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Man Pleads Guilty in Smothering Death

Somerset County resident Cody Schartiger has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the smothering death of his girlfriend's eighteen-month old infant daughter in November of 2011. Schartiger faces up to 22 years in prison on the manslaughter count and one of reckless endangerment for injuring his own 3-year old son in November of 2010. Baylee Svenungsen was found dead in her crib, and her mother, Amanda had previously pleaded guilty to endangerment charges related to the death. She was sentenced to time already served in jail, a total of 74 days.

 

Beitzel Introduces Highway User Legislation

Delegate Wendell Beitzel has introduced a bill in the house which would increase the portion of motor fuel tax and highway user revenue that is shared with the counties, Baltimore City and municipalities. The state has drastically reduced the Highway User Revenue share, and local governments have struggled to adequately budget for local funding to maintain roads. Some counties have been forced to reduce road crews and eliminate or delay road projects and improvements. Delegate George Edwards has cross-filed a similar bill in the Senate, and it is expected to be heard next Wednesday, February 19th.

 

Sideling Hill Bill Heard

Supporters of a measure that would prohibit off-road vehicle trails in the Sideling Hill Wildlife Management area received a hearing before committees in both the Senate and House on Wednesday. The bill was introduced by State Senator George Edwards and Delegate LeRoy Myers, and it is backed by a group of residents from the area near Hancock.

 

Edwards Introduces Pistol Legislation

State Senator George Edwards'  bill that would allow bow hunters to carry a handgun for protection, passed in the Maryland Senate this week. The vote was 43 to 2, and now goes to the House of Delegates. Senator Edwards says a bow and arrow would not adequately protect hunters if a bear tried to attack them.

 

Man Drives Into Porch, Arrested for DUI/DWI

Hyndman, Pennsylvania resident Harvey Sturtz was arrested in Cumberland yesterday, and charged with DUI/DWI. Sturtz is accused of driving his vehicle into a woman's porch in the 500-block of Centre Street. There were no injuries, and the home was not damage. He was issued citations and released pending trial in District Court.

 

Grading Periods Pushed Back in Mineral County

Mineral County is moving its last three, six-week grading periods because of the number of weather-related school closings. The end of the school year is also being delayed. The last six-week period will now end on Thursday, May 29th, and the date for report cards will be announced.

 

Garrett County Featured in Baltimore Sun

Garrett County was the focus of an article in yesterday’s Baltimore Sun, naming the county as “Maryland’s Sweet Spot For Snow”.  Writer Dan Rodricks says he likes to go over Garrett weather facts now and then for their shock value and for the perspective they provide for weather-worried neighbors in Baltimore.  Rodricks points out that the average snow fall in Garrett County is 138 inches, and 4 years ago recorded 262.5 inches.  In the winter of 1985, the temperature at Oakland hit minus-36 with a wind chill of minus-120, with 42 inches of snow on the ground.  The article also pointed that snowfall is sometimes early in Garrett County, In 1976, Garrett County had snow on May 20.

 

Minimum Wage Debate in Annapolis

Both Governor Martin O'Malley and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown have testified in favor of a bill that would increase the state's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016. Washington County Delegate Neil Parrott has also testified in support of a bill that would allow counties to set their own minimum wage rates. George Mason University economist Stephen Fuller says that even with an increase to $10 per hour, one-half billion dollars is taken out of the economy, and there are effects from that.

 

Verizon Reorganization Affects Some Maryland Workers

Verizon announced some changes this week, which include closing customer service centers in some states and changing the types of jobs in other states. Severance packages are being offered to those who don't want to move or can't find different jobs within the company. The changes are expected to be completed by May, and would affect workers at the Hanover, Maryland location.

 

Committee Holds Hearings on Pre-K

The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee held hearings on a bill that would expand pre-kindergarten to 1600 more children in the state. Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown has set a goal of making pre-kindergarten universal in Maryland by 2018. Governor O'Malley has budgeted $4.3 million for the project, and would expand kindergarten to children who are up to 300 per cent of the federal poverty level.

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