WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement regarding the newly-released text of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal:
“Our nation is at a critical juncture. As we work to beat this pandemic and build a stronger and more inclusive economy, we must seize this opportunity to generate more good-paying jobs, tackle the climate crisis, and ensure that every American has a chance for a bright future. While we already provided emergency relief to our families, small businesses, and workers in the American Rescue Plan, this Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal is the first major step to ensuring that we are not just building back, but building back better.
“This deal includes key elements of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, such as large investments in modernizing and expanding our infrastructure – including our transit systems, railways, and clean water systems – and repairing our roads, bridges, and tunnels. Importantly, it also has critical investments to build the backbone for a modern, 21st Century economy, including funds to expand broadband to end the digital divide and to build out our clean energy grid and electric charging stations.
“I was also proud to secure key elements in this plan to support Maryland directly – including provisions I authored to re-unite communities that had been split apart by 1960s federal transportation projects like the Highway to Nowhere in West Baltimore. We also secured $238 million in funding for the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program, reauthorized the $150 million annual federal contribution for WMATA for another ten years, and included provisions I wrote to better protect our frontline transit workers. We also succeeded in including a provision to keep federal funding for the Baltimore Red Line metro project alive, despite the Governor’s decision to pull the plug on this crucial investment. In addition, as I highlighted with Secretary Buttigieg in Baltimore last week, this deal provides a $17 billion investment in ports across the country. The Port of Baltimore is a key asset to our state and a powerful engine for jobs throughout the Baltimore area. Finally, even before the pandemic began, I was working to connect every student, household, and business with high-speed internet and expand the use of clean energy – and those investments in this bill will help keep Marylanders at the cutting edge of the global economy.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure bill will be an important step forward, but it is only a portion of the Build Back Better agenda. We must also pass a much more aggressive plan to meet the climate crisis; adopt the key elements of President Biden’s American Families Plan; and cut the rising costs of prescription drugs, health care, child care, and other essentials for American families. Republicans have opposed that part of the President’s plan, but we are determined to get it all done for America’s workers, families, small businesses, students, and seniors. Taken together, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and the American Families Plan will help build a more inclusive economy with more shared prosperity for all.”
In his role on the Appropriations and Budget Committees, Senator Van Hollen worked to secure the following in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal:
· Provisions of his, Senator Cardin, and Senator Carper’s Reconnecting Communities Act to remove harmful infrastructure projects of the past in order to reunite neighborhoods. The legislation was based on a pilot program Senator Van Hollen authored in 2019 aimed at addressing the Highway to Nowhere in West Baltimore.
· $238 million in funding for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay and meet the pollution reduction targets of the Bay Agreement.
· Provisions of his Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act to help improve safety for frontline transit workers and commuters.
· $42.250 billion to expand broadband to get more Americans across the country online and $14.2 billion to make broadband more affordable for low-income Americans.
· Reauthorization of WMATA at $150 million annually and provisions to strengthen the WMATA Inspector General’s authority in order to improve oversight and safety. This funding continues the investment the federal government authorized in 2008 via then-Congressman Van Hollen’s bipartisan amendment to the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act.
· $8 billion for Capital Investment Grants, the Federal Transit Administration program that supports the Purple Line and had previously supported the Red Line project in Baltimore City and language to ensure consideration of projects previously in the program, such as the Red Line.
· $17 billion for ports across the country. The Port of Baltimore is a key asset to our state and powerful economic driver for Baltimore and the region.
The Calvert County Department of Economic Development will host an in-person job fair on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department, located at 450 Solomons Island Road S. in Prince Frederick.
Job seekers can explore new employment opportunities from an array of Calvert County businesses. Radio personalities T-Bone and Heather will be at the event from 10 a.m. to noon giving away prizes. In addition, all job seekers who visit at least three tables to discuss employment opportunities will receive a ticket for a free ice cream cone from Mrs. Moo’s Corner, who will be onsite, and will also be eligible to win a grand prize gift basket.
Job seekers are encouraged to arrive early, be prepared to interview and have ample copies of their resume. There will be space available to complete applications to submit directly to hiring managers.
The Calvert County Department of Economic Development works to help all businesses succeed, from small, local businesses to large, national enterprises. For information on the Department of Economic Development and the many services the county offers the business community, contact the department at 410-535-4583 or 301-855-1880, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find information on Calvert County Government services online at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov. Stay up to date with Calvert County Government on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CalvertCountyMd and YouTube at www.youtube.com/CalvertCountyGov.
PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, Maryland – NAS Patuxent River leadership announced July 29 the requirement for all on the installation to wear face masks while in buildings on base and government vehicles regardless of vaccination status effective immediately per the Department of Defense’s “Updated Mask Guidance for all DoD Installations and Other Facilities” dated July 28. The move follows the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) announcement July 29 of St. Mary’s County, Maryland’s transition from “moderate” to “substantial” levels of community transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
The DoD memo states, “In areas of substantial or high community transmission, DoD requires all Service members, Federal employees, onsite contractor employees, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in an indoor setting in installations and other facilities owned, leased or otherwise controlled by DoD.”
Those who are not fully vaccinated also need to continue to physically distance consistent with applicable CDC and DoD Force Health Protection guidance, according to the memo.
“The action to require masks for all on station once again is not one we take lightly, but it is in the interest of safety,” said Capt. John Brabazon, NAS Patuxent River commanding officer. “The health of our personnel, our families, and our neighbors is paramount to all of us at Pax River. But in the case of COVID, it truly is incumbent upon everyone do what is necessary to keep our community safe.”
The requirement for all on NAS Patuxent River to wear masks comes just a day after the base moved back into HPCON Bravo as a result of rising COVID transmissions in the immediate area and Naval District Washington as a whole. Rising COVID case numbers, particularly among unvaccinated personnel, has driven the need for greater protections against the virus. The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has become the predominant strain in many parts of the world and according to CDC estimates, with more than 83 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. being caused by this strain. The Delta variant is attacking younger, unvaccinated populations in high volumes not previously seen with COVID-19 and other variants. Widespread acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine provides the best means to defeat this virus and its variants.
For a full version of the DoD’s “Updated Mask Guidance for all DoD Installations and Other Facilities” memo of July 28, visit https://media.defense.gov/2021/Jul/28/2002814362/-1/-1/1/UPDATED-MASK-GUIDELINES-FOR-ALL-DOD-INSTALLATIONS-AND-OTHER-FACILITIES-OSD006862-21-FOD-FINAL.PDF .
For more information on NAS Patuxent River, follow on social media at www.facebook.com/NASPaxRiver and https://twitter.com/NASPaxRiverPAO
PATUXENT RIVER, Maryland – NAS Patuxent River transitioned from Health Protection Condition (HPCON) Alpha to HPCON Bravo as of 5 p.m. July 28. NAS Patuxent River joins other installations within Naval District Washington to shift back to HPCON Bravo as a result of rising COVID cases.
HPCONs are protocols for public health emergencies, such as a pandemic. Commanders review and update these HPCONs based on risk levels within a local community and in cooperation with local, state or host nation guidance. Military leaders and public health personnel use them to guide actions taken in response to a health threat. NDW changed the HPCON as a result of rising COVID-19 transmission in the National Capital Region. In addition to NAS Patuxent River, NDW installations include Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, and Naval Support Activities Annapolis, Bethesda, South Potomac and Washington.
At NAS Patuxent River, reports of COVID positive cases among personnel working aboard the installation has remained relatively low. But rising COVID case numbers, particularly among unvaccinated personnel, has driven the need for greater protections against the virus.
“We’ve seen a rising trend in cases over the last few weeks leading us and other Navy installations in the region to take the protective measure to move back in to HPCON Bravo,” said Capt. John Brabazon NAS Patuxent River commanding officer. “After conferring with our health protection officers and leadership within Naval District Washington it was determined this was the appropriate action to protect our personnel from the continued presence of COVID and the threat from variants of the virus, such as the Delta variant.”
The Delta variant of the COVID virus has become the predominant strain in many parts of the world and according to CDC estimates, more than 83 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are now caused by this strain. The Delta variant is attacking younger, unvaccinated populations in high volumes not previously seen with COVID-19 and other variants. Widespread acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine provides the best means to defeat this virus and its variants.
HPCON Bravo implementation will vary at each installation in the region, however, personnel across all NDW installations should continue to adhere to physical distancing protocols and wear face coverings when unable. Personnel should continue to avoid unnecessary contact and stay home when sick. Unvaccinated personnel are still required to wear masks in all DoD spaces, and vaccinated personnel are advised to wear masks when in group settings. NAS Patuxent River personnel are instructed to keep their spaces at 50 percent capacity and continue to adhere to safety protocols such as frequent hand washing and social distancing.
Many programs at NAS Patuxent River that had recently reopened or expanded service under HPCON Alpha will only be minimally impacted and remain open with minor changes to service.
The Trusted Traveler Program remains in effect at NAS Patuxent River, and Gate 3 will remain open. Gate sentries will continue to check ID’s using the “no-touch” method.
The Navy Exchange will remain open, with limited seating at its Food Court.
Some MWR programs are not impacted in the shift back to HPCON Bravo; the Center Stage Theater remains open with limited capacity, and outdoor activities, such as the Outdoor Pool, golf course, pavilions, and playgrounds remain open.
The NAS Patuxent River Drill Hall will remain open to all with regular access, but will require reservations again beginning July 29. Reservations can be made by logging on to https://www.navymwrpaxriver.com/programs/114b99d9-a1c6-47ff-8443-3358ef8b87f1 and clicking the “Please Click Here to Register” link or contacting the Drill Hall directly at 301-757-3943. Group exercise classes will continue but be limited in size to facilitate social distancing.
“Thanks to our previous HPCON safety efforts, we’ve been below the safe capacity threshold at the Drill Hall and other MWR locations, so the shift to HPCON Bravo will not dramatically affect our services,” said Jeff Sias, NAS Patuxent River Fleet and Family Readiness director. “We continue to follow all CDC and DoD COVID safety guidelines. If any further measures are necessary, we’ll communicate them to our patrons.”
For more information on Pax River’s MWR programs, visit https://www.navymwrpaxriver.com/covid-19-update . For more information on NAS Patuxent River, follow on social media at www.facebook.com/NASPaxRiver and https://twitter.com/NASPaxRiverPAO .
On Tuesday, July 27, Charles County Health Officer Dr. Dianna E. Abney provided an update on COVID-19 in Charles County. She announced that there will be a Pfizer Back-to-School Vaccine Clinic on Saturday, July 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 pm. at the Charles County Department of Health (4545 Crain Hwy, White Plains). There are many other vaccination clinics available throughout the county, and the public can visit the Department of Health’s website for information on upcoming dates and locations. Residents can make their own vaccination appointments and walk-ins are accepted. For a list of pharmacies and other vaccination clinics available, visit the State of Maryland’s website.
University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center provided an update on current COVID-19 hospitalizations and staff COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. Chief of Media Services Jennifer Harris provided an update on the county’s communications efforts. Charles County Public Schools Director of School Safety and Security Jason Stoddard provided an update on the schools continuing screening program for summer youth program and gathering personal protective equipment for next school year.
Open Session Briefings
Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) representatives provided an annual update on the MACo 2021 Legislative Session, which included accelerated broadband buildout, delivering front-line public health resources, defending county budget security, protecting $10.2 million in disparity grant funding for local services, and keeping environmental rules smart and effective.
United Way of Southern Maryland representatives provided an update on the merger of the United Ways of Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s and the request for the County Commissioners to lease United Way of Southern Maryland prime space in the county seat.
Department of Planning and Growth Management staff provided a presentation on a petition for Indian Head Manor Section One-Inman Utilities. County Commissioners approved setting a public hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m.
County Attorney Wes Adams and Department of Planning and Growth Management Director Deborah Carpenter provided a presentation on Bill 2021-05 Amendment to Agricultural Reconciliation Committee. County Commissioners approved five members on the committee, introducing the bill, and setting a public hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m.
Planner III Kirby Blass and Planning Director Jim Campbell provided a presentation on Bill 2021-06 Zoning Text Amendment 21-161 Private Elementary and Secondary School. County Commissioners approved introducing the amendment and setting a public hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m.
Department of Emergency Services Director Michelle Lilly provided a presentation on the Charles County New Normal Task Force. The County Government buildings are operating in Phase III, which includes building and infrastructure modifications and defining customer/visitor contact protocols to keep residents and employees safe. Chief of Media Services Jen Harris and Lead Video Producer Brent Huber provided Commissioner meeting options. County Commissioners accepted staff recommendations to continue holding regular Commissioner meetings virtually; shifting to in-person meetings for public hearings, town halls, and other public meetings; and incorporating hybrid meetings with both in-person and virtual participants on an as-needed basis.
Associate County Attorney II Danielle Mitchell provided a presentation on the requirements for the Maryland State House Bill 670 Police Accountability Review Board. The Board of County Commissioners is required to establish an Accountability Board to receive civilian complaints of police misconduct against any law enforcement agency in the county, and to work with law enforcement agencies to improve policing in the county. Additionally, the Board of County Commissioners must make appointments to a Charging Committee that will review civilian complaints of police misconduct and determine whether an officer should be administratively charged. The Board of Commissioners is also tasked with appointing to a Trial Board that will hear appeals submitted by officers subject to discipline for misconduct. The Board of Commissioners agreed to review options for the membership criteria of the Accountability Board at an upcoming Commissioners’ Meeting in September.
Associate County Attorney II Danielle Mitchell provided a presentation on the Maryland State House Bill 655 Elections-County Commissioner and County Boards of Education. County Commissioners will have a follow-up work session on the bill in the fall season.
Follow-Up Work Session
County Commissioners participated in a follow-up work session with the Department of Planning and Growth Management staff on Bill 2021-02 Zoning Text Amendment 19-154 Single-Family Attached Residential and Multi-Family. The discussion focused on whether or not to reduce the masonry requirement from 60 percent to 40 percent and its potential effect on home values; the use of polymeric, fiber cement, and vinyl siding; the average and maximum number of units for town homes; paths and access for trash cans outside of town homes; and fire safety. County Commissioners recommended a follow-up work session to consider a revised draft that addresses these concerns raised during the work session.
County Commissioners also participated in a follow-up work session with the Department of Planning and Growth Management staff on Zoning Map Amendment 20-01 Wintergreen Rural Conservation to Commercial Village. The rezoning applicant contended that a mistake was made in 1992 when the property was zoned as Rural Conservation and the applicant identified the Commercial Village zone as the correct zone. County Commissioners discussed whether an error was made during the 1992 comprehensive rezoning, concluded a mistake was not made, and rejected the zoning map amendment.
Commissioners also approved:
A fiscal 2021 budget transfer request of $24,500 to cover septic reimbursement program costs.
A fiscal 2021 budget transfer request of $220,000 to offset the negative fund balance in the Recreation Enterprise Fund.
A fiscal 2022 budget transfer request of $550,000 to cover bid amount that was greater than budgeted for the Clifton Wastewater Treatment Plant construction and improvements.
A fiscal 2021 budget transfer request of $46,330 to move funding for the acoustical panel installation at the Waldorf Senior and Recreational Center to a capital project.
A fiscal 2022 budget amendment of $99,000 to utilize funds that were reserved for business incentives to the United States Bomb Tech Association location in the Town of Indian Head.
A letter to Verizon about broadband accessibility in the county.
A letter of support for the Discovery Lane grant application for the Neighborhood Business Works Program within the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
A memorandum of understanding between the State of Maryland, Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Charles County Board of County Commissioners for funding for the existing broadband network expansion.
The Resolution 2021-11 Support Medicare for All of 2021.
A request for public hearings on required Community Development Block Grant follow-up update for Angels Watch Family Shelter and United Way’s COVID-19 Rental Assistance program on Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 5 p.m.
A request to introduce Bill 2021-07 Excise Tax Enactment Applicability and a request to set a public hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m.
National Black Business Month
National Immunization Month
County Commissioners also provided a virtual public hearing on draft Resolution 2021-12 Amendments to the Solid Waste Management Plan. County Commissioners approved the resolution.
Next Commissioners Session: Sept. 14, 2021 (held virtually)
Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.