Thursday, July 8, 2010

Just One Hospital

Parkland  Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas is a fairly famous institution and for a variety of reasons:
1. John F. Kennedy died there in 1963
2. Lee Harvey Oswald died there shortly after
3. Jack Ruby-who killed Oswald, died there a few years later. 

On the flip side, Parkland is also home to the second busiest maternity ward in the country with almost 16,000 new babies arriving each year.  (That's almost 44 per day---every day)!
A recent patient survey indicated that 70 percent of the women who gave birth at Parkland in the first three months of 2006 were illegal immigrants. That's 11,200 anchor babies born every year just in Dallas!!! 
According to the article, the hospital spent $70.7 million delivering 15,938 babies in 2004 but managed to end up with almost $8 million dollars in surplus funding. Medicaid kicked in $34.5 million, Dallas County taxpayers kicked in $31.3 million and the feds tossed in another $9.5 million.

The average patient in Parkland in maternity wards is 25 years old, married and giving birth to her second child. She is also an illegal immigrant. By law, pregnant women cannot be denied medical care based on their immigration status or ability to pay.  OK, fine. That doesn't mean they should receive better care than everyday, middle-class American citizens. But at Parkland Hospital, they do. “Parkland Memorial Hospital has nine prenatal clinics.  NINE!!!

The Dallas Morning News article followed a Hispanic woman who was a patient at one of the clinics and pregnant with her third child---her previous two were also born at Parkland. Her first two deliveries were free and the Mexican native was grateful because it would have cost $200 to have them in Mexico. This time, the hospital wants her to pay $10 per visit and $100 for the delivery but she was unsure if she could come up with the money. Not that it matters, the hospital won't turn her away. (I wonder why they even bother asking at this point.)  "How long has this been going on? What are the long-term effects?  Well, another subject of the article was born at Parkland in 1986 shortly after her mother entered the US illegally - now she is having her own child there as well. (That's right; she's technically a US citizen.) 

These women receive free prenatal care including medication, nutrition, birthing classes and child care classes.  They also get freebies such as car seats, bottles, diapers and formula.  Most of these things are available to American citizens as well, but only for low-income applicants, and even then, the red tape involved is almost insurmountable.  Because these women are illegal immigrants, they do not have to provide any sort of legitimate identification - no proof of income. An American citizen would have to provide a social security number which would reveal their annual income - an illegal immigrant need only claim to be poor and the hospital must take them at their word.Parkland Hospital offers indigent care to Dallas County residents who earn less than $40,000 per year. (They also have to prove that they did not refuse health coverage at their current job. Yeah, the 'free' care is not so easy for Americans.)

There are about 140 patients who received roughly $4 million dollars for un-reimbursed medical care. As it turns out, they did not qualify for free treatment because they resided outside of Dallas County so the hospital is going to sue them!  Illegal's get it all free!  But U. S citizens who live outside of Dallas County get sued!  How stupid is this? As if that isn't annoying enough, the illegal immigrant patients are actually complaining about hospital staff not speaking Spanish. In this AP story, the author speaks with a woman who is upset that she had to translate comments from the hospital staff into Spanish for her husband. The doctor was trying to explain the situation to the family and the mother was forced to translate for her husband who only spoke Spanish.  This was apparently a great injustice to her.  In an attempt to create a Spanish-speaking staff, Parkland Hospital is now providing incentives in the form of extra pay for applicants who speak Spanish. Additionally, medical students at the University of Texas Southwestern for which Parkland Hospital is the training facility will now have a Spanish language requirement added to their already jammed-packed curriculum. No other school in the country boasts such a ridiculous multi-semester (multicultural) requirement.

(Sorry for the length, but this needs wide circulation particularly to our "employees" in Congress.)
Remember that this is about only ONE hospital in Dallas, Texas. There are many more hospitals across our country that must also deal with this. 

Cousin: Murder victim, suspect not fighting

Torrance Davis watched as his cousin, Reginald Jerome Handy Jr., was shot in the back. He saw the alleged shooter, Alexander Crippen, approach the group gathered around the Laurel Street home in the late hours of May 26. He dove for cover as the gun was fired.

But what he didn't see or hear was any conversation between the men. That's because Davis says it never happened.

"I didn't say nothing to him, my cousin didn't say nothing to him, nobody said nothing to him," he said. "It's not over no cigarette."

Crippen has been indicted on charges of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting of Handy, a 22-year-old Greenbush resident, and stands accused of the attempted murder of Davis, 27, along with eight other related charges.

In accounts of the incident released by the Worcester County State's Attorney's Office and in charging documents filed in Worcester County District Court, shortly before 10:30 that night, Crippen approached a house in the 500 block of Laurel Street in Pocomoke City and asked a person sitting on the steps if he could buy some cigarettes.

"Handy ... confronted (Crippen). There were words that were exchanged between them," according to an unnamed source cited in documents filed by Detective Corp. Mike Lupiwok of the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation.

At a news conference two days later -- shortly after authorities had apprehended Crippen in a Delmar hotel -- Pocomoke City Police Chief J.D. Ervin told reporters the two men "had a history with each other -- they didn't get along."

But according to Davis, Handy and Crippen weren't feuding and didn't even know each other.

Davis himself has a history of criminal convictions in Worcester County, according to court records. In 2003, he was fined $100 after being found guilty of second-degree assault. A year later, Davis was sentenced to five months in jail for second-degree assault and disorderly conduct.

On May 26, after spending the day in Virginia with family, Handy and Davis were gathered with about a half-dozen others outside the Laurel Street home of a relative. From his vantage at the side of the house, Davis said he could see Crippen approaching.

"He just ran up and started shooting. There wasn't no words exchanged," he said. "I don't know how many shots it was, but it was a lot."

Worcester County State's Attorney Joel Todd said he disagreed, in part, with Davis' retelling.

"It's inappropriate for me to talk about the facts of the case, but I can tell you this is not information that the police made up," Todd said.

Whether Davis or the unnamed witness cited in court documents will testify at trial has yet to be determined, Todd said.

A jury trial has been scheduled for Sept. 8.


Duck Boat Capsizes In Philadelphia- Two Missing

(AP)Searchers plied the murky waters of the Delaware River early Thursday for two passengers missing from an amphibious sightseeing boat that was struck by a barge, flipped over and sank.

The 37 people aboard the six-wheeled duck boat were tossed overboard when the tugboat-pushed barge hit it after it had been adrift for a few minutes with its engine stalled, police said. Most were plucked from the river by other vessels in a frantic rescue operation that happened in full view of Penn's Landing, just south of the Ben Franklin Bridge.

The duck boat, which can travel seamlessly on land and water, had driven into the river Wednesday afternoon and suffered a mechanical problem and a small fire, officials said. It was struck about 10 minutes later by a barge used to transport sludge and sank to the bottom of the river.

The Coast Guard said it would search through the night for a 16-year-old girl and a 20-year-old man believed to have been aboard the duck boat. Senior Chief Bud Holden said Thursday that passenger interviews indicate the missing were members of a Hungarian tour group.

"Hope is fading, but we're not giving up hope completely," Coast Guard Capt. Todd Gatlin said Wednesday night.

Ten people were taken to a hospital; two declined treatment, and the other eight were treated and released, Hahnemann University Hospital spokeswoman Coleen Cannon said.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it planned to try to obtain any radio recordings, any possible mayday calls, photographs from witnesses or people aboard and other evidence as its investigators remain in Philadelphia over the next several days.

NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said investigators would try to figure out why the vessels collided and "how conspicuous would that duck have been" to the tugboat pushing the 250-foot-long barge. NTSB officials also hoped to conduct witness interviews, he said.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said divers found the duck boat in water about 50 feet deep. Crews would not attempt to recover it until Thursday at the earliest, police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore said.

There were 35 passengers and two crew members aboard the boat, Holden said. Coast Guard boats assisted by police and fire crews worked to rescue people from the water, he said. A spokeswoman for the duck boat company, Ride the Ducks, said 39 people were aboard, and the reason for the discrepancy was unclear.

One passenger, Kevin Grace, 50, of St. Louis, said he had less than a minute to get a lifejacket on his 9-year-old daughter before the barge hit.

"We had 45 seconds to try to get the life jackets on our kids," he told The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper. "Everyone panicked, rushing to the front of the boat."

Bystanders along the waterfront screamed as the barge hit the boat, said a security guard who was patrolling the area.

"I whirled around as the barge began to run over the duck boat," said Larry Waxmunski, a guard for the Delaware River Waterfront Corp. "After the barge hit it — it almost looked like slow motion — the duck boat began to turn over."

Television footage showed at least five people being pulled from the water wearing life vests in an area of the river near the Old City neighborhood, popular with tourists. Helicopter footage showed people in life vests being helped from boats onto a dock and at least one person on a gurney.

Terri Ronna, 45, of Oakland, N.J., said she was on a ferry going from Camden, N.J., across the river to Philadelphia when the captain announced that there was someone overboard from another ship and that they were going to rescue him.

"We were not even halfway over when they said there was somebody overboard and we were going to get them," Ronna said. "There were people all over; we could see all these orange life vests."

The passengers who were treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital were three teenagers, three younger children and two adults, Cannon said.

One crew member from the duck boat was rescued by the ferry that the Delaware River Port Authority was operating on its scheduled route between Philadelphia and Camden, authority spokesman Ed Kasuba said.

Officials said the barge was owned by the city and being directed by a tugboat owned by K-Sea Transportation Partners, of East Brunswick, N.J.

The city Water Department uses the barge to transport sludge from a sewage plant in northeast Philadelphia to a recycling plant downriver, mayoral spokeswoman Maura Kennedy said. The city has a contract with K-Sea, which operates the tugboat that pulled the unmanned and unpowered barge.

Ride the Ducks also operates tours in San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Newport, R.I., and Branson, Mo. The company said in a statement on its website that it was suspending its Philadelphia operations.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with our Philadelphia guests, crew members and their families," the statement said.

Holden, of the Coast Guard, said the duck boats are inspected annually, but he did not know when the boat involved in Wednesday's crash was last inspected.

Another Coast Guard spokesman, Thomas Peck, said neither craft was in a wrong lane.

Some of the duck boats are amphibious military personnel carriers dating to World War II that have been restored and reconditioned. Known by their original military acronym as DUKWs, they were first introduced in the tourism market in 1946 in the Wisconsin Dells, where about 120 of the vessels now operate.

As of 2000, there were more than 250 refurbished amphibious vehicles in service nationwide, the NTSB said.

Anne Arundel "Deputy Dog" Makes 5th Arrest

80-lb. enforcer persuades man to surrender

Faced with a big, barking enforcer pushing toward him under a bed, a Shady Side man with open warrants surrendered to police.

That was the fifth apprehension by Grim, one of two "deputy dogs" of the Anne Arundel County sheriff's office, said his handler, Deputy Jason Jett.

The team was leaving work after 9 p.m. June 30 when Jett heard on his police radio that officers were trying to arrest a man whose history included fleeing from police and violence against officers, and police could not get a response from inside the house, Jett said. He offered to swing by with Grim, his Belgian Malinois partner of a year. Among the 80-pound dog's skills is tracking and apprehending people.

A shout of "Come out or we will release the dog" — Grim's cue to start barking — inspired a relative of the wanted man to emerge from the house in the 1100 block of Oak Avenue and tell officers that Michael James Jackson II was hiding inside, Jett said. Ordered to search the home, Grim ran to a bedroom, where he barked at an empty bed, he said.

"I told him to come out or I would release the dog and he would be bitten," Jett said. But no one came out.

"He will bite and hold; he will try to drag you out," Jett said. "He's not going to go in there as a sissy."

Ordered to apprehend his target, the 3-year-old dog began to squeeze under the bed. "He was laying down flat, he got his head and shoulders under the bed," Jett recalled. As Jett tried to lift the heavy wood-frame bed, the dog pushed up, as if to lift the bed to get to the man in hiding, he said.

From beneath the bed came screams of "I give up," Jett said, as the man asked for the dog to be called off. "He got a face full of dog, probably," Jett said. The man complied with orders to show his hands, allowing county police to arrest him, according to the sheriff's office.

For five minutes of good work, Grim got no dog treats.

"If he does a good job, he gets his Kong," Jett said, referring to a hard rubber toy. "He loves that Kong. He carries it around like it's his pacifier."

Jackson, 30, was jailed in lieu of $10,000 bail on a charge of second-degree assault and traffic charges. District Court judges had issued warrants for failure to appear in court for those cases.

Virginia State Police Remind Teens To BUCKLE UP!

New July 1 Seatbelt Law Focuses on 16 & 17-year-old Passenger Safety

As of July 1, 2010, in Virginia:

Children from birth through seven years of age must be safely secured in a child safety restraint (to include booster seats).

Those passengers between the ages of eight and 17 must wear a seat belt while riding in the backseat and front seat of a vehicle.

Existing law requires everyone sitting in the front seat of a vehicle to be buckled up.

"We lose far too many young people in traffic crashes on Virginia’s highways because they fail to use a seat belt," said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. "Too many teens think they are invincible; yet no one is a match for what can happen when unbuckled and involved in a motor vehicle collision. The few seconds it takes to buckle up could save your life on the road."

In 2009, 51 young people between the ages of 15 and 20 were killed in traffic crashes statewide. None of them was buckled up.* The death rate was slightly higher in 2008 when 72 unrestrained teens and young adults between 15 and 20 years of age lost their lives in traffic crashes.*

Throughout the summer months, Virginia State Police will be concentrating on occupant restraint violations through enforcement and education as part of the Click It or Ticket campaign. Statistics show that with the proper use of seat belts, drivers and passengers are 40 percent less likely to be fatally injured during a traffic crash.*

# # #


Source: Virginia Highway Safety Office, DMV

Northampton County Institutes Burn Ban

Effective Thursday, July 8, 2010, an Open Burning Ban for all of Northampton County will be imposed according to a press release from the Northampton County Administrator Katherine Nunez. Nunez cited the excessive dry conditions are the reason for the open burn ban.

Certain exemptions are still allowed under the burn ban, however. Controlled burning operations in connection with tomato harvesting, campfires conducted in designated campgrounds and other camping facilities and brush pile burning conducted by the County at the sanitary landfill will still be allowed.

The ban will remain in effect until the County Administrator deems advisable to lift the ban. According to, rain is likely Thursday afternoon and Saturday as well.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

NO BURNING ALLOWED In Worcester County

Effective immediately, outdoor burning is banned for an indefinite period of time in Worcester County.

Worcester County Fire Marshal Jeff McMahon issued the burning ban today, July 7, after dry weather and 12 outdoor wildfires occurred in the county during the past 30 days. The ban applies to all outdoor ignition sources, including campfires, bonfires, fireworks, leaf, brush, grass and trash burning and other similar methods of open incineration.

The ban does not apply to public permitted fireworks displays with fire company personnel assisting or Assateague beach campfires.

“Since the beginning of June, the county has experienced an increased number of brush, field and woods fires,” said McMahon. “These fires cause safety concerns for area residents and responding personnel.”

The ban will remain in effect until the dry conditions dissipate. For further information, contact Fire Marshal Jeff McMahon at 410-632-5666.

MELSON Dirt Drag This Friday Night


Friday July 9, 2010
Admission: $5.00

Refreshments are available

Registration for events begins at 5:00 p.m.

Races begin at 7:00 p.m.

9343 Guy Ward Road

Parsonsburg, Maryland


NO BURNING In Accomack County UNTIL Further Notice!!

Due to the increased wildland fires and drought conditions, Accomack County Administrator Steve Miner has placed a ban on all open burning in Accomack County, according to a press release from Accomack County.

The ban will include camp fires, burn barrels, agricultural fires and prescribe forestry burning.

The emergency ban will start immediately and will remain in effect until it is reviewed at the next Accomack County Board of Supervisor's Meeting.

*******The burning ban will be enforced and monitored by the Accomack County Sheriff's Department. *******

Virginia ACLU Seeks Federal Investigation Of Richmond Jail

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The American Civil Liberties Union asked the federal government to investigate conditions at the Richmond City Jail, where two inmates have died during a heat wave that has sent temperatures inside the overcrowded lockup soaring into triple digits.

Kent Willis, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, requested the investigation Tuesday in a letter to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

"We believe that these deaths are symptomatic of ongoing unconstitutionally harsh conditions at the jail," Willis wrote.

The jail lacks air conditioning, and Willis pointed to an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch last week in which Sheriff C.T. Woody said temperatures inside can reach as high as 120 when it's 100 outside. Woody made the remark in discussing the June 26 heat-exposure death of inmate Grant R. Sleeper, 54.

Another prisoner, 49-year-old Kerry Wayne Bennett, was found dead in his bunk June 30. The cause of Bennett's death has not been determined.

"We believe that the conditions at the Richmond City Jail pose a persistent threat to the health and safety of inmates, as illustrated by the two recent deaths," Willis wrote. "Periodic proposals to improve or replace the jail have repeatedly come to naught. The situation at the jail requires federal intervention."

The sheriff's office had no comment on the letter, Col. Walter Allmon said.

Willis said in a telephone interview that the Justice Department, unlike an individual or a group like the ACLU, has the power to file a lawsuit claiming constitutional rights are being violated without having a specific plaintiff.

"Our first step is to see if the Justice Department is willing to do this," Willis said. "They have the resources and the ability."

Justice Department spokesman Alejandro Miyar confirmed receipt of the letter. "We will review the request to determine what action, if any, is appropriate," he said.

If the department declines to intervene, Willis said, the ACLU will consider alternatives including filing a lawsuit on behalf of an aggrieved inmate. Willis said his organization has received more than 50 complaints about conditions at the jail in the last five years.

"It's been overcrowded for as long as I can remember," Willis said. "Right now we have overcrowding exacerbated by heat."

The jail, built in the 1960s, typically exceeds its 850-inmate capacity by several hundred. And last month was the hottest June on record in Richmond, with high temperatures of at least 95 on 11 days and at least 100 on three days. The heat wave has carried over into July, with highs expected in the upper 90s this week.

Hiring Continues For New Walmart

The countdown has begun for the area's newest Walmart store to open. With construction complete on the new store at 26036 Langford Hwy., the retailer will now spend the next few weeks transforming the empty building into a Walmart store complete with a full line of groceries and a wide assortment of merchandise and time-saving services. The new store plans to open to shoppers in July.

The construction of the Onley store began in the fall of 2009 with the first columns set on December 7, 2009. The completion of the 155,000 sq. ft. building took just over 6 months.

Upon its opening, the store plans to employ approximately 350 associates. Many of the newly hired associates are now reporting to work to help prepare the store for its grand opening.

Walmart continues to hire both full- and part-time associates to work in all areas of the new store.

Airman Dies From Injuries- Operation Enduring Freedom-

Captain David Wisniewski, 31, died Friday after injuries he received during a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

His Black Hawk helicopter was shot down by enemy fire on June 9.

Wisniewski and two other airmen aboard the aircraft were wounded, and four others killed.

He was hospitalized in Germany and then transported to the National Naval Center in Maryland, where he died..

"We need a presence in Afghanistan," said Jean Hancock, of Nashville. "I do not like the idea of our soldiers getting killed. I feel we should give them everything they need to make it as safe as possible."

"It's the right thing to do," said Frank Barbee, of Valdosta. "I don't think they should be over there years and years from now. Hopefully, we can bring 'em home within the next year or two and the job will be done."

Wisniewski was awarded the Purple Heart last month.

He was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

No Oil Derricks Any Time Soon For Virginia

Richmond, Va. --

Oil derricks may not be sprouting anytime soon off the Virginia coast because of the BP blowout, but the state's senior U.S. senator says those operating elsewhere must be protected from another threat: terrorism.

Democrat Jim Webb, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is calling on the Obama administration to develop safeguards for shielding offshore platforms from attack.

Webb made his case in a recent letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar.

"While Congress will continue to scrutinize BP and regulatory agencies, I write to urge you to also be vigilant against deliberate acts, such as an attack or sabotage, that could similarly devastate the region," says Webb, referring to the oil-rich Gulf Coast.

Webb favors exploration for oil and gas in Virginia waters, but after the Deepwater Horizon disaster he backed a White House-ordered delay until safety and environmental concerns are addressed.

In his letter, Webb notes that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission now requires that atomic generators withstand plane crashes. Similar standards should be considered for the oil and gas industries, Webb says.

"Security issues surrounding oil and gas drilling are of a different nature, but a lack of vigilance could leave the marine ecosystem, as well as certain areas of our national security, at great risk," Webb said.

"The Deepwater Horizon incident has caused the worst environmental disaster in our nation's history. With dozens of wells operating in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere, we must employ policies that mitigate all types of risk.

"I therefore request that you provide, as soon as practicable, your assessment of the vulnerability of offshore oil rigs to attack, the current framework for addressing such risks and your recommendations to Congress for deploying adequate resources and safeguards," Webb says.

Webb's request for administration suggestions to Congress on improving security of offshore platforms comes as the Virginian readies for a possible rematch in two years with the incumbent Republican he narrowly defeated in 2006, George Allen.

Allen, too, supports energy exploration off the state's coast. A former governor, Allen operates a political consultancy that is aligned with the U.S. energy industry and through which he advocates for increased domestic drilling.

Lindsay Lohan Gets 90 Days In Jail For Violating Probation

Lindsay Lohan on Tuesday to 90 days in jail and an inpatient rehab program after finding the actress had violated her probation in a 2007 drug case by failing to attend alcohol education classes.

The actress burst into tears after the ruling.

Superior Court Judge Marsha Revel issued the sentence after listening to testimony from employees of an alcohol treatment program that Lohan had been ordered to attend.

Lohan missed seven classes since December, which led to the judge's harsh rebuke moments after the "Mean Girls" star offered a tearful apology.

"I did do everything I was told to do and did the best I could to balance jobs and showing up," Lohan told the judge. "It wasn't vacation, it wasn't some sort of a joke."

Revel said she found Lohan's apology insincere, comparing it to "somebody who cheats and thinks it isn't cheating if she doesn't get caught."

Lohan was not immediately taken into custody and will be permitted to surrender on July 20. She will have to wear an ankle alcohol monitor until then.

Los Angeles County district attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison said it was not uncommon for judges to allow defendants to turn themselves in at a later date so they can get their affairs in order.

The sentence tripled the monthlong jail sentence prosecutors had sought for Lohan.

It was unclear how much time Lohan will actually spend in jail. Los Angeles Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said female inmates convicted of nonviolent misdemeanors serve about a quarter of their sentence but that can be further reduced by state credits.

Whitmore said Lohan might be released on house arrest, but it would depend on the specifics of Revel's order.

Lohan could be returning to the suburban Lynwood jail where she spent 84 minutes in 2007 after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor counts of being under the influence of cocaine, and no contest to two counts of driving with a blood-alcohol level above 0.08 percent and one count of reckless driving. She had been sentenced to four days behind bars.

The same jail housed Paris Hilton for 23 days in 2007 after she was found guilty of driving on a suspended license while on probation in an alcohol-related, reckless-driving case.

Whitmore said then that budget problems meant nonviolent female inmates were only serving about 10 percent of their sentences. The department still faces overcrowding and budget issues, he said.

Judge Revel spent several minutes Tuesday detailing Lohan's conduct since 2007, noting the actress had repeatedly deflected blame and made excuses.

There were "a number of instances that would show her not taking things seriously," said Revel, who imposed a series of strict, new conditions on the actress.

Lohan will now have a probation officer who will monitor her progress more closely. Lohan was previously on informal probation and supervised by a judge. She will also have to enter inpatient rehab.

Revel revoked Lohan's probation and ordered her to wear an ankle alcohol monitor after the starlet missed a court date in May. She was promoting a film project at the Cannes Film Festival at the time and claimed her passport was stolen.

The monitor issued an alert after the actress attended the MTV Movie Awards and after-parties last month. Revel said the device registered a .03 blood alcohol level at the time. Lohan has denied drinking that night.

Lohan's attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, urged the judge to place the actress back on probation, saying she had learned her lesson and had improved.

Prosecutor Danette Meyers disagreed and urged jail time for the star.

"When you ordered her to go every week, it didn't catch her attention," Meyers said in a closing statement.

The 2007 plea came after a pair of high-profile arrests earlier that year. Lohan was sentenced to three years probation but had to ask for a yearlong extension in October after she failed to complete her alcohol-education courses on time.

Federal Grand Jury Indicts 15 In Connection With Gang

Correctional officer among those accused of working for Black Guerrilla Family

A Jessup correctional officer was arrested Tuesday morning on federal drug charges, revealing a sweeping effort to wipe out one of Maryland's most notorious gangs through related racketeering indictments.

Alicia Simmons, 34, is accused of smuggling cell phones and heroin into prison for incarcerated members of the powerful Black Guerrilla Family, which court documents say has used such connections for years to live luxuriously behind bars and maintain mafioso-type control of its widespread criminal organization.

Simmons is the fifth Maryland prison guard implicated in the far-reaching scheme, which goes back to 2006 and includes a total of 37 defendants charged since last year.

But court papers unsealed Tuesday after Simmons' arrest show that 14 BGF members also face fresh racketeering charges from a new federal indictment returned June 23. That means each of the alleged gang members could be held responsible for their comrades' crimes if convicted.

This is the most powerful tool we have in our federal toolbox to prosecute" criminal organizations, Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said Tuesday during a news conference to announce the charges.

His office has already used racketeering laws to prosecute local members of the Bloods, Latin Kings and MS-13 gangs en masse, "And today," Rosenstein said, "we add Black Guerrilla Family to that list."

The case was first highlighted in April 2009, when a federal indictment and related court papers outlined a surprisingly good life being led by BGF members serving terms in Maryland prisons. With the help of corrupt officers, they feasted on fresh salmon and shrimp, swilled Grey Goose vodka and smoked pricey cigars, while using contraband cell phones to order assaults, arrange drug dealings and run day-to-day gang operations.

The 23-page indictment unsealed Tuesday supersedes last year's version and builds on it. It describes the BGF as a sophisticated paramilitary operation that kept a "treasury," made motivational T-shirts (slogan: "Revolution is the Only Solution"), held meetings in Druid Hill Park, developed a gang manual, conducted counter-surveillance on law-enforcement agents and paid off prison workers like Simmons with cash and debit cards.

The four Maryland prison guards charged in last year's indictment have all pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy. And all but one of them have been sentenced, receiving federal prison terms between 12 and 24 months.

Two other Maryland guards were sentenced within the past year for doing BGF's bidding in unrelated cases. Lynae Chapman received two years in state prison last month after pleading guilty to supplying drugs and a cell phone to her boyfriend, an alleged BGF member in the Baltimore City Detention Center. And officer Fonda White was sentenced to six months in federal prison for extorting "protection money" from prisoners and their relatives with the help of her locked-up lover, a BGF member.

Maryland Correction Commissioner J. Michael Stouffer acknowledged Tuesday that the BGF has been a "negative influence" within the state's prisons for a long time, adding that the recent investigation and indictments are part of a clamping-down on both inmates and crooked staff.

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has added cell-phone-sniffing dogs and body-orifice scanners to help keep contraband out, improved its gang intelligence efforts and adopted new regulations that subject potential employees to expanded background checks.

"Today's indictments show that developing our intelligence capabilities has become a top priority in the last three years," DPSCS Secretary Gary D. Maynard said in a statement. "They also serve notice to those employees who would break the law, that you will be caught. We're working more effectively with law enforcement on everything from gang issues to contraband interdiction on a daily basis."

Tuesday's indictment culminates nearly two years of collaboration by state and federal authorities who used wiretaps, surveillance and countless man-hours to target the BGF. Baltimore assistant state's attorneys and assistant U.S. attorneys worked together with city police, Drug Enforcement Administration agents and corrections officials to bring the case together.

"It has to be a comprehensive strategy when it comes to dealing with gangs in our community," Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy said during the news conference.

Maryland beefed up its anti-gang statute during the past legislative session, but the state doesn't have a racketeering law and often relies on the federal statutes for these cases. And Rosenstein has made dismantling gangs a focus, hiring three prosecutors last year dedicated solely to prosecuting gang members.

According to Tuesday's unsealed indictment, the BGF — also known as the "Black Vanguard," "Black Family" or just the "Family" — was founded in California in the 1960s and infiltrated Maryland's prison system roughly 30 years later (factions here tend to spell "Guerrilla" with two Rs, while others use one). Today, it's considered among the most powerful gangs in the state.

Its leaders, known as the "Supreme Bush," are organized into a "strict rank structure," according to the indictment, and they oversee similar "Bubble Regimes" within Baltimore neighborhoods and state prisons. Members must follow a code of behavior or risk physical violence, and they're expected to recruit new "seed" members to keep the gang alive, while furthering its criminal activities.

The superseding indictment covers activity going back to 2006, and includes claims of narcotics trafficking, robbery, extortion, bribery, witness intimidation and money laundering through the use of pre-paid debit cards.

Among those charged are the gang's alleged local leader, a 41-year-old named Eric Brown, who wrote the BGF handbook, entitled "Empower Black Families;" and Todd Duncan, 36, who worked for the Baltimore nonprofit Communities Organized to Improve Life Inc. while allegedly running much of Baltimore's BGF activities.

Brown is accused of ordering an assault on a BGF member behind in debt payments, handling illegal funds, and arranging for contraband to be smuggled into prison. Duncan is accused of selling sub-par heroin that had to be cut with better stuff to "improve the marketability."

Other defendants include Rainbow Williams, 31, who's accused of dealing drugs and arranging a meeting of 100 BGF members in Druid Hill Park last year; husband-and-wife team Cassandra Adams, 49, and Kevin Glasscho, 47; and Ray Olivis, 57; Deitra Davenport,39; Randolph Edison, 52; Zachary Norman, 53; Kimberly McIntosh, 41; Duconze Chambers, 36; Davon McFadden, 24; James Harried, 47; and Erik Ushry, 26.

All of the defendants, including Simmons, live in the city or in Baltimore County, and they're all charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin. Everyone but Simmons is charged with racketeering.

Some defendants are also charged with money laundering, using a gun to commit a robbery, and illegal possession of ammunition and a gun.

They face a maximum of life in prison on the racketeering and drug conspiracy charges.

"It does not matter if you wear the colors of a gang or a badge of gold," Ava Cooper-Davis, special agent in charge of the DEA, said during the news conference Tuesday. "If you break the law or try to destroy our communities, we will go after you."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Northampton Sheriff's Deputy Fatally Injured

PUNGOTEAGUE –– An off-duty Northampton County Sheriff’s Office deputy was fatally injured during a Saturday crash on Big Pine Road near here.

Brian T. Hall, 32, of Belle Haven, was killed after the motorcycle he was driving hit a Chevrolet Caprice car while Hall was traveling toward Pungoteague. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash happened around 2 p.m., said State Police Trooper J.N. Godwin.

The owner of the Chevrolet, 58-year-old Jean Belote LeCato, was hit as she was turning into the driveway of her home.

Units and personnel from Melfa and Painter responded to the accident.

LeCato was taken to Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital to be treated for minor injuries. She was released the same day.

Police officials continue to investigate the cause of the crash.

Hall had been a deputy with the Eastern Shore Regional Jail for three and a half years.

Roger Kennedy, administrator for the jail, said Hall had a cheerful attitude that co-workers found endearing.

“He always had a smile and a good positive attitude,” Kennedy said. “I think pretty much everybody (at the jail) liked him.”

Kennedy said employees at the jail have been affected by the recent loss of Hall.

“It’s been real emotional for everybody up here. It’s bothered a lot of people,” said Kennedy.

“He was a very good employee,” said Northampton Sheriff’s Office Major David Doughty.

Memorial services for Hall will be held at First Baptist Church near Capeville on July 10 at 11 a.m.

Arizona Sheriff Gets Death Threats Over New Law

Some of the threats against Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu were from the Mexican mafia and drug cartel members.

A high-profile Arizona law-enforcement officer who has been outspoken about his support for the state's controversial new immigration law is receiving death threats, reported late Monday.

Some of the threats against Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu were from the Mexican mafia and drug cartel members.

Outside law enforcement teams brought in to investigate the threats found them credible.

Babeu was very outspoken about the need to secure the state's border with Mexico -- a known entry point to the U.S. for drug smugglers and illegal immigrant traffickers -- and supports law SB1070, which makes illegal immigration a state crime.

Despite the threats, Babeu declined a personal security detail because the county resources were already stretched.

"I understand this threat, yet I will not run in fear or change my support for SB1070 and my demands for President Obama to secure our border with 3,000 armed soldiers in Arizona and start building the fence again," he said.

"I'm always armed, and as every law enforcement member knows, we always have to be aware of our surroundings and possible threats."

Pinal County is nearly 5,400 square miles and much of the desert is known as a drug and human trafficking corridor.

Queen Elizabeth Visits New York

NEW YORK (AP) — The schedule for Queen Elizabeth II's visit to New York City includes a tribute to the victims of the 9/11 attacks and addresses to the United Nations.

The queen will spend five hours in the city Tuesday.

The 84-year-old monarch was 31 years old when she last addressed the U.N. in 1957. That was four years after she was crowned queen. This time, she's expected to appeal for world unity and peace.

The queen also is scheduled to lay a wreath at ground zero to pay tribute to victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks. She will also open the British Garden of Remembrance in nearby Hanover Square to honor the 67 British citizens killed on 9/11.

Her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, is traveling with her.

7-foot-tall Elvis Statue Is Stolen From Rooftop

Elvis has left the building.

More specifically, a 7-foot-tall statue of the king appears to have been stolen from atop the Happy Day Diner in Rosedale, where he'd stood for nearly a decade.

Customers alerted owners Maria and Dimitrios Pigiaditis to the missing statue Sunday morning, and they filed a report with the Baltimore County Police. Elvis was bolted to the roof, and the thieves apparently broke him off, leaving behind part of his feet.

The couple reviewed surveillance tapes, which they have turned over to police, and saw a white van pull up overnight Wednesday, when they think the theft occurred. The diner's previous owner purchased the fiberglass statue for $1,500 in 2001 at an antique shop on Harford Road, Maria Pigiaditis said. Since then, he has only been down once, a few years ago for a "facelift" after taking a tumble during a storm.

The Pigiaditis family is keeping an eye on eBay for signs of Elvis.

The Word "BOMB" Is NOT A Joke In Any Airport

A Virginia woman is jailed in Charlotte and facing federal charges after allegedly telling Charlotte/Douglas International Airport screeners she was carrying a bomb Wednesday night.

Federal officials say the incident forced the evacuation of passengers and staff from one part of the airport and delayed the departure of at least one flight.

Danielle Shanese Smith, 25, of Virginia Beach, has been charged by federal authorities with conveying false and misleading information. She also faces local charges of disorderly conduct.

The incident happened shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday, when Smith and a male friend approached Checkpoint B, according to a federal suit filed Thursday. Air marshals say Smith was planning to board US Airways Flight 930 to Norfolk.

Police said the officer at the security checkpoint detected “three anomalies or images” on Smith’s body as she went through the body scanning machine. A second officer was called to examine Smith again, police said.

When the officer asked Smith if she had anything in her pockets, Morneault said, the woman responded, “I have a bomb.” Smith repeated that statement, adding an expletive, when she was asked the question a second time, federal officials say.

A supervising officer was called to the scene and asked Smith if she had anything in her pockets.

According to police, Smith responded “a bomb, cuz I am a (expletive) terrorist.”

Police said Smith had what was described as “an intense stare” and “a non-joking demeanor.”

At that point, airport police shut down the checkpoint and evacuated passengers and staff from the Checkpoint B area. Smith was arrested, and police did not find any type of explosive on her.

Police said Smith’s luggage was removed from the jet and kept in Charlotte. The flight left about 20 minutes late, authorities say.

The charges against Smith carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Rate Increase For Postal Service

WASHINGTON -- Battered by massive losses, the Postal Service wants to raise rates to bring in more money.

Postal officials scheduled a briefing today to discuss the amount of the increase, which will go to the independent Postal Regulatory Commission for review.

The boost comes as no surprise. Postmaster General John Potter said March 2 that a rate increase would be necessary for the agency, which does not receive tax funds for its operations.

The current 44-cent first-class rate took effect May 11, 2009.

While that change will be the most visible, rates for other types of mail will also go up, raising concern among business groups and nonprofit organizations.

Under the law, the post office is generally limited to increases no more than the rate of inflation -- 0.9 percent for the year ended in May.

However, the agency is allowed to seek a larger increase in unusual circumstances. Potter said in March he planned to take that step.

"The projections going forward are not bright," Potter said then. But, he added: "All is not lost. ... We can right this ship."

The agency lost $3.8 billion last fiscal year despite cutting 40,000 full-time positions and making other reductions. It has continued to face significant losses this year.

The weak economy has sharply reduced mail volume as companies cut their advertising. At the same time there has been a significant drop in lucrative first-class mail, with more and more people turning to the Internet to communicate with each other as well as to receive and pay bills.

The proposal drew a prompt complaint from the mailing industry.

"This proposed rate increase amounts to another tax imposed on Americans at a time when the economy can least afford it," said Tony Conway, executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, a group representing charities and other organizations.

"Consumers everywhere will pay more for the letters and packages they need to send; businesses -- large and small -- will suffer and even more jobs will be lost," complained Conway, who was designated spokesman for the Affordable Mail Alliance, a coalition of businesses, charities and other mailers formed to oppose the increase.

Postal officials also have proposed eliminating Saturday mail delivery as a means of cutting costs, a change that would require congressional approval.

Post office finances are also complicated by the requirement that the agency make annual payments to pre-fund future health benefits for retirees, something not required of other government agencies.

And the postal inspector general contends that the Postal Service has been overcharged billions of dollars for retirement benefits for employees who worked for the old Post Office Department before it was converted to the Postal Service in 1970.

-- The Associated Press

Manson Follower Leslie Van Houten Seeks Parole For 19th Time

LOS ANGELES (AP)-- Leslie Van Houten, the one-time Charles Manson follower long seen as the most likely of his ex-acolytes to win freedom someday, faces her 19th parole hearing today with a new lawyer and new case law which may give her the best chance yet for release.

Even if there is a finding of suitability for parole at the hearing, freedom would not be immediate. The entire state parole board would review the decision within 120 days and it would then be submitted to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for a final ruling.

Van Houten, 60, remains incarcerated at the California Institution for Women at Frontera, the same prison where another Manson follower, Patricia Krenwinkle, is imprisoned. Susan Atkins, the third woman convicted of murder in the crimes directed by cult leader Manson, died in prison last year after parole officials denied her dying request for freedom.

Van Houten last appeared before a parole board in 2007. Her chances for parole are enhanced by the fact that she has been discipline free since her incarceration in the early 1970s, has positive psychological reports and has been active in self-help groups at the prison including "Golden Girls," a group for elderly women inmates.

She has a new lawyer, Brandie Devall, who told The Associated Press she will refer to rulings by the California Supreme Court in 2008 and 2009 affecting standards for parole.

Most significant is the case of Sandra Lawrence, a convicted murderer who was paroled after 23 years in prison after the court held that to refuse parole there must be evidence that a prisoner is currently a danger to public safety. The court said the board could not base a refusal only on the details of the crime committed by the inmate long ago.

Devall said the finding has also been upheld in federal court.

Another recent case, she said, deals with inmates who are between 16 and 20-years-old at the time of their crimes and holds that they are more likely to be rehabilitated.

Van Houten was 19 when she joined other members of the Manson cult in the killings of Leno and Rosemary La Bianca.

Devall said the cases she will cite had not been decided at the time of Van Houten's last parole hearing. She said she will cite Van Houten's age, her youth at the time of the crimes and her extreme remorse. "There is no evidence of current dangerousness," she said.

The prosecutor who will argue against Van Houten's parole, Patrick Sequiera, did not return calls to the AP.

Van Houten was convicted of murder and conspiracy for her role in the slayings of the wealthy grocers. The La Biancas were stabbed to death in August 1969, one night after Manson's followers killed actress Sharon Tate and four others including celebrity hairdresser Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, filmmaker Voityck Frykowksi and Steven Parent, a friend of the Tate estate's caretaker.

Van Houten did not participate in the Tate killings but went along the next night when the La Biancas were slain in their home. During the penalty phase of her trial she confessed to joining in stabbing Mrs. La Bianca after she was dead.

The Tate-La Bianca killings became one of the most notorious murder cases of the 20th Century and continues to rivet public attention 41 years later.

In past parole hearings Van Houten has apologized to the victims' families and expressed remorse for her actions.

If she is refused parole, it is uncertain when she would get another chance. Under a new law, the board can set the length of time between parole hearings at 3, 5, 7, 10 or 15 years. Prison officials said Van Houten is in good health.



Today's Forecast

Today's Forecast Image
  • 99°
  • 72°

Updated Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 6:15 AM by Meteorologist Jennifer Walker:
TUESDAY: Mostly sunny.  Temps:  70s & 80s.  Winds: VRB 5-10 mph.
TUESDAY AFTERNOON:  Partly to mostly sunny.  H:  99.  Winds:  VRB 5-10 mph.
TUESDAY NIGHT:  Partly to mostly clear.  L:  74.  Winds: WSW 5-10 mph.
WEDNESDAY: Partly cloudy. H: 96. Winds: N-NE 5-10 mph.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Temps: 70s. Winds: E 5-10 mph.
EXTENDED FORECAST:  Record breaking weather forecasted for this afternoon as daytime highs reach triple digit numbers for some of us.  The heat index will reach between 105 and 110 degrees during the warmest hours of the day.  A gradual cooling trend will take us back to the upper 80s by the weekend, also ushering in the chance for storms beginning Thursday.  Remember to stay hydrated in the dangerous heat and take frequent breaks indoors if possible.

VIA: WBOCweather

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Anniversary To My Great Friends

Brenda and Barry

Multivehicle Accident Closes Route 90 Bridge..........

Update: Chopper 16 reports at 11:45 a.m. that the Route 90 bridge has reopened following a four-vehicle crash about an hour ago. Although the bridge is now open, traffic both in and out of Ocean City is badly backed up.

OCEAN CITY, Md. - A four-vehicle crash Monday morning has traffic blocked in both directions on Route 90 approaching the bridge into Ocean City, police reported.

The crash, which occurred shortly before 10:30 a.m., forced closure of Route 90 at Md. Route 589 (Race Track Rd.) west of the bridge. Six people are reported injured, and a helicopter has been called for medical evacuation, Ocean City police reported. Radio reports refer to "mass casualties."

All traffic in and out of Ocean City that normally crosses Assawoman Bay on the Route 90 bridge is being routed south toward Route 50. Traffic is backed up in both directions, but is particularly bad trying to leave Ocean City, police said.

Taken from 11:00 AM

Blood Bank For Dogs

If your dog has ever received a life-saving blood transfusion, turn in the direction of Garden Grove, Calif., and give a nod of thanks to Jean Dodds.

Dodds — veterinary hematologist, researcher, lecturer and animal advocate — is the founder of Hemopet, the first non-profit animal blood bank in the world. That makes her, she says, "sort of the grandmother of blood-banking for animals."

In the 1980s Dodds was executive director of the New York State Council on Human Blood and Transfusion Services. After one of her regular meetings with the Red Cross, she had an idea: "I thought, Why the heck don't we have blood banks for animals like we have for people? Like an animal Red Cross?" she said recently by phone. "Wow, of course. And who would do it better than me, since I'd already been doing blood-banking?"

That was the start. It would be several years – planning, paperwork, drumming up interest all took time (in addition to marrying and moving to California) – before Hemopet got rolling in early 1991, "and we've never looked back."

Today, Hemopet has about 50 employees and provides about 14,000 units of blood product over the course of a year (each donation can be broken down into several units). The blood, which has a shelf life of about a month, is banked at repositories around North America and is needed for dogs that suffer a traumatic injury, have blood-destroying diseases or will be undergoing surgery during which there will be excessive bleeding. A unit (about 7 ounces of blood) costs between $85 and $95, Dodds said, with the money going to keep the program running.

Dodds said there are five other commercial blood banks in the country, and several university vet schools have their own small operations. Some veterinary practices also have small blood programs for their own use.

Cadre of canines

Hemopet's blood comes from a colony of 200 donor greyhounds kept at its facility. The animals, former racing dogs that Dodds rescues, donate about twice a month for a year before going into Hemopet's adoption program (, which places dogs in California only. There's currently up to a two-month wait for people seeking to adopt them.

"We're making a social statement about the inappropriateness of using animals to gain financially or prestige and then dumping them when they don't serve your needs anymore," Dodds said. "That's unacceptable."

Now just roll up your sleeve…

Getting a blood donation from a dog isn't as difficult as one might think. For example: Oliver. A 4-year-old former racing greyhound, he came to Chicago Veterinary Emergency Services to make his first blood donation.

The process was quick and uneventful. Oliver got lifted to the table and placed on his side. A needle, about an inch long, was inserted into his jugular and the blood was drawn into a bag sitting on a small scale. Because of the breed's short hair, shaving isn't necessary. In keeping with the breed's temperament, Oliver was the picture of tranquility and remained perfectly motionless.

When the bag was full, the needle was removed, the puncture mark was wiped and gauze was applied, and Oliver got a colorful wrap to cover the bandage. Then, for him, the best part: the traditional treat of meat-flavor baby food. The benefit for Oliver's owner: The dog gets a free general blood screening, heartworm testing and medication, and flea and tick medication.

Oliver will donate again in a couple of months. As for immediate after-effects, "I don't know if our owners would notice," said Kate Gallagher, the blood bank coordinator at CVES. "Most of our donors are greyhounds, so, Oh my God, he slept 19 hours today instead of only 18!"

Um… cats?
Feline blood donations are not as common. Cats do donate, but they need to be sedated. Generally the donor animals are pets belonging to staff members, rather than clients, although if a client has a cat in need of a transfusion and has another cat at home that fits donor criteria (age, weight, blood tests etc.), that cat may be used as a donor.

Why greyhounds?There are two major blood types for dogs, 1.1 positive and 1.1 negative. The 1.1 positive dogs can donate only to other 1.1 positive animals; the 1.1 negative blood can go to any other dog, said Kate Gallagher, blood bank coordinator at Chicago Veterinary Emergency Services.
Because 70 percent of greyhounds at 1.1 negative, they're high on the donor list,
Another reason greyhounds are great donors, she said, is "because they have a high metabolism and are athletic. Their red blood cell count is higher than other animals."

Use Caution With The Wood You Burn When Camping

One of the co-workers in my daughters office expressed to her a few days ago how upsetting it was to come to the Eastern Shore to camp and have to buy firewood at the campground instead of burning your own. My daughter, always eager to protect this great Eastern Shore, explained to her the dangers of insects being brought to our local trees if you burn your own and especially if you leave unused logs behind. Not being a camper I don't know the policies of the campgrounds but this article below sure makes sense.

The shore is losing enough trees and we don't need more insects than we can handle. I'd hate to think that the wooded areas that surround me could be invaded by insects brought here by uncaring campers.

LEWES -- Invasive insects have obliterated thousands of acres of forest in neighboring states. To protect Delaware's delicate trees and forestry industry, authorities warn campers to ensure their firewood is bug-free.

Wayne Kline, chief of enforcement for Delaware State Parks, said he's telling visitors not to bring in firewood from other states.

"We're trying to get the message out to watch what you bring and if you don't burn it all, take it home with you," he said.

Cape Henlopen State Park Superintendent Paul Faircloth said he doesn't turn away campers who haul their own firewood, but staff advise them to burn every piece of it and not leave anything behind.

"So if there are any critters in there, they're not hanging around to hatch and spread their little blessings around our park," he said.

A serious threat

Once those little blessings arrive, they can wreak havoc on trees that haven't adapted to the insects. Glenn Gladders, a forest health specialist for the Delaware Forestry Service, said most of the insects have hitched a ride on cargo vessels from other continents.

The Asian long-horned beetle and the emerald ash borer, two tunneling wood bugs from Asia, burrow into maple and ash trees, respectively. Neither has shown up in Delaware's forests, but Gladders said they've been found in Maryland and Pennsylvania, with the borer also invading Virginia.

Native to Asia, Europe and north Africa, the sirex wood wasp carries a fungus that indirectly kills the trees. Gladders said it's infected pine trees in New York and Pennsylvania.

Because Delaware is at the northern end of the tree's range, he said the wasp has not yet encountered the loblolly pine.

"We can't say for sure what will happen, but it's a big risk for us," he said. "Loblolly pine is the mainstay of our forest industry. It's the reason we take this really seriously."

But it could only take one person to put the whole industry at risk, according to Rob Line, manager of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Control's Environmental Stewardship Program.

"You find a dead tree in your back yard, cut it down and chop it into firewood without thinking," he said.

The only thing protecting the state is its natural barriers, Line said.

"Delmarva is isolated in a peninsula, so we're the last to get a lot of the insects," he said.

Standing guard

Off Route 1, between Lewes and Milton, state forester Sam Topper checks a trap for signs of the emerald ash borer, the green-colored beetle that has spread to 14 states since 2002.

"We're responsible for 16 of the traps, checking them every couple weeks to see if they've shown up," he said.

Gladders said 190 of the two-foot-tall, triangular traps hang from trees across the state. They're covered in manuka oil, the only chemical that seems to attract the creatures, though he said the reason why is still mysterious.

Fourteen similar traps were distributed in the state's pine forests to monitor for the wood wasps. He said they use a mix of pinings, chemicals that are emitted by pine trees under stress, which have some of the same chemical properties as turpentine.

"The idea is the sirex wood wasps are attracted to trees under stress, because they're weaker," Gladders said. "The traps mimic that."

They also monitor the hives of native insects, such as the cerceris wasp, which is a natural predator of some of the invasive species, he said.

Although there isn't a lot state officials can do to protect the trees, Line said the monitoring programs will at least give some advanced warning of their presence.

"Extreme Makeover" Show Looking For Delaware Families

BETHANY BEACH -- ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" is ready to improve life for a southern Delaware family.

The show seeks nominations to bring Ty Pennington, his crew and that famous bus to the First State.

Typically, the show focuses on families who already own a home, but it is branching out to those who are renting.

"With the economy now, people have lost their homes or can't afford to buy their first home," said Jackie Topacio, the show's casting producer. "We're hoping we could possibly get that family out of renting and into a home."

Topacio said she looks forward to casting a family in southern Delaware, not only to highlight a new area for the show, but also because of the abundant amount of beaches, nature and history.

"This would be great," she said. "Not everyone knows about southern Delaware; I've been doing research, and it looks great out there."

Not only has the popular show changed the lives of families around the country, but it has also had a large impact on the community surrounding the construction.

"We reach out to the city, mayor and the whole town to mobilize all of the volunteers," Topacio said. "Even strangers come out and say how neat and cool it is to be part of changing the family's life."

Topacio said producers are beginning their search now for the premiere of the eighth season, which is slated to air in the fall. The process of choosing a family, signing paperwork, beginning and ending construction will take anywhere between three months to a year, she said.

"We are looking for families of good people who always give back to their community," Topacio said. "They deserve an extreme makeover to their home."

Reciting the Declaration of Independence

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - On this 4th of July, two brothers from Norfolk shared a very special gift with 10 On Your Side.

They memorized one of our countries most important documents - the Declaration of Independence.

In a time when the Nintendo Wii or XBox are the past times of choice, 10 On Your Side found two young men who decided to do something a little different with their time.

"Our mom really wants us to learn about our country and about freedom," said Rodney Herenton. "The Declaration of Independence is one of the huge American documents, so, we decided to memorize it."

And when Rodney and his brother Willie say they decided to memorize it, they mean all of it.

Every single line.

It's the document formally announcing our country's freedom from the British Empire.
Thirteen American Colonies became 13 independent states, the beginning of the United States of America.

The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress.
A statement so important that more than 230 years later these home schooled brothers decided it was worthy of learning.

While the Herenton brothers know every word, they can sum up it's significance in only 8.

"The people really wanted to have their freedom."

Virginia Woman Killed Serving In Iraq

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) - A Virginia soldier has died from noncombat injuries suffered in Iraq.

The Department of Defense says 19-year-old Spc. Morganne McBeth of Fredericksburg died July 2 in Al Asad. The agency says she was injured a day earlier.

McBeth was assigned to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, N.C.

The 82nd Airborne says McBeth was sent to Iraq in August and was due to return home next month. She joined the Army in July 2008.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

God Bless The USA

July 4, 1776. Independence Day.

With a few signatures on that day of July 4, 1776 our independence and freedom began and continues today throughout our great nation.

It is through the strength of our armed forces and those great men and women that proudly serve to protect us and this great nation that we remain the "land of the free" and the "home of the brave".

Here's another one of the most patriotic songs ever written...... Feel free to sing along and feel free to sing loud and clear.

I'm proud to be an American..........not just on this holiday but any day of the week.

Happy Birthday America.

Please display your flag proudly and treat it properly.

The American Flag is Considered Graffiti

An American flag that was painted on a hillside just after 911 was considered graffiti after the government just recently realized that the flag was on gov. property.

Strangely their timing for the removal is this holiday weekend, but... after all it IS California, they probably need the space to paint the Mexico flag there.

A Veteran's Nightly Tribute to the Fallen

Watch CBS News Videos OnlineOn a strip of sand at the southern tip of New Jersey, there's a flagpole where 89-year-old Marvin Hume gathers a group each night.

"Every day I do the service, it's just as important to me as the day before and right on back," Marvin tells CBS News national correspondent Jim Axelrod.

Every veteran's casket is draped in a flag. Each night, here on Sunset Beach, one of those casket flags is raised in honor of a different service member.

Marvin's flag ceremony draws a big audience.

"I get hundreds," he says. "There's so many people there you can't see the ocean. God Bless America"

He's booked every night -- through this summer and next summer as well -- by families wanting to honor their heroes.

This all started when Marvin bought the property from a man who'd been raising and lowering the flag each night. He asked Marvin to continue. Marvin, a Navy vet, said sure, thinking about some buddies he lost in World War II

"I just happen to be in the right place - simple as that," Marvin says.

Hume kept his promise - and then some. He's been conducting this sunset ceremony on this beach seven days a week - from Memorial Day until mid-October - for the last 38 years.

That adds up to nearly 6,000 ceremonies.

On this night, June McKenna's father-in-law George McKenna, another WWII Navy vet, was being remembered.

June was there. No surprise; she's there every night - even when she doesn't know the vet.

"It's always emotional," June says. "Sometimes the flags have bullet holes in them. By the grace of God we're all here because of their sacrifice."

As for Marvin, he says it never gets routine for him.

"You go out there and there's no two alike," he says.

How long will he continue to do this?

"Til I drop, sure," Marvin says. "That's what keeps me alive."

And that's what keeps alive the memory of those who served - reminding us all that the Fourth of July is more than just a long summer's weekend.

VIA: CBSeveningnews