February 20, 2010

Delegate Seeks Ban on Marriages between First Cousins

Maryland Delegate Henry Heller, D-Montgomery County, is putting his foot down and saying no more to marriages between first cousins, unless the parties involved are either over the age of 65 or one person is unable to reproduce (because then it’s ok, right? *insert side eye*).

Heller claims that when first cousins marry, they are “playing genetic roulette,” increasing the chance of birth defects in their children.

If Maryland bans first-cousin marriages, they will be the 25th state to do so. You just can’t make this stuff up. You can see the bill for yourself.


February 19, 2010

Kaiser reverses decision to end after-hours urgent-care services at facility

Kaiser Permanente has reversed a decision to stop offering its heavily used after-hours urgent-care services in Kensington after members protested, a top Kaiser executive said Thursday.

The HMO, which has nearly a half-million members in the Washington metropolitan area, sent a letter to members three weeks ago informing them that urgent care at its Kensington Medical Center would end effective Feb. 28. The after-hours services were to be relocated to Kaiser's Shady Grove facility, about 10 miles away, Kaiser said.

The Kensington office serves about 125,000 members in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, Kensington and parts of the District, and offers basic health care after standard work hours, officials said. Members said they were angry about the inconvenience and lack of notice, coming two months after open enrollment had ended.

February 18, 2010

MC creek to be restored with state funds

Almost 3.4 miles of Northwest Branch creek in Montgomery County will be restored under a $5.3 million project approved by Maryland's State Highway Administration. The highway administration said that years of runoff had caused erosion and a general decline in the quality of the creek. The project, which the agency said would begin this month, is intended to reduce erosion and reconnect the stream channel to its original flood plain.

Unlike typical restoration efforts using rock to stabilize stream banks, this project will use tree trunks harvested from the Intercounty Connector right-of-way placed along the banks to restore the stream's natural character. Recycling harvested trees promotes the biological health of the stream system. Construction is anticipated to take about two years.

February 17, 2010

Storm's total cost unknown

Montgomery County officials say they do not yet know how much it cost to respond to back-to-back blizzards last week. They do know that the cleanup, which is continuing, will be expensive and comes at a time when the county can least afford it.

"You don't know how much it costs until all of the bills come in," said county spokesman Patrick Lacefield.

There is "no way to know" when that will be, he added.

Lacefield said now is not the time to focus on the cost. For one thing, the employees responsible for calculating the cost are the same ones busy overseeing the recovery effort, he said. A blizzard in December cost the county about $5.4 million.

February 15, 2010

Rumors about Sen. Mikulski retirement are false

The Vail Spot via Instapundit

I’ve just heard from an impeccable source that Barbara Mikulski, the Democratic Senator who is up for reelection this November, will choose to retire. Mrs. Mikulski is expected to make her formal announcement in the next few days.

Mrs. Mikulski seriously fractured her right ankle last fall just prior to Edward M. Kennedy’s death. Due to the severity of the fracture, she had to have open reduction surgery, that included the insertion of pins, as well as the use of special surgical boots, during recovery. She had tried to arrive in time for Mr. Kennedy’s funeral but was turned away.

Her recovery has been exceptionally slow and she is evidently still in a great deal of pain. Reportedly, she has told her physician that she does not desire to seek reelection. Additionally, friends and family have been saying in the near future she will announce her retirement. Because of the very slow recovery, she has been forced to use a wheelchair, a walker or a cane in order to get around.

If Mikulski does retire, then who would run for her job on both sides? Does Ehrlich jump in the Senate race and leave the race for Governor on the GOP side wide open again?

UPDATE: We are also hearing that Senator Barbara Mikulski’s campaign has done polling in the past week or two.

UPDATE 2 Chris Cilizza on Twitter

Rumors that Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) is retiring are NOT TRUE, according to informed D source.

Update 3 Mike Memoli tweets that he has 2 sources saying it’s not true.

SOURCE: Charm City

February 14, 2010

Schools bargain with unions

The Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) is bargaining a contract with the Montgomery County Public Schools, in addition to SEIU Local 500 and the supervisors' union. This video reports bargaining progress by the union's leaders.