Spring (a-choo!) is in the air and my contacts and my throat. Yay (hack-hack) Spring! I was mostly in DC this weekend. Everyone was outside. Tourists were everywhere gawking at monuments and the waitress’s hindparts at The Pig restaurant on 14th Street. Yes sir, we saw you as you turned your entire body around to view our waitress’s behind all the while your wife is sitting next to you and your son was across from you turning lobster red in the face. Nice job dad. Kudos to the police officers holding it down in the county this weekend. People were driving crazy and acting crazy as if the sun had induced a buckwild spirit. No wonder that there were police shootings that involved civilians this weekend with some pretty wild details. World Autism Awareness month is making stars out of Bowie, MD brothers Brad and Kenny Benjamin. These dudes really have the “it” factor. A Laurel resident showed his own extraordinary abilities by recovering his own stolen property. That deserves applause. Former Prince George’s police officer Simic’s only audience will be other federal prisoners for the next 10 years. Check out his sentence below.
Brad and Kenny Benjamin of Bowie, MD featured on MTV’s True Life. In observance of World Autism Awareness Month, the network is featuring a pair of brothers diagnosed with the disorder in a True Life documentary special. Brad and Kenny Benjamin live with their parents in Bowie, Md., and are taking steps towards greater independence – they’re learning to shop for groceries and cook their own meals, preparing to get their driver’s licenses and increasing their social interaction by throwing a dinner party. In addition to wanting jobs and girlfriends, “We want what lots of people want,” Kenny says, and both brothers aim to increase awareness of autism. “We want the people to show great respect for autistic people,” Brad, 24, tells PEOPLE. “Not to be called names. We have the same problems as other normal people do. We have challenges that can make it harder.” I WILL BE WATCHING THIS. The Benjamins have full star potential and full OUT watchability. In the clip, I see so much of myself in them. Their reluctance, ability to know their own symptoms but still struggle with them. OH this is going to be good. The show airs April 26th at 7pm. Putting this on my calendar now.
On minimum wage in Maryland being uped to $10.10 an hour by 2018, The Maryland Reporter has a great rundown. The Senate has approved the legislation, which will have far reaching impact considering all the new large scale development coming to Prince George’s County. I totally understand the concern of Western Maryland legislators. Their businesses and economies may not be able to sustain this minimum wage increase. There could be population shifts from their area by residents needing to make more money. Read up to see how representatives from PGCo weighed in on the bill:
A bill to hike the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 has reached its final hurdles after a flurry of attempts from lawmakers Friday to amend the already fragile legislation. The Senate gave preliminary approval to the legislation, HB295, a chief priority of Gov. Martin O’Malley, that would boost Maryland’s minimum wage to $10.10 by 2018. After more than two hours of debate, 17 amendments from both parties were all struck down, under the reminder that changes to the bill would hamper negotiations with the House of Delegates. Monday marks the end of the 90-day session, and the bill already needs to return to the House. Too many alterations would put it danger of not being passed by the deadline.
“This would be a strategy to kill the bill,” said Prince George’s County Sen. Anthony Muse during the debate. Earlier, later effective dates proposed. Sen. Pipkin discussing gas tax hike. A proposal from Sen. Allan Kittleman, R-Howard, would have slowed the timeline for the minimum wage’s incremental hike, implementing an annual increase on January 1 until 2019, rather than the July 1 dates in the bill. The Senate Finance Committee already extended the roll-out schedule for the increase, against the wishes of Gov. O’Malley, who had initially hoped to institute the $10.10 wage by 2017. An amendment similar to Kittleman’s was voted down in committee. Under the current bill, the minimum wage would reach $8 by Jan. 1, 2015; $8.25 by July 1, 2015; $8.75 by July 1, 2016; $9.25 by July 1, 2017 and $10.10 by July 1. 2018.
Kittleman said he is concerned that businesses could not handle such abrupt and ill-timed increases, but that his amendment would ease the transition. “It’s designed to help businesses with the phase in,” Kittleman said. Montgomery County Democrat Sen. Richard Madaleno offered an amendment converse to Kittleman’s, enacting a wage of $10.10 six months earlier than the bill currently dictates, reaching $10.10 by Jan. 1, 2018.
GOP senators attempted to dictate which jurisdictions the increase would affect. Sens. George Edwards and Christopher Shank, both from Western Maryland, introduced an amendment that would set the minimum wage in Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties at a maximum of $8.75. Edwards said he knew the amendment wouldn’t be approved, but that in his rural communities, businesses are already struggling. Carroll County Sen. Joseph Getty introduced an amendment that would block counties from setting a minimum wage higher than the state’s. Prince George’s and Montgomery counties both have approved local laws increasing their minimum wage to $11.50 by 2017. Getty said that the varying minimum wages inspires unproductive county competition. “We don’t want to lose workforce from one county to another,” he said.
Other provisions of the current bill implement a training wage — 85% of the minimum wage — to those employees 20 years old and younger, and fix the salary for tipped workers at $3.63. An amendment from Sen. Paul Pinsky, a Prince George’s County Democrat, would have paid 50% of the minimum wage to tipped workers. Tipped workers currently earn $3.63, 50% of today’s minimum wage, $7.25. “It’s not even maintaining the status quo as the government suggests,” Pinsky said. “It’s going backwards, it’s saying ‘you’re not staying with us, you’re going to be in the rearview mirror.” A final vote on minimum wage will likely take place Saturday.
Major Police involved shootings over the weekend. Saturday April 5, 2014, at about 1:00 pm, police responded to the 8600 block of Temple Hill Road where a resident realized someone was attempting to force their way inside her home; this incident was called in as a domestic dispute. Investigators believe one of the suspects was previously in a relationship with the woman who lives on Temple Hill Road. Detectives are working to determine the motive in this case. Officers arrived within minutes and observed a man run from the home and enter a nearby get away car. The officers attempted to stop the car with two men inside before it began moving. Determined to flee the scene, the suspects used their car as a weapon. They sped toward the officers, striking one of them, before speeding away from the scene. Two PGPD officers discharged their service weapons to stop the fleeing suspects. As a result of the shooting, both suspects were at different area hospitals with gunshot wounds. Detectives have since recovered the suspect’s car at another location. It is not yet clear how or when the two suspects separated, or how they ended up at different hospitals. People, people, people. *sigh* The injured officer was taken to a hospital, and is expected to make a full recovery. Both officers who fired their service weapons are on routine administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Both suspects face charges related to the breaking and entering. The driver faces additional charges related to the first degree assault.
Also on April 5th, an officer was involved in a fatal shooting. The victim, 24-year-old Robert Antonio Jones, of the 2700 block of Lorring Drive in Forestville, was said to be reaching for his gun when he was shot to death by police. Two PGPD officers encountered an armed suspect just before 4:00 Saturday morning on Marlboro Pike at Lee Jay Drive. After the officers and witnesses heard a shot fired in the area, the officers responded and saw Robert Antonio Jones, who was leaving the area on foot, grabbing his side. The preliminary investigation reveals as Officer Brian Newcomer and a female officer approached the suspect, the Officer Newcomer noticed the suspect reaching for a handgun in his waistband. Newcomer discharged his service weapon multiple times, striking the Jones. Jones was pronounced dead at Prince George’s Hospital Center. The suspect’s gun was recovered at the scene. Officer Newcomer was working robbery suppression along Marlboro Pike and the female officer was on patrol nearby when they heard the shot fired.
Laurel man who had his rims stolen from his car while his car was in his driveway catches the thief. James Ingram found his rims for sale on Craigslist by one Levar Petty. James Ingram alerted our Police who set up a meeting to buy the rims. The thief, Levar Petty, showed up to the meeting place with Ingrams rims, lug nuts, and the tools he used to steal the items. Just lovely. Petty is now in police custody.
Former Prince George’s County Police officer and Woodbridge, VA resident was sentenced in federal court to 10 years in jail for his role in a conspiracy to sell untaxed cigarettes and cocaine. Sinisa Simic pleaded guilty in 2011 to cocaine trafficking, extortion and firearm offenses. He admitted protecting the sale and transport of multiple shipments of contraband cigarettes in Maryland, Virginia and elsewhere. The 30-year-old Woodbridge, Virginia resident was indicted in 2010 as part of a probe of corruption in the county that brought down then-County Executive Jack Johnson, three police officers and six others. Simic received the longest sentence of the officers. All were involved in a cigarette and alcohol smuggling ring, but Simic and a co-conspirator were also selling cocaine in an unrelated scheme.