- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 24, 2009


Millions spent on scrapped TV studio project

The District’s cable television office spent nearly $5 million on a plan to build a high-definition television studio that was ultimately scrapped.

The city’s inspector general found that the office improperly awarded a sole-source contract to a startup.

The report questions why the administration of then-Mayor Anthony A. Williams was building an HDTV studio to broadcast government and educational events in the first place. The requirement by the Federal Communications Commission to broadcast in digital doesn’t include a high-definition requirement.

Mason Production Services was paid $1.4 million to design the new studio. The cable television office spent an additional $3.5 million on equipment.

The deal with Mason was scrapped after Mayor Adrian M. Fenty took office.



Registration required for recreational fishing

State officials say all Maryland recreational anglers must register with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration before fishing in 2010.

The requirement is part of a federal initiative to help ensure the long-term sustainability of America’s fisheries.

Although the survey is focused on saltwater species, some ocean fish travel between salt and fresh waters, so anyone fishing in the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries and coastal waters must register. Anglers must provide personal information and the regions they plan to fish.


O’Malley approves tax credit zones

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration has approved the expansion and renewal of business enterprise zones in Baltimore city and Allegany and Prince George’s counties.

The Department of Business and Economic Development announced the approvals Wednesday.

Businesses in enterprise zones can obtain income tax and property tax credits to help create and retain jobs.

Last year, businesses in the state’s 28 enterprise zones received $26.3 million in property tax credits. Mr. O’Malley said such tax breaks have helped bring nearly $2 billion in capital investment over the past 10 years.


Second guilty plea in sex trafficking case

A second Ohio man pleaded guilty Wednesday in connection with conducting a sex trafficking business out of a Millersville, Md., apartment.

Robert Harris, 21, of Chillicothe, Ohio, will be sentenced Feb. 16 and faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison for sex trafficking by force. Harris transported at least one girl from Ohio to Maryland to engage in prostitution. He advertised the services on social networking sites, including Craigslist.

Richard Johnson, 22, also of Chillicothe, pleaded guilty earlier this month. He will be sentenced Feb. 12.



Dominion raps government report

Dominion Virginia Power says it still needs to raise rates, despite a state report that it earned $523 million more than necessary last year.

The state’s largest power company responded Wednesday to a State Corporation Commission staff filing, which also recommended a rate cut.

Officials reviewed Dominion’s earnings as part of its request for the first base rate increase in 17 years. Those rates cover Dominion’s operating costs and make up about two-thirds of customers’ bills.

Dominion said an unfairly low rate of return was used when recommending the rate cut.

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