Volunteer Firefighter Arrested for Arson
Denzil Halbritter, a Midland Fire Department volunteer fireman, has been arrested for arson. He was arrested, after being released from the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center. Maryland State Fire Marshals say Halbritter intentionally set a fire at his home on July 22nd; he was found unconscious on the kitchen floor and was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Damages were set at $50,000 to the home on Big Lane Avenue in Midland. Halbritter was taken to the Allegany County Detention Center, where he is being held on $150,000 bond.
Baltimore Avenue Project to Start in Fall
The city of Cumberland has agreed on a $1.4 million contract with Braddock Construction to completely renovate Baltimore Avenue. The project will begin this fall. Called a "major improvement to the area, the renovation includes building new retaining walls, widening the street, repaving, new utility lines and a sidewalk that is in compliance with the American Disabilities Act.
Minco Development Authority Seeking Storage
The Mineral County Development Authority is looking for a place to store machinist equipment, used at the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Flexible Manufacturing at Rocket Center. The RCBI is closing tomorrow, but the equipment will remain in Mineral County. A suggestion was made to store the equipment at a shell building in the Fort Ashby Business and Technology Park, but before that can happen, there would have to be heating and air conditioning installed, along with partitions added, to accommodate the tools and classroom space, should students from Potomac State College conduct machinist classes there.
Traffic Signal Change Takes Effect Today
The flashing traffic signal at Parkside Boulevard and National Highway is now in operation as a full-color traffic signal; previously it had been a "flashing" signal most of the time. It operated in full-color mode only during school arrival and dismissal at Parkside School; now, it will be operating in full color mode from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, but will revert to flash mode at night. Drivers and pedestrians are urged to use extra caution, as the community adjusts to the new traffic signal.
Man Jailed in Domestic Assault
Cumberland resident Timothy Winkler was jailed on $5000 bond, after allegedly assaulting a woman in the North Centre Street area in Cumberland. Winkler is accused of hitting her in the face several times, causing facial injuries; charges were filed on behalf of the woman. Following a District Court hearing, he was remanded to the Allegany County Detention Center.
ACM Coaches Named; Baker Steps Down
Allegany College men's basketball coach Mike Baker has resigned that post and there are new coaches for both men's and women's basketball at the school. Tommie Reams is the new men's coach, while Chuck Eberly is the women's coach. Baker's overall record during his nine years as head coach is 179 wins and 94 losses. Baker's 2009 team went 29-7, including a trip to the NJCAA Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas.
County Schedules Hydrant Flushing
Allegany County has scheduled hydrant flushing during the month of August. Beginning tomorrow, through Friday, hydrants will be flushed in the Grahamtown and Wright's Crossing areas in Frostburg; crews will move on to the Vale Summit area on Monday. The flushing is scheduled to run through the end of the month, and residents are urged to run water for several minutes, until it is clear, following the procedure.
Gas Prices Down Nationally and Locally
There was a double-digit jump in gas prices last week, but now prices are inching back down, according to the Triple A Daily Fuel Gauge report. In Cumberland, the average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gas was $3.58. The drop in prices comes at a time when people tend to take more vacations before school starts. While prices continue to decrease over the next week, it's anyone's guess what will happen after that.
Memorial, Medical Buildings Set for Demolition
A part of Cumberland history will be demolished, beginning late this summer or early fall, as Memorial Hospital and the Memorial medical building will be razed. Cumberland City Council member David Kauffman notes that significant losses were reported, as the city tried to keep it open. One of the first steps in the demolition will be asbestos abatement. It is not clear what will happen to the property, once the building has been removed.
Gas Line Rupture Closes Road
A ruptured gas line caused authorities to close Interstate 70, both east and westbound for a time late yesterday morning. The rupture occurred near Maryland Route 63, known as the Greencastle Pike. Columbia Gas crews, along with Hazmat crews and members of the Maugansville Fire Company were on the scene. Maryland Route 63, in the area of Interstate 70 has been the scene of ongoing construction work. There is no word on what caused the gas line rupture. There were no reports of injuries.