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Special Session Underway

The General Assembly’s Special Session is underway, and is expected to last through tomorrow. Lawmakers are considering a number of tax changes and spending cuts to trim $500 million off the state’s structural deficit and avoid what Democrats are calling a “doomsday budget.” Income tax increases would affect about 16 per cent of Marylanders, and would be for individuals making $100,000 or more, or households making $150,000. Lawmakers are also expected to approve a plan to shift most teacher pension costs from the state to county governments over the course of four years, beginning with a 50 per cent shift, beginning in July.

 

Robbery Suspect Dies Of Natural Causes

A man, identified last week as a suspect in the armed robbery of the 135 Liberty Station in Oakland, has died of natural causes in Tennesssee. The Garrett County Sheriff’s Office says 61-year old Jerry Alston Cline was developed as a suspect; he allegedly entered the business, displayed a handgun and demanded money. He was given an undetermined amount and fled the business. It’s now known Cline died Friday in Tennessee, while visiting a relative.

 

Midlothian Man Sentenced to Prison

Thirty-five year old Christopher Minnick has been sentenced to ten years in prison, with all but 18 months suspended, for a third degree sex offense involving a four year old female child. Upon release, Minnick will be place on five years supervised probation, register as a sex offender for life and have no contact with the victim or her family. The case stemmed from an incident that occurred in July of last year.

 

Police Impersonator Sought

The Maryland State Police are seeking a man, approximately 30 to 40 years of age, who posed as an undercover police officer, in order to bilk another man out of money. The incident happened last week at the Country Club Mall, when the suspect approached the victim in the bathroom of the J.C. Penney Store at the mall. The suspect told the victim, who is 71 years of age, that he had violated the law, and would have to post bond. The victim withdrew money from his credit union and gave it to the suspect. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Maryland State Police, C3I unit or CrimeSolvers.

 

Cardin Addresses Affordable Care Forum

Maryland United States Senator Ben Cardin addressed a forum on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, hosted by the Allegany County Human Resources Development Commission, the Western Maryland Central Labor Council, and the Alliance for Retired Americans. During his remarks Monday, Senator Cardin noted the ACA will provide health care coverage to more than 30 million Americans, including three-quarters of a million Marylanders. Maryland has received $34.4 million in grants, since the passage of the law in 2010, and has also provided $21.4 million to Maryland to create new health center sites in medically underserved areas.

 

Woman Sentenced in Murder-For-Hire Scheme

Augusta, West Virginia resident Brenda Lee Swisher has been sentenced to five years in prison in a murder-for-hire case in which she tried to hire someone to murder the wife of her ex-boyfriend for $3500. Upon release, she will be on three years’ supervised probation. She had pleaded guilty on January 11th to a charge of causing an individual to travel in interstate commerce from Virginia to commit the murder.

 

Mineral Commissioners Discuss Grant Funding

The Mineral County Commissioners recently approved resolutions to eight different grant applications, and agreed to ask state permission to use some leftover grant money for another purpose. Some of the grant money requested would be used to fund the Mineral County Historical Society’s projects at the Carskadon Mansion in Keyser, and $2500 for the purchase of cameras and $5,000 for equipment for the New Creek Volunteer Fire Department.

 

Man Released Following Drug Discovery

LaVale resident Christopher John Idol faces criminal charges for possession of drug paraphernalia following his arrest on Sunday. While being searched, police found a smoking device, containing alleged marijuana residue. He was taken to District Court for an initial appearance and released on personal recognizance.

 

Two Treated for Minor Injuries

Two Barton residents suffered minor injuries in a two-vehicle accident on Lower George’s Creek Road, near Moscow this past weekend. A truck, driven by 18-year old Jesse Matthew Pope crossed over the center line of the road and hit another pickup driven by 23-year old Mark Ryan Colmer. Both trucks had extensive front-end damage, but both drivers elected not to go to the hospital, and were treated at the scene. Pope was cited for failure to drive right of center.

 

Rail Trail Meetings Set this Week

Hancock is hosting one of two National Park Service Open Houses on a proposed extension of the Western Maryland Rail Trail. The first meeting will be held tomorrow at the Hanock Town hall from 6 to 8 p.m.; a second is set for 8 p.m. Thursday at the Paw Paw School. Several alternatives are being considered for extending the trail, including one in which an extension would not be constructed.

 

O’Malley Bumped From National News Show

Governor Martin O’Malley was “bumped” form “Meet the Press” this past Sunday. The interview was cancelled to make room for an exclusive interview with a representative form J.P. Morgan Chase, which announced a $2 billion trading loss this week. O’Malley was expected to talk about President Obama’s announcement that he supports gay marriage.

 

Man Pulls Knife on Driver

Somerset Police are looking for a man who pulled a knife on another driver on Pleasant Avenue last week. The victim told police he was stopped in traffic, and had asked the man to turn down his music earlier when the two were pumping gas at the Sheetz store. Authorities are trying to identify the man with the knife. Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

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