Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pay As You Drive Insurance Trades Privacy For A Discount

Big Brother, Big Savings
Pay As You Drive Insurance Trades Privacy For A

Tim Goodwin doesn't spend much time behind the wheel of his 2004 Chevy Tahoe. Even though he only covers about 3,000 miles per year -- using it just for weekend trips -- he had, until recently, been getting no special deal on his insurance for driving so little.
Six months ago, the Springfield, Missouri property supervisor found a policy that gives him a break. So far he's saved about $48 -- or ten percent -- over six months compared to a traditional premium.
There's a catch; his insurance company, Progressive, is monitoring every move he makes behind the wheel.
Goodwin is fine with it, and says that just knowing that a small transceiver is reporting his driving behavior back to the insurance company helps him drive more carefully.
"There's this Big Brother thing, but it's good," Goodwin said. "Since I know I'm being watched, I'm on my best behavior."
Goodwin noted that he's now less likely to speed.
"You'll, in effect trade a degree of privacy for a lower rate" in such a pay-as-you-drive policy, explains Mike Barry, vice president of media relations for the Insurance Information Institute. "They know not only how many miles you drive but how and when you drive."
For now, MyRate is the only widely available pay-as-you-go auto policy -- available now in nine states (Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, and Oregon), with at least three more expected by the end of the summer. There are "tens of thousands" of drivers already enrolled, according to Progressive, and one in four existing customers of the company who've become eligible for the program have opted in.

Progressive says that MyRate may save up to 25 percent versus a traditional premium if you travel less than 10,000 miles per year, are a defensive driver, and rarely drive past midnight. What bad behaviors does the system look for? Sudden starts and stops, and driving during higher-risk times, will raise the rate -- by up to 9 percent in states where a surcharge is permitted. Progressive says that if you drive even once a week between midnight and 4 a.m. the policy probably isn't a good choice. On the flip side, smooth rural drivers who cover more than 15,000 miles a year could also save 20 percent or more.
Several other insurers, including Allstate, Unigard, and The Hartford, are testing usage-based policies; and GMAC Insurance now offers a low-mileage discount of up to 54 percent to drivers of late-model GM vehicles -- with mileage reported by the onboard OnStar communication and safety system. Another company, MileMeter, offers a system (only in Texas) through which customers pre-pay for a certain number of miles of coverage, as verified simply through the vehicle's odometer reading.
In various forms, pay-as-you-drive policies are already offered in Canada, the U.K., Japan, Israel, the Netherlands, and South Africa, but for now the wider adoption of such policies in the U.S. has been slowed by the differences between in requirements in each state.Why So Long Coming?
Tully Lehman, a spokesman for the insurance industry in California, a state that has recently laid the framework for pay-as-you-drive policies, says that the biggest concern with surveillance-based systems like Progressive's is privacy. But there are also worries with the misinterpretation of the driving-style data.
"For instance, when the company sees hard braking," it could be driver inattention or carelessness, Lehman said. "Or, it could be a dog in the road." It also could be any number of things that have nothing to do with the driver's behavior.
Another issue is that the very vehicle you drive might not qualify you for much of a discount if it has touchy brakes or spirited acceleration; the company doesn't correct for the fact that some cars are more "responsive" than others. A Buick driver, for instance, might get more of a discount than a Mini Cooper driver simply because of the way the vehicles respond. MyRate doesn't differentiate between drivers, either.

MyRate users are able to log in and see an assessment of their driving style, along with charts and graphs and a running trip record.
While privacy advocates might already be up in arms over the data set -- which won't be shared with third parties but could be kept for up to six years -- they'll be somewhat relieved to hear that MyRate doesn't have GPS capabilities. The system knows 'when' and 'how' you drive, but not 'where.' For that, we'll leave the controversy to the GPS locators in cell phones.
Tracking exactly where users go would create serious privacy concerns, admits Steve McKay, product manager for MyRate.
"Knowing location wouldn't add a lot to the predictive value either," McKay said.
The state of California in 2006 outlawed the pricing of policies by zip code, along with several other factors.
Although the future of pay-as-you-drive plans might rest in GPS-based systems that do track where you go, it's now looking like a distant future. California has also recently adopted new regulations that set the framework for pay-as-you-go policies, but the state's insurance commissioner, Steven Poizner, is especially conscious of the privacy concerns that the technology brings.
"I will not approve any auto insurance policy that aims to utilize GPS devices in order to obtain location data from consumers," Poizner said in a release last year.
State and federal governments also have their eye on GPS systems as a new way of figuring road tax in the future. With the projected long-term market swing away from conventional gasoline vehicles toward more efficient plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, many state officials are worried about dwindling revenue for highways. Currently, road taxes are collected via a per-gallon gasoline tax. Just earlier this year, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood proposed a mileage-based method for calculating road tax, and several states, including Oregon, have tested a GPS-based system that would assess road tax.Nudges Drivers To Be Safer And Greener
Drivers might simply choose pay-as-you-drive policies to get a break on their premium. But it'll likely save them even more in the long run; because they'll probably drive their cars gentler, get better gas mileage, put less wear on their vehicles, and be less prone to getting tickets.
"Just leaving the device in your car changes your behavior," Allstate spokesman Raleigh Floyd said. Because the company is scoring the driver's actions and there are measurable rewards for good behavior. "It becomes more game-like--and the benefit is that you're a safer driver."
Even Goodwin admits that he finds restraint in his Tahoe when he wouldn't have before.
"Now when I just want to floor it, I don't," he said.
They're likely to reduce their trips as well. According to a report from the Brookings Institution, if motorists paid for their auto insurance by the mile, driving would decline by about eight percent nationwide, significantly reducing carbon-dioxide emissions and gasoline consumption, and nearly two-thirds of drivers would pay less for auto insurance.
Major environmental groups and safety advocates are also on board; the ten-percent decline in driving anticipated by the Environmental Defense Fund would not only reduce air pollution and toxic runoff but also translate to saved lives, through a 17-percent reduction in crashes.
Even Progressive agrees that a pay-as-you-drive policy won't be right for everyone. Those who value their privacy or want to drive however they please can rest assured; there will still be traditional policies for the foreseeable future, experts say.
But if you're willing to take your insurer along for the ride, you might soon have a lot of money-saving options.

Cable Boxes

Did you know that even though you may have the latest greatest TV set that it still will not receive ALL the cable channels? I didn't either.
I just spent my day connecting and programming cable boxes and remotes.
We get many more channels with the box than the latest greatest TV will receive. The cable companies are not making this info public, The first 2 boxes were free, the additional 2 boxes we needed cost 5 dollars per month.
General cable splitters will not work, you need satellite or digital splitters, (from radio shack) if you have a long run of cable (25 or more feet) you will also need a amplifier and it must be for digital signal or satellite, if you do not have these items it will drive you crazy trying to figure out why your box is not working. Now these are not the converter boxes, they are cable boxes and they hold the key to the extra channels on your basic cable service. After you install the boxes that you must drive to Salisbury to acquire then you have to call the cable company and activate each and every box.
Hope this info helps, I wish I had this info before pulling out my hair wondering why the boxes would not work after I installed them. The boxes need a strong signal and the proper splitters, the old cheap splitters will not work if you have a long run of cable.

Warriors come out survivors

SALISBURY -- The upperclassmen on the Pocomoke softball team had to feel like they were watching a horror film they had seen one to many times before. Same villain, same plot, same ending. But this year, something different happened

Instead of Colonel Richardson pulling away late to win its third straight 1A East region championship, the Warriors fought back, with one monster inning propelling to victory. Pocomoke scored seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to down the Colonels 8-5 and earn a trip to the state semifinals.
"A lot of hard work went into this," Pocomoke coach Ron Trostle said. "These girls played their hearts out today. We were down 5-1, and they didn't lose their drive or motivation. They knew they could do it. We can hit the ball, we struggled a bit today, but we can hit the ball and, by golly, they sure did."
The game was a relative pitching duel going into the sixth inning, as the Colonels led 2-1, but the offensive flood gates would open, as the teams combined to score 10 runs in the frame. After the first two Colonel batters in the sixth popped out to the shortstop and left field, respectively, third baseman Chandler Johnson dropped a single into left field.
Jen Post was next to the plate and delivered a hit that sneaked past the outstretched reach of the Warriors second basemen, advancing Johnson to third, while Post reached second safely. Ann Lee then reached first on a bunt that was mishandled, allowing Johnson to score, with Post racing to third. Post would then come around to score on a past ball, increasing the Colonels' margin to 4-1. Casey Edgell capped off the two-out rally with a double down the third base line that scored Lee, making Pocomoke's deficit 5-1.
With just six outs separating the Warriors from the end of their season, the outlook seemed bleak. However, Pocomoke's bats would come alive just in time to save the day.
Amber Holland lead off Pocomoke's half of the sixth with a double to center field. She was then driven in by a seeing-eye single off the bat of pitcher Annah Brittingham. Kasey Tapman drew a walk, before Skylar Hall delivered a single up the middle to score Brittingham, cutting the Colonels' lead to 5-3. Sarah Scher then drew a walk to load the bases for No. 8 hitter Taylor West.
-->(2 of 2)
West had grounded out and reached on an error in her two previous at-bats, but this turn she connected on the big hit the Warriors' desperately needed. West sent a flyball high into the outfield, where both the right fielder and the center fielder had a chance to make a play, but neither could come up with the catch, allowing two runs to score, knotting the game at five-all.
Still with no outs, Pocomoke would then take the lead, as a wild pitch allowed Scher to cross the plate, scoring the eventual game-winning run. Kelly Cowger helped to add to the Warriors' advantage as she laid down a sacrifice bunt along the third-base line. The third baseman gathered the ball and looked West back to the bag before firing to first. But West took off toward home, causing the first baseman to step off the bag and throw to the plate before getting the out. West was caught in a rundown, but skillfully avoided the tag of the Colonels' catcher, giving Pocomoke a 7-5 lead. Cowger would come around to score the Warriors' seventh and final tally of the inning, on a Kristie Denning single that landed in left field.
Pocomoke's comeback was still not complete, as Colonel Richardson still had to bat in the top of the seventh. Brittingham, however, promptly shut the door on any of the Colonels' hopes, allowing just a single to Steph Garey before the Pocomoke pitcher got the last two batters to fly out.
"Oh my gosh, I didn't know what to think, so many things went through my mind right when she caught the final out," Brittingham said. "I just wanted to scream, and I did, and it was the greatest feeling."

Spaceport reschedules Minotaur rocket launch

WALLOPS ISLAND -- The launch of a Minotaur rocket carrying a military satellite from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport has been rescheduled for Tuesday, with a backup date of Wednesday. The launch window for both days is 7:35 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

The launch was originally set for May 5 and two additional attempts were made last Thursday and Friday, but bad weather and then a technical glitch with the flight termination system kept the rocket on the launch pad.
On Friday the launch was scrubbed at 10:43 p.m. with just two minutes left in the countdown.
Officials had to wait to set a new date until conflicts with range assets, including Monday's launch of the space shuttle, were resolved.
The 69-foot-tall rocket carries TacSat-3, a $60 million Air Force satellite that includes a hyperspectral imager designed to provide near real-time images to military personnel on the battlefield.
During its planned one-year mission in orbit 264 miles above Earth, the 880-pound satellite will be incorporated into military exercises to evaluate the potential of new technology designed to enable military personnel in a war theater to quickly obtain information and near real-time images about targets and battlefield conditions in their immediate vicinity.
Also on board is the Office of Naval Research's Satellite Communications Package and the Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Avionics Experiment, along with PharmSat, a NASA experiment that could help scientists better understand how drugs work in space. Three 4-inch cube satellites, including one developed by Hawk Institute for Space Sciences in Pocomoke City, will be launched as secondary payloads.
The launch will be visible in the mid-Atlantic region. The NASA Visitor Center on Route 175 and the beach at Assateague National Seashore will be open to view the launch.
Updates will be posted before the countdown begins on NASA's Web site, wallops/missions/ tacsat3.html.
Updates also will be provided by telephone on the Wallops launch status line at 757-824-2050.
Radio station 760 AM, which has a range of about five miles from the NASA Visitor Center, also will have updates.
The status also will be available during the countdown on Twitter at
The launch will be Web cast at http://sites.

Geraniums stolen from graveside

Family is distressed by theft of geraniums

Someone may have received a large and beautiful planter filled with pink geraniums either on or the day before Mother's Day. It wasstolen from my daughter's gravesite.

She was the mother of two children and sister to six siblings. She didn't get to have her flowers for Mother's Day. Her name is Stephanie Petitt and she has been gone four and a half years.
She was laid to rest in Pitts Creek Presbyterian Cemetery in Pocomoke City.
I wonder if the person who has the plants has been enjoying them as much as our family would have enjoyed seeing them there with our loved one?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How many is that?

A Blonde is watching the news with her husband when the newscaster says 'Two Brazilian men die in a skydiving accident.'The blonde starts crying to her husband, sobbing 'That's horrible!!! Somany men dying that way!'Confused, he says, 'Yes dear, it is sad, but they were skydiving,and there is always that risk involved.'After a few minutes, the blonde, still sobbing, says, 'How many is a Brazilian?

Ex-city employee starts blog for protest

POCOMOKE CITY -- For Sharon Beyma, the April City Council election was the final straw -- it was time to blog.

Beyma, a Pocomoke City resident, supported District 4 candidate Stephanie Burke, who campaigned on a message of change and transparency in city government. Burke lost after 178 absentee ballots tipped the scale of the split 58-58 in-person vote in favor of her opponent, incumbent Tracey Cottman. Only four absentee ballots were filed for Burke.
"I've lived in Pocomoke City 30 years now," Beyma said. "I've raised two kids here and I'm just really tired with what I've seen happen here over and over again. It all came to a head with what I saw happen this last election."
Beyma, the former director of administrative services for the Worcester County Health Department started her blog, titled "Seeking Sunshine in Pocomoke," later that month. Through the forum she hopes to "enable open, honest, thoughtful discussion of what it takes to have open, transparent, accountable local government, both in general and specifically with regard to Pocomoke City." It's published at seekingsunshineinpocomoke
"When you get to be my age, you want to be able to say what you think and not be fearful," she said. "I think a lot of people in this town are fearful about speaking out."
Beyma, a certified public accountant, moved to Pocomoke City in the late 1970s with her husband who worked for NASA at Wallops Island.
In 1993, she took a job at town hall as the finance director. Beyma said her time working for Pocomoke city was an "eye opener" as she learned how things were done. She resigned in 1995 because, she "did not see eye to eye with the city manager."
"Sometimes the best lessons you learn are from making mistakes," Beyma said. "It was a mistake to take the job and another mistake not to leave sooner."
After resigning, she ran twice for the District 5 City Council seat, and was unsuccessful both times. A few years later, Beyma worked for the Worcester County Health Department and served there for more than a decade before she recently retired.
Now, fresh with time on her hands, she is back to tackling the things she thinks are wrong with the small town.
"I don't see any forethought for the city," Beyma said. "I see 'how do I stay in this position and maintain the power I have' but I don't see how to move forward -- and there is such a potential here -- but the current officials are stifling that potential because of their unwillingness to fully involve all people in town."
Beyma wants the Pocomoke City to utilize its Web site, posting meeting agendas, budgets and other town documents for public review The town should start broadcasting its council meetings, she said, either over the Internet or on TV, so that people who can't make it to town hall will have a chance to watch and increase public accountability for officials. And, in light of the recent election, Beyma wants the town to have a stronger, more autonomous board of elections and reassess the rules governing absentee ballots.
"I think there needs to be program put in place where people who might influence the absentee vote in the wrong way is minimized," she said. "I don't think you will ever get rid of it at all."

you can visit Sharons blog @

POCOMOKE: Dealership on closure list won't really close

POCOMOKE CITY — Chrysler may be shedding dealers as part of its bankruptcy plan, but one Pocomoke City dealership on the list won’t be closing.

Frostrom Jeep-Subaru will no longer be selling new Jeep products, but Subaru and Frostrom’s used car sales are still going strong, says Mark Frostrom, president and general manager.
“We’re not anticipating any cuts. We’ll continue on as we are; we just won’t be selling any Jeeps,” Frostrom said.
In a court filing today, Chrysler asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Gonzalez to reject dealer agreements for 789 dealers throughout the U.S. in an effort “to conserve cash and pursue transactions that maximize value.”
General Motors will also be notifying up to 1,100 dealers this week that their franchise agreements will not be renewed.
Frostrom said his location had been a Jeep dealership for 31 years, and many smaller dealerships had been affected. He expressed concern that although his location had fall-back products, others might not be so lucky.
“There are other parts of the country that will be harder hit,” he said.
But Frostrom hopes his dealership will continue on for decades.
The Japan-based owner of Subaru, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., earlier this month posted a second year of worldwide losses, but said in its earnings report that North American sales were a bright spot — U.S. sales were in fact projected to increase 3.8 percent this fiscal year.

Debate looms as council sworn in

SNOW HILL -- Snow Hill's newest council members have been sworn in following victories in the heated May 5 election.

In their first meeting since taking office, Rebecca Bowman and Gerald Shockley helped approve the town's $2.1 million fiscal 2009-10 budget and listened to concerns about local absentee ballot procedures.
The budget includes $46,500 in cuts made Tuesday morning by the county and state to Snow Hill's police department, in lieu of taxes and highway user fee funds. Overall, the town's funding will be more than $1 million less than this year.
"We didn't get revenue and we had to pay more money for things," said Mayor Stephen Mathews. "But we have actually balanced the budget."
Bowman -- who is now the council treasurer -- and Shockley's council victories are the center of a debate in the town about the use of absentee ballots and the legitimacy of the election.
The Snow Hill Town Charter holds that "any qualified voter registered to vote in the town of Snow Hill is entitled to vote in any municipal election by absentee ballot." Bowman and Shockley presented ballots to voters while campaigning as a way for people to vote in their own home. While they were well within the law, some in Snow Hill were concerned about the legitimacy of the ballots, which were often turned in by the candidates themselves.
On the day of the election, resident David Suznavick filed a complaint alleging Bowman and Shockley had tampered with the ballots and may have intimidated voters. The mayor has recused the council from dealing with the issue, and Suznavick said he will take his complaint to Worcester County Circuit Court.
At this week's meeting, armed with about 40 signatures from town residents, he formally challenged the election results, which was won with the help of 161 absentee ballots for Bowman and Shockley. Only 20 ballots were cast for other candidates.
"We ask town elected officials, as well as Snow Hill Board of Elections officials to delay the certification of votes and swearing in of newly elected Town Council members until after a public meeting is convened, so elected and elections officials can resolve these issues under public scrutiny," wrote Suznavick in the letter addressed to town and election officials.
Since the vote tallies were certified by the town's Board of Elections, Bowman and Shockley took their seats despite the complaint.
Edward Lee, a politically active Snow Hill resident and a strong supporter of Bowman's and Shockley's campaigns, suggested the town look at bringing its absentee ballot regulations in line with the state, consider redistricting, and reconsider the composition and procedures of the Board of Elections.
Mathews said the voting rules would be looked at and changes made to the code.
"My recommendation is that we look at this at a later time and appoint a committee of residents to address the issues and make recommendations back to us," Mathews said.
410-213-9442, ext. 17

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thoughts for the day

I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.

My wild oats have turned into prunes and All Bran.

I finally got my head together; now my body is falling apart.

Funny, I don't remember being absent minded...

All reports are in; Life is now officially unfair.

If all is not lost, where is it?

It is easier to get older than it is to get wiser.

Some days you're the dog; some days you're the hydrant.

I wish the buck stopped here; I sure could use a few...

Kids in the back seat cause accidents.

Accidents in the back seat

It's hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere.

Only time the world beats a path to your door is when you're in the bathroom.

If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

When I'm finally holding all the cards, why does everyone decide to play chess?

It's not hard to meet expenses...they're everywhere.

The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter...I go somewhere to get something, and then wonder what I'm here after.

Where, oh where, has the helicopter landed?

PRINCESS ANNE -- If seeing is believing, the feds intend to get an eyeful "in the near future."

Md. police to conduct on-site inspection for feds of elusive Princess Anne aircraft

The elusive Princess Anne Police Department helicopter, guardedly moved from place to place to place to place -- and kept in recent years out of sight -- is on the radar of the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service that granted the aircraft to the town and is sending an inspector to see it for himself.
Maryland State Police Lt. Eugene Paluzzi said Tuesday that he decided to make the trip "soon," following inquiries last week about an Internet blog suggesting the helicopter was "hidden in a coop" on the Eastern Shore, apparently to conceal questionable activity.
Paluzzi is Maryland coordinator for the federal 1033 military Law Enforcement Support Office program, or LESO, that awards qualifying police departments with military surplus equipment, weapons or vehicles.
"I will be in Princess Anne physically to inspect," Paluzzi said Tuesday. "I will conduct an on-site audit. Somehow, the feds got ahold of the blog, called me and asked if the aircraft was there. The best way to find out is to come in the near future."
Not long after the U.S. Army surplus helicopter came into the custody of the Princess Anne Police Department in June 2005, the aircraft came under scrutiny by government leaders in the tri-county region. Elected officials in Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties were reluctant to lend financial support and manpower for a proposed Tri-County Helicopter Program of allied agencies primarily on the Lower Shore. The program, conceived by former Princess Anne police chief Russell Pecoraro, would have engaged in police operations such as marijuana eradication.
In need of some repair, the OH-58C model helicopter, rather, went into storage, first for about three years at a private hangar at the Salisbury-Ocean City: Wicomico Regional Airport, then for about a month at an outside storage facility of a private landowner in Wicomico County. Later, the same property owner moved the aircraft to a private barn on Walston Switch Road, also in Wicomico, where it sat until early 2008, when Princess Anne officials moved it to a location in Somerset County, said current Princess Anne Police Chief Scott Keller.

Here and there
Through the moves, the helicopter hasn't cost taxpayers a cent, Keller reaffirmed Tuesday, saying he welcomes the federal and state inspection. "A property owner was gracious to store it for us, now we have it," Keller said. "The last time the media knew about it, they hounded the guy, kept coming by and photographing it. He asked if (we) minded hiding the helicopter."

On Tuesday, Keller and other town officials allowed The Daily Times to see the grayish aircraft with orange panels on the condition its location is not revealed. Engraved on its side is "26-C, U.S. Army, 0-15226." Keller cites security reasons and nuisance queries tied to the aircraft for keeping the storage location secret.
"This doesn't need to be a three-ring circus," he said.
Paluzzi said he spoke to Keller this week about the aircraft, and was satisfied it is safe with parts in place. "We haven't found much merit to what was in this blog, that it's hidden in a (chicken) coop," Paluzzi said. "This is not a theft issue."
Both Pecoraro and Keller have said they hoped to eventually get the aircraft off the ground for police work or sell it for parts after five years, or 2010.
Keller dismisses another recent suggestion that a private investigator was conducting an inquiry about the helicopter.
"I don't know what they are investigating; that's unclear," he said. "I'm angry; there is no story. This is a story without lights. You're beating a dead horse."
He stood Tuesday at the undisclosed helicopter location, envisioning a black-and-white painted aircraft, polished with a workable engine and displaying a seal representing allied police agencies.
"My goal is to keep service at an even level. I'd like to have the helicopter; I'd like to have a tri-county (police) lab," he said. "My ultimate goal is to operate the helicopter, get it in the air, at no cost to taxpayers. That's my vision for the future."
Pecoraro shared the vision. A retired chief and detective at the Erie County Sheriff's Office in Buffalo, N.Y., he was a trained pilot for the department's aviation division. But the department's surplus helicopter program came under U.S. Department of Justice scrutiny after questions regarding the alleged illegal sale of aircraft parts, which is a program violation.

By the time the query ended with no wrongdoing ever uncovered, Pecoraro was chief at the 11-member Princess Anne Police Department and preparing to secure the department a surplus aircraft.

Pecoraro retired in 2008, but the Princess Anne Police Department's vision for a tri-county aircraft continues. Princess Anne Police Cpl. Rob Pinchak recalled a maneuver local law enforcement officers made last summer with the National Guard, a maneuver that tri-county allied agencies could do independently had they had an aircraft.
"We acted as observers on marijuana eradication," he said. "We're trying to promote (usage) of the helicopter. In the near future, we may get support."
What Princess Anne Police can't do, by law, is sell the $190,817-valued aircraft, said Kenneth MacNevin, public affairs officer at the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service, or DRMS.
"The (Princess Anne Police Department) is not authorized to sell this aircraft because they received it after Sept. 30, 1996, and therefore, the LESO will not approve the sale," said MacNevin, whose agency is part of the Department of Defense's Defense Logistics Agency and manages the disposition of excess military property. Prior to 1996, local law enforcement agencies could sell, trade or barter awarded military surplus aircraft and specified other pieces of equipment after five years upon receipt, he said.
If Keller decides to not refurbish the aircraft, he has options, MacNevin said.
"They can retain the aircraft or aircraft parts, transfer them to another law enforcement agency or turn them in to the (DRMS)," he said.
Immediately, Keller has other priorities.
"Now, I'm concerned with the immediate needs of the department, such as cameras and computers," he said. "Once the economic crisis passes, we will write grants that justify if and when we need resources. Seventy five percent of the helicopter project is just having the helicopter. The other 25 percent is fixing it up."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

2 Sought in Grocery Store Parking Lot Robbery

LAUREL, Del.- Authorities are looking for two suspects wanted for pepper-spraying and beating a woman and her 6-year-old daughter during a robbery that occurred in the parking lot of the Food Lion in Laurel.
Laurel police say the robbery happened shortly before 5 p.m. Friday, May 8. Investigating officers learned that the victims had just arrived at the store, located on Route 13, when two male suspects dressed in all black and with black face masks and black gloves opened the passenger door to the car and pepper-sprayed the woman. The suspects then pulled her out of the driver's seat across the passenger's seat and forced her down onto the ground.
Once on the ground the suspects beat the woman and removed an undisclosed amount of cash from her. The victim's daughter tried to exit the passenger's side of the car to help her mother. That is when the duo turned on the child. The victim, who asked not to be identified, described what happened next, "My daughter comes from behind the seat and starts screaming, 'Please leave my mommy alone! Please leave my mommy alone!' And they maced her. She's 6, she weighs no more than 35 pounds and then they hit her in the face, closed-fisted." The suspects also pepper-sprayed the little girl just like they did to her mother.
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact the Laurel Police Department at (302) 875-2244 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333.

BAY: Chesapeake Executive Council charts new restoration plan

Keep yours eyes on this one folks, the big wigs in DC have long wanted the bay for their personal playground. For years they have tried to regulate the watermen out of business but the watermen have stood against them. The price of fuel last year really hurt a lot of watermen and they had to fold their business and that leaves us with less voices in Annapolis.
Write, call, or email your reps and voice your opinion against any and all regulation on the Bay.

BAY: Chesapeake Executive Council charts new restoration plan;

Mount Vernon, Va. — The Chesapeake Executive Council charted a new plan for the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay today with short-term goals and a focus on government accountability.

An Executive Order was recently issued by President Barack Obama naming the Chesapeake Bay a national treasure and declaring his commitment to cleaning up the estuary.
Representatives of the Chesapeake Bay Program said the organization will focus on two-year milestones to reduce pollution, the first deadline approaching in 2011 when nitrogen levels are projected to be reduced by 77 percent.

Surgery Lets Dad See Son for First Time

(May 11) - A rare and delicate operation restored the failing eye sight of a British father, allowing him to see his baby son clearly for the first time.
Stephen Armitage of Yorkshire, England was born blind in one eye. An infection in the other eye left the 36-year-old with hazy vision for the past three years, reported the Daily Mail.

But three months ago, surgeons in Leeds, England performed a seven-hour surgery to rebuild Armitage's infected eye. The groundbreaking operation was a success.
Armitage's biggest joy is to now be able to clearly see the faces of his wife, Kelly, and their two sons. His vision was impaired before the birth of second son, Harry.
"I hadn't seen Harry's facial reactions before or the way he communicates, I could only see his silhouette. Suddenly I was able to see his face," said Armitage.
His life has improved in other ways. He had not been able to read to son Joshua, 4, until the operation. And he no longer needs the help of friends and family to get around or complete everyday tasks.
Without the surgery Armitage's vision would have deteriorated further, said his lead eye surgeon James Ball. Ball had only performed the complicated procedure once before.
Armitage's restored sight is also due to an organ donor, as part of the surgery involved a cornea transplant.

How bad is the economy?

How bad is the economy? The economy is so bad that:

1. CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

2. Even people who have nothing to do with the Obama administration aren't paying their taxes.

3. Hot wheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM.

4. Obama met with small businesses to discuss the Stimulus Package: GE, Pfizer and Citigroup.

5. PETA serves chicken wings at their meetings

6. McDonalds is selling the 1/4- ouncer.

7. People in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and are learning their children's names.

8. A truck of Americans got caught sneaking into Mexico ...

9. The most highly-paid job is now jury duty.

10. Dick Cheney took his stockbroker hunting.

11. People in Africa are donating money to Americans.

12. Mothers in Ethiopia are telling their kids, "finish your plate, do you know how many kids are starving in the US ?"

13. Motel Six won't leave the light on.

14. The Mafia has laid off judges. And FINALLY.

15. Congress says they are looking into this Bernard Madoff scandal. So, the guy that made $50 billion disappear is being investigated by the people who made $750 billion disappear.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Maryland pursues cell-phone jamming test

ANNAPOLIS -- Gov. Martin O'Malley plans to ask federal regulators to allow Maryland to hold a cell-phone jamming demonstration at a state prison to show the effectiveness of stopping inmate cell-phone use, which has been a safety threat in prisons around the nation.
The Federal Communications Commission can give federal agencies permission to jam cell-phone signals, but the Communications Act of 1934 doesn't allow state and local agencies to use the technology, which prevents cell-tower transmissions from reaching the targeted phone.
"Current attempts to ensure that cell phones stay out of prisons can easily be foiled and must be supplanted by the best technology available," Mr. O'Malley wrote in a letter to Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland Democrat, who is co-sponsoring legislation in Congress to legalize cell-phone jamming at state and local prisons.
The Democratic governor wrote the letter to Maryland's senior senator to indicate his intent to request a demonstration and to update Miss Mikulski on the state's efforts to clear prisons of illegal cell phones.
"I am committed to seizing the opportunity that this legislative initiative has created to move law enforcement and the enhancement of public safety to the 21st century as cell phones become smaller and more difficult to find," Mr. O'Malley wrote.
South Carolina ran a demonstration in Nov. 2008 without federal permission, while Texas planned one, then called it off because of the federal restriction. The FCC has denied two recent requests from the District of Columbia and Louisiana for test jamming sessions.
Rick Abbruzzese, an O'Malley spokesman, said the time is right for the FCC to consider Maryland's request because Congress is taking up the issue and that there's a need for up-to-date data on how the technology can be used to prevent prisoners from using cell phones.
Inmates use cell phones to get around security, further gang activity and conduct criminal activity from behind bars, authorities say.
Last week, a Baltimore drug dealer who used a cell phone in the city jail to plan the killing of a trial witness was sentenced to life without parole. Patrick A. Byers Jr. was convicted of murdering Carl S. Lackl Jr., who had identified Byers as the gunman in a previous killing. Mr. Lackl, a 38-year-old single father, was fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting outside his home in July 2007, a week before Byers was scheduled for trial.
Maryland corrections officials confiscated 947 cell phones in 2008 by using specially trained dogs and other security measures. That's a 71 percent increase in confiscations compared with 2006, according to the O'Malley administration.
Mr. O'Malley said the confiscations helped reduce serious assaults by inmates on staff by taking away a tool that inmates can use to coordinate attacks - resulting in a 32 percent drop from 2006 to 2008. Mr. O'Malley wrote that serious weapon assaults are down 75 percent over the same period.
"But while we have made progress, we can do much more to improve public safety and eradicate the harm caused by these cell phones by shutting them down," Mr. O'Malley wrote in the May 7 letter to Miss Mikulski.
Mr. Abbruzzese said state officials are working on the details of a demonstration, and it's not known where or when it would occur.
Chris Guttman-McCabe, vice president of regulator affairs at CTIA - The Wireless Association, the industry's leading trade group, said he has concerns about cell-phone jamming affecting customers who live near prisons.
"While we don't want prisoners to have service inside the jails, we also don't want our customers to be impacted outside the jails," Mr. Guttman-McCabe said.
Examples of inmates using cell phones to further criminal activity have cropped up nationwide.
In Texas earlier this month, a death-row inmate and two relatives were indicted in a purported cell-phone smuggling case that led to a statewide prison lockdown. A grand jury also indicted Richard Lee Tabler on a felony retaliation charge for threatening to kill a state senator.
In Kansas, convicted killer John Manard planned his 2006 prison escape using a cell phone smuggled in by an accomplice. The following year, two inmates escaped another Kansas prison with the help of a former guard and a smuggled cell phone.

Obama's response to wounded war veterans


Bad press, including major mockery of the plan by comedian Jon Stewart, led to President Obama abandoning his proposal to require veterans' private health insurance to cover the estimated $540 million annual cost to the Federal government of treatment for injuries to military personnel received during their tours on active duty. The President admitted that he was puzzled by the magnitude of the opposition to his proposal.

"Look, it's an all volunteer force," Obama complained. "Nobody made these guys go to war. They had to have known and accepted the risks. Now, they whine about bearing the costs of their choice? It doesn't compute...." "I thought these were people who were proud to sacrifice for their country,"

Obama continued.

"I wasn't asking for blood - just money. With the country facing the worst financial crisis in its history, I'd have thought that the patriotic thing to do would be to try to help reduce the nation's deficit. I guess I underestimated the selfishness of some of my fellow Americans.

Finally; The NASA Rocket launch was a Success

The new rocket carrying the satellite has successfully been launched.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Get Out Of The Car

Click on the picture to view all

FBI uses Patriot Act on 16-year-old.

after this opens click on the "close to play button"

Wisconsin court upholds GPS tracking by police

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin police can attach GPS to cars to secretly track anybody's movements without obtaining search warrants, an appeals court ruled Thursday. However, the District 4 Court of Appeals said it was "more than a little troubled" by that conclusion and asked Wisconsin lawmakers to regulate GPS use to protect against abuse by police and private individuals. As the law currently stands, the court said police can mount GPS on cars to track people without violating their constitutional rights -- even if the drivers aren't suspects. Officers do not need to get warrants beforehand because GPS tracking does not involve a search or a seizure, Judge Paul Lundsten wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel based in Madison.

That means "police are seemingly free to secretly track anyone's public movements with a GPS device," he wrote. One privacy advocate said the decision opened the door for greater government surveillance of citizens. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials called the decision a victory for public safety because tracking devices are an increasingly important tool in investigating criminal behavior. The ruling came in a 2003 case involving Michael Sveum, a Madison man who was under investigation for stalking. Police got a warrant to put a GPS on his car and secretly attached it while the vehicle was parked in Sveum's driveway. The device recorded his car's movements for five weeks before police retrieved it and downloaded the information. The information suggested Sveum was stalking the woman, who had gone to police earlier with suspicions. Police got a second warrant to search his car and home, found more evidence and arrested him. He was convicted of stalking and sentenced to prison. Sveum, 41, argued the tracking violated his Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. He argued the device followed him into areas out of public view, such as his garage. The court disagreed. The tracking did not violate constitutional protections because the device only gave police information that could have been obtained through visual surveillance, Lundsten wrote. Even though the device followed Sveum's car to private places, an officer tracking Sveum could have seen when his car entered or exited a garage, Lundsten reasoned. Attaching the device was not a violation, he wrote, because Sveum's driveway is a public place. "We discern no privacy interest protected by the Fourth Amendment that is invaded when police attach a device to the outside of a vehicle, as long as the information obtained is the same as could be gained by the use of other techniques that do not require a warrant," he wrote. Although police obtained a warrant in this case, it wasn't needed, he added. Larry Dupuis, legal director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, said using GPS to track someone's car goes beyond observing them in public and should require a warrant. "The idea that you can go and attach anything you want to somebody else's property without any court supervision, that's wrong," he said. "Without a warrant, they can do this on anybody they want." Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's office, which argued in favor of the warrantless GPS tracking, praised the ruling but would not elaborate on its use in Wisconsin. David Banaszynski, president of the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, said his department in the Milwaukee suburb of Shorewood does not use GPS. But other departments might use it to track drug dealers, burglars and stalkers, he said. A state law already requires the Department of Corrections to track the state's most dangerous sex offenders using GPS. The author of that law, Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, said the decision shows "GPS tracking is an effective means of protecting public safety."

Chamber members divided on blogger

SALISBURY -- It's difficult to separate Web loggers from digital-age journalism.

So a public forum on "the impact of Internet communications on local politics" that excludes Salisbury News blog publisher Joe Albero, arguably the region's most politically charged and recognized blogger, is illogical.
At least that was the thinking behind a decision by the Local Legislative Committee of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce to invite Albero to be a guest speaker at the Thursday morning forum at Wor-Wic Community College in Salisbury.
Apparently, some members of the local business community disagree. The request for participation by the Salisbury News Web log site publisher has caused an uproar among Chamber membership, and some people want the invitation rescinded, said Brad Bellacicco, Chamber executive director.
"We're getting phone calls and e-mails from people venting about Joe Albero," Bellacicco said Friday. "He's a polarizing influence, so it is to be expected."
The May monthly forum also has invited Kye Parsons, Web managing editor at CBS affiliate television station, Salisbury's WBOC-Channel 16.
"The goal is finding out the long-term impact and tenor of the community discussion," Bellacicco said. "What is the impact of Internet communications in the future, and what's going on with this new forum for political activity."
Albero said the impact is phenomenal, and accepts some credit for the outcome of last month's municipal election that seated former councilman Jim Ireton as Salisbury mayor after a closely watched contest between him and Tilghman cohort, City Councilman Gary Comegys.
Albero and his Salisbury News have been gaining in popularity -- and notoriety -- over the last few years, when he launched the blog that frequently criticizes former Salisbury mayor Barrie Parsons Tilghman and city Police Chief Allen Webster. Salisbury News in 2008 was ranked the Most Influential Political Blog in Maryland by BlogNetNews, a national consortium of top state, local and topic-focused blogs.

"I'm ranked No. 1, and so far, I've dominated 2009 for 16 weeks," Albero said.
And on Thursday, naysayers and supporters alike can expect him at the forum.
"I accepted the invitation," Albero said Friday. "There is no other (better) choice; it is the impression of the Chamber that Salisbury News had a big influence on Jim Ireton's election."
Matthew Creamer, chairman of the Chamber's Local Legislative Committee, cites the role of the Internet in the historic campaign that in November elected the nation's first black U.S. president, Barack Obama.
"In the most recent presidential election and Salisbury city election, some have said that nontraditional, community media played a part in election outcomes," Creamer said. "Blogs, chat rooms, YouTube, Twitter -- they are new ways to communicate."
Parsons is interested in bringing a unique perspective.
"It is a new form of media that just 10 years ago was in its infancy," he said Friday. "In today's time, the Internet is important when it comes to politics and elections; it can reach millions and millions, and it will certainly increase over time. I'm going to present a different viewpoint than Albero; I'm in a different business than he is."
Bellacicco expects the forum to attract a record number of members and guests, given that Albero has evolved into a household name.
Some local critics frown upon Albero's often conservative, content frankness, while others are angry about his printed criticisms of municipal leaders, the blogger said. Civil lawsuits were filed against Albero by Webster and Tilghman.
The lawsuit with Webster was settled out of court, while the judge ruled in Albero's favor in the Tilghman lawsuit.
Regarding defamation of character charges, Albero says this: "Webster sued me. Look where that went. Tilghman sued me. Look where that went."
And it is that curiosity factor that Bellacicco thinks will probably produce some possibly pointed questions at Albero.
"Oftentimes, these bloggers don't get a chance to be questioned in public about what's on their blog," Bellacicco said. "We expect a lot of people to come out and ask why they do it, and why they can put things there without verifying facts, and be aggressive and, even, nasty."
Some Chamber members, especially among those over age 30, are intrigued about the information age in general and its influence on politics and business in particular, said Creamer.
Chamber officials stand behind the invitation, underscoring the value of exploring digital news and information on politics.
"I had heard the name, 'Albero,' but I really don't know him," Creamer said. "The meeting is not about an individual or an individual blog. Mr. Albero has a local blog, and would be the person who would have an opinion. This is a Chamber of Commerce meeting -- not a public hearing."
Neither guest speaker anticipates that criticisms about Salisbury News or Albero will be a distraction.
"If it's drama you're expecting to see, don't come," Albero said.