On Monday, August 21, 2017 there will be a partial solar eclipse in St. Mary’s County, beginning around 1:15 p.m. The maximum effect will occur around 2:40 p.m. and the eclipse will end around 4:05 p.m. The St. Mary’s County Health Department urges residents to avoid looking directly at the sun without a certified solar filter (such as eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer) at any point during this eclipse. Looking directly at the sun can cause permanent damage to your eyes.
What is a solar eclipse?
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between the sun and the earth. The moon causes the light of the sun to be blocked from reaching earth, casting a shadow on earth. A total solar eclipse is when the moon completely blocks the sun. The sun’s outer atmosphere (called the solar corona) glows around the moon when it is blocking the sun. A partial solar eclipse is when the moon only blocks part of the sun. Viewing a partial solar eclipse can expose your eye to the sun’s rays causing damage to the eye.
How can your eyes be affected by a solar eclipse?
Exposing your eyes to the sun without proper eye protection during a solar eclipse can cause “eclipse blindness” or retinal burns, also known as solar retinopathy. This exposure to the light can cause damage or even destroy cells in the retina (the back of the eye) that transmit what you see to the brain. This damage can be temporary or permanent and occurs with no pain. It can take a few hours to a few days after viewing the solar eclipse to realize the damage that has occurred.
What symptoms can occur from looking at a solar eclipse without proper eye protection?
Loss of central vision (solar retinopathy)
Altered color vision
If you notice any symptoms after viewing a solar eclipse or if you have any changes in vision, seek treatment from an eye care professional.
The only way to look directly at the sun when it’s not eclipsed or is only partly eclipsed is with a special solar filter, such as eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer. Goggles, homemade filters, or sunglasses, even very dark ones, will not protect your eyes. Also, always avoid looking at the sun through an unfiltered camera, smartphone, telescope, or any other optical device. You’ll need to add a certified solar filter to these devices to safely look at the sun.
For more information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/features/solar-eclipse-safety/index.html or https://www.preventblindness.org/solar-eclipse-and-your-eyes.
Charles County Government, in partnership with the Charles County Department of Health and the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center, are working to pave the way to a healthier community with the Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) program. Mobile Integrated Healthcare is a program that gives patients the option to have a nurse, paramedic, and a community health worker visit their home to ensure they reach wellness. The MIH team members are trained to provide home assessments, as well as address acute emergencies in a 9-1-1 setting.
The first visit will occur soon after a patient is in the hospital or in other healthcare settings. The patient’s consent will be requested prior to this visit. Follow-up visits may occur if determined to be needed by the staff and the patient agrees. There is no fee for the home visit.
Available services include:
Assisting with hospital discharge instruction including medication and disease education.
Providing physical assessment and obtain vital signs.
Identifying gaps in healthcare of citizens.
Providing a home safety assessment.
Connecting patient with primary and specialty care.
Connecting patient to county and regional resources such as food banks or meal services, and transportation services.
Assisting in chronic disease management.
Discussing patient’s goals and ways to improve health.
For additional information about the MIH program or to speak with a MIH team member, call 240-320-6399. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.
On Monday, August 21, many parts of the country will experience a total solar eclipse, an event which has not occurred since June 8, 1918. The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) and Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) expect increased traffic volumes along I-95, MD 295 and US 1, as people travel to prime-viewing locations beginning Friday, August 18.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), approximately 200 million people (a little less than 2/3 the nation’s population) live within a day’s drive of the path of the total eclipse. Maryland is expected to get an 83 percent “partial” eclipse and nighttime-like conditions beginning at 1:18 p.m., with maximum coverage at 2:42 p.m. and ending at 4:01 p.m.
FHWA, MDOT SHA and MDTA offer the following travel advice:
• Don’t stop along the interstate or park on the shoulder during the event.
• Exit the highway to a safe location to view and/or photograph the eclipse.
• Don’t take photographs while driving – keep your attention on the road ahead.
• Don’t try to wear opaque eclipse glasses while operating a vehicle.
• Turn your headlights on -- do not rely on your automatic headlights when the eclipse blocks out the sun.
• Use extra caution if your travels take you through a work zone during the eclipse.
• Watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists. People may be randomly parking and walking alongside the roadside during the time of the eclipse to get a good view.
• Prepare for extra congestion, especially on the interstates the day before, day of and day after the eclipse.
• Avoid travel during the eclipse or in an area with expected eclipse viewers.
MDOT SHA and MDTA will be monitoring traffic conditions closely from the 24-hour-a day/seven day a week Statewide Operations Center near BWI Marshall Airport.
NASA also offers advice to those who want to watch the solar eclipse:
• Wear opaque eclipse glasses when viewing the eclipse. Sunglasses do not provide the same protection.
• Do not look at the eclipse through a camera lens, telescope or binoculars even if you are wearing eclipse glasses.
• Do not look at the sun directly as this can cause significant and permanent eye damage.
To explore more about the rare full solar eclipse of 2017, visit the following website: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/trafficinfo/eclipse.htm.
OFFICERS RECOVER STOLEN VEHICLES AND OTHER ITEMS: On August 15, officers responded to the 8200 block of Melody Acres Drive for the report of a stolen Toyota Tacoma. While on the scene, officers observed an abandoned black Chevy Impala with the keys in the ignition. A check of the registration plates revealed the Impala had been reported stolen from Linden Lane. Officers found numerous items in the car, which had been reported stolen as well. The Toyota was later recovered abandoned in a ditch on Maryland Point Road in Nanjemoy. Investigators linked both vehicles to a series of thefts from unlocked cars on St. Mary's Avenue, Coventry Court, Newcastle Court, and Graymar Lane. Anyone with information about these thefts is asked to call Pfc. S. Miller at (301) 932-2222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous may contact Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS, texting CHARLES the tip to CRIMES (274637) or submitting tips online at tipsubmit.com.
On August 13, 2017, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office received information pertaining to a possible sex offense involving a seven-year-old female. An initial investigation was conducted by St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office patrol deputies and based on the allegations, the investigation was continued by the Criminal Investigations Division. With assistance from Child Protective Services, the investigation revealed, Mark Anthony Wathen, 51 years old of no fixed address, performed a sex act on the juvenile female.
Wathen was located in Charles County, Maryland and transported to the St. Mary’s County Detention Center without incident. He was charged via an arrest warrant with the following criminal violations:
Sex Abuse of a Minor
Sex Offense Second Degree
Third Degree Sex Offense
Fourth Degree Sex Offense-Sex Contact
Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Detective Mellissa Hulse at 301-475-4200, ext. *1996 or by email, Melissa.Hulse@stmarysmd.com.
Mark Anthony Wathen, 51
(Calvert County, MD) Maryland State Police Troopers from the Prince Frederick Barrack and
the Criminal Enforcement Division – Central South Region are investigating an armed
residential burglary in the Owings area on August 14, 2017.
During the course of the investigation investigators determined that three unidentified African American males wearing face masks and black clothing entered the residence of the
complainants in Owings. At least one of the perpetrators was reported to have used a handgun
during the course of the burglary. Several items of value were stolen from the residence.
Suspects are believed to have utilized a vehicle to flee the area, but a precise description is
unknown at this time. One of the suspects reportedly has long hair styled in dreadlocks. The
Maryland State Police are requesting the public’s assistance at this time with any information
which may lead to the identification and capture of these suspects.
The public should also be aware of the importance of securing their residence via the best
resources they have available to them, door locks, security systems, cameras, Beware of Dogs
signs or warning signs regarding security systems etc.
Anyone having additional information pertaining to this investigation and/or other crimes is
urged to contact Trooper First Class J. Kispert of the Maryland State Police-Criminal
Enforcement Division, Central South Region at 410-761-5130, “TIP” Line at 1-888-210-1450
or 410-257-4925 or email at: email@example.com.
– Maryland State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp announced that
the Board of Public Works (BPW), composed of Governor Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter
Franchot and Treasurer Kopp, successfully completed the sale of $1,335,340,000 of General
Obligation Bonds today in two series.
Competitive sales for Series A and Series B occurred at this morning’s BPW meeting. The
State received bids for the $550,000,000 of Tax-Exempt General Obligation Bonds (Series A)
and the $785,340,000 of Tax-Exempt Refunding Bonds (Series B).
In today’s competitive sales:
? $550 million in tax-exempt bonds in Series A sold at a true interest cost of 2.285%; the
winning bidder was Citigroup Global Markets Inc.; and the net premium was
? $785.3 million in tax-exempt refunding bonds in Series B sold at a true interest cost of
1.657%; the winning bidder was Bank of America Merrill Lynch; and the debt service
There were six bidders on Series A and five bidders on Series B.
Treasurer Kopp commented “The State of Maryland has done very well today. Clearly
investors see our AAA bonds as a high quality investment, especially given the very volatile
times facing our nation and the U.S. economy. This confidence translates into the State paying lower debt service costs, which is good news for Maryland taxpayers. In addition, our
successful sale of tax-exempt refunding bonds will save Maryland taxpayers almost $76
million (on a present value basis) in debt service costs. Overall, Maryland’s citizens benefit
from the investment in Maryland’s schools, colleges, hospitals, and cultural projects that will
be supported with these bond proceeds.”
Maryland is one of only 11 states to currently hold the AAA rating, the highest possible rating,
from all three major bond rating agencies. The AAA was affirmed by Fitch Ratings, Moody’s
Investors, and S&P Global Ratings as recently as August 3, 2017, in anticipation of this bond
The Maryland State Treasurer’s Office expects to conduct another bond sale in February or
Damage Property 17-42687
On August 10, 2017 Sergeant M. Naecker responded to the Walnut Creek subdivision for a report of damage property. The complainant located a mailbox that had been removed from the ground and a street light that had been damaged. A stop sign in the area was also removed from the ground. No suspects in the case. Approximate damage is $500
On August 8, 2017 Deputy First Class Weems responded to Bay Drive, Lusby for a theft complaint. The victim stated that 4 landscaping pavers had been removed from their landscaped wall. There are no suspects in the case. The value is $250.
On August 12, 2017 Deputy First Class Hardesty responded to Maple Way, Lusby for a theft complaint. The victim stated that sometime between August 11th – August 12th someone removed the front tag from their vehicle. The value is $25
On August 12, 2017 Deputy Williamson responded to Lyons Creek Rd., Dunkirk for a theft complaint. The victim reported a lion statue was stolen from the end of their driveway. The theft occurred sometime between August 10th – August 12th. The value is $500.
8/10/27 – William Brown Jr. 59 of Huntingtown, Indecent Exposure & Trespassing
8/10/17 – Barry Quigley 51 of Pasadena, CDS Possession Marijuana 10 grams, Possession of Paraphernalia
8/12/17 – Joseph Young Jr. 27 of Leonardtown, Disorderly Conduct
8/13/17 – Rashaun Peebles 39 of Prince Frederick, Theft less than $100
On Monday, Aug. 21, there will be a partial solar eclipse in Charles County, beginning around 1:18 p.m. The maximum effect will occur around 2:43 p.m., and the eclipse will end around 4:02 p.m. The Department of Emergency Services urges residents to avoid looking directly at the sun at any point during the eclipse.
The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters. Homemade filters or sunglasses are not safe for looking at the sun. For a list of reputable vendors of solar filters and viewers, visit the American Astronomical Society website at https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters.
Reminders for using solar filters and viewers:
•Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.
•Always supervise children using solar filters.
•Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
•Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.
•Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer. The concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye, causing serious injury.
•If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.
THEFT OF RIMS: Between August 13 – August 14, unknown suspect(s) stole rims and wheels from two cars parked at a car rental business in the 2200 block of Crain Highway in Waldorf. Pfc. R. Gass is investigating.
RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT: On August 13 at 10:36 p.m., officers responded to the 7300 block of Tottenham Drive in Waldorf for the report of gunshots. Officers located a car matching the description of the suspect vehicle. A traffic stop was initiated, and officers observed a handgun in the car. Jerrome Leon Martin Jr., 36, of White Plains, was charged with reckless endangerment and carrying a handgun illegally. Pfc. K. Barry investigated.
OFFICERS IDENTIFY SUSPECTS IN MULTIPLE THEFTS FROM AUTOS: Recently, a large number of thefts from motor vehicles occurred in the LaPlata area. A joint investigation between the LaPlata Police Department and the CCSO resulted in the arrests of several suspects. Search and seizure warrants were served, and evidence linking the suspects to the crimes was recovered. Kemonte Fleet, 18, of La Plata, and two juvenile males were arrested and charged with multiple counts of theft. The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with additional information should contact Sgt. G. Draheim at (301) 609-6451.
SUSPECT IN WHEEL THEFT APPREHENDED: On August 8 at 11:08 p.m., officers responded to the rear of the 7-11 located at 2850 Crain Highway in Waldorf for the report of the theft of rims from a motor vehicle. The caller reported seeing a male wearing dark clothing stealing rims from a vehicle parked behind the store. The caller advised the suspect vehicle was a tan Lexus. Officers arrived and observed the male placing tires in the back of the Lexus. Kevin Levelle Holloway, 49, of Suitland, was arrested and charged with theft. Pfc. S. Cook investigated.
SUSPECT IN MULTIPLE THEFTS IDENTIFIED AND CHARGED: Over the last few months, multiple thefts and vandalisms resulting in significant loss and damage occurred at construction sites in Waldorf. Through investigation, detectives identified and arrested Johnathan Pugh, 18, of Bryans Road, in connection with the thefts. Pfc. A. Bringley is investigating.
Burglary – Unknown suspect(s) entered a residence in the 18000 block of Point Lookout Road in Park Hall and stole property. Deputy Beyer is investigating the case. CASE#42462-17
Theft – Unknown suspect(s) stole property from outside a residence in the 22000 block of Bayside Road in Leonardtown. Deputy Holdsworth is investigating the case. CASE# 42457-17
Breaking and Entering to a Motor Vehicle – Unknown suspect(s) rummaged through a motor vehicle in the 46000 block of Lynch Lane in Lexington Park; nothing appeared to be stolen. Deputy Bush is investigating the case. CASE#42481-17
Burglary to a Motor Vehicle – Unknown suspect(s) stole a package from a motor vehicle on North Essex/Saratoga Drive in Lexington Park. Deputy First Class Potter is investigating the case. CASE# 42627-17
Theft – Unknown suspect(s) entered the employee break room at the Petco in California and stole property. Deputy Beyer is investigating the case. CASE# 42602-17
Theft – During the overnight hours, unknown suspect(s) stole a rear registration plate from a motor vehicle in the 38000 block of Pleasant View Drive in Charlotte Hall. Deputy Fennessey is investigating the case. CASE# 42580-17
Breaking and Entering to a Motor Vehicle – Unknown suspect(s) forced entry into a motor vehicle in the 22000 block of Armsworthy Court in California. It does not appear anything was stolen from the motor vehicle. Deputy Muschette is investigating the case. CASE# 42721-17
Burglary – Unknown suspect(s) entered an apartment and stole property in the 22000 block of Iverson Drive in Great Mills. Deputy Beyer is investigating the case. CASE# 42862-17
Burglary – Unknown suspect(s) made entry into a residence in the 22000 block of Valley Estates Drive in Lexington Park. It does not appear anything was stolen from the residence. Deputy Robinson is investigating the case. CASE# 42976-17
Theft – Unknown suspect(s) stole an ATV from a residence in the 29000 block of Hearts Desire Drive in Mechanicsville. Deputy Ball is investigating the case. CASE#43201-17
Burglary – Unknown suspect(s) forced entry into a residence and stole property in the 21000 block of Scarborough Drive in Lexington Park. Sergeant Watters is investigating the case. CASE# 43038-17
Reckless Endangerment – A victim reported hearing gun shots in the 39000 block of Thomas Drive in Mechanicsville after having an argument from the front porch with subjects stopped in front of the victim’s residence. Deputy Smith is investigating the case. CASE#43605-17
Assist Other/Reckless Endangerment – The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Maryland State Police with a shooting complaint at Dorsey Park in Leonardtown. Maryland State Police are continuing the investigation. CASE# 43041-17
Burglary – Unknown suspect(s) entered a detached garage in the 37000 block of Asher Road in Mechanicsville and stole two motorcycles. Corporal Handy is continuing the investigation. CASE# 43167-17
Breaking and Entering to a Motor Vehicle – Unknown suspect(s) entered a motor vehicle in the 26000 block of Lynndale Court in Mechanicsville and stole property. Deputy Ball is continuing the investigation. CASE# 43179-17
As part of our continued effort to increase public awareness, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office provides a daily (excluding weekends) report called Incident Briefs. The report contains selected crimes, which are of interest to the residents of St. Mary’s County. Addresses shown indicate blocks and not specific locations. This report is not a comprehensive list of every police event in St. Mary’s County during the stated time frame.
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today released the following statement regarding the Justice Roger B. Taney statue on the grounds of the Maryland State House:
"As I said at my inauguration, Maryland has always been a state of middle temperament, which is a guiding principle of our administration. While we cannot hide from our history – nor should we – the time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history. With that in mind, I believe removing the Justice Roger B. Taney statue from the State House grounds is the right thing to do, and we will ask the State House Trust to take that action immediately."
The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will hold a public hearing Aug. 29 to hear and consider public comment regarding the option to lease the Linda L. Kelley Animal Shelter with an option to purchase. The hearing will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Commissioners Hearing Room, located in the Circuit Courthouse at 175 Main St., Prince Frederick. Citizens can view the option agreement online at www.co.cal.md.us/DocumentCenter/View/16432.
For additional information, contact Calvert County Department of General Services at 410-535-1600, ext. 2327. Individuals who cannot attend the public hearing may submit written comments. In order for the board to receive and consider written comments, they must be received by noon, Aug. 28, 2017, and may be submitted by emailing COMMISS@calvertcountymd.gov or through the U.S. mail to the BOCC at 175 Main St., Prince Frederick, MD 20678.
Advisory: Temporary Road Closure
The Department of Public Works & Transportation has informed the Sheriff's Office that beginning this morning Bishop Road in the area of Lone Spruce Lane will be temporarily closed for emergency roadwork. The temporary closure is currently expected to run through Friday.
Leonardtown, MD – Emergency road work to repair deterioration due to recent heavy rains
will force Bishop Road to be closed beginning Tuesday morning (August 15).
County crews will replace the culvert at Burnt Mill Creek, approximately ¾ mile north of Friendship School Road. Access for nearby residents will be unaffected.
Motorists should use Parsons Mill Road as an alternate route between Friendship School Road and Loveville Road. Changeable message signs and detour signs will be provided to route unfamiliar motorists around the closure.
Roadwork should be complete and the roadway re-opened on or about Friday afternoon (August 18).
Possession With Intent to Distribute:? On 8/10/17 at 12:48 pm, Trooper First Class
Costello stopped a vehicle on Armory Rd. in Prince Frederick for traffic violations. The
distinct odor of marijuana was emitting from inside the vehicle. A probable cause
search was conducted and a large amount of marijuana was located. Michael W.
Thomas, 18 of Prince Frederick was arrested for possession with the intent to distribute
the marijuana. He was incarcerated at the Calvert County Detention Center.
DUI & Possession of Methadone & Oxycodone:? On 8/10/17 at 11:05 pm, Trooper
Stull stopped a vehicle on Rt. 4 south of Rt. 402 in Prince Frederick for traffic
violations. The driver, Kenneth S. Moss, 38 of Laurel was found to be driving under the
influence of alcohol. A passenger, Craig M. Carter, 45 of Laurel was found to be in
possession of Methadone and Oxycodone pills. He was arrested and incarcerated at the
Calvert County Detention Center.
Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is launching a new online gradebook program this school year for parents, students and teachers to track academic progress, attendance, class and locker assignments, testing data, homework and more. The system is called YouVue and replaces the Edline gradebook as well as an aging student information system used by CCPS for nearly 40 years. YouVue includes parent access, called ParentVUE, student access, or StudentVUE, and teacher access, called TeacherVUE.
CCPS is printing account activation letters for each parent/guardian on file for all students. Parents must pick up their account activation letter from their child’s school and provide photo identification. Parents with two or more children attending CCPS schools only need to pick up one activation letter.
Several schools are holding orientation events the week of Aug. 28 through Sept. 1. Parents can pick up their account activation letters at orientations. A list of orientation dates and times, separated by school, is posted at http://www.ccboe.com/pr/schools-plan-orientation-events-for-parents-students-2/.
Schools will also provide activation letters at open houses planned for September and October. A list of open house dates and times is posted at http://www.ccboe.com/pr/open-houses-planned-for-schools-centers-2/. Schools will also create additional opportunities for parents to pick up their activation letters.
Parents with more than one child enrolled in CCPS only need one account to access data for all of their children. Only parents with educational rights on file with CCPS will be able to access their child’s data in the new system.
Student record data, such as name, home address, school, grade level, class schedules and course history will be live in the system on Aug. 29. The gradebook feature of the system will be live for parent access in mid-September. Teacher training on the gradebook component of the program begins this month and continues after the start of the school year.
Teachers and administrators will also use the system to mainstream discipline and health records, medical conditions for students, and eligibility for participating in extracurricular activities. CCPS will update parents with a target date for accessing the gradebook function of YouVue. Student access to the system will be available at some point prior to the second semester of the 2017-18 school year.
There are free apps in both the Apple and Android stores. Search for ParentVUE, StudentVUE or TeacherVUE by Edupoint Educational Systems. The gradebook component is also referred to as Synergy.
The Charles County Department of Health is holding several immunization clinics for children who need vaccines required to attend school. Maryland law requires students to have minimum immunization levels to attend school. Required vaccines depend on the age and grade level of the child and include DPT, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis B, Hib, Prevnar, Tdap and meningococcal.
For the 2017-18 school year, all students in kindergarten, first-, second-, and third-grades are required to have two doses of the varicella, or chickenpox, vaccine. All seventh and eighth graders, as well as high school freshmen and sophomores, must have a Tdap and meningococcal vaccine.
The Health Department is holding three clinics for children who need any vaccine to attend school. They are:
· Tuesday, Aug. 29, 1 to 3 p.m.
· Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1 to 3 p.m.
· Thursday, Sept. 7, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m.
The clinics are by appointment only. Call 301-609-6900, ext. 6024 to set up an appointment and inquire about costs of the clinic. Children can also receive any required vaccines from their physician.
Students can be admitted to school without completed immunizations, but parents have to show proof of an appointment occurring within 20 calendar days of the first day of school.
Questions about vaccines can be directed to the school nurse or your child’s family physician.
The St. Mary’s County Health Department is seeking organizations to educate local youth on the health risks of electronic cigarettes. These community organizations may include student groups, faith-based organizations, and civic organizations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that the number of middle and high school age students who have never smoked a cigarette but who have used an e-cigarette increased three-fold from 2011 to 2013. These youth are also nearly twice as likely to have an intention to smoke conventional cigarettes over those who have never used an e-cigarette. Funding for this award is provided through the Maryland Department of Health Cigarette Restitution Fund. For more information about this request for proposals, please visit the health department’s website at www.smchd.org/rfp.
U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen Joined MSNBC’s Morning Joe to discuss tensions with North Korea and his bipartisan North Korea sanctions legislation, the BRINK Act. Below is a transcript of the interview, and the video is available here.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC: Joining us now from Washington, a member of the Senate Appropriations and Banking Committees, Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. Senator, good to see you. Let's pick up right where we just left off, talking about North Korea, the President's rhetoric. And not just the President, by the way. Yesterday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaking in strong terms about what could happen to North Korea if it continues in the direction of the pursuit of nuclear weapons. What's your reaction just to the dialogue of the last 24-48 hours?
U.S. SENATOR CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): I think the overheated rhetoric and statements from President Trump have aggravated the situation. They play into the hands of the North Korean leader. This is Kim Jong Un’s game, as your guest just said. This is something the North Koreans have done for 15 years. And when President Trump engages in the same kind of rhetoric, he actually elevates the North Korean leader and diminishes the United States.
So we should focus on diplomacy, backed up by very strong economic sanctions. One thing on the sanctions – we have had them in place for a long time, but they have not been adequately enforced. And the Chinese, especially, have looked the other way while Chinese banks and firms have dealt with North Korea.
So Senator Toomey and I have introduced bipartisan legislation, modeled after the Iran sanctions legislation, that would really ratchet up the pressure.
SAM STEIN, MSNBC: Senator, Sam Stein here. This obviously does fall in the purview of the executive. But there are some legislative vehicles that Congress can consider. You talked about one with respect to sanctions. I know Senator Markey has a bill that would essentially prohibit first strike unless an act of Congress came before that.
What do you expect lawmakers to do once they get off of August recess, come back and let's say this North Korea issue is still lingering? Are there going to be hearings? Are you going to get momentum behind one of these bills? How will your chamber respond?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, I'm absolutely confident we will have hearings in the Banking Committee. There will probably be hearings in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And I expect us to take up legislation.
Congress did pass some Korea sanctions legislation as part of the Russia sanctions and the sanctions on Iran. But many of us believe we need to go much further in terms of the Iran sanctions model.
Back then, we remember, the U.N. passed sanctions on Iran. They didn't really bite. They didn't really have any teeth until the United States passed what are called secondary sanctions, where we say to countries like China or others, you have a choice. Either you do business with North Korea, or you do business with the United States. But you can't do both. So that is what got people's attention with the Iran sanctions. That's what we need to do now.
MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC: Senator, you mentioned, with regard to North Korea, the need for China to play a larger role in helping to get us to some form of negotiation. And despite the great piece of chocolate cake at Mar-a-Lago, it appears the Chinese are not playing the role that we want them to play. And it raises the question in some circles, a legitimate question. People we rely on, countries we rely on throughout the world – Pakistan, supposedly our ally. Not really. Saudi Arabia, supposedly our ally. Not really.
What is going on with the role of the United States and the world? I realize it's a big question. But what is going on here?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, I think you're right. I think our influence is being diminished. We have seen the Pew polls from overseas that show that people's sense of the U.S. leadership is at an all-time low. And that makes it hard to translate our policies into successful influence overseas.
So I think when it comes to North Korea, it's really important that we dial back the rhetoric, that we reach out to our allies. China was, at first, the best bud of the president. As you mentioned, he met at Mar-a-Lago. He tweeted out, best buds. Then weeks later, he said he was very disappointed in China.
The only answer here is steady, firm leadership. And we do need to ratchet up the pressure through the secondary sanctions. I do think that lots of Chinese banks and firms are continuing to deal with North Korea. We need to put an end to that through these sanctions.
GEIST: All right. Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democratic of Maryland. Senator, thanks for your time this morning. We appreciate it.
VAN HOLLEN: Thank you.
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