VETERAN GUILTY OF ATTEMPTED MURDER
Iraq war veteran Chris Fleming of Capon Bridge, West Virginia was found guilty of 14 of 15 charges brought against him, in connection with a shooting incident two years ago in Hampshire County. Fleming will be sentenced on September 17th for firing off at least 30 rounds in three different locations, ending in his surrender on Christian Church Road. Until his sentencing, he will be lodged in the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail.
I-68 CLOSED FOR TWO HOURS SATURDAY MORNING
Interstate 68 was closed for about two hours Saturday morning, when a Cumberland City Police cruiser became involved in an accident near the Johnson Street exit. The officer was investigating an earlier accident, when he hit a patch of diesel fuel, and lost control of the car. It struck the center median wall. The officer was taken to the hospital for treatment. The Maryland State Highway Administration responded to treat the diesel spill.
HIKER-BIKER PATH BUILT ALONG ROUTE 51
The State Highway Administration has partnered with the National Park Service to design a new, shared-use path along the south side of Route 51, between the tow path and the Potomac River Bridge. Hikers and bikers will now have a safer way to access the Oldtown Road Bridge over the river. The 1700 foot-long, 10-foot wide shared-use path is being constructed as part of a resurfacing project on Route 51, and should be completed by October.
MARYLAND MORTGAGE PROGRAM DROPS RATE
The Maryland Mortgage Program is dropping its rates by a quarter per cent for two months in Western Maryland to entice potential home buyers. Any program loans, reserved before September 10th, will be eligible for the reduced rate. A 30-year, fixed rate mortgage is now 3.75 per cent, rather than 4 per cent for first-time home buyers, and are in effect in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties.
GRANTS ANNOUNCED FOR W. VA. FIRE DEPARTMENS
Both the Burlington and Ridgeley Volunteer Fire Departments will receive grants through the federal Assistance to Firefighters grant program. Burlington will use nearly $90,000 in grant money to buy 14 self-contained breathing apparatus units. Ridgeley will use its portion of the grant, nearly $38,000 for purchasing hand tools, saws, ropes and self-contained breather apparatus units.
COMMISSIONERS AWAITING WORD FROM STATE DEPARTMENT
The Mineral County Commissioners continue to await word from the State Department on the circuit court's license to issue passports, and whether that will be re-activated. A growing work load and the loss of two employees forced Mineral County to discontinue accepting passport applications in March of last year. Since then, the county clerk's office has offered to be the passport agency in the county. The federal office in Philadelphia has informed Mineral County that its license to issue passports has expired, and that issuing passports must be handled by the circuit court office.
"UNITY BREAKFAST" HELD FOR DEMOCRATS
Democrats, who had opposed one another in the June 24th primary election, came together last week at what was being called a "Unity Breakfast." Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, the Democratic nominee for Governor, noted that there is "more that unites us, rather than divides us." And, he says Democrats ultimately share the same values.
Attorney General Doug Gansler,also a Democratic contender for Governor in the primary, says it's time to put the past behind them, and says the Democrats have a good team around the state.
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, Lt. Governor Brown's running mate in November, echoed his running mate's remarks, noting the Democrats have had a spirited, passionate conversation on the issues over the past year.
MARYLAND JOBLESS RATE RISES
The state of Maryland added 7700 jobs last month, but lost 6800 in the process, causing the unemployment rate to rise from 5.6 per cent in May to 5.8 per cent in June. Labor Secretary Leonard Howie attributes the trend to the end of the school year. Both the leisure and hospitality industries showed the strongest gains in June. Labor experts, however, say they expect the state's labor market to remain steady.
TEACHER ARRESTED FOR SOLICITING STUDENT
Elkins High School teacher Donald Johnson is in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail on $75,000 bond, after allegedly soliciting a 16-year old girl on a computer. Johnson is accused of exchanging explicit cell phone calls and text messages with a student. The victim also said Johnson asked her to send inappropriate photos. Steps to protect the safety of the student have been taken.
FOOD DESTINATION MAP INTRODUCED
The Appalachian Regional Commission has introduced a map of 283 food destinations in West Virginia, Maryland, and 10 other states. The locations, from New York to Mississippi include restaurants, markets, farms and fairs. The ARC is promoting the food economy of the 12-state region to address job declines in several industries, such as mining, chemical, and forestry.