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Local News

Children Removed from Potomac Center


Two dozen children have been removed from the Potomac Center on Blue Street in Romney, because of what one state official says was "inhumane and degrading" treatment. West Virginia State Police are conducting an investigation. Two other group homes, on Birch Lane and Washington Street were not affected. While not being specific on the nature of the investigation, it is known that State Police will continue to monitor the situation on a 24-hour basis.



O'Malley To Speak at PACE Breakfast


Governor Martin O'Malley is scheduled to deliver the keynote address Friday morning, at the annual PACE breakfast to be held at the Loew's/Annapolis hotel. The breakfast begins at 8 a.m., and other speakers include Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot and Maryland United States Senator Ben Cardin. The annual PACE reception will be held Thursday evening, and 22 displayers are signed up for the event.



McKay Comments on "State of the County"


Allegany County Commission President Mike McKay says the county is in its strongest financial position in years, despite the reduced size of government. This has been accomplished, without sacrificing services. Commissioner McKay says county employees have "bought into" the idea of doing more with less, and expressed his thanks to them. Commissioner McKay notes that the Rocky Gap casino now has 500 full-time employees, who have benefits. Thanks to the Western Maryland delegation, and in particular to Senator George Edwards, the county can designate where and how proceeds from the casino can be spent. Through the Allegany County Commissioners' Scholarship Fund, funds are sent to both Allegany College of Maryland and Frostburg State University.




Edwards Submits Speed Limit Legislation


Maryland State Senator George Edwards is submitting legislation that would increase the maximum speed limit on Interstate 68  to 70 miles-per-hour. The legislation was read for the first time last Monday, and also addresses speed limits in other areas of the state.



Scholarship Fund MOU Signed


A memorandum of understanding was signed last last week, that would establish the Allegany County Opportunity Scholarship at Frostburg State University. The fund would benefit students from Allegany County, and will funded by revenues to the county from the Rocky Gap Casino Resort. One-fourth of the revenue received will benefit Allegany County Students attending FSU, and the first of those will be awarded this year.



Adult Education Orientation Sessions Set


The Adult Education Program offered by the Allegany County Public School System will offer two, two-hour orientation sessions on February 5th and 6th, and February 19th and 20th at the One Stop Job Center in Cumberland. The orientation will give an overview of the adult education programs, the GED and the National External Diploma Program. For more information, call the Adult Education Program at (301)-687-8025.



Fired Dispatchers to Appeal


Two Grant County dispatchers who were fired last week, say they intend to appeal. Both Hunter Whetzel and Jared Alt were fired, after airing a Christmas message, with overtly Christian overtones, on the county's pager system on Christmas Eve. The message was sent out when all emergency vehicles in the county were in service, and not responding to emergency calls. They say they were cited for insubordination and violation of Federal Communications Commission  regulations regarding public safety frequency usage.



PBS Lays Off More Workers


PBS Coals, based in Friedens, Pennsylvania, has laid off another 40 people. The coal company reached a high of 1,000 employees in 2011, and was one of Somerset County's larges employers. The company now has fewer than 450 workers.



Citi Facility to Lay off Employees


The Citi facility, north of Hagerstown, has announced plans to lay off 650 employees by the end of the year; fifty will be furloughed by the end of March, and an additional 600-about 200 who work at the facility and another 400 who work from home-will be laid off by the end of the year. Layoffs are part of Citi job losses nationwide. A total of 950 will be laid off as a result of the sale of mortgage-servicing rights.



Spending Bill Includes Air Traffic Control Towers


Part of  the federal appropriations bill last week will provide about $140-millionin funding, to ensure all 149 federally contract air-traffic control towers threatened by last year's sequester budget cuts will remain open. This includes the tower at Hagerstown Regional Airport. The House and Senate passed the overall $1.1 trillion spending bill that contains the appropriations for the towers.  Maryland U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski is the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.




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