Man Sentenced to Life Without Parole
A Garrett County man will spend the rest of his life in jail, after entering an Alford plea earlier in the year, in connection with the deaths of two people in Oakland. Forty-seven year old Jeffrey Charles Minnick, a convicted sex offender, acknowledged the state had sufficient evidence and would likely find him guilty, under the Alford plea. He is accused of the murder of 24-year old Timothy Brandon Field Lax and 18-year old Jessica Irene Baker, shoe bodies were found at a campsite near the railroad tracks in Oakland. Minnick was adamant that he had not killed Ms. Baker, however.
Driver Cited in McMullen Highway Crash
A Lost City, West Virginia man was cited for negligent driving, after his rig went out of control, near the Western Correctional Institution on Friday. Benjamin Pyles was traveling south on McMullen Highway, when his vehicle drifted off the roadway, striking a tree near the Mullaney Building. It took several hours to remove the truck, but did not affect traffic on McMullen Highway. Pyles refused medical treatment, and after receiving a citation, was released from the scene.
Cumberland Woman Charged in Assault
An argument over money resulted in a Cumberland woman being charged with second-degree assault Saturday night. Twenty-one year old Jerica Brooke Barnes was taken in to custody, following the incident in the 200-block of Maple Streeet. The victim suffered a bloody nose, a swollen eye and scratches on the face. Ms. Barnes was released on personal recognizance, following a hearing in Allegany County District Court.
Snowmobile Accident Injures One Person
A person was taken to Garrett County Memorial Hospital over the weekend, after a snowmobiling accident on Mason School road. The incident happened around 9:42 p.m. Saturday. Neither the identity nor the condition of the victim is known. Southern and Northern Garrett Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene.
Addison Man Charged With Holding People at Gunpoint
Forty-seven year old Addison resident James Owen Holliday is accused of keeping four people at gunpoint last week, threatening to shoot and kill them numerous times over several hours. He is also accused of threatening to shoot an officer in the head, and then kill the others and himself. Bond for Holliday was set at $150,000,with special conditions, including a mental health evaluation.
HCC Considering Renaming of ARCC for Brown
The Hagerstown Community College Board of Trustees is considering naming the school’s Athletic, Recreation and Community Center after former Coach and Athletic Director Jim Brown. A decision will be made at the board’s February 19th meeting. The Washington County Commissioners have unanimously approved a resolution in support of the move.
Child ID Theft Bill to Take Effect
A Maryland law, which allows parents to better protect their children from identity theft is taking effect this week. The child identity law will allow parents to freeze their child’s credit at any time. The bill will also help the elderly and developmentally disabled, who could become victims of identity theft. The law not only applies to those 16 and younger, it also affects an incapacitated person, who has a legal guardian.
Gambling Lobbyists Top Spending List
The State Ethics Commission has released a list of employers who spent $50,000 or more on gambling lobbyists between May and October of this year. Building Trades for National Harbor, Inc., spent about $2.7 million, the most money on the list. Eight lobbyists reported more than a million dollars in compensation for lobbying to have expanded gambling passed in Maryland. Topping that list is Timothy Perry, who earned just over $1.3 million for his efforts.
Police Identify Shooting Victim
Cumberland City Police have released the identity of the man who took his own life last Saturday in the Maryland Avenue area. Fifty-one year old William Bruce Swift turned a gun on himself, after being stopped by a Cumberland City Police officer. Swift had been wanted on an outstanding bench warrant for failure to appear on original charges of obstructing firefighters, second-degree assault, disturbing the peace and resisting arrest. Swift is believed to have been from the Prince George's County area. Law enforcement officials have been unable to locate or notify any next of kin, and are asking anyone who may have information that would assist them, to call. The investigation and circumstances surrounding the incident is continuing.
Rocky Gap Manager Named
The current vice-president of Lakes Entertainment has been named the general manager of Rocky Gap Lodge and Golf Resort. Scott Just will assume that position in the new year. As was reported last week, Lakes Entertainment announced it had secured the financing to convert convention space at Rocky Gap into a casino, create new meeting rooms at the lodge, and refurbish the lobby and guest rooms. The casino should be opening in the second quarter of the new year with 550 slot machines.
No Injuries in M.V. Smith Road Fire
There were no injuries in a fire early yesterday morning in the 10,000-block of the M.V. Smith road. The home had working smoke alarms, and all three occupants of the home had evacuated the structure safely. The home is owned by Marla Hudgins. The fire was confined to the flue area, and the residents were instructed to have that inspected before using their woodburner. The home has electric heat as well. The original call came in around 4 a.m., and the last unit cleared the scene by 6 a.m.
Juvenile Arrested for Assaulting Family Member
A male juvenile was transferred to the Western Maryland Children Center in Washington County, after breaking out a window of a family member's vehicle, and then assaulting a male family member by punching them in the head. The incident happened in the 800-block of Mount Royal Avenue. The juvenile was initially taken to the Cumberland Police Department for processing, before being transferred to Washington County.
Man Arrested for Marijuana Possession, DUI
A Wiley Ford man was arrested early Christmas morning for driving while impaired by alcohol and possession of marijuana. Forty-nine year old Lane Louis Edwards was stopped on Greene Street, after he allegedly committed several traffic violations. The arresting officer detected an odor of alcohol, and spotted a clear, plastic baggie, containing suspected marijuana. He received a hearing before a District Court Commissioner and was released, pending trial in District Court.
Bedford Approves Budget
Slashing costs where they can, the Bedford County Commissioners approved the 2013 budget, during a meeting yesterday. The final budget is largely identical to the $15 million spending plan, presented to the public on December 7th. Most landowners in Bedford County will be paying more, due to higher assessed values in place this year.
Somerset Man Faces Up to 80 Years in Prison
Twenty-year old Somerset County resident Zechariah Spencer could spend up to 80 years in prison and nearly $196,000 in fines, after pleading guilty to his involvement in multiple theft cases, some of which involved the theft of firearms, a felony. A pre-trial scheduling conference is set for the January criminal trial term. He had been charged in three districts, Somerset, Boswell, and Confluence, in a rash of thefts that involved adult co-defendants. Some of those thefts also involved a 16-year old male juvenile.
Round-the-Clock Gambling Underway in Maryland
The only gambling facility in the state to operate 24-hours a day, opened yesterday at Arundel Mills. The Maryland Live Casino operation received approval from the state gambling commission to do so earlier this month. Two other casinos in the state-one in Perryville and another near Ocean City-will only offer 24-hour operations on weekends, starting today. The management at Ocean Downs may ask for permission to operate 'round the clock during the summer months.
Unemployment Fund Stable Through 2013
The West Virginia Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund should continue to be stable in the coming year, according to the executive director of WORKFORCE West Virginia, Russell Fry. The fund has a balance of $117 million, despite recent layoffs in the coal industry; it collected $241 million from employers this year, and paid out nearly $230 million in unemployment compensation. Traditionally, Fry says, December and January are the hardest months on the trust fund.
Legislator To Call For Resource Officers in Every School
Maryland State Delegate and former police officer John Cluster is calling for resource officers in every elementary school. Delegate Cluster says a resource program will cost $50 million, and could be funded with money made from gambling expansion. He adds that the Department of Legislative Services estimates gambling revenue to be between $500 to $700 million, and ten per cent, according to Cluster, "doesn't sound like much to protect our kids."
Proposed Settlement Agreement for Oldtown Bridge
There is a proposed settlement agreement for the operators of the Oldtown Bridge, which includes a monthly pass program. Under the proposal, monthly passes would increase to $45 from the present $14 charge, and would be good for unlimited crossings during the month. Cars, trucks and vans would rise from 50-cents to $1.50; all others would increase from a dollar to $1.50. Tractor trailers and busses would increase to $6.00 per crossing, from the present charge of $2.00.
Economic Development Director Named
Garrett County has chosen its economic development director. Michael Koch, co-owner and board president of FireFly Farms, has 22 years in housing finance executive management. The former director, Jim Hinebaugh, announced his retirement last September.
Woman Arrested Following Domestic Assault
Forty-nine year old Patricia Jane Dye has been charged with assaulting her daughter and a Cumberland Police Officer, following a weekend incident in the 500-block of Maryland Avenue. She allegedly hit her daughter in the face with an open hand. As she was being arrested, she stomped on an officers' foot. She was later released on personal recognizance. No medical treatment was required, as there were no injuries. Child Protective Services was contacted and given the information about the assault. The juvenile left the residence with family member.
Somerset County Home Damaged by Fire
A home in the 800-block of Bunker Hill Road in Somerset County was damaged by fire over this past weekend. The flue in the home collapsed, with flames quickly spreading to the attic of the home. Most of the damage was confined to the rear of the structure. Six fire departments were called to the scene; fire officials there said nobody was hurt.
Skier Falls From Lift
A skier fell from a lift at Hidden Valley Resort in Somerset County. The fifteen-year old New York teen fell about 20 feet, after not pulling down the safety bar. He was either trying to fix his boot or binding and slipped. He was taken to the hospital for evaluation.
Man Causes Several Accidents, Faces DUI
A man from Inwood, West Virginia, who is in the United States illegally, and who did not have a valid drivers' license, caused numerous DUI accidents in the Bedford County area on Christmas Day. Twenty-nine year old Miguel Aguilar-Perez faces numerous charges, following the accidents. Police reportedly found eight open containers of beer inside his vehicle and was taken to UPMC Bedford for a blood-alcohol test. In all, Perez faces 14 charges, including felony agrravated assault by vehicle while DUI and not being properly licensed.
Homestead Property Tax Credit Deadline is Monday
Maryland homeowners have until Monday to apply for the state's Homestead Property Tax Credit, if they have not already done so. The credit was established five years ago, to help homeowners deal with large increases in the assessment on their principal residence. Counties and municipalities may not exceed ten per cent in their increase; they may also choose a lower limit on assessments.
EPA Fracking Report Released
The Environmental Protection Agency's progress report on potential impact of natural gas hydraulic fracturing and drilling on drinking water, does not come to any conclusions, and the final report won't be issued until next year. Sampling has been done in locations in Colorado, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas. The industry and many other states say the process is safe, when done properly; critics dispute that claim.
Mountain State Unemployment Declining
Unemployment in West Virginia declined two-tenths of a percentage point to 7.3 per cent in November. Twenty-nine counties, however, had increased rates, while 20 reported declines. Grant County was cited as having one of the highest unemployment rates in the state at 10.4 per cent for November.
New Page Emerges From Bankruptcy
A financial restructuring agreement, including a $500 million term loan from Goldman-Sachs Lending Partners, has been completed by the NewPage Corporation. This means the company can move on with business. Company officials have always maintained a commitment to the Luke plant, which employs about 870 people. In fact, the company has plans to add nearly $16 million in capital improvements to the local facility.
Oldtown Fire Ruled Accidental
A weekend fire, on Lower Town Creek Road in Oldtown, has been determined to be accidental in nature. No injuries were reported; the home, owned by Shannon Robison, incurred about $175,000 in damage to the structure and its contents. Fire broke out in the chimney, extending into two walls. The Maryland State Fire Marshal's office responded to investigate the blaze.
Christmas Assault Results in Arrest
A Cumberland man was released on his own recognizance, following a Christmas morning assault in the 1600 block of Frederick Street. A female victim had told police her husband assaulted her during an argument, where she had been pushed to the ground. Twenty-year old Matthew Stephen Tomczewski was taken into custody a short time later and processed. He received an initial appearance before a District Court Commissioner, before being released.
Two Charged with Domestic Assault
Two brothers, who had been fighting over a video game system, were arrested and later released on their own recognizance over the weekend. Thirty-six year old Carl Bohrer was accused by his 40-year old brother Melvin, of stealing a video game system from their Weber Street home. They fought, and both sustained injuries, but did not require medical treatment. They were released following their arrest, and a hearing before a District Court Commissioner.
Teen Faces Charges in Frederick Shooting
A 17-year old Frederick boy is facing numerous charges, after shooting another teen in the chest. Dylan Grey faces at least four charges in connection with the incident. Police say Grey had an argument with a 16-year old boy. He showed the victim a handgun, threatened him, and shot him once in the chest. The boy was taken to the Baltimore Shock Trauma Center, where he had been listed in serious, but stable, condition.
Maryland Loses 3100 jobs in November
Maryland’s preliminary unemployment rate dropped slightly last month, down one-tenth of a percentage point, as compared to October. The state’s November data, however, shows a loss of 3100 jobs. Maryland’s 6.7 per cent unemployment rate is a full percentage point below the national average and two-tenths of a percentage point from October’s rate of 7.9 per cent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the state has made “tremendous progress” this year, despite a disappointing November.
NAR Says Home Sales on the Rise
The National Association of Realtors says that, nationwide, sales of previously occupied homes jumped to the highest level in three years last month, bolstered by steady job gains and record-low mortgage rates. November sales rose to nearly 6 per cent to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 5.04 million. That is up from 4.76 million in October. Sales of previously occupied homes are on track for their best year in five years.
Nielsen Buys Columbia-Based Arbitron
Nielsen Holdings is buying Arbitron, Incorporated for about $1.26 billion. Nielsen is the company that tracks television viewing habits, and if the sale is approved, the deal will extend Nielsen’s dominance in television to radio. The company wants to offers its advertisers a unified system that measures audiences across multiple forms of media, making it easier to make ad-buying decisions, whether on TV, radio or the web.
Delegate Charged with “Boating While Intoxicated”
Anne Arundel County Delegate Don Dwyer has been charged in connection with a boating mishap on the Magothy River last August. Dwyer is accused of operating a power boat while drunk. Seven people were injured in the crash, as his boat collided with another vessel. Dwyer spend the night of August 22nd in Shock Trauma, and later told reporters his blood-alcohol level was 0.2; the legal limit in the state is .08.
Census Says People are Leaving “Charm City”
The U.S. Bureau of the Census says there are now more residents in Washington, D.C., than in Baltimore. Washington has gained more than 30,000 residents in the 27 months since the 2010 Census was conducted; the population has grown by more than 110,000 people since 1999. In comparison, Baltimore’s population is estimated to be 619,493, a decrease from a year ago.
South Cumberland Fire Being Brought Under Control
Numerous units remain on the scene, due to a fire at 414 Grand Avenue in Cumberland. The Allegany County Office of Emergency Services reports the call was received, just before 10 a.m. Several fire companies from Cumberland, Cresaptown and Ridgeley are on the scene, along with Columbia Gas and other utilities. There is no word on injuries. Flames could be seen coming through the roof, as an aerial unit from the Cumberland watered down that area. A building, adjacent to 414 Grand Avenue, also sustained damage.
Minister Receives Lengthy Prison Term
A traveling preacher who was convicted of raping an 11-year old girl in a Bedford motel room, will spend anywhere from 66 to 150 years in prison. The Reverend Walter Bradshaw, who is 63 years old, was sentenced to consecutive terms for child rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and aggravated sexual assault. Bradshaw was convicted in September of assaulting the girl in 2009 during an overnight hotel stay. Bradshaw had maintained his innocence throughout the trial and sentencing.
Man Charged with Arson of a Vehicle
A nineteen year old man has been charged with setting fire to a woman's car, in front of 9 West Clement Street yesterday morning. Bo Becker has been charged with second degree arson, malicious burning, and destruction of property. The fire occurred just after 7 a.m., as Cumberland Fire Department units quickly extinguished the fire on the exterior rear of a vehicle, belonging to Tammy McCaw of Cumberland. If convicted, Becker faces up to 24-1/2 years imprisonment and/or $33,000 in fines.
Commissioners Commit to New Allegany High School
The Allegany County Commissioners have agreed to borrow $9.2 million for its share of a new Allegany High School. The county will be looking for the best, general obligation bond loan possible. The total local share of the project will then be $12.2 million. The school, at the site of the former Sacred Heart Hospital on Haystack Mountain, is designed to seat 719 students, with some changes on that number possible, according to the Cumberland Times-News.
Man Arrested in Connection with November Incident
Thirty-seven year old Shannon Pendergast was arrested Wednesday, in connection with a domestic incident that happened on November 20th in the 1100-block of Kentucky Avenue. Pendergast is accused of assaulting a woman, shoving her, and causing her to fall several times. Injuries, consistent with the account, were observed, although the victim did not require medical attention. He was subsequently arrested, charged, and released on a $5,000 unsecured bond.
Two Arrested for Theft, Destruction of Property
Two Cumberland residents were arrested after being charged with breaking into an unoccupied home in the 100-block of Independence Street. Forty-five year old Matthew Iman and 24-year old Angela Dennison allegedly pried open the front door of the residence. Reports state a witness saw several people in a vacant building, using what appeared to be a candle for light. They were each charged with several counts of burglary, destruction of property and attempted theft of under $1,000. The pair had been awaiting an initial appearance in District Court.
Items Stolen From Garrett County Business
A person or persons entered Howe's Store on New Germany Road in Grantsville, and stole a 15,000-watt generator from the business. The theft happened between December 16th and 19th. Anyone with information is asked to contact the McHenry Barrack of the Maryland State Police.
Garrett Receives Program Open Space Funding
Garrett County will receive $3,000 in Program Open Space Funding to install backboards on the basketball hoops at the Oakland Armory. A portion of previously approved P.O.S. grants will also be used to improve the facility. The improvements include replacing a portion of the flooring at the existing basketball court and upgrading the flooring and lighting system in the gymnasium.
Somerset County Inmate Pleads Guilty
An inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Laurel Highlands has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, in connection with the death of fellow inmate Keith Williams last March. Mark Farabaugh fought with Williams, who died from a fractured skull two days after the fight. In Pennsylvania, involuntary manslaughter is a first-degree misdemeanor and could carry a five-year sentence.
Mikulski Named Appropriations Chair
Maryland United States Senator Barbara Mikulski has been named chair of the Senate Appropriations committee. Her assignment to that committee comes after Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy said he would not take the post. In reacting to the appointment, Senator Mikulski noted it was an honor and privilege to be expected to follow the great leadership of Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye, who passed away this week.
Johansson Resigns as DBED Secretary
Secretary of the Department of Business and Economic Development Christian Johansson resigned from that position earlier this week, and Governor Martin O'Malley has named Dominick Murray to the post. Johansson is joining the Maryland-based Laureate Education, to head a new group focused on university partnerships in the United States. Murrary has been deputy secretary of DBED since 2007.Min
Georgia Man Arrested for Marijuana, Bench Warrants
A traffic stop Tuesday evening led to the arrest of a Georgia man on drug charges and for three outstanding bench warrants. Cumberland City Police stopped 32-year old Anthony Robert Joyner on Henderson Avenue. The officer smelled a strong odor of burnt marijuana in the car; Joyner gave the officer a false name. He was charged with driving on an expired license, possession of marijuana, using a false identity to avoid prosecution and obstructing and hindering. It was also discovered he was wanted on three outstanding bench warrants, two from Washington County for failure to appear in court. The third was from Allegany County on the same charge. He was held on a total of $8,000 on the local charges and the two bench warrants.
Inmate Convicted of Murder
An inmate at the North Branch Correctional Institution has been found guilty of the murder of his cellmate. Brian Cotter was convicted of second-degree murder, in connection with the death of Lewis Thompson on December 8th of last year. Sentencing has been postponed until early next year. Cotter had killed Thompson, but staged the crime scene to appear as a suicide.
Skydiver Hurt During Military Exercise
A skydiving accident during military training sent one person to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center yesterday afternoon. The skydiver was transported from the Little Orleans area; he apparently jumped from the plane, and landed in a tree, resulting in serious injuries. Several units responded to the scene, including Orleans and District 16.
Boulevard Work Could Disrupt Traffic
A project will soon get underway, which will improve the Interstate 68 bridge, spanning Cumberland; the project will include work on the state Route 51 bridge that carries Industrial Boulevard over the CSX railroad tracks between Wineow and Lamont Streets. The I-68 project is expected to cause some inconveniences to businesses, residents and motorists. The Route 51 portion of the project should not be as much of a problem. The two year projects total $16 million
Police Seeking Help in Identifying Woman
Authorities in Somerset County, Pennsylvania are seeking the identity of a woman, wanted for theft. In a surveillance video, she is seen breaking into the Berwind Natural Resources in Windber late last week, taking cash and gift cards. Since that time, police say she and two other people bought several items at the Richland Township Walmart. They believe she is driving a gray or silver Dodge Intrepid. Anyone with information is asked to call the non-emergency line of Somerset County dispatch at 1-800-362-5060.
Frankfort Band Invited to Inaugural Parade
The Frankfort High School Marching band has accepted an invitation to participate in President Barack Obama's second Inaugural Parade on Monday, January 21st. According to the Mineral News-Tribune, band director Roger Walker, the Falcon marching band is grateful to the President and the Presidential Inaugural Committee for granting them what he called an "unbelievable honor."
"Presents for Paws" Set for Christmas Eve
The third annual "Presents for Paws" to benefit the Allegany County Animal Shelter will be held Monday, Christmas Eve, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A complete list of items needed by the shelter can be found on the website, www.ashelterofhope.com, under the "events" tab. Donations can also be dropped off at the offices of Knippenberg Insurance on Centre Street. Last year, six tons of supplies were donated to the shelter. Both animal and shelter related items will be accepted.
Sobriety Checkpoint This Weekend in Hampshire County
Members of the West Virginia State Police are conducting a sobriety checkpoint, from Friday evening through Saturday morning. The checkpoint will be conducted along Route 50, near Augusta. The checkpoint is being conducted, in an effort to increase awareness of the hazards of intoxicated driving.
Fatal Accident in Washington County
A 21-year old Williamsport man was killed in a single-vehicle accident early yesterday morning on Spielman Road, south of Downsville Pike in Washington County. Derek Monro was traveling north on the road, when his 2004 Toyota Corolla crossed the center line, into the southbound lane. The car continued onto the shoulder and struck a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
Lakes Entertainment Receives Rocky Gap Financing
Lakes Entertainment, Incorporated has announced that Evitts Resort, LLC has closed on $17.5 million in financing with Centennial Bank. The money will be used to finance a portion of the conversion of existing convention space into a gaming facility, to provide replacement meeting room space, and refurbish the hotel lobby and guest rooms at Rocky Gap Lodge and Golf Resort. The new gaming facility will feature approximately 550 video lottery terminals, a casino bar and a new lobby, and a food and beverage outlet.
Meth Lab Discovered in Keyser
Two Keyser residents were arrested and two children were placed in the custody of a relative, after a "meth" lab was discovered at their North Church Street home. Twenty-six year old Tyler King and Kristina McKone were arrested late Monday afternoon, after police executed a search warrant at the residence. King was held on $21,500 bond, while Ms. McKone's bond was set at $18,800 by a magistrate. This is the first "meth" lab discovered in the city of Keyser.
Oldtown Man Sentenced in Manslaughter Case
An Oldtown man was sentenced to eight years in prison, in connection with the March shooting death of a neighbor. Seventy-year old Alexander Malaska was sentenced yesterday, in connection with the death of 43-year old Dennis Liller. Malaska was convicted on a charge of voluntary manslaughter in September. The shooting took place in the 23,000-block of Pack Horse Trail.
Woman Faces Traffic Charges Following Stop
Twenty-nine year old Westernport resident Candice Smith faces several traffic charges, following a stop there yesterday morning. She was traveling on Church Street, and a Deputy Sheriff noticed she was not wearing a seat belt and using a cell phone. Her driver's license was also suspended in the state of West Virginia. She will be tried for driving on a suspended license, driving without a license, not wearing a seat belt, and using a cell phone while driving. She was released following her arrest.
Man Arrested for Protective Order Violation
A Cumberland man was arrested in the 300-block of Frederick Street for a reported assault. Twenty-one year old Leonard Britton approached the victim walking with her infant daughter. Britton, the child's father, approached them and picked up the child. He refused to return the child and walked inside a nearby residence. When the victim went to the door, Britton pushed her out of the way. A Final Protective Order had been granted, preventing Britton from having any contact with the victim. He was arrested and charged with second-degree assault and violation of a Protective Order. He was held without bond at the Allegany County Detention Center.
School System Stresses Student Safety
The Allegany County Public School System is stressing to parents, students, faculty and staff, and the community at large, that numerous security procedures are in place in schools in an effort to prevent a tragedy, similar to last Friday's shootings in Connecticut. The county's public schools have very stringent policies and procedures in place to help maintain school security . Superintendent David Cox has asked staff members to re-familiarize themselves with their school's security plan, and if they see or hear something, to say something.
Fewer Deer Killed This Season
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reports that fewer deer were killed during this year's two-week firearm season than last year. There was a 13 per cent drop in the number of deer killed during the season, which ended on December 8th. Overall warmer weather and a better acorn crop this year contributed to the drop. Deer rely heavily on acorns for food; deer do not have to move as much for food, which, in turn, makes hunting a little more difficult.
West Virginia Electric Customers May Pay Less
For West Virginia residents who are customers of Mon Power and Potomac Edison, there will be a slight rate decrease in the coming year. The state Public Service Commission has ordered rate reductions totaling more than $65 million; for the typical residential customer, the decrease will amount to about $4.80 per month. While company officials had asked for a delay in that decision, the PSC decided to move forward. The new rates will take effect on January 1st. The companies serve about 520,000 customers in 37 of West Virginia's 55 counties.
Preston County Church Fire Investigated
The West Virginia State Fire Marshal's Office continues to investigate a fire at the Shay's Chapel United Methodist Church, that happened early Monday morning. The church was fully engulfed in flames, as fire departments arrived on the scene. There were no injuries. Firefighters called the blaze "suspicious," as other fires have broken out in that same area recently.
General Assembly Will Address Deficits, Gambling, Fracking
While the state's projected structural deficit is around $383 million, State Senator George Edwards says legislators will want to cut at least $200 million during the upcoming General Assembly session. Senator Edwards says that transportation will be a big issue, while Delegate Wendell Beitzel says Marcellus Shale "fracking" and unfunded state mandates to local municipalities will be debated. Delegate Kevin Kelly believes the Governor will push for a repeal of the death penalty. Members of the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce heard from the Western Maryland delegation during a recent breakfast meeting.
West Virginia State Police Seek Suspect
The West Virginia State Police are looking for a man, who is accused of malicious assault, burglary, and terroristic threats. Thirty-seven year old Charles Frederick Muffley is nicknamed "Wiz," and has several tattoos on his neck, arms and back. He is 6-feet tall, and has brown hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact the Romney barrack of the West Virginia State Police at (304)-822-3561, or dial "911."
Maryland, County Release First School Progress Index Data
The Maryland State Department of Education unveiled the School Progress Index late last week, a new accountability system designed to spur improvement in every school. The SPI assess each one of Maryland's 1400 schools on their individual school goals, rather than by an absolute measure. It takes progress into account, determined by its overall student performance, growth, closing of gaps between the highest and lowest student subgroups and preparation for college and careers. School progress Index information can be accessed at http://MdReportCard.org.
December 8th Fire Appears to be Accidental
A fire that damaged a residential and commercial building on Broadway in Frostburg appears to be accidental. Six occupants were displaced by the fire, and two of those six were injured in the fire. The city of Frostburg inspected the building, at 14 to 18 Broadway last summer, and a working smoke detector was present in the apartment of Bernard and Christine Ferguson, who were hurt. However, fire investigators found no evidence of a smoke alarm in the Ferguson apartment, when it was inspected after the fire.
Keyser to Consider Playground Equipment
On the agenda for Keyser's City Council meeting on Wednesday is the Plan to purchase play equipment for a planned playground at West End Park. Other agenda items include approval of a resolution from the Governor's office for the Community Development Block Grant Program, the announcement of a Christmas Club program for city employees, and a proposed new hire in the police department.
Keyser Man Arrested in Domestic Incident
Twenty-eight year old Keyser resident Mark Combs was arrested on charges he allegedlly threatened a female victim with a handgun and assaulted her as she tried to leave a residence on First Street Sunday afternoon. The victim refused medical assistance at the scene, and Combs was charged with domestic assault and battery. Bond was set at $3800. He posted bond, and was later released. Two handguns were also seized from the residence.
Gas Prices Hit Low Point
By this week, the national average for a gallon of gas should fall below $3.28. The drop could be viewed as a gift for those hitting the road this holiday season. This is expected to be the busiest Christmas travel season in six years. Government estimates say that gas averaged $3.63 a gallon this year, 10-cents above the record set a year ago. Traditionally, Cumberland has been well above average, in the unenviable position of having the highest gas prices in the state.
West Virginia Introduces "511" Traveler Information System
The state of West Virginia has launched its new, free "511" Traveler Information System. West Virginia's "511" provides real-time traffic information, including congestion, crashes, construction, lane closures and other factors that affect travel. Motorists can receive real-time traffic updates 24-hours a day by calling "511" toll free or visiting WV511.org. The app is available for Android and iPhone devices, and uses the phone's speaker and GPS locaiton to provide audible travel advisories in the driver's vicinity.
Forfeitures, Penalties Part of $2 Billion HSBC Bank Settlement
Efforts of federal prosecutors and agents from Northern West Virginia helped in an investigation, which led to the forfeiture of a sizeable amount of money and other penalties for HSBC Bank. The banks have agreed to forfeit nearly $2 billion, including civil penalties. HSBC was charged with willfully failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program, willfully failing to conduct due diligence on its foreign correspondent affiliates, among others. The banks have accepted responsibility for its criminal conduct and that of its employees.
Miner's Body Recovered in Harrison County
The body of 58-year old Shinnston resident Markel Koon was recovered late last week, two weeks after an accident at a mine caused his death. Koon worked for CONSOL for nearly 38 years. His body was found in the cab of a submerged bulldozer at the Nolan Run slurry impoundment at the Robinson Run Preparation Plant. Two other mine employees were able to get to safety.
Man Killed by Fallen Tree
Eighty-two year old Oldtown resident Kenneth David Richard was killed late yesterday morning, when a tree fell on him. Richard and others were cutting trees on private property around 10 a.m., when the incident occurred. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Several fire and rescue units responded, along with the Maryland State Police Medevac helicopter.
Suspect Arrested in Circle K Robbery
Thirty-four year old Shawn Holloway was arrested late Friday night, as he was trying to stop a cab in South Cumberland. He is accused of the armed robbery of the Circle K convenience store on Oldtown Road, which has been robbed twice in the last three weeks. Holloway allegedly displayed a knife, demanding money from the cash register. One of the employees struck him from behind and both workers fled from the store. Holloway then removed an unspecified amount of cash and fled. He has two other theft cases pending against him. Holloway was charged with armed robbery, along with first and second-degree assault. He was held on $275,000 following a hearing before a District Court Commissioner.
Weaver Found Guilty in Bedford County
Stephen Weaver, of Bedford County, has been found guilty of 24 counts of sexual offenses involving teenagers. He had originally been charged with hundreds of counts of sexual assault. He was found guilty of one count each of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault and 21 counts of indecent assault. In all, he could be facing up to 92 years in prison. Weaver was arrested after police had to storm a makeshift bunker at his Schellsburg home. He was found hiding in a closet of the home.
Commissioners Request RFP for Cumberland Chase
The Allegany County Commissioners are seeking requests for proposals, to seek planning assistance with the development of a master plan for Cumberland Chase, a planned development. The property consists of 1,100 acres and is located adjacent to the Barton Business Park on Route 220 South. Negotiations between Summit Community Bank of Moorefield, West Virginia and a development group have been stalled, and Summit intends to liquidate the asset.
Frostburg Museum Burglarized
The Frostburg Museum was entered sometime Thursday night or early Friday, and about 50 to 60 small items were taken from various locations in the building, at 69 Hill Street. Inventory is being taken, to determine if any additional artifacts were taken. Anyone with information on the burglary is asked to contact Frostburg City Police at (301)-689-3000.
Skills Showcase Set this Week
The Center for Career and Technical Education will host its annual Skills Showcase this Thursday, beginning at *;20 a.m. The event will feature junior-level skill students competing against their classmates. An awards ceremony will then be held on Friday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. in the school auditorium.
Air Service Postpones Hagerstown Expansion
Sun Air, with a hub at the Hagerstown Regional Airport, has delayed expansion of commercial service there until early next year. Sun Air began flying between the Hub City and Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia on November 5th, four days later than expected. The delay was attributed, in part, to delays caused by Superstorm Sandy, but only one passenger from the public flew out of Hagerstown on the first two round trips between the two locations. The original plan was to start with 14 flights a week, then increase to 24 after about a month. The increased flight schedule should be in place by January 3rd.
Commission Approves Casino Request
It looks as if Maryland’s state casinos will be operating around the clock.The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission has approved several rules, governing table games, including a request to start operating 24 hours a day. The Maryland Live Casino will begin operating 24 hours a day on December 27th. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission also voted to allow the State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency staff the authority to regulate hours, without commission approval.
Two Companies Receive Money from InvestMaryland
Two start-up companies in Maryland have received $300,000 from the state’s InvestMaryland initiative. The Plasmonix Company will receive $100,000, while Bambeco will get $200,000. Plasmonix is based at the University of Maryland/Baltimore County, and has developed technology used in cell detection for medical research. Bambeco is a Baltimore-based retailer, whose items include solar-powered tea lanterns and briefcases made from recycled truck tires, with seatbelt shoulder straps.
West Virginia Appoints State Superintendent of Schools
West Virginia has temporarily appointed Dr. James Phares as the 28th superintendent of schools. He is the former superintendent of Randolph County Schools and has been an educator for 40 years. He replaces Dr. Jorea Marple, who was fired last month. A nationwide search is underway for a permanent replacement, as officials say Phares does not have the state requirements to qualify for the position. Phares will take over the position, even though it is temporary, on January 2nd.
Congressional Delegation Asks For Federal Aid
Garrett is one of five Maryland counties, seeking aid from the effects of Superstorm Sandy. The Maryland Congressional delegation is supporting an appeal, that would give additional aid to Garrett and four other counties. A letter has been sent to President Barack Obama, asking him to support Governor Martin O'Malley's appeal for individual disaster assistance. The President had approved an initial request for a major disaster declaration, even though the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied the state's request for individual disaster assistance.
Sheriff Seeking New Office Facility
Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson is proposing a new office, which could be located next to the county office building on Kelly Road. The office is projected to cost about three-quarters of a million dollars, and, according to county engineer Steve Young, it should be at least twice the size of the current facility on Furnace Street, which is 27,000 square feet. The county could save money by a suggestion to use a mix of general contractors and county staff to build the office. The Allegany County Commissioners have made no formal decision on the project.
Fatality Blamed on Road Conditions
A fatal accident that happened last Sunday on Route 46 is being blamed on wet road conditions. Twenty-three year old Curtis Thompson of Keyser was a passenger in a vehicle, operated by George Rohrbaugh, Jr. His vehicle struck a tree on the western edge of the road, and Thompson was pronounced dead at the scene. Rohrbaugh was taken to the hospital, to have his injuries treated. Other aspects of the crash remain under investigation.
Board Approves School Closures
The Mineral County Board of Education unanimously approved the closure of the Keyser Pre-K/Head Start and the Keyser Primary-Middle School. The closures are a necessary step in the restructuring of the schools to include the new Keyser Primary-Middle School, which is currently under construction, and the new Keyser Middle School, which is in the current primary-middle school building. Nobody signed up to speak, nor was there any discussion on the part of elected officials, according to the Mineral News Tribune.
Man Arrested for Second-Degree Assault
One person was injured and a Cumberland man was held on $5,000 bond, following a Tuesday incident on Glenmore Street. Forty-two year old Gregory Maiers is accused of hitting another person in the head, face, and body; the victim had visible injuries as a result of the alleged assault, but did not require medical attention. Maiers was charged with second-degree assault.
Cumberland Man Accused of Assault
Fifty-one year old Carl Stallings faces several assault charges, as well as carrying a concealed dangerous weapon and reckless endangerment, following an incident on North Waverly Terrace. Stallings is accused is striking the victim in the head, with a weighted leather club, more commonly known as a slapjack. The victim refused medical treatment, and Stallings was taken to the police department for processing.
PBS Coals Laying Off More Workers
PBS Coals of southwestern Pennsylvania has announced it is idling two of its mines and laying off 138 workers. This announcement follows a July statement that 255 workers had also been laid off. The company now has about 600 employees, down from about 1,000, before the reductions in force were announced.
Board Recognizes Students, Colleagues
The Allegany County Board of Education made several recognitions at the December business meeting, honoring holiday greeting winners, as well as fellow school board member, Jeff Metz, whose term will conclude at the end of the month. During his eight years as a school board member, Metz has contributed to the educational process of the school system, by giving valuable input, making recommendations and asking intelligent and well-intended questions in the best interest of serving the students of Allegany County.
ACM Graduation Tonight
Allegany College of Maryland will hold commencement exercises this evening at 7 p.m. and will graduate approximately 200 students. The ceremony will take place in the Bob Kirk Arena, on the campus of Allegany College of Maryland. Students who attend the ACM campuses in Bedford and Somerset Counties in Pennsylvania and its nursing program site in Garrett County will be part of the exercises, which will feature about 250 associate degrees and certificates in the school's varied and numerous career and transfer programs.
Bedford Tavern Burglarized
Pennsylvania State Police at Bedford are looking for the person or persons who burglarized the Jean Bonnet Tavern in Napier Township, Bedford County. Significant damage was done to the building and a $1,000 reward for information that will lead to an arrest is being offered. Anyone with information is asked to call police.
Preston County Man Arrested in Copper Theft
Preston County, West Virginia resident Brian Lee Moats has been arrested by the Garrett County Sheriff's Office, in connection with the theft of copper from GMS Mine Repair and Maintenance Company of Oakland. He was charged with theft of over $10,000 and destruction of property of over $500. He posted $5,000 bond yesterday. Moats is accused of stealing the copper and selling it to salvage yards in Westernport and Elk Garden, West Virginia.
Woman Accused of Stealing Cash and Coins
A 24-year old Somerset County woman is accused of stealing $20,000 in cash and coins from a Bicycle Road residence. Clifford Dean Tressler reported that Emily Jo Tressler entered the residence between noon and 2 p.m. on December 4th. She was later found at the Days Inn in Somerset; they found drug paraphernalia, but did not recover the money. She was held on $20,000 bond, and was to have had a preliminary hearing yesterday morning.
Domestic Incident Reported on Clement Street
A nineteen-year old woman is being held on $5,000 bail, following a domestic incident in the first block of West Clement Street early yesterday morning. The investigation revealed that Brittany Shell created a disturbance while a juvenile was trying to go to sleep. She allegedly threw a cell phone at the juvenile. An adult began to intervene and was kicked in the stomach area by Shell. She was ultimately charged with two counts of second-degree assault, and is being held at the Allegany County Detention Center.
"Midnight Madness" Set for Downtown
A "Midnight Madness" sale has been set for tomorrow evening in downtown Cumberland. The event is scheduled to run from 6 p.m. to midnight. Mall Manager Ed Mullaney notes that studies show, that for every $100 you spend with locally owned business, $68 will stay in the community, an indication of how important local businesses are to the community. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be visiting; free illuminated carriage rides will also be available throughout the evening. Free trolley rides to and from the shops will run throughout the evening.
Preston Tops 2012 Buck Harvest
Although there was a decline in the 2012 buck harvest in West Virginia, Preston County had the most, with 2,108 bucks. Other counties in the top ten were Hampshire and Hardy Counties. The harvest dropped in four of the six DNR districts. Hunters killed over 56,000 bucks from November 19th through December 1st, a seven per cent drop from the 2011 harvest figure.
Homestead Property Tax Credit Deadline
The deadline for Maryland's Homestead Tax Credit is December 31st.The credit limits the increase in taxable assessments each year to a fixed percentage. Every county and municipality in Maryland is required to limit taxable assessment increases to 10 per cent or less each year. To determine if you have already filed, go to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation website, www.dat.state.md.us and click on the Real Property page for your specific property address.
Gas Line Explosion in Sissonville
A natural gas explosion in Sissonville, West Virginia yesterday destroyed four homes, and melted pavement on a portion of Interstate 77. Five other homes suffered damage, and several people were treated for smoke inhalation; other than that, there were no injuries. All of the residents of the area have been accounted for; most were at work or had gone hunting. The explosion happened just before 1 p.m.
Miner's Body Found in Bulldozer Cab
The missing Robinson Run CONSOL employee has been located inside a bulldozer cab. The cab was located Monday morning; the canopy of the bulldozer was cut open to recover the employee's body. He has not been identified, and there is no estimate on how long it will take to recover the body from the bulldozer.
One Killed, One Hurt in Single-Vehicle Accident
Twenty-three year old Keyser resident Curtis Thompson was killed, and 22-year old George M. Rohrbaugh, also of Keyser, was injured in a single vehicle accident Sunday night on Patterson Creek Road. The crash occurred about three-tenths of a mile from Route 46. Rohrbaugh was operating a truck, with Thompson as a passenger; the vehicle traveled out of control off the roadway and struck a tree. Numerous first-responders were on the scene, along with the Hardy County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Garrett County Woman Ejected, Dies From Injuries
Twenty-one year old Swanton resident Samantha Gibson was killed early Sunday morning, in a single vehicle accident in the 6,000-block of George Washington Highway in Garrett County. She was a passenger in a car, driven by 24-year old Bryson Dixon of Oakland. The car hit an embankment and overturned. She was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital, where she died from her injuries. Dixon was arrested at the scene and charged with several DUI-related offenses. The crash remains under investigation.
ATK Receives Contract
ATK has received a five-year production contract from the U.S. Army Command for the production of the MK 437, multi-option fuze, Navy. The contract has a maximum total value of over $84 million. ATK’s first order on the contract, valued at approximately $13 million. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in November of next year. The MOFN increases the overall mission capability of 5-inch gun ammunition used on U.S. Navy ships,by providing proximity, precision time, delay and point detonating impact functions in a single fuze.
Fire Cause Undetermined
The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office is still trying to determine the cause of Saturday evening's fire that damaged an apartment building at 14 to 18 Broadway, and caused damage to the Triangle Printing Company. Two people, who were able to get out of the building, were treated at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, following initial treatment at the scene. A number of occupants of the building were displaced by the fire. Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Jason Mowbray is asking anyone who may have information on the fire to come forward.
Delegation Meets with Public
Members of the Western Maryland delegation to the General Assembly heard from the public last night, in advance of the 2013 session of the legislature next month. Two items-taxes and fees-dominated the meeting at the Allegany College of Maryland auditorium. The so-called "flush tax" and the proposals to increase the gas tax were discussed, including the amount residents in this area were, in effect, paying to subsidize mass transit in urban areas. Also, raising taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, as one person observed, simply drives residents to other states and kills Maryland business.
Keyser Girl Returns Home
A 14-year old Keyser high school freshman, who was originally reported missing to the West Virginia State Police on November 27th, has been found and has returned home. Michelle Campbell had been sighted by someone, who had notified the police. She says she is happy to be back home with her mother, Melissa.
Chamber Elects New Officers and Board Members
The Allegany County Chamber of Commerce recently elected a slate of new officers and board members. Stacey Bingaman, the president and CEO of First People’s Community Federal Credit Union, will serve as chairman of the Chamber for the coming year. James J. “Snake” Robertson will serve as First Vice Chairman and Robert Garner, the executive vice president of CBIZ Benefits and Insurance Service will serve as second vice-chairman.
PACE Reception, Breakfast Dates Announced
The annual PACE Reception and Breakfast, sponsored by the Cumberland/Allegany County Industrial Foundation and Garrett County Economic Development Corporation, will be held in Annapolis at the Loew’s Hotel on Thursday evening and Friday morning, January 24th and 25th. The theme for this year is “Energizing Maryland.” Tickets are now on sale at $130 per person, if payment is received on or before Wednesday, January 2nd. The reception is not by invitation only. Checks, which should be made payable to PACE, should be mailed to PACE, P.O. Box 3273, Lavale, Maryland 21504-3273.
Fracking Conference Held in Baltimore
About 300 people attended the first statewide conference on “fracking” in Baltimore. Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” is a method of finding natural gas in Marcellus Shale, Oil and gas companies are leasing vast amounts of farm land for fracking, but the question addressed was, “Is it safe?” Fracking is currently banned in Maryland; farmers in western Pennsylvania and Ohio have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for drilling rights on their land.
Manchin Asks MTV to Cancel “Buck Wild”
West Virginia State Senator Joe Manchin is asking the MTV network to cancel the West Virginia-based reality show, “Buck Wild,” that is set to begin airing on January 3rd. Manchin has sent a letter to the network, noting the show profits off of “poor decisions of our youth,” and that the show plays to “ugly, inaccurate stereotypes about the people of West Virginia.” The network has ordered 12 episodes of the show, which was filmed in Sissonville and Charleston.
Oldtown Woman Killed in Two-Vehicle Crash
Fifty-nine year old Diana Gail Knott of Oldtown was killed in a two vehicle accident Friday, on Route 51, near the Green Ridge Road, east of Oldtown. The crash occurred as Pittsburgh resident Daniel Horn entered a right hand curve; Ms. Knott’s vehicle crossed the center line, and was hit on the passenger side by Horn’s SUV. Ms. Knott, of Crabtree Lane was killed instantly. Horn was treated at the scene for minor injuries. A county forensic investigator responded, as well as the Oldtown ambulance and the Paw Paw Fire Department. The Maryland State Police assisted at the scene.
Major Fire in Frostburg
Firefighters from three counties responded to a fire Saturday night at 16 Broadway in Frostburg. The building once housed the city’s Magistrate Court. Two people were taken from the scene for treatment at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center. Heavy fire was reported as the first companies responded to the 8:30 p.m. Call. The fire was brought under control just over an hour later, and the Maryland State Fire Marshal began an investigation around 10:20 p.m. The American Red Cross was called to assist residents who lived in the building. There was no word on what caused the fire, nor the identity of those taken to the hospital.
Arrest Made in Vine Street Breaking and Entering
It was only a matter of hours before the Allegany County Sheriff's Office made an arrest in a breaking and entering on Vine Street in Westernport. An initial report was received around 9 a.m. yesterday on the incident, and police were on the lookout for a Dish Network type of white van. Deputies located the van on Philos Avenue and arrested the driver, 36-year old Marvin Stump of Martinsburg, West Virginia. Stolen tools were found in the van, and stump was charged with burglary and theft. He was held on $25,000 bond.
Chinese Possible Rocky Gap Investors
A group of Chinese investors may be interested in the Rocky Gap Casino and Convention Center. The Allegany County Commissioners, at last week’s press conference, said they have found a way to attract foreign investors to build a casino and a convention center. One advantage for the Chinese, is that they will get a permanent visa for every million dollars they invest in the project. That money may not have to be paid back and the casino project will mean 400 new jobs, and will be advantageous to the local economy.
Three Arrested in Meth Lab Investigation
Three more people have been arrested by the Pennsylvania State Police and the Bedford County Drug Task Force, in connection with an ongoing investigation into methamphetamine manufacturing operations there. Taken into custody were 31-year old Imler resident Bradley Shroyer; Shane Culver Mathos of Fishertown; and, 24 year old Summer Robin Clark-Eckard of Bedford were arrested over the weekend. The arrests stemmed from an incident that occurred at the Breezewood Motel in East Providence Township in October of this year. The three are accused of renting a room there, where they intended to set up a meth lab. A six-figure bail amount was set for all three.
South Centre Street Work on Monday and Tuesday
The city of Cumberland’s Engineering Department is letting the public know that South Centre Street, between Harrison and Union Streets, will be closed both today and tomorrow from 7 a.m. To 5 p.m., to allow a new gas main to be put in place. Detours should be expected during these working hours. Motorists are asked to follow posted detours and to obey all traffic control devices in place.
College Affordability Program Set
Maryland Public Television and the Maryland Higher Education Commission are co-sponsoring a production entitled, "You Can Afford College," which will air on MPT tonight at 8 p.m. Host Mario Armstrong will explore with viewers the financial maze of paying for college. Viewers can also talk to a financial aid advisor live during the program by calling 800-222-1292, to get answers to questions about college financing.
Bedford Property Taxes to Rise
Bedford County residents could be paying as much as 10 per cent more on their property taxes in the coming year. The ten per cent figure represents the legal limit that property taxes can rise after a property reassessment. The county is projecting a $300,000 deficit and massive, state-imposed Children and Youth Services expenses as reasons for the tax hike. Bedford’s budget is predicted to be more than $15 million in the coming year, up from $14.5 million this year.
Red Cross Employees Given Pink Slips
About 45 Red Cross employees in Johnstown were laid off late last week. The 45 employees were union members, and the move came as a shock to the union president for the local 13000 Communications Workers of America. Nationwide, the Red Cross is cutting 380 positions, which is only about two per cent of its workforce. The Johnstown cuts go into effect on December 31st.
County Receives "TEA" Designation
Allegany County has been notified by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development that it has received the designation of being a "Targeted Employment Area." TEA, as defined by law, is a "rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 per cent of the national average." The geographic area spans from the North Branch Industrial Park, South/Central Cumberland, the Willow Brook Road Corridor to Rocky Gap. The action has opened the door for a federal program to become an option for the developers at Rocky Gap and other areas within the TEA.
County To Receive Money for Recreational Projects
Allegany County will receive a total of just over $110,000 in Program Open Space funding for two recreational projects in the area. Nearly $96,000 will be used to build a restroom facility at the Allegany County Fairgrounds, while Lonaconing will receive $15,000 to design and construct a community building at the 1.4 acre Furnace Park. The building will be used to provide year-round public recreational opportunities for the town's residents and a place for youth groups and other organizations to meet. The projects were approved at Wednesday's meeting of the Board of Public Works.
WMS Determined Safe for Use
Washington Middle School has been determined safe for continued use, after a concrete block became dislodged from its cement and fell from a suspended ceiling in a second-floor classroom on Wednesday. Maintenance crews discovered that, at some time after the original construction of the building, cap blocks were vertically installed on top of the walls between classrooms, apparently for sound reduction. Two more areas with the same post-construction installation of blocks above the ceiling grid were identified. However, as a precaution, crews removed those blocks Wednesday evening and will return to the building to re-examine areas and take additional measures as needed. The removal of the blocks, in no way, compromised the structure.
Pedestrian Hit on Queen City Drive
A 40-year old Cumberland man was injured after being hit by a car yesterday morning in the area of Queen City Drive and Baltimore Street. Neil Anthony Griffith has crossed in front of a car, without looking for oncoming traffic, or using the cross walk lights. The car was driven by Melody Chambers of Mount Savage. Griffith, however, was determined to be at fault, and no charges were filed at the time of the accident.
Wisp Sale Approved
A bankruptcy court judge has approved the sale of the Wisp to a Kansas City-based real estate investment trust, EPT Ski Properties. The amount of the sale was $23.5 million; the golf course and other land was also approved for sale for $6.1 million. Wisp filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011, after defaulting on nearly $30 million loans. The sale will be closed sometime this month.
Woman Arrested on Assault Charge
Twenty-nine year old Arch Street resident Julie Lee Davis was arrested Wednesday morning, after being involved in a physical altercation with her boyfriend. The victim had physical injuries, as a result of the incident. She was placed under arrest, and later taken before the District Court Commissioner, where she was released on personal recognizance, pending trial. She was charged with second-degree assault.
Downtown Traffic Change for Today
South Centre Street will be closed from Salem Avenue, through the intersection of Harrison Street, including the intersection of South Centre/Harrison Streets, today from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. The closure will allow the patching of the water line trench in the area of this intersection. Detours Should be expected during those hours. Follow posted detours and obey all traffic control devices in place. Flaggers will be present in the area, and use caution while traveling in the area of construction.
FSU To Hold Commencement
Frostburg State University will hold its 141st commencement ceremonies on Wednesday, December 19th in the Harold J. Cordts Physical Education Center's Main Arena on the FSU campus. The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. and will feature FSU President Dr. Jonathan Gibraltar, who will confer degrees on graduates from the colleges of Business, Education and Liberal Arts and Sciences. Christine Barnes, College of Education; Deborah Wiles, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Brianna "Bobbie" Watson, College of Business are the featured student speakers for the winter commencement exercises.
Man Enters Not Guilty Plea
A State Line, Pennsylvania man has entered a not guilty plea, in connection with the 17-year old female, who had been beaten to death. Jeffrey Miles is charged in connection with the death of Angie Lynn Daley, in a case stemming from 1995. He is also charged in connection of 29-year old Kristy Dawn Hoke, whose body was found in the woods off of Ninth Street in Waynesboro. The trial in the Hoke case is scheduled to get underway on February 4th of last year, while his next appearance in the Daley case will be on February 15th of next year.
Citigroup to Idle 11,000 Employees
Citigroup is cutting 11,000 jobs, or about 4 per cent of the workforce of 262,000 employees. About 6200 of the cuts will come from Citi's consumer banking unit. In Maryland, the Glen Burnie branch will be closing. Other than that, Citigroup did not reveal how many jobs will be cut in the United States, as it will sell or scale back consumer operations in Pakistan, Paraguay, Romania, Turkey and Uruguay.
Attorney General Warns of Scam
Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler is warning residents about a text messaging scam that falsely suggests recipients have won a gift card to a store. It tells recipients they have won a gift card to a well-known store, worth several hundred dollars. They are then instructed to go to a website, to provide personal information, including credit card or banking numbers. Another type of scam asks consumers to reply to the text with identifying information. If you have been solicited with this scam or any other suspicious scheme, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division. The hotline number is 1-888-743-0023.
Bedford Trial Set to Begin
Accused Bedford County rapist Stephen Weaver is scheduled to go on trial next week. He faces hundreds of charges, including 41 felonies, for allegedly sexually assaulting two female relatives, when they were as young as 13. Charges were filed in June of last year. Weaver, of Schellsburg, also faced charges of manufacturing weapons of mass destruction, after a relative allegedly found 10 pipe bombs in his shed. That is not part of the abuse case, which should begin on Monday of next week.
Business Purchases Parcel of Garrett Land
An unnamed business has agreed to purchase a three-acre lot in the McHenry Business and Technology Park to house its financial services. The commissioners approved the sale of lot number two in the park during Tuesday's meeting. The start up is slated for next spring, and occupied in the mid to late summer. The McHenry Park encompasses nearly 136 acres, according to the Department of Economic Development's website.
Woman Sentenced on Drug Charges
Piedmont resident Crystal Star Metz has been sentenced to 120 months in jail, after pleading guilty to the distribution of crack cocaine on June 18th in Mineral County. The prison term will be followed by six years of supervised released. She was remanded to the custody of U.S. Marshal's until she is placed in a federal institution. Ms. Metz was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg recently.
Man Sentenced for Shooting, Killing Son
Somerset County resident Robert William Duda was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and must pay $500 in fines for accidentally shooting and killing his son, Bryan, in September of last year. Robert Duda was cleaning a handgun when it accidentally fired and struck 14-year old Bryan Duda. He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter this past October. Prosecutors termed the shooting a "tragic accident," noting that Robert Duda was, and has been extremely distraught over the incident.
Woman Held on $55,000 Bond
A Cumberland woman is being held on a total $55,000 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center, after two arrest warrants were issued for her. Twenty-one year old Crystal Rymer is accused of assaulting a male victim at a Linden Street residence on November 14th; she allegedly struck him repeatedly with the broken wooden leg of a kitchen table. He suffered significant eye damage, and both were treated at the hospital. She was also charged in a second assault incident, which allegedly occurred on Monday.
Police Warn Meyersdale Residents of Scam
Somerset County Police are warning residents of the Meyersdale area to not fall victim to a scam, involving the name of a woman, who was found murdered along the Great Allegheny Passage last month. They say two girls have been accepting donations from neighbors, telling them they are buying a headstone for Justine Jackson. A member of her family says it has nothing to do with any type of collection. Police are still investigating, but no charges have been filed yet.
Chemical Reaction Devices Found in Hagerstown
Several chemical reaction devices were found along South Prospect Street in Hagerstown, after police responded to a report of shots being fired in the area. Fire units were dispatched to make sure the devices were neutralized. There were no injuries, but the investigation is continuing to determine who discharged the devices. The "shots fired" call was received at 2:14 a.m. Tuesday, and the last units cleared the scene just before 4 a.m.
O'Malley to Appeal FEMA Decision
Governor Martin O'Malley will, within the next 30 days, file an appeal with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, over is denial of a request for individual assistance for residents of the lower Eastern Shore in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The state is urging homeowners, renters and business owners who suffered damages not covered under their existing insurance policies, to report the damages to county emergency managers in Somerset, Worcester, and Dorchester counties.
UMMC One of Top Hospitals
For a seventh year, the University of Maryland Medical Center has been named one of the nation's top hospitals by Leapfrog Group in its annual survey. Patient safety and quality performance measures are two of the criteria by which facilities are analyzed. UMMC is one of only two hospitals in the U.S. to make the list every year since it began in 2006. The Center is the only hospital on the East Coast to have that distinction as well.
Man To Be Sentenced for Killing Friend
Bedford County resident Randy Foor will be sentenced at a later date, after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of his friend, Dennis Sprigg of Manns Choice last August. Foor shoved Sprigg, who lost his balance and struck his head on a concrete sidewalk. Foor was visibly upset, apologizing to Foor as emergency workers arrived on the scene. Foor could be sentenced from a few months to five years. As part of a plea agreement, charges of aggravated assault against Foor were dropped.
Fire Damages Paca Street Apartment
Fire damages have been placed at approximately $20,000 to an apartment at 416 Paca Street yesterday morning. The apartment was occupied by Greg Foreman and Jennifer Genovesi, but they were not home at the time. No other apartments were affected, and the cause has been traced to an electrical problem with a coffee pot in the home.
Fatal Mineral County Crash Investigated
The West Virginia State Police are continuing the investigation into a single vehicle crash last weekend that killed 66-year old Dennis Cotton of Springfield. A passenger in the 1979 Corvette, Virginia Cotton, was flown to the Winchester, Virginia Medical Center. Her injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. The accident occurred as Cotton was traveling southbound on Route 28, about 2-1/2 miles south of Fort Ashby. The car left the roadway, traveled over an embankment and came to rest on its top.
Three Hurt in Cumberland Crash
Three people were hurt in two separate accidents late yesterday morning, near the Maryland Avenue exit of Interstate 68 westbound. A truck, driven by Elmer Donahoe tried to exit the Interstate, and he said he was cut off by another vehicle, causing him to lose control and strike the median "crash cushion." The truck rolled onto the passenger side. A second crash occurred when Frostburg resident Winifred Redick slowed after seeing the crash. That car was struck from behind by a vehicle, driven by Teffeny Bridges. She and her adult passenger were taken to the hospital. Elmer Donahoe was eventually charged with negligent driving, driving while impaired by alcohol and driving under the influence of alcohol.
Assault Charges Lodged Against Cumberland Man
Charges of assault, reckless endangerment and disturbing the peace have been filed against 22-year old Cumberland resident Christopher Evanhoff, following an incident at a home on Humbird Street in October. He allegedly threw a glass bottle at a woman, striking her in the head. He also allegedly assaulted two other men by pushing them during the incident. He also left the area prior to the arrival of officers. The injuries did not require medical attention. Evanhoff received a bond review, and was released on personal recognizance.
Monday Incident Results in Charges
A 31-year old Cumberland man was released on personal recognizance, following an assault incident on Goethe Street Monday night. Brandon Logan is accused of assaulting his live-in girlfriend, pushing her to the ground, where she struck her head on a heat register; he then punched her in the head several more times. The victim sustained minor injuries, but did not require medical attention. Logan was charged with second-degree assault.
Items Stolen from Somerset Church
Items, with a total value of around $2,000, were stolen from a Somerset County church, and the Pennsylvania State Police are asking for your help in recovering the items. Crosses, brass candle holders, and communion wine were taken from the Samuel's Lutheran Church, located just off New Centerville Road. The burglary occurred between Friday night and Saturday morning and there are no suspects. The brass crosses were given to the church more than 60 years ago, to honor a fallen World War II veteran.
Coalition Urges Use of 687-STOP Tip Line
The Frostburg Community Coalition is encouraging members of the Frostburg community to use the (301)-687- STOP tip line to provide anonymous information about crimes, disturbances, or other issues of concern. The line is intended for students and members of the campus and local Frostburg community to use; the coalition is also urging students and parents from Mountain Ridge High School and Mount Savage and Westmar Middle Schools to use the tip line as well. Callers should still call 911 in an emergency.
O'Malley Security Detail Costs Over $98,000
The state of Maryland spent just over $98,000 for a security detail for Governor Martin O'Malley, from January of this year, through September 18th. The total cost includes overtime, hotel bills, meals, rental cars, gas, airline and train tickets, along with other related expenses. Trips involved overnight out-of-state travel, and do not include trips that were out of state but nearby, such as the District of Columbia.
Former FSU Student Pleads Guilty
Former Frostburg State University student Shanee Lynnette Liggins pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of fellow FSU student Kortneigh McCoy outside an off-campus residence in November of last year. Michael Twigg, State's Attorney, has recommended a sentence of 14 years of actual jail time. Ms. McCoy died of multiple stab wounds, following an incident outside of a Maple Street residence on November 6th of last year. The actual sentencing will take place in six to eight weeks, pending a pre-sentence investigation.
One Killed in Route 28 Crash
One person was killed, and another taken to the Winchester, Virginia Medical Center, following a single vehicle accident Friday evening. The crash took place on Route 28, south of the Deerfield Estates subdivision. Several companies responded to the 7 p.m. accident. West Virginia State Police investigated, and the victim has yet to be identified.
Nobody Hurt in Wrong-Way I-68 Crash
Nobody was hurt in a three-vehicle crash on Interstate 68 late yesterday morning. A car, driven by 77-year old Frostburg resident Wilbert Williams was traveling westbound, but in the east bound lanes of the interstate, near the Maryland Avenue exit. He was struck head-on by another vehicle, driven by 22-year old Brooke Larkin of LaVale. Upon impact, that vehicle struck a tractor-trailer, driven by Nicholas Datri of Cresaptown. Williams was found to be at fault, but no citations were issued. The eastbound lanes were closed for about half an hour. There were no injuries.
Man Arrested Following Vehicle Theft
A Uniontown, Pennsylvania resident is being held on $45,000 bond, after allegedly stealing a vehicle from the Sheetz parking lot at Nave's Crossroads. Thirty-three year old Jason Eric Bevans allegedly stole a truck in Pennsylvania, but abandoned it near Rocky Gap Road. At Sheetz, a woman, whose husband was also in the lot in his car, saw her vehicle moving in reverse. She and her husband followed the vehicle on Interstate 68 westbound. It was stopped near Kelly Road and Bevans was taken into custody without incident.
Comptroller Visits Cumberland
Several items "were on the table" for discussion yesterday afternoon at Ristorante Ottaviani as Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot met with several community and business leaders in the area. Several subjects were discussed, including the use of Western Maryland coal as an energy source, the completion of a north/south corridor for the area, and on the subject of natural gas "fracking," the Comptroller says the process can be safely accomplished. State Senator George Edwards noted that there $101 million in transportation monies for the completion of the northern portion of the north/south corridor. He added that without the addition of gambling at Rocky Gap, the facility may not be open today.
Washington, D.C. Resident Arrested on Marijuana Charges
A vehicle stop on Decatur Street Sunday resulted in the arrest of a Washington, D.C. man for marijuana possession. During the stop, a strong odor of marijuana was coming from the vehicle. A probable cause search yielded a small amount of the drug. Darnell Antonio Culbreath was issued a criminal citation for possession of under 10 grams of marijuana.
Route 219 Closed for Gas Leak
Route 219 was closed for about three hours Sunday after a driver, Tyler Vought of Berlin, swerved to avoid hitting a deer and hit a natural gas line. The line ruptured, allowing gas to escape. Columbia Gas was called and the leak was capped. Residents of the area were evacuated during the leak, but were later allowed back into their homes.
Truck, Copper Seized in Jenner Township
The Pennsylvania State Police seized a truck and a load of copper over the weekend, after a traffic stop. The driver and passenger say they did not know where it came from, and anyone with information is asked to contact the Pennsylvania State Police at Somerset. That number is (814)-445-4104.
Couples Can Soon Claim Same-Sex Marriage Licenses
Attorney General Doug Gansler says same-sex couples can begin to obtain marriage licenses as soon as Governor Martin O'Malley "formally proclaims" the results of the November election. That should be on or about this Thursday. The law and the licenses will not become effective until January 1st. Gansler issued a 19-page opinion that addressed the constitutionality of a "waiting period" for same sex couples. In the opinion, Gansler noted that it is the ceremony and not the license, which validates the marriage.
Baltimore Man Arrested in Cumberland Stabbing Incident
Twenty-one year old Jamaal Anthony Linton was arrested in Baltimore yesterday, in connection with the stabbing of a 19-year old man during a Maryland Avenue party early yesterday morning. Linton is accused of fighting with the victim, in the vicinity of Park and Emily Streets. Three people produced knives and began stabbing the victim; one of the suspects also displayed a handgun during the attack. Linton went to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, but left after being advised to check in. He was later treated at the emergency room of Sinai Hospital in Baltimore for a laceration of his hand. He was arrested there, and is being returned to Allegany County to face charges.
County to Refinance Debt
Allegany County hopes to realize substantial savings, as the result of code home rule legislation passed at last week's business meeting. The county will refinance its debt, which will amount in over $1.3 million in savings. The first loan involves FEMA and other loans, which will result in about $120,000 in savings. The second, larger general obligation debt, will save the county about $1.2 million. The debt will be refinanced at an interest rate of about 2 per cent.
Beal Hearing Delayed
The hearing for a man who is accused of strangling a 19-year old woman, and burying her body along the Great Allegheny Passage has been continued. Twenty-three year old Meyersdale resident Jonathan William Beal’s preliminary hearing was delayed because he did not have his two-member defense team together. He is charged with criminal homicide, abuse of a corpse and aggravated assault in the death of Justine Marie Jackson of Ellerslie. She had been living with an aunt in Meyersdale when she was killed. A new date for the hearing has not been set.
Man Arrested at Willow Woods Complex
Nineteen year old Cumberland resident Corey Linvard Cash was arrested over the weekend, and faces numerous charges. Police responded to a report of a man with a gun i the area of the Willow Woods Apartment complex. Cash was found to have a BB-gun, along with 12 individual packets of suspected marijuana. He was process and released on a $5,000 unsecured bond. He was charged with CDS possession with intent to distribute, and having a dangerous weapon on school property, among other counts.
Member of Arson Ring Pleads Guilty
The fifth member of a Bedford County arson ring pleaded guilty late last week and a sixth member is expected to do the same today. Twenty-three year old Misty Hafer admitted to joining a group of friends, last January, in filling gas cans at a Sheetz store, then setting an unoccupied building in Everett on fire. The group is thought to be responsible for several other arson incidents in the county, including barns, empty houses, and part of a Breezewood motel. Her sentencing is set for February.
Commissioners to Meet with Delegation
The Allegany County Commissioners are to meet with the Western Maryland Delegation to the General Assembly to discuss the county’s legislative requests for the upcoming session of the Maryland General Assembly. The meeting is set for this Thursday at 3 p.m. at the county office building, Room 100. Community members and all interested individuals are invited to attend.
Boat Ramp Closing Today
Effective today, the Fifteen Mile Creek boat ramp facility at Little Orleans will be closed to the public until further notice. The facility is being closed to allow for the construction of a new concrete boat ramp. The public campground at Fifteen Mile Creek will, however, remain open. River access is available at the Little Tonoloway boat ramp in Hancock, and at Bond’s Landing boat ramp. The new ramp is expected to reopen in the summer of 2013.
Master Plan Comment Period Extended
The comment period has been extended for the Allegany County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. The deadline for the receipt of written comments is Friday, December 21st at 4:00 p.m. The overall goal is to improve biking and walking in the county. For more information on how to submit comments, contact Siera Wigfield at (301)-722-6360 at Allegany County Transit.
Driving Phone Application Introduced
The Maryland Vehicle Administration has introduced a new driving phone app, that includes a driving test tutorial that can challenge anyone’s driving knowledge, and will keep Maryland drivers updated on recent driving information. It has already been downloaded by nearly 100,000 people. It is available for Androids, iPhones and iPads. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
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