WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement regarding his vote in opposition to waiving the U.S. law that prevents retired military officers from serving as Secretary of Defense less than seven years after their relief from active duty.
“In order to maintain civilian control of our military, U.S. law requires a cooling-off period prior to allowing a recently retired officer to serve as the Secretary of Defense. I have long supported this cooling-off period, and have voted previously to uphold it. While I believe Lloyd Austin is thoroughly qualified to serve as our Secretary of Defense – and I intend to support his confirmation – the importance of civilian leadership at the Department of Defense is greater than any individual nominee. That is why I voted today in opposition to waiving this law.”
Detectives Investigating Deaths of Two People on Hanover Court: On January 21 at 12:45 a.m., officers responded to the 2400 block of Hanover Court in Waldorf for the report of the sound of gunshots. When officers arrived, they observed the front door to one of the townhomes was open. Upon entering, officers located two adults inside; both had trauma to their bodies and were pronounced deceased on the scene. Further investigation revealed neighbors heard the shots approximately 30 minutes before calling 9-1-1. Based on the investigation at this point, it does not appear this was a random case; however, detectives are still following leads and treating this case as a homicide. Additional information relating to the victims will be released once family members have been notified. Anyone who has additional information is asked to call Detective J. Feldman at (301) 609-6474. Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous may contact Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted online at www.charlescountycrimesolvers.com or by using the P3Intel mobile app. The investigation is ongoing.
Detectives Charge Suspect in Murder Case in Bryans Road, MD: On January 19 at 9:39 a.m., officers responded to the area of South Hampton Drive at Weston Drive in Bryans Road, MD for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers located the victim, Fredrick Markeith Young, 24, of Bryans Road, with a gunshot wound to the upper body. Citizens and paramedics attempted life-saving efforts; however, the victim was pronounced deceased on the scene. After learning the suspect ran into a nearby home, officers set up a perimeter. They established communication with the people inside and were able to convince them to exit the home. Since it was not clear if anyone else was still inside, officers from the Emergency Services Team (EST) and Hostage Negotiators Team (HNT) responded. Members of the EST entered the house and determined no one was inside. Detectives subsequently identified one of the occupants who initially exited the house as the shooter in this case. Harold Leonard Turley, 24, of Bryans Road, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, use of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and other related charges. He is being held at the Charles County Detention Center without bond. The victim and suspect were acquaintances and the motive remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective C. Garner at 301-609-6531. Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous may contact Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted online at www.charlescountycrimesolvers.com or by using the P3Intel mobile app. The investigation is ongoing.
Traffic Operations Unit Investigating Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash: On January 17 at 4:52 p.m., officers responded to the area of Billingsley Road near St. Patricks Drive in Waldorf for the report of a motor vehicle crash. A preliminary investigation showed the driver of a Jeep was traveling southbound on St Patricks Drive when he struck the rear of another car also traveling on St Patrick's Drive. No one was injured in that crash; however, the driver of the Jeep fled, drove through a red light at Billingsley Road and struck a Toyota Camry which was westbound on Billingsley Road. The collision sent both vehicles into a wooded area. The driver of the Jeep, a 35-year-old man from Baltimore, was transported to a hospital where he was treated for injuries that were not life threatening. The two occupants of the Toyota Camry were flown to a hospital. On January 19, the driver of the Toyota, Betty Inez Ellis, 77, of La Plata, died as a result of the injuries she sustained in the crash. The passenger in her car, a 61-year-old male, was released from the hospital. Anyone with additional information about this case is asked to call Cpl. R. Brooks of the Traffic Operations Unit at (301) 932-3056. The investigation is ongoing.
LEONARDTOWN, MD - This is to advise that Commissioner President Randy Guy has ordered the Maryland and St. Mary’s County flags immediately lowered to half-staff in honor of Circuit Court Judge C. Clarke Raley, retired. The Honorable C. Clarke Raley died Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021.
The flags will be lowered until sunset, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2020.
“I grew up near the Raley family, and I knew the Judge to be a fine man. He was an asset to our local judicial system and will be sorely missed in our community. The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County and I extend our deepest condolences to his family,” said Commissioner President Randy Guy.
The Charles County Commissioners wish to announce that applications to participate in the Rural Legacy Program for the Zekiah Rural Legacy Area will be accepted during the month of February 2021. Complete applications must be filed with the Department of Planning and Growth Management by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021.
The Rural Legacy Program aims to protect large, contiguous tracts of land rich in natural and cultural resources through the acquisition of conservation easements. The Program provides landowners an alternative to developing or subdividing their land while retaining ownership to continue farm and forestry operations.
For a map of the eligible Zekiah Rural Legacy Area and Application Form, please visit the County’s website at https://bit.ly/3bTeAG9.
Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Cathy Thompson at 301-396-5815 or e-mail ThompsCa@CharlesCountyMD.gov to obtain an application and to receive assistance with completing the application. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 866-269-9006.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) sent a letter to President-Elect Joe Biden, supporting his incoming administration’s plan to quickly utilize all available authorities under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to rapidly increase the production and stockpiling of medical, testing, and protective equipment supplies. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Van Hollen and Senate Democrats have been calling on the Trump Administration to fully utilize the DPA to ramp up nationwide production of testing supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), and medical equipment. The Trump Administration failed to do this, which has created continued supply chain issues that are having dangerous impacts on the nation’s response to COVID-19, as well as the nation’s ability to scale up vaccine production and distribution.
In their letter to the President-Elect, the Senators support the Biden Administration’s intended use of executive action to utilize all authorities under the DPA and deploy a more functional response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Senators write, “Given the continued supply chain issues that we have seen over the past year, we believe it is in the best interest of the American public to shore up our access to critical supplies immediately and in the long term through all available DPA authorities.”
The Senators continue, “The DPA can help us reach our goal of vaccinating enough of the American public to achieve herd immunity by ramping up production of sterile needles, rubber stoppers, syringes and other vaccine supplies now. Given the current lack of a national vaccine plan, we need to use every tool available to make up the ground we have lost. The DPA could also be used to regulate vaccine distribution, ensure that companies do not charge for the vaccine in the future and enhance production of materials needed for vaccines to address future pandemics.”
The Senators note how American manufacturers and workers have stepped up to increase domestic manufacturing of PPE throughout the pandemic, but that the DPA must also be used to ensure these manufacturers, many of whom have acted in the interest of public health, have greater access to affordable, domestically-sourced raw materials.
The Senators conclude, “Make no mistake, a dependable and resilient domestic manufacturing capacity to respond to a global pandemic is a national security imperative. Given the opaque nature of the transition and the lack of transparency from the current administration, we understand that your team may not yet have full insight into the state of the medical supply pipeline and Strategic National Stockpile. We stand ready to partner with you to help overcome these substantial obstacles. Your use of executive action to utilize the extraordinary authorities under DPA will support a more functional response to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that America is stronger now and more resilient when the next pandemic occurs.”
The letter was also signed by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Angus King (I-ME), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tom Carper (D-DE), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Gary Peters (D-MI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mark Warner (D-VA), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
The full text of the letter is copied below:
Dear President-Elect Biden:
We write in support of taking immediate action once you assume office to fully utilize the Defense Production Act (DPA) and all other federal acquisition authorities at your disposal to rapidly increase the production and stockpiling of critical medical, testing and protective equipment supplies. The Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and their efforts to be transparent with your transition team have been woefully inadequate, and we recognize the significant obstacles ahead. Given the continued supply chain issues that we have seen over the past year, we believe it is in the best interest of the American public to shore up our access to critical supplies immediately and in the long term through all available DPA authorities.
Failure to fully utilize the DPA during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant loss of life. Even now, continued reluctance to fully tap into DPA authorities is having a dangerous impact on our response to the virus and our ability to scale up vaccine production and distribution. The DPA can help us reach our goal of vaccinating enough of the American public to achieve herd immunity by ramping up production of sterile needles, rubber stoppers, syringes and other vaccine supplies now. Given the current lack of a national vaccine plan, we need to use every tool available to make up the ground we have lost. The DPA could also be used to regulate vaccine distribution, ensure that companies do not charge for the vaccine in the future and enhance production of materials needed for vaccines to address future pandemics. Furthermore, we must work to build our domestic supplies and capabilities of raw materials and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The U.S. did not have sufficient domestic sources of critical PPE, which was exacerbated by a shortage of raw materials such as nonwoven melt blown material used to manufacture N95 and N99 masks. American manufacturers have stepped up to fill the gaps in domestic manufacturing of PPE, but the DPA should be used to ensure that these manufacturers, many of whom have acted in the interest of public health and without the assistance that DPA authority provides, have standing government orders and greater access to affordable, domestically sourced raw materials.
In addition, increasing the use of the DPA and other federal acquisition authorities to incentivize “Made in America” PPE and medical supplies will be a boon to patriotic American manufacturers that stepped up during the pandemic, and will make us significantly better prepared for future emergencies. President Trump has not used his DPA authority sufficiently enough to award adequate medical supply contracts for the nation’s needs. We must immediately do more to re-shore the most in-demand PPE, such as nitrile gloves, nearly all of which are manufactured in China. Ongoing negligence and chronic missteps have left us unprepared, and have created chaotic markets of severe price gouging and bidding wars that will make it more difficult for your incoming administration to ensure we have the supplies we need.
Make no mistake, a dependable and resilient domestic manufacturing capacity to respond to a global pandemic is a national security imperative. Given the opaque nature of the transition and the lack of transparency from the current administration, we understand that your team may not yet have full insight into the state of the medical supply pipeline and Strategic National Stockpile. We stand ready to partner with you to help overcome these substantial obstacles. Your use of executive action to utilize the extraordinary authorities under DPA will support a more functional response to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that America is stronger now and more resilient when the next pandemic occurs.
The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners has issued the following statement in response to the passing of State Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr.:
“On behalf of the citizens of Calvert County, we were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Senator Mike Miller today; he was a first-rate legislator, a man of the highest integrity and a true gentleman. His accomplishments on behalf of District 27 and all Marylanders over the past five decades are unmatched. The enduring effects of his distinguished service and tremendous leadership will be felt for many, many years to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with Senator Miller’s wife, Patti, his children and grandchildren, and his many family and friends. Calvert County and the state of Maryland have lost one of its most respected leaders and he will be sorely missed.”
LEONARDTOWN, MD – St. Mary's County Health Department (SMCHD) and St. Mary's County Government are coordinating with state and local partners to ensure a safe and orderly plan for the COVID-19 vaccine distribution, particularly for vulnerable and at-risk populations.
For automatic notifications on St. Mary's County's vaccination efforts, including updates on eligible phases or groups, go to http://www.smchd.org/covid-19-vaccine/ and sign up for email notices.
St. Mary's County senior citizens requesting assistance with vaccine registration may call a special Senior Assistance phone line through the St. Mary's County Department of Aging & Human Services at: (301) 475-4200, ext. 1049.
For all other questions regarding COVID-19 vaccinations in St. Mary's County, please visit the Health Department website http://www.smchd.org/covid-19-vaccine/ or call 301-475-4330.