Second Special Session May Be In July
The Maryland General Assembly may re-convene in July to consider the expansion of gambling in the state. If there is a consensus among the leadership, a special session will be held the week of July 9th. The Work Group to Consider Gaming Expansion will look at how to compensate the operators of the state’s five casinos, and will also determine the impact of allowing table games. If approved, the expanded gaming issue will go before voters in November.
No Tax Hike for City, Sewer Rates to Increase
Cumberland residents won’t pay higher taxes next year, but sewer rates will increase. The Mayor and Council will vote on a sewer rate increase at its next meeting. The operating margin of the sewer fund is a little more than $10,000, and city officials want to keep the $6 million fund operating in the black, according to the Cumberland Times-News.
Keyser Council Meeting Moved to Courthouse
In anticipation of a larger than usual crowd, the Keyser Mayor and City Council will move tonight’s meeting to the Mineral County courthouse. The agenda will include a public hearing on proposed increases to the city’s water and sewer rates. While the City Hall meeting room has a 55-person capacity, the courthouse could allow about 120 people. Along with the water and sewer rates, the city has also experienced ongoing citizen protests at the meetings.
Assistant to Resign Position in Keyser
Administrative Assistant to the Keyser Mayor and Council, Carissa Fazenbaker is set to resign at tonight’s meeting. While City Administrator Deborah Pamepinto was on medical leave, Ms. Fazenbaker was promoted to acting city administrator. However, Ms. Pamepinto has also resigned, leaving the city without an administrator. Council member Bill Roy has also resigned his position.
Teenager to Be Charged with Arson
A 16-year old boy is being charged with arson, in connection with the Walden United Methodist church in Piedmont last month. The fire caused more than $40,000 in damage to the church and an outbuilding was also destroyed. He was arrested after he was identified through video surveillance. He has also admitted to setting the fire.
Rail Trail Extension Work Could Start This Year
A plan to extend the Western Maryland Rail Trail could be approved by the National Park Service this summer, with construction possibly starting later this year. An environmental assessment looked at a section from Pearre, Maryland to Paw Paw, a section of the former railroad that is approximately 15 miles long. Maryland can contribute about $3.5 million in funding available for a section of the trail, approximately 4 miles long from its side of the Potomac River to Little Orleans.
Schools To Close Early
Two schools in Garrett County, Dennett Road and Kitzmiller will close at the end of the month, unless the Board of Education there decides to reconsider, or an appeal to the state to stop the closings materializes. The Garreett County Board of Education voted to close the schools permanently to cut costs. The schools are slated to close on May 30th, a day before the rest of the schools in the county close.
Man Found in North Carolina
The man police say jumped into the Potomac River last week, after trying to hit West Virginia State Police troopers with his car, has been found in Wilmington, North Carolina. David Windham was discovered Saturday. Police found his trying to cut down copper wire on the CSX access road in Berkeley Springs last week; troopers fired three shots at him, when he tried to hit them, and he disappeared into the river. He is being charged with attempted unlawful assault on a police officer and grand larceny. He is awaiting extradition back to West Virginia.
Man Surrenders After Hagerstown Standoff
A Hagerstown man is being held on three-quarters of a million dollars bond, after a standoff with police late last week. Forty-nine year old Neil Shawn LaPine told police negotiators he was going to “commit suicide by cop. Police arrived after they received reports a man had been making suicidal threats. He eventually was persuaded into surrendering to police. He has a preliminary hearing, set for June 6th.
Maryland Loses 6,000 Jobs in April
The state of Maryland lost 6,000 jobs in April, the largest monthly loss in the country during a month when most states gain jobs. The U.S. Department of Labor has also revised its estimate for March, showing the state losing 600 jobs, rather than adding 1500. The unemployment rate rose from 6.6 per cent to 6.7 in March, in part because more residents began looking for work, or tried again after giving up.
State Releases “Objectionable Plate List”
The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration has catalogued more than 4,000 words, phrases and letter-number combinations that won’t be put on a license plate. The agency’s “Objectionable Plate List” has been released, and while the list began decades ago, more and more have been added. The MVA sometimes gets input from the prison inmates who make the plates at Maryland Correctional Enterprises. They might alert the MVA to a drug or sex reference while manufacturing the tags.