Fire Ruled Accidental in Nature
A Thanksgiving afternoon fire at the Charles Colmer residence on Robin Street in Lonaconing has been ruled accidental in nature. The fire destroyed the home, causing nearly $100,000 in damage to the structure and its contents. It originated in a second-floor bedroom, and was attributed to an electrical malfunction. The dwelling was a total loss and the displaced residents are being assisted by family and friends.
County Won't Intervene is Establishing Food Bank Credit
The county won't be stepping in to help people who have experienced food stamp cuts, with commission president Mike McKay noting that it is not the proper role for county government. A citizen had asked the commissioners to intervene in establishing a line of credit to the Western Maryland Food Bank. The citizen had asked that the county use a portion of the state disparity grant to back up a line of credit for the Food Bank. Even if the county wanted to help, its options are limited, according to Commissioner McKay.
Response Team Called to CSX Shops
The Cumberland Fire Department and the Hazardous Incident Response Team responded to a call at the CSX property yesterday morning. A locomotive had leaked in the new car shop. Units remained on the scene for about an hour and a half.
Television Stolen From Car
Cumberland City Police are investigating the theft of a flat screen television, which was taken from the back seat of a car on Columbia Street overnight Sunday. There are no suspects and anyone with information is asked to contact the Cumberland City Police Department. The Police Department also is reminding residents to lock their vehicles and to take items of value into their homes, and not to leave them in plain view in their vehicles during the Holiday Season.
Berkeley County Receives Grant
Berkeley County has received a $100,000 grant to make repairs to its historic courthouse. The county must provide 20 per cent in matching funds for the project, which will to replace the building's roof. Work on the project could begin in January. The courthouse has not been used for court proceedings since 2006.
Couple Victim of Scam
A Pennsylvania couple are the latest victims of a scam, from a caller, claiming to be from the "Mega Millions" sweepstakes, and telling them they had won a sizeable amount of money. The caller tells the victim they have to send $200 to be eligible for the prize, and they are incessant in their calls. At one point the caller threatened them, saying, quote, "We're going to blow up or burn up your house," end quote. One person in Somerset County has been scammed out of $2,000, and residents are advised to call police if they get a similar call.
Frederick Man Found Dead
A 23-year old Frederick man was found dead this past weekend, the victim of a stabbing. Merlin Edjardo Alvarez Garcia was found, after receiving a call about a man, lying on a dirt pathway. There are no suspects and it remains an open investigation. Garcia's body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore, and police are awaiting autopsy results for more information.
Gas Prices Above National Average
The price for a gallon of regular gas in Maryland is hovering around 15 cents higher than the national average. Greg Laskowski, of mdgasprices.com says the Free State is not alone, as the same situation is being experienced in other states, such as Florida. He says there are some refinery issues in the Gulf Coast area; also, as exports increase, it creates a shortage of U.S.-flagged vessels. Laskowski cited the Jones Act from the 1920's, regarding oil issues. Laskowski says, in the Northeast, there is a greater reliance on European crude oil. Marylanders may think the increased prices are related to the recently increased gas tax; Laskowski says this is not the case.
Person Dies in Sunday Evening Crash
One person was killed Sunday night and rescue crews were taking another person to the hospital, following a single-vehicle accident on West Virginia Route 45. The crash was reported just after 10 p.m., and there were reports the vehicle was on fire at one point. Crews were preparing a landing zone for a helicopter to take the survivor to the hospital.
Former Judge to Plead Guilty
Former Mingo County Judge Dallas Toler is expected to plead guilty to a federal voter fraud charge. Toler is the fourth official there to plead guilty to a federal charge as part of a larger investigation focused on corruption in that county. Toler resigned in October, about the time he was named in a federal information filing.