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Local News-UPDATE

Fatalities Reported in Fort Ashby Fire

Three people were killed in an early morning fire, in an apartment complex on the second floor of Cindi’s Restaurant and the Sav-A-Lot Pharmacy in Fort Ashby. The victims were located in two separate apartments on the second floor of the complex. Several victims were rescued from the wood-framed structure, prior to the arrival of firefighters. The building is owned by John Daskal and Denver DeHaven; Daskal, who lived in a basement apartment, is also the pharmacist at Sav-A-Lot. Fire units from West Virginia and Maryland responded. At least one firefighter was taken to the hospital with an ankle injury. As a result of firefighting efforts, the Frankfort Public Service District is asking customers in the Fort Ashby, Short Gap and Patterson Creek areas to help conserve water throughout the weekend, until the water tanks are refilled.


Bedford County Prison Guards File Lawsuit

Two former Bedford County prison guards have filed suit, alleging civil rights violations and that former warden Donald Orr demonstrated blatant sexism against female employees. Orr has since resigned, amid a secretive investigation. The former guards-Lt. Tina Hillegas of Schellsburg and Lt. Gloria Sadler of Fishertown-say Orr gave male employees preferential treatment, after he was hired in 2010. For her part, Hillegas’ suit alleges that Orr forced her to resign when he ordered her to perform “jobs that would have violated the law.” The suit was filed against Bedford County, and nor Orr as an individual.


Juvenile Arrested in Soda Bottle Bomb Incident

A 15-year old male juvenile has been charged with making a “soda bottle bomb” and dropping it in a trash can while walking to school in the 100-block of Valley Street last May 25th.  He has been charged with the manufacturing, possession and distribution of an Improvised Explosive Device, and released to the custody of his aunt pending actions by the Department of Juvenile Services.


Changes To Transit Plan Presented to Commissioners

Revisions to Allegany County transit bus routes and an increase in fares were presented to the Allegany County Commissioners during Thursday’s business meeting. The changes were made because of concerns from riders and drivers that have been expressed at recent meetings. A goal of the original plan was to save as much as $125,000 per year, as well as ensure long-term savings. One of the changes is cutting the proposed Alltrans fare from $4 to $3.


Keyser Man Arrested on Drug Charges

The Maryland State Police arrested a Keyser man early this morning, and he now faces drug distribution charges. He was initially stopped around 1:40 a.m. for speeding. Twenty-four year old Shane Sneathen was arrested, after a vehicle search revealed he had about 113 grams of marijuana in the car, along with paraphernalia that indicated his intent to distribute the drug. He was taken to an Allegany County District Court Commissioner for a bond review.


Court House Closure Causes Conflict in Mineral County

The Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ordered all courts closed on Monday, July 2nd, as the result of widespread power outages from the previous weekend’s storms. However, the Mineral County courthouse was ordered opened by the Commissioners. Following that, Mineral County Circuit Court Judge Lynn Nelson issued an order upholding the original order to close. All employees were compensated for the closure. Circuit Court Clerk Krista Dixon noted that the commissioners pay the staff, but the court tells staff members what to do, according to the Mineral News-Tribune.


Pennsylvania Man Stopped and Arrested for Drug Violations

Hershey, Pennsylvania resident Michael John Horetsky faces possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia charges, following a stop on Interstate 68 Wednesday evening. A Cumberland City Police officer smelled the odor of marijuana coming from his vehicle, following a traffic stop. The vehicle was searched and the drug was located. He was taken to District Court and held on $2,000 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center.


Jaycess Conduct “Beautiful Baby,” or “Pretty Pet” Contest

The Western Maryland Jaycees, in cooperation with the Allegany County Fair and Ag Expo is once again sponsoring the “Beautiful Baby” and the “Prettiest Pet” contest at this year’s fair. This is the tenth anniversary for the contest. All photo submissions will be on display at the Fair next week; the Jaycess will have a booth under the grandstand. For more information on the contest, or to submit an entry, visit the Jaycees website at


Expanded Enterprise Zone Approved by State

The state of Maryland has approved an expanded enterprise zone for the Hagerstown-Washington County area. The zone will expand from 1400 acres to nearly 4100 acres, increasing the opportunity for businesses to receive tax credits. The expanded zone includes the Hagerstown Business Park and CSX/Valley Park. The enterprise zone program allows businesses to receive a one-time, $1,000 credit for each new employee they hire, or $6,000 over a three year period for new employees who are considered “economically disadvantaged.”


Gas Prices Up Slightly Outisde of Area

Gas prices have increased nationally for the first time since April, with the national average rising a penny from $3.35 to $3.36; the state average rose from $3.32 to $3.36 a gallon. Outside of the Western Maryland area, including Hagerstown and Cumberland, prices rose throughout the state. Gas prices should gradually shift upward over the next few weeks, according to Triple-A Mid-Atlantic’s Gas Watch.

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