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Local News-UPDATES

Cumberland Man Arrested for Threats

Thirty-two year old Cumberland resident Christopher David Shrader faces numerous charges in connection with threats he allegedly made against employees of the Allegany County Department of Social Services. Shrader allegedly threatened to blow up the Social Services building, and had threatened individual employees. Shrader had an assault rifle and handgun, that were found during a search of his residence. Investigators also found suspected marijuana and crack cocaine; however, no explosive or bomb-making materials were found. He is being held on $75,000 bond, pending his next court appearance, and additional weapons and CDS charges are pending.


Garrett County Developers Indicted

Two Garrett County developers have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to a $3.7 million bank fraud conspiracy. Accident resident Samuel R. VanSickle and Louis Strosnider have been charged. The indictment alleges they were involved in land deals together, and used fake documents that included false names and inflated sale prices to secure a total of over $3 million in bank loans for two properties in Garrett County. Federal authorities are asking for the forfeiture of the money, and 40 properties in Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, held in either Van Sickle's name or in the names of nominees. A hearing is scheduled for February 28th in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.


Carpendale Fire Reported

No injuries were reported in a fire on Maryland Street in Carpendale yesterday morning. Firefighters were called out shortly before 8 a.m., with the Ridgeley Volunteer Fire Department the first to arrive. They were joined by several other Maryland departments, along with Potomac Edison personnel and Carpendale town employees. The Mineral County 911 Center handled the communication throughout the incident.


Four Remain in Hospital

Four people remained in the hospital, following Sunday's tour bus accident on Route 220, near the Maryland/Pennsylvania state line. That number includes the driver of the bus, Terrence Shultz. The bus, owned by Freedom Excursions of Altoona, was on its way to the Rocky Gap Casino Resort, when Shultz lost control on the snow-covered road. The owner of Freedom Excursions, Bill and Deborah Scully, said the driver's reaction in the moments before impact avoided a much more serious accident.

Pealer Passes at Age 92

Woodward "Woody" Pealer, a retired businessman, philanthropist, and judge of the Maryland Tax Court, has passed away at age 92 in Sun City Center, Florida. Frostburg State University named its recital hall and performing arts building in honor of Pealer and his wife, Virginia, who has also passed away. A memorial service for Pealer will be held in the spring for Pealer at Arlington National Cemetery. He had asked that donations be directed for Frostburg State University in his memory.


Garrett County Man Sentenced for Heroin Possession

Thirty-one year old Grantsville resident Jarrod Olen Wilburn has been sentenced to ten years in prison, with six of those suspended, for conspiracy to possess heroin with intent to distribute. Wilburn entered an Alford plea, which does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the state had sufficient evidence to convict him. He will be on probation, following his release. The case stems back to July, when he was stopped for a traffic violation; police found hypodermic needles in his car. Wilburn had admitted that he was traveling to purchase heroin for others.


Chamber Issues Minimum Wage Position

While the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce does not oppose raising Maryland's minimum wage, it feels the amount of the increase should be determined by the individual counties. Executive Director Stu Czapski says there are eight bills being considered in the General Assembly. He notes three things can happen now, including allowing businesses to absorb the cost; they can eliminate the expense, or pass it on to the consumer. Czapski said that one small business in the area did a quick calculation on increasing the minimum wage by only one dollar. Raising the minimum wage would increase the cost of goods and services, possibly driving consumers out of the area. Czapski observes that it is very easy to move, to do business elsewhere.


Destruction of Property Investigated

The Cumberland City Police are investigating a series of destruction of property incidents in the Pine Avenue area of the city. Several vehicle windows were shattered during the early morning hours of Monday. It is believed that a person or persons shot out the windows of the cars with a BB-gun. The damage in each individual incident is believed to be several hundreds of dollars. Anyone with information should contact Cumberland City Police or Allegany County CrimeSolvers.


Westmar Parent Meeting Set

Westmar Middle School will host a meeting for the parents of current 8th grade Westmar students who will be attending Mountain Ridge High School as 9th graders next year. The meeting will be held at Westmar this evening at 6 p.m. School counselors from both Westmar and Mountain Ridge will be on hand to explain high school course selection.


First Mariner Files for Bankruptcy

First Mariner Bancorp has filed for bankruptcy and plans to sell to a group of investors. First Mariner has less than $5.5 million in assets and more than $60.5 million in debts. The holding company says First Mariner Bank will not file for bankruptcy and will operate separately from the holding company, and that there will be no interruption in services to customers. First Mariner Bank operates 16 bank branches in central Maryland.


House Introduces 4th Amendment Protection Act

A group of eight Republicans in the Maryland House of Delegates has introduced the "Fourth Amendment Protection Act," which would deny state support to federal agencies engaged in warrantless electronic surveillance in a move aimed at curtailing the National Security Agency's power to monitor and track citizens. The bill would deprive the NSA's headquarters at Fort Meade water and electricity carried over public utilities. The bill also prohibits the use of evidence gathered by the NSA in state courts and prevent state universities from partnering with the NSA on research.

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