Official Cause of Fire Determined
Wednesday’s fire on Williams Street, which destroyed Russ’ Barber Shop, is being blamed on a faulty air conditioning unit in an apartment above the business. The occupant of the apartment, William Kaylor, along with several firefighters were taken to the hospital, possibly due to smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion. The fire began at 267 Williams Street and spread to adjacent buildings. It was brought under control around 8:40 p.m. Wednesday.
Inmate Charged With First-Degree Murder
An inmate at the North Branch Correctional Institution has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his cellmate there. Twenty-five year old Brian Cotter was indicted in the death of 57-year old Lewis Thompson, Jr. Cotter, from Dundalk, was serving a life sentence for the 2007 murder of Raymond Zubrowski. The victim, Thompson, was in prison, serving a 40-year sentence on a rape conviction from Anne Arundel County. Thompson was found unresponsive in his cell last December 11th.
Fire Investigation in Cresaptown
Insulation, which was ignited by sparks from power tools, is being cited as the cause of a fire at 14900 Grant Street in Cresaptown on Wednesday evening. The one-story, single-family dwelling is owned by Ruth Anne Babcock. The fire did about $1,000 damage to the structure. The fire began in the inside wall of affront bedroom. Ms. Babcock was assisted by the Red Cross.
Commissioners Oppose Sprinkler Law
The Allegany County Commissioners are opposed to a new state law, requiring all new homes to have sprinkler systems. They say it will send home buyers and builders to other, surrounding states that do not have the requirement. The state of Pennsylvania recently repealed its mandate. A new sprinkler system cost around $3,000, depending on the size of the home. The unfunded mandate will be effective October 1st.
Road Work To Begin on Route 220 Approach
The Maryland State Highway Administration is beginning work Monday on the Maryland approach to the U.S. 220 bridge over the Potomac River, between McCoole and Keyser, West Virginia. The improvements are part of an ongoing joint project, led by the West Virginia Department of Highways to replace the Keyser-McCoole Memorial Bridge, which began in the spring of 2010 and will be completed by the spring of next year, weather permitting. The new bridge is being constructed adjacent to the existing bridge.
Gambling Group Fails to Reach Consensus on Gambling
A work group that has been studying gambling expansion in the state has failed to reach a consensus on the issue, and there won’t be a special session of the Maryland General Assembly. The group had been studying whether to allow table games, such as blackjack and roulette at five already-authorized casinos. It was agreed that the state should not lower taxes on casino operators, after approving an income tax increase for those earning more than $100,000 per year. Maryland State Senator George Edwards was an alternate member of the group.
Man Held on $10,000 Bond
Forty-eight year old Gary Ray Bookheimer is being held on $10,000 bond, following a disturbance involving a knife late Wednesday afternoon. He entered an apartment and accused several people of stealing his cellular telephone. He allegedly picked up a knife and threatened a victim inside the building. He was eventually taken into custody. He was charged with first and second degree assault, disorderly conduct, failure to obey a lawful order and resisting arrest. He is being held in the Allegany County Detention Center.
West Virginia PSC Delays Increases
The West Virginia Public Service Commission has delayed the implementation of major increases to the city of Keyser’s water and sewer rates. A petition, circulated by a number of citizens, forced a full review by the commission. Any increases, if approved, won’t go into effect until November 4th.