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GO 106 News Archives for 2013-07

Local News

Volunteer Firefighter Arrested for Arson

Denzil Halbritter, a Midland Fire Department volunteer fireman, has been arrested for arson. He was arrested, after being released from the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center. Maryland State Fire Marshals say Halbritter intentionally set a fire at his home on July 22nd; he was found unconscious on the kitchen floor and was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Damages were set at $50,000 to the home on Big Lane Avenue in Midland. Halbritter was taken to the Allegany County Detention Center, where he is being held on $150,000 bond. 


Baltimore Avenue Project to Start in Fall

The city of Cumberland has agreed on a $1.4 million contract with Braddock Construction to completely renovate Baltimore Avenue. The project will begin this fall. Called a "major improvement to the area, the renovation includes building new retaining walls, widening the street, repaving, new utility lines and a sidewalk that is in compliance with the American Disabilities Act.


Minco Development Authority Seeking Storage

The Mineral County Development Authority is looking for a place to store machinist equipment, used at the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Flexible Manufacturing at Rocket Center. The RCBI is closing tomorrow, but the equipment will remain in Mineral County. A suggestion was made to store the equipment at a shell building in the Fort Ashby Business and Technology Park, but before that can happen, there would have to be heating and air conditioning installed, along with partitions added, to accommodate the tools and classroom space, should students from Potomac State College  conduct machinist classes there.  


Traffic Signal Change Takes Effect Today

The flashing traffic signal at Parkside Boulevard and National Highway is now in operation as a full-color traffic signal; previously it had been a "flashing" signal most of the time. It operated in full-color mode only during school arrival and dismissal at Parkside School; now, it will be operating in full color mode from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, but will revert to flash mode at night. Drivers and pedestrians are urged to use extra caution, as the community adjusts to the new traffic signal.


Man Jailed in Domestic Assault

Cumberland resident Timothy Winkler was jailed on $5000 bond, after allegedly assaulting a woman in the North Centre Street area in Cumberland. Winkler is accused of hitting her in the face several times, causing facial injuries; charges were filed on behalf of the woman. Following a District Court hearing, he was remanded to the Allegany County Detention Center.


ACM Coaches Named; Baker Steps Down

Allegany College men's basketball coach Mike Baker has resigned that post and there are new coaches for both men's and women's basketball at the school. Tommie Reams is the new men's coach, while Chuck Eberly is the women's coach. Baker's overall record during his nine years as head coach is 179 wins and 94 losses. Baker's 2009 team went 29-7, including a trip to the NJCAA Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas.


County Schedules Hydrant Flushing

Allegany County has scheduled hydrant flushing during the month of August. Beginning tomorrow, through Friday, hydrants will be flushed in the Grahamtown and Wright's Crossing areas in Frostburg; crews will move on to the Vale Summit area on Monday. The flushing is scheduled to run through the end of the month, and residents are urged to run water for several minutes, until it is clear, following the procedure.


Gas Prices Down Nationally and Locally

There was a double-digit jump in gas prices last week, but now prices are inching back down, according to the Triple A Daily Fuel Gauge report. In Cumberland, the average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gas was $3.58. The drop in prices comes at a time when people tend to take more vacations before school starts. While prices continue to decrease over the next week, it's anyone's guess what will happen after that.


Memorial, Medical Buildings Set for Demolition

A part of Cumberland history will be demolished, beginning late this summer or early fall, as Memorial Hospital and the Memorial medical building will be razed. Cumberland City Council member David Kauffman notes that significant losses were reported, as the city tried to keep it open. One of the first steps in the demolition will be asbestos abatement. It is not clear what will happen to the property, once the building has been removed.



Gas Line Rupture Closes Road

A ruptured gas line caused authorities to close Interstate 70, both east and westbound for a time late yesterday morning. The rupture occurred near Maryland Route 63, known as the Greencastle Pike. Columbia Gas crews, along with Hazmat crews and members of the Maugansville Fire Company were on the scene. Maryland Route 63, in the area of Interstate 70 has been the scene of ongoing construction work. There is no word on what caused the gas line rupture. There were no reports of injuries.

Local News

Woman Seriously Injured in Motorcycle Crash

A woman was flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, following a motorcycle accident in Garrett County this past weekend. The crash happened on Bittinger Road, near Maple Grove Road in Grantsville. The unidentified woman is in serious condition, with two broken arms, compound fractures and hand injuries. There are no further details, but the Maryland State Police at McHenry are continuing their investigation.


Possible CDS Activity Near Washington's Headquarters

Possible CDS activity was reported Sunday evening near George Washington's Headquarters. Cumberland City Police took 20-year old Shawn Tallman into custody, following a short chase and brief struggle. He was taken to Cumberland City Police Headquarters and charged with possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He received an initial appearance in District Court, and was released on personal recognizance.


Man Held on $25,000 Bond in Furnace Street Assault

An upcoming court case sparked an argument and assault on Furnace Street this past weekend. A female victim told police that 23-year old Gerald Moore of Cumberland began arguing with her, and at one point, flipped her onto the ground. She did not require medical treatment but Moore was charged with second-degree assault and held on $25,000 bond. He is in the Allegany County Detention Center, pending his next court appearance.


Gun Removed from Grantsville Residence

The McHenry barrack of the Maryland State Police is investigating a burglary in the 1600-block of Bear Hill Road in Grantsville. A Remington 20-guage pump shotgun was removed from the home. If anyone has any information in reference to the case, they are asked to contact the Maryland State Police at McHenry, at (301)-387-1101.


ACM-Somerset Receives Remodeling Grant

Allegany College of Maryland's Somerset campus has been granted a quarter-million dollars by the Richard King Mellon Foundation of Pittsburgh for renovations to the George S. Cook Foundation Hall. The Mellon Foundation Board noted that it was impressed with the local fundraising effort. The project's goal is just over $2.6 million.

Taylor Calls Canal Place Setbacks "Unfortunate"

The Canal Place Heritage and Development Authority has been told by the state it cannot proceed with the expansion of the Heritage Area, as Maryland says it is too understaffed and underfunded to do so. Former Speaker of the House, Cas Taylor, says some of the property has been tied up in private hands for so many years. Taylor adds that certain things could not get accomplished, because of what he termed "premature commitments."


Garrett County Farm Queen Named

Oakland resident Jenny Jones was named the 69th annual Garrett County Farm Queen Sunday evening. She is the daughter of Kim and Johnny Jones and competed against two others for the title. She is a 2013 graduate of Southern High School, and will attend Garrett College in the fall. 


Tax Free Week Begins August 11th

The annual "Shop Maryland" event is set for August 11th through the 17th, which means consumers who purchase clothing and shoes, $100 or less in value, won't have to pay the state's six per cent tax. The event is scheduled every year, to coincide with Back to School shopping for parents. For more information, you can visit the website,


Five Killed in Helicopter Crash Had Maryland Connection

Five people were killed in a helicopter crash in northeastern Pennsylvania, and there is a Maryland connection. Relatives in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania are being contacted in connection with the crash which involved a father and son, father and daughter and the pilot of the chopper. The pilot told air traffic controllers he was losing altitude and would return to a nearby airfield. The helicopter had taken off from an airfield in upstate New York, bound of Lehighton, Pennsylvania. The National Transportation Board is investigating.


More Low-Income Kids Getting After School Meals

After school meals are now reaching more than triple the amount of low-income Maryland children. A report from the group, Maryland Hunger Solutions says the program is reaching more children than they did when the federally-funded Afterschool Meal Program was first implemented in the state three years ago. During the 201-2012 school year, an average of 11,433 children received meals at 440 After School programs in the state, with the largest growth in daily participation reported in Baltimore City, Prince George's and Montgomery counties.

Local News

Woman Killed in Accident Identified


A 23-year old Cumberland woman was killed early Friday morning, in a single-vehicle accident in the 400-block of Virginia Avenue. Shelly Leeann Murphy hit a utility pole and was initially taken to the Western Maryland Health System for treatment. She was later transferred to the Baltimore Shock Trauma unit, where she died of her injuries. The investigation into the accident is continuing by the Cumberland City Police Department.



Center Tenants Told To Vacate by December 31


There are only three remaining tenants in the Grand Central Business Center in Keyser, and now, they're being told to leave by December 31st. Letters were received from Rick Thayer of First United Bank and Trust, advising them that the building will close at the end of the year. First United is the lien holder, having purchased the building in June of 2011.



Medical Building to be Demolished


When the former Memorial Hospital is leveled this fall, the medical building will also be demolished. The city had some initial interest in the medical building, but that didn't happen, so it has been decided to raze it as well. The cost of tearing down the hospital is expected to be about $3.5 million, and the work should begin in October.



Cumberland Man Arrested for CDS Possession


Cumberland resident Jason Bender was held on $3,000 bond, after a traffic stop in the 300-block of Maryland Avenue. Benter was initially stopped for driving without headlights and for having expired registration plats. He also admitted to being in possession of illegal prescription narcotics. He was charged with CDS possession, not marijuana, and received a hearing in Allegany County District Court.



Garrett To Receive ARC Broadband Grant


Garrett County will be receiving an Appalachian Regional Commission grant of a quarter-million dollars to expand broadband access to underserved areas there. An announcement was made by Congressman John Delaney, economic development leaders, college staff and other state and local leaders over the weekend. About 3,000 homes and small businesses don't have adequate broadband service, and the county expects to make it available to the remaining residences by 2016.



Taylor Comments on Rocky Gap Casino Project


There are plans to build a parking garage and a separate gambling facility at the Rocky Gap Lodge and Casino. The operation reported earnings of $2.5 million in its first full month of operation. Former Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, Cas Taylor observes that the first couple of months have been rewarding for both the county and the state. He adds that he is sorry it has taken to so long to come to fruition.



Woman Arrested Following Garrett County Disturbance


A 23-year old woman was arrested, following an altercation in Garrett County late last week. Andraya Nichole Austin had been creating a disturbance on Cassel Ridge Drive in Grantsville, and was determined to be under the influence of alcohol. She became combative while being arrested, kicking and spitting on a Maryland State Police trooper. She also had assaulted to men and struck a parked vehicle. Officers also found a hypodermic needle in her purse. Additionally, she was wanted on an outstanding warrant in Allegany County for bad checks. She was eventually released on personal  recognizance.



Pair Face Federal Meth Charges


Two Somerset County residents are looking at life in prison and fines of up to $10 million, or both, for operating a Somerset County meth lab. Justin Carr and Samantha McKenzie were allegedly operating the lab within 200 yards of Somerset High School. The two were in possession of more than 500-grams of the drug, which they intended to sell. They were arrested in January of this year.



Attorney Arrested on Drug Distribution Charges


A Jefferson County, West Virginia assistant prosecuting attorney has been arrested on drug distribution charges. James Casimiro III was charged with selling Oxycodone earlier this spring and summer to another person in Jefferson County. Casimiro had been employed with the prosecuting attorney's office for the last five years, and had primarily been handling abuse and neglect cases in the last year.

Local News

Cumberland Man To Face Trial in Mineral County

A September jury trial has been ordered for a Cumberland man, who led West Virginia authorities on a high-speed chase, resulting in the injury of two police officers. Leo Rodenhouser was indicted in January, and faces numerous charges and three felony counts. Involved in the chase of Rodenhouser-who was on a motorcycle in the October 2011 incident-were members of the West Virginia State Police, Mineral County Sheriff's Department and Keyser City Police. A pre-trial hearing has been set for September 12th, while two days have been set aside for the September 24th trial.


Man Arrested on Warrants From Several Counties

Keyser resident Michael Johnson Taylor has been arrested on warrants from several counties, including Allegany County and Mineral and Marion counties in West Virginia. Charges against Taylor range from felony burglary, to petit larceny, false pretense and theft. He was jailed on a total $31,500 in the West Virginia cases, but was held without bond on a failure to appear charge in Allegany County.


Warrant Check Results in Arrest

Cumberland resident Jimmy Liller was released on person recognizance, after being taken into custody on an outstanding warrant. Liller is accused of inappropriately groping a woman at a Pershing Street business. As he was being arrested, Liller was found to have a large quantity of Clonazepam pills. He will stand trial in Allegany County District Court on charges against him.


Disturbance on South Central Avenue

Thirty-six year old Cumberland resident Wayne Gossert, Jr. was held on $3,000 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center, following his arrest on Wednesday. Gossert was seen throwing household items into the street on South Central Avenue. He resisted arrest, and was later handcuffed and taken to police headquarters. As a result, he was charged with disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and resisting arrest.


Edwards Urges Safety for Correctional Officers

Instead of spending millions of dollars on overtime, Maryland State Senator George Edwards believes that money could be better spent on hiring more correctional officers. Senator Edwards is on a committee investigating the Baltimore City Detention Center, and-although there have been numerous assaults on correctional officers locally-he says it's not "on par" with what was happening in Baltimore. One suggestion to bring all correctional facilities under control is the development of a "jamming" system for cell phones, which are sometimes smuggled into correctional facilities, so that inmates cannot communicate with the outside world. During a meeting yesterday between AFSCME representatives and Department of Correctional Services personnel, Secretary Gary Maynard said he was in regular contact with the warden and that he is personally involved in the situation, regarding recent assaults on Correctional Officers at the North Branch Correctional Institution, a maximum security state prison.


Partnership Announced During "State of the Lake" Address

To help insure the continued health and success of Deep Creek Lake, a partnership-between Garrett County and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources-has been announced. During this week's "State of the Lake" address at Garrett College, it was announced that a draft agreement will be available for public comment until August 13th. The plan will prioritize policy changes, restoration actions and public outreach needed to achieve both immediate and long-term benefits.


Garrett To Receive Program Open Space Funding

Garrett County will receive $50,000 in Open Space Funding to replace the comfort station, picnic tables and grills at Broadford Recreational area. The money will help provide a safer, more enjoyable experience for visitors. The Board of Public Works approved the funding this week.


Martinsburg Man Arrested by Fugitive Task Force

Martinsburg resident Robert Doyle III has been arrested on charges of attempted murder and abuse of an incapacitated adult by the Mountain State Fugitive Task Force. The charges are in connection to abusing his wife, who is paralyzed and could not use her legs, one arm, and had limited use of the other arm. The criminal complaint included an incident where Doyle allegedly placed a plastic bag over his wife's head, and told her to die, on one occasion. He was arrested at his apartment on Cottage Road in Martinsburg.


Federal Grand Jury Charges Three Saxton Residents

Three Bedford County residents have been charged by a federal grand jury with a series of firearms crimes, stemming from a January gun store robbery. Garrett Sherlock, Joshua Faircloth and Kelley Foster, are all alleged to have been involved in the theft of 31 handguns from Saxton Outdoor Supply. After stealing the guns, they are accused of driving to Baltimore, to exchange the firearms for cash and drugs. Sherlock and Faircloth are convicted felons, and by taking the guns across state lines, they violated federal trafficking laws.


Man Held on $175,000 Bond

A Martinsburg man is being held on $175,000 following his arrest by several West Virginia law enforcement agencies. Twenty-five year old Wade Eugene Decker is accused of attempting to meet an 11-year old girl at a pool there. A two-week investigation resulted in attempted sexual exploitation charges against him. In all, he was charged with solicitation of a minor, using a computer, along with the display of obscene material to a minor, the use of obscene material to seduce a minor and the attempted use of a minor to produce obscene matter. The intended victim was from New Bern, North Carolina.

Local News

Accused Robber Out of Jail

The man who is accused of robbing the Industrial Boulevard branch of the M & T Bank on July 12th is out on bond. Thirty-year old Creek Road resident William Morgan Stewart posted bond four days after his arrest. He had been jailed on $30,000 bond. Stewart was indicted by an Allegany County Grand Jury that same day. He had previously been convicted of armed robbery in Washington County in 2002, and received a five year prison term then. Stewart will receive an initial hearing in Circuit Court on August 13th.


AFSME Calls for Improved Prison Safety

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees is calling on the head of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Gary Maynard, to improve safety at the North Branch Correctional Institution. There have been several assaults of correctional officers by inmates at the facility. A meeting between AFSCME and the department is scheduled for today, to discuss the issue. 


Man Arrested on Identity Fraud Warrant

A Rawlings man is being held on $5,000, charged with failure to appear and  identity fraud. Twenty-eight year old Joseph Thompson was arrested, following a report of a disturbance in the 100-block of Greene Street Tuesday evening. He was taken into custody without incident and received an initial appearance hearing in Allegany County District Court.


Assault Charges Lodged Against Cumberland Man

Fifty-two year old Eric Taylor of Cumberland is being held on $10,000 bond, following an alleged assault incident on West Oldtown Road. The victim's injuries did not require medical treatment, and Taylor was found nearby and taken into custody without incident. He received an initial appearance in District Court and was released to the Allegany County Detention Center.


Two Injured in Accident

Two men were flown to separate hospitals, following a crash on Hyndman Road in Manns Choice yesterday morning. A car, driven by Jeffrey Corley, pulled into the path of another vehicle, driven by 72-year old Fay Leydig at the intersection of Hyndman and Allegheny Roads. Corley was taken to Conemaugh Hospital, while Leydig was transported to Altoona Hospital.


Bedford Man Now in Custody

A man who had been wanted for holding his estranged wife against her will and other charges, is now in custody. Ronald Miller, Sr. is accused of slapping, head-butting and threatening to shoot her with a shotgun, during a five-hour period last week. She escaped, and was able to call police from a neighbor's house.


Commissioners To Consider Tax Abatement

During this evening's Allegany County Commissioners meeting, a request for a tax abatement will be considered for the Allegany County Building Trades Education Foundation. The commissioners may rebate those taxes of over $7800, for recently sold property. The foundation facilitates the acquisition of land and the building of homes by students at the Allegany County Center for Career and Technical Education.


More Information on Maryland School Assessment

There's good news and bad news in the local portion of the Maryland School Assessment. while reading and math scores fell slightly for elementary school students, the percentage of middle school students scoring at proficient levels in reading improved from 79.5 per cent in 2012 to 82.2 per cent this year. Since the Maryland School Assessment program replaced the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program in 2003, there have been dramatic, overall gains in both elementary and middle school reading and math scores.


Senator Edwards Not Surprised by Myers' Announcement

Next year's General Assembly session will be the last for District 1-C Delegate LeRoy Myers, as he recently announced his intention not to seek another term. Fellow Republican, State Senator George Edwards says he was not surprised by Delegate Myers' decision. Senator Edwards says he bases this on some of the comments Myers has made over the course of the last year. Senator Edwards says Delegate Myers did not receive the support on some legislation, even from one of the committees on which he serves. He adds that Myers will remain involved in some manner, and that he should make some type of announcement about that in September.


Encore for a Hero Ceremony

A member of the Cresaptown Volunteer Fire Department, and several other groups will be receiving a special award from the Allegany County Commissioners on August 7th. Lieutenant Ryan Curtis Hill, along with members of the Allegany County Fire Police, the Mountain Amateur Radio Club and the five Special Operations Teams will be honored for their life-saving actions to save the driver of a tractor-trailer, who was involved in an accident and submerged in the North Branch of the Potomac River earlier this year. The ceremony is set for 4 p.m. at the Allegany County Office Building.


Unemployment Rises in the Mountain State

Unemployment rose in 54 of West Virginia's counties in June, with only Pocahontas County showing a drop in the jobless rate. Monongalia and Jefferson counties have the lowest rates in the state at 4.2 per cent; the highest rates were reported in Webster County, with an 11.2 rate. Mason and Mingo Counties reported the next highest rates at 10.5 per cent each. Seasonally adjusted, the unemployment rate was 6.1 per cent in June, down slightly from May's rate.

Local News

Woman Killed, Infant Injured  in Accident

A Seneca Rocks, West Virginia woman was killed, but her 11-month old daughter survived a car crash near her home. Dana Nicole Davis was killed in the accident. Ms. Davis and the infant had been in this area,  at Tractor Supply in LaVale, where she had met someone there, to conduct a transaction from a yard sale. She later traveled to Keyser for the same purpose, and was headed home when the crash happened. The wreckage of her Ford F-150 truck was found over an embankment on Route 33, between Riverton and Macksville,  near Seneca Rocks. Sgt. A.D.  Teeter of the West Virginia State Police conducted the preliminary investigation, which is ongoing. The infant was treated for injuries sustained. Ms. Davis and the child had been reported missing by her husband Monday evening.


Missing Couple Located in California

An area couple who had been missing since June 19th, has been located in San Diego, California. Justin Faith and Heather Kernan were arrested yesterday. Kernan is being held on drug charges. It was unclear whether Faith had any charges pending, but both are being held without bond, pending additional charges. They will be extradited back to Maryland to face felony theft charges.


Taylor Comments on Canal Place

Canal Place is struggling "as best it can," according to former Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates Cas Taylor. State officials told the Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority last week that Maryland cannot afford to proceed with the expansion of the Heritage area, since it is too understaffed and underfunded to proceed. Taylor attributes the inability to have the original Master Plan for the area completed, due to a lack of organized leadership at both the state and local level.


Ridgeley Mayor to Face Charges

Former Ridgeley Mayor James Twigg will be tried for the alleged fraudulent use of a government-issued purchase card. A request to have the case dismissed was denied Monday in Mineral County Circuit Court. A status hearing on the case will be held in September.


Middle School Orientations Scheduled

Orientations for students attending both Braddock and Washington Middle Schools has been set for mid-August. Braddock will hold new student orientations for incoming sixth graders, on August 12th and 13th. Students with last names beginning with "A" through "L," are asked to attend on August 12th, with those whose last names begin with "M" through "Z" on the 13th. The program will run from 9 to 11 a.m. At Washington, the first group of students, will be there on August 14th, and the second group, those with last names beginning with "M" through "Z" attending on August 15th. The only difference is that Washington's program begins at 9:30 a.m.


Results Dip Slightly

Maryland School Assessment scores took a slight step back for Allegany County Public School students in 2013. The percentage of elementary students scoring at the proficient levels in reading dropped slightly from 90.8 per cent in 2012 to 88.9 per cent this year. The percentage of elementary students scoring in the proficient levels in math fell from 90.6 per cent to 84.7.


West Virginia Changes Hiring Policy

Seniority won't be as much of a factor when it comes to hiring teachers in West Virginia. Currently, an applicant with the most seniority usually gets advertised positions. The new policy states that the faculty senate at the school may choose to consider, and even interview, applicants for a professional position in their school. If they decide to recommend someone, and the principal agrees with their recommendation, that applicant is forwarded to the superintendent for his recommendation, according to the Mineral News Tribune.


Schools Recognized for PBIS Programs

Fourteen Allegany County public schools were recognized as banner PBIS schools by the Maryland State Department of Education for the 2012-2013 school year. The purpose of the recognition program is to provide acknowledgement to schools in the state that have implemented school-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. There are three levels of recognition-bronze, silver and gold.


Former Murphy's Building Demolished

It was the end of an era for Piedmont, as the former G.C. Murphy building on Ashfield Street in Piedmont has been demolished. The demolition was tedious at times, with crews slowly removing the brick wall beside the Presbyterian Church, and at times the wall was removed brick-by-brick. Demolition was completed late last week.


Workers Striking at Somerset Company

Alleging unfair labor practices, workers at Cleveland Brothers Equipment Company are on strike; the business is located in the Somerset Industrial Park. About 270 union members are on strike, company-wide, with other locations in Murrysville, New Stanton, and Clearfield, among others. At issue is an allegation that the company circumvented the union as the bargaining agent, and communicated directly with the employees. A three year contract between the company and the union expired on June 30th.


State Pension Fund Earnings Exceed Projections

The Maryland State Employee pension system grew to more than $40 billion during the last fiscal year, posting a 10.6 per cent return on its investments. The state had predicted it would earn 7.75 per cent. The Maryland Public Policy Institute had criticized the state's investment strategies, contending Maryland could have earned more money by investing in funds that are pegged to indexes such as the Standard and Poor's 500.

Local News - UPDATE

Woman Killed in Accident

A Seneca Rocks, West Virginia woman was killed, but her 11-month old daughter survived a car crash near her home. Nicole Davis was killed in the accident. She had been in the area yesterday, and left the Keyser area about 5:45 p.m., after conducting some yard sale transactions. The wreckage of her Ford F-150 truck was found near Seneca Rocks. Trooper Teeter of the West Virginia State Police had been on the scene, and the investigation is continuing. Ms. Davis had been reported missing by her husband late last night.

Local News

Firefighter in "Critical" Condition


A firefighter with the Midland Volunteer Fire Department is in critical condition at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, after being found on the kitchen floor of his home during a fire early yesterday morning. Twenty-four year old Denzel Halbitter is suffering from smoke inhalation, following the blaze at his home on Big Lane in Midland. The fire was brought under control in about 20 minutes. The cause remains under investigation, but it is known the fire originated in a central room on the first floor of the home. Damage estimates have been set at $50,000.



Woman Killed in Two-Vehicle Crash


A Hampshire County woman was killed in a two-vehicle crash Sunday, near Hanging Rock. Nineteen year old Rachel Robinson was a passenger in a car driven by 18-year old Adam Fox, and also occupied by Brittany Keesling. They collided with an SUV, driven by 35-year old William Lorenz of Winchester. The accident remains under investigation by the Hampshire County Sheriff's Department. Ms. Robinson was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, on State Route 29.



Armed Robbery in Coney Reported


The Allegany County Sheriff's Office is investigating an armed robbery...all over $25.00 in cash, which was taken from a 26-year old man. The robbery victim said he was grabbed from behind, and had something placed against his neck. After taking the money, the victim was pushed to the ground. One of the suspects is described as being of "short and stocky" build, 20 to 30 years old, wearing white cargo-style sweatpants and a black sweatshirt with a logo on the back. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff's Department.



Stabbing Reported on Virginia Avenue


A stabbing took place at a Virginia Avenue business, and a suspect is in custody. The victim was treated at the scene and later transported to the hospital. Thirty-one year old Cumberland resident James McCloud was quickly arrested on Cedar Street, near the boulevard. He was charged with both first and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. McCloud was later held on $25,000 bond.



Eleven Warrants Served on One Woman


A North End woman was served with 11 arrest warrants recently for failure to appear for hearings associated with previous animal licensing and theft violations. Sixty-six year old Mary Delores Ellsworth was taken to the Allegany County Detention Center, held on $5,000 bond following her arrest. She received a bond hearing in District Court.

Two Taken To Hospital After Garrett County Crash


Two people were taken to the hospital, following a crash on the Garrett Highway yesterday. Eighty-eight year old Decorsey Bolden turned into the path of a car, driven by 76-year old Roberta Seward, while making a turn into Glotfelty Tire. Both were taken to Garrett Memorial Hospital. The Maryland State Police from McHenry also responded to investigate.



Man Charged with Assault


A Cumberland resident was arrested, two days after an alleged assault incident on Columbia Avenue. Forty-five year old Robert William Harding is accused of assaulting another person, causing injuries, and acting in a disorderly manner. He as charged with both second-degree assault and disorderly conduct. Harding was released pending trial in District Court.



Pennsylvania State Police Search for Man


The Bedford County detachment of the Pennsylvania State Police is looking for a man who not only held his estranged wife against her will, but also assaulted, and threatened to shoot her. Ronald Miller, Sr. was in her house when she returned from work, armed with a shotgun. He held her for about five hours. She sought help from a neighbor. Residents of the area are asked to call police, if they know where he is.



Cardin Nephew Announces Bid for Attorney General


Delegate Jon Cardin has announced his intention to run for Maryland Attorney General. In making the announcement yesterday, Cardin became the first candidate to announce his bid for the office. Current A.G. Doug Gansler plans to run for Governor, but has yet to formally announce those intentions. Jon Cardin, who joined the legislature in 2003, is the nephew of Maryland United States Senator Ben Cardin.


Local News

Probe Into Fire Department To Continue

There have been no indictments, but investigators seem to be focusing on the alleged misconduct of Mc Coole Volunteer Fire Department Chief Charles Pearce. He is being investigated for the alleged mismanagement of the fire department's assets that led to its down fall, accumulating a million dollars of debt, and forcing the fire station in to foreclosure. One aspect of the case centers on an agreement that required the fire department to pay $3800 to lease Hamburger Haven; Pearce had been the manager of the restaurant. More witnesses will be heard on August 21st in Circuit Court.

New Jersey Woman Arrested for Heroin Possession

A New Jersey woman was found to have dozens of  baggies of heroin in her vehicle during a traffic stop on Interstate 68 near Frostburg. Dawn Elizabeth Negron of Vineland, New Jersey is being held on $5,000 bond. The drug was packaged for distribution, and officers also found a used hypodermic needle in the car.

Woman Pleads Guilty to Grand Larceny Charge

A former nurse at Potomac Valley Hospital has pleaded guilty to stealing two rings from a patient who died at the facility last year. Tonya Lenae Poland will be sentenced at a later date. She had been indicted in May by a Mineral County Grand Jury. She admitted to taking the rings, which had an estimated value of $1400.00. Ms. Poland waived her right to trial and entered the guilty plea.

Disturbance Complaint Results in Marijuana Charges

A disturbance complaint led to the arrest of a Park Street resident; the disturbance was caused over a suspected marijuana plant growing inside the home. The plant, along with potting materials, and indoor growth equipment were found. Arrested for possession of marijuana and growing equipment was 21-year old Kayla Willison-Beal. She was released on personal recognizance, pending trial.

Meth Lab Defendant Allegedly Violates Conditions

One of the defendants in a meth lab investigation in Meyersdale allegedly violated her probation by notifying the sister of another suspect that there was a warrant out for his arrest. Cheryl Anne Finzel of Berlin was picked up on the bench warrant is being held on $25,000 bail. She was originally charged with buying pseudoephedrine, a decongestant that can only be bought in limited quantities, for meth production.

“Burn House” Possible for Industrial Park

A “burn house,” used for fire training could be coming to the Forth Ashby Business and Technology Park. The possibility was discussed at a recent meeting, and at least one Mineral County Commissioner-Jerry Whisner-called it a “win/win” situation for the county. The closest training facilities of this type are located in Mount Storm and in Martinsburg. Possibly donating the land for the training center was also discussed.

Maryland’s Jobless Rate Increases in June

Unemployment rose three-tenths of a per cent in June, to an even 7-per cent. More people started looking for work then, but not all found jobs. Despite that, 4300 jobs were added in the state. Governor Martin O’Malley, in commenting on the statistics, says Maryland has recovered 99-per cent of jobs lost in the last recession.

Bond Rating Upgraded

Moody’s Investor’s Service has upgraded its outlook on Maryland’s general obligation bonds, from “negative” to “stable.” Moody’s had downgraded the outlook two years ago, citing ties to the federal government. The state has scheduled a sale of general obligation bonds this week, including $435 million in tax-exempt bonds and $40 million in taxable ones.

Body Shop Used as Front for Crime Operation

A Baltimore man is accused of using a family-owned business to run a lucrative drug operation, and family members of David Paschall could also be involved in other crimes, such theft, home invasions, and also arson. Customers would come to the body shop to purchase any number of drugs, such as oxycodone, percocet, and even cocaine and heroin. Twelve of 16 people who were indicted in the investigation, are in federal custody.

First Energy Seeks Dismissal of Investigation

The West Virginia Public Service Commission has denied a request from First Energy to dismiss the agency’s investigation into the meter reading, billing and customer service practices of Potomac Edison and Mon Power. Instead, the PSC is ordering First Energy to provide billing details for at least a year. Public comments hearings will also be scheduled after the PSC receives two months worth of reports. Mon Power and Potomac Edison serve over a half million customers in 37 West Virginia counties alone.

Local News

Man Sentenced to 15 Years

A Cumberland man who was found guilty of possession and distribution of drugs was sentenced to 15 years in prison in Allegany County Circuit Court. Thirty-seven year old Victor Safchuck was sentenced on charges of  possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of heroin. A search warrant, executed over two years ago, turned up crack cocaine, heroin, and other related materials. Judge Gary Leasure presided over sentencing in Circuit Court.


Business Owner Pleads to Misdemeanor

Earth Zone owner John Cozatt pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance, in a plea agreement in Mineral County Circuit Court. He and his wife had been indicted in January on felony charges of selling synthetic marijuana in their stores, located in Keyser and Short Gap. In exchange for the plea agreement, charges were dropped against his wife. Several factors played into the case, including the lack of a criminal record, and the current ambiguity of the law. Cozatt's jail sentence was suspended, but he is required to perform 40 hours of community service, and pay $2500 each to the Mineral County Sheriff's Department and the Potomac Highlands Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force.


Yet Another Arrest in Meyersdale Meth Lab Case

There has been an eighth arrest in connection with a meth lab and dump site in Meyersdale. James Betz has been charged with both criminal conspiracy and operating a meth lab; both charges are felonies. Three other suspects have been arrested. Betz was held on $25,000 bond. He has a preliminary hearing set for 11 a.m., one week from today.


Woman Arrested in Domestic Dispute

A McHenry woman was arrested in a domestic dispute this week. Annie Mae Musier allegedly scratched a man who lives on Windy Way Road. He had marks on his head, neck and chest areas. She was charged with second-degree domestic assault by troopers from the McHenry barrack of the Maryland State Police.


Boden Elected President of Mineral County Authority

Dave Boden was elected as president of the Mineral County Development Authority, with David Webb as secretary. An election held at the June meeting, was determined to be invalid, because of the use of secret ballots and not following the West Virginia Open government Meeting rules. Webb ran unopposed for the secretarial position, and will hold that office until next July.


Finishing Work on Memorial Bridge to be Delayed

The new Keyser Memorial Bridge is in place, but it may be a while until the area is completely cleaned up. The project contractor was called to an emergency highway project near Martinsburg; crews from the West Virginia Division of Highways were sent to an emergency project on Interstate 81 that has been the scene of several accidents, including a recent fatal accident. That work will be done to reconstruct a highway ramp, along Interstate 81.


Attorney Appointed Judge

Romney attorney Charles Carl III has been appointed a circuit judge for the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court. The region includes Hampshire, Hardy, and Pendleton counties. The appointment was made recently by West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. The vacancy was the result of  Governor Tomblin  appointing then-Judge Donald Cookman to serve as a state senator for West Virginia's 15th District.


Residents Asked for Highway Project Input

West Virginia residents are being asked for their opinions on any number of highway projects in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties and in Washington County, Maryland. An online survey is being conducted, and the deadline for responses is August 10th. The survey can be found at Hepmpo is an acronym for Hagerstown/Eastern Panandle Metropolitan Planning Organization.


Assistance Approved for Pennsylvania Counties

The western part of Pennsylvania has been hit the hardest by heavy rains and flooding, and that's why Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett applied for disaster assistance for businesses and residents. That request has now been granted for Fayette, Clearfield and Jefferson counties. It'll now be easier residents of those areas to apply for low-interest disaster loans. Businesses and non-profit organizations are also eligible for assistance.


Inmate Sought by Area Authorities

An inmate, on pre-release from the Maryland Correctional Training Center, walked off the job Wednesday evening, and is now being sought by area law enforcement authorities. Forty-one year old Dion Alves walked off his job at the Bulls and Bears Restaurant in Hagerstown. Alves is described as a black male, 5-feet, 11-inches tall, weighing 190 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white tee shirt and dark blue jeans.

Local News

Canal Place Expansion Delayed

Any expansion plans for Canal Place may be put on hold. State officials have told the authority that Maryland can't afford to proceed with expansion of the Heritage area. State officials say it is too understaffed and underfunded to proceed with the plan. Canal Place officials were surprised, because they felt the plan was coming to fruition, after months of work and review from participants across the state.


Ridgeley Could Limit Video Gambling

Two newly elected Ridgeley town council members-who, before their election, were behind a movement to oppose the opening of another gambling operation in Ridgeley-have now voted to prohibit any future businesses from having video lottery machines. An ordinance recently introduced, would limit to 35, the number of gambling establishments. That number includes the proposed Canal Hotspot; a license for the establishment became active earlier this month. There will be a second reading of the ordinance at next Tuesday's council meeting. 


Elk Plan Scrapped

A plan to reintroduce Rocky Mountain elk to Allegany and Garrett Counties has been scrapped because of concerns of vehicle collisions, crop damage and the potential for disease. A meeting was held nearly two years ago, and early opposition to the plan came from the Garrett County Commissioners and the Maryland Farm Bureau. Public support, despite the projected revenues from visitor spending, never materialized for the plan.


Ridgeley Closes Community Center

In an effort to gain control of spending,  the Ridgeley Mayor and Council have decided to close the community center, if only temporarily. That alone can save the town about $1,000 per month. The center will reopen as necessary. The town will also take a look at the rate structure for renting the facility. Members of the Mayor and Council are also looking at other ways to save money.


Fire Ruled Accidental

There has been a determination in Sunday's fire that did a total of $90,000 in damage to a Massachusetts Avenue home. The Cumberland Fire Marshal's Office says an appliance, plugged into a floor outlet, sparked the blaze at the home of Darrell Lee Powell. Nobody was home at the time of the fire, and there were no injuries. The Red Cross is assisting the family.


Man Faces Two Theft Charges

Cumberland resident Paul Harman is charged with theft in connection with two incidents in the downtown area over the last several days. Harman was seen allegedly shoplifting from a business in the 300-block of North Center Street. Additionally, there was another warrant on charges of theft. Harman allegedly entered a business on Howard Street, where he ordered food without paying for services rendered. Bail was set at $5000.


Officer Recognized with Award

Cumberland City Police Officer Anthony Tringler was recently recognized with the Police Department's Life Saving award, as well as a commendation from CSX Corporation. Corporal Tringler saved a man who had been laying on the railroad tracks near the Amtrak station. He was pulled to safety as a train passed. The incident occurred on May 5th.


Rucker Appointed Mineral 911 Director

A veteran of emergency response has been appointed the new director of the Mineral County 911 Center. David Rucker had  served with the Department of Homeland Security and subsequently joined the Clinton, Maryland fire department. He moved to Keyser from Prince George's county in 1975, when his parents opened the Village Card Shop in downtown Keyser. Rucker began his duties on Monday.


Jailhouse Gang Leader to Plead Guilty

A man who was indirectly responsible for an investigation into the Baltimore City Jail will plead guilty at a hearing on August 6th. Tavon White is accused of running a jailhouse gang there, and impregnating several guards. A plea deal with federal prosecutors calls, in exchange for a guilty plea, a sentence of 20 years in prison on charges of racketeering and conspiracy. White's plea agreement indicates he was the commander of the Black Guerilla Family, and was involved in smuggling drugs and cell phones into the jail. He will also admit he impregnated four female guards.


Jail Rates May Decline

The cost of housing prisoners in the eastern portion of  West Virginia. Jail rates have been on the rise for Eastern Panhandle counties, but under a new bill, West Virginia counties will now be paying less to house prisoners at the state's regional jails. A previous rate of $48.80 per inmate is now 5-cents less. The Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg currently has more than 400 inmates, including prisoners from Jefferson, Berkeley, and Morgan Counties.


West Virginia Unemployment Rate Below National Average

Unemployment in West Virginia decreased slightly last month, and was estimated at 6.1 per cent. The national unemployment rate remained at 7.6 per cent. The number of residents without a job is 48,400, which is down 1700. Manufacturing  jobs increased, while the biggest job loss was quoted at 2500 in government.

Local News

Fire in Upper Potomac Industrial Park


Firefighters from throughout the area were on the scene of a fire at the Cintas Corporation yesterday afternoon.  A spokesperson for the Office of Emergency Services says a piece of equipment caught fire at approximately 12:21 p.m.,  at the facility, located off  Route 220 in the Upper Potomac Industrial Park. Four ambulances were on the scene, to treat any of the firefighters for heat exhaustion. The first alarm brought out Bowling Green, Cresaptown, the LaVale Volunteer Fire Department, and Ridgeley. Other departments were called to provide relief for the initial companies, due to the heat. The equipment fire is under control, but there are several companies still on the scene. There were  no injuries reported.




Non-Profits Make Pitch to Council


Several non-profit organizations have made their requests for funding from the county's hotel/motel tax; the requests from 16 groups total $110,000, only about $60,000 is available for funding. The groups will have to look at lower than expected funding this year-or none at all, according to the Cumberland Times-News. Some of the larger requests were from the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, at $42,000; the New Embassy Theatre requested $6,000; and the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament is asking for $4,000.



Attorney General Says Ex-Officio Member Can Attend Meetings


Allegany County Commissioner Bill Valentine will be able to attend executive sessions of the Board of Education, according to an opinion issued by the Attorney General's Office. There was some question about the issue recently, but-even though it is not a formal opinion-it does cite previous formal opinions on similar matters. Commissioner Valentine had attended a portion of the July 9th executive meeting, before being asked to leave by Board President, Dr. Ed Root.




Arrest Made in Meyersdale Meth Case


Yet another arrest has been made in a meth lab and dump site that was found earlier this year in Meyersdale. Berlin resident Cheryl Finzel has been charged with criminal conspiracy to operate a meth lab, and actually operating the lab. Both charges are considered felonies. Ms. Finzel specifically purchased pseudoephedrine, an ingredient for manufacturing the drug. Two other Meyersdale men have also been arrested in connection with the case.




Alleged Robbery Suspect Faces Additional Charges


A man accused of the armed robbery of a person near the Canal Parkway earlier this week, has several other charges pending against him, and was served with a criminal warrant. Jordan Shook is also accused of assaulting a female victim, leaving visible marks. He had previously been notified by the city's Housing Authority that he was not allowed on the West Oldtown Road property. Shook had left the area, but is now being held without bond on both the summons and robbery charges. 




McCoole Meeting Postponed


A public meeting on fire protection services in McCoole has been postponed. It was originally scheduled for this coming Monday.  Director of the Allegany County Department of Emergency Services Dick Devore says the meeting will be rescheduled at a future date.




City Ridding Itself of Blighted Properties


The city continues to rid itself of blighted properties, and has become aggressive in achieving that goal. Mayor Brian Grim says the current fiscal budget includes $125,000 for blight removal. He says it is a quality of life issue, as well as an economic development issue.


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Greenway Avenue Work Set for Today


The City of Cumberland Engineering Department is notifying the public that its contractor, Shaffer Construction, will be making repairs to Greenway Avenue beginning today,  and  they will be completed by tomorrow. During this time period Greenway Avenue will be closed from Kent Avenue to Brentwood Avenue.  Please follow the detour for this closure. 




Development Authority Holding Another Vote


A secret ballot election is not allowed under West Virginia law, so the Mineral County Development Authority will have to hold another election. At June's meeting, such an election was held for the vacant spots of president and secretary; the Mineral County Commissioners, however, informed the Authority that was  not allowable under the West Virginia Open Meetings laws. The results of that election, however, could change due to the new makeup of the board.




Commissioners To Hold Rawlings Water Project Meeting


The Allegany County Commissioners are holding a public meeting on the proposed water projects for Rawlings and Route 20. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 7th at 7:00 p.m. at the Rawlings United Methodist Church. Public Works representatives, along with members of the Rawlings Water Company will be in attendance for the meeting, and all interested parties will be given the opportunity to speak.




Corridor H Authority Wants to Accelerate Project


Three more projects in connection to the Corridor H roadway are ready for bidding, and the chair of the Corridor H Authority wants to look into the impact of  completing the project 14 years sooner. The original plans called for the highway to be completed by 2034, but chair Steve Foster would like to see it completed by 2020. While traffic numbers are increasing in the completed areas, completing the roadway will be dependent on funding.




Hopkins Regains Top Spot


Johns Hopkins Hospital is back on top...U.S. News and World Report has ranked it number one, over both Mass General and the Mayo Clinic. There are five specialty areas at Hopkins, including neurology, and neurosurgery, urology, geriatrics, rheumatology, and ear, nose and throat. The U.S. News and World Report listing also ranked the University of Maryland as second in the state, and listed five nationally ranked specialties.




Over One-third of WV Homes Have No Computer


A new federal study reveals that slightly more than 35 per cent of West Virginia households do not have a computer, the second-lowest ranking of any state. That number could explain why many residents don't sign up for high-speed Internet service, even where it is available. Only 59 per cent of households subscribe to high-speed Internet, which is the eighth lowest adoption rate among the 50 states.

Local News

Armed Robbery Reported

A Cumberland man was quickly arrested, after allegedly robbing another person in the Canal Parkway area  late yesterday morning. Jordan Shook allegedly pulled a fixed-blade knife on a person, holding it to their ear, demanding money. The victim broke free and Shook was arrested a short time later in the Central Avenue area. Shook was charged with robbery, and other charges, and was additionally served with a criminal summons for trespassing.


Cumberland Man, Woman Reported Missing

Two Cumberland residents have been missing since June 19th, and there has been no explanation for their disappearance. Twenty-nine year old Justin Faith and 23-year old Heather Kernan were last seen in a 1999 black Honda  Accord with temporary tags. Ms. Kernan has a medical alert notification on her, because of severe diabetes. Anyone with information on the two is asked to contact the Maryland State Police. Their pictures can be found on the Maryland Center for Missing and Unidentified Persons Facebook page.


Traffic Changes Coming Next Week

If you don't want to be stuck in traffic, it might be best to avoid Willowbrook Road and the Messick Road areas over the next month, due to paving operations. Beginning Monday, work will take place at night near the I-68 Interchange and near the Western Maryland Health System. Work begins at 6 p.m., at least through Thursday of next week. From July 29th through late August, work will take place on Messick Road, north of Route 51 between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. The work schedule is dependent on the weather. 


Fire Investigation Continues

The investigation into Sunday's Massachusetts Avenue fire continues. The Cumberland Fire Marshal, Lt. Shannon Adams says the blaze caused a total of $60,000 in structural damage and $30,000 in the loss of its contents. The home was owned by Darrell Lee Powell. The Fire Marshal says there is nothing suspicious about the fire, which was first reported at around 4:30 a.m. Sunday. Nobody was home at the time of the fire, and there were no injuries.


Pair Arrested for Possible Drug Activity

A man from Winchester and a local woman were arrested in the parking lot of a business on Queen City Drive for possibly dealing drugs. Forty-five year old Darin Beckwith and Belinda Billie Kay Davis of Corriganville tried to run, but were quickly apprehended. Beckwith was charged with trying to elude police, while Ms. Davis was charged with possession of CDS and other related charges. She was released on personal recognizance, following a District Court appearance.


New Piedmont Mayor Announces Appointments

Newly elected Piedmont Mayor Leon Garland made two appointments at the most recent city council meeting. He named Gary Bradley as parks and recreation commissioner and Michael Boggs was appointed housing commissioner. Both were elected as new town council members in May.


Inmate Injured in MCI Stabbing; Potential Suspect Being Eyed

The inmate injured in a stabbing at the Maryland Correctional Institution has been identified as a 37-year old inmate, serving a 15-year sentence for second-degree murder. Authorities are unsure where the inmate is from, and a "potential suspect" has been identified, and a weapon used in the stabbing has been recovered. The inmate was cut three times, including an injury to his back. He was taken to Meritus Medical Center as a precaution.


Child Care Subsidy Underfunded

The Maryland Child Care Subsidy program is severely underfunded, so much so that it hasn't met federal rate guidelines in a decade and still uses income eligibility criteria from 2001. The shortfall prevents thousands of Maryland families from participating and relegates many who do to the least expensive care available, often the lowest in caliber in terms of facilities, educational offerings and staff training.


West Virginia Woman  Jailed in Son's Death

A West Virginia woman is currently in jail on $100,000 bail, charged with child abuse, resulting in the 8-year old's death. Valerie Brown's son,  Levi Burroughs, had apparently ben dead for some time; Levi was a special needs child, suffering from Hurler's Syndrome, whose victims rarely live past age ten. The mother reportedly refused to allow a hospice worker to check on him, and that's when the West Virginia State Police were brought in. Another  6-year old son, was not home when the police showed up; he was with another family member.


Governor Seeks Federal Disaster Declaration

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has asked for a major federal disaster declaration for six counties who suffered flooding, landslides and mudslides, during storms between June 12th and 20th. The declaration would provide help to residents, businesses and local governments in Roane, Doddridge, Gilmer, Harrison, Lewis and Mason Counties. In addition to the federal declaration, Governor Tomblin is asking for Hazard Mitigation for the entire state.

Local News

Fire Makes Home "Uninhabitable"


A fire, early yesterday morning on South Massachusetts Avenue, has made the home "uninhabitable," according to the Cumberland City Fire Department. Units were called to the Powell home at 223 South Massachusetts,  just after 4:30 a.m. No nearby homes were affected. Nobody was home at the time of the fire, and preliminary indications are the fire did not appear to be suspicious in nature.



Robbery Suspect Held Without Bond


The man accused of robbing the M & T Bank branch office on Friday afternoon, is being held without bond at the Allegany County Detention Center. Thirty-year old William Morgan Stewart of Creek Road in Cumberland, was also seen earlier in the day at the Industrial Boulevard branch of First People's Credit Union, and was acting in a suspicious manner. Surveillance video and additional information led to his arrest. The amount of cash taken in the M & T robbery was not disclosed and the investigation is continuing.



Man Steals, Crashes City Cab


A Cumberland man, who stole a cab from Cumberland, was involved in a motor vehicle crash with the stolen car in Garrett County. Surveillance video showed that 19-year old Dez'mond Deon Holmes of  Cumberland had been checking vehicles in the area for unlocked doors. He found the cab, got in, and drove away. He faces several charges in the incident, and is being held on $8500 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center.



Heroin Deal Leads to Arrest


A Mount Savage man was held on $8500 bond, after a Cumberland Police Officer observed a hand-to-hand exchange between two people in the area of Williams and Elm Streets. Twenty-eight year old Brett Allen Denby was found to have heroin, and was arrested at the scene. He received an initial appearance in Allegany County District Court.



Sheriff's Office Warns of Scam


"If it sounds too good to be true..." Well, you know the rest. The Sheriff's Department is warning of another scam. A person is calling area residents, telling them they have won the lottery, a car, or some other type of prize. They then ask you to get a Visa gift card, and tell you to put a certain amount of money on the card. Once you get the card, they ask that you call and give them the numbers from the card. Once they have the information, they redeem the cards, and-if you fall for the scam-you are out the money you put on the card.



Cumberland Man Sentenced in Fatal Pennsylvania Crash


Cumberland resident Ronald Streets will serve at least nine months in jail, in connection with a fatal crash in June of last year. Streets had previously pleaded guilty to homicide by motor vehicle. He lost control of his car while rounding a curve in Wellersburg, and both he and his friend, Anthony Winter, were ejected from the vehicle. Winter died in the crash. Streets allegedly walked to a home and called both his father and ex-girlfriend to ask for a ride 1-1/2 hours before he called 911.



Former Deacon and Teacher Given Probation Case


A Somerset county resident-a former church deacon, teacher, and member of the Conemaugh Township School Board-has been sentenced to five years of supervised probation. Brian Scott Eppley is also required to register his whereabouts with the state police for the next 25 years under Megan's law. He was charged with four counts of corruption of minors and one of unlawful contact with a minor. He also will not have any unsupervised contact with any child under the age of 18.



Bail Reduction Request Denied


A Salisbury resident, who had been accused of sexually assaulting a nine-month old infant, has had a request for a three year old bail requirement reduced. Rodney Thomas previously had his $100,000 bail reduced, but that was revoked after having contact with one of the witnesses in the case. He began serving a 20 to 40 year sentence for the crime in January of last year.

Bridge, Business Park Possible for Carpendale


The town of Carpendale is looking to develop a commercial business park, and to build a bridge over the Potomac River to Bowling Greene-two moves that could bring employment for over 500 people. Carpendale Mayor Butch Armentrout recently met with Congressman David McKinley and Delegate Gary Howell to discuss the potential projects. Officials are looking at establishing the business park on about 300 acres of  the Western Maryland property along the Potomac.



EPA Settles Suit With Hagerstown Firm


The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice  have settled a suit over Clean Air violations by a Hagerstown firm. Holcim, Incorporated has agreed to pay a $700,000 civil penalty and install advanced pollution controls at it kiln facility in order to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions. the EPS suit alleged the company unlawfully made modifications to its cement kiln that resulted in significant increases in harmful emissions. 



EWVCTC Receives Check for Program


Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College has received a $5,000 check from Shell Wind Energy, to develop its wind energy technician training program; this is the second year in a row the cash grant has been made to the school. Over the last several years, graduates of the program have been hired at are wind farms, including one located in Mount Storm, West Virginia.



Groundbreaking Ceremony Set for Today


The Corridor "H" Authority, along with the West Virginia Division of Highways is breaking ground today on the newest section of the project. The ceremony will be held near the Canaan Valley Institute in Davis; the new section of highway will connect is with Scheer. During a meeting of the Authority later in the day, new information and timetable for the completion of the highway will be given.

Local News UPDATE

Robbery Reported at M & T Bank

The Cumberland City  Police, Maryland State Police and Allegany County Sheriff's Department converged in the area of the M & T Bank on Industrial Boulevard, as a robbery took place earlier today. Police are looking for a suspect, who robbed the bank and fled on foot. He was reportedly wearing a baseball cap and glasses. The Maryland State Police Medivac helicopter was dispatched for an air search. There are no further developments, as police are still searching for the suspect.


Commissioners Allocate Security Money to Sheriff

Money for school security will be allocated to Sheriff Craig Robertson, and not the Allegany County Board of Education. The county commissioners voted that the $190,000 available for school security, will help pay for three school resource officers for the coming year. That item was added at the last minute to yesterday's agenda. Sheriff Robertson was directed to hire the school resource officers, and Commission President Mike McKay emphasized the funding issue has now been decided.


Woman Arrested on Sex Offender Violation

A warrant was executed, computers were seized, and a Frostburg woman-who was a convicted sex offender-was arrested yesterday by the C3I unit. Twenty-seven year old Toni Cozino was taken into custody for purposely not reporting her e-mail address. Investigators say she allegedly communicated with people in several states, via the Internet. Ms. Cozino was released pending trial.


DDC Reports Budget Surplus

The Downtown Development Commission ended the fiscal year with a surplus of $23,000, with revenues totaling $235,000 and expenses totaling $212,000. According to member Ed Huber, the group typically does not report much of a surplus. Also at the meeting, the Baltimore Street underpass was discussed; a meeting was recently held between CSX and the city of Cumberland. Downtown Manager Ed Mullaney says there seemed to be an agreement to revisit the issue in the future.


Empty Shell Building Discussed

What to do about an empty shell building in the Fort Ashby business and Technology Park was discussed during a meeting of the Board of  Directors of the Mineral County Development Authority. The structure was built in 2006, and has yet to see a tenant. The interest on the original debt of $400,000, the interest could not be forgiven, but not the principal, and the state does not want the building back. Should there be an interest in buying the building, the sale would have to recover the original loan amount, two grants, plus repairs on it, and the addition of a floor in 2010, making the purchase price $1.4 million.


Beckley Man Arrested on Handgun Violation

A Beckley, West Virginia man, who had illegally been in possession of two, .40-calibre handguns, was arrested by the Maryland State Police Wednesday afternoon. Edward Noble was stopped on Interstate 68, in the area of the 3-mile marker for an equipment violation. He was taken to the McHenry Barrack, where he was processed and charged.


Mayor Comments on Underpass

Although there has been no definite plan on what to do with the Baltimore Street Underpass, Mayor Brian Grim says there are ownership issues with the walkway. Mayor Grim notes that although the underpass runs under CSX property (the railroad tracks), Queen City Drive is, of course owned by the city. It is his preference that it be closed all together. Mayor Grim added the underpass has been an ongoing problem, with the underpass full of litter and the like. He says it is both a health and safety issue for residents.


Man Jailed on Domestic Assault Complaint

Bail was set at $8500 for a Cumberland man, who is accused of assaulting a woman in the 200-block of Independence Street. Twenty-nine year old Johnny Lee Schriner is accused of pushing a woman to the ground, causing injury to her arms and knees. She did not need medical treatment, although Schriner was charged with second-degree assault.


Garrett County Burglary Reported

The public is being asked for any information they might have, on a burglary on Bear Creek Road in Accident. A person or persons went into the home and removed a Samsung 32-inch flat-screen television, along with two, 8-inch tall crystal deer heads, and a can, containing about $150.00 in coins. The number for the McHenry barrack is (301)-387-1101.


Former Jail Guard Found Guilty

Schellsburg resident and former Bedford County Corrections Officer Ryan Scott Clapper has been found guilty of harassment in court there. Clapper is accused of placing a set of handcuffs and shackles for a female inmate in a freezer, then placing them on her, as she had complained about the cuffs being too cold. Clapper was sentenced to 45 days in jail, but was given 30 days to file an appeal. He had previously been found guilty in February of this year, and was found guilty a second time by a Bedford County Judge.


West Virginia Begins Search for Superintendent of Schools

Following the firing of Jorea Marple, the West Virginia State Department of Education is beginning the task of finding a permanent replacement. In a recently passed education reform bill, the new superintendent will be required to have a master's degree, which can be in any subject, not just education administration. Ms. Marple has filed suit against the state, challenging her dismissal. Former West Virginia First Lady Gayle Manchin will spearhead the effort to find a new State School Superintendent.


West Virginia Treatment Center Closed

Concerns about the lack of compliance with a previous court order, a judge has ordered a Mercer County, West Virginia treatment center closed before September 30th. The Harriet B. Jones Treatment Center houses juvenile sex offenders , but the judge's order claimed the juveniles were being housed in the wellness center of the facility, with adult sex offenders. The adult sex offenders were, in fact juveniles, when they committed the offenses.

Local News

Commissioners Allocate Security Money to Sheriff

Money for school security will be allocated to Sheriff Craig Robertson, and not the Allegany County Board of Education. The county commissioners voted that the $190,000 available for school security, will help pay for three school resource officers for the coming year. That item was added at the last minute to yesterday's agenda. Sheriff Robertson was directed to hire the school resource officers, and Commission President Mike McKay emphasized the funding issue has now been decided.


Woman Arrested on Sex Offender Violation

A warrant was executed, computers were seized, and a Frostburg woman-who was a convicted sex offender-was arrested yesterday by the C3I unit. Twenty-seven year old Toni Cozino was taken into custody for purposely not reporting her e-mail address. Investigators say she allegedly communicated with people in several states, via the Internet. Ms. Cozino was released pending trial.


DDC Reports Budget Surplus

The Downtown Development Commission ended the fiscal year with a surplus of $23,000, with revenues totaling $235,000 and expenses totaling $212,000. According to member Ed Huber, the group typically does not report much of a surplus. Also at the meeting, the Baltimore Street underpass was discussed; a meeting was recently held between CSX and the city of Cumberland. Downtown Manager Ed Mullaney says there seemed to be an agreement to revisit the issue in the future.


Empty Shell Building Discussed

What to do about an empty shell building in the Fort Ashby business and Technology Park was discussed during a meeting of the Board of  Directors of the Mineral County Development Authority. The structure was built in 2006, and has yet to see a tenant. The interest on the original debt of $400,000, the interest could not be forgiven, but not the principal, and the state does not want the building back. Should there be an interest in buying the building, the sale would have to recover the original loan amount, two grants, plus repairs on it, and the addition of a floor in 2010, making the purchase price $1.4 million.


Beckley Man Arrested on Handgun Violation

A Beckley, West Virginia man, who had illegally been in possession of two, .40-calibre handguns, was arrested by the Maryland State Police Wednesday afternoon. Edward Noble was stopped on Interstate 68, in the area of the 3-mile marker for an equipment violation. He was taken to the McHenry Barrack, where he was processed and charged.


Mayor Comments on Underpass

Although there has been no definite plan on what to do with the Baltimore Street Underpass, Mayor Brian Grim says there are ownership issues with the walkway. Mayor Grim notes that although the underpass runs under CSX property (the railroad tracks), Queen City Drive is, of course owned by the city. It is his preference that it be closed all together. Mayor Grim added the underpass has been an ongoing problem, with the underpass full of litter and the like. He says it is both a health and safety issue for residents.


Man Jailed on Domestic Assault Complaint

Bail was set at $8500 for a Cumberland man, who is accused of assaulting a woman in the 200-block of Independence Street. Twenty-nine year old Johnny Lee Schriner is accused of pushing a woman to the ground, causing injury to her arms and knees. She did not need medical treatment, although Schriner was charged with second-degree assault.


Garrett County Burglary Reported

The public is being asked for any information they might have, on a burglary on Bear Creek Road in Accident. A person or persons went into the home and removed a Samsung 32-inch flat-screen television, along with two, 8-inch tall crystal deer heads, and a can, containing about $150.00 in coins. The number for the McHenry barrack is (301)-387-1101.


Former Jail Guard Found Guilty

Schellsburg resident and former Bedford County Corrections Officer Ryan Scott Clapper has been found guilty of harassment in court there. Clapper is accused of placing a set of handcuffs and shackles for a female inmate in a freezer, then placing them on her, as she had complained about the cuffs being too cold. Clapper was sentenced to 45 days in jail, but was given 30 days to file an appeal. He had previously been found guilty in February of this year, and was found guilty a second time by a Bedford County Judge.


West Virginia Begins Search for Superintendent of Schools

Following the firing of Jorea Marple, the West Virginia State Department of Education is beginning the task of finding a permanent replacement. In a recently passed education reform bill, the new superintendent will be required to have a master's degree, which can be in any subject, not just education administration. Ms. Marple has filed suit against the state, challenging her dismissal. Former West Virginia First Lady Gayle Manchin will spearhead the effort to find a new State School Superintendent.


West Virginia Treatment Center Closed

Concerns about the lack of compliance with a previous court order, a judge has ordered a Mercer County, West Virginia treatment center closed before September 30th. The Harriet B. Jones Treatment Center houses juvenile sex offenders , but the judge's order claimed the juveniles were being housed in the wellness center of the facility, with adult sex offenders. The adult sex offenders were, in fact juveniles, when they committed the offenses.

Local News

Assault Reported at NBCI


The second assault since last Friday at NBCI in Cresaptown has led the minor injuries to four correctional officers and one inmate. All of the officers were treated at the hospital after the inmate attacked one, and the other three came in to help. On Friday, a dietary worker was hit in the head with a push broom by one of the inmates. The worker also required hospital treatment and a 48-year old inmate was identified as the attacker.



Board Chooses School Security Option


The Allegany County Board of Education has decided to approve a recommendation, made this week, to bolster school security by hiring a combination of retired officers and school resource officers. The program will be done on a one-year trial basis, and funding will be provided from a grant, for which Sheriff Craig Robertson will apply. County Commissioner Bill Valentine noted he would ask for legislation for funding on an annual basis, rather than relying strictly on grant funding.



Meyersdale Man Held in Meth Case


Meyersdale resident Michael Wayne Hoff is being held on $20,000 bond, for his role in a meth lab and dump site found there earlier this year. Hoff faces numerous other drug-related charges, and a preliminary hearing will be held next Thursday in Somerset County District Court.



Grantsville Assaults Result in Charges


Two residents of a National Pike home assaulted each other Tuesday evening, and now both face charges. Fifty-nine year old John Merrbach and 22-year old Steven Michael Hall assaulted each other. Merrbach was treated at the scene for his injuries. Both were taken to a Garrett County District Court Commissioner for a hearing.


Two Hurt in Accident on Route 36


Two people were taken to the hospital after an accident on Route 36 near the landfill yesterday morning. The accident was reported just before 8 a.m. There is no word on the identity, nor  the condition of those involved. The Allegany County Sheriff's Office responded, along with Midland and Shaft fire departments.



Mistaken Identity Leads to Drug Arrest


A Keyser man was charged with a serious marijuana offense, when police came to his house in response to a domestic altercation. Thirty-one year old Jamie Clark had 77 grams of marijuana at the North Main Street home. Also found were a pipe and scales, and the marijuana had been packaged for sale. Clark is being held at the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail on $10,000 bond.



Internet Service Interrupted to West Virginia Customers


About 20,000 customers who depend on Frontier Communications for Internet service, were without it earlier this week. A fiber cut was blamed for the interruption in service for about 11 hours. Customers affected were in Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan, and Hampshire Counties. Internet service was restored after repairs were made.



Increase In Heroin Deaths in Maryland


The number of heroin-related overdose deaths had been on the decline for the past five years, but now a report says the number of fatalities is up by 15 per cent. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says there are cases where people who are addicted to painkillers are now switching to heroin.



Childhood Obesity on the Decline in West Virginia


Obesity among 5th graders in West Virginia declined considerably between 2005 and 2011. The rate of decline was 8.5 per cent and medical professionals say the Mountain State is on the right track. Health officials say a series of health policies and programs have led to the good news.


Local News

Water Service Interrupted in Frostburg
Frostburg experienced two water line breaks in just over a 12 hour period Monday night, into Tuesday morning, one in Grahamtown, with the second leak yesterday morning on College Avenue. City Administrator John Kirby says it was an unusual situation, in that the water lines are relatively modern. Many of the lines have been maintained over the years, and repaired when needed. Service was interrupted during that time to a large percentage of homes and businesses.

Woman Charged in Scam Free on Bond
A Meyersdale woman, who is accused of a money soliciting scheme, is free on $5,000 unsecured bond. Twenty-year old Faith Ann Robertson had been in jail since late last month, since she was arrested on a warrant. She had approached several local homes or businesses, looking for donations to help purchase a headstone for Justine Jackson, whose body was found along the Great Allegheny Trail in November. Accused murderer Jonathan William Beal's trial is scheduled for the fall.

Fair Begins Saturday at 3 P.M.
The annual Allegany County Fair and Ag Expo starts Saturday at 3 p.m., when the rides open. The Mud Bog is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. The fair features a number of attractions, including Reithoffer rides, entertainment, demolition derbies, and-according to Fair Manager Kevin Kamauff-fireworks twice during the week.For a complete list of fair events, go to

Preston Superintendent Tackling Issues
Two main issues-a $2 million deficit and poor student performance-caused the West Virginia State School Board to take control of the Preston County school system four years ago. Now, with a new superintendent in place, the school system is ready to move forward. Superintendent Rick Hicks notes that student achievement is a critical problem, with one of the elementary schools in  the lowest achieving five per cent of schools statewide. There are six other schools of concern in the Preston system as well.

Frederick Ranked as Most Secure
The Frederick, Maryland area has been ranked as the most secure place to live in the entire country. Sperling's "Most Secure Places to Live in the U.S.," looked at a wide range of criteria, including economic stability, car fatalities and crime statistics. Other factors included housing depreciation. extreme weather, air quality and life expectancy.

Stabbing Reported at MCI
A stabbing was reported at MCI-Hagerstown, but it's unclear whether the victim was an inmate or correctional officer. The victim reportedly suffered multiple stab wounds around 10:30 p.m. Monday. The Washington County 911 Center dispatched medical crews to the prison, located on Maryland Route 65, south of Hagerstown.

Does Maryland Owe You Money?
It's not a question that comes up often, but does the state of Maryland owe you money? The Comptroller's Office has unclaimed records on hundreds of thousands of accounts, and it doesn't take much to find out if you have some unclaimed funds. Simply go to the Comptroller of Maryland website, and if, so, simply fill out a claim form.

Court: Firms Not Responsible for Asbestos Exposure
Maryland's highest court has ruled that asbestos companies, such as Georgia-Pacific, are not liable for illnesses suffered by people who were exposed to the substance. The Court ruled that the company, in particular, was not obligated to warn relatives of those exposed, because the asbestos was not regulated by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration until 1972.

First Energy Deactivates Two Plants in Pennsylvania
FirstEnergy Corporation expects to deactivate two coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania by October of this year. The decision to close the plants, in Masontown and Courtney, was made due to the cost of compliance  with current and future environmental regulations, in conjunction with the continued low market price for electricity. About 380 plant employees and related positions are expected to be lost by the move. Eligible employees will receive severance benefits through either the FirstEnergy plan, or as provided by their collective bargaining agreement.

Local News

Sheriff Presents School Security Options

Three options for county school security were presented yesterday by Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson. During a meeting with the County Commissioners and School Board members, Sheriff Robertson noted that one of the options would be to hire full time School Resource Officers to provide security. No matter which of the options is chosen, Sheriff Robertson said


Man Electrocuted at Oakland Work Site

An Oakland resident was killed just before noon yesterday, while cutting trees on private property on Rock Lodge Road in Bittinger. Twenty-eight year old Brian K. DeBerry died when he came in contact with a "live" overhead electrical line. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and Rock Lodge Road was closed for about two hours during the incident.


Team Talks Man Off of Bridge

Tragedy was averted early yesterday afternoon, when members of the Allegany County Crisis Negotiation team were able to talk a man off the Willowbrook Road overpass. The 48-year old man was seated outside the guardrail, threatening to jump. Traffic was diverted off Interstate 68, both East and Westbound at the Willowbrook Road exits and allowed back on the ramps. The man was taken to the hospital for an emergency evaluation.


Boy Attacked by Raccoon in Levels, West Virginia

Six-year old Mason Kidwell was attacked by a possibly rabid raccoon while playing in the yard of his home in Levels, West Virginia recently. The animal entered a tent, and wrapped its paws around his leg. The youngster, however, was able to fend off the attack  by kicking it, and running into his house. Although he wasn't bitten or scratched by the raccoon, he will probably receive a post-exposure, anti-rabies vaccine.


Mechanic Street To Remain Closed Tonight

South Mechanic Street, between West Harrison and Howard Streets will still be closed tonight, weather permitting, to allow crews to finish painting the steel on the section of bridges above the street. Detour signs will be posted and the closure will be from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday.


Drug Bust Along Garrett Highway

Three Pennsylvania residents were arrested, after a traffic stop in the 2400-block of Garrett Highway. The Maryland State Police say that Daniel Saversky or North Huntingdon, Lauren Burke of Jeanette, and Sherado Stape of Grapeville were all arrested and issued a criminal summons for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.


Man Arrested for Theft

A woman, suffering from a medical issue, had her cell phone stolen from her residence, and a Cumberland man has been arrested as a result. Forty-seven year old James Hugh Rossell was taken into custody, and ordered held on $2500 bond, following a hearing in District Court.


FSU Offering European Undergraduate Program

Frostburg State University is teaming up with several other entities, in offering its undergraduate education program at military institutions across Europe. The program is being offered as part of a major Department of Defense contract with the University of Maryland University College. The initial program will present FSU's secondary education program at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, and it could begin as soon as next January.


Smoke Alarm Law Updated in Maryland

There's a new law that went into effect July 1st, that requires you to replace your old type smoke alarms with those having long-life, sealed in batteries by 2018. The smoke detectors would replace battery-operated alarms that are at the end of their 10-year lifespan, or nearing it. Enforcement of the law will come when a home is sold; the new units will be required of the new owner.


Three Dead in Berkeley County Accident

A pickup truck, carrying six people, slammed into a tree near Hedgesville, West Virginia; three people, including two men and a 17-year old boy, were killed. A mother and her two young sons were being treated for their injuries. The investigation by the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department is continuing.


Bank Manager Enters Plea to Embezzlement

A former branch manager of the Weston branch of the Huntington National Bank has pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly a quarter-million dollars. Fifty-one year old Deborah Radcliff also pleaded guilty to a count of "structuring," which means the bank failed to file a Currency Transaction Report for currency transactions of $10,000 or more. All victims had their money restored to their accounts.

Local News

Baltimore Man Dies in Accidental Shooting


The Allegany County Sheriff's Office and the C3I unit are investigating an apparent accidental shooting, that resulted in the death of a Baltimore man early Saturday evening near Shaft. The body of thirty-five year old Marvin Edward Bickling was found in a storage shed facility, along the Shaft Road. The original report was received just before 7 p.m.



Investigation Continues into Death of Mother & Son


Somerset County authorities continue to investigate the death of a mother and son, whose bodies were found in two different locations. Fifty-eight year old Walter Ernst was found along Walters Mill Road in Black Township, while the body of his mother, 79-year old Dorothy Ernst was found in Brothersvalley Township. State Police say the deaths appear to be related, and it may be a while before the investigation is complete.



Man Assaulted by Stepson


A twenty-five year old Cumberland man is in jail on $5,000 bond, accused of assaulting his stepfather early yesterday morning on Columbia Avenue. Patrick Kenneth Conners is accused of hitting his stepfather in the forehead; he did not require medical treatment. Conners was charged with second degree assault, during his appearance in Allegany County District Court.



Rocky Gap Reports $2.5 Million In Its First Month


The Rocky Gap Casino Resort is reporting earnings of $2.5 million in its first full month of operation. the casino began operations on May 22nd, and County Commissioner Bill Valentine believes the Rocky Gap project won't be complete until the conference center opens in November. Rocky Gap has 558 slot machines and 10 gaming tables. Slots accounted for an average of just over $128 per day, while table games accounted for just over $1100 in revenue for its first month.



It's Fair Time!


The Allegany County Fair and Ag Expo opens this Saturday, with a week of entertainment, rides, fireworks and concerts. Fair Manager Kevin Kamauff says that once again, Reithoffer Shows will be providing a great selection of rides for adults and kids alike.There will be fireworks this year on Monday, July 15th at 10:30 p.m. and on Friday, July 19th at 10:45 p.m. For a complete schedule of events, go to



FrostburgFirst Welcomes Manager, Assistant Manager


FrostburgFirst has welcomed a new manager and assistant manager in Christine Werner and Daniel Witter. Werner has replaced Maureen Brewer, who has accepted another position. Previously, FrostburgFirst had been known as the Frostburg Main Street Program, and it networks with grassroots-based revitalization organizations, state and city-wide coordinating programs and the National Trust Main Street Center.


Mineral Moves to Expand Smoke-Free Environments


The Mineral County Board of Health will hold a second reading of a new ordinance, designed to expand current no smoking regulations. The original ban prohibits smoking in all public and private places of employment, but the updated ordinance will also eliminate smoking outdoors in public places, such as playgrounds, parks, ballfields and the like. The second reading is scheduled for August 26th.



Fresh Air Kids Arrive Today


A group of 17 children from New York City will arrive today, as part of the Fresh Air program. The children will spend a week or two with families in Accident, Swanton, Meyersdale, Cumberland, LaVale and Ellerslie, among others. They will arrive today at 3 p.m. at the Hampton Inn in Frostburg. Each year, over 4,000 children visit volunteer families in small town communities, in states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.



Myers Receives 100 Per Cent Economic Grade


Western Maryland Delegate LeRoy Myers is among three regional lawmakers who received a score of 100 per cent on key measures, related to the economic environment during the 2013 session of the Maryland General Assembly. Senator George Edwards received a score of 83 per cent. The "scorecard" was released by the Maryland Business for Responsive Government, a non-partisan group.



Potomac Edison Hearings Could Come in October


Hearings could be held sometime in October on a Maryland Public Service Commission case, involving Potomac Edison. A PSC investigation stems from formal complaints, filed by several Western Maryland utility customers, who claim they had been overbilled by Potomac Edison, because it failed to read their meters as often as required by law. A list of nine issues has been accepted by all parties involved, and the timeline for the hearings is now being negotiated.


Local News

Sav-A-Lot to Occupy Former Mor For Less Location


On the heels of Mor For Less abruptly closing its downtown location on Tuesday, comes word that the Sav-A-Lot chain will take over that space along Queen City Drive. Sav-A-Lot, with a location on Industrial Boulevard, will most likely open in the fall. The sole location of Mor For Less is in the White Oaks Plaza location.



Community Alert System for Keyser


The Mineral County Office of Emergency Services has established a community alert system through Nixle Connect. The system is established in the event of severe weather or emergency conditions. Residents can register with, to receive messages by text, email, over the web, or by mobile application. Over 5,000 public safety agencies across the United State utilize Nixle Connect, including Allegany County.



Four Taken To Hospital Following Garrett Accident


Four people were taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, following an accident last night in Garrett County. Few details are available from the Garrett County Department of Public Safety, but it is known the accident happened on the Garrett Highway at Mosser Road in McHenry. The Maryland State Police investigated; the accident occurred at approximately 9:38 p.m.


City Police, Sheriff Warn of Scam


Both the Cumberland City Police and Sheriff's Department are warning residents of a scam, where a woman, claiming to represent Allegany College of Maryland, is going door to door to offer to help residents obtain scholarships. The College has informed both agencies that does not send representatives door-to-door. They are also asking those who have information on any related incidents to contact law enforcement agencies.



Large Bond Set for Protective Order Violation


A Cumberland man is in the Allegany County Detention Center on $15,000 bond for violating a protective order. Paul Hatfield, through the order, had to remain away from a residence in the 300-block of Avirett Avenue. He was arrested at that address and taken for an initial appearance in District Court, before being lodged in the detention center.



Charges Pending Against Suspect


Cumberland City Police are investigating the breaking and entering of a business in the 600-block of Kelly Road Wednesday morning. A vehicle had also been taken from the business. The Pennsylvania State Police notified the business owner, as the stolen vehicle was involved in a hit and run accident in Bedford; the operator of the van was arrested by Pennsylvania authorities. Charges in Maryland are pending against the unidentified suspect.



Former Cumberland State Police Commander Now in Charge in Hagerstown


The former commander of the Cumberland Barrack of the Maryland State Police, Lt. Michael Fluharty, can now be found in Hagerstown. Fluharty is the new barrack commander there, succeeding retired Lieutenant Tom Woodward. Before joining the Maryland State Police, Fluharty was a Deputy Sheriff in Virginia.



O'Malley, BPW Preserve Allegany County Land


Governor Martin O'Malley and the Board of Public Works have approved funding the preserve land located in Allegany County. The Rural Legacy Program will help to permanently protect the Mullan Property in the Moutain Ridge Rural Legacy. About 94 acres will be permanently protected and the designation will prevent the development of 13 lots. The easement will preserve the character of the National Road and the property near the county-owned LaVale District Park.



SHA's Recycling Program to Help Frostburg


The State Highway Administration has donated about $6,000 worth of recycled aluminum to build a complex of greenhouses, a native tree nursery and a 5,000 gallon water storage unit in Frostburg. SHA crews also helped with excavating land where the greenhouses now stand on the campus of Frostburg State University. The aluminum came from old road signs, and almost a linear mile was donated.



Republican Seeking to Unseat Delaney


A Brunwick, Maryland resident has announced his candidacy for the 6th Congressional District seat now held by John Delaney. David E. Vogt III is calling on Delaney to limit campaign spending to a half-million dollars. Delaney spent $4.1 million to defeat Roscoe Bartlett last year, and about half of that was his own money. Delaney defeated Bartlett by a margin of 59 per cent to 38. Vogt will face Dan Bongino in the Republican Primary Election.



Somerset Commissioners Vote to Eliminate Jury Commissioner Position


The Somerset County Commissioners continue to try to eliminate the jury commissioner position. The action was determined to be unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court, but a new law was passed that allowed counties to eliminate the positions. Somerset County now plans to hire two part-time employees to do the work for about the same amount of money, $10,000 annually. The savings to the county will be realized in eliminating benefits for the position.


Local News

Fireworks Set for Tonight-At Park
The city of Cumberland is having fireworks tonight, weather permitting; however, they're now back at Constitution Park. Mayor Brian Grim says that by relocating to another area of the park, the annual display can be set off from there. However, the Park Pool will be closed today, so that preparations can be made for tonight. The fireworks will be set off from the parking lot adjacent to the baseball field, so there will be no parking in that area. Insurance and liability issues have been resolved, clearing the way for a long-standing city tradition.

Mor For Less Announces Consolidation
The consolidation of the Cumberland locations of Mor For Less has been in the works for some time, according to owner and President of MFL Foods, Barry McGinnis. While Mor for Less located in the Cumberland region over a decade ago, it was decided to maintain the White Oaks location, feeling that the goals of the business are better met there. There had been word that the grocery retailer was unable to negotiate a new lease for the downtown location.

Bear Euthanized in Westernport
A well-known black bear in the Westernport area was euthanized earlier this week, after attempts to sedate and move it were unsuccessful. Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service personnel had originally planned to use dogs to chase it out of town, but because of the residential setting, that idea was abandoned. However a group of dogs "treed" the bear, and it was euthanized. Intentionally feeding a bear can result in a hefty fine. This was the first bear euthanized in Maryland this year; last year, a half-dozen were put down.

Man Arrested for Assaulting Code Enforcement Officer
A Rawlings resident faces several charges, including assault and disturbing the peace, along with a criminal citation for possession of marijuana, following an incident on the downtown Cumberland Mall. Aubrey Leon Woosley is accused of riding his bicycle on the mall, and when advised by a code enforcement officer not to do so, began arguing and cursing at a code enforcement officer there. He then struck the officer with his bicycle and threatened to punch the officer. A small amount of marijuana was also found on him. He was held on $5,000 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center.

July Designated as "Lakes Appreciation Month"
This month has been proclaimed "Lakes Appreciation Month" by Governor Martin O'Malley, encouraging Marylanders to visit and enjoy their favorite lake, pond or reservoir, and discover ways to protect these vital resources. Maryland has 60 lakes of more than 5 acres in size, including the state's largest, Deep Creek Lake. A recent test there showed the water's clarity is very similar to how it was in 1953.

Jail Investigation Finished
An investigation of the Somerset County jail is complete. In early June, a correctional officer from Friedens was charged with indecent assault and harassment. A preliminary hearing for Ronald Edward Lensbouer is scheduled for early August. Two other issues were brought to the attention of the prison board at its May 31st meeting. It has been suggested that all jail employees receive mandatory sexual harassment training. The board will again meet on August 13th.

Hagerstown Finance Director Resigns
The finance director for the city of Hagerstown has resigned, following an alleged "misuse of city funds." There have been no charges against Michelle Burker to date, and the amount of money in question is less than $1,000. Hagerstown's Mayor, David S. Gysberts, says it was her decision to resign, but couldn't say much more, because it is a personnel matter.

First Female Chief Judge Appointed to Court of Appeals
Governor Martin O'Malley has appointed the first female chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals. Judge Mary Ellen Barbera has been on the bench since 2008, and will replace current Chief Judge Robert Bell, who will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 on Saturday. Before her appointment, Judge Barbera represented Montgomery County on the Court of Appeals.

Local News

Mayor, Council Vote to Increase Fees

The Cumberland Mayor and City Council voted last night to increase fees for certain fire and emergency services. Cumberland Mayor Brian Grim says the fees will be increased or added for things like fire calls, emergency medical responses and vehicle accidents. Cumberland Mayor Brian Grim says it is a national trend that certain services can be billed directly to insurance companies, and Cumberland will now follow that trend.


Mor For Less Closed

The Mor for Less Market in Rose's Shopping Plaza is now closed. An announcement, posted on the front of the store, noted that they closed, effective yesterday. They will, however, continue to do business at the White Oaks location, and invited their downtown customers to visit that location. The store was unable to negotiate a new lease in Rose's Plaza.


WVU Hospitals To Buy Potomac Valley Hospital

A letter of intent has been signed by WVU Hospitals to purchase Potomac Valley Hospital in Keyser. There have been discussions over the past several years between the two entities. A Certificate of Need will be submitted to the West Virginia Health Care Authority for approval, before the sale can go through. A representative from WVU Hospitals says it is also looking forward to working with officials at Potomac State College of WVU.


Tri-County Council Funding Announced

The Tri-County Council for Western Maryland has been granted $250,000  to establish a revolving loan fund for qualified business in Allegany County. According to an announcement from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, Allegany County has designated the Tri-County Council to receive and administer the funding.


Southern Middle Funding Deferred

The Garrett County Commissioners have voted to defer funding of nearly $600,000 for the Southern Middle School Project for one year. The commissioners also agreed to continue to work with the Garrett County Board of Education to develop a plan for FY 2015 for the project.

Barrack Commander Named

A new commander has been appointed to the LaVale Barrack of the Maryland State Police. State Police Superintendent Marcus Brown has announced that Lt. H.B. Martz has been named commander. He joined the state police in 1997, and had initially been assigned to the Rockville barrack. Later, Lt. Martz was assigned as a trooper/flight paramedic with Trooper Five in Cumberland.


Keyser Moving Toward Contractor Fees

The city of Keyser is moving toward adopting business permit fees for contractors and service-oriented businesses, following a report from the city staff that such operations are not assessed the fees as other businesses in the city are. A proposed policy would charge contractors and service providers an annual $25 fee, to conduct business in the city. A second reading of the ordinance is scheduled for next Wednesday's Mayor and Council meeting.


Man Jailed on Domestic Assault Charge

A domestic assault, which included throwing food and biting the victim's ear has landed a Milton Place man in jail. Forty-nine year old Richard Paul Sacchetti and his wife had been arguing over money, when he threw a plate of spaghetti, hitting her on the side of the face. He also had earlier, bitten through her ear, which required medical treatment. Sacchetti held her phone, so she could not report the injury as an assault. He was also charged with resisting arrest, as he tried to kick the window out of the patrol car. He was held on $2500 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center.


Tower To Remain Open Until Next Year

Funding to keep the control tower at the Hagerstown Regional Airport open has been announced. Money has been made available to keep 149 Federal Contract Towers open, and Hagerstown will remain open at least through September of next year. There are ongoing efforts to find a more permanent solution to keep the tower open.


Ocean City Remembers Fallen Officers

Two bodies, recovered from the wreckage of a small plane that crashed in Ocean City, have been identified as two off-duty police officers from the Ocean City Police Department. Forty-three year old Thomas J. Geoghegan of Ocean City and 27-year old Joshua D. Adickes from Berlin were found in the water, just off 130th Street in Ocean City. The bodies are at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy.


Foods Taxes Eliminated in West Virginia

The financial burden on West Virginia citizens has eased somewhat, through the repeal of the food tax. Residents of the Mountain State will no longer see a food tax on their grocery receipts, and according to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, it is all part of the state's conservative financial approach. He says residents in the state should not worry about putting food on their tables.


New W. Va. Budget Has Little "Wiggle Room"

Times may be tight in the state of West Virginia over the course of the current fiscal year, which began on Monday. Revenue estimates there are "flat," according to Charlie Lorenson, who most recently had worked as the state's Secretary of Tax and Revenue. West Virginia had to close out last fiscal year with a balanced budget, so Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed an executive order to cut more than $17 million from the Medicaid budget.


Gun Maker Turns Down Offers

Maryland's recently enacted gun control laws and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin's recent role in the national gun control debate has caused some fallout for both states. Gun manufacturer Beretta USA says it is considering moving its operations out of Maryland; Beretta's concerns with Senator Joe Manchin, has caused the company to turn down offers in the Mountain State to relocate there. Other states "courting" Beretta include Virginia, Texas, and Utah.

Local News

Man Dies in Single Vehicle Accident


Thirty-one year old Roy Holliday of Grantsville was killed in a single vehicle accident Saturday night. The crash happened on Route 495, south of Interstate 68, and Holliday was ejected from the vehicle. He was flown to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, where he eventually died of his injuries. Route 495 was closed for about two hours on Saturday. The investigation is continuing.



Car Rental May Locate at Airport


The Potomac Highlands Airport Authority has given permission to airport manager Ryan Shaffer to negotiate with a car rental business, to locate there. Allegany County Commissioner Creade Brodie, Jr., says he has been in contact with Hertz Corporation, about operating at the airport. Brodie says Hertz has been trying to establish an airport location for years, but were never allowed.



ARC Funding for Communication Infrastructure


The Appalachian Regional Commission has announced funding to improve and upgrade digital communication infrastructure, through the AllCoNet Backbone Microwave Link Upgrade. The project will be locally funded at a level of $300,000, bringing total funding to $600,000. The AllCoNet network currently provides broadband service to numerous public entities, including schools, 911 call centers and local first responders.



Garrett Receives Adventure Sports Funding


The Appalachian Regional Commission has granted funding to Garrett County, to improve the educational facilities of the Adverturesports Institute of Garrett College. The project will be locally funded at just over $279,000, with an additional $50,000 in other federal funds. The announcement was made by Maryland's two United States Senators, Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski.



Man Released Following Domestic Incident


A Cumberland man has been charged in connection with a domestic incident with his wife. Fifty-four year old Vernon Bowman allegedly assaulted his wife at their Shriver Avenue residence; police arrived to speak with Bowman, but were unable to locate him. He later turned himself in, and was released on his own recognizance, following a hearing in District Court.



Man Charged with Harassment


Cumberland resident Chad Wilson Struntz has been charged with harassment as a course of conduct, following a complaint from a citizen. The victim claimed that Struntz had harassed them, by misusing the phone, and through e-mail. He was served with a summons and released pending trial in Allegany County District Court.



Allegany County Fair Begins July 13th


The 117th Allegany County Fair and Ag Expo will be held from Saturday, July 13th through July 20th at the fairgrounds. The fair will have animals and exhibits,rides, fireworks, a great selection of food and beverages and special musical entertainment. Allegany County Government has sponsored the fair for 28 years. For more information on this year's fair, go to ""


Gas Tax, Tolls Rise In Maryland, Beginning Today


Maryland's first gas tax increase in 20 years goes into effect today, adding about 3.5 cents to a gallon of gas. There will be no change to the state's 23.5 cent per gallon excise tax, the state will begin applying a sales tax of about one percent to a gallon. This is the first of several increases scheduled over the next several years. Tolls for driving on many of Maryland's roads will also increase, beginning today.



Panel Meets to Discuss Contraband


The head of the Maryland Corrections Department says it is prepared to keep running the Baltimore City Jail, despite some lawmakers questioning whether a state agency responsible for prisons should be running a jail facility that has different needs. A panel, studying the contraband conspiracy there, includes Maryland State Senator George Edwards. An audit made public in June, notes the Baltimore facility has not fully transitioned to a local jail operational philosophy.



Ocean City Beaches Ranked Among Nation's Cleanest


Ocean City, Maryland's beaches are among the 11 cleanest in the nation, according to an annual survey by the National Resources Defense Council. The survey gives Ocean City beaches five stars, following tests of eight sites along the beach, that are tested on a regular basis. The lower the harmful bacteria count, the higher the score.



State Fire Marshal Suggests Attending Public Fireworks Displays


The State Fire Marshal is suggesting Maryland residents attend public fireworks displays this Independence Day, but says, if you must set off your own, he has some safety suggestions. William Barnard says that you should follow all label warnings and instructions; do not allow small children to use fireworks; do not consume alcoholic beverages; and, have a bucket of water or a host available to extinguish them.



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