State Digest

STATE DIGEST

February 28, 2006

Duncan disputes Ehrlich funding

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan accused Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. yesterday of failing to do his part to launch a $75 million mass transit project in Silver Spring. He charged that the governor withheld the state's final $6 million payment from his budget.

Duncan, a candidate for the Democratic nomination to oppose Ehrlich this fall, joined other elected officials at a news conference to announce $24 million in additional federal funding for the Silver Spring Transit Center. He called the shortage of state funding "just the latest assault on mass transit by the Ehrlich administration."

He said the lack of state money could delay the project, which will combine Metrorail, Metrobus, MARC, intercity bus service and other transportation connections at a single facility.

State Transportation Secretary Robert L. Flanagan rejected Duncan's charge, contending the state had fully met its commitment to contribute to the project. He laid the blame for any shortfall on Duncan and county officials.

He said Montgomery had arranged to get federal funds for the project that diverted a disproportionate share of the state's transit money away from other parts of the state.

Michael Dresser

Prince George's: College Park

Researchers earn NASA grants to study the effects of radiation

Three Maryland researchers have been awarded nearly $1 million by NASA for research on how radiation from the sun could affect astronauts traveling to Mars.

James Drake, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, College Park will receive $357,985 to study the interaction of the magnetic fields of the sun and Earth. The collisions between the two magnetic fields can create radiation that can damage man and machine, he said.

Matthew DeLand, a senior scientist at Science Systems and Applications Inc. in Lanham, will receive $300,000 for his work on the effects of solar flares on clouds that appear above the Earth's poles.

Mikhail Sitnov, an associate research scientist at College Park who studies magnetic fields and energy currents, will receive $299,049.

Associated Press

Eastern Shore: Salisbury

Physician challenging Gilchrest puts focus on health care

A family physician is running for U.S. Congress against incumbent Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, with significant changes to American health care at the center of his campaign.

Jim Corwin, a Democrat, hopes to challenge Gilchrest, a Republican who has been Maryland's 1st District congressman since 1991. The district includes the Eastern Shore and parts of the Baltimore area.

Corwin says he wants to replace Medicare, Medicaid and private medical insurance with federally funded debit cards.

His plan would provide Americans with funds for health care relative to their medical needs. Payroll, sales, income and Social Security taxes would fund the plan while a regional board of directors would join a Federal Health Care reserve in overseeing it.

Associated Press

Montgomery Co.: Aspen Hill

Lighter sparks house fire; four flee, and no one is hurt

Investigators said a child playing with a lighter apparently sparked a house fire yesterday which sent two children and two adults running for their lives.

The youngster is believed to have set a couch ablaze in the basement of the home, according to Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Department of Fire and Rescue Services. Smoke alarms in the house were activated, and all four people inside fled to a neighbor's home, where 911 was called. No one was hurt.

Damage is believed to be about $350,000.

Associated Press

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