Settlement Reached in Lawsuit
A settlement has been reached in the wrongful death lawsuit, filed against Tri-Star Mining, in regard to the April, 2007 collapse at the mine near Barton. The widows of Michael Wilt and Dale Jones will receive $100,000 to be split between both families. That amount is in addition to benefits received from workers’ compensation. Tony Wilt and Linda Jones agreed to the terms during a proceeding in Allegany County Circuit Court before Judge W. Timothy Finan.
Piedmont Officials Under Investigation
The West Virginia State Ethics Commission and the West Virginia State Police are looking into fraud allegations, allegedly involving Piedmont city officials. The investigation stems from an alleged violation of Federal Emergency Management rules and guidelines in how trailers were purchased and used, involving a misappropriation of funds. One state police official says he is fairly certain there will be criminal charges filed.
Shifting Teacher Pensions Would Be “Devastating”
Not only are Allegany and Garrett Counties expressing displeasure with the proposal to have local governments pay for some teacher pensions, a Howard County Executive says shifting pensions to individual counties would be “devastating.” Ken Ulman says his county would have to come up with $17 million in the first year alone, $21 million the second year, and $24 million in the third. He adds that local aid given by the state has already been reduced by a large amount.
Five Arrested in Drug Bust
Five people were arrested late last month in the 200-block of Fulton Street. Police responded to that location for a report of a loud disturbance. Officers noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside. A quantity of marijuana that would indicate an intent to distribute was found, along with scales, baggies and other related smoking devices. Brandon Lamont Fields and Umbori Gonda Watson from Baltimore, along with Deven Diallo Harris from Cumberland were arrested. Also, Washington, D.C. residents Jarmetrius Cordell Clark and Ryanita Chron Perry were also taken into custody.
Drug Distributor Sentenced to 30 Years
Former New York City resident Timmie Leonard Cotton has been sentenced to 30 years in prison on drug distribution charges. Judge Gary Leasure sentenced Cotton, after he pleaded guilty to charges, stemming from an October, 2011 investigation in Allegany County, initiated by the C3I Narcotics Unit. Prosecuting the case for the state was Assistant State’s Attorney Samuel Lane; Mr. Cotton was represented by Craig Kadish of Baltimore.
Police Respond to Domestic Incident
Cumberland resident Harold Virgil James has been charged with one count of second-degree assault, in connection with an incident that took place on Woodlawn Terrace Wednesday. The victim accused James of assaulting her, and at one point, pushed her down onto the couch, while she was holding their one-year old child. Officers observed some injuries to the victim, which were consistent with her account. He was held on $10,000 bond, following a District Court hearing.
County Begins Budget Process
Allegany County’s budget process will be getting underway later this month, and the public is invited to observe the process, beginning on March 15th. Several departments will be presenting budget requests, beginning at 1 p.m. Among the first departments to present requests will be the Allegany County State’s Attorney, Circuit Court and the Narcotics Task Force. Also on that date, the Social Services department, Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, and the Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority will make requests. Presentations will be held through the end of March. Then, there will be budget workshops, preliminary hearings, and the budget for FY 2013 will take place on Thursday, June 7th.
Commissioners Schedule Rawlings Water & Sewer Meeting
The Allegany County Commissioners have scheduled a public meeting, regarding potential water and sewer projects for Rawlings and Route 220. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 13th at the Rawlings United Methodist Church. Along with the commissioners, several other representatives will be on hand, including Paul Kahl, Public Works Director; Mark Yoder, P.E. Utilities Division Chief and project engineer, James L. Webber.
Sewer Plant Shows Profit
The city of Keyser’s wastewater treatment plant has turned a modest profit, in a year since controversy erupted over finances there. Keyser Mayor Randy Amtower reported last week that the plant has turned a year-to-date profit of just over $3,000. City workers in Keyser work at the treatment plant, and also perform a variety of other duties both at the lab and the treatment plant, along with backing up street workers on off-site projects.
Work Begins Monday on Greene Street
The City of Cumberland Public Works Department has announced that work will begin on improvements to Riverside Park on Greene Street, which will include a new monument to the National Road on Monday. The work will require that a portion of the park be closed to the public. All efforts will be made to keep as much of the park and the walking trail available to the public. Questions should be directed to the city of Cumberland Engineering Department at (301)-759-6600.
Governor Signs Same-Sex Marriage Bill
Governor Martin O’Malley has signed legislation, legalizing gay marriage in the state. It takes effect next January, unless it is brought to referendum in November. Opponents of the legislation have already submitted language for a ballot referendum to overturn the bill. Governor O’Malley noted that the state was founded on religious freedom, and at the heart of religious freedom is the freedom of individual conscience.