- The Washington Times - Monday, October 19, 2009

MARYLAND

LAUREL

Farmer wins duck-stamp contest

Perseverance paid off for a Waldorf farmer in the federal duck stamp art contest.

Robert Bealle finished second in the contest 26 years ago with his painting of redheads. This year, his painting of an American widgeon beat entries from 223 other wildlife artists from across the country.

Mr. Bealle’s oil-on-Masonite painting will be on the $15 stamp, which is purchased by collectors and bird hunters. He was chosen as the winner at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Refuge over the weekend.

He said he had “a gorilla on [his] back” for 26 years and thought that if he didn’t win this year, he never would.

Winners can sell prints of their work, which are prized by hunters, art collectors and conservationists.

BALTIMORE

Soros announces recession grants

Liberal tycoon George Soros has given $2.6 million in matching grants to 10 Baltimore organizations. The money is intended to help the groups fund programs to assist people through the economic downturn. The grants were announced by the Open Society Institute’s Baltimore chapter.

Mr. Soros created a special fund to help people affected by the recession. He allocated a total of $5 million for the OSI’s Baltimore office. The rest of the money will be handed out next year.

The Family League of Baltimore is getting $1 million to create 200 jobs for young people. Among those who will benefit are 50 teens leaving foster care, who will learn farm skills in a program run by the city school system.

POCOMOKE CITY

New regulations stall chicken houses

New federal regulations effectively have halted construction of new chicken houses on the Eastern Shore.

The Environmental Protection Agency began regulating Maryland chicken farms in February. Since then, construction of new chicken houses has stalled.

Bill Satterfield, executive director of the Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., said the new regulations effectively amount to a zero-discharge policy. That means the farms would face stiff fines and criminal penalties if they allow any nutrients to enter waterways, regardless of what caused the runoff.

Pocomoke City farmer Dale Stevens built four state-of-the-art chicken houses last year and wants to build another four, but, he says, he “can’t follow the rules if they don’t exist yet.”

HAVRE DE GRACE

Scientists renew hunt for rare fish

The Maryland darter has not been seen in two decades, and the small fish has only been documented in three Harford County creeks.

Now, state wildlife officials hope to find the darter again.

Professors and students from Frostburg State University and Marshall University plan to search the creeks near Havre de Grace where the darter was last seen as well as the Susquehanna River. The Maryland Natural Department of Natural Resources says if the fish is found, there may be a chance to save it.

Farming regulations to protect the darter are in place, but the Maryland Farm Bureau petitioned in the mid-1990s to declare the fish extinct and lift the restrictions. The request was denied because a thorough search had not been conducted.

VIRGINIA

ALEXANDRIA

Wilson Bridge corridor returning to 55 mph

The maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hour is being restored along the Woodrow Wilson Bridge corridor between Maryland and Virginia as most of the long construction project is now complete.

Speed limits were reduced in 2005 as construction was under way. Some construction continues at the Telegraph Road interchange but is not expected to affect the Capital Beltway itself.

Since July 2008, the Virginia Department of Transportation has been using a high-tech traffic system to implement variable speed limits. It uses road sensors to help control traffic flow. That pilot program was expanded to full-time use in May and will continue as speed limits return to 55 miles per hour.

The variable speed limits are slated to end in 2010.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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