- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 15, 2009


Senate to decide D.C. voting rights

The Senate has set a preliminary vote for Feb. 24 on legislation to grant the District full voting representation in the House of Representatives.

The nation’s capital currently has a nonvoting representative in the House.

The proposal also would grant Utah an additional seat in the House until 2012, when it would be reassigned on the basis of the 2010 census.

The House currently allows the District’s representative to vote on amendments to legislation, but not on final passage.

The bill would not give the capital representation in the Senate.

It would take 60 votes to advance the legislation.



Task force backs oyster aquaculture

A task force recommends that Maryland watermen should be taught how to raise oysters instead of having the state pay millions of dollars to plant oysters that are later harvested from the Chesapeake Bay.

The 21-member Oyster Advisory Commission said the planting efforts should continue, but the oysters should be left in the Bay, where the filter feeders can help improve water quality. Leaving the oysters in place will also improve the chances that some may develop resistance to diseases that have ravaged oyster stocks.

The commission was created by the General Assembly in 2007 to develop recommendations on what could be done to restore dwindling oyster stocks and help the seafood industry. The commission’s report is to be presented in Annapolis this week.


O’Malley: Stimulus brings $3.8 billion

The congressional stimulus package includes about $3.8 billion for Maryland, Gov. Martin O’Malley said.

That means valuable investments in infrastructure, health care and education, he said.

President Obama said the newly passed $787 billion economic stimulus package marks a “major milestone on our road to recovery.”

The bill passed Congress on Friday along party-line votes.

The legislation provides billions to aid victims of the recession through unemployment benefits, food stamps, medical care, job retraining and more. Tens of billions are ticketed for states, and there is more than $48 billion for transportation projects.


Nursery school hired sex offender

Five parents have pulled their children from a Bethesda nursery school after learning it had knowingly hired a registered sex offender as a maintenance man.

Pastor Todd Thomas defended the hiring at a recent meeting with parents, saying he didn’t think the man was a threat. However, Mr. Thomas later said in an e-mail to WTOP Radio that school officials understand the parents’ concerns and are working to resolve the situation.

Ellen Burgess, the director of the Bethesda Cooperative Nursery School, said school officials have made it clear that the hiring was unacceptable.


County schools see teacher layoffs

The superintendent of Somerset County’s school system said layoffs of teachers and staff are likely because of a projected budget shortfall.

The proposed federal stimulus package is expected to include money for schools, but school officials are still bracing for the worst, Superintendent Karen Lee Brofee said.

At last month’s board of education meeting, Ms. Brofee said anticipated revenue for next year includes $23.3 million from the state, which is $115,446 more than in the current year. However, she said, there will be $200,000 less from the federal government and $34,814 less from the county.



New carrier in sea trials

The Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the George H.W. Bush, went out for a test ride Friday off Virginia’s coast - the first time under its own power.

The $6.26 billion carrier moved closer to its formal delivery to the Navy as it underwent sea trials flanked by tugboats and a Coast Guard escort.

The trials are intended to demonstrate that the ship’s two nuclear propulsion plants and other systems function properly.

The Nimitz-class carrier was commissioned Jan. 10, in a break from tradition. Sea trials are usually held before that tradition-laden ceremony. The carrier’s namesake attended along with then-President George W. Bush.

The carrier was built by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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