past year to enhance the Child Care Subsidy program, raising subsidy rates by 8 percent, eliminating the waitlist, and doubling income eligibility requirements. The FY 2020 budget includes an additional $34 million for the program to implement these policy changes and further increase subsidy rates.
State aid for local Head Start programs grows to $3 million in FY 2020, an increase of $1.2 million compared to FY 2019.
The Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) Program grows by $3 million to $10 million, fulfilling the governor’s commitment to double funding for the program over three years. BOOST provides scholarships for low-income students from areas with underperforming schools to attend non-public schools, giving them the opportunity for a better education.
The governor’s budget includes a record $1.45 billion in state funds for the University System of Maryland (USM), a $58.5 million or 4.2 percent increase over FY 2019.
Morgan State University receives $100.9 million in state funds, a $4.1 million increase from the current year. Nearly half of this increase will support deferred maintenance efforts to improve campus facilities and the remainder will be used for accreditation efforts, laboratory facility enhancements, and conversion of contractual employees to regular employees.
Statutory funding for St. Mary’s College of Maryland grows by 3.5 percent to $25.9 million.
The governor’s budget includes record funding for the 15 local community colleges funded through the Cade formula. The governor’s FY 2020 budget includes $268 million, a $7 million or 2.7 percent increase over FY 2019, in formula and non-formula grant funding.
Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) receives $40.2 million in state support in FY 2020.
The Sellinger program for Maryland’s independent colleges and universities is funded at a record $59.4 million, or $3.2 million over FY 2019.
For the fourth year in a row, growth in resident undergraduate tuition at Maryland’s public four-year institutions is held to 2 percent.
School Safety and Accountability:
The FY 2020 budget continues Governor Hogan’s commitment to supporting school safety with $10 million in capital grants to local school systems to make safety-related improvements to school facilities; an additional $3.5 million is included for safety improvements at non-public schools.
$10.6 million is provided for local school systems to hire school resource officers and to implement other best practices; approximately $400,000 is provided to support new school resource officers at the Maryland School for the Deaf.
The governor’s budget doubles to $2 million the amount available for upgrades and security personnel for schools and child care centers in Maryland deemed at-risk for hate crimes.
An additional $1.4 million and 11 positions are included to support the newly created Education Monitoring Unit and Office of Compliance and Oversight, enabling the Maryland State Department of Education and the State Board of Education to evaluate and investigate allegations of misconduct and corruption in local school systems.
Creating Jobs and Expanding Opportunities for Businesses:
As part of a series of initiatives proposed by Governor Hogan to further expand Maryland’s Opportunity Zone program, the FY 2020 operating budget includes $56.5 million in new funding to attract businesses and development and to continue to invest in Maryland’s workforce.
$16 million is provided to create the Maryland Technology Infrastructure Fund under TEDCO, as part of a long-term plan to leverage more than $500 million in planned investment over the next decade.
An additional $6 million in tax credits will be made available for companies that locate or expand in a Maryland Opportunity Zone - an amount increasing to $24 million over time.
$3 million is being invested to establish “Opportunity Works,” a job training program for businesses located in Opportunity Zones as part of the state’s nationally recognized Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) program.
In addition to the $3 million for Opportunity Works, the FY 2020 budget includes $8 million for the EARN program, which continues as a leader of innovative and industry-led workforce development initiatives for the state.
Governor Hogan’s FY 2020 budget also includes $8 million for tax credits for manufacturing employers that create jobs in qualifying high-unemployment zones, established under the More Jobs for Marylanders Act of 2017.
The new public school construction initiative announced by Governor Hogan is estimated to create more than 27,000 new jobs during the five-year construction period.
Governor Hogan’s budget provides first-time funding of $1 million toward TEDCO’s Minority Pre-Seed Investment Fund, which provides financial and operational support for entrepreneurs from socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Governor Hogan’s budget maintains $12 million for the Biotechnology Investment Incentive Tax Credit and $2 million for the Cybersecurity Investment Incentive Tax Credit. In addition, businesses purchasing cybersecurity technology or services from Maryland companies will be eligible for up to $4 million in tax credits in 2019.
The governor’s budget provides $28 million in FY 2020 for the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund, the state’s most powerful economic development tool, a $3 million increase over the current year.
Tourism and the Arts:
The Maryland State Arts Council grows by $1.7 million, to $24.4 million in total funds - an all-time high.
In addition, Governor Hogan’s budget provides an additional $610,000 for the Tourism Development Board, bringing total funding to $10.2 million.
Building for the Future – Transportation & Infrastructure:
Investments in Maryland’s Transportation network totaling $3.3 billion include almost $1.7 billion for state highways, $221 million for the Purple Line Transitway, and $167 million in capital improvements for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).
The FY 2020 budget includes $255.9 million in Highway User Revenue funds to local jurisdictions, this is a $24 million increase from last year.
Treatment, Safety, and Correctional Services:
The FY 2020 governor’s allowance includes $247.8 million in general funds for substance use disorder services, a $41.8 million or 20 percent increase over FY 2019 levels.
Demonstrating the state’s commitment to combating the heroin/opioid epidemic, the number of substance use treatment beds licensed by the Behavioral Health Administration has more than doubled from nearly 1,500 in January 2017 to more than 3,300 in September 2018.
Funding dedicated to existing non-Medicaid substance abuse disorder and addiction programs totals nearly $172 million in FY 2020.
The budget includes $66 million over two years in new federal grants to initiate and expand opioid prevention and treatment services.
In keeping with the governor’s five-year $50 million commitment, the FY 2020 budget includes the third installment of $10 million to fund the activities of the Opioid Operational Command Center, which will now be housed within the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.
To expand behavioral health crisis response programs and services, the governor’s budget provides $3 million for grants to local behavioral health authorities.
The governor’s capital budget includes more than $6 million to support the development of addiction treatment centers and $2 million for recovery centers.
In FY 2020, Police Aid to Local Governments is funded at $74.8 million and Local Law Enforcement Grants are funded at $47.7 million. New this year are $3.6 million for Baltimore City Safe Streets and $1.9 million for Violence Intervention and Prevention programs, which include Baltimore City LEAD, Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, and Baltimore City Strategic Decision Support Centers.
In FY 2020, Governor Hogan is launching a comprehensive set of initiatives totaling nearly $13 million to address violent crime in Baltimore City. This program strategically addresses crime through increased enforcement efforts and collaboration as well as additional support for prosecution and witness protection.
New this year, the FY 2020 budget includes $3 million to implement additional security measures at houses of worship at risk of hate crimes.
The FY 2020 budget provides $1.42 billion to house and rehabilitate a population of more than 18,000 inmates in correctional facilities, to detain arrestees and house pretrial offenders, and to supervise more than 70,000 individuals in the community. This year, the correctional population is projected to fall below 18,500 for the first time since 1991.
In accordance with the Justice Reinvestment Act of 2016, the budget reinvests $3.8 million in evidence-based strategies to decrease crime and reduce recidivism.
Protecting the Environment:
The fiscal year 2020 budget continues Governor Hogan’s commitment to fully fund transfer tax programs – including Program Open Space – with no diversions of special fund revenue to the General Fund.
Programs funded by the transfer tax receive $267.5 million, an increase of $14.5 million from FY 2019. This includes repayment of past transfers totaling $43.9 million, which provides additional support for state and local land preservation programs, Maryland Park Service operations, and capital maintenance and development projects in State Parks.
The Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays 2010 Trust Fund receives $53.6 million in FY 2020, marking the fourth year in a row that the Hogan administration has fully funded Bay restoration efforts.
In support of the state’s efforts to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay, the FY 2020 budget includes $4 million in Bay Restoration Funds authorized by the Clean Water Commerce Act to purchase cost-effective nitrogen, phosphorus, or sediment load reductions.
Governor Hogan is also proposing to double the tax credit for zero-emissions vehicles from $3 million to $6 million.
The governor’s FY 2020 budget includes a total of $20.2 million for renewable energy programs, $13.7 million for energy efficiency programs, and $2 million for the Jane E. Lawton Conservation Loan Program and the State Agency Loan Program. Included in this is $3.2 million for a new federally funded State Buildings Energy Efficiency Grant Program.
Healthcare and Public Safety Net:
The FY 2020 budget includes nearly $11.5 billion for Maryland’s Medicaid program, which provides basic health coverage to nearly 1.4 million Marylanders, including more than 153,000 children through the Maryland Children’s Health Program.
The governor’s budget for Medicaid includes an additional $77 million in total funds for Community First Choice services to keep elderly and disabled adults out of nursing homes, $29.3 million to expand treatment access for those with Hepatitis C virus, nearly $6 million in new funding for a pilot program to reduce the incidence of diabetes, and an additional $4.2 million to provide a limited dental benefit to adults under the age of 65 who are dual eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.
Nearly $130 million is provided in FY 2020 to fund a 3.5 percent rate increase for behavioral health and developmental disabilities service providers and a 3 percent rate increase for most other healthcare providers. Included in this total is $42.5 million for the Developmental Disabilities Administration to benefit direct-care workers serving some of Maryland’s most vulnerable individuals.
The FY 2020 budget provides $1.3 billion for developmental disabilities community services, including an additional $46 million to expand services and nearly $15 million to continue two waiver programs to reduce the waiting list.
The governor’s budget includes an additional $6 million over two years to address increasing costs in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Program.
The FY 2020 budget also includes $55.4 million in funding for aid to local health departments, an increase of $2.7 million or 5 percent compared to FY 2019.
To improve recruitment and retention of other hard-to-fill positions in state health facilities, the budget includes $4.4 million in general funds to provide salary adjustments for registered nurses, alcohol and drug abuse counselors, mental health counselors, and epidemiologists.
The FY 2020 budget includes $931 million in federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for more than 346,000 households and $4.1 million in supplemental SNAP benefits for more than 24,000 households with a member age 62 or older.
The budget also includes $120.1 million in heating and electricity assistance benefits for 201,000 households, and $27 million to provide cash, medical, and housing benefits to 11,000 people with disabilities.
The FY 2020 budget includes $6.3 million to help mitigate the impact of the “benefit cliff” for newly employed recipients of public assistance. The new initiative will provide continued assistance for up to three months as clients transition to new employment, aligning closely with the recommendations of the Two-Generation Family Economic Security Commission.

Noise Advisory - Pax River Sets Noise Advisory for FCLPs January 24-February 1

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, MD - Communities surrounding the naval air station are advised that noise-generating testing events are scheduled to take place Jan. 24 - Feb. 1, 2019 between the hours of 7:15 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Pilots at NAS PAX will be conducting Field Carrier Landing Practices (FCLPs). FCLPs are simulated carrier landings conducted to prepare the pilot to land safely on an aircraft carrier. Airspeed, altitude, and power are all precisely choreographed in order for a pilot to approach the ship within an acceptable window to land on the deck safely. FCLP training is essential for the precision and safety of our military men and women and the success of their mission. It is a highly complex skill that requires an intense period of training before pilots deploy. Residents may notice increased noise levels due to these operations.
As with all operations, NAS Patuxent River takes precautions to lessen the impact of testing activities on the community. For more information, call the toll free noise hotline at 1-866-819-9028.

Cold Case Solved - Detectives Identify Suspect in 1993 Rape Case

Detectives with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division and Forensic Science Unit have identified the suspect in a sexual assault that occurred in 1993 in Waldorf. Vincent Wayne Jones, 51, of Tennessee, was arrested by members of the Bartlett County Police Department and the CCSO in September 2018. He waived extradition and was transported to Charles County on September 29. Investigators are looking into the possibility Jones may have assaulted other people, but have not linked him to any cases in the region at this time. Investigators are asking anyone with additional information about Jones to contact them. The 1993 case occurred as follows:  


On August 20, 1993, during the overnight hours, Jones broke into a woman’s home in the 1100 block of Heritage Place in Waldorf, MD, where he sexually assaulted her at knife point for several hours. He did not know the victim, and the two had never met. He fled in the victim’s car, which was recovered in North Carolina a few days later.


Forensic Specialists processed the house where the assault occurred, as well as the victim’s vehicle, and evidence was recovered. A DNA profile was developed from evidence recovered from the victim’s vehicle, but it was not linked with a known suspect at that time.   


In 2016, a specialist with the CCSO’s Forensic Science Unit re-examined the evidence in this case, and an identification was made linking Jones to a fingerprint that was recovered. Detectives pursued additional leads and subsequently obtained a search warrant for Jones’ DNA, which was analyzed and linked to the DNA recovered from the crime scene.


After all investigative leads were exhausted, the case was presented to a Charles County Grand Jury who returned an indictment in September charging Jones with rape, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and other related charges.  


Investigators pieced together information about Jones:  

·       He was born and raised in Maryland and moved frequently.   

·       At some point, he lived on Gittings Court in Waldorf, MD, and went to Thomas Stone High School, but it doesn’t appear he graduated from there.

·        He was 25-years-old when the rape occurred, but it’s not clear where he was living at that time.  


Investigators have determined Jones has lived in the following locations:     

·       Baltimore, MD

·       Birmingham, AL

·       Chattanooga, TN

·       Las Vegas, NV

·       Lahaina, HI

·       Memphis, TN 

·       Dallas, TX

·       Bartlett, TN

·       Tupelo, MS


When Jones was arrested in 2018, he was working as a private contractor for a satellite TV company as an installer. Jones previously worked in construction and listed his occupation as a carpenter. He also worked for a custom cabinet maker.


Due to his arrest, Jones’ DNA profile is continuously being searched at the National Level of CODIS. As detectives continue to investigate, they are asking anyone with more information about Jones, including where he’s lived and worked, to call Det. B. Buchanan at (301) 609-6477.  



Vincent Wayne Jones (young photo)          Vincent Wayne Jones

St. Mary's County Public Schools Supports Families During Government Shutdown

LEONARDTOWN, MD – St. Mary’s County Public Schools’ families that have lost or reduced income due to any change in family circumstances, including the government shutdown, loss of job, or another similar event, may immediately apply for their children to receive free or reduced-price meals (FARMs). Families that would not ordinarily qualify for the FARMs program could be eligible for the remainder of the school year because of the current loss of income.
The application for the FARMs program is always available on the Food and Nutrition Services page on the school system website (https://www.smcps.org/dss/food-services) and can be used at any time during the school year when a family’s income level changes. Copies are also available in each school. Parents and guardians need only submit one application per household.
Completed applications may be returned to your child’s school or dropped off at the Food and Nutrition Services Office in the Division of Supporting Services building at 27190 Point Lookout Road, Loveville, MD 20656. Contact the Food and Nutrition Services Office at 301-475-4256, extension 5 with any questions.
In addition, staff members in the Department of Student Services, including school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers, are prepared and available to assist students who may be experiencing anxiety due to their family’s current situation. Parents and guardians are encouraged to contact their child’s school for further information.

Cardin Bill to Provide Back Pay for Furloughed Federal Workers is Signed into Law

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), author of S. 24, the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act, issued the following statement after President Trump signed the bill into law Wednesday.


“Twenty-six days into the federal government shutdown, we are bringing some long-term relief to furloughed workers, but we still need to reopen the government immediately. The promise of back pay will not cover the cost of rent or groceries today. It won’t make a car payment or cover prescriptions. This needless shutdown is having a painful effect on hundreds of thousands of workers, their families and their communities.


“Federal workers are dedicated public servants who shouldn’t continue to suffer. Many of them are working dangerous jobs without knowing when their next paycheck may come. Many others are being forcibly furloughed and unable to carry out their mission – because of the government shutdown. Now that we are guaranteeing pay to the hundreds of thousands of federal workers who have been locked out of their jobs, let’s reopen the government and get them all back to work so American taxpayers can receive the services they need and are paying for. Only once the government is open again, can we have a reasonable discussion about border security and the issues at the heart of the current shutdown.”

Funds from Juvenile Drug Court to Provide Scholarships for Recreation and Parks Programs

Leonardtown, MD – At their January 15 business meeting, the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County accepted a transfer of funds of $44,000. The money represents remaining money for      St. Mary’s County’s Juvenile Drug Court program.


The program, in existence for the past 14 years, is shutting down due to a reduced number of students in the program. Currently only two students are enrolled.


The Drug Court Advisory Committee wanted to find a worth source to donate the money. The committee voted to give the funds to the St. Mary’s County Department of Recreation and Parks. The money will be used to provide scholarships to allow St. Mary’s County kids to participate in the department’s various programs. The money had previously been used to provide scholarships and occupational training.


“This is a wonderful gift for the youth of St. Mary’s County,” said Commissioner President Randy Guy. “It will allow some kids, who may not otherwise be able to afford recreation and Parks’ program, an opportunity to take part without having to worry if they are able to afford it.”

January 15th Charles County Commissioners Meeting Update

On Tuesday, Jan.15, the Board of County Commissioners discussed the challenge of broadband availability in rural areas and examined options for addressing the problem. County staff briefed Commissioners on past efforts to work with local internet service providers that were unsuccessful in developing a sustainable business model for rural broadband service. A representative from the Task Force on Rural Internet, Broadband, Wireless, and Cellular Service discussed their research to determine the challenges, issues, and potential actions to address broadband access to the unserved and underserved in all rural areas of Maryland. The Task Force delivered a report to the Maryland General Assembly that summarized its findings. It recommended gaining access to electric utility rights-of-way for broadband and developing partnerships to access existing fiber networks. In 2017, Governor Larry Hogan established an Office of Rural Broadband to identify needs and potentially provide some funds for rural broadband projects in the state of Maryland. Commissioners asked staff to draft a county-wide broadband plan and establish a task force to pursue legislative action and funding options available to ensure broadband access for everyone.

Commissioners also held a work session to discuss a proposal by Commissioner Gilbert Bowling (District 1) for the formation of a Rural Land Use Designations Task Force. The purpose of the task force is to bring individuals from the rural community into the process of proposed zoning changes related to the Comprehensive Plan. Commissioners would appoint members from key stakeholder groups to the task force and the group would be charged with proposing zoning text amendments and making recommendations on changes to zoning on rural land uses. Based on feedback from the Board, Commissioner Bowling will present additional information and a proposed resolution to establish the group, that includes details about its membership and scope of responsibility, for Commissioners to consider at the next meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

Open Session Briefings

Broadband in Charles County: County staff updated Commissioners on the current accessibility of broadband internet service throughout Charles County.
Fiscal 2018 Audit Presentation: The County’s outside auditor, SB & Company, LLC, presented a summary of results from its audit of the county’s 2018 financial statements. They provided an overview of the audit approach, evaluation of key processes, and findings from the audit. View the full presentation on BoardDocs.
Charles County Financial Policies: County staff briefed County Commissioners on financial policies related to the budget, investments, debts, revenues, fund balance, expenditures, capital management, accounting, and financial reporting.
County Attorney and Human Resources Department Briefings: Acting County Attorney Danielle Mitchell presented an overview of the County Attorney’s Office, its role and functions, and current projects. Mitchell also provided background on the Charles County Charitable Trust, an entity responsible for awarding and managing grants to local nonprofit. Megan Donnick, acting director of Human Resources, summarized the responsibilities of the department, its upcoming priorities, current collective bargaining agreements, and the results of the recent employee survey. View the full presentations in BoardDocs.

Approval Items

Multi-year Encroachment Protection Funding Agreement: Commissioners received a briefing and approved a request to authorize the Commissioner President to sign an amendment to the Multi-year Encroachment Protection Funding Agreement. This agreement with the Department of Defense (DoD) provides for partnership with private conservation organizations, and state and local governments to share the cost of acquisition of conservation easements from willing sellers. The acquisitions are intended to preserve compatible land uses and natural habitats near military installations, that may otherwise limit or restrict military training, testing, and operations. Charles County will become eligible to use DoD funding with existing county budgets for land preservation.
Additional Legislative Proposals for 2019 General Assembly Session: Commissioners approved two additional legislative proposals. The first proposal is a request from the Board of License Commissioners, for a proposed amendment to exempt holders of a state-issued manufacturer’s license from the quota system. The second proposal is a new class of license designated for a resort complex. It is intended for use at Swan Point but is written broadly so the benefit could apply to other current or future resort areas in the county.

Commissioners also approved the following items:

Greenwill Consulting Group presented an agreement to provide government relations services during the Maryland 2019 Legislative Session. The primary scope of work shall be: to advocate for the Board of Charles County Commissioners before the Maryland General Assembly, State Executive Branch, and statutory agencies.
The Department of Public Works presented a budget amendment for recycling operations. There are currently unfavorable market conditions for single-stream recycling, as China has adjusted the standards on accepted recycling. The county is currently working on public/private partnerships to adjust to these changes.

Commissioner Appointments

Commissioners appointed Delegate Debra Davis and Ellen Flowers-Fields to the Tri-County Council.

The Commissioners, joined by representatives from NAACP and United Way of Charles County, recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and Beyond on Monday, Jan. 21. This day offers an opportunity for Americans to give back to their communities on the holiday and make an ongoing commitment to service throughout the year.

Next Commissioners Meeting: Tuesday, Jan. 29, beginning at 9 a.m.

For More Information:

Commissioners meetings are aired on CCGTV, which broadcasts on Comcast channel 95 and Verizon channel 10, and are available for streaming at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/media-services/ccgtv/ccgtv.    Materials and minutes of the Commissioners meeting will be posted at www.boarddocs.com/md/chrlsco/Board.nsf/Public upon approval.

St. Mary's County Budget Book Receives National Recognition

Leonardtown, MD – The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has awarded the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County, and the St. Mary’s County Department of Finance, its Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the FY2019 Budget. This is the third time the county has received the award.


The award reflects the county’s commitment to meeting the Association’s highest principles of governmental budgeting. To receive the award, St. Mary’s County had to satisfy national recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. The guidelines assess how well the county’s budget serves as:


·         a policy document

·         a financial plan

·         an operations guide

·         a communications device


The budget document must be rated proficient in all four categories, along with 14 mandatory criteria within those categories, to receive the award.


“I personally congratulate my entire team here in Finance,” said Jeannett Cudmore, Chief Financial Officer. “I’m excited to be one of the many local governments to receive this award. This accomplishment further reflects how our Department demonstrates teamwork and continued quality performance.”


Award recipients have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America.


“This award is symbolic of the great work exhibited by our Department of Finance,” said Commissioner President Randy Guy. “I and the commissioners congratulate the Finance team for their continuing efforts work in developing such a high quality publication.”

Calvert County Public Schools Will Fast Track Furloughed Government Employees to be Subs

Calvert County Public Schools will assist community members who have lost pay due to the government shutdown by fast tracking individuals who are interested in becoming substitute teachers.  Substitute training sessions will be held on Tuesday, January 22 and Thursday, January 24.  In order to be considered, the following procedures must be followed:
• Complete an online application here on the school system website– Job #1709.
• Provide have three completed references.
• Upon completion of application, fingerprinting will be scheduled at no cost to applicants.
• Present your government employee identification for verification purposes.
For more information, please contact the Department of Human Resources at 443-550-8318.

Comptroller Comptroller Franchot Announces Help for Federal Workers Affected by Shutdown Announces Help for Federal Workers Affected by Shutdown

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (January 15, 2019) - As the partial federal government shutdown extends into its fourth week, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced a plan to provide financial relief to impacted federal workers unsure when their next paycheck will arrive.
Federal contractors, furloughed employees, and those working without pay currently on payment plans with the State may be granted reduced or even suspended payments while the shutdown drags on.
“The longer this government shutdown lasts, the more financial hardship it is causing federal workers, some of whom may never get repaid,” said Comptroller Franchot. “My agency recognizes that Marylanders affected by this prolonged impass face a greater burden to make ends meet and to fulfill their tax obligations. As always, we stand ready to help Marylanders facing these challenging times.”
The assistance provided by the Comptroller’s Office will help federal workers with personal income liabilities and other outstanding tax obligations. As specific circumstances vary, each request will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Affected federal workers, including federal contractors and federal employees working without pay, who may have outstanding Maryland tax obligations, are encouraged to contact the Comptroller of Maryland’s Ombudsman’s Office via email at ombudsman@comp.state.md.us or via telephone at 410-260-4020.
To further assist taxpayers, an email address (govshutdownrelief@comp.state.md.us) has been created to receive specific shutdown-related inquiries.

Maryland State Police Prince Frederick Incident Report

Possession of Hydrocodone:  On 1/8/19 at 5:58 pm, Trooper First Class Costello stopped to check a disabled vehicle in the parking lot of Adams Ribs in Prince Frederick.  The driver explained that the vehicle had been involved in an accident of striking the curb and both tires were flat.  Another driver, Maxwell Scroggs was on the scene explained he came to transport the driver of the disabled vehicle home.  Because of several criminial indicators a K-9 scan was requested of Scroggs’ vehicle.  K-9 Taz of the CCSO gave a positive alert and Maxwell L. Scroggs, 28 of Mechanicsville was arrested and incarcerated at the Calvert County Detention Center. 
Theft from Vehicle:  On 1/9/19 at 1:22 pm, Trooper First Class Matthews responded to the 1300 block of Hellen Creek Drive in Lusby for a reported theft of a registration plate from a vehicle.  The victim reported receiving a Notice of Toll Violation for his boat trailer.  He reported not having used the trailer since late in November and the violation was from December.  After receiving the notice, he checked and found the registration plate missing from his boat trailer.  The missing license plate 242945X was entered into NCIC.
Possession of LSD, Marijuana and Marijuana Wax:  On 1/10/19 at 7:56 pm, Trooper First Class Barlow and Trooper First Class Palumbo stopped a vehicle for traffic violations on Rt. 4 near Governor’s Run Rd. in Lusby.  The moderate odor of raw marijuana was emitting from inside the vehicle.  A probable cause search resulted in locating several grams of marijuana and marijuana wax.  David R. Detwiler, 23 of Leonardtown was at that time issued a civil citation and released.  Once the evidence was taken to the barrack an additional amount of LSD was located amongest the various containers of marijuana.  The Civil Citation was voided and an Application of Statement of Charges for CDS Not Marijuana has been requested.  Charges are pending.

Speeding Leads To Drug Arrest In Waldorf

On Friday, January 11, 2019, at approximately 0222 hours, Trooper First Class Oleksak #6300
conducted a traffic stop on a white Nissan Altima, for failing to maintain lane direction, and exceeding the speed limit in Waldorf, Charles County, MD. TFC Oleksak made contact with the driver,
identified as Molina-Sibrian, Nestor Ermelind, 24 yoa, of Waldorf, MD. TFC Oleksak detected a
strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from Molina’s breath. Molina failed Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, and was arrested and charged with the following: 15525 TA 21 201 a1: Driver Failure to Obey Properly Placed Traffic Control Device Instructions; 19739 Ta 21 902 A1 I: (Driving, Attempting To Drive) Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol. During a search at the Charles County Detention Center, a plastic bag containing suspected cocaine was recovered. Molina was additionally charged with 1 1111 CR, 5 601(a)(1) : CDS: Possess-Not Marijuana
All events occurred in Charles County, Maryland. 19MSP001441
All persons charged with a crime are considered innocent.

Calvert and St. Mary's County Snow Emergency Plans Lifted

The Maryland State Police has lifted the Snow Emergency Plan for Calvert and St. Mary's Counties effective at 1030 hours on 01/13/2019. Motorists are encouraged to continue to use caution while driving as they may
quickly encounter different road conditions throughout Calvert and St. Mary's Counties.
Drivers can view the latest road conditions on SHA’s website at www.roads.maryland.gov and clicking “CHART.” Travelers may obtain the latest free traffic and weather information by calling 5-1-1 from a landline or a hands-free mobile device or by logging onto www.MD511.org. Maryland’s 511 service now offers free text and email
alerts for most travelled routes through 511Direct – simply register and set your routes and preferences on-line.


Federal Government Shutdown Affecting 172,000 Marylanders Resulting in $778M in Lost Wages

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (January 14, 2019) - With its large number of federal employees and contractors, Maryland’s economy is being profoundly impacted by the ongoing government shutdown, according to a report released today by the state’s Bureau of Revenue Estimates (BRE).

Approximately 172,000 Marylanders are currently impacted by the government closure, which began on Dec. 22, 2018. Each bi-weekly payroll for which these residents are not paid results in $778 million of lost wages, which translates to roughly $57.5 million less in combined state and local income tax withholding, and $2.1 million less in sales tax collections.

“These estimates demonstrate what we already knew -- the unnecessary shutdown of our federal government is having a devastating effect on Maryland’s families and our state’s economic well-being,” said Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. “Even if some employees do eventually get repaid, our economy will not be made whole and changes to long-term spending habits may cause further harm.”

The uncertainty surrounding the shutdown -- how long it will last and if it will happen again -- will also likely reduce business investment, according to the Bureau of Revenue Estimates report.

Between 230,000 and 245,000 Marylanders are federal employees; since some agencies are funded through other budget appropriations, about 90,000 Marylanders are either furloughed or working without pay, according to the BRE report. It is estimated that roughly half of the state’s 164,000 federal contractors are impacted by the shutdown. Many of these workers are unlikely to be repaid once the government reopens, so state and local tax collections would suffer from their lost wages.

State Police Arrest Calvert County Man For Making Threat of Mass

(PRINCE FREDERICK, MD) – Maryland State Police from the Prince Frederick Barrack arrested a Calvert County man today for making a threat of mass violence.
The accused is identified as Travis Phifer, 38, of Lusby, Maryland.  Phifer was charged with making a threat of mass violence. Police located him in a vehicle a short distance away from the Prince Frederick Barrack.
Shortly after 4:00 p.m. today, the Prince Frederick barrack received a phone call from a man, threatening to shoot into the police barrack.  The caller was identified as Travis Phifer.
Investigators at the barrack quickly developed leads and located Phifer in a vehicle traveling northbound on Route 4.  He was the passenger in the vehicle.
At 5:01 p.m., troopers and deputies from the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office stopped the vehicle on Route 4, prior to Old Field Lane in Prince Frederick.  Phifer was arrested without incident and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he will await an appearance before a Court Commissioner.
The investigation continues…

Snow Emergency Plans In Effect For Southern Maryland Counties

Snow Emergency Plans are now in effect for Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George's and St. Mary's Counties

The Maryland State Police (MSP) declares snow emergencies with input from MD State Highway Administration. Once a snow emergency is declared, the law requires certain precautions.

They include:

Prohibited parking on roads and streets designated as snow emergency routes; and
The use of snow tires/chains (most cars now use all weather tires, so changing to "snow" tires is unnecessary);
Once an emergency is in effect, all requirements are in effect until lifted.   A Snow Emergency Plan is put into effect by county.  Certain exceptions can occur while a snow emergency plan is in effect.  A specific route(s) can be lifted and the remainders of the roads in the county still remain under the Snow Emergency Plan.   If the Statewide Operations Center is notified of an exception, we will note these routes as exceptions in our list below.  Please check back periodically for updated information.

St. Mary's County Government Operational Status for Sunday, January 13

Leonardtown, MD - The winter storm warning for St. Mary’s County has been extended to 6 p.m. Sunday. Accumulations of 3 to 6 inches and ice accumulations of around one tenth of an inch are expected. Travel could be very difficult due to snow covered and slippery roads. Drivers are urged to postpone all unnecessary travel until the storm has concluded and State and county road crews have had an opportunity to plow the roads.
The following delays and schedule changes will be in effect for Sunday, January 13:
Ø  All St. Mary’s County Public Schools facilities will be closed. All activities are cancelled.
Ø  All Recreation and Parks programs, both operating in the Public Schools and in Recreation and Parks facilities, are cancelled.
Ø  All Recreation and Parks facilities will be closed.
Ø  STS Transit bus service is cancelled for January 13.
Ø  The six (6) Convenience Centers will be closed (St. Andrews Landfill is always closed on Sundays.)
Ø  All College of Southern Maryland campuses will close at 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 12 and remain closed on Sunday, January 13.
Stay up to date by visiting the St. Mary’s County Government website at www.stmarysmd.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter for official storm updates and information.

Charles County Creates Operational Websites For Winter Storm

Charles County has opened websites for winter storm information for this weekend. 
Operating status webpage that departments will update as operating status changes:
Winter Tips for residents such as how to shovel your driveway and snow removal expectations:



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