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Local News

Plea Agreement Reached in Case

Stephen George Schleuniger of Cumberland has pleaded guilty in connection to the death of Lisa Ann Simmons, whose body was found last month in a remote location in Winchester, Virginia. Schleuniger will be sentenced on January 14th, and it's expected he will receive a sentence of 30 years with ten suspended. He was indicted in October. Schleuniger eventually led law enforcement authorities to her body. He has also agreed to speak with Washington County  law enforcement authorities, regarding the death of his prior girlfriend in 2010. The cause of death for Tammy Myerly was ruled "undetermined," and that case was closed by law enforcement.


Rape Suspect Indicted

Twenty-four year old Marlon Matthew-Khan Hawkins has been indicted by an Allegany County Grand Jury, charging him with second-degree rape. The alleged incident happened in October of last year, when Hawkins was accused of raping an 18-year old woman. Evidence was taken, and DNA from the victim matched samples from Hawkins. He is currently free on $10,000 bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for December 10th.


Two Charged in Hit and Run

Two area residents have been charged in connection with a hit and run incident that happened in mid-November. Thirty-four year old Robert Deter III of Cumberland and 25-year old Alicia Royer of Frostburg were in a pickup truck which struck two people in an alley behind Maryland Avenue on November 13th. Both victims were treated at the Western Maryland Regional Hospital, and both Deter and Ms. Royer were subsequently charged and released pending trial in District Court.


No Charges in Garrett County Accident

No charges were filed in an accident early yesterday morning on westbound Interstate 68 near the five-mile marker. Twenty-year old Malcolm Satchell of Butler, Pennsylvania fell asleep at the wheel of his vehicle, which left the roadway and struck the guardrail. He traveled down an embankment about 75 feet. He was not injured and refused treatment at the scene. Responding were crews from the Friendsville Fire Department and the Northern Garrett Ambulance service.


Demolition Meeting to be Held

The Allegany County Board of Education will hold a meeting on Tuesday, December 17th at 6 p.m. at Allegany High School. The meeting will be to inform nearby residents of the plans for demolition of the former Braddock campus of the Western Maryland Health System, which has been selected as the site for the new Allegany High School. Representatives from the design firm of Grimm & Parker Architects will be in attendance to provide the public with an overview of the demolition process, schedule and traffic changes.


Town Hall Meeting Held on Sideling Designation

Some residents want the Western Maryland delegation to the General Assembly to have Sideling Hill designated as "wildlands," to protect any future development. The Department of Natural Resources has abandoned the idea of allowing off-road vehicle trails on Sideling Hill. Senator George Edwards says that certain criteria must be met for an area to be designated as wildlands; if the criteria is met, then the DNR would sponsor legislation through the governor's office to make the designation.


Local Author Has Book

Local author Frank Bittinger  has a new book available for Kindle called "A Christmas Canticle." Proceeds from the book will benefit area animals in need. The author says the book is a variation on the Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol.," The book is available at Amazon dot com.


Slow Start to Holiday Shopping in Maryland

Holiday shopping in Maryland "did not meet expectations," according to the Maryland Retailers Association. Stopping short of calling shopping "bleak," Patrick Donaho, of the MRA, says many retailers weren't "overjoyed" by weekend figures. Donaho blamed an early start to the holiday shopping season as one of the reasons, because of the short amount of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Retailers may have to resort to bigger discounts and better bargains as Christmas draws closer.


Tobacco Use Declines for West Virginia Youth

Nearly half of high school students in West Virginia have never used tobacco. A recently released survey shows that the percentage of students who have never smoked cigarettes increased from 25.7 per cent in 2000, to 53.2 per cent in 2013. The percentage of teen smokers has declined from 38.5 per cent to 18.6 per cent during the same period. Outreach programs and those aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of tobacco are being credited for the decline.


Trial for Bunker Hill Woman Set

A Bunker Hill, West Virginia woman will stand trial in March, after being accused of selling a lethal dose of heroin to a man who died in March of 2012. Thirty-nine year old Autumn Blaine is accused of providing the drug to 32-year old Paul Burcham, who was found in Ms. Blaine's home. His cause of death was listed as a large amount of morphine in his blood, along with other unprescribed narcotics.  


Trial of Teen Murder Suspect Changed

The trial of a Morgantown teenager, charged with the murder of a friend, has beed moved up from February of next year to January. Sheila Eddy is accused of the July, 2012 murder of Skylar Neese, whose body was found in Greene County,  Pennsylvania, just north of Morgantown earlier this year. Ms. Eddy and Rachel Shoaf were charged. Ms. Shoaf has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. In the Eddy case, pre-trial motions will be heard on January 22nd, with the trial set for January 28th.

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