O'Malley Wants Higher Minimum Wage
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley says Maryland has the highest median income in the nation, and is looking to increase the state's minimum wage. Twenty-one other states have higher minimum wage rates than Maryland. O'Malley is presiding over his final General Assembly session as Governor, and believes when workers have the ability to spend more money, the economy does better.
Casinos Report Low Revenue
Maryland's four casinos generated only about $65 million in December, the lowest monthly total since the Rocky Gap Casino opened in May. For its part, Rocky Gap, with 558 slots and 13 table games, brought in about $2.6 million in December. Overall, the highest amount of revenue last year was in August, when the casinos brought in about $71 million. Revenues in December contributed nearly $25 million for the state's education trust fund.
Keyser Resident Killed in Crash
Fifty-six year old Keyser resident Robert Paul Thomas died in an early morning crash along Route 93, near the Mineral-Grant County line. Thomas was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. His truck left the roadway, hit two trees and caught fire. He and a passenger were trapped inside the truck. There is no word on the condition, nor the identity of the passenger. The investigation into the 5:30 a.m. crash is continuing.
Locally Wanted Man Arrested at Airport
An Aberdeen, Maryland man, who is wanted in Allegany County, was arrested at BWI/Thurgood Marshall Airport, while attempting to board a plane to Canada. Thirty-seven year old Michael Shanahan is wanted by the Allegany County Sheriff's Office for failure to appear in court on a charge of drug paraphernalia possession. He was arrested and turned over to the Maryland Transportation Authority Police for extradition back to Allegany County.
Man Taken to Hospital
Eighty-eight year old Rawlings resident William Heyl Ack was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, after he got out of his truck, while it was still in gear. Ack pulled off the shoulder of Route 135; he was flown to the hospital and treated.
Truck Accident in Hampshire County
There were no serious injuries in an accident involving two trucks on Route 28 in Springfield, West Virginia. A 2008 Chevrolet Silverado, driven by Jacob Weimer and traveling northbound, traveled left of center and hit a 2014 CSX dump truck, driven by Edward Long which was traveling in the opposite direction. The dump truck went off the roadway, striking Charles Boland's "Storybook Joinery" handcrafted furniture and two vehicles in his driveway. Neither driver was hospitalized.
Man Arrested in Business Burglary
Cumberland resident Michael Edward Brennan, an employee of Uncle Jack's Pizzeria, has been arrested in connection with a burglary there that occurred in early December. Brennan is accused of removing a small safe, containing an undisclosed sum of cash, and a DVR recording system. There was no sign of forced entry, and surveillance video of several other local businesses in the area was reviewed. Brennan was charged with burglary, but also marijuana possession, when a small amount was found on him. He is being held at the Allegany County Detention Center on $20,000 bond.
Man Arrested in Domestic Incident
Wills Creek Avenue resident Trevor Laber was arrested by Cumberland City Police, following an alleged domestic assault incident at his home. Laber is accused of assaulting his wife, then taking their infant son from the home. He was located a short distance away, and was placed under arrest. After being charged with second-degree assault, he was taken for a bond hearing, and released on personal recognizance.
Speaker Discusses General Assembly Session
Several Democrats, on both the state and federal level, have been critical of the troubled health care exchange site in Maryland. Maryland Speaker of the House Michael Busch says he doesn't want to point fingers of blame, and that everyone had the best intentions with the state and national sites. He says that the states that established websites before the launch of the federal site, are in a much better position. Busch says Maryland is in "reasonable territory" with regard to corporate income taxes, although some Republican may push for as much as a 10 per cent reduction in income taxes. Busch believes that consumer confidence may be bolstered by an agreement that will prevent another government sequestration for at least two more years. He also commented on a possible benefit from increased transportation revenues.
County Executive Wants Gas Tax Exemption
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz wants county owned vehicles exempted from the state's gas tax. Kamenetz says the exemption could save Baltimore County about $2 million annually. Baltimore County now receives about $3 million in highway user funds, but that amount is down from the $45 million it used to receive.
Highway Funding to be Discussed in West Virginia
West Virginia has lost about $100 million, or 20 per cent of its highway funding, and legislators in the Mountain State will be addressing that shortfall, as its legislative session gets underway. The State Transportation Secretary and the Tomblin Administration are looking for ways to make up the shortfall. While tolls and tax hikes are unpopular suggestions, some cost-cutting measures are already underway.