State and Province News March 2011
When he campaigned for office, Smithfield Sheriff Bobby Davidson announced plans to get a canine to help the six-man department detect drugs in its 360-square-mile county, WPSD reports. Once elected, he found out the county didn’t have the funds to purchase the $2,000 dog or the ancillary equipment. He secured community donations to fund the purchase, with the largest donation — $3,000 — coming from Pine Bluff Sand and Gravel Co. Sales Manager Jeff Thomas told the sheriff his company was glad to partner in keeping the community safe.
A new report, Future Mobility in Maryland: Meeting the State’s Needs for Safe and Efficient Mobility, finds that state roads that are congested, deteriorated, and not as safe as they could be cost the average Baltimore area motorist $2,226 each year, while Washington, D.C., drivers lose $2,296 annually — a total of $7 billion statewide. The report, released Feb. 1 by TRIP, finds that 44 percent of Maryland’s major roads are in need of repair, more than a quarter of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, more than half of the state’s urban roads are congested, and Maryland’s rural traffic fatality rate is more than double that of all other roads in the state. According to the TRIP report, 26 percent of Maryland’s major roads are rated in poor condition and an additional 18 percent are in mediocre condition. Seven percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 19 percent are functionally obsolete.
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) determined that an environmental impact study is not needed as part of Elam Sand and Gravel’s special use permit application. According to 13wham.com, the company has already taken steps to reduce noise by agreeing to build berms on the property close to neighboring houses, as well as to limit truck traffic to four to 20 vehicles per hour. The matter will go before the West Bloomfield Zoning Board before the DEC has the final say on the project. The television station reports that the DEC could issue a special use permit for the sand and gravel mine as early as April.
Wyoming Construction Materials’ application for a permit to mine sand and gravel, as well as to operate a hot-mix asphalt plant and a concrete batch plant, raised air quality concerns for residents in the greater Buffalo area. The Buffalo Bulletin reports that resident concerns center largely on dust issues, as well as the proximity of neighbors. The company requested a permit to mine up to 400,000 tons per year. Chuck Falkenstein, the operation manager, told the newspaper that the company would like to mine 800 acres of the 1,100-acre property. Wetlands and hilly areas of the property would not be mined, but boundaries between active operations and neighbors would be larger than some neighbors anticipate.
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