Maryland hospitals rise in safety assessment

Maryland hospitals are making strides in reducing errors, accidents, injuries and infections, but still need to improve to be as safe as they can be, according to a new safety assessment by Leapfrog Group.

Maryland hospitals are making strides in reducing errors, accidents, injuries and infections, but still need to improve to be as safe as they can be, according to a new safety assessment by Leapfrog Group.

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Newport News in running for HUD grant to reshape Southeast public housing

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Newport News could be awarded up to $30 million by the federal government to implement a redevelopment plan they’ve been working on for nearly two years.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development selected Newport News as a finalist on Monday for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Implementation grant, according to spokeswoman Kim Lee. The money would largely help fund improvements in Ridley Place.

In 2016, the city and the Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NNRHA) were awarded $500,000 to come up with a plan “to help revitalize and transform a portion of the Southeast Community.”

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Enterprise officially inactivated, will remain at Newport News shipyard

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., (WVEC) — Newport News Shipbuilding has completed its inactivation of the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Enterprise, Huntington Ingalls Industries announced Tuesday.

The ship will remain at the shipyard until a disposal plan is determined by the Navy.

Inactivation work on the Big E began in 2013, with more than 1,000 shipbuilders defueling the carrier’s eight nuclear reactors, the company said.

"This is bittersweet moment for us," Chris Miner, Newport News’ vice president of in-service aircraft carrier programs, said.

"Enterprise has meant so much to Newport News Shipbuilding and the men and women who helped cement her place in history. With all of the lessons we learned from inactivating the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in our company’s 130-year history, we look forward to bringing that knowledge to the inactivation of the Nimitz class of aircraft carriers, beginning with CVN 68 in 2025."

The ship was built at the shipyard and christened September 1960. The only one of its class, the aircraft carrier aided in the Cuban Missile Crisis and operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.

Enterprise was decommissioned Feb. 3, 2017.

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Ted Kennedy’s fateful car accident portrayed in ‘Chappaquiddick’

Not only did this event take the life of an aspiring political strategist and Kennedy family insider, but it also changed the course of presidential history forever. USA TODAY

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Trump, Hillary loom over Virginia 2018 Senate race

A Senate race between Hillary Clinton’s running mate and a candidate characterized as the Donald Trump of Virginia is likely to garner massive national attention, even if it isn’t competitive—and for now, polls indicate it isn’t.

President Trump’s approval rating took its toll on Republicans in Virginia’s 2017 state elections, while Clinton has drawn little positive attention since her 2016 loss in the presidential race. Nevertheless, both will be paramount in this contest.

“If Hillary Clinton wants to come to Virginia, of course we would welcome her,” Ian Sams, the campaign spokesman for Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., told Fox News. “Remember, she did win Virginia in 2016 by five-and-a-half points.”

The top Republicans vying to challenge Kaine seem ready for Hillary themselves.

Corey Stewart, the chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, is known for battling illegal immigration and defending Confederate statues.

Donald Trump (left) and Hillary Clinton (right) are looming over the upcoming 2018 Virginia Senate race.

“We’re not just going to tie him to her run for president, but to the things she has said since November 2016,” Stewart told Fox News, referencing the recent Clinton comment on married women’s inability to think for themselves if they didn’t vote for her.

“The Clinton campaign outspent the Trump campaign 7-1 in Virginia,” Stewart said. “Trump pulled his resources from Virginia to focus on more competitive states. It was probably the right call, but even after all that, Clinton-Kaine only won by 5 points.”

Trump’s campaign fired Stewart a month before election day for joining a protest in front of Republican National Committee headquarters.

Stewart has name recognition after nearly winning the Republican gubernatorial primary in 2017.

That could be changing after state Del. Nick Freitas delivered a viral speech on the Virginia House floor regarding the Second Amendment and Democratic rhetoric. Freitas said he’s gotten an overwhelming increase in volunteers, social media followers and donors since the speech. Republican legislative leaders in Virginia, as well as U.S. Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, endorsed Freitas.

After a March 17 debate in Richmond between Stewart and Freitas—the only two so far to gain enough signatures for ballot access before the March 29 deadline—Freitas won a non-scientific straw poll of 217 tea party activist by 65 percent to 35 percent.

Freitas similarly said Kaine’s presence on a ticket with Clinton should be “a big issue.”

Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine is up for re-election in 2018. (ap)

“Hillary Clinton has done her level best to alienate as many Americans as possible by saying they are evil, cruel and bigoted human beings if they didn’t vote for her,” Freitas told Fox News. “Sen. Kaine ran alongside her and I am tired of that divisiveness.”

Freitas, a veteran Green Beret and Iraq war veteran, could unite Trump voters and Chamber of Commerce voters, said Stephen Farnsworth, director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

“Freitas is the one to watch. He is drawing Republican support to his campaign with the viral video appeals to conservatives, while he’s also appealing to Republican insiders,” Farnsworth told Fox News.

The Kaine campaign contends the senator has bridged partisan divide on issues such as immigration and veterans.

“His record of working together to get things done will be a focus of this campaign, regardless of who the Republicans nominate,” his spokesman Sams said.

Kaine once referred to the Russia probe as a “treason investigation.”

“If I were Tim Kaine, I wouldn’t run as Hillary Clinton’s running mate, but as a successful former governor and a U.S. senator."

– Quentin Kidd, Christopher Newport University

The June 12 primary could be wide open. The most recent scientific poll, released by Christopher Newport University in early March—before the Freitas speech—found Stewart with 16 percent support against just 6 percent for Freitas and 7 percent for E.W. Jackson, a conservative black pastor who was the 2013 GOP nominee for lieutenant governor. The poll found that 66 percent were still undecided, while 5 percent backed other candidates. Stewart, Jackson and Freitas all lose by a dozen points to Kaine in a hypothetical matchup.

“If I were Tim Kaine, I wouldn’t run as Hillary Clinton’s running mate, but as a successful former governor and a U.S. senator,” Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia told Fox News. “There are few worse things he could do than bring Hillary Clinton to the state to campaign for him. It wouldn’t gain any Democratic support but it would energize the Republican base.”

The Washington Post reported last December on an “anybody-but-Stewart” sentiment among some state and national Republicans.

“These so-called strategists that say I can’t win have never won in Virginia,” Stewart said, later adding, “I’m not going to be more controversial than the president himself.”

The region of commonwealth where Republicans consistently get hammered is the Washington suburbs of Northern Virginia. That’s a region where Stewart has repeatedly won, elected to the board of supervisors for Prince William County—the state’s second most populous county—in 2002, and becoming its chairman in 2006.

For his part, Freitas notes that he won in his district by 68 percent last year, despite the statewide wave election that saw Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam win by 9 points and massive down ticket gains for Democrats in the state legislature.

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York budget proposal keeps real estate tax rate flat, gives more to schools, public safety

March 21–York County Administrator Neil Morgan pitched a budget for the upcoming fiscal year that holds the real estate tax rate steady while meeting the school division’s funding request and adding jobs in public safety.

The tax rate would remain at 79.5 cents per $100 of a property’s assessed value. Morgan also did not propose changes to the personal property tax rate or water or sewer charge rates.

The proposed general fund operating budget, which would go into effect July 1, totals $139.2 million. The current operating budget is $141.9 million.

Morgan said the proposed budget is lower than the current one because of pending changes to the county’s accounting, with a new financial system planned to be implemented at the start of the next fiscal year. The main difference, Morgan said, is some sources of revenue would be accounted for under different funds.

Adjusting the current budget to the upcoming accounting system would bring its total to $136.3 million. The proposed budget of $139.2 million is an increase of 2.1 percent, or about $2.9 million.

Morgan said the county contribution to the school division would increase by $1.5 million. The current budget allocates $51.8 million to the school division. The school division’s proposed budget includes new jobs and raises for all employees that average about 2 percent.

The county budget proposal puts $1.2 million toward pay raises for county employees. All employees would get a raise of 2 percent, and employees earning less than $100,000 also get a raise of $750. For the lowest-earning county employees, the total raise is about 4.5 percent, according to Morgan. Additionally, the budget proposal freezes employee cost for health insurance for a year.

The budget proposes hiring four more firefighters, possibly seven if the county wins a grant for which it has applied. The Sheriff’s Office would be able to hire two new deputies, putting its staff of sworn law enforcement at 101.

The budget is built on an expected revenue growth during FY2019 of $3 million. About $800,000 of that comes from the Dominion Energy coal-fired power plant in Yorktown, which was supposed to be shut down but remains in use.

Morgan said he tried to budget all the money from the power plant for capital improvements because the plant is not a sustainable revenue source, but $300,000 is being used to meet needs throughout the budget.

The rest of the power plant money will go to the capital improvement plan. Morgan said he hoped to do more to fund the plan, but he wasn’t able to do more than the $500,000 from the power plant.

The budget proposal does not factor in possible changes from a sales tax bill awaiting approval from Gov. Ralph Northam. The bill would increase the sales tax by 1 percent in York, James City and Williamsburg to create revenue for tourism marketing in the Historic Triangle. Half of the revenue would be used to market area tourism, and half would go to the localities.

The budget public hearing will be at 7 p.m. April 17 in York Hall, 301 Main St., The board is scheduled to adopt a budget May 1.

Reyes can be reached by phone at 757-247-4692. Follow him on Twitter @jdauzreyes.

___

(c)2018 the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)

Visit the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) at www.dailypress.com

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Benedict Cumberbatch Dances On Stage While Hosting the World Sports Awards

Benedict Cumberbatch hits the red carpet with his wife Sophie Hunter while attending the 2018 Laureus World Sports Awards on Tuesday evening (February 27) at Salle des Etoiles, Sporting Monte-Carlo in Monaco.

The 41-year-old Doctor Strange actor hosted the event and he busted a move on stage to the Bruno Mars song “Uptown Funk.” Watch in the GIF below!

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Benedict Cumberbatch

Others who attended the event included singer Emeli Sande, tennis player Roger Federer, and Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin.

25+ pictures inside of Benedict Cumberbatch and others at the event…

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