Brush Fire Spreads in Bedford County
The brush fire continues to burn on Will's Mountain in the southwestern corner of Bedford County, and it continues to spread. It has nearly doubled in size, and has consumed 300 to 400 acres since it started on Saturday. Fire crews have been working to contain the fire on the ground, and are using helicopters to conduct water drops on the flames. Yesterday's rain showers did little to help with firefighting efforts. Crews are continuing to burn out the southeast line of the fire. In a related story, speed limits are being reduced to 45 miles-per-hour on Route 220, south of Bedford, because of limited visibility caused by smoke from the fire. Drivers are urged to use caution, and to yield the right of way to emergency vehicles.
Carbon Monoxide Causes Evacuation
The first floor of Cumberland's downtown Ramada Inn was evacuated yesterday, due to high carbon monoxide readings. A senior citizen prom was cut short and moved to the HRDC Center on Virginia Avenue. The carbon monoxide was traced to gas appliances in the kitchen, and the air inside was not being refreshed. The fire department cleared the scene a little after 1 p.m.
Mineral County Pursues Business
Mineral County's Development Authority is working to bring the manufacturers of Sriracha hot sauce to Mineral County. Delegate Gary Howell says Mineral County is courting Huy Fong Foods, and if successful, that could mean 60 full-time and 200 part time jobs to the area. The creator of the sauce now has a facility in Irwindale, California, but has been receiving complaints of a spicy odor coming from the factory. Keyser's and Fort Ashby's Industrial Parks are far enough away from heavily populated areas, and that would not be a problem. Delegate Howell has been in direct contact with the manufacturer.
Breaking and Entering Investigated
The Cumberland City Police are investigating the breaking and entering of a business in the 300-block of Valley Street. A hole had been kicked in the wall, where entry was made. About $600 in inventory and $150 in cash were taken, along with a television set. Anyone with information is asked to contact Cumberland City Police at (301)-777-1600.
No Injuries Reported in Truck Fire
There were no injuries in a truck fire yesterday afternoon on the Will's Creek Bridge in Cumberland. The fire was reported around 11 a.m. The driver said she noticed the fire as she was driving across the bridge. Both the engine compartment and passenger area of the truck were heavily damaged. There were no injuries.
Ridgeley Woman Arrested
Twenty-one year old Ridgeley resident Jessica Jones was arrested, after charges were filed in connection with an April 18th incident. Ms. Jones allegedly spat on another person, and threw an electronic device at him, striking him in the knee. The assault incident happened on Maryland Avenue. She was charged with second degree assault and disorderly conduct and released on personal recognizance pending trial.
Woman Charged with Making False Statement
Cumberland resident Sue Lilly was served a criminal summons and later released, after being charged with two counts of making a false statement to a police officer, and two counts of obstructing and hindering an investigation. Ms. Lilly claimed she had been assaulted by her ex-boyfriend, but it was determined no assault had taken place. She also allegedly made a false robbery complaint on April 4th, when she claimed to have been robbed of her medication.
Extradition Hearing Set for Today
A hearing will be held today on whether to extradite former area resident Charles Severance from West Virginia to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Severance has been called a person of interest in the killings of three northern Virginia residents. Authorities there say they want to speak with him about the murders. Severance is currently in a West Virginia jail, in relation to a Loudon County, Virginia firearms charge.
Mineral Board Earmarks Money for Libraries
The Mineral County Board of Education will be giving $5,000 to the Keyser-Mineral County Library; it has also earmarked an additional $1,000 to the Piedmont Library. Keyser's money will come from carryover funding for the current year. Board members say they would like to have contributed more, but there are other expenditures to consider, such as the Keyser Sports Complex and other bills that need to be paid.
Woman Cited for Brush Fire
Bedford County experiencing its problems with the Will's Mountain brush fire; now, there's word that a Tucker County, West Virginia woman has been cited for a brush fire there. Firefighters responded to, and contained, a brush fire just before 1 p.m. Sunday. They were able to put the fire out, before it reached a nearby home. The landowner, who was not identified, was cited for burning during a prohibited period, between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., and for allowing the fire to escape.
Delegation Discusses Session
The Allegany County Chamber of Commerce held its annual Legislative Wrap Up breakfast yesterday at the Ali Ghan Shrine Club. State Senator George Edwards considers the state's structural deficit one of the biggest issues in the General Assembly. After passing a $38.7 billion budget this year, Senator Edwards says the House and Senate now need to get together to address a $235 million deficit. He says it is an ideal time to do so, with a new Governor to be elected this year. Despite the local Chamber of Commerce's opposition, Maryland passed a minimum wage increase during the session. Senator Edwards says many say prices on various items will have to be raised, to keep pace with the increased minimum wage.
FSU Chooses Chartwell's
Frostburg State University has chosen Chartwell's Higher Education Dining Services as its partner to manage food service on campus, beginning May 23rd. Chartwell's is recognized as the leading college and university food service provider in the United States, and will include made-to-order meals. A Subway franchise will open at Sowers Hall in the fall, and Starbuck's coffee will be offered at the start of the 2015 spring semester.
Virts Indicted in Amber Alert Murder Case
Dundalk resident Timothy Virts has been indicted for the murder of the mother of his children, and the abduction of his daughter, Caitlyn. He is additionally charged with the attempted sexual abuse of a minor relative. His wife's body was found on March 6th; police say Bobbie Jo Cortez' had been stabbed to death. Virts, who had been prohibited from being with his daughter, was found with her at a South Carolina motel on march 7th.
Maryland Spent $90 Million on Health Exchange Site
The state of Maryland spent over $130 million on its troubled health exchange website. Of that amount, over $90 million has been attributed to technology expenses. Governor Martin O'Malley and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown have said the website is a small part of the exchange.
Western Md. Democratic Summit Set
The 10th annual Western Maryland Democratic summit will be held this Saturday at Hager Hall in Hagerstown, and will feature Mary Beth Cahill, who had been chief of staff for the late Senator Edward Kennedy, and had been campaign director for John Kerry's 2004 Presidential Campaign. Sixth District Congressman John Delaney will deliver the Morning Keynote address; Ms. Cahill will deliver the evening address. A straw poll for the 2014 Democratic candidates for Governor and Attorney General will also be held.
Arrest Made in Fire
An arson arrest has been made in an Easter morning fire on Nest Lick Acres Road in Oakland. Dayton Bolyard, co-owner of the home, is being held on $250,000 bond at the Garrett County Detention Center. He is accused of intentionally setting the fire after a domestic dispute that was ongoing, just prior to the fire being reported. The fire caused an estimated $100,000 in damage to the one-story, wood-framed single family dwelling, owned by Bolyard and his wife, Julie. No injuries were reported, and others who lived in the house are being assisted by family and friends.
Woman Sentenced, Another Awaiting Sentencing
Forty-eight year old Flintstone resident Stacey Williamson has been sentenced to two years probation, and ordered to make restitution to the U.S. Postal Service. Ms. Williamson, who had been convicted of the felony offense of theft of government funds, must repay over $1700 to the USPS. Piedmont resident Shannon Broadwater has yet to be sentenced on a charge of illegal use of the Internet to facilitate the distribution of crack cocaine. Ms. Broadwater has also agreed to forfeit over $3900 in cash, which were proceeds from the illegal activity. She is free on bond pending sentencing. Both women appeared recently in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Event Postponed Due to Perceived Threat
Meyersdale's Easter Egg Hunt, originally scheduled for Saturday was postponed, due to a possible threat that contaminated needles were planted at the Paul Fuller Playground and Park, along Grant Street. Parks and Recreation President Maridann Vincent said she received a phone call on 10:30 Saturday, from a concerned resident. The resident said she had received a text message earlier in the morning about the possible threat. However, following an investigation, the threat was unfounded.
Cumberland Men Arrested in Marijuana Counts
Twenty-six year old Harley Donovan Brooks, Jr., and Demedtreous Trevele Taylor were arrested following a traffic stop on Pershing Street Sunday. A small quantity of marijuana was found in the passenger compartment and about 270 grams were found in the trunk. Both were arrested; Taylor was issued a criminal citation and released pending trial. Brooks was held at the Allegany County Detention Center on $8500 bond. The marijuana had an approximate street value of over $5300.
State Superintendent Visits Thursday
Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Lillian Lowery will be in the area on Thursday, on her Tour of Excellence. She will visit Frost Elementary School from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Frost has been recognized by the State Department of Education as a 2014 Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, along with only five other schools in the state. More than 95 per cent of Frost students obtained proficient or advanced MSA scores in reading and math, consistently excelling in student performance on state assessments. Additionally, 100 per cent of Frost Elementary School teachers are highly qualified.
Arbor Day Observance Set
Allegany College of Maryland will celebrate Arbor Day tomorrow, with a program that centers on forest stewardship in Allegany County and concludes with a campus tree planting. The public is invited to participate. The event begins at noon in the College Center's Gilpin room. For more information, call (301)-784-5152.
C & O Canal Classroom Dedicated
A C & O Canal classroom has been established at Canal Place and will be fully operational by next year. Mia Perlozzo-Cross, of the Allegany County Board of Education, says the classroom recognizes the partnership between the Park Service and school system. Over the last year, the C&O Canal Park Service worked with the Board of Education to develop a curriculum. The classroom will be permanently based at the Canal Shoppes.
Police Concentrating on Interstate
Law enforcement agencies from three states will be concentrating safety efforts on Interstate 81, following a series of accidents there. Officers from Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania plan on increasing patrols. I-81 has also become a pipeline for drugs, especially heroin. Many drivers also use I-81 to escape the traffic of Interstate 95.
O'Malley Signs CPR Bill
Maryland students will now be required to complete a 30-minute CPR course before they graduate. Governor Martin O'Malley has signed the bill, and it is hoped that Maryland will lead the way for a nationwide requirement.
West Virginia Vehicle Renewals Online
The state of West Virginia is enabling most residents of the Mountain State to now renew vehicle registrations online. Residents of forty-three West Virginia's counties now have that option. Online renewals are an effort to make renewals more efficient; getting the registration for a new or recently purchased vehicle will still have to be done in person or through a dealership.
Crews Battle Brush Fire
Crews have been battling a brush fire in the mountains near the Cumberland Valley Fire Company since Saturday. As of last night, the fire spread to nearly 200 acres, and crews have worked around the clock to contain it. Planes and a helicopter carrying an 80-gallon water bucket were called in to battle the blaze. Conditions are not in the firefighters' favor this time of year. They aren't sure what caused it, but are urging area residents to be cautious this time of year, as the fire danger is high.
Moorefield Man Faces Felony Drug Counts
Twenty-six year old Reginald Redman of Moorefield faces a felony drug count, following his arrest in Keyser. Redman, who had a warrant on file for his arrest on charges of battery and violation of probation, was found to have a half-gram of amphetamines on him when arrested. He was jailed on Friday at the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail on a total bond of $5800, in addition to being detained without bond for the probation violation.
Resident Jailed Following Alleged Drug Deal
Twenty-five year old Angelo Carlton was arrested late last week, after police saw him taking part in an alleged drug deal on Columbia Street. Carlton was charged with possession of crack cocaine, marijuana, obstructing and hindering police and disorderly conduct. After running from police, he was quickly apprehended. He was jailed at the Allegany County Detention Center in lieu of $3,000 bond.
Turnpike Arrest Nets 160 Heroin Bricks
A man was stopped on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last week, and a search of his rental car netted 160 bricks of heroin; that translates into 8,000 individual stamp bags, which were packaged and ready for distribution. The driver, James Farrish, told State Police he was traveling to Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was stopped when he failed to turn on his headlights when entering the Allegheny Tunnel. This was the third large drug bust in the Somerset area of the turnpike, so far this year.
State Police Seek Missing Man
The Pennsylvania State Police are looking for a Springs man, who has been missing since January 6th. Shane Spidle Boone was last seen driving a black 2013, 4-door Jeep Wrangler, with Pennsylvania license plate JGH-3891. He was known to frequent the Grantsville and Hagerstown areas. He is described as 6-feet tall, 190 pounds, with dark brown hair and a full beard and mustache.
Granstville Man Arrested for DUI, Drug Violations
Twenty-five year old Grantsville resident Sean Thomas Mastej was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol. Marijuana and CDS paraphernalia were also found. He was taken to the McHenry barrack, processed and charged. He was later released to a sober driver.
Grantsville Man Held on $20,000 Bond
Grantsville resident Timothy Hart Winkler is being held on $20,000 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center, after allegedly threatening a Seymour Street resident with a handgun. Winkler allegedly pulled the gun from his waistband, cocked it , and pointed it at the victim. He was later processed, served and taken to the Detention Center, following a hearing at the District Court Commissioners' office.
Man Charged with Resisting Arrest, Assault on Police
Cumberland resident Jobe Osave McDowney was charged with two counts of assault on police, following a Saturday incident on Cecilia Street. McDowney is accused of assaulting his girlfriend; when police tried to talk with him about the assault, he refused to talk with them, refused to obey their orders, and used profanity toward them. While he was being arrested to shoved one officer, and kicked a second one. He was charged with assault on police, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. He was held on $5,000 bond.
Man Arrested Twice in Two Days
Cumberland resident John Tyler Brennan was arrested twice in as many days this past weekend. In the first incident he was charged with disturbing the peace, and released after being served with a criminal summons. In the second incident, he was charged with threatening both three adults and a juvenile with a torque wrench and a knife. He was charged and held in the Allegany County Detention Center on $5,000 bond.
Mineral Board Finalizes Calendar
Pending approval from the West Virginia State Board of Education, Mineral County students will begin school on August 14th, and could conceivably finish their school year on May 29th. The Thanksgiving break was kept intact, but four of those days could be used as makeup days. The week after Easter, next year, could also be used as make up days for students. Every county in the Mountain State is now required to provide 180 days of instruction, regardless of the number of days missed due to bad weather or other conditions.
Service Interruptions For Garrett County
Two brief service interruptions have been scheduled by Potomac Edison in the McHenry area of Garrett County next Monday. The interruptions will occur at 7 a.m., and again at 4:30 p.m., affecting about 2700 customers in the McHenry area, including those along Route 219, the Marsh Hill Road and Hoyes Run Road areas. Potomac Edison will try to contact affected customers by phone prior to the outage. The utility regrets the inconvenience, but says the maintenance work is necessary to ensure service reliability in the area.
Mayor Continues Blighted Property Campaign
One of Mayor Brian Grim's priorities during his term in office is ridding the city of blighted properties. Mayor Grim has compiled a list of hundreds of them, and is working aggressively to get those buildings in the city's hands. Cumberland has been working with the owners to either have them renovated, or demolished. Efforts have also been focused in the Baltimore Avenue and the Columbia Street areas of the city. In some cases, properties have been subject to tax sales; during those sales, some sell for as little as $500. If they are not sold, they revert back to the city of Cumberland. Mayor Grim says that in other cases, the owners come to the city to say they have properties available, but don't know what to do with them.
Destruction of Property Reported
A Friendsville resident reported that his 2002 Dodge Dakota was shot in the passenger side with a shotgun, and has reported it to the McHenry barrack of the Maryland State Police. The truck was parked outside of his residence on the Blooming Rose Road, and the victim reported he heard a gunshot outside of his residence around 3 a.m. Anyone with information is asked to contact the McHenry barrack at (301)-387-1101.
Unemployment Rate Virtually Unchanged
The unemployment rate remained essentially unchanged from February to March, with only 2300 jobs added last month. The state's unemployment rate was 5.6 per cent; the national rate was 6.7. Job gains were reported in the private sector, led by retail, transportation and utilities, followed by business and professional services. However, Maryland's job growth in the past year lagged behind the national average by about one-third.
Portions of Oakland Evacuated After Accident
A two-block radius of Oakland was evacuated yesterday, including the courthouse, the Garrett County jail, Appalachian Crossroads and the surrounding areas, after an 18-wheeler, carrying about 10,000 gallons of propane, overturned along Route 219. A spokesperson for the Maryland State Police at McHenry says there was a minor fuel leak in the truck, but no propane escaped. The Maryland Department of the Environment arrived on the scene to "upright" the truck. The incident was initially reported around 9:30 a.m., and it took several hours before the accident scene was cleared.
Former Keyser Resident Arrested
Fifty-four year old Rose Talbert, formerly of Keyser, was arrested there, following a disturbance on North Main Street. Ms. Talbert, who now lives in Richwood, West Virginia, was arrested after refusing leave the front porch of a residence there. She was charged with assault and public intoxication, and taken to the Potomac Highlands Jail.
Massachusetts Avenue Home Rebuilt
The home of Darrell Lee Powell, which had been destroyed by fire last July, has been rebuilt. Powell decided he wanted to remain part of the neighborhood, after the electrical fire caused about $30,000 in damage to the structure. Powell expressed thanks to not only those who rebuilt the home, but also the neighbors, who contributed both donations and well wishes.
Man Served with Arrest Warrant
Cresaptown resident Marcus Craig Younger was served with a bench warrant for failure to appear. He was taken to the District Court Commissioners' Office for a bond review. Following that, he was released on personal recognizance.
Police Investigate Stolen Trailer
The Maryland State Police Barrack at McHenry is investigating a stolen trailer, from Hardesty True Value, Incorporated. Sometime over the course of this past weekend, a person or persons went onto the Hardesty property and took the 2014 Car Mate Enclosed trailer. It is six feet by twelve feet, and had three ladder racks on top. The Maryland State Police are asking anyone with information to contact them at (301)-387-1101.
Schools Open Today and Monday
All Allegany County Public Schools and offices are open, both today and Monday. The Maryland State Board of Education granted a request to use those days as instructional make-up days for students. Additionally, the last day of school for students will now be Wednesday, June 11th, and it will be a three-hour early dismissal.
Chamber Presents Plaque to Teacher of the Year
During the April Allegany County Board of Education meeting, the Chamber of Commerce presented a plaque to Dana Reinhardt, the 2014-2015 Allegany County Teacher of the Year. She is a third-grade teacher at George's Creek Elementary School. The Chamber's Education Committee is a strong and active voice for business/education partnerships within the county and the region.
Mineral Grants $18,000 to Library
The Mineral County Board of Education granted the Keyser-MIneral County Public Library $18,000 for the coming fiscal year and to give $1,000 to the Piedmont facility. Of the $18,000 given to Keyser, the bulk will come from a levy, and an additional $5,000 will come from fiscal 2014 carryover funds.
NWS Schedules Weather Spotter Class in Petersburg
The National Weather Service is presenting a Weather Spotter class in Petersburg on April 30th. The class, which will be held at upper level 5 of the Grant Courthouse from 6 to 9 p.m. SKYWARN is a national network of volunteer severe weather spotters, and are trained by the National Weather Service Forecast Offices on how to spot severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail and flooding. If you are interested in taking the class, call the Grant County Office of Emergency Services at (304)-257-5451.
President Declares Federal Disaster
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency has announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the state of Maryland to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by the snowstorm on February 12th and 13th. Presidential action makes federal funding available to state and eligible local governments and certain private, non-profit organizations on a cost sharing basis for emergency work in Baltimore, Carroll and Howard counties. Federal funding is also available on a cosxt-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
O'Malley Comments on Marijuana Legislation
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed the state's marijuana decriminalization bill on Monday. While several prosecutors had urged him to veto the bill, O'Malley observed that very few go to prison for a first or second marijuana offense. This law allows police officers to issue citations, rather than conduct a full-blown arrest. Governor O'Malley still maintains this is an experiment Maryland should not be engaged in; part of his thinking involves jobs that open in the state that require federal background checks and security clearances. Concerns of racial disparity played a role in his decision; Governor O'Malley says that involvement with marijuana can be an impediment to employment.
Chief District Court Judge Named
Prince George's County Judge John Morrissey has been named the next chief judge of the State's District Court. Morrissey will succeed District Court Chief Judge Ben C. Clyburn when he retires next month. Morrissey will oversee the court's 34 locations and nearly 2,000 employees, including the state's 116 judges. The state District Court has a budget of $165 million, and processes more than 1.7 million cases per year.
Capito, Tennant Keep Pace with Contributions
U.S. Representative Shelley Moore Capito brought in more than $817,000 for her U.S. Senate bid last quarter, and her likely opponent Natalie Tennant, kept pace by raising almost $800,000. the two are vying for the post now held by U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, who is retiring after five terms. Projections are that both candidates will win the May primary; while a Republican has not won a West Virginia Senate election since 1956, political analysts give Capito the edge in the general election.
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