Gambling Bill Passed
The Maryland General Assembly has given final approval to Governor Martin O’Malley’s gambling bill, and it will go before the voters in November. The Governor signed the bill yesterday. The legislation would allow table games and a sixth casino in the state, while also giving new tax breaks to casino owners. The bill significantly reduces tax rates on slot machine profits for all the currently licensed casinos, except Rocky Gap, where rates are already lower. The bill includes two separate provisions that would require the new owners of Rocky Gap to build out conference space before they could run table games, and would allow veterans organizations here and statewide to offer five pull tab slot machines, according to the Cumberland Times-News.
Health System May Reduce Staff
In cost-cutting measures, the Western Maryland Health System has to reduce spending by $6 to $8 million in Fiscal Year 2013. What that means is staff reductions through attrition and some involuntary separations. To avoid rate increases, the hospital has to reduce its spending by 10 to 15 per cent over the next five years, according to CEO Barry Ronan. While it is trying to keep the direct impact to employees to a minimum, spokesperson Kathy Rogers acknowledges some jobs will be lost.
Body Found in Mineral County
A body has been found in an area off Waxler Road, in the Gerstel Hollow area. It is believed to be that of an Oakland man, whose vehicle was found in the area, after he was reported missing Tuesday afternoon. A member of the Allegany County Special Operations high angle rescue tem found the man, and it was determined he was dead. Although authorities aren’t certain of the identity, circumstances indicate it was 37-year old Shane Davis of Oakland, who was reported missing earlier this week.
America’s 911 Ride Travels Through Area Tomorrow
At about 9 a.m. tomorrow, America’s 911 Ride will arrive in Cumberland. This is the 11th year the ride will travel through Cumberland. Bikers will enter the city via the Narrows, travel south on Mechanic Street, turning left onto Frederick Street. They will then travel to Nave’s Crossroads, and proceed towards I-68 East to Rocky Gap. Traffic will be stopped temporarily on the main route from about 8:45 to 9 a.m.
Council Member Calls Interference on Mayor
Piedmont City Council member Robert Patenaude is accusing Mayor Skip Clifford of trying to block progress on bringing the city into compliance with state housing inspection laws. The Mayor is opposed to adopting the regulations, as Patenaude is tryi8ng to obtain his two-year provisional housing inspection license, and to also get the city to adopt the minimal county and state regulations for housing. The Mayor is opposed to the measure, because he says Piedmont would be liable for Patenaude’s training to acquire a regular license, once the provisional has expired.
Route 50 Bridge Work Finished
A bridge on Route 50 in Hampshire County, crossing the Little Cacapon River, has been finished. Route 50 is back in service, following the replacement of the bridge. Upgrading the detour loop and replacement of the bridge should cost about $200,000.
Boat Launch Closing on August 27th
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Jennings Randolph Lake will close the Howell Run Boat Launch ramp, beginning August 27th to boats requiring a trailer to launch, due to low water levels. The launch will remain open to all other boats. Because of the low lake levels, the Corps encourages all boaters to use caution when launching from the Howell Run boat ramp. The lake is also accessible to shoreline fishing. The boat ramp may be usable again is lake levels increase.
Maryland Listed As One of Worst Power Plant Polluters
The state of Maryland is in the top 20, when it comes to power plant polluters, but the state has made significant cuts, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Maryland ranked 19th, which is an improvement from the fifth place finish the year before. The improvement was credited by the Maryland Department of the Environment, to a power plant emission law it says is the toughest on the East Coast.