- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 13, 2008



Wind turbines banned from state land

Gov. Martin O’Malley yesterday said his administration will not allow commercial wind turbines on state land, ending a heated four-month debate.

Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, said it was important to pursue renewable energy in Maryland, but he said he would not do it at the expense of special lands the state holds in the public trust.

Mr. O’Malley spoke at a scenic overlook in the Savage River State Forest. Opponents had claimed that allowing 40-story windmills on state-owned land in mountainous Western Maryland would reduce its recreational value, spoil the landscape and lower property values.

The ban applies only to conservation lands owned outright by the state and managed by the Department of Natural Resources. Mr. O’Malley said it was not meant to discourage wind power development on other local, federal or privately owned land.


Woman faces life for identity theft

An Anne Arundel County woman faces the possibility of a life sentence after pleading guilty to aggravated identity theft.

Belinda M. Glock, 33, of Edgewater, admitted using a Garrett County woman’s credit cards and identification to buy jewelry and prescription painkillers in 11 states.

According to the plea, the victim lost her wallet in a grocery store in November. Shortly thereafter, someone started using her credit cards to buy jewelry.

Investigators found that Glock used the woman’s identity to get narcotic pain medication from 85 hospitals and health care providers by complaining of lower back pain and stiffness.

The victim received several hospital bills as a result.


County to provide services to refugees

Educators and refugee service providers in Frederick County are trying to help out a small but growing group of Burmese refugees.

According to statistics from the U.S. State Department, 43 refugees from Burma moved to Frederick between October 2002 and September 2007.

Richard Ramsburg, principal of the county’s Adult Education and Flexible Evening High School, said it’s time to expand English as a Second Language classes aimed at Burmese refugees. And he said he had spoken with refugee resettlement groups about finding employment for the refugees.



Parents to pay field trip costs

Petersburg school officials are trying to save money by putting the costs of field trips into parent’s hands starting in the fall.

Also starting in the fall, school meals will no longer be free unless students qualify for free breakfasts and lunches based on income. Parents also will foot the bill for lost school property such as textbooks as well as band and other uniforms.

For some public school students, field trips have been among the few opportunities they have to leave the city and visit educational attractions. In most localities, parents pay the admittance fees. Most of the school systems raise money or have funds set aside to pay for students who can’t afford field trips.

But Petersburg school officials say the trips are a luxury they cannot afford.


County adopts billboard ban

Preservation of southwestern Virginia’s scenic vistas trumped advertising as the Washington County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance banning most billboards in the county.

The board voted 6-to-1 after a public hearing to approve the ban, which applies to general advertising and location signs but exempts signs on the property where the business is located. Supervisor Jack McCrady said the skyline has to be preserved for people interested in the scenic beauty of Washington County.

Discussion of a ban began in October when a Glade Spring entrepreneur won approval for more than 20 billboards. The signs started going up along highways in December.

At last week’s public hearing, six people spoke in favor of the ban; none spoke against it.


City urges workers to spend at home

City officials last week began a campaign to encourage the city’s employees and residents to spend their economic stimulus payments from the federal government locally.

The campaign, called “Buy! Portsmouth,” will run through the end of July. Officials plan to offer Portsmouth businesses free advertising in the city’s employee and electronic newsletters. Businesses also may be able to sponsor programs on the city’s public access station.

The Internal Revenue Service plans to start sending out stimulus payments May 2 to more than 130 million Americans. Married couples could receive $1,200, plus $300 per child they claim as an exemption. Individuals would receive up to $600.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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