Early Briefing: The Ocean Is Evaporating!

It takes a bold resort town to build an ad campaign around the inevitable fiery end of all life on earth.

Ocean City is that town.

Staff writer David A. Fahrenthold reports that the Eastern Shore tourist mecca has rolled out "Lost"-like TV, print and Internet spots that appear to be public-service announcements warning that new research shows the world's oceans will completely evaporate . . . in about a billion years.

That news is delivered by a mock-stern Richard W. Meehan, the Ocean City mayor, who urges visitors to come see the sea while it's still there.

"We're advising citizens to book their Ocean City getaway now, before the ocean evaporates," Meehan says as the image blurs and jumps like an old newsreel.

The ads ran last night and Sunday evening in television markets from Richmond to New York. The print version, which screams "The Ocean Is Evaporating!," filled most of a page inside The Washington Post Monday.

In other Before-The-End-Of-Earth-As-We-Know-It news:

* Washington private-equity group headed by Monument Realty co-founder Jeffrey T. Neal announced that it has bought a controlling stake in GVA Advantis, a real estate services company specializing in development, property management and brokerage services.

Neal was named chairman of GVA Advantis, which will move its headquarters from Atlanta to Washington.

* Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest U.S. mortgage-finance companies, were "adequately capitalized" as of March 31, according to their regulator.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight's calculations of the capital surpluses reflect figures that are consistent with what the companies have reported, according to a statement posted on the regulator's Web site.

* President Bush has signed an executive order requiring contractors and others who do business with the federal government to make sure their employees can legally work in the United States.

The order says federal departments and agencies must require contractors to use an electronic system to verify workers' eligibility.

The order is aimed at cracking down on hiring illegal immigrants. But people who overstayed visas or came to the country legally but do not have permission to work, such as some students or those awaiting work permits, also could be caught by the system.

The action comes as a worker verification bill has stalled in Congress.

* Steven B. Larsen, the hard-charging chairman of the Maryland Public Service Commission, is resigning this summer to return to the health insurance company he left 15 months ago, sources said Monday.

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is expected to announce this morning that Douglas R. M. Nazarian, a Baltimore lawyer who has served as the commission's general counsel for the past year, will replace Larsen in August, the sources said. They asked to remain anonymous because the announcement had not been made.

* A state official agreed yesterday to hold more hearings on a controversial Dominion Virginia Power proposal to build a 65-mile high-voltage line across Northern Virginia.

The Virginia State Corporation Commission, which will decide whether the line may be built, had closed testimony after lengthy evidentiary hearings in April. But opponents of the line, who say Dominion has exaggerated the need for it, asked last month for another opportunity to present evidence for their case.

Dominion and its partners said they should also be allowed to provide more evidence if the state granted the opponents' request. The company has said there could be blackouts starting in 2011 without the line.

Alexander F. Skirpan Jr., a hearing examiner for the commission, agreed to reopen hearings. The commission is expected to rule by October.

By Dan Beyers  |  June 10, 2008; 7:18 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Hello, can you please tell me what "the line" is in this story:

"The Virginia State Corporation Commission, which will decide whether the line may be built,"

THE line? Which line? Huh?

Posted by: M Street | June 10, 2008 11:05 AM

Soo sorry...I musta been cutting and pasting too hastily. The item is now fixed. The "line" refers to a controversial Dominion Virginia Power proposal to build a 65-mile high-voltage line across Northern Virginia.

Posted by: Dan Beyers | June 10, 2008 8:16 PM

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