Saturday, July 31, 2010

Accomack County Officials Support Beach Parking

ACCOMAC -- Accomack County officials voted unanimously to support Chincoteague in the town's effort to keep parking available at the beach on Assateague Island.

The Board of Supervisors will add its voice to those of Chincoteague town officials who are determined to battle efforts to eliminate or reduce beach parking at Assateague Island National Seashore in favor of a shuttle system.

The vote came after Chincoteague Councilman John Jester made a plea for the county to join the town in supporting the continuation of parking at the beach.

A study by Volpe National Transportation Systems Center commissioned by the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in anticipation of the updating of the refuge's master plan in the coming years gave four options for getting visitors to the beach --two of which involved some type of shuttle service. The transportation alternatives are partly in response to the threat of rising sea levels and storms that have necessitated the rebuilding of the parking lots at the beach after each winter in recent years.

"Wherever Volpe's been, shuttles seem to follow in national parks," Jester said. He called the idea of families taking a shuttle bus to the beach, loaded down with all their gear, "ridiculous."

Jester said 500 surveys returned to a beach access committee of the town showed 80 percent of those surveyed say they come to Chincoteague to go to the beach; 80 percent said they would not feel safe during a storm at the beach; and 75 percent said if a shuttle service is implemented they would think about not coming back to vacation there.

Jester said Accomack County in 2009 collected $401,500 in hotel taxes from Chincoteague and the town's real estate represents $1.1 billion out of a total in the county of $3.6 billion, with 45 percent or more of homes on the island being second or vacation homes. Those property values, and taxes collected by the county, would likely decrease if the beach was no longer accessible by private vehicle, he said.

"The bottom line is the economy of Chincoteague and of Accomack will suffer," he said.

County supervisors appeared to agree wholeheartedly with Jester.

"I hope this board will do anything they can to prevent the shuttle service," Supervisor Jack Gray said. Ron Wolff agreed, as did Donald Hart Jr., who said of the Fish and Wildlife Service, "In their opinion, human beings are a nuisance."

Hart made the motion to support a letter Chincoteague will write objecting to the proposed elimination of beach parking and also to ask state and federal elected officials to go on the record as to what their stance is on the matter.

Supervisor Wanda Thornton of Chincoteague said the same issue came up in 1999 but was thwarted by a concerted effort including local officials making several trips to Washington, D.C., to present their case.

"The deal was then that they were going to bus the people from Wallops ... We were able to change that whole equation then and we can do it now," she said.

"Earl Weaver" The Family Pet

REST IN PEACE "EARL WEAVER". You were loved and you will be missed.

This is "Earl Weaver" an adopted dog and family pet. Earl Weaver was saved from being put to sleep on the eve of his execution. For many months he did nothing but exist in a kennel at the dog pound. He had no trips out of doors, no fresh air and ate, slept and went to the bathroom all in the same place. He had no family anymore and not even a nibble for a new home.

Well, he found a new home. And for a few short months "Earl Weaver" had the best medical care, the best in food, the softest bed and even received a doggy education. He had others to play with, a park to play in, toys of his own and someone to love. There were road trips and plenty of trips to the store for more toys. All he had to do was provide protection for his owner in which he did. It made him proud and he worked so hard.

Suddenly a few days ago "Earl Weaver" developed an attitude that no one had ever seen in him. His actions and behavior became so untypical of "Earl Weaver" that his owner quickly took him to his doctor for a blood test. It was determined today that "Earl Weaver", when living with his first family, (who lost him to the shelter for mistreating him) had fed him lead. The lead that he had been fed once upon a time was destroying his kidneys and his brain.

Yep, someone gave this animal something harmful that could not be detected until Earl did something BITE! Thank goodness no one was bitten and his attitude was taken seriously by his owner before something unfortunate did happen.

The decisions we have to make in life sometimes seem so unfair. But for the fairness to "Earl Weaver" and so he would never harm a person (not meaning to), the owner, along with Earl's doctor made the hard decision to put "Earl Weaver" to sleep.

So it's a very sad time right now for those that loved him. But on a happy note he got his time to walk free, play in the park, chew bones and do all the things dogs should get to do when they are loved and especially when someone gives them a chance.

We're going to miss that funny, happy dog.

Isn't it odd though if you really give it some thought........ If a dog bites someone, acts unruly, threatens, or even looks mean the first thing to be done is to be put to sleep. Well, my goodness, we can't have an animal running our streets acting like that!!! What if he was to harm someone????? What if some person really got hurt? Dogs have been known to kill!!!


We tolerate bad behavior from humans that can cause us MORE harm than a dog could ever do.

Johns Hopkins Researcher Buried In Florida

North Palm Beach, Fla. —
The wooden pews were filled Friday morning as friends and family remembered slain Hopkins researcher Stephen Pitcairn as a young man with an "intense" and "inquisitive" nature.

"He grabbed you and you just wanted to be where he was," said Chris "Suds" Southard, youth director at First Presbyterian Church in North Palm Beach, Fla., where the funeral was held.

Standing behind the pulpit, Rev. Ronald Hilliard tried to comfort the grief-stricken, still reeling from the death of the Jupiter, Fla., native who was robbed at knifepoint Sunday night while walking to his Charles Village apartment.

In North Palm Beach, the reverend urged that the family not to lose sight of the vibrant life Pitcairn was able to lead.

"The value of life is not in longevity … the value of life is based on the quality of the chapters that God has written," he said.

The funeral brought together those who knew Pitcairn throughout his life, cut short just two days before his 24th birthday: graduates from The Benjamin School, which Pitcairn attended for 14 years; classmates from Kalamazoo College in Michigan; and colleagues from Johns Hopkins medical center in Baltimore.

"We are just devastated as a school community," said Robert Goldberg, head of school at The Benjamin School. "Our heart is just so heavy for the Pitcairn family."

Pitcairn, a researcher at a cell engineering laboratory on the Johns Hopkins medical campus, was on the phone with his mother, Gwen Pitcairn, around 11 p.m. Sunday when he was confronted by a man and a woman in the 2600 block of St. Paul St., police say. His mother listened as he pleaded with the robbers and was stabbed in the chest.

Authorities have charged John Alexander Wagner, 34, and Lavelva Merritt, 24, who police say were "hunting to rob someone," with first-degree murder in his death.

During the 90-minute service, Hilliard urged the family not to focus on the tragic circumstances surrounding Pitcairn's death. He suggested that the family may be wondering what would have happened if circumstances had been different.

"We may be sad about the book ending before we were ready," said Hilliard, but that sadness should not overshadow the value and impact that Pitcairn's life had.

"The reality is that in God's eyes, Stephen's life was complete," he said.

Speakers largely avoided discussing the tragic circumstances surrounding Pitcairn's death, instead paying tribute to his Christian faith.

Emily and Elise Pitcairn remembered their brother as intelligent and tenacious. Nancy Reugg, Pitcairn's former fourth-grade teacher, said that many details about the young man had faded from her memory over the years, but his curiosity remained in sharp focus.

The service, held inside First Presbyterian's flower-filled sanctuary, featured a number of quotations from Psalms. Those in attendance sang "Amazing Grace" and watched slides of pictures of Pitcairn, accompanied by music played by his former guitar teacher.

Some of the photographs of Pitcairn as a small child elicited sniffles, tears and even momentary laughter. One photograph featured a young Pitcairn wearing oversized sunglasses, and, momentarily, people laughed.
This murder didn't have to happen if the court system cared about who they released back into society.

1st US Execution For A Female Since 2005 Set For September

RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia woman who used sex and money to persuade two men to kill her husband and her stepson to collect a $250,000 life insurance policy was scheduled Thursday to be executed in two months, which would be the first U.S. execution of a woman in five years.

A judge set a Sept. 23 execution date for Teresa Lewis, 41, the only woman on Virginia's death row. She would be the first woman executed in the state in nearly a century.

Lewis offered herself and her 16-year-old daughter for sex to two men who committed the killings. She provided money to buy the murder weapons and stood by while they shot her husband, Julian Clifton Lewis Jr., 51, and stepson Charles J. Lewis, 25, in 2002 in Pittsylvania County in south-central Virginia.

Lewis rummaged through her husband's pockets for money while he lay dying and waited nearly an hour before calling 911.

The gunmen, Rodney Fuller and Matthew Shallenberger, were sentenced to life in prison. Shallenberger committed suicide in prison in 2006.

Lewis' daughter, Christie Lynn Bean, served five years because she knew about the plan but remained silent.

Lewis' attorney James Rocap III claims Shallenberger said about two years before his suicide that it was him, not Lewis, who planned the killings and that he was using Lewis to get to her husband's money.

"The truth about her involvement in the tragic deaths of Julian and C.J. Lewis does not require or justify her execution, especially in light of the fact that the lives of those who actually gunned down Julian and C.J. were spared," Rocap said.

Lewis would be the first woman executed in the U.S. since Frances Newton died by injection in Texas. Newton shot her husband and two young children to death to collect insurance money.

Lewis would also be the first woman executed in Virginia since 1912, when 17-year-old Virginia Christian died in the electric chair for suffocating her employer.

Women commit about 12 percent of the murders in the U.S. annually, and few ever reach the execution chamber.

Out of more than 1,200 executions since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, only 11 women have been executed. Of the more than 3,200 inmates on death row nationwide, 53 are women.

Women usually don't commit torture murders, they aren't serial killers and often don't have a history of other violent crimes compared with men who get sentenced to death, said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. They also typically kill someone they know.

"I think it's those facts, rather than just gender that make the difference," he said.

Lewis' first attempt to kill her husband failed. The plan was for the men to kill her husband as he came home from work and make it look like a robbery, but a car was too close and foiled the plot. A few days later she found out her stepson was coming home on leave from Army National Guard duty, and they decided to wait and kill him, too, so they could get all the insurance money.

Lewis pleaded guilty to capital murder, allowing a judge to determine her sentence. Her attorneys believed she stood a better chance of getting a life prison term from the judge who had never sentenced anyone to death, than from a jury.

In a 2004 interview with The Associated Press, Lewis said she hired the hitmen to escape an abusive relationship. She said she and Shallenberger became lovers and concocted the scheme to murder her husband, who she said was an abusive alcoholic.

In a hearing before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in March, Rocap argued that Lewis was too dependent on other people and prescription drugs to have plotted the murders. He said the trial lawyers' failure to raise dependency disorder and drug addiction as mitigating factors at sentencing violated Lewis' constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel.

Rocap said he would appeal her case to the U.S. Supreme Court and will file a clemency request with Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Cell Phones Are 18 Times Dirtier Than Toilet Handles

You may want to peel your mobile phone away from your face, considering it may be dirtier than a toilet handle, the Daily Mail reported.

A U.K. study tested 30 mobile phones for levels of potentially harmful bacteria, or the total viable bacterial count (TVC).

High TVC levels don’t pose any immediate harm, but usually indicate poor hygiene.

The results revealed that 25 percent exceeded the acceptable TVC by 10 times and have 18 times the TVC as a handle on a public restroom toilet. The Which? magazine study suggests that 14.7 million of the 63 million phones being used in the U.K. could pose a health risk, the report said.

“Most phones didn’t have any immediate harmful bacteria that would make you sick straight away, but they were grubbier than they could be,” said Ceri Stanaway, a researcher with Which? magazine.

One phone’s TVC level was so high it put its owner at risk of a serious stomach ache, the report said.

“The levels of potentially harmful bacteria on one mobile were off the scale. That phone needs sterilizing,” Jim Francis, a hygiene expert, said.

The phone with the most bacteria had more than ten times the acceptable level, as well as 39 times the safe level of enterobacteria, which includes Salmonella.

“What this shows is how easy it is to come into contact with bacteria,” Stanaway said. “People see toilet flushes as being something dirty to touch, but they have less bacteria than phones.”

The tests also found E. coli and staphylococcus aureus, among other food poisoning bugs, but at safe levels. There was also 170 times the acceptable level of the bacteria associated with human waste, fecal coliforms.

“People need to be mindful of that by observing good hygiene themselves and among others who they pass the phone to when looking at photos, for example,” Stanaway said.

Woman Honks Horn And Gets Beat Up- Attacker Jailed

MOLINE, Illinois - UPDATE: A man accused of road rage punched a woman in the face and put a juvenile passenger in a headlock, according to court documents.

28-year-old Jason Leslein of Moline was arrested Wednesday after police say he beat up a woman after she honked her horn at him.

Police officials said the incident occurred Monday afternoon after the 54-year-old female driver honked at Leslein near the intersection of 25th Street and 12th Avenue in Moline.

Investigators were back in the neighborhood Friday interviewing witnesses and say it appears Leslein swerved into the victim's lane, triggering her reaction to honk.

According to court records, Leslein is accused of punching the female victim in the face ''causing facial fractures'', and putting her passenger in a headlock and striking him in the head.

Leslein, who lives in the neighborhood ,is still in jail. He has been arrested more than 20 times.

Maryland's Restrictions On Handgun Carry Permits Challanged

The gun rights advocates who successfully challenged the District's gun laws have moved their campaign to Maryland, filing a federal lawsuit claiming that the state's weapons restrictions violate the Second Amendment.

The seven-page suit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore challenges Maryland's restrictions on handgun carry permits. Under state law, applicants must show, among other things, that they are not addicted to drugs or alcohol, don't have a history of violence and have a "good and substantial reason" to carry a gun.

Plaintiff Raymond Woollard, a Navy veteran who once fought with an intruder in his Baltimore County home, was denied a permit because the state found that he could not show he had been subject to "threats occurring beyond his residence," according to the suit.

"He was only denied for lack of a so-called good and substantial reason," said Cary J. Hansel, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers. He said Woollard met all of the other hurdles.

"Imagine a world in which you had to go to the government and show a good and substantial reason to exercise your constitutional rights," Hansel said. "We are not arguing there shouldn't be background checks, fingerprints, mental examinations or training requirements."

The lawsuit comes in the aftermath of recent court victories for gun rights advocates. In June, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment provides Americans a fundamental right to bear arms that cannot be violated by state or local governments. The decision extended the court's landmark 2008 ruling that struck down the District's decades-old ban on handgun possession.

Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler declined to comment on the case, saying that state officials had not reviewed the arguments.

But Guillory said the attorney general's office reexamined state gun laws in the context of the recent Supreme Court rulings. "We have reviewed Maryland gun laws and concluded none of them are so stringent as to violate the Second Amendment," she said.

The lawsuit, also filed on behalf of the Bellevue, Wash.-based Second Amendment Foundation, names the Maryland State Police superintendent, Col. Terrence B. Sheridan, and three members of the state handgun permit review board as defendants.

Hansel said a permit generally is needed to carry a handgun outside the home in Maryland. There are some exceptions, he said, including taking a gun home after it is bought or traveling to a shooting range.

According to the suit, Woollard, who lives on a Baltimore County farm, was with his family on Christmas Eve 2002 when a man shattered a window and broke into his home. Woollard trained his shotgun on the man, but the two fought and the intruder pulled the gun away. Woollard's son eventually got another gun, ending the fight.

The intruder was convicted of burglary in that case and ultimately was sent to prison after violating probation, according to the lawsuit. The man, who was released from prison in 2005, lives about three miles from Woollard.

Woollard's handgun permit was renewed in 2005, according to the lawsuit. He sought to renew it again last year but was denied. The board found that Woollard had not "submitted any documentation to verify threats occurring beyond his residence, where he can already legally carry a handgun," the suit states.

Friday, July 30, 2010

PONY PENNING: Pony Auction

I'll just bet there were lots of happy, smiling faces yesterday after the 85th Pony Penning Auction. And some droopy sad faces too coming from those not lucky enough with their bidding. Bidding has to be hard work when you want a Chincoteague pony to take home for your very own.
Today families will back their trailers up to the tiny stables that the ponies have been tenderly tucked into over night and load their "next best friend" to take them to a new home.

The remaining ponies will be returned to Assateague Island today. The return trip is just the reverse for them. Some of them have made the trek to the main land before so going home should be rather easy. It's on the quiet island of Assateague that the ponies will be able to roam and graze and occasionally look at the people going by.

I'm wondering if the pony going to a new home has any thoughts.

PONY PENNING: Pony Auction Go here for some wonderful photos

Baltimore Lab To Conserve Remains of Ship Found At World Trade Center

A conservation team from Maryland's archaeology lab is in Manhattan this week, working to recover the remains of a wooden sailing ship found buried at the World Trade Center site.
The ship's fragile timbers are being extracted from the muck, wrapped, labeled and packed for shipment next week to the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory, part of the Jefferson-Patterson Park & Museum in St. Leonard, where they will be treated so they may eventually be reassembled.

The lab was built, in part, to conserve and store artifacts recovered from Maryland waters.

But over the years, the "MAC" lab has been enlisted to help with many far-flung projects, including conservation of pieces of Blackbeard's ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, found off the North Carolina coast in 1996, and a dugout canoe found in New Jersey that the lab carbon dated to A.D. 200.

"Our conservators have a great deal of experience with recovering and conserving waterlogged timbers, such as those found at the World Trade Center," said Nichole Doub, the MAC's head conservator, in a statement.

But the lab's director, Patricia Stamford, said this was the largest shipwreck project the lab has taken on. The process will entail up to a year of soaking in antifreeze, and then freeze-drying to drive out the remaining water and preserve the wood, she said.

The New York ship was found July 13, during excavation work for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. The dig will make way for construction of a new vehicle security center and tour bus parking facility. Workers removing the black ooze 20 to 30 feet below street level struck the regularly spaced and contoured timbers.

Archaeologists on the project identified them as those of a ship dating to the late 18th or early 19th century, which was likely placed there as landfill. They then hired the MAC lab to remove and conserve the wood.

Beltway Sniper Malvo Claims More Shootings, Co-conspirators

Lee Boyd Malvo is claiming that he and fellow Beltway sniper John Allen Muhammad lined up co-conspirators to broaden the campaign of violence that paralyzed the Washington region eight years ago, but that the collaborators backed away, according to a television interview.

Malvo also claimed responsibility for 42 shootings, many more than he and Muhammad had been linked to, according to a forensic psychiatrist who interviewed the man, now 25.

The revelations were greeted skeptically by lawyers involved in the case that shook the region in 2002.

The claim of 42 shootings "doesn't seem very plausible," said Katherine Winfree, who prosecuted Muhammad in Montgomery County in 2006 and spent hours interviewing Malvo before he testified against his one-time father figure.

Winfree also doubts that the pair had collaborators. "I would just find it very surprising if there were other people actually involved in the planning and going to participate in carrying out these multiple shootings," she said.

Until now, Malvo and Muhammad had been linked to as many as 27 shootings and 17 deaths nationwide, according to a tally by the Associated Press. Much of that blood was shed during a rash of killings in the Washington area in October 2002 that left 10 dead and three wounded. Malvo is serving a life sentence in Virginia; Muhammad was executed there last year.

The new claims came to light in interviews with actor William Shatner for a show that aired Thursday night on the A&E network. But a copy of the script provided by the network shows that Malvo, who has lied before to shift responsibility for the crimes from Muhammad to himself, initially denied outside involvement.

"Lee, was there anybody else involved?" Shatner asked him in a telephone interview. "Were there any co-conspirators?"

"Uh, no," Malvo replied, speaking from prison.

Shatner reminded Malvo that he had told his psychiatrist that there were co-conspirators.

"There were two others," Malvo said. "There were two other people who were supposed to be involved. But in the end, they end up backing out." One, he said, was killed by Muhammad.

The FBI declined to comment on Malvo's claims, according to the Associated Press.

Malvo also told Shatner that "there was supposed to be three to four snipers with silenced weapons, silenced rifles, and in this way you could do a lot more damage along the entire Eastern Seaboard."

Shatner, best known for his role in "Star Trek," acknowledged on camera the lack of concrete information. "We were not able to ascertain the identity of any co-conspirator and acknowledge the inconsistencies in Malvo's accounts," he said.

The show, "Confessions of the D.C. Sniper with William Shatner: An Aftermath Special," generated considerable buzz Thursday, aided by an interview that Shatner gave to ABC's "Good Morning America."

Defense attorney Jonathan Sheldon, who represented Muhammad, said: "I think this is sort of a ratings thing. Were there other people who knew of these shootings and were supporting them in some ways? I think it's really, really highly unlikely."

Muhammad and Malvo had obtained a car and guns from others, but to call those people co-conspirators unfairly suggests that they bear blame for the crimes, Sheldon said.

Sheldon questioned the number of shootings mentioned by Malvo but said it is not implausible that the pair committed more than they were accused of. He said the FBI approached him before Muhammad's execution date in November, asking him to speak to his client about unsolved murders.

"They were talking about a few individual shootings," Sheldon recalled, adding that they mentioned cases in Arizona and Florida. But Muhammad refused to acknowledge any role in any crimes, Sheldon said, including six fatal shootings in Maryland.

On the show forensic psychiatrist Dr. Neil Blumberg shared a conversation he had with Malvo: "Lee told me that there were approximately 42 shootings that he and Muhammad engaged in, but it actually appears to have been considerably more than that. Prior to arriving in the D.C. area, Lee and Muhammad traveled all over the country, robbing people, shooting people, killing people."

Blumberg added, "On average, they were shooting people at least three to six times a month."

When Shatner asked Malvo directly about other shootings, he answered: "Well ... for example, there was, uh, two in Arizona, Florida, Texas, Washington State, Alabama, uh, Georgia, Mississippi."

Winfree, now Maryland's chief deputy attorney general, was interviewed for the show and appears on camera. According to a transcript, she discussed how Malvo confessed to her in 2006 that four years earlier he had killed 60-year-old Jerry Taylor on a golf course in Arizona.

Shatner picks up the thread: "He confirmed killing Taylor and later confessed to the Tucson police. He also admitted shooting Albert Mychlezyck who survived, John Gaeta in Hammond, La., and a case in Texas."

Malvo and Muhammad stood trial for murder only in Virginia and Maryland.

But Winfree said Thursday that she doubts the 42 figure.

"If people had unsolved shootings they wanted to close, it seems a lot more of those would have been found out," she said. "I just really question the accuracy of that big number being quoted now."

When she interviewed Malvo in 2006, he had already been sentenced to life in prison; Muhammad had been condemned to die. She said that after escaping Muhammad's controlling influence, Malvo finally seemed eager to unburden himself and tell all.

"My impression is, he was using it as a catharsis," Winfree said. "He wanted to come clean, to be able to help law enforcement close cases. He wanted families to know what had happened to their loved one. He wanted to make things as right as he possibly could."

Malvo had hoped to be moved to a different prison, she said, so he had an incentive "to be as expansive as he could."

"Yet, we never heard about co-conspirators or a number as high as 42," she said. "I don't know what his motivation is now. It's got to be pretty boring in prison when you know you're never getting out."

New Hospital To Be Built In Accomack County

NASSAWADOX -- The new Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital will be built in Accomack County.

The Shore Health Services Board of Directors voted to build the new facility between Keller and Parksley, while maintaining "significant outpatient, diagnostic and physician services" in Northampton, according to a prepared statement from the hospital.

The Riverside Health System Board of Directors approved the local board's decision.

Officials were not specific about exactly where the new hospital would be located within the territory proposed.

"RHS is proud to endorse the local board's decision. We are excited to support the board in expanding the availability of health care services for all Eastern Shore residents from the bridge-tunnel to the state line," said Bill Downey, Riverside Health System chief operating officer.

The new hospital will replace the existing structure in Nassawadox, which was built in 1971.

"I would look at it as a good sign," Onancock Mayor Bruce Paone said of the announcement, which came midday Thursday.

Onancock's Town Council recently appointed a committee to pursue the hospital's relocation. The town also sent a letter to Riverside Chief Executive Officer Richard J. Pearce inviting him to tour its new water and sewer facilities, which could have been a major selling point in the consideration of where to build the new hospital.

Northampton County Supervisor Spencer Murray, who has been an outspoken proponent of keeping the hospital in Nassawadox, also reacted to the announcement, saying, "Obviously, I'm very disappointed that they have decided to move north, but I don't blame our neighbors to the north for wanting the hospital."

Northampton County was to release an official statement about the announcement later Thursday.

"We have researched and evaluated our options for several months in our strategic planning and board meetings," said SHS board Chairwoman Caramine Kellam. "We sought the opinions of many stakeholders, including physicians and other health care providers and individuals from all areas of the Shore. All perspectives were systematically aired, discussed and genuinely considered."

Hospital inpatient and directly related support services will move north "to an as yet undetermined location," the statement said, while the Nassawadox location likely will include an express care center with extended hours.

The release also said that by the end of this year, $3 million in improvements to the Nassawadox site will be made, including an upgraded CT scanner and digital mammography and digital archiving systems.

Andy Rooney says " Pray if you want to!"

Andy Rooney says:

I don't believe in Santa Claus, but I'm not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December. I don't agree with Darwin , but I didn't go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught his Theory of Evolution.

Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game. So what's the big deal? It's not like somebody is up there reading the entire Book of Acts. They're just talking to a God they believe in and asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game.

But it's a Christian prayer, some will argue.

Yes, and this is the United States of America and Canada , countries founded on Christian principles. According to our very own phone book, Christian churches outnumber all others better than 200-to-1. So what would you expect -- somebody chanting Hare Krishna?

If I went to a football game in Jerusalem , I would expect to hear a Jewish prayer.

If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad , I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer.

If I went to a ping pong match in China , I would expect to hear someone pray to Buddha.

And I wouldn't be offended. It wouldn't bother me one bit.

When in Rome .....

But what about the atheists? Is another argument.

What about them? Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We're not going to pass the collection plate. Just humour us for 30 seconds. If that's asking too much, bring a Walkman or a pair of ear plugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer!

Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do. I don't think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world's foundations.

Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts strip us of all our rights. Our parents and grandparents taught us to pray before eating, to pray before we go to sleep. Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying.

God, help us. And if that last sentence offends you, well, just sue me.

The silent majority has been silent too long. It's time we tell that one or two who scream loud enough to be heard that the vast majority doesn't care what they want. It is time that the majority rules! It's time we tell them, "You don't have to pray; you don't have to say the Pledge of Allegiance; you don't have to believe in God or attend services that honour Him. That is your right, and we will honour your right; but by golly, you are no longer going to take our rights away. We are fighting back, and we WILL WIN!"

God bless us one and all...Especially those who denounce Him, God bless America and Canada , despite all our faults We are still the greatest nations of all. God bless our service men who are fighting to protect our right to pray and worship God.

Let's make 2010 the year the silent majority is heard and we put God back as the foundation of our families and institutions. And our military forces come home from all the wars.

Keep looking up.

Crisfield City Officials Begin Comparing Wind Turbine Proposals

CRISFIELD -- City officials plan to begin studying proposals from six companies hoping to install wind turbines at the city's sewage treatment plant where electricity bills are running about $20,000 a month.

The comparisons could take awhile, because "it won't be apples to apples," Mayor Percy Purnell said at this week's City Council meeting.

Bidders were asked for proposals that included more than just the cost of a turbine.

"It could take a month of study," he said.

Bids opened during the council meeting ranged from $4.7 million for a 1.5- megawatt turbine to $1.1 million for a 750-kilowatt model.

The city wants to build two or three large wind turbines -- about 300 feet tall -- on land next to the sewer plant to generate power for the plant.

Additional electricity would power other city-owned buildings, such as City Hall, the police station and fire department, and also be sold back to the grid.

Officials are hoping to hear soon if a $4.18 million grant application to the Maryland Department of the Environment has been approved.

If the money is awarded, the city also will need to borrow $625,300 toward the project, according to Noah Bradshaw, the city inspector who is spearheading the project.

For several months, wind speeds in Crisfield were measured with an anemometer atop a city water tower. The 18- to 19-miles-per-hour average that was captured is enough to sustain a wind farm, he said.

Bradshaw -- who has attended seminars at the American Wind Institute -- is also in the process of trying to start a smaller wind turbine project at the American Legion post in Crisfield.

Aside from the environmental benefits, wind power is expected to take a huge burden off the budget. After the city upgraded its sewage treatment plant, electricity bills jumped from about $13,000 per month to $20,000.

City officials have said they want to take the savings and put the money into street paving and other projects.

229th Military Police Company Arrive Home In Virginia Beach


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Approximately 120 Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based 229th Military Police Company returned home to Virginia on Thursday after serving in Iraq since October, 2009.

Approximately 80 soldiers from the Hampton Roads and Richmond areas arrived around noon at Birdneck Elementary School to be reunited with their families and friends.

Another 40 soldiers from the Roanoke and Southwest Virginia area arrived at Patrick Henry High School about 90 minutes later.

The soldiers returned to the U.S. on July 23, arriving at their demobilization station at Fort Dix, New Jersey. There they conducted a number of different administrative activities to transition from active duty back to traditional National Guard status prior to returning to Virginia Beach. The soldiers began their tour on federal active duty on August 3, 2009.

While headquartered in Virginia Beach, the 229th is made up of soldiers from all over the state. Approximately 60 soldiers are from the Hampton Roads area.

Officials say the unit was expected to provide police training to the Iraqi Police, but was task organized and provided additional training to also conduct protection service detail missions. The unit was requested by name to provide route security for Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Iraq on Jan. 22, 2010.

When the Iraqi national elections were conducted in March 2010, soldiers from the 229th helped maintain security, working side by side with Iraq Police. During the six-day time period of the elections, soldiers lived with their Iraqi Police counterparts at the Provincial Division of Police and the Patrol Headquarters.

The unit was also very active in conducting humanitarian missions while in Iraq. On their own initiative soldiers improved the conditions and safety at a local elementary school in West Rasheed, Baghdad as well as establishing a partnership with the adjoining hospital. In addition to distributing school supplies donated by family members, the company also filled in a sinkhole and installed 26 windows.

Soldiers in the company conducted more than 400 combat patrols and travelled more than 100,000 miles on Iraqi roads. The company provided personnel for traffic control points for several high level ceremonies to help make sure they were conducted safely.

No Virginia Guard Soldiers were killed or wounded in action during the company’s tour of duty in Iraq.

Soldiers from the company were awarded 11 Combat Action Badges, 22 Bronze Star Medals, one Meritorious Service Medal and 107 Army Commendation Medals.

The Mar-Va Theater

Ike Sailors Return To Naval Station Norfolk


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - After seven months at sea, nearly 5,000 sailors are now safely home. The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, or "Ike" as it's affectionately known, docked at its home port Naval Station Norfolk Wednesday morning.

The Ike's crew has certainly been busy at sea and I think they're going to be pretty busy at home now, too.'s Katie Collett spoke to some of their family members anxiously awaiting their arrival, and they have big plans for their sailors.

"I'm really excited. The house is clean thankfully, car is all working and ready, the battery's good. That's important, you'd be surprised," laughed one sailor's wife.

Even the little ones have big plans for the ones they've missed.

"Her biggest thing is she wants to go to the beach. She wants to take daddy back to the beach."

It was January when families had to say goodbye to their sailors on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower as they headed overseas. While there, the Carrier Strike Group supported Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and helped protect waters from piracy.

Now, seven months later, those goodbye tears transformed from tears of heartache to tears of joy.

The sailors' return comes on the heels of Carrier Air Wing 7's return one day earlier on Tuesday, it was part of the massive Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group.

This homecoming is not only special for the families, but it's also special because the Ike's helicopter squadron has a new home at Naval Station Norfolk. It was based in Jacksonville, Florida. Commanded by Rear Adm. Phil Davidson, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKE CSG) is comprised of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), the guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66) the guided-missile destroyers USS Carney (DDG 64), USS McFaul (DDG 74), USS Farragut (DDG 99) and Carrier Air Wing 7 was also embarked aboard Eisenhower.

The USS McFaul is scheduled to return Monday.

Hospice of the Eastern Shore Receives Monies From "Buyback" Pony

Each year during the Pony Penning Auction the purchase price of one "buyback" pony is donated to a charitable and worthy cause. The "buyback" pony is released back into his Assateague Island home (as all "buyback" ponies are) to live his days freely.

The "buy-back" family receives a plaque and gets the honor of naming the pony. This years winning bid on a "buyback" pony went to Molly Dailey and Virginia Sappington.

This year, for the second time, the Hospice of the Eastern Shore will receive the proceeds from the "buyback" pony purchase. Hospice is a nonprofit organization that serves the needs of patients and family that are faced with life-threatening illnesses.

85th Annual Chincoteague Pony Auction. Members from Hospice of the Eastern Shore pose with the "buyback" pony and the pony's bidders.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Firefighters Dismantle Police Car To Rescue Cat

VIENNA -- This little kitty went home, but only after police and firefighters partially dismantled a police car to find it.

The naughty feline first woke residents of a Vienna neighborhood with its desperate meowing, then kept police and firefighters busy for much of the night.

She was found under the hood of a car but eluded her rescuers' grasp. The kitten took cover under several other cars before seemingly disappearing , except for her meow.

Firefighters and police finally struck paydirt after jacking up a police cruiser, then following the sound and tracing the wayward kitty to a small space inside the vehicle's floor panel.

But it took half an hour of elbow grease before the critter was nabbed and taken to an animal shelter.
But not before having the last meow.

"It bit my finger!" said firefighter Franz Zehetmeier, who finally collared the cat.

Body Of Second Missing Navy Sailor Recovered

Afghanistan (AP) — A second U.S. Navy sailor who went missing in a dangerous part of eastern Afghanistan was found dead and his body recovered, a senior U.S. military official and Afghan officials said Thursday.

The family of Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove, a 25-year-old from the Seattle area, had been notified of his death, the U.S. military official said on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to disclose the information.

Newlove and Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley went missing last Friday in Logar province. NATO recovered the body of McNeley — a 30-year-old father of two from Wheatridge, Colorado — in the area Sunday.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press in Kabul on Thursday that two days ago the Taliban left the "body of a dead American soldier for the U.S. forces" to recover. The Taliban said McNeley was killed in a firefight and insurgents had captured Newlove. Mujahid offered no explanation for Newlove's death.

NATO officials have not offered an explanation as to why the two service members were in such a dangerous part of eastern Afghanistan.

The sailors were instructors at a counterinsurgency school for Afghan security forces, according to senior military officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. The school was headquartered in Kabul and had classrooms outside the capital, but they were never assigned anywhere near where McNeley's body was recovered, officials said.

The chief of police of Logar province, Gen. Mustafa Mosseini, said coalition troops removed Newlove's body about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Newlove was shot once in the head and twice in the torso, according to Logar provincial spokesman Din Mohammad Darwesh. He speculated Newlove may have been wounded in a shootout with the Taliban and died because there was no medical care available in the rugged mountain area.

Mosseini said he believed the body washed downstream after rains Tuesday night.

He noted in the past several days, the Taliban were being pressured by coalition forces in the area.

"The security was being tightened," Mosseini said. "Searches continued from both air and the ground. Militants were moving into Pakistan."

Mohammad Rahim Amin, the local government chief in Baraki Barak district, also said coalition forces recovered a body about 5:30 p.m. and flew it by helicopter to a coalition base in Logar province, about 40 miles (60 kilometers) away.

"The coalition told our criminal police director of the district that the body belonged to the foreign soldier they were looking for," Amin said.

In the capital Kabul, President Hamid Karzai urged his international partners on Thursday to take stronger action against terrorist sanctuaries outside of Afghanistan, telling reporters the international community "is here to fight terrorism, but there is danger elsewhere and they are not acting."

Karzai appeared to be referring to insurgent sanctuaries across the border in Pakistan, although he did not cite that country by name.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit criticized Karzai's comments, saying, "We found these incomprehensible given the fact that we all know well that during the last two years Pakistan and Afghanistan have been cooperating very closely with each other against terrorism."

Pressure is building on Pakistan to escalate the fight against militants on its soil, especially since the release of more than 90,000 leaked U.S. military documents posted Sunday on the Web by WikiLeaks. The trove of U.S. intelligence reports alleged close connections between Pakistan's intelligence agency and Taliban militants fighting Afghan and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Pakistan called the accusations malicious and unsubstantiated, but the push to persuade Pakistan to do more to eliminate Islamic extremists on its soil continues.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday that Pakistan needs to make progress against terrorist groups on its soil.

"To be fair, the Pakistan government — they have taken action against these groups," he said.

But refusing to back down from comments he made this week in India, Cameron added: "We need them to do more and we will support and help them as they do more."

Karzai also told reporters he ordered his Cabinet to study the war papers, especially those that address Pakistan and civilian casualties in Afghanistan. He also said documents that disclosed the names of Afghans who have worked with the NATO-led force were "shocking" and "irresponsible."

"Their lives will be in danger now," he said. "This is a very serious issue."

Laser Pointers Being Aimed At Helicopters

OCEAN CITY -- Abuse of laser pointers in downtown Ocean City has gotten so bad that the Town Council plans to deny them to children and outlaw their use in all manner of public places.

"It really shouldn't be in the hands of children," said Police Chief Bernadette DiPino. "They really don't know what they're dealing with. It's not a toy ... We believe this will give us the tools we need to try to reduce the incidents."

DiPino told the council at Tuesday's work session that the Coast Guard and pilots of a Maryland State Police medevac helicopter already have complained that laser pointers have interfered with their operation.

Medevac pilots warned that they wouldn't attempt future landings in Ocean City if laser beams continued to be a threat, DiPino added.

State Police spokesman Greg Shipley confirmed that such an incident occurred over the weekend.

It's already a misdemeanor in Ocean City, and under state law, to shine any laser pointer on another person.

However, as the popularity of green-colored laser pointers has skyrocketed this summer, resort officials planned to tighten that law by banning their use on gathering spots like balconies, porches or patios.

Now, before the council gets a chance to make those changes, further restrictions on laser pointer abuse will be implemented. Council President Joe Mitrecic said the updated law will be passed Monday as emergency legislation.

The newly amended ordinance would make it illegal to shine lasers not just on people, but on any sort of vehicle, including cars, bikes, scooters, buses, trams, motorcycles, Segways or wheelchairs.

Proposed changes also include outlawing sales and possession of laser pointers to minors, and mandating that laser pointer vendors post conspicuous signs about the town's law while providing buyers with a written copy of the law. Violations would be punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Joey Kroart, of Boardwalk store Ocean Gallery, said he's queried customers as to whether they were cautioned by clerks when buying their laser pointers.

"We have yet to speak with someone who said that they were," he said. "In fact, one woman reacted somewhat angrily, remarking that 'they told us that that the red ones were dangerous, but that these were safe!'"

Shining laser pointers on boats or aircraft also would be punishable, according to the law.

More than 30,000 laser pointers have been sold in Ocean City this year by 23 stores, according to research by police, where they they sell for $30 to $50 each. Their reach extends into West Ocean City, where a Sunsations megastore advertises it stocks them on an outdoor electronic billboard to anyone coming in on Route 50.

Green laser pointers, more powerful than red ones popular a decade ago, shine not just a dot at a distance, but send a long green beam across the darkness.

"I was down there this weekend on the Boardwalk, and I tell you, it's like Star Wars," said Councilman Doug Cymek.


Taking photos during Pony Penning is not easy. To see some amazing photos of the swim click onto the link below.
P.S. It's not easy attending a pony swim. Those who travel to Chincoteague Island for the beauty and thrill of the yearly swim will go to great pains to catch a glimpse of the creatures most of us have seen all of our lives roaming the beaches of Assateague.
I can't help but wonder how many children's hearts will be broken because they couldn't take a pony home with them.

Suspect In Ocean City Stabbing Still At Large

OCEAN CITY -- Police say a 36-year-old Federalsburg man allegedly stabbed another man early Saturday in Ocean City, and that the suspect is still on the loose.

Police named Manuel Armando Escalante Jr., as the suspect in the stabbing. Escalante is approximately 5'9" and 150 pounds, and should be considered armed and dangerous, police said.

Ocean City Police said the incident happened about 2 a.m. July 24, in the parking lot of Yang's Palace, a Chinese restaurant at 54th Street. According to police, witnesses saw Escalante allegedly stab the victim several times.

Responding officers found the victim, a 26-year-old Berlin man, lying in the parking lot. Paramedics brought the man to Peninsula Regional Medical Center. Police are not releasing his name.

Police said Escalante allegedly approached and assaulted the man. The men knew each other and had a history of disagreements, according to police spokeswoman Jessica Waters. This incident stemmed from a prior disagreement earlier in the week, she said.

Ocean City Police are asking anyone with knowledge of Escalante's whereabouts to call Sgt. Todd Wood of the Ocean City Criminal Investigation Division at 443-235-0091. 410-213-9442, ext. 14

Charles Village Residents Speak Out About Their Neighborhood

These people have every reason in the world to be upset and fed up! But are those in the judicial system listening........and if so, for how long? Bravo, Charles Village residents for speaking your minds.

Marc Unger had had enough. The comedian and Charles Village resident was standing at the foot of a memorial for Stephen Pitcairn, the Hopkins student slain near Unger's home Sunday, listening as politicians took "We are in fear!" Unger yelled, interrupting Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke.

Unger described how he was asked by police to try to identify the body, and how he hasn't been able to get the image out of his head. He chastised a police spokesman for calling the stabbing an "isolated incident," pointing out that another man was killed a block away earlier this year. (The spokesman has since clarified that he meant that Pitcairn wasn't targeted). He said what happened to Pitcairn could've happened to anyone living or passing through the neighborhood.

Politicians promoted the event as a show of solidarity, a press conference where each to go before the cameras and call for an end to violence. But dozens of residents showed up, standing on either side of the podium, with the intention of expressing their concerns, and some grew increasingly frustrated at the lack of substantive talk. After all, there have been two other such events nearby this year alone, along Greenmount Avenue (after a 72-year-old Afro newspaper employee was shot at a carryout) and in Guilford (after a resident was robbed and locked in his own trunk).

Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III matched their outrage, raising his voice above
the street noise to condemn the failures of the system as veins popped out of his neck.

"We're sorry we failed," he began. "We're sorry we failed to protect you."

"I'm going to accept my responsibility and challenge myself about what we could've done better. But I want to hear from a lot of other people," he said, in an apparent allusion to the state's attorney's office or city judges. "... These people should not have been on the streets. We've got to get everybody behind this."

Bealefeld spoke about "bad guys with guns," saying he doesn't know what's debatable about keep gun offenders in prison. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who could barely be heard from where I was standing, and Del. Curt Anderson both spoke about supporting gun legislation in the next legislative session.

Of course, Pitcairn's killers weren't "bad guys with the guns" in the sense the public officials were talking about (and wasn't Pitcarin shot). True, John Alexander Wagner, one of those charged in the killing, has handgun and armed robbery convictions from 1991 and 1993 for which he received considerable prison sentences at the time. But in recent years, Wagner's crimes were for assaulting his then-girlfriend and driving a stolen car. He was charged by city police with armed robbery in April, though police never recovered a weapon despite catching Wagner as he ran from the scene.

That charge was later dropped because prosecutors say the victim refused to cooperate, and there is debate over whether prosecutors could have done more to keep the case alive. Regardless, gun legislation would have done little to change what transpired.

As the Sun reported Wednesday, Wagner received suspended prison sentences for his most recent crimes and was put on two concurrent probations in the city and later Baltimore County, never forced to serve any of his sentence despite repeatedly running afoul of his probation. He failed to check in with his agents, failed to take required anger management classes at the House of Ruth, picked up new criminal charges on three different occasions, and failed to attempt to pay restitution to one of his victims. Judge John Addison Howard found him guilty of violating his probation, but his probation simply continued unchanged.

Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia Jessamy has borne much of the brunt of criticism, and she stood far away from the officials gathered behind the podium, telling reporters she did not want to politicize Pitcairn's death. Prodded by a television reporter about whether her office had a role to play in fixing the problems that kept Wagner on the street, she noted that her office in recent years has inserted prosecutors into the violation of probation process, a civil matter traditionally handled by probation agents. Now, prosecutors attend the hearings to try to add weight to the probation agents' concerns. Indeed, prosecutors say they asked city Judge Howard to impose a three year sentence at one of Wagner's recent hearings, to no avail.

"I don't have all of the answers," Jessamy said, "but I never stop working and neither do my employees." Earlier city councilwoman Belinda Conaway said debating crime and punishment wasn't the issue, challenging residents to reach out and help those less fortunate than themselves. "There's so many young people, crying out for help," she said.

Nearby, an 18-year resident stood by with a sign: "When criminals slip through the cracks, the city crumbles."
Baltimore Crime Beat/ Peter Hermann

Study Shows That Receipts Could Be Harmful To Our Health

Cash-register receipts from many fast-food outlets, groceries, pharmacies, big-box stores and U.S. post offices contain high levels of the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A.

A study released late today by the Environmental Working Group reported that a laboratory analysis it commissioned found the plastic component BPA on 40 percent of receipts from McDonald's, CVS, KFC, Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, Safeway and other businesses.

BPA is used to coat thermal paper, which reacts with dye to form black print on receipts handled by millions of Americans every day. In laboratory tests, the chemical has been linked to a long list of serious health problems in animals. Several environmental activists, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also have called for removing BPA from canned goods.
"Consumers are being exposed to BPA at the point of sale once they're handed a receipt," senior scientist Dr. Anila Jacob told AOL News.

These receipts pile up in purses, wallets and shopping bags, coming into contact with food and other items. When handled, the slips of thermal paper can easily contaminate fingers, which then can result in oral or dermal exposure, the physician explained.

Wipe tests conducted by EWG's researchers easily removed BPA from the sample receipts, indicating that the chemical could rub off on the hands of a person handling the paper. The heat-activated paper that was tested contained as much as 3 percent pure BPA by weight, EWG reported.

But is this harmful to humans?

The EWG, a national nonprofit organization, is undertaking additional studies to determine whether and to what degree BPA enters the body. However, earlier this month Swiss scientist Sandra Biedermann and her colleagues from the Zurich Official Food Control Authority reported that BPA from register receipts can "enter the skin to such a depth that it can no longer be washed off."

That finding raises the possibility that the chemical infiltrates the skin's lower layers to enter the bloodstream directly, the EWG says.

The Fix May Be Easy

However, the scientists did not detect any BPA or only trace amounts in receipts from Target,
Starbucks, some bank ATM's and other enterprises.
"Since 60 percent of the receipts EWG tested did not contain BPA, we know there is an easy fix for retailers who still use paper containing the chemical," Jacob added.

For almost two years now, public health and environmental experts have been pushing to reduce BPA exposure, especially in cans for processed food, baby bottles and infant formula.

In animal tests, scientists have produced evidence that BPA can induce abnormal reproductive system development, diminished intellectual capacity and behavioral abnormalities and can set the stage for other serious conditions, such as reproductive system cancer, obesity, diabetes, early puberty, resistance to chemotherapy, asthma and cardiovascular system disorders.

The EWG added that exposure can also cause epigenetic changes, meaning alterations in the way genes switch off and on and genetic changes that can be passed on to the next generation.

Scientists at the University of Missouri's Division of Biological Sciences laboratory examined receipts collected from big-name and mom-and-pop stores, ATMs, gas stations and other commercial operations in seven states and the District of Columbia, according to the EWG.

The amount of BPA the analysis found on the feather-weight scraps of paper were 250 to 1,000 times greater than other, more widely criticized sources carrying the toxin.

Risk to Workers

The BPA coating on receipt paper is an obvious concern for shoppers, but even more so for the millions of people who staff cash registers and bag groceries at tens of thousands of retailers across the country

The Swiss researchers reported that a person repeatedly touching thermal printer paper for 10 hours a day could be exposed to 42 times the present tolerable daily exposure.

The risk from handling BPA-laden receipts can be significant, Jacob said, and added that eliminating exposure to this ubiquitous yet toxic substance should remain the first priority of U.S. lawmakers.

The EWG study says statistics from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that retail workers carry an average of 30 percent more BPA in their bodies than other adults.

AOL News asked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration if it had plans to control this occupational exposure but received no reply.

Man On Jet Ski Was Electrocuted From the Storm

The 63-year-old Annapolis man killed on his jet ski during Sunday's severe thunderstorm was electrocuted by a nearby lightning strike, police said Wednesday.

Maryland Natural Resources Police released the preliminary cause of death for Warren Douglas Smith, and said a final autopsy is scheduled for next month.

The accident occurred about half mile south of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge during the storm. Police said Smith, who was riding a jet ski prior to the accident, was caught in the storm.

Police believe he was not struck directly by lightning but was electrocuted by a nearby strike. Elmer Sappington, 65 of Severn, who was about 75 to 100 feet away from Smith, also on a jet ski, was not harmed by the lightning.

Natural Resources Police warn boaters that lightning can strike over 10 miles away from heavy rain and storms. They advise boaters to check the forecast before going out, and say that anyone caught on the water during a thunderstorm should to move to land and seek shelter immediately.

Medical Helicopter Crashes In Arizona

(Tucson, Arizona) Three people were killed when a medical evacuation helicopter crashed on Tucson's north side Wednesday afternoon.

Killed in the crash were the pilot, flight nurse and paramedic, said Air Methods, the Colorado-based company that operated the LifeNet medical helicopter. There were no patients aboard the aircraft, the company said.

The AS350 B3 Eurocopter, which was based in Douglas, crashed into a fence in front of a house on North Park Avenue just south of East Glenn Street and burst into flames. A witness said the pilot appeared to manuever the stricken helicopter away from the home.

Authorities earlier said that one person was killed and two were critically injured in the crash. Air Methods confirmed at about 5:30 p.m. that all three aboard had died.

"This is a sad day for all of us at Air Methods and we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of our employees who perished while on duty," said Aaron Todd, chief executive officer of Air Methods Corp.

The helicopter's pilot was in contact with the control tower at Tucson International Airport at the time of the crash, but there was no indication of a problem, said Lynn Lunsford, an FAA spokesman.

The aircraft was traveling from Marana to Douglas at the time, but was not transporting a patient, Lunsford said. It crashed about 1:45 p.m.

Rotors stopped
Eyewitness Ricardo Carrasco said the helicopter's rotors stopped working and it started plummeting toward the ground.

He said the pilot managed to steer the chopper away from the house.

"If he (the pilot) hadn't turned around he'd have hit the house," said Carrasco, who ran toward the helicopter after it crashed but wasn't able to get close because of a "a wall of flames."

He and bystanders helped evacuate people in the neighborhood. There are no reports of injuries to residents or bystanders.

"One of the employees heard a loud boom, but he didn't know what it was and he went back to working on a car," said Tyler Edwards, 34, a service advisor at Stuttgart Autohaus, 614 E. Glenn St.

"Two people walked in who said they saw the craft go down. It appeared it had a malfunction and they saw it go down and then there was a lot of black smoke," said Edwards of the husband and wife who walked into the shop that repairs Volkswagens and Audis.

He said not long after the incident police squad cars, motorcycle officers, paramedics and fire engines began "flying down the street."

Officers began closing down the street at North First Avenue and East Glenn Street toward the east, Edwards said. Traffic began piling up in the area but motorists remained patient, he said.

House shook, flames intense
John Townsend, 74, who lives in the house where the helicopter crashed into the fence said he heard a loud noise shortly before 2 p.m. and then the house shook. He said he went into the back yard and saw smoke and flames.

Immediately after the crash Townsend said he didn’t realize it was a helicopter. He said he grabbed a garden house to try to put out the flames, but the fire and smoke were too intense and he went back inside.

Townsend said a neighbor banged on his front door and told him to get out of the house.

The FAA is sending inspectors to the crash site. The agency will conduct the investigation along with the National Transportation Safety Board.

Judge Puts Hold on Key Arizona Immigration Law Provisions

Arizona's tough new immigration law was just hours away from taking effect when a federal judge issued an injunction today blocking key portions of the law from being enforced.

Among the provisions U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton put on hold are the "reasonable suspicion" section that would allow police to arrest and detain suspected illegal immigrants without a warrant and a provision making it illegal for undocumented day laborers to solicit or perform work.

Bolton also stayed part of the Arizona law requiring immigrants to carry federal immigration documents.

"There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens under the new [law]," Bolton ruled. "By enforcing this statute, Arizona would impose a 'distinct, unusual and extraordinary' burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose."

Some aspects of the measure, listed as SB 1070, will take effect Thursday as planned. It will become a crime for state officials to interfere with or refrain from enforcement of federal immigration laws. It will also be illegal to pick up and transport day laborers across the state, or to give a ride to or harbor an illegal alien. A vehicle used to transport an illegal alien can be impounded.

"The Court by no means disregards Arizona's interests in controlling illegal immigration and addressing the concurrent problems with crime including the trafficking of humans, drugs, guns, and money," Bolton wrote. But the court "finds that preserving the status quo through a preliminary injunction is less harmful than allowing state laws that are likely preempted by federal law to be enforced."

Lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department have argued the law interferes with the ability of the federal government to set and enforce national immigration policy.

"While we understand the frustration of Arizonans with the broken immigration system, a patchwork of state and local policies would seriously disrupt federal immigration enforcement and would ultimately be counterproductive," DOJ spokeswoman Hannah August said in support of today's ruling.

"It's a preliminary injunction so it's not final," said attorney Linton Joaquin with the National Immigration Law Center, which is party to one of the lawsuits challenging the law. "But the judge showed the most egregious provisions are pre-empted by federal law."

"It's good news for everybody," said Ali Noorani of the National Immigration Forum. "For now, all residents of Arizona will remain protected under the law."

NASCAR Team Owner Jack Roush's Plane Crashes

NASCAR team owner Jack Roush is in stable condition and being treated for non-life threatening injuries, which he sustained in a plane crash Tuesday evening.

Roush was piloting the Beechcraft Premier business jet at the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture Show at Wittman Airfield in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He crash-landed the plane around 6:15 CDT according to the EAA.

The plane was carrying one passenger, Brenda Strickland, who is a friend of Roush's, according to Roush Fenway Racing spokesperson Lori Halbeisen. Both Roush and Strickland walked away from the crash and were taken to a local hospital.

"He was conscious when he was admitted to the hospital," Halbeisen told

As of this morning, Halbeisen said Roush's condition was "serious but stable."

"All his injuries are non-life threatening," she said.

Strickland also appears to be OK.

"She's also being treated for non-life threatening injuries," Halbeisen said.

Halbeisen said there was not yet a timetable for his recovery because doctors are still evaluating his condition. Roush's family is with him now, and he has not yet spoken to anyone at Roush Fenway Racing.

The National Transportation and Safety Board is investigating the crash. Halbeisen said there was no information relating to the cause of the crash landing.

Roush owns 3 aircraft and has been flying for many years, Halbeisen said. One of those aircraft is a vintage World-War II era P-51 Mustang, according to the Associated Press.

"He's a very experienced pilot," Halbeisen said.

Roush Has Crashed Before

This is not the first time Roush has crashed. The Associated Press reported that he narrowly survived crashing into a pond in Alabama in 2002. Roush was seriously injured and nearly drowned, but was saved by an ex-Marine who lived close-by. Roush continued to fly despite the incident.

Roush is a former Ford Motor Co. employee and college physics teacher who founded his first NASCAR race team in 1988. Since then, Roush Racing has grown to become the largest race team in NASCAR with 8 motorsports teams, joining with Fenway Sports Group in 2007 to become Roush Fenway Racing.

Roush's teams have won 5 championships across NASCAR's three premier divisions, the latest in the Nationwide Series with Carl Edwards in 2007.

Real Bear Walks Out With Stuffed Bear

LACONIA, N.H. (AP) - A black bear walked into a New Hampshire house through an open door, ate two pears and a bunch of grapes, took a drink from the family fishbowl and grabbed a stuffed bear on its way out the door.

Mary Beth Parkinson says the bear apparently took advantage of the open outside door to get into her kitchen Tuesday in Laconia, about 20 miles north of Concord. She thinks the garage door going up scared the bear enough that it fled the house.

She says she arrived in time to save the fish.

Parkinson said her 6- and 9-year-old boys made sure the doors were locked before they went to bed.

Illegal Immigrants Nabbed in Virginia and D.C.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Nearly 90 criminal or fugitive illegal immigrants in Virginia and the nation's capital have been arrested in a sweep by federal immigration officials.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced Wednesday that 87 illegal immigrants from 19 countries were arrested in operations in June and July. Of those, 75 had been convicted for a variety of crimes, including robbery and drug possession. The other 12 had been ordered to leave the country but did not.

The U.S. Marshals Service assisted with the arrests, most of which were made in northern Virginia.

At least six of those arrested will face further prosecution on federal charges. Those already ordered out of the country will be immediately deported, while the others will face removal proceedings.

NASA Plans Airstrip For Unmanned Planes At Wallops


NASA plans to build an airstrip for unmanned planes on the north end of Wallops Island.

A public meeting on the proposed airstrip is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 2 at the Wallops Island Flight Facility's visitor center.

NASA says the airstrip's orientation would be different than the existing strip. That would allow Unmanned Aerial Systems planes to take advantage of prevailing winds.

NASA says larger and heavier unmanned planes could operate from Wallops Island.

The proposed airstrip also would resolve range use conflicts between rockets and the unmanned planes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Last Ponies Walked Ashore At 12:02 PM

(2007 photo) CHINCOTEAGUE -- The first of an estimated 120 ponies swam ashore at exactly noon on Wednesday while a large crowd of onlookers cheered at the 85th annual Chincoteague Pony Swim.

"That's so cool," said Dawn Wagner, who lives in Point Pleasant, N.J., and Locustville, Va., and was attending her second swim with her family.

The U.S. Coast Guard set of a red flare at 11:42 a.m., signaling to an eager crowd that the slack tide had arrived and the swim was near.

The ponies hit the water in the channel at 11:57 a.m. The last ponies walked ashore at 12:02 p.m.

The swim was the climax of a long morning spend waiting. Because the animals must swim at slack tide, when the water doesn't move, the event is time-specific.

A welcome breeze helped keep the large crowd gathered at Memorial Park and surrounding areas cool.

Still, Chincoteague emergency medical technicians were called to assist at least two people who developed health problems while on one of scores of boats that lined Assateague Channel.

They were taken from the area on a stretcher.

After the ponies rest for approximately an hour in a holding pen, they will be paraded down Beebe Road and Main Street toward the carnival grounds, where the annual auction will be held tomorrow.

Spectators will line the streets for one of the Pony Penning's signature events.

But for now, the majesty and allure is on full display for a crowd of onlookers.

"Look at the lead horse," said Wagner, pointing, during the swim. "This is a good spot."