Former Keyser Teacher Sentenced
Former Keyser teacher Denise Fitch has been sentenced to serve between one and five years in prison, after earlier pleading guilty to three counts of third-degree sexual assault. The sentences will be served concurrently for each counts of sexual assault. After the first year, it will be determined whether she will continue to serve the remainder of the sentence.
Fire Reported at FEMA Center
An electrical malfunction is being blamed for a fire yesterday afternoon at the FEMA Distribution Center on PPG Road in Cumberland. Fire broke out in the rear area of a 35-foot communications motor coach; the sprinkler system activated and controlled the fire from spreading to adjacent motor coaches located in the structure. Damage to the vehicle was estimated at $400,000. A malfunction in a cable, leading from the charging unit inside the rear section, sparked the blaze, which brought out 40 firefighters to the scene.
State Will Not Seek Death Penalty
The Garrett County State’s Attorney will not seek the death penalty in the case of Jeffrey Charles Minnick, who is accused of killing two residents in a wooded area of Oakland earlier this year. He is accused in the deaths of 18-year old Jessica Baker and 24-year old Brandon Lax. State’s Attorney Lisa Thayer Welch cited the wishes of the victims’ families and lengthy delays that are sometimes involved in death penalty cases, as reasons for seeking life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole for Minnick.
Sheriff To Seek Solution to Panhandling Problem
Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson will meet with the County Commissioners next Tuesday, to discuss the growing number of panhandlers in the county, especially in the LaVale area. Sheriff Robertson says he would like to “weed out” those who are truly not in need. Panhandlers are especially prevalent in the Country Club Mall and Braddock Square areas.
Keyser Fire Station Experiencing Problems
There are some problems with the new, $1.6 million state of the art building, housing the Keyser Volunteer Fire Department. At a recent meeting of the Keyser Mayor and City Council, Fire Chief Chris Paitsel reported that one problem they are experiencing is the inability to adjust the computerized climate control system. The contractor failed to obtain a laptop and associated software for adjusting the temperature. The construction of the new Memorial Bridge necessitated the move to West Piedmont Street, from its former location on Center Street.
Fire Damages Hampshire County Home
Three adults escaped a blaze at a home on Apple Drive near Romney Friday afternoon. About two dozen volunteers from seven fire companies battled the blaze, but the house was reported to be a total loss. At the residence were John Lorence and his wife, Chastity and one other adult. The home was reportedly insured. Neighbor Charles Jones III was passing by, when he noticed the flames. He alerted the three to the fire, and they were able to escape without injury.
Disturbance Leads to Arrest
Cumberland resident Raymond Desales Washington was arrested, following an early morning disturbance Monday, in the 300-block of Furnace Street. There was an argument between a man and a woman in a taxi cab in that area. Officers separated the two. Washington reportedly resisted arrest, and was also found to be in possession of prescription medication. He was charged with failure to obey a lawful order, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and possessing of CDS, which was not marijuana.
Teen Charged As Adult in Stabbing
Seventeen year old Washington County resident Matthew Smith is being held at the County’s Detetnion Center, after being charged with attempted first-degree murder in a weekend stabbing. An adult victim was found to be suffering from multiple wounds to his upper body in the 1,000-block of Marshall Street. Smith was found a short time later and arrested. He is also being charged with other counts, in connection to the stabbing incident.
Post Office Cutting Service to Save Money
The United States Postal Service is going ahead with cuts to first class mail that will slow delivery and eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day. With no immediate help from Congress in sight, the USPS is looking to quickly trim costs by about $3 billion. The move could provide short-term relief, but could also prove counterproductive, pushing more business onto the Internet.
SHA Allegedly Concealed Unspent Funds
According to an audit report from the Office of Legislative Audits, the Maryland State Highway Administration repeatedly requested new contract from the Board of Public Works, while millions of dollars remained unspent from previous awards for the same work. The audit resulted in significant management changes at the highway administration, including the departure of some senior officials. The SHA has been accused of failing to fully disclose significant details of its contracting practices to the public works board.