Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pocomoke Detective (Scott Mitchell) allegedly botches sex offender case

Today the Daily Times has an article about Detective Scott Mitchell allegedly protecting a local child sex offender.

There has been many twist to this story thrown around without all the facts.

Personally I cannot and will not judge until I know the total truth but lets take the Daily Times article that I would assume is the closes to the facts.

POCOMOKE CITY -- A former Pocomoke police officer has been accused of lying about his investigation of a child sex abuse case after a state's attorney's probe showed he failed to press charges against a suspect even after months of prodding.

Sgt. Scott Mitchell was asked six times to charge a 15-year-old boy with the sexual assault of a minor, according to the report. Each time, the report says, Mitchell "failed or refused to charge" the boy, despite evidence that had been reviewed by the officer, Social Services and prosecutors.

Who asked the officer to "to charge a 15-year-old boy" and after the charges were not filed why didn't they step up and charge them?

The internal report was obtained after The Daily Times invoked the Public Information Act in requesting it from the Office of the State's Attorney in Worcester County. Public court filings in another case mention the internal report in explaining why Mitchell will not be testifying in that case.

Mitchell resigned from the force at the beginning of November. In an interview, he said he doesn't agree with the report's conclusions.

"Mitchell resigned from the force at the beginning of November"
Why did Mitchell resign if he committed insubordination and why was he not fired?

In an Aug. 8 meeting at the county's Child Advocacy Center, the report says, Mitchell was reminded that the victim, a 7-year-old girl, named her abuser in a taped interview and described the abuse, which prosecutors felt warranted second-degree rape charges. However, according to the report, Mitchell again failed to press charges.

In October, apparently fed up with the delay, investigator Shawn Sarver met with the suspect's mother, explaining that prosecutors would charge her son directly. The mother told the prosecutor that Mitchell had "promised her that (her son) would not be charged if he completed six months of probation and six months of counseling."

3 months later? This is not something that should be waiting on the books for 3 months, we are talking about a child sex offender being left to walk the streets. I ask, where were the superiors?

Later that day, Sarver wrote, he spoke to Mitchell by phone. Mitchell assured Sarver he had already charged the boy with rape. Prosecutors called the Department of Juvenile Justice to verify Mitchell's claim and were told that no such charging documents could be found anywhere in their files.

An officer of 10 years that knows the system said; "he had already charged the boy with rape" If Mitchell had not filed these charges or taken legal action why would he say this knowing it's public record and easily obtained?

That afternoon, prosecutors went to the Pocomoke City Police Department and were allowed by Police Chief J.D. Ervin free reign to search for "evidence of the crime of rape or misconduct in office," the report states.

OK? And what did they find?

Mitchell met with Worcester County State's Attorney Joel Todd and the assistant prosecutor, Diane Cuilhe, who had been pressing him to make the arrest. He maintained that he had charged the boy, producing a police file showing that the suspect had been fingerprinted. But Sarver noted that the file did not go as far as indicating the filing of criminal charges.

If this person was fingerprinted he must have been arrested and charged with something, or at least been a suspect.

Prosecutors concluded that Mitchell had lied in police reports and other documentation when he claimed the Child Advocacy Center had decided not to take action on the boy's case.

More un-conclusive dribble, how do we know that the Child Advocacy Center had decided not to take action?

Mitchell, a 10-year veteran of the Pocomoke City Police Department, said that he did charge the boy in August.

"It's more an unfortunate set of circumstances and confusion," he said Friday. "I did charge him. I've always done my job professionally."

OK, lets see it. Who has this documentation?

He declined to say much more, having not seen the report.

"I've not quit or walked away from anything," Mitchell said. "I've had a good career, a long career. I'm satisfied."

I do believe that Mitchell has "quit" the reason is still un-answered.

Todd said there was no evidence that Mitchell had acted similarly on any other cases and said no charges would be filed against him.

WHOA!! "no charges would be filed against him"?? This is BIG, real BIG and if an officer of the law has disrespected the badge this deep (s)he is as guilty as the offender. This is the statement that makes me question this whole thing.

"He's not in a position where he is going to repeat this behavior," Todd said. "The fact he has left police work is the most that I can hope for, so I'm satisfied that justice has been done."

"justice has been done"? when/where? If Mitchell has done what he has been accused of, this is criminal, and just stepping down is not justice.

Todd said WCBI has filed charges against the 15-year-old boy, and the 7-year-old girl was placed into a safe environment by Social Services, Todd said.

Where are the charges against Mitchell? It's just too many variables to this story so far and that's why I'm not jumping the gun and throwing the blame game out.

The state will terminate cases in which Mitchell was to be the only testifying witness, Todd said, and the Pocomoke City Police Department has turned over the cases Mitchell was involved with to the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation.

To me this looks like "the State" does not want Mitchell to testify on some other cases and they have invented a reason to suppress his testimony. This makes me wonder.

Pocomoke police had been very cooperative with the investigation, Todd said.

"This was a police issue, not a mayor and council issue, and I think the police department has acted appropriately," he said.

Ervin could not be reached by phone late Friday. Mayor Michael McDermott said as far as he knew, Mitchell had been "a good employee" who had done a lot for the city. He said he could not release the reason for the officer's resignation, saying it was a confidential personnel issue, and added that he and the council knew little about the investigation.

"Nothing has been brought to our attention. This is something the state's attorney is involved in," McDermott said. "We were not aware this was going on."

It's very clear that "the people of Pocomoke" do not have anything to do with this and it's real clear they are tired of being blamed for every pot hole in Pocomoke. The "people" want justice and the real person(s) involved behind bars.

Say It LOUD! Say it PROUD! Merry Christmas!


I will be making a conscious effort to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, my way of saying that I am celebrating the birth Of Jesus Christ. So I am asking my buddies, if you agree with me, to please do the same. And if you ' ll pass this on to your buddies, and so on, maybe we can prevent one more American tradition from being lost in the sea of "Political Correctness".



Hat Tip: Kack

Oklahoma Takes a stand

An update from Oklahoma :

Oklahoma law passed, 37 to 9, had a few liberals in the mix, an amendment to place the Ten Commandments on the front entrance to the state capitol. The feds in D.C., along with the ACLU, said it would be a mistake.
Hey this is a conservative state, based on Christian values...! HB 1330

Guess what.......... Oklahoma did it anyway.

Oklahoma recently passed a law in the state to incarcerate all illegal immigrants, and ship them back to where they came from unless they want to get a green card and become an American citizen. They all scattered. HB 1804. Hope we didn't send any of them to your state. This was against the advice of the Federal Government, and the ACLU, they said it would be a mistake.

Guess what.......... Oklahoma did it anyway.

Recently we passed a law to include DNA samples from any and all illegals to the Oklahoma database, for criminal investigative purposes. Pelosi said it was unconstitutional. SB 1102

Guess what........ Oklahoma did it anyway.

Several weeks ago, we passed a law, declaring Oklahoma as a Sovereign state, not under the Federal Government directives. Joining Texas, Montana and Utah as the only states to do so. More states are likely to follow: Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolina's, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi, Florida. Save your confederate money, it appears the South is about to rise up once again. HJR 1003

The federal Government has made bold steps to take away our guns. Oklahoma, a week ago, passed a law confirming people in this state have the right to bear arms and transport them in their vehicles. I'm sure that was a set back for the criminals (and Obamaites). Liberals didn't like it -- But ...

Guess what........... Oklahoma did it anyway.

Just this month, my state has voted and passed a law that ALL driver's license exams will be printed in English, and only English, and no other language. We have been called racist for doing this, but the fact is that ALL of our road signs are in English only. If you want to drive in Oklahoma, you must read and write English. Really simple.

By the way, Obama does not like any of this.
Guess what....who cares... Oklahoma is doing it anyway.

To Verify:

Hat Tip; Eric


Bake Sale Today

Saturday, December 12, 2009
sponsored by the Pocomoke Samaritan Shelter will be held at the Heart N Home Gift and Country Store
on Route 13 in Pocomoke City, Maryland.

With every purchase from Heart N Home Country Store and Floors, Decor and More, 10% will be donated to the Samaritan Shelter.

The Samaritan Shelter in Pocomoke is a non-profit organization that provides shelter for the needy.

Please help the support the Samaritan Shelter so that they may help those in need this Chirstmas season and any other time of the year.

Geminid Meteor Shower

The best meteor shower of 2009 is predicted for this weekend. However, given the rainy forecast for the Eastern Shore, it may be tough to see.

The Geminid shower has been getting better each year since it was noticed shortly before the Civil War. The shower comes from an object called 3200 Phaethon, which is believed to be either an asteroid or the remains of a comet leaving a trail of debris. Jupiter's gravity has been steadily pulling the debris closer to Earth's orbit each year, creating brighter meteors.

The Geminid meteor shower will peak near midnight Sunday and into Monday morning, when more than 140 meteors an hour are expected. Meteors should be visible for a couple of days before and after the peak, NASA says.

For the best viewing, find a dark-sky location. If you look toward the constellation Gemini in the east, meteors with short tails should be visible.If you look away from Gemini, long-tailed meteors should be visible.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shooting victim in Ft. Hood

See picture below after reading the short story.

A man had a TV on in his office when the news of the military base shootings came on. The husband of one of his employees was stationed there. He called her into his office and the minute he told her what was going on, she got a text message from her husband saying, "I am okay."

The cell phone started ringing right after that. It was an ER nurse. She said , "I'm the one who just sent you a text, not your husband."She thought the message would be comforting, but she immediately knew she had to let the wife know what was going on.

She said, "I am sorry but your husband has been shot 4 times and he is in surgery."

The wife left Southern Clinic in Dothan and drove allnight.

Miraculously, here is the photo I just received from my brother that was taken today in the hospital room.

He is awake and will recover.

His wife, who lives in Dothan , made it to Ft. Hood about the time he was waking up. He had visitors. It was NOT Obama!!!

This is not the kind of story that is carried on the state-controlled media. The Bushes are
"real people."

911 called as woman shoots intruder

You hear woman's pleas for help as she holds gun

We'd like to warn you that some may find this next story disturbing.

A 911 call captured a deadly chain of events in the Midwest.

A woman was forced to take drastic action when a deranged man tried to break into her home.

This is the 911 call Donna Jackson made after midnight as this man, Billy Riley, tried to break into her rural Oklahoma home.

"They need to hurry, he's going to break this thing open. When he does I'll kill him and I don't want to have to kill him," screamed Jackson.

As 57-year-old Jackson tried to remain calm. On the other line, a team of dispatchers were sending help.

"She pleaded and begged you, she said I don't want to shoot him, I don't," said the dispatcher.

911 call dispatcher, "Can you understand what he's saying at all?" Jackson replied, "Well, he's crazy."

For nearly ten minutes, Billy Riley continued banging at the door, screaming profanities and threatening the women.

"I could hear him banging the doors, yelling at her, and I was scared for her," explained the dispatcher.

If you listen carefully, you can hear the intruder smash the windows - first with a chair and then with a patio table.

Jackson shouts, "Hurry, dear God hurry. I haven't shot yet. Hurry!"

911 call dispatcher responds, "...oh my God."

That's when the gunshot was fired, killing Riley instantly.

Jackson sobbed, "I shot him, I'm going out front. I killed him. God help me. Please dear God. I think I've killed him, please father in heaven. Oh my God."

"For me, listening to the call, the hardest part was hearing her pray for forgiveness, being put in a position that no one should ever have to be put into. Taking action into your own hands," said the dispatcher.

News 4 learned late this afternoon that Donna Jackson will not be charged over the incident.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Odor on Nictitate (Chapter 7)

Odor on Nictitate

By Odor Eliminator

Chapter 7 - The Players

The saga continues and this one is a doozie. OE has been reading on a local blog that one of the Detectives involved in Christine’s case has covered up the raping of children. It’s interesting that there are no legal and real charges to be found anywhere or the arrest of the police officer being accused.

Allegedly, and I use the word loosely, this Pocomoke City Police officer has been involved in not only refusing to arrest a rapist but also receiving and keeping pictures on his cell phone of the act. The story gets confusing because it’s alleged that the police officer covered up two separate cases of child rape.

Allegations against the police officer also include tampering of evidence in a separate case against a local blogger going by the name of Boss Hogg. For those of you who have not been keeping up with the drama in this case the owner of the Pocomoke Tattler, Billy Burke is going to stand trial for illegal wiretapping. Soon! The same police officer who served and carried out a warrant on the Burke’s is the police officer now being accused of the cover up of the child rape cases.

The accusers of the stories are of course the Pocomoke Conspiracy Theorist who has been shouting from the roof tops about all kinds of conspiracies going on in Pocomoke. Nictitate has appeared in the mix of things as well as a family member of Christine. Tampering and withholding of evidence has been brought into Christine’s case and this suggestion is spawned by the groupies hanging onto Nictitates nest.

No solid evidence has been forth coming against this police officer by the groupies however they are running like a pack of wild dogs making all kinds of wild accusations.

Sources tell OE that this same police officer hung up the telephone on Christine’s mother Lynn, after telling her that Christine’s case is not his. Apparently, Lynn has a habit of calling police officers whenever she feels like it with no respect for their personal privacy and it appears like this police officer got sick and tired of being called and harassed by Lynn when she knew that Christine’s case is being handled by Worcester County Bureau of Investigation.

Along came a spider called Nictitate with a nest full of groupies spinning all kinds of tales.

It’s OE’s belief that this police officer is another victim, in a long line of victims, of Nictitate and the pesky little spiders who hang from her nest. The last victims in this saga were the Pocomoke VFD and for those of us managing to keep up with Nictitates tale, they were accused up covering up for someone in Christine’s disappearance.

Just when OE thought that Nictitates tale had gotten boring and full of old news, out comes this outrageously bizarre story about the Pocomoke police officer. It shouldn’t surprise any of us however one has to admit that the story is a doozie. While we were promised a big news story from local and national news media a week ago, no such news flash has appeared.

One might ask, what does all of this have to do with Christine’s disappearance and her case? Absolutely nothing! What it appears to have to do with is an attempt to keep Billy Burke out of jail for illegal wire tapping and because Christine’s mother, Lynn, is P Oed for being hung up on. If we figure in the Pocomoke Conspiracy Theorist, it’s the Three Card Monte game again and we know who the players are.

Worcester County Sheriff’s Department and Worcester County Bureau of Investigation have always handled Christine’s case. Christine’s case is not and never has been handled by the Pocomoke City Police Department and the fixation by Nictitate and the groupies is puzzling. That is of course if we are supposed to be focusing on Christine.

OE wonders if maybe those of us who’ve always been focused on finding Christine missed the memo about focusing on other issues and OE wishes that Nictitate and the groupies would stop confusing all of us and let us know what it is that we are really supposed to be focusing on.

Early on after the Great One appeared on the scene comments not relevant to Christine’s case were not allowed on her blog. Somewhere along the line a 360 degree turn happened and all out war was declared against the City of Pocomoke. Please let us know who and what we are supposed to be slamming and bashing in our efforts to find Christine because OE, for one, is totally confused.

OE thinks that it is safe to say that those who’ve been leading the public effort to find Christine have found other subjects to work on. At this rate we will never find her. It’s way past time to put away all of the evilness and hatred and get back to the real subject. For those of you who have been caught up in the web being spun by Nictitate and the groupies – the subject is finding CHRSITINE.

OE sincerely hopes that the next chapter will be full of positive and true efforts in finding Christine to write about. Forever an optimist OE fears that misplaced hope has been presumed in the thought that Nictitates tale can be ended any time soon.

Note: For those of you who want to highjack writings from OE – DON’T. Any writings contributed by Odor Eliminator belong to The Pocomoke Public Eye exclusively and all rights are reserved. You may not copy and paste, dissect, snip, or use any of OE’s writings in any part or its entirety without prior written consent.

Odor on Nictitate (chapter 7)

Stay tuned, Odor on Nictitate chapter 7 will be posted soon you don't want to miss this one.

Veteran Wins His Battle Over Flag

The same homeowners association that threatened to take legal action against Army Col. Van T. Barfoot, of Richmond, VA., has dropped its request for him to remove a 21 foot flag pole displaying the American flag. The association told Barfoot that his 21 foot flagpole violated the neighborhood's "aesthetic guidelines".

The 90-year-old Medal of Honor winner was backed by the Democratic Senators from Virginia Mark Warner and Jim Webb. In a letter last week, to the homeowners association, Senator Jim Webb urged the association to "consider the exceptional nature of Col. Barefoots service when considering his pride and determination in honoring out flag."

Not only has Army Col. Van T. Barefoot had the two Virginia senators supporting him but has been backed by veteran's organizations, blog sites, and most television stations across America and some parts of the world. Facebook even had a link titled "Let Col. Barefoot Fly the American Flag." FOX News reported 97% in favor of KEEPING the American flag.

Good for Army Col. Barefoot, who won the Medal of Honor in 1944, the Purple Heart along with other decorations since his retirement from the military in 1974.

A true American Hero! Ninety years old and still winning battles!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pocomoke Samaritan Shelter Fundraiser/Bake Sale

This Christmas season, there will be many less-fortunate people who have nowhere to stay, no songs to sing, no family to be with. The Samaritan Shelter, a non-profit organization which aims to provide shelter to the needy, will be holding a bake sale this Saturday, December 12th at Heart N Home Gift and Country Store, in Pocomoke MD. Please come out and enjoy delicious homemade treats and donate to the Samaritan Shelter as we try to provide for those who do not have family to be with this Christmas season. Also, all purchases made at Heart N Home Country Store and Floors, Décor & More will see a 10% donation to the Samaritan Shelter.

Please come out this Friday and Saturday to Heart-N-Home Gift and Country Store and Floors, Décor & more this Saturday and help the Samaritan Shelter.

This is such a wonderful organization with lots of hard working and caring citizens. Please pass on the spirit of Christmas and giving by attending.

Children's Angel Tree Program

Swine Flu Vaccine Clinic In Pocomoke

This Friday, Dec. 11, there will be a free H1N1 vaccination clinic in Pocomoke City. It is for high-risk groups, including pregnant women, children ages 6 months to 24 years old and adults 25 to 64 with medical conditions.

Worcester County Health Department will be administering the vaccines at the Pocomoke MAC Senior Center at 400-B Walnut Street. There will be two session, the first from 9 AM to noon, then from 1 PM to 3 PM.

To make an appointment, call 410-632-1100.


Harvard Professor Says Nancy Grace's Questioning Contributed to Mother's Suicide

OCALA, Fla. — A Harvard professor says a CNN Headline News host's relentless questioning of a Florida mother three years ago contributed to her suicide.

That's according to a filing in a wrongful death case brought by the family of Melinda Duckett. Duckett's 2-year-old son was reported missing in 2006, and CNN host Nancy Grace launched aggressive nightly coverage of the case.

Click here for photos of police evidence.

The family claims that Grace's questioning and CNN's coverage decisions inflicted severe emotional distress on the young mother. Grace interviewed Duckett after speculation had begun about the mother's alleged involvement in the toddler's disappearance.

The next day, Duckett shot herself in the head.

Dr. Harold J. Bursztajn, a Harvard clinical professor of psychiatry writes that the CNN interview inflicted public humiliation and was "a substantial contributing cause" of Duckett's death. CNN and Grace have denied any involvement in the suicide.

Trenton Duckett has still not been found, and his mother remains the only suspect.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Schools Reject Supplies with Obama Logo

Several Missouri schools are complaining about notebooks and pencils with designs similar to the logos from President Barack Obama's campaign.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reported that complaints from unhappy officials at three Missouri schools have prompted the supply company responsible for the materials to travel across the state recalling notebooks and pencils.

The design at issue includes a picture of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. Above the coins is the phrase: "CHANGE" and underneath it reads: "WE CAN BELIEVE IN." Below the words is a circle used by Obama's campaign, in which the top half is blue and the bottom is red with three white lines cutting through it.

At least one notebook and pencil with the design have been purchased from a school supply machine at a Columbia elementary school. Two families have complained about the design, and Principal Mary Sue Gibson said she planned to complain to the supply company.

"I just don't want to get into that political arena at all," Gibson said.
Greg Jones, a sales representative with Pencil Wholesale, said the design was an accident.

Jones, who delivers supplies to about 800 schools, said he remembers seeing the design but didn't think anything about it. He said the supplies were designed by a different company and that "the art department was trying to be cutesy."

"I wish I could do it over. But, for now, I can just make it right," Jones said.

It's his job to go to schools that might have received supplies with the controversial design and remove them.

Finding what schools the supplies went to has been difficult. From a case of 72 notebooks, three have been found that have a design similar to the Obama logo.

"It's turned out to be really ugly. We're trying to get them out of the schools as fast as we can," said Jones, who identified himself as a registered Republican who voted for John McCain in 2008.


Hey Folks!!!!

Just a reminder..............

There's still time to do your holiday shopping......

There's 19 days before Christmas!!!!

H1N1 Influenza Vaccination Clinics

The Eastern Shore Health District Announces H1N1 Influenza Vaccination Clinics For General Public

The Eastern Shore Health District invites all members of the general public who wish to receive the H1N1 Influenza Vaccination to attend open walk in clinics during the month of December. There are four remaining opportunities for the general public to receive the vaccine at their local health department in 2009.

Monday, December 7 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Northampton Health Department
Tuesday, December 8 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Accomack Health Department
Monday, December 14 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Northampton Health Department
Tuesday, December 15 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Accomack Health Department

Since the vaccine was received in early October of this year high risk groups have been targeted as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control guidelines: healthcare professionals, pregnant women, school age children ages 6 months through 24 years, and adults ages 25 through 64 with underlying health conditions. Eastern Shore health officials have provided weekly walk in clinics, maternity clinics as well as ongoing public and private school clinics in order to reach as many of the targeted groups as possible. Accomack public elementary schools are planned to be completed by Christmas Vacation, with the Accomac public middle and high school H1N1 Influenza Vaccination Clinics beginning in January. Tangier Combined School H1N1 Influenza Vaccination clinic is also planed before Christmas Vacation as well as a Tangier Island walk in clinic for island residents. Northampton County public schools are working with Eastern Shore RUal Health to bring the H1N1 vaccine to their students. Parents ad students fom either public, private, or home schooling situations are welcome to attend the walk in clinics at the health department, whether they missed a planned school clinic, are in need of a second dose, or they would prefer to receive the vaccine sooner than it will be offered at the school. The health department also welcomes any child nine years old and under in need of a second dose of H1N1 vaccine to come to the walk I clinics, regardless of where the first dose was received, but please bring a copy of your record or vaccination card. There is no charge for the H1N1 influenza vaccine at any health department sponsored clinic

The health department appreciates the general publics patience as they have allowed those who needed the vaccine the most to go fist, and now if offering H1N1 Novel Influenza Vaccine t all who are interested in receiving it. For more information about H1N1 Vaccination Clinics, please visit the Virginia Department of Health website or if you have questions about H1N1 Influenza, please call1-877-ASK-VDH3.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jose Cuervo Christmas Cookies

Jose Cuervo Christmas Cookies

1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup or brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle Jose Cuervo Tequila

Sample the Cuervo to check quality. Take a large bowl,
Check the Cuervo again, to be sure it is of the highest quality,
Pour one level cup and drink.

Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter
In a large fluffy bowl.

Add one peastoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point
it's best to make sure the Cuervo is still ok, try another
Cup just in case.

Turn off the mixerer thingy.

Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup
Of dried fruit.

Pick the frigging fruit off the floor.

Mix on the turner.

If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaters just pry
It loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the Cuervo to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt, or something. Who geeves
A sheet. Check the Jose Cuervo. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

Add one table.

Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can

Greash the oven.

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall

Don't forget to beat off the turner.

Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the
Cose Juervo and make sure to put the stove in the wishdasher.

Cherry Mistmas !

Hat Tip: Ree

Fewer Rest Stops Add to Travel Woes

Travelers driving during the holiday will find fewer open rest stops along the highways.

Rest areas have been targeted in recent efforts to curb state spending and alleviate budget concerns. What started as a quiet trend this summer has emerged into a much larger movement. To date, a significant percentage of the approximately 2,500 rest stops along interstate highways have been shuttered. Even more stops are slated to be closed as the winter season progresses.

Georgia led the pack, shutting down two service plazas on Interstate 85 near Atlanta this summer. The state is also considering closing more, or, alternatively, keeping them open and limiting their hours of operation.

"We've just got significant budget deficits and are trying to find ways to save money,” said David Spears, press secretary for the Georgia Department of Transportation, reported the Associated Press on November 9th. Spears estimates that each closed rest area will save the state $300,000, but adds that the need for rest stops in Georgia’s rural areas is still valid.

Colorado quickly followed suit, shutting down two of its rest areas as well. The state is now considering shutting down yet another highway stop near Pueblo.

The Arizona Department of Transportation closed 13 rest areas in October, citing a budget shortfall amounting to $100 million.

Virginia is another cash-strapped state that has felt the pressure to shut down rest areas, having closed 19 of its 42 locations. The state estimates that each closed rest stop saves them close to half a million dollars. Other states that have closed stops due to budgetary concerns include: Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, and Vermont.

Other states, like Wisconsin, have managed to ward off closures by cutting back in other areas, such as hours of operation. New Mexico is keeping their rest areas open, but has closed two bathrooms due to insufficient funds.

States that are facing closures in the near future include South Carolina and Colorado.

Some feel that rest stops are no longer necessary due to the proliferation of gas stations and fast food restaurants. Even retailers, like Wal-Mart, are offering the travel-weary alternative places to stay by permitting recreational vehicles to camp out in their parking lots overnight.

Others maintain that the rest stops are vital to modern car travel.

"In a way, rest areas are something that have been taken for granted and are just there," Joanna Dowling, a cultural historian who runs the website, told the AP. "They have become this natural essential part of American travel."

The American Trucking Association is among the opponents of the recent closures, arguing that privately operated truck stops located off highway exits wouldn’t be able to cope with the excess traffic, reported the Wall Street Journal.

AAA also weighed in by pointing to data showing that 20 percent of highway car crashes involve drowsy drivers—a number that could increase due to disappearing rest stops.

"From a traffic safety standpoint, we are concerned about it,"John Townsend, manager of public relations for AAA's Mid-Atlantic Club, told the AP.

Despite current conditions, some states are bucking the trend by using stimulus money to revitalize rest areas.

Due to their wide-open spaces and distance between shops, drivers in states like Iowa, Texas, and Kentucky depend on rest stops even more than drivers passing through other states. As a result, these states have been investing in rest areas.

After shutting down almost half a dozen older rest stops, Texas opened two new locations in December of 2008 which featured interactive kiosks, playgrounds, surveillance cameras and a police outpost, reported the Wall Street Journal. Additionally, the state has continued making improvements by outfitting each of its nearly 100 rest stops with wireless Internet hot spots.

There are only two states in the Union that are totally unaffected either way—Alaska and Hawaii—both of which never had any rest stops to begin with.

Thinking of driving this holiday season? See below to find out how many are open (and how many may be closing) in your state.

Rest Stops By State

Alabama: 19 Rest Areas and 8 Welcome Centers; None closed due to budget constraints
Alaska: No rest stops
Arizona: 18 Rest Areas; 13 closed in mid-October due to budget constraints
Arkansas: 19 Rest Areas and 12 Welcome Centers; 2 Rest Areas have been closed and are now only being used for truck parking
California: 70 Rest Areas; 17 closed due to budget constraints and remodeling efforts
Colorado: 34 Rest Areas; 2 closed over the summer and another closure is being considered near Pueblo
Connecticut: 7 Rest Areas; None closed
Delaware: 2 Rest Areas; 1 currently closed for renovations
Florida: 53 Rest Areas; None closed
Georgia: 17 Rest Areas and 8 Welcome Centers; 3 closed due to budget constraints
Hawaii: No rest stops
Idaho: 29 Rest Areas; None closed
Illinois: 30 Rest Areas; None closed
Indiana: 30 Rest Areas, None closed
Iowa: 40 Rest Areas; None closed. The state is actually updating rest area facilities at the rate of one every year.
Kansas: 20 Rest Areas; None closed
Kentucky: 24 Rest Areas; None closed
Louisiana: 34 Rest Areas; 24 closed since 2000 (with 4 closed within the last year alone)
Maine: 50 Rest Areas; 2 closed along I-95 in Pittsfield due to budget constraints
Maryland: 12 Rest Areas; 3 closed due to budget constraints, modified hours and other operating changes imposed on other areas
Massachusetts: 20 Rest Areas; None closed, but 5 tourist information centers had cuts to close the state’s $600 million mid-year budget gap
Michigan: 81 Rest Areas and 14 Welcome Centers; 4 closed
Minnesota: 77 Rest Areas and 3 Welcome Centers; None closed due to budget constraints
Mississippi: 11 Rest Areas and 10 Welcome Centers; None closed
Missouri: 30 Rest Areas; None closed
Montana: 52 Rest Areas; None closed
Nebraska: 26 Rest Areas; None closed
Nevada: 10 Rest Areas; None closed
New Hampshire: 17 Rest Areas; None closed
New Jersey: 5 Rest Areas; 3 closed not due to budget constraints
New Mexico: 32 Rest Areas; 2 bathrooms were closed as a result of insufficient funds to restore them after vandalism and age
New York: 35 Rest Areas; None closed
North Carolina: 60 Rest Areas; None closed. The state recently opened an additional rest area
North Dakota: 29 Rest Areas; None closed
Ohio: 55 Rest Areas; 2 closed for reconstruction
Oklahoma: 11 Rest Areas; None closed
Oregon: 63 Rest Areas; None closed
Pennsylvania: 33 Rest Areas and 15 Welcome Centers; None closed
Rhode Island: 3 Rest Areas; None closed
South Carolina: 24 Rest Areas and 9 Welcome Centers; None closed currently, but the state may face closures in 2010
South Dakota: 22 Rest Areas; None closed
Tennessee: 32 Rest Areas; None closed. The state recently opened another rest area.
Texas: 91 Rest Areas; None closed. The state is adding more rest stops and upgrading locations
Utah: 20 Rest Areas; None closed
Vermont: 17 Rest Areas; 3 have been closed and others have had their hours cut
Virginia: 42 Rest Areas; 19 locations have been closed this year due to budget constraints
Washington: 40 Rest Areas; None closed
West Virginia: 18 Rest Areas; None closed. All locations have plans for being demolished and rebuilt in the future.
Wisconsin: 30 Rest Areas; None closed, however budget cuts have led to reduced hours at some locations
Wyoming: 18 Rest Areas; None closed

These facilities are located on the Maryland Official Highway Map and are further described as follows:

Facility Hours of Operation Location
US 219 Cove Overlook Rest Area near Keyser’s Ridge Closing the restroom facilities permanently. It is located on US 219 approximately 2.5 miles south of IS-68 in Garrett County, Maryland. The site offers spectacular views of the valley. For more information, please call 301-729-8457

I-68 Youghiogheny Overlook in Friendsville Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., no night hours. Located on eastbound I-68, 1.5 miles east of Friendsville in Garrett County, Maryland, this site offers an outstanding view of the Youghiougheny reservoir. Ph. (301) 746-5979.

I-68 Sideling Hill Rest Area Close the restroom facilities January through April. Located on I-68, approximately 10 miles west of Hancock in Washington County, Maryland. The Site offers spectacular views and geologic history of the Sideling Hill Cut. The interpretive center, located along the westbound roadway is connected to parking and restrooms for eastbound traffic by a pedestrian bridge. Ph. (301) 678-5442.

I-70 East and I-70 West Welcome Centers These centers are currently being remodeled and scheduled to reopen fall 2010. The Welcome Centers serve both eastbound and westbound traffic on I-70. They are located in a natural setting on South Mountain between Frederick and Hagerstown in Frederick County, Maryland, near the Washington County Line. Ph. I-70 West. (301) 293-4161. Ph. I-70 East. (301) 293-2526

I-95 South and I-95 North Welcome Centers Open 24 hours These welcome centers are located on Interstate Route 95 between Baltimore and Washington in Howard County, Maryland. The Southbound site serves traffic heading towards Washington D.C. and points south. Ph. (301) 490-2444. The Northbound site serves traffic heading toward the Baltimore/Annapolis area and points north. Ph. (301) 490-1333.

Crain Memorial Welcome Center Open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Located approximately two miles north of the Potomac River on northbound U.S. 301 in Charles County Maryland, this facility is the gateway into Southern Maryland from Virginia. Ph. (301) 259-2500.

US 301 Bay Country Rest Area near Centreville open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., no night hours. This site is located on U.S. 301 in Queen Anne's County, Maryland, approximately 15 miles north of its junction with U.S. 50. The facility is located in the median of U.S. 301 and serves both northbound and southbound traffic. Ph. (410) 758-6803.

US 13 North Welcome Center in Pocomoke open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., no night hours This welcome center is located on U.S. 13, northbound, just north of the Virginia State Line in Worcester County, Maryland. It is approximately four miles south of Pocomoke City and is the gateway to Maryland's lower Eastern Shore. Ph. (410) 957-2484.


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SALUTE to Denmark.

SALUTE to Denmark. This could very well happen here on our Continent.

Susan MacAllen is a contributing editor for (Family Security Salute the Danish Flag - it's a Symbol of Western Freedom By Susan MacAllen .

In 1978-9, I was living and studying in Denmark. But in 1978 - even in Copenhagen, one didn't see Muslim immigrants.

The Danish population embraced visitors, celebrated the exotic, went out of its way to protect each of its citizens. It was proud of its new brand of socialist liberalism one in development since the conservatives had lost power in 1929 - a system where no worker had to struggle to survive, where one ultimately could count upon the state as in, perhaps, no other western nation at the time.

The rest of Europe saw the Scandinavians as free-thinking, progressive and infinitely generous in their welfare policies. Denmark boasted low crime rates, devotion to the environment, a superior educational system and a history of humanitarianism.

Denmark was also most generous in its immigration policies - it
Offered the best welcome in Europe to the new immigrant: generous welfare payments from first arrival plus additional perks in transportation, housing and education. It was determined to set a world example for inclusiveness and multiculturalism. How could it have predicted that one day in 2005 a series of political cartoons in a newspaper would spark violence that would leave dozens dead in the streets -all because its commitment to multiculturalism would come back to bite?

By the 1990's the growing urban Muslim population was obvious - and its unwillingness to integrate into Danish society was obvious.
Years of immigrants had settled into Muslim-exclusive enclaves. As the Muslim leadership became more vocal about what they considered the decadence of Denmark's liberal way of life, the Danes - once so welcoming - began to feel slighted. Many Danes had begun to see Islam as incompatible with their long-standing values: belief in personal liberty and free speech, in equality for women, in tolerance for other ethnic groups, and a deep pride in Danish heritage and history.

An article by Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard, in which they forecasted, accurately, that the growing immigrant problem in Denmark would explode. In the article they reported: 'Muslim immigrants constitute 5 percent of the population but consume upwards of 40 percent of the welfare spending.'
'Muslims are only 4 percent of Denmark's 5.4 million people but make up a majority of the country's convicted rapists, an especially combustible issue given that practically all the female victims are non-Muslim Similar, if lesser, disproportions are found in other crimes.'

'Over time, as Muslim immigrants increase in numbers, they wish less to mix with the indigenous population. A recent survey finds that only 5 percent of young Muslim immigrants would readily marry a Dane.'

'Forced marriages - promising a newborn daughter in Denmark to a male cousin in the home country, then compelling her to marry him, sometimes on pain of death - are one problem'

'Muslim leaders openly declare their goal of introducing Islamic law
Once Denmark's Muslim population grows large enough - a

Not-that-remote prospect. If present trends persist, one sociologist

Estimates, every third inhabitant of Denmark in 40 years will be Muslim.'

It is easy to understand why a growing number of Danes would feel that Muslim immigrants show little respect for Danish values and laws.
An example is the phenomenon common to other European countries and Canada: some Muslims in Denmark who opted to leave the Muslim faith have been murdered in the name of Islam, while others hide in fear for their lives. Jews are also threatened and harassed openly by Muslim leaders in Denmark, a country where once Christian citizens worked to smuggle out nearly all of their 7,000 Jews by night to Sweden - before the Nazis could invade. I think of my Danish friend Elsa - who, as a teenager, had dreaded crossing the street to the bakery every morning under the eyes of occupying Nazi soldiers - and I wonder what she would say today.

In 2001, Denmark elected the most conservative government in some 70 years - one that had some decidedly non-generous ideas about liberal unfettered immigration. Today Denmark has the strictest immigration policies in Europe. (Its effort to protect itself has been met with accusations of 'racism' by liberal media across Europe - even as other governments struggle to right the social problems wrought by years of too-lax immigration.)

If you wish to become Danish, you must attend three years of language classes. You must pass a test on Denmark's history, culture, and a Danish language test.

You must live in Denmark for 7 years before applying for citizenship.

You must demonstrate an intent to work, and have a job waiting. If you wish to bring a spouse into Denmark, you must both be over 24 years of age, and you won't find it so easy anymore to move your friends and family to Denmark with you.

You will not be allowed to build a mosque in Copenhagen. Although your children have a choice of some 30 Arabic culture and language schools in Denmark, they will be strongly encouraged to assimilate to Danish society in ways that past immigrants weren't.

In 2006, the Danish minister for employment, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, spoke publicly of the burden of Muslim immigrants on the Danish welfare system, and it was horrifying: the government's welfare committee had calculated that if immigration from Third World countries were blocked, 75 percent of the cuts needed to sustain the huge welfare system in coming decades would be unnecessary. In other words, the welfare system, as it existed, was being exploited by immigrants to the point of eventually bankrupting the government. 'We are simply forced to adopt a new policy on immigration'.

'The calculations of the welfare committee are terrifying and show how unsuccessful the integration of immigrants has been up to now,' he said.

A large thorn in the side of Denmark's imams is the Minister of
Immigration and Integration, Rikke Hvilshoj. She makes no bones about the new policy toward immigration, 'The number of foreigners coming to the country makes a difference,' Hvilshoj says, 'There is an inverse correlation between how many come here and how well we can receive the foreigners that come..' And on Muslim immigrants needing to demonstrate a willingness to blend in, 'In my view, Denmark should be a country with room for different cultures and religions. Some values, however, are more important than others. We refuse to question democracy, equal rights, and freedom of speech.'

Hvilshoj has paid a price for her show of backbone. Perhaps to test
her resolve, the leading radical imam in Denmark, Ahmed Abdel Rahman Abu Laban, demanded that the government pay blood money to the family of a Muslim who was murdered in a suburb of Copenhagen, stating that the family's thirst for revenge could be thwarted for money. When Hvilshoj dismissed his demand, he argued that in Muslim culture the payment of retribution money was common, to which Hvilshoj replied that what is done in a Muslim country is not necessarily what is done in Denmark.

The Muslim reply came soon after. Her house was torched while she, her husband and children slept. All managed to escape unharmed, but she and her family were moved to a secret location and she and other ministers were assigned bodyguards for the first time - in a country where such murderous violence was once so scarce.

Her government has slid to the right, and her borders have tightened.
Many believe that what happens in the next decade will determine

whether Denmark survives as a bastion of good living, humane thinking and social responsibility, or whether it becomes a nation at civil war with supporters of Sharia law.

And meanwhile, Canadians clamor for stricter immigration policies, and demand an end to state welfare programs that allow many immigrants to live on the public dole. As we in Canada look at the enclaves of Muslims amongst us, and see those who enter our shores too easily, dare live on our taxes, yet refuse to embrace our culture, respect our traditions, participate in our legal system, obey our laws,speak our language,appreciate our history ... we would do well to look to Denmark and say a prayer for her future for our own.