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City Pre-Treated Roads Before Storm

The city of Cumberland has anywhere from 110 to 115 tons of salt on hand for the current winter storm. Cumberland City Administrator Jeff Rhodes says that, in order to conserve on solid salt, yesterday crews used a liquid, salt brine to pre-treat streets before the storm hit. Rhodes says, that in any given winter season, the city bases its salt needs on past history, but always has several hundred tons of salt on hand. Rhodes says there is currently a salt shortage in the Northeastern portion of the country, but it's not because of a lack of product. According to his Facebook page, Cumberland Mayor Brian Grim says the city is critically low on road salt, with about 40 tons brought in this week. The city is cutting back on its use, but pre-treated the roads yesterday in advance of the storm. Untreated and unsalted roads could remain icy and slick for a few days.


Bill Could Aid Cumberland's Downtown

A bill, introduced by the Western Maryland delegation, could help in marketing the upper stories of commercial buildings, such as those in downtown Cumberland. Senator George Edwards says the goal of the legislation is to fill up the empty space of those structures. According to the language of the bill, a property tax credit would be granted for the "adaptive reuse" of upper stories. The Senate and House will hear the bill next week.


Man Jailed in Assault

Twenty-six year old Cumberland resident Kevin Lee Gordon is being held at the Allegany County jail on $5,000 bond, after being arrested for assaulting his wife. Cumberland City Police learned that Gordon had allegedly pushed his wife to the ground in the North Mechanic Street area. He also allegedly hit her. She suffered minor injuries that did not require medical attention. Following a hearing he was taken to the Detention Center.


Keyser Considering Impound Lot

The city of Keyser is considering the use of a lot, adjacent to the courthouse, as an impound facility, where seized cars are taken for drug cases or other offenses. The lot could be a revenue source for the county, as any fees assessed for storage would be paid to the city itself. The West Virginia Department of Highways bought the lot, which formerly housed the Mineral News-Tribune, and decided to turn it over to Keyser, following completion of the new Memorial Bridge.


Wiley Ford Fire Company Receives Ambulance

The Wiley Ford Volunteer Fire Company will be able to provide ambulance service to the area, after receiving a unit from Fort Ashby. The company will operate the new ambulance according to licensing requirements, members can staff it, and if the company retains insurance for six months. After that, the service will be reevaluated. And, while Wiley Ford requested to become a member of the ambulance authority, the group noted it was at capacity with 15 members and the request was not approved.


Mineral Commissioners Begin Budget Process

As is the case with Allegany County, their Mineral County counterparts are beginning budget hearings for Fiscal Year 2015. The proposed budget is due at the West Virginia Auditor's office by the end of March. Several groups presented their budget requests yesterday, including the Mineral County Soil Conservation District, the Family Crisis Center and the Potomac Valley Transit Authority.


Employee Remains on Leave

County employee Kevin Shaffer remains on paid leave, after twice using a vulgar word at the December meeting of the commissioners. Shaffer is meeting with his attorney, and county officials are remaining tight-lipped, because it is a personnel matter. Shaffer was placed on administrative leave a day after the meeting, which began as a discussion on the commissioners' refusal to aid the Western Maryland Food Bank. Commission President Mike McKay quickly gaveled the meeting to a close, and Shaffer has been told not return to the County Office Complex until "told to do so."


Washington Middle Parent Meeting Scheduled

Fort Hill High School counselors will host an informational session for the parents of Washington Middle School 8th graders next Tuesday, February 18th. The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. in the Fort Hill High School cafeteria. Information will be provided on high school graduation requirements and ninth grade course selection.


Garrett Sets Make Up Days

Garrett County has now missed 14 school days because of bad weather, and, as is the case in Allegany County, some of those days will have to be made up. Schools will now be open from Monday, April 14th through Thursday, April 17th; Monday, April 20th; along with June 4th through the 13th. The last day for students will be Monday, June 16th, and they'll be dismissed two hours early. The last day for teachers will be June 17th, and the last two days for instructional assistants will be June 18th and June 19th. The calendar remains subject to change, depending on any more closures.


Feds Raid Somerset County Charity

The FBI and IRS agents raided the Somerset County home, business, and donation warehouse of Sam Childers, who is known as the "Machine Gun Preacher." Childers, who is Africa doing work, says the federal government is looking for something they won't find. Agents removed computers from the warehouse and boxes of donations for the "Angels of East Africa" charity. Childers believes it stems from actions of his former son-in-law, who he says stole thousands of dollars from the non-profit group.


Comcast To Buy Time-Warner Cable

Comcast has announced its intent to acquire Time Warner Cable, in a $45 billion deal that will result in the largest cable company in the United States. The two companies expect the merger to take effect by the end of the year. With the acquisition, Comcast will have even more leverage of the television, broadband Internet and phone service marketplace. It appears unlikely that Charter, another company that tried to acquire Time Warner, will stand in the way of the Comcast offer.


Residents Want to Form Their Own State

A group of Western Maryland residents are still pushing to form their own state. Residents of five counties, including Allegany, Garrett, Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties are saying Governor O'Malley is out of touch and they want to break from the rest of the state. The group claims Maryland lawmakers are not listening to their concerns, so they want to form a state that is more "in sync" with their beliefs. More than 8,000 people like the Facebook page for the Western Maryland initiative. Western Maryland is not alone in its frustration, as similar movements are underway in Colorado, California, Arizona and Michigan.


Attorney Believes Bail for Suspect Wrong

The Blair County District Attorney, Richard Consiglio disagrees with the decision of a federal judge to grant bail for 18-year old Russian citizen Vladislav Miftakhov, who is accused of making bombs in the his Altoona home. The case was moved to federal court last week, and he is charged with making and possessing unregistered destructive devices. Miftakhov is a legal, permanent resident of the United States, but is not a citizen. For his part, Attorney Consiglio, who has had bitter disagreements in the past with the federal public defender's office says they are "anti-victim, anti-law enforcement, and amoral," as far as he is concerned.

Rhonda Keefer
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