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Special Session Will Be Quick

Next week’s special session of the Maryland General Assembly should be a quick one, with Senate President Mike Miller urging senators to hold down their expenses by driving home in the evening, instead of staying at hotels. Governor Martin O’Malley has called the session to deal with expanded gambling legislation. The accelerated schedule calls for a hearing and a quick vote on a bill, which will allow a casino in Prince George’s County and to permit table games there, and at already-licensed slots parlors in the state. The House of Delegates has yet to release a schedule for the session, which will convene next Thursday.

 

Rocky Gap Decision Unpopular

Scaling back slots plans at the Rocky Gap Lodge and Resort is not going over well locally. The Cumberland Times-News reports that Allegany County Commissioner Bill Valentine is expressing his displeasure with the decision, in that the developer will be using what is now conference space, for slots, which will kill the conference room income. Commissioner Valentine says the loss of room rentals for conferences means a loss of revenue for the county. He cited this week’s decision as another example of decisions being made down state, without first consulting local officials.

 

McCoole Back in Service

The McCoole Fire Department is back in service, after having sold some equipment for revenue, that allowed them to make a necessary insurance payment. The fire company had been out of service since July 23rd, because of financial problems. The ongoing financial problems with be up for discussion in a future meeting of the Emergency Services Board and the company itself. While out of service, arrangements were made to provide for fire service through mutual aid companies, without an interruption in service.

 

Fatal Accident in West Virginia

A Hampshire County man was pronounced dead by county coroner, Penny Hartman at the scene of a single-vehicle accident on West Virginia Route 127, near Bloomery early yesterday morning. The driver lost control of the vehicle, causing it to travel off the road, strike numerous trees and catch fire. The victim has not been identified and the accident is currently under investigation by the Romney Detachment of the West Virginia State Police.

 

Man Charged on Warrant

Cumberland City Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of Leo Durocher of Cumberland. They received a complaint that he allegedly was tampering with a motor vehicle in the200-block of Greene Street late last month. He was found to be going through the contents of another person’s vehicle. He was not located, but officers had applied for charges on the 20-year old man, through district Court of Maryland. He is being charged with tampering with a motor vehicle, and with being a rogue and vagabond.

 

Board Revises Attendance Policy

The Allegany County Board of Education is revising its student attendance policy to include a reduction in the total number of absences, limitation to the number of parent notes a student may submit, and the intervals at which the attendance notices will be sent home to parents. One of the most significant changes is the possibility of filing criminal charges for non-attendance against both parents and students after a set number of absences, along with the enforcement of guidelines for denying credit in high school courses. The policy can be found on the school system’s website, www.acps.allconet.org.

 

West Virginia Counties Included in Disaster Declaration

Several more West Virginia counties have been included in a federal disaster declaration, following the June 29th storm. Among the counties included in the major disaster declaration were Hardy, Pendleton, Preston, and Tucker counties. The funds will provide the much needed financial assistance to state agencies, in the ongoing recovery from the storms. Hazard Mitigation grants are available with the declaration. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has also requested individual assistance from the federal government, once all assessments have been completed.

Former Area Resident Wins Bronze in Olympics

Former area resident Natalie Dell was in the bow seat in the women’s quadruple sculls for the U.S. team when it won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics in London. Ms. Dell was a resident of Clearville, Pennsylvania, and had attended St. John Neumann School. Her parents are in London, and had attended both the preliminaries and the finals this week near Windsor Palace.

 

Stay Granted in Maryland Gun Case

The state of Maryland can continue to enforce its gun permit law until a federal appeals court decides the matter. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond granted a stay in the case, as requested by Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler. Earlier in the year, a U.S. District Court Judge lifted a stay on his finding that the state’s law was unconstitutional.

 

Maryland Bans Zero-Tolerance Discipline Policies

Education officials in Maryland have approved changes to the state’s discipline policy, meant to cut back on suspensions and expulsions. The State Board of Education has approved the changes, amid a national debate about whether too many students are suspended or expelled for offenses that could be handled in other ways. A final vote on the policy is set for next month.

 

University of Charleston Taking Over Mountain State University

The University of Charleston is taking over Mountain State University. Mountain State will lose its accreditation on December 31st. Branch campuses will be opening in both Beckley and Martinsburg, and the sites Mountain State will vacate by the end of the year. Classes at those two locations are being offered this fall. Education officials say they plan to continue to do so in the coming years.

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