Maryland Transit: Bill jeopardizes rail funding
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A state official says legal problems could arise if Maryland tries to force a French rail company to pay reparations to Holocaust victims, rather than leaving negotiations to the U.S. government.
James Knighton, director of governmental affairs for the Maryland Transit Administration, told the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday that the state needs federal funds for its Purple Line light rail project. This is a proposed light rail that would connect Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
Keolis America, a company owned by the French government, is one of four teams vying for the project.
Legislators are considering bills that would block Keolis from bidding until it compensates Holocaust victims who were carried on its trains to concentration camps during World War II.
But Knighton said this would jeopardize federal rail project contributions.
Bill Clinton speaks at Africa conference in Del.
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Former president Bill Clinton says "creative cooperation" is needed among private and public sector entities to help tackle challenges facing the continent of Africa.
Speaking Monday at a conference on Africa sponsored by U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, Clinton said issues such as food insecurity, disease and resource management have to be confronted to improve the lives of Africans.
The conference brought together businesses, faith communities and individuals in Delaware with experts on Africa to discuss trade opportunities and issues such as human rights, sustainable development and global health.
Clinton said non-governmental organizations can play an important role in linking private entities and government agencies in helping Africans improve their economic, educational and health care systems.
Coons is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs.
Del. gambling panel works on recommendations
DOVER, Del. (AP) - A panel examining how to keep Delaware's gambling industry competitive is still working on a list of recommendations to submit to lawmakers.
The commission, which meets Tuesday in Dover, originally was supposed to submit its findings and recommendations by Jan. 31. But an inability to reach a consensus on certain proposals and the desire by some members to obtain more information has delayed the commission's report.
A key issue for the panel is how much of a hit the state general fund should take in order to give a financial break to Delaware's three casinos, which have steadily lost business to neighboring states despite the addition of table games, sports betting and online gambling.
Ex-DC teacher to be sentenced in child porn case
WASHINGTON (AP) - A former Washington private school teacher who was captured in Nicaragua after a year on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" fugitives list is scheduled to be sentenced in a child pornography case.
Eric Toth's hearing is set for Tuesday in Washington.
Toth's lawyer says he should spend 22 years in prison. A prosecutor has asked he be sentenced to 30 years.
Toth fled Washington in 2008 after images of child pornography were found on a camera he had used while a teacher at Beauvoir, a private elementary school.
The FBI added Toth to its Most Wanted list in 2012. He filled a vacancy created by Osama bin Laden's death.
Md. gypsy moth spraying acreage reduced
CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Department of Agriculture says it's reducing its gypsy moth spraying to about 5,200 acres this year, down from more than 12,000 acres in 2013.
The department is holding informational meetings Tuesday in Cumberland and Thursday in Swanton.
The western Maryland counties of Garrett and Allegany account for 5,000 of the acres to be sprayed. The remaining approximately 200 are in Talbot County.
Outbreaks of the destructive moths are cyclical. The leaf-munching caterpillars can destroy forest and shade trees.
WESTERN MD RAIL TRAIL-MAINTENANCE CLOSURE
Western Md. Rail Trail sections closed for repairs
BIG POOL, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says portions of the Western Maryland Rail Trail will be closed for scheduled maintenance through March 27.
The agency says the closures began Monday. The work includes removing trees and limbs damaged by insects and recent ice storms.
As an alternate route, visitors may use the adjoining C&O Canal unpaved towpath, owned and managed by the National Park Service.
The rail-trail is a 22-mile, paved, hiking-and-biking path between Big Pool and Pearre (pah-RAY').
DEATH INVESTIGATION-MISSING GIRL
Man waives extradition to Md. in alleged homicide
BALTIMORE (AP) - A man who police believe killed the mother of his children and abducted one of the girls in central Maryland has waived extradition from South Carolina.
Baltimore County police say Timothy Virts killed 36-year-old Bobbie Jo Cortez last week at her Dundalk home and fled with one of their 11-year-old twin daughters.
Virts and the girl were found Friday in a motel in Florence, S.C.
Police said Monday that he has talked with detectives. It was not clear exactly when he would return to Maryland. Upon his return, authorities will charge him with first-degree murder.
The 11-year-old girl returned Saturday to Maryland and police say she appears to be physically unharmed. The children are in the care of social services officials.
Markell, former Vermont governor, tout Common Core
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell says supporters of the new Common Core academic standards need to do a better job countering misinformation about the education initiative, which is designed to better prepare students for college or a job by the time they graduate from high school.
Markell and former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas visited a Wilmington school Monday to promote the Common Core standards, saying parents and students must not be fooled by what Markell called misinformation and mythology.
The standards are being implemented in 45 states and the District of Columbia as an effort to make sure students across the country face uniform achievement expectations in math and English.
Markell and Douglas say one key misunderstanding, particularly among conservatives, is that the Common Core standards were developed by the federal government.
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