BPW Approves Partial Funding for Allegany
The Maryland Board of Public Works has approved partial funding for the Allegany High School project, as well as partial funding for the roof replacement project at Westmar Middle School and total funding for fifteen lighting retrofit projects. In mid to late April of this year, the Interagency for School Construction will recommend additional projects for funding to the Board of Public Works, based on appeals made in January and on the final funding level passed by the General Assembly among other considerations. Members of the Board of Public Works spoke in favor of the school system's request during the appeal hearing. The school system remains confident that the remaining projects will be recommended for funding by the IAC and approved by the BPW.
Commissioners Adopt Five-Year Transit Plan
Increased hours and Saturday service are being proposed by the Allegany County commissioners as part of a five-year transportation plan. The plan, adopted last week by the commissioners, may also include all-day passes and online payments for those who utilize the service. Changes in the plan include streamlining bus routes to key service areas, such as the Country Club Mall and the Western Maryland Health System.
Railroad Searching for Manager
The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad is looking for a new manager, because of the retirement of Frank Fowler. For his part, Fowler says he will stay on until a new manager is hired and the transition is complete. The railroad will start up again in May, and reservations are starting to come in now. Fowler has been superintendent for seven years.
Man Held in Assault, Robbery
Thirty-year old Antonio Jerome Rodney is being held on a $20,000 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center, following an incident on Arch Street. He is accused of assaulting his roommate; the suspect then took money and a cell phone from the victim. Rodney was charged with one count each of robbery, second-degree assault, and malicious destruction of property.
Moving School Would Cost More Than Renovation
Relocating the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind could cost nearly $100 million, which is about $18 million more than it would cost to renovate or replace the existing facilities in Romney. The Mineral News Tribune states that a representative with ZMM Architects and Engineers is recommending that the school remain in Romney. The schools have been in the town since 1870, and some of the buildings are original structures.
Olympian Wins Gold in South Korea
Congratulations to Jake Reynolds of Cumberland, who won a gold medal in the 2013 World Winter Special Olympics in Pyeong Chang, South Korea. Jake participates in Special Olympics locally, the annual Autism Walk and the Hooley Plunge. He learned how to snow ski at the Wisp resort in Garrett County. Jake, and his mother Pam, moved to the Cumberland area from Los Angeles, California in 2007. She owns the Bruce House Inn B & B.
Authorities Still Working on Identification of Body
Bedford County authorities are still trying to positively identify a frozen body found outside of the Bedford County Historical Society. Police are still investigating the incident, and may be trying to link the deceased man to reports that he asked to be released from a Virginia to Michigan Greyhound bus route. A bus ticket and political buttons were found on his body, suggesting he may have attended the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Firefighters Battle Washington County Blaze
Fire companies from Washington, Allegany, Frederick, and Montgomery counties, with assistance from Morgan and Berkeley County, West Virginia battled a five alarm blaze yesterday morning at 110 North Conococheague Street in Williamsport. The State Fire Marshal's Office is currently investigating the cause of the fire in the building which contained the L & J discount liquor store and one occupied apartment on the first floor, along with four vacant apartments on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The occupant of the first floor apartment escaped without injury and is being assisted by the American Red Cross. Nearly 100 firefighters were on the scene. A preliminary value loss for the structure, originally built in 1900, is estimated at $500,000.
New Paid Sick Leave Bill Introduced
The Earned Sick and Safe Time Act may face some opposition from business interests, but it is being introduced in this year's General Assembly. Those in favor say it will eliminate what many say is an "impossible choice" that thousands of mostly low-wage employees are forced to make-preserving their health or their jobs. Under the Act, workers would earn one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours worked. The Maryland Chamber of Commerce will also likely oppose the bill.
Lawmaker Wants to Lift Gun Restrictions
Eastern Shore lawmaker Mike McDermott says he has introduced two bills, which would lift restrictions on who can carry guns on school grounds. One would give school boards and superintendents the option to designate teachers, staff or administrators who would be eligible for a concealed carry permit. The other would allow off-duty or retired police officers who are still qualified under the Law Enforcement Safety Act to carry weapons on school grounds. McDermott commented to an Eastern Shore newspaper that he was trying to "think outside the box" for ideas on protecting students.