Victim Identified, Origin of Frostburg Fire Determined
The victim of an early morning fire at 144 Bowery Street two weeks ago, has been positively identified as Lateef Gazal of Bowie. A preliminary report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the cause of death to be thermal burn injuries and smoke inhalation. The fire originated in the kitchen of the home. It has also been determined that the fire was likely accidental in nature. Investigators are still looking for the specific source of ignition of the fire. Smoke alarms were present, but it cannot be verified if they were operational.
Four Arrested in Courthouse Protest
Four people were arrested yesterday, after blocking the entrance to the Allegany County courthouse on Washington Street. They were protesting the Cove Point fracked gas export plan. Taken into custody were Cumberland residents Desiree Bullard and Benjamin Brown, along with Gabriel Echeverri of Frostburg and Unitarian Church minister Terrence Ellen of Pikesville, Maryland. All four were charged with blocking free passage to a public building. Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson said he had some advance knowledge of the protest, in which about 25 to 30 people participated.
Moorefield Man Sentenced to Prison
Hardy County resident Timothy Hawks was sentenced to 46 months in prison and three years supervised release for possession of material used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. Hawks was among a group of ten individuals who were recently sentenced in United States District Court in Elkins. Hawks was taken into custody of a U.S. Marshal, pending assignment to a federal institution.
Accident Sends One to Ruby Memorial
A three vehicle accident on Chestnut Ridge Road, south of the Pennsylvania state line sent one man to Ruby Memorial Hospital late yesterday afternoon. A car, operated by Jessica Shuck of Ridgeley went out of control and was struck by another, operated by Joe Arnold of Meyersdale, Pennsylvania. The passenger in Ms. Shuck's car, Daniel Ryan, also of Ridgeley, was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital. A third vehicle, following the Arnold vehicle, was unable to stop and collided with Arnold's car. The investigation is continuing by the Maryland State Police.
Georgia Man Jailed in Keyser
Bowen, Georgia resident Jared Mitchell was jailed on $1250 bond following an incident at a bar there. Mitchell was staying at a local hotel in the area, and working on a construction project. He was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and indecent exposure, when he refused to leave Clancy's Bar. He was also combative with officers who took him into custody.
Federal Lawsuit Settled
A federal lawsuit, filed by two former Bedford County Sheriff's Deputies, has been settled. The deputies, Charles Stuby and Lukas Berkey claimed their civil rights were violated; they further charged they were fired, as Stuby opposed Sheriff Charwin Reichelderfer, and Berkey campaigned for Stuby. A trial date had been set for March 24th, but the settlement was announced this week. While neither side revealed terms of the settlement, the deputies had asked for their former jobs back, and about $83,000 in lost wages and benefits.
Pre-K Through First Grade Registrations Set
Children who will enter Allegany County Public Schools this August should be registered on March 21st and 22nd at the appropriate elementary school, as determined by residence. A child entering the pre-K program must be four years old on or before September 1st of the school year in which they apply for entrance. There is other documentation required. For more information, call either (301)-759-2001 or (301)-759-2012.
Hooley Plunge Set for Tomorrow
A slight chance of snow and rain, with a high near 43 degrees...that's the forecast for tomorrow's Hooley Plunge, to benefit the Allegany County Special Olympics and programs for the developmentally disabled. Becky McClarren says registration begins at 10 a.m., and the plunge is at 1 p.m. Ms. McClarren says that even if you're not plunging, everyone is invited to come to Lake Habeeb and watch the event. Every penny raised stays in the area, and goes to various programs for the developmentally disabled.
Hagerstown Man Convicted of Rape
Hagerstown resident Montague Sutherland could face life in prison, after his conviction for the rape of a Washington County woman. Sutherland is also accused of dousing the woman with bleach after the attack. He was arrested in April of last year, for the March attack, with his arrest coming after a DNA matched a sample taken from the victim. Sutherland was additionally found guilty of first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, reckless endangerment, theft and other charges.
Hotel Stay Bill Proposed
Maryland State Senator Allen Kittleman is proposing a bill that would limit hotel stays for some legislators during the annual session. Kittleman believes lawmakers who live within 50 miles of Annapolis should drive to and from the State House each day, except during the last two weeks of the session or when there is bad weather. His bill, he says, would save almost $800,000 a year. Currently lawmakers are allowed a $101-per day hotel stipend.
West Virginia Teen Sentenced
Seventeen-year old Rachel Shoaf has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the stabbing death of classmate Skylar Neese in 2012, but could be eligible for parole in 10 yers. A circuit court judge imposed a harsher sentence that prosecutors recommended in a plea bargain agreement. Ms. Shoaf will remain in a juvenile facility until she turns 18; after that she will be transferred to an adult detention center. Another person involved in the murder, 18-year old Sheila Eddy, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole.
CDC Determines Water "Safe" for Use
The Centers for Disease Control. says it's now safe to use the water contaminated by a chemical spill in Charleston last month. To this point the agency has avoided the use of the word "safe." The water can now be used for drinking and cooking. The January 9th spill tainted the water supply for about 300,000 people.