State and Province News February 2011
Following a swearing-in ceremony for new and re-elected members, the Worcester County Commissioners voted 6-1 to install a truck route in Pocomoke City, the Daily Times reports. The action was suggested by Merrill Lockfaw Jr., while he was a member-elect. Lockfaw, a former county road superintendent, said he drafted the rule due to concerns about damage to local roads and bridges due to trucks hauling from an area aggregate producer. Commissioner Virgil Shockley was the sole vote against the truck route. No through truck traffic of 15,000 pounds or greater gross vehicle weight will be allowed on Cypress Road, New Bridge Road, Hillman Road, Dun Swamp Road, or Tulls Corner Road.
From April until June, an update of Flathead County’s 2007 County Growth Plan will focus on sand and gravel resources and a property owner’s “Bill of Rights.” According to the Daily Inter Lake, the so-called Bill of Rights was introduced by new County Commissioner Pam Holmquist. County Planning Director BJ Grieve said the plan update will focus on specific areas that need clarification or revisions. Other focus areas include economic development; facts, figures, and maps; and plans for a county park. Quarterly public workshops are tentatively being scheduled for March, June, and September.
Late last year, the U.S. Silica plant in Mauricetown reached a million hours — or more than 10 years — worked without any of its 48 employees taking a day off due to injury. “I don’t think we’ve seen any of our other 14 plants get to a million consecutive hours without a lost work day injury,” U.S. Silica President John Ulizio told pressofAtlanticCity.com. “We are all extremely proud of the people in Mauricetown. We hope they continue on for another million hours.” MSHA officials are expected to attend a spring picnic celebrating the safety achievement.
Two children found some skeletal remains near Martin Marietta’s quarry in Statesville. According to the city’s police chief, the human remains appeared to have been at the site for several years. The Statesville Record & Landmark reports that the remains appear to be the result of a suicide, but investigation is ongoing. The remains will be examined by the North Carolina State Medical Examiner in an attempt to determine cause of death and the identity of the remains.
Houston-based Cemex has been ordered to pay more than $1.5 million in overtime back wages to employees in nine states — Arizona, California, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. The U.S. Department of Labor announced that it filed a consent judgment in its case against the company to recover pay for 1,705 current and former ready-mix drivers. Leslie White, executive vice president and general counsel for Cemex, said in an e-mail to the Herald-Journal, that the company believed its pay-by-the-load system was in compliance with the law at the time, and many employees received more compensation than they would have under a traditional pay system.
Nearly 19,000 new jobs would be created in Virginia with an increased investment in transportation construction, according to a new study, Building Virginia’s Future: The Economic Impacts of a $1 Billion Annual Transportation Capital Investment. The study, prepared for the American Road & Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation, notes transportation investment would also generate $162 million in new state tax revenues and boost the state’s economic output by $2.45 billion. “These figures are more than promising; they are real,” said Richard Reese, president of the Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance. “Everyone benefits. People acquire good jobs, the state’s economic outlook improves, and drivers and visitors benefit from better safety and reduced congestion on our bridges and roads.”
Rempel Brothers Concrete, Inc. is seeking permission to expand its Central Whidbey mine by 100 acres to excavate an additional 10 million tons of material. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that a county land use planning staff issued a mitigated determination of non-significance under the state Environmental Policy Act, so a full-blown environmental impact study would not be required. They did, however, create a list of eight conditions to protect the groundwater. Staff members are recommending that the mine be allowed to expand, with 21 additional conditions including expansion in 7-acre segments which must be reclaimed within a year of mining.
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