House Approves State Budget
The Maryland House of Delegates has preliminarily approved a $38.7 billion state budget. The budget includes raises for state workers, but does not include any new taxes. Differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget must be resolved, and approved by both, before the General Assembly session ends on April 7th.
Students Taken To Hospitals
Thirteen high school students, returning from a bus trip from Washington, D.C., were taken to area hospitals Saturday night. The students, from Uniontown, complained of being sick, and the bus made an emergency stop at the Marathon Gas Station in Friendsville. They were Junior ROTC students. The preliminary cause of the sickness was food poisoning, and they were taken to Uniontown, Ruby Memorial, and Garrett Memorial hospitals for treatment.
Two Charged with Vehicle Theft
Dylan Schrock and Levi Crosby of Oakland have been charged with stealing a pickup truck from Martin's Auto Salvage. The truck was stopped when Garrett County Sheriff's deputies noticed the vehicle had no license plates. Both are in the Garrett County Detention Center on $5,000 bond each. The arrest was made 20 minutes after the truck was reported stolen.
Maplehurst Pays Back Taxes
The Maplehurst Country Club in Frostburg paid its back taxes on Friday, and will not be sold at a tax sale. The club had owed Allegany County nearly $70,000 in back taxes, dating back to 2010. The golf course is due to open on April 6th.
Clarksburg Woman Injured in Wreck
Clarksburg, West Virginia resident Johanna Bang Tam Nguyen was injured in a single vehicle accident Saturday morning. He car traveled over an embankment an overturned, at the intersection of Paradise Point and Zeddock Miller roads. She was taken to Garrett Memorial Hospital for treatment.
State's Attorney Asking for Funding Increase
Allegany County State's Attorney Michael Twigg is asking the Allegany County Commissioners to fund a staff increase; staffing at his office has been unchanged for years. A growing caseload and a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling prompted Twigg to make the request. The decision mandates that people accused of crimes have attorneys at bail hearings. Last year alone, the State's Attorney's office handled 3,045 cases in District Court, which operates four days per week for criminal cases.
Stolen Vehicle Recovered
An Indiana, Pennsylvania man was arrested on Saturday, and charged with stealing a vehicle from Morgan County, West Virginia. Twenty-five year old Mathew Deyarmin was stopped on Industrial Boulevard, and it was discovered the vehicle he was driving, was stolen. He was eventually released on his own recognizance, pending trial. Additional charges are pending against him in Morgan County, West Virginia.
Man Charged with Child Abuse
Cumberland resident Charles George has been charged with both second-degree child abuse and second-degree assault, following a complaint on Pennsylvania Avenue. George is accused of striking the child in the buttocks with a canvas material-type dog leash. George was placed in custody and taken to the Cumberland City Police Department. He was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond, pending trial in Allegany County District Court.
Cumberland Man Accused of Assault
Cumberland resident Brian Shipway was held on a $5,000 bond, following an incident Saturday evening at a business on Industrial Boulevard. Ship is accused of grabbing a woman by the hair, and allegedly slapping her in the face. He received a bond hearing in District Court, charged with second-degree assault and disorderly conduct. The victim did not require medical attention.
Crimesolvers Offers Cash Rewards for Information
Allegany and Mineral County Crimesolvers is still going strong, 33 years after its inception. Corporal Kevin Detrick, of the Maryland State Police, says Crimesolvers is used by law enforcement officers to generate tips on unsolved crimes. Cash rewards for information, anywhere from $100 to $1500, are given. Corporal Detrick says that law enforcement officials have benefited greatly from citizen input. Information can be shared by phone, at (301)-722-4300 or on the website, "alleganymineralcountycrimesolvers.com."
Commission Rules on Flight 93 Site
The value of the Flight 93 site in Stonycreek Township is $1.5 million. That assessment was confirmed by a U.S. District Judge in Pittsburgh. The previous property owner, Michael Svonavec argued that the property was worth about $23 million. The federal government paid $611,000 for the site, after condemning it under eminent domain in 2009.
GCC To Host Program on "TIF"
The Greater Cumberland Committee will meet on Thursday at Frostburg State University. The subject of the meeting will be the Tax Incremental Funding from PES Consulting. PES (Partners for Economic Solutions) is based in Washington, D.C., and will highlight the availability of TIF, as it already exists and help answer questions about why our region has been slow or stagnant as compared to areas to the east and west.
Enrollment Declines Expected
Enrollment at the University System of Maryland is expected to decline in the coming academic year, the first projected drop since the 1990's. The Baltimore Sun says that the University of Maryland-College Park, the University of Maryland-Baltimore, and Frostburg State University specifically, do not plan to expand greatly in the next decade.
Everett Man Bound Over for Trial
Enough evidence has been presented against Michael Edmonson of Everett, Pennsylvania to be tried on over 2400 counts of rape and sexual assault. During a hearing this week, the alleged victims testified; two of them are now in their early 20's, while the younger girl, now 15 years old, testified in court. The hearing lasted over two hours, and Edmonson will remain in the Bedford County Jail, in lieu of $100,000 bond.
Friendsville Woman Sentenced in Burglary
Friendsville resident Miranda Rae Bageant has been sentenced to ten years for conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary; all but 18 months of the sentence was suspended. She had sold jewelry to a pawn shop, which was taken from a northern Garrett County home. She wrote a letter of apology to the victims, and will be on probation after her release, with the condition that she make a payment of $545 in court costs.
Mineral County Approves Leaner Budget
The Mineral County Commissioners approved a projected budget for the upcoming fiscal year that is about $300,000 less than the current year's budget. All county contributions to outside agencies, including the Mineral County library, will stay at present levels. The commissioners opposed a pay raise, approved by the West Virginia legislature. One stipulation of the bill is that county officials would receive a pay raise, only if the county experienced a rise in revenue, which Mineral County did not.
State Supreme Court Denies Appeal
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has denied an appeal from inmate Barry Lee Crespo, formerly of Bedford. Crespo, serving a sentence at SCI-Mahanoy prison in Frackville, contended that his trial attorney, Phillip Masorti, was ineffective in defending him for sexually assaulting a 14-yer old girl. Crespo had been mentoring the girl in October of 2007 through the Youth Advocate Program. He sexually assaulted her in Reading, and then lied about being there.
Police Investigating Gun Theft
The Pennsylvania State Police are investigating a case, in which a handgun was stolen from Willow Brook Lane in Bedford Township earlier this month. The .22-calibre revolver has a serial number of C00840. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Bedford barrack of the Pennsylvania State Police at (814)-623-6133.
Administrator Comments on Deteriorating Bridge
Potholes and deteriorating concrete on the Baltimore Street bridge over Will's Creek is making it difficult for some drivers to navigate. City Administrator Jeff Rhodes says that replacing the deck is 12 to 24 months out, but it is "on the radar." He says the plan is to completely replace the bridge decking. While bridges in and around Cumberland are inspected routinely, there is the issue of timing.
Reservoir Project Causes Parking Changes
Work will begin Monday evening on the Koontz Reservoir Replacement project in Lonaconing, and parking will not be allowed on Douglas Avenue, from the Route 36 intersection to the Beechwood Road intersection. Parking will be banned from 5 p.m. Monday evening through 5 p.m. Tuesday. Any vehicles parked in that area will be towed at the owner's expense.
Hardy County Schools Receive Computers
More than 100 computers and other technology accessories were given to Hardy County Schools this week. The equipment, which will be used by Hardy County Middle and High schools, and came from the office of Senator Joe Manchin, and the Computers for Learning program. For information on eligibility and how to apply, contact Senator Manchin's office.
Higher Education Discussion at ACM
A discussion on the future of higher education is taking place next Wednesday at Allegany College of Maryland. The collaborative discussion begins at 5 p.m. in the College Center, and is entitled, "The Future of Higher Education: How Should Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Want?" Interested persons are asked to RSVP to Kara Riley at (301)-784-5606.
Fire Company President Victim of Fatal Crashes
The President of the Western Enterprise Fire Company of Hagerstown, Mitchell Dobbins, was one of the victims of Wednesday morning's crashes along Interstate 81.The accidents were caused by an unusual snow squall, which swept across the interstate, and caused a total of two deaths. There were several multiple collisions and injuries, along with two fatalities.
"Open Source" Textbooks Explored
The University of Maryland is experimenting with eliminating the cost of textbooks, by using "open source" electronic textbooks. They are comprised of materials gathered from various sources, and are not protected by copyright. Many are interactive, so that anyone with an internet connection can access them. Estimates are that about 1100 students at Maryland are saving a combined $130,000. M.I.T., the California State University System, and the Washington State College system are among those that have built libraries of free, online course materials.
West Virginia Considering Minimum Wage Hike
Maryland is not the only state struggling with the minimum wage issue; West Virginia recently passed legislation that would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.00 per hour, beginning January 1st of next year, and increase to $8.75 in 2016. And, the arguments against raising the minimum wage are the same: employers could be forced to cut back on the hours of full-time workers and hire more part-time employees to abide by the new overtime definition.
Teen Jumps From Bridge, Later Charged
A 16-year old male juvenile was the subject of a water search yesterday afternoon in Will's Creek. An Allegany County School bus driver saw the boy jump from the Valley Street bridge and notified authorities. Cumberland City Police, along with the Cumberland Fire Department, and the Maryland State Police joined the search. He was later found, and placed under arrest, charged with disorderly conduct. He was released to the custody of his mother, pending further action in Juvenile Court.
Baltimore Man Sentenced in Bedford County
Baltimore resident Christopher Pope has been sentenced to 19 to 41 years in prison, after being found guilty in January on charges of robbery and other offenses. It was a drug deal, gone bad. Pope and his girlfriend had made arrangements to buy marijuana, but robbed another person, at gunpoint, of the marijuana. Pope had previously been convicted of robbery in Maryland and was, therefore, ineligible to possess a firearm. Pope is in the Bedford County Jail, and will be transferred to the Camp Hill, Pennsylvania prison to serve his sentence.
Brice Hollow Road Fire Ruled Accidental
A fire, early yesterday afternoon, was caused by a wood stove flue igniting the siding of a home on the Brice Hollow Road. The home, owned by Brian and Crystal Keefer, sustained about $5,000 in damage. Smoke detectors were present, but non-functioning, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office. It took about 5 minutes for firefighters to control the fire.
Berlin Man Kills Himself When Police Arrive
A Berlin, Pennsylvania resident killed himself when police arrived at his home Sunday to interview him. Joseph Deem, of Salco Road, died of a self-inflicted wound. The police had wanted to interview him as part of an active investigation. Emergency responders pronounced him dead at the scene.
Cumberland Man Cited for Marijuana Possession
Cumberland resident Michael Wayne Harper was arrested and later given a citation for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. Harper was found spinning the wheels of his truck and driving erratically on Park Street. Harper was found to have both a marijuana pipe and a quantity of the drug in his car. He was also cited for spinning his wheels. He was released, pending trial.
Keyser Pool's Future in Doubt
Declining numbers and rising costs have prompted the Keyser City Council to consider keeping the city's pool closed. The Mineral County Board of Education is considering an early August start to school, and the pool would only be open a little over two months. Keyser could save over $100,000 by not opening the pool. Some of those savings, approximately $25,000, could be used for certain youth programs, and the city could then net $75,000 in savings this year.
Garrett County Housing to Receive Funding
Fourteen affordable rental housing projects throughout the state, including The Meadows in Garrett County, will be among those receiving more than $19.6 million in Rental Housing Funds and nearly $17 million in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits. The projects will create or preserve 971 rental housing units, add more than 2600 jobs, and put more than $230 million into the economy. They will help meet the affordable rental housing needs for working families, senior citizens and individuals with special needs in Baltimore City and nine counties.
Schools Participating in Phonebook Recycling
The 20th annual Allegany County Phonebook Recycling Campaign is taking place in all Allegany County public schools from April 1st through the 30th. The event aligns with Earth Day, on April 22nd. Last year, 12,606 phonebooks were collected by Allegany County students, and this year, cash prizes will awarded to the top five schools.
I-70 Crash Results in Fatality
A two-vehicle crash on Interstate 70 Sunday night left one man dead, and closed the Interstate for about three hours. Fifty-year old Larry Allen Martz of Mayport, Pennsylvania collided head on with a 2014 pickup truck, driven by 27-year old Brian Chatfield from Silver City, North Carolina. Martz was flown to Meritus Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead. Other occupants in the Chatfield vehicle were treated at the scene and released. The Maryland State Police are continuing the investigation.
Williamsport Woman Sentenced in Sex Case
Williamsport resident Angela Grimm has been sentenced to four years in prison on two counts of sexual abuse of a minor. The victim, who was 16 at the time, may possibly have fathered a child with Grimm. The relationship began in 2006, and ended in 2012, and came to light when the victim's friend reported it to a school counselor. Grimm will be a registered sex offender for the rest of her life, following her release from prison.
Medical Marijuana Vote Scheduled
The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee is expected to consider a bill to expand medical marijuana in the state. Committee Chair Brian Frosh, who is also a Democratic candidate for attorney general, says he would like to form the legislation into a system that works. Frosh says he strongly supports the decriminalization of marijuana. Frosh believes the "wiser course" would be to keep the medical marijuana and decriminalization bills separate.
Coalition Would Like to See Tobacco Increase
The Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative would like to see a tobacco tax increase of a dollar a pack. Statewide, the group says 64 per cent of registered voters support the measure. Projected new revenue from increasing the tax rate by a dollar per pack could generate nearly $95 million. However, not everyone sees the need for another tobacco tax increase.
Men Indicted by Grand Jury
Two Terra Alta, West Virginia men have been indicted by a Garrett County Grand Jury on burglary charges, involving eight cases. Twenty-seven year old Dustin Jay Isennock an 20-year old Cody Allen Tusing have been charged in a series of burglaries that happened in the Deep Creek Lake area during the first two weeks of February. While Isennock has posted a $50,000 bail, Tusing remains in the Garrett County Detention Center.
Former Jail Secretary Sentenced to Prison
Bedford resident Sheila Suter, the former secretary at the Bedford County Jail, has been sentenced to up to five years in prison, after pleading guilty to embezzling nearly $50,000 from an inmate commissary account. She has been ordered to pay nearly $49,000 in restitution, and will be on probation for two years following her release from prison. Ms. Suter must also forfeit over $16,000 in her county retirement account. She will be transferred to the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.
I-68 Left Lane Closures Start Tomorrow
Interstate 68, both east and westbound, in the vicinity of downtown Cumberland, will have its left lanes closed, beginning tomorrow morning, and running through April 10th. Drivers should expect delays during peak travel times. The work is part of a $14 million, two year bridge rehabilitation project in Allegany County. The lanes will be closed, around the clock, until the work is completed.
Maplehurst Taxes Due Next Monday
The Maplehurst Country Club may be the subject of a tax sale, unless its board can come up with over $67,000 in property taxes, dating back to 2010. City Administrator John Kirby pointed out that anyone's property that is more than two years in arrears is subject to a tax sale. City Attorney Michael Cohen has informed the Maplehurst Board that a payment of just over $67,000 must be made by the close of business next Monday, to satisfy the tax and interest payments that are due to Frostburg and Allegany County.
Trial Stemming from Council Meeting Set
An incident that occurred at a Piedmont Council meeting has led to assault charges against a resident, and will be hear in Mineral County Magistrate Court. Curtis Smith confronted then Council member Ray Hall about city workers using city equipment to repair a sewer line on his property. As it turned out, the broken water line was actually on city-owned property, so Hall had no basis for his argument. The trail will get underway at 9:30 a.m.
Severance Extradited to Virginia
Charles Severance, who is wanted for questioning in three Northern Virginia murders, is being extradited to Virginia through a Governor's extradition order. Severance, who at one time had lived on Browning Street in Cumberland, had been in a Wheeling West Virginia jail was held on $100,000 bond. For his part, Severance had stated he didn't want to return to Virginia.
Man Cited for Marijuana Possession
A Cumberland man, who had originally been stopped by Cumberland City Police for using a cell phone while driving, was later cited for possession of marijuana. Thirty-eight year old Jason Scott Deremer had a bag of suspected marijuana in the cup holder of his car. He was processed at police headquarters, and served with a criminal citation, before being released.
Cumberland Man to be Extradited
Cumberland City Police arrested Patrick Jonathan Wright last week on a fugitive warrant from Mineral County, West Virginia. He was taken to District Court, then held at the Allegany County Detention Center, awaiting extradition to face charges there.
Parole/Probation Has 50% Success Rate
The local Department of Parole and Probation, now known as Allegany County Community Supervision, North Region, can claim a 50 per cent success rate. Willie Greene, Senior Agent, says once a person is released from confinement, her office checks in with them three times a week. If they miss any meetings or have a positive urinalysis, then they will return to jail. Those who have just been released cannot leave the state of Maryland, and this is enforced through the use of a monitoring device. They must wear it for two months, and then move up another level.
Sheriff's Office Seeks Vandalism Information
The Allegany County Sheriff's Department is investigating a destruction or property incident that happened last week at the Midland baseball fields. Someone drove a vehicle onto the infield and outfield areas, causing damage to both, and also to the baseline of the field. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at (301)-777-1585, or Deputy Wildeson at (240)-362-1361. All calls can remain anonymous.
Commissioners Declare "Lefty Grove Day"
The Allegany County Commissioners are proclaiming next Monday as "Lefty" Grove day in Allegany County. On the opening day of the 2014 Major League Baseball season, Grove, of Lonaconing, will be recognized as a baseball legend. He is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and won the first American League Most Valuable Player Award. He also was selected to play in the first Major League All-Star game.
Jobs, Economy Important to West Virginians
Jobs and the economy are top priorities for West Virginia residents and about half of those surveyed, believe those issues were not adequately addressed during the regular Legislative session this year. More than half-51 per cent-said the state was on the wrong track, and 50 per cent said the Mountain State has one of the worst legal systems in the U.S. The survey, conducted by MBE Research, also showed that 51 per cent of those interviewed see lawsuits hurting job creation in the state.
Regional VA Hospital to Close ICU Unit
The James E. Van Zandt Medical Center in Altoona has announced plans to close its Intensive Care Unit on April 21st, and move away from emergency department care. The plan is for the hospital to become an urgent care facility. A few employees are being affected by the change, and are being offered reassignments to support other growing programs at the facility. Currently the center has four ICU beds.
Preston Woman Charged in Husband's Death
Kingwood, West Virginia resident Nicole Knotts is in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail for allegedly shooting and killing her husband, Matthew. His body was hidden in a bathroom under clothes and other household items. Matthew Knotts was reported missing this past Monday, and Maryland State Police entered the investigation when Nicole Knotts claimed her husband left with a Garrett County woman. Nicole Knotts has been charged with first-degree murder and concealment of a deceased human body.
ACM, Schools Present Budget Requests
The Allegany County Commissioners have begun budget hearings for Fiscal Year 2015, and yesterday heard from both Allegany College and the Board of Education. The school board has requested a 3 per cent increase in its funding, while Allegany College requested flat funding. ACM is planning on increasing tuition in 2015.
Inmate Indicted in Murder of Cellmate
An inmate at the Western Correctional Institution has been indicted in the beating death of his cellmate last September. Darnell Thompson is accused of killing 29-year old Jason Wallace, and has been charged with first-degree murder. Thompson presently is serving a life sentence for a 1996 murder conviction in Prince George's County. He is now being lodged at the North Branch Correctional facility.
Severance Remains in West Virginia Jail
Charles Severance, who has been called a "person of interest" in three Northern Virginia murders, remains in the Northern Regional Jail on $100,000 bond, as an Ohio County circuit judge has refused to lower his bail. Severance, who at one time had lived on Browning Street in Cumberland, continues to fight extradition to Virginia for questioning in the murders. His next extradition hearing will be held on March 31st.
Man Convicted of Dealing Heroin
Slanesville, West Virginia resident Robert Glenn Ford was found guilty of dealing heroin on Wednesday. The jury, which took only a half hour to deliberate, found Ford guilty not only of possession with intent to deliver heroin, but also possession of oxycodone with intent to deliver. He was arrested after a confidential informant, wearing a "wire," purchased heroin from Ford.
Drugs Reported Missing from Bedford Ambulance
Bedford Borough Police are entering an investigation, to see who stole drugs from Bedford Ambulance sometime in January. Drug Enforcement Agency protocol dictates that drugs are to be inspected on a daily basis. The drugs weren't named, because it may affect the investigation; it is possible the drugs, which had a value of less than $20, are being sold on the streets. The person responsible could face felony theft charges.
Somerset Fire Investigated
Three people escaped from a burning home earlier this week, and the Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal is investigating the cause. The fire was reported on Ridge Road in Shade Township. A passerby alerted those inside to the fire, which was reported around 11 a.m.
No Comment on Mineral School Calendar
There was no public comment on two school calendars, proposed for Mineral County Schools for the 2014-2015 school year. The first calendar would make the first day of school August 7th, with the first semester ending before the Christmas break. The second would begin the year on August 14th, and end the first semester on January 9th. Both calendars provide for 180 days instruction, which will be required by the West Virginia Board of Education, starting with next school year.
Bridge Work Begins Monday
Preparation work will begin Monday for the rehabilitation of the Route 26 bridge in Everett borough. The work is part of a three-bridge rehabilitation contract in West Providence Township and in Everett. The initial phase will involve short term, daylight traffic control. and delays will be minimal. Beginning on April 1st, there will be a one-and-three-quarter mile detour, which should be in place until September 30th. Pedestrian access will be maintained on one side of the bridge at all times.
Man Arrested on Howard County Warrant
A Cumberland man was arrested Wednesday on a bench warrant from Howard County, Maryland. Forty-seven year old Douglas Wayne Black was wanted for failure to appear in court. He is being held at the Allegany County Detention Center, and is awaiting extradition back to Howard County.
Senators Receive "Robo-Calls" on Minimum Wage Bill
The Maryland State Senate may consider a minimum wage bill next week, but in the meantime, Maryland residents have been inundated with so-called "robo-calls" urging them to support Governor Martin O'Malley's bill. One of those residents in Democratic Senator Delores Kelly, who claimed her family received no fewer than 90 calls in one day, about her position on the bill.While State Senator Kathy Klausmeier didn't receive any robocalls, she did get a "letter" from a woman she discovered died three years ago. Senator Klausmeier foresees some sort of compromise on the bill. Senate Finance Committee Chair Mac Middleton would like to see a minimum wage bill that would include a raise for workers who work with the severely disabled, through various non-profit organizations. Currently, the state reimburses the labor costs of those workers at a rate of 35 per cent above the minimum wage.
Bill Could Provide Free Needles
A bill being considered in the General Assembly would provide free needles for heroin users in Baltimore City, and would cost taxpayers a quarter of a million dollars. The bill has passed in both the House and Senate, and must now go to the opposite chamber for approval. Currently, heroin users in Baltimore City must bring back a used needle to exchange it for a new one. Under the bill, they could receive several needles at once.
Public Comment To Be Taken on Cleanup
Public comment is being taken on a plan to clean up toxic waste around Allegany Ballistics Laboratory, with a local meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the South Cumberland Library meeting room. Action is being taken to reduce the threat of contamination to ground water and the North Branch of the Potomac River. The remediation work is being scheduled during this fiscal year, according to a public affairs officer for the Mid-Atlantic Naval Facilities Engineering Command.
Water Problems Temporarily Resolved
A leak and broken pump that led to the early dismissal of Hampshire County Schools yesterday, has been, at least, temporarily resolved. The leak in the water line was discovered yesterday morning, and the main pump in the Grassy Lick area then broke, which led to the problems. The Central Hampshire Public Service District has begun the process of getting a new pump, but it's not known how long that will take.
West Virginia Officials May Receive Pay Raise
Even though the Mineral County Commissioners opposed it, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin may sign a bill that would raise the pay of county elected officials by 12 per cent. The bill was passed during a special session of the Legislature last Friday. The local commissioners felt a raise would put an unfair burden on already strained county budgets.
Man Acquitted of Incest
Seventy-nine year old Bedford resident Richard Maine has been acquitted on all 29 charges of child rape and incest, involving his young family members. His defense attorney claimed there had been several inconsistencies in the stories of the alleged victims, and that an apparent admission of guilt from Maine was offered to stop what he termed "badgering questions." Following the acquittal, Maine was set to be released after more than a year in the Bedford County Correctional Facility.
Edwards Testifies on Behalf of Bill
Maryland State Senator George Edwards testified before a House Committee this week, on behalf of a bill he is sponsoring, that would allow bow hunters to carry guns in some areas of Western Maryland. The bill would allow that, while hunting deer, and would affect western Washington County, as well as Allegany and Garrett.
Man Charged in Henderson Avenue Accident
A two-vehicle accident, on Henderson Avenue near Knox Street on Monday, resulted in charges for Lawrence Sanner. Both he and Shanise Louise Dunn were traveling northbound on Henderson Avenue, when Dunn stopped at a light; Sanner could not stop in time and hit the Dunn vehicle. She was taken to the hospital for treatment and Sanner was cited for failure to control speed to avoid a collision.
Stoystown Man Jailed on Assault Charges
Somerset County resident Robert Rigo is in jail, accused of severely beating another man at a party this past weekend. The victim, who is also a Marine, suffered a broken jaw, a broken cheekbone and other fractures. Witnesses told police the fight was over a woman, who was also at the party. Rigo has been charged with assault and a number of other counts in the past. He currently has two active cases against him.
House Considers Minimum Wage Bill
The Maryland House of Delegates is putting the final touches on a minimum wage bill that will be considered by the Senate in the coming days. As was reported earlier in the week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Mac Middleton says a possible smaller increase in the minimum wage could be considered, but with an increase in the earned income tax credit.
General Assembly Considering Common Core
The Maryland legislature is doing its homework on Common Core, with action on three bills recently to ease the transition. Maryland State Education Association President Betty Weller says it's encouraging to see that concerns about Common Core are being addressed, from ensuring that misaligned state standardized test scores aren't used punitively for a couple of years. Legislators are also looking to provide feedback on how to improve Common Core implementation. Weller points out that Common Core isn't what's being debated, but rather the need for other types of support, to help make the change to Common Core and that new evaluation systems happen smoothly.
Marijuana Decriminalization Law May Be in Trouble
House Judiciary Committee Chair Joe Vallario is opposing both the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana, and may not let the bill out of committee. The next step in the process could be to amend the language of the Senate bill into another one. The Senate bill proposes reducing the penalty to possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana from 90 days in jail to a $100 fine. A similar bill passed the Senate last year, but never made it out of committee in the House.
Trooper Dragged by Vehicle, Suspect Fatally Shot
Details are sketchy, but Maryland State Police are investigated a fatal, trooper-involved shooting at the Salisbury barracks Tuesday night. A man went into the barrack to ask the duty officer to check on a vehicle repair, after he received a safety equipment repair order. The duty officer soon called for backup, and had reportedly been dragged by the vehicle. One of the backup officers and the duty officer fired their weapons, fatally wounding the suspect. More details are expected to be released, including the identities of those involved.
Cumberland Woman Killed in Hagerstown
Fifty-eight year old Cumberland resident Lisa Wellham was killed by a hit and run driver along Route 40 in Hagerstown early Monday morning. Police had earlier stopped her car at a sobriety checkpoint; authorities took her to a friend's house, and her friend later told police he last saw her walking toward the highway. She was apparently hit while walking toward her car. The driver of the hit and run vehicle is still being sought by police.
Man Sentenced in Stabbing
Nineteen-year old Dajon Lopez was convicted of first-degree assault in Allegany County Circuit Court yesterday, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but with ten suspended. He went into a Fairview Avenue home in October of last year, and stabbed a person. The motive was the relationship the victim was having with a former girlfriend of Lopez. The victim had surgery to repair the wounds. The case was investigated by the Allegany County C3I Unit and the Cumberland City Police Department.
Man Charged With Sex Offender Violations
Cumberland resident Cody Mycheal Harrold has been charged with providing false information as a sex offender. Harrold is jailed in the Allegany County Detention Center. Harrold told authorities that he was living in Maryland, when, in fact, he was living in West Virginia. He was recently arrested in Grant County, West Virginia and was extradited to Maryland on Monday.
Maryland Loses 9800 Jobs in January
The U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics says Maryland's employment base shrank by nearly 10,000 jobs in January, and had grown at a much weaker pace last year than originally thought. Even though the state has yet to recover all the jobs it lost in 2008 and 2009, there was an actual drop in unemployment figures, from 6.1 per cent in December to 5.8 per cent in January. Locally, Allegany County's jobless rate dropped to 7 per cent in November this past year, as compared to a rate of 7.5 per cent for November, 2012. Those are the most recent figures available.
Inmate Convicted in Death of Cellmate
North Branch Correctional Institution inmate Vernon Lee Cowan has been convicted of the second-degree murder of his former cellmate, Rickey Bailey. Cowan was sentenced to 30 years consecutive to the 60-year sentence he is currently serving. Bailey was found dead in the cell he shared with Cowan in February of last year. The motive for the murder stemmed from Cowan's wish to have a single cell, but had recently been assigned to share one with Bailey.
Severance Refuses Extradition
A former Cumberland resident, who is a person of interest in three murders in Northern Virginia, refused to waive extradition from West Virginia. Charles Severance, who had been arrested locally on assault and indecent exposure charges, is being held without bail in Wheeling, West Virginia. When Severance found out he was wanted for questioning in Virginia, he sought asylum at the Russian Embassy, but was denied. Authorities are working on a governor's warrant, which could eventually send Severance back to Virginia.
Hearing for Accused Rapist Continued
It may be several weeks before another hearing in the case of Michael Edmonson of Everett. Edmonson is charged with over 2400 counts of the rape and sexual assault of three girls, who were only around 5 years old at the time. Edmonson remains in the Bedford County Jail, in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Mineral Students Could Return August 7th
Mineral County students could be returning to class next year in early August, but will be getting out of school for summer much earlier. Beginning next year, the West Virginia Board of Education will require 180 instructional days, but that may not be attainable if the winter is especially harsh. So far this year, Mineral County has had 15 "snow days," and have only been in class for 172 days this year. While the first hearing on the calendar was held last night, the second has been scheduled as part of the regular board meeting on April 1st.
Man Released After Trespassing Citation
Twenty-eight year old Cumberland resident Elias John Fuller McMannis was cited for trespassing on city of Cumberland property Monday. He was found on the Fort Cumberland Homes property, arrested, and issued a criminal citation.
Garrett County Theft Investigated
The McHenry barrack of the Maryland State Police is investigating a theft that happened sometime between March 4th and March 9th. The burglary/theft happened in the 1200-block of McAndrew Hill, with numerous automotive parts and tools stolen. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the barrack at (301)-387-1101.
Two Held in Death of Toddler
A Frederick County couple is being held in connection with the death of their 21-month old daughter. Frankie Williams, the baby's father, was charged last weekend with first-degree child abuse resulting in death. Now, the mother, Stephanie Williams is being held on charges of first-degree child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury. Twenty-one month old Anayah Williams had visible bruises and marks on her body, and was pronounced dead Friday night at Frederick Memorial Hospital.
State Board to Formulate Waiver Plan
The Maryland State Board of Education meets next week to come up with a plan for instructional waivers for the public schools. Bill Reinhard, of the State Board, says the plan will include meeting the need of having 180 days of instruction, at the minimum. Reinhard says the local boards must show ways to make up the time lost, due to bad weather. Reinhard addressed one option: extending the school day. He says that has not yet been discussed at the state level. Allegany County Schools have now been closed a total of 16 days, with Monday's cancellation of classes, due to snow.
Man is "Person of Interest" in Murders
Charles Severance, who had been arrested several times in Cumberland in the early 2000's on charges of assault and indecent exposure, has been called a "person of interest" in three northern Virginia murders. Severance has been living in Loudon County, Virginia, but was taken into custody over the weekend on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Safe Streets Initiative Conducted
Another in a series of "Safe Streets" warrant initiatives was conducted last week. A total of 31 people were arrested on 32 warrants being served. Numerous charges were lodged, ranging from fraud, to violation of probation and theft, and obstruction of justice. The Safe Streets operation sought, and received, help from citizens in locating and apprehending those who were wanted.
Woman Hits Freight Train
A driver hit a CSX freight train early Sunday morning, but was not injured. Nikita Courtney Hall told police the brakes on her car failed, causing her to strike the train at the Franklin Street Crossing. When her vehicle struck the train, a safety alarm was activated. The train was stopped so it could be inspected. CSX officials noted the train did not appear to be damaged during the collision. Ms. Hall's vehicle was towed from the scene, as it suffered extensive damage to the front end.
Fire Unit Called to Bedford Road Sheetz
A unit from the Cumberland Fire Department was called to the Sheetz store at Nave's Crossroads yesterday morning. About 60 gallons of fuel apparently spilled from pump #7. It was unclear whether the fuel spill, which was reported around 7:35 a.m., was caused by a malfunction, or whether a customer had problems with it. Along with the Cumberland Fire Department, the Sheetz Corporation also had a cleanup crew on the scene. Units cleared the scene at about 1:10 p.m. yesterday.
Mineral Wants Bigger Share of Delinquent Taxes
Mineral County Sheriff Jeremy Taylor presented the Board of Education with a letter, requesting the county receive part of the share of recovered personal property taxes. Currently, the Board receives 71 per cent of total collections, and there are over $100,000 in delinquent property taxes at stake, some dating back to 2009. Personal property taxes are collected on items such as mobile homes, business inventory, and vehicles. The issue is on the agenda for tonight's Mineral County Board of Education meeting.
Somerset Man Arrested After Police Chase
Somerset resident Larry Eugene Tinkey is facing felony and misdemeanor charges, after leading police on a high speed chase early Sunday morning. The incident ended when he traveled off Deans Road, and his car came to rest in a farm creek. Speeds during the chase reached up to 90 miles per hour. He was injured and was taken to Somerset hospital.
Pennsylvania Man Arrested on CDS Charges
Pennsylvania resident John Patric Milligan was charged with possession of marijuana and CDS material during a traffic stop this past weekend in Garrett County. Milligan's car was stopped in the area of mile marker 22 on I-68. He was charged, then released.
Senate Debates Minimum Wage
The Maryland State Senate continues its work on a minimum wage bill for the state. Senator Mac Middleton, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, says there will be differences with the House version of the bill. There has been a proposal "floated" in the General Assembly, where the minimum wage would be set at $8.25 per hour, but with an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit, according to Senator Middleton. Senator Middleton see a compromise of both an increased minimum wage and Earned Income Tax Credit.
Monday "Crossover Day" in Annapolis
Yesterday was "Crossover Day" in Annapolis, when lawmakers have to pass bills in at least one chamber, if they have any chance of getting to the Governor's desk. This week, the Senate will begin floor debate on its version of "Jake's Law," named after five year old Jake Owen who was killed in a car crash by a distracted driver. The Senate bill would impose up to a three-year jail term on distracted drivers who cause a crash, resulting in injury or death. The House passed its own version that would impose a one year sentence, and lawmakers will have to work out a compromise.
Keedysville Man Charged in Murder of Grandparents
A Keedysville man has been charged in the double murder of his grandparents. Nineteen year old Joseph Michael Minoglio is accused of stabbing his grandparents, Joseph and Peggy Minoglio. They were pronounced dead at their home. The grandson was arrested in Montgomery County, Virginia, while driving his grandparents' car, which was missing from their home. He is being held there, pending extradition.
AG Returns Money to State
The West Virginia Attorney General has returned about $16.5 million to the state's general fund in the last 14 months. About 9-million dollars was returned in the last week or so. The Legislature will use that money to plug a budget gap, and fund a program for senior citizens and disabled residents.
Fire Investigation Continues
The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office is continuing its investigation into Saturday morning's fire at Uncle Willie's Place in Lonaconing. The fire has been determined to be arson, and caused an estimated $300,000 in damage to the building and its contents. It originated in the basement area, and caused heavy damage there and in the attic of the building. The business is owned by Paul Arkins and his son, Christopher. Anyone with information is asked to contact the State Fire Marshal's Cumberland Office at (301)-729-5021.
Team Conducts River Rescue
The Cumberland Fire Department's Swift Water Rescue Team rescued a woman who had fallen into Will's Creek early yesterday morning. Twenty-nine year old Tonyia Kegarise of Fairmont, West Virginia fell from the deck of a business on Mechanic Street into the water. She was quickly located several hundred yards downstream. She was in the water for about a half an hour. She was taken to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
Police Respond to Pub Crawl Incidents
The Cumberland City Police responded to several incidents during the annual Hooley Pub Crawl on Saturday, including a fight at a North Mechanic Street business in which a knife was displayed. A knife was located in the parking lot at Baltimore Street, but no arrests were made. Despite numerous service calls, police say the event appeared to be well-managed,and didn't cause any major issues for law enforcement authorities.
Man Arrested in Assault Incident
Keyser resident Steven B. Miller, who had been evicted from the Keyser House, was arrested after allegedly assaulting a former girlfriend, who lives there. Miller was charged with domestic battery and burglary, and is being held on $8400 bond. Keyser City Police are issuing notices to those who have been evicted from the complex, advising them they will be arrested as trespassers if they return.
Man Arrested After Disturbance
Cumberland resident Timothy Dale Ryan was arrested Friday, following a disturbance at a Willowbrook Road business. He was arrested shortly after noon in the Williams Street area. Ryan had been arguing with his girlfriend, and is accused of pushing her, and taking her car keys. He is being held on $8500 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center.
"Capt. Ed" Utilized as Crime Prevention Tool
"Capt. Ed," an acronym for Crime Prevention through Environmental Design is being implemented by the Cumberland Safe Streets Program as a crime fighting tool. Chuck Sczuroski, a Master Trainer with the National Crime Prevention Council, says the concept is used in crime "hot spots," using access control, territorial reinforcement, surveillance and maintenance.
Sczuroski says businesses are also key in the program, and praised the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce for its participation. He spoke on another aspect of the program.
And, he also commented on Mayor Brian Grim's campaign against blighted properties in the city of Cumberland.
State Police Investigate Burglary
The McHenry Barrack of the Maryland State Police is investigating a burglary in the 200-block of Old Morgantown Road West in Friendsville. The burglary could have taken place any time from November of last year to this past Saturday. Taken from the residence were two small refrigerators, on small freezer, a table saw, metal detector, and a taser. Anyone with information is asked to contact the McHenry barrack at (301)-387-1101.
Piedmont Council Member Resigns
Piedmont City Council member Gary Bradley, who had been elected in May of last year, has resigned his position, citing his work schedule, and "personal reasons." Bradley had been elected to serve as parks and recreation commissioner, and it is hoped an appointment will be made from the citizens of the community.
Meeting Set on Comprehensive Plan
The Allegany County Division of Planning Services has completed the final draft of the 2014 Comprehensive plan. A public hearing will be held on Wednesday, April 9th at 5:00 p.m. at the county office building on Kelly Road. The plan, consisting of ten chapters, addresses such issues as housing, transportation, public facilities, and mineral resources, among other items. The final chapter of the plan deals with land use and implementation.
Conemaugh Partnership Announced
Conemaugh Health System has announced a partnership with Duke LifePoint Healthcare, based in Tennessee. Conemaugh operates three hospitals including its Memorial Medical Center, Miners Medical Center and Meyersdale Medical Center, along with outpatient centers and physician's group practices. For its part, Duke will invest more than $500 million over the next ten years in the region. Duke LifePoint healthcare operates 60 hospitals in 20 states with 28,000 employees and 3,000 physician partners.
Former Firefighter Convicted of Theft
Douglas Kiser, a former Corriganville Volunteer Fire Department firefighter has been convicted in Allegany County Circuit Court of both theft and destruction of property. Judge Tim Finan presided over the trial. Kiser was accused of staging a burglary at the fire department in March of last year, and stealing $5,000 in cash and gift cards from the organization's safe. He was only one of five people who had access to the safe room, and had used the gift card at a local convenience store. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered; Kiser remains free on bond.
County Receives Legacy Funding
Allegany County will benefit from an over $400,000 Community Legacy Award from the state of Maryland. The money will be used for four programs and a renovation project. The state recently awarded $5.5 million. The money will be used locally for the Upper Story Redevelopment Program and for renovation efforts at Friends Aware, among other projects.
Changes Approved for Romney School
The West Virginia Board of Education has accepted the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind Superintendent Lynn Boyer's recommendations regarding child care workers. She wants to further the education of child care workers by requiring workers to have an associate of arts degree in child development or a related field, or to make a written commitment to obtain the degree at personal expense within three years of the date of hire. Another recommendation is that employees would have to be interviewed for the positions they now hold. The board also approved an amendment to the schools' 2012-2022 comprehensive education facilities plan.
Sheriff Seeks Theft Suspects
The Allegany County Sheriff's Office is looking for two people who stole a large quantity of scrap metal from a home on Messick Road in Cumberland early Tuesday afternoon. The man, who was accompanied by a woman, was caught on video. He was driving a white, older model GMC full-sized truck with West Virgina tags. There was also a small child inside the vehicle, in what appeared to be a pink car seat. Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at (301)-777-5959.
Commissioners Approve Water Loan for Rawlings
The Allegany County Commissioners approved a $190,000 loan for the Rawlings Water project; additionally, a bid for roof renovation at the South Cumberland library was approved at yesterday's meeting. The water loan was for 40 years with a 1.875 interest rate. The library project was awarded to C & M Construction and Renovation in Barton, for just under $155,000.
Fracking Bill Defeated
A bill that could have delayed drilling for Marcellus Shale gas in Garrett and Allegany Counties was given an unfavorable report in Annapolis yesterday. The vote in the House Environmental Matters Committee was 23-0. Meanwhile, an environmental report on fracking may not be finished in time for the August 1st deadline. The report would determine how extracting natural gas from the region could be done safely.
Man Cited for Motor Vehicle Violations
Valley Road resident Benjamin James Covalt was cited for driving on a suspended license, and driving without insurance, following a traffic stop early Wednesday afternoon. A positive alert from a K-9 scan led Covalt to admit he had smoked marijuana in the car earlier in the day. It was also confirmed that the MVA had issued an order to pick up the tags on the car for suspended insurance. He was issued several citations and released pending trial in District Court.
Teeenager Assaulted in Somerset WalMart
Somerset police are investigating a possible assault that happened in the electronics department of the WalMart store there. The teenager described the man as a white male in his 40's, about 6-feet tall and with a "chubby" build. He was wearing sweatpants that could have been navy blue in color, a navy blue zip up "hoodie," with a plain gray shirt and a camouflage hat. The teen said that he had been touch inappropriately by the man. It was also noted he may have had a speech impediment and a possible abnormality to the right hand.
B-52 Memorial Planned
The 50th anniversary observance of the B-52 bomber crash in Garrett County has been set for July 12th at the Little Crossings Memorial. About 40 family members of the crew of that plane plan to attend the ceremony. A number of upgrades and repairs are being made at memorials there, and they will be ready in time for the memorial service in July.
Bowling Greene Water Project Meeting Set
The Allegany County Commissioners have scheduled a public meeting on the upcoming water projects in Bowling Green. the meeting is set for this Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Bowling Green Fire Department. Residents and all interested citizens are invited and encouraged to attend. Allegany County Department of Public Works officials will also be at the meeting to discuss the projects and answer questions.
Senate Moving on State Budget
The Maryland Senate has advanced the state's $39 billion budget, finding a quick solution to fill a drop in projected revenues by using money in a long-term plan to strengthen the state's pension system. Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Chairman Ed Kasemeyer says that each year, the state makes a $1.9 billion contribution to the fund, which is required. additionally, the state pays extra, supplementary money so that it can be more fully funded, and funded earlier. Kasemeyer notes there are over $43 billion in the pension fund.
Mother Faces Child Abuse Charges
The 47-year old mother of a Washington County girl who went missing for more than 12 hours last month is facing child abuse charges. The woman is charged with neglect of a minor and second-degree abuse in reference to an incident on February 24th that happened before the girl ran away. She was found near Robinwood Drive, after being outside all night. The mother is also facing a count of second-degree child abuse in an unrelated incident from June of last year.
Two Baltimore Men Sentenced on Drug Charges
The second of two Baltimore men has been sentenced in connection with a raid conducted last summer in the Westernport area. Lamont George Smith was sentenced to 20 years in prison with ten years suspended. Last month, Timothy Lowell Brown was sentenced to 15 years in prison with seven suspended. The two were arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Smith will be on probation for five years following his release; Brown will be on probation for three years.
Two Arrested in Warrant Service Incident
Two people were arrested on Vine Street in Westernport yesterday, as Allegany County Sheriff's Deputies tried to serve a warrant on one of the two. James Richard Lease had been wanted on a violation of probation charge. A female acquaintance at the home, Brenda Stevenson interfered with the arrest and was also charge. Lease was tasered by deputies, and after being treated at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, he was taken to the Detention Center. Ms. Stevenson, who was also arrested, was eventually released on her own recognizance.
Cumberland Cited in Mayor's Report
The city of Cumberland is one of three economies in the state that are likely to shrink. The annual forecast was prepared by IHS Global Insight says the economies of Hagerstown and Salisbury will also shrink, but Cumberland will experience the sharpest decline of 3.9 per cent. Declines in employment, according to the forecast, will affect Cumberland, Salisbury, and towns in North Carolina, Indiana, and Illinois.
Westernport Man Arrested in Break In
Westernport resident George Mayhew was arrested in connection with a burglary yesterday morning on Riordan Road. Mayhew was accused of breaking into the home, and stealing an undisclosed amount of money. He ran from the house when confronted, and was arrested by a Mineral County deputy on Kolberg Hill, a short distance from the crime scene. He is being held on $7500 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center.
Board Seeks Bad Weather Waiver
The Allegany County Board of Education will seek a five-day waiver from the state for bad weather days. There have been 15 school days missed this year so far. A vote to seek the waiver was taken during this week's board meeting. They will petition the State Board of Education and state superintendent of schools, Dr. Lillian Lowery. If the waiver is approved, the last day of school should be Tuesday, June 10th, barring any further delays.
I-68 Work Scheduled
The right lane of westbound Interstate 68 is being closed until 7:30 p.m. this evening for lighting work. There will also be another closure of the same lanes next Monday through Thursday, according to the State Highway Administration. Motorists should be prepared for possible delays.
Traffic Stop Results in Felony Offense
A Keyser man was jailed this past weekend, after being caught, for a third time, for driving on a license that had been suspended for DUI. Twenty-eight year old Jeffrey Corbin was stopped on Carskadon Road. He was charged with a third offense of driving on a license that had been revoked for DUI, which is considered a felony in West Virginia. He was also charged with driving without insurance.
Man Charged in Crash
Frostburg resident Francis Joseph Leach was charged in Pennsylvania with driving under the influence and other related traffic charges, following a single-vehicle crash Monday night on the Cumberland Highway in Southampton Township in Somerset County. Leach was driving a 1996 Ford F-250 when the 8:50 p.m. crash occurred.
Garrett County Woman Guilty of Assault
Garrett County resident Tracy Elaine Ali was found guilty of assaulting an 11-year old boy in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Ms. Ali was accused of kicking the boy in the groin, and the verdict came after an hour-long trial. In all, she was charged with simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct.
Bear Population Studied
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources was at work earlier this week, checking on the Maryland bear population. The exercise allowed biologists to change the batteries in radio collars worn by some of the sows and to tag the new cubs with microchips, so they can be scanned in later years, without disturbing the hibernation process. Also, a team from the Maryland Zoo took care of some minor medical issues and performed blood work. In a recent survey, 701 adult and younger bears were found.
Man Arrested on Outstanding Warrant
Cumberland resident Leo Richard Durocher is being held on $5,000 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center, after having been arrested on an outstanding warrant. Durocher had been involved in a harassment incident on Maryland Avenue Tuesday; officers discovered he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. And, officers found several pills on him, none of which was in the appropriate prescription bottle. He was charged with violation of probation, and possession of a controlled dangerous substance.
Assault, Sex Offense Charges Filed
Twenty-nine year old Brian Alan Lindeman was arrested and charged in connection with a March 6th incident at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center. Lindeman had been a patient in the emergency department, and was allegedly acting out of control. He is further accused of assaulting the victim by grabbing her. He received an initial appearance and was held on $8500 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center. He was charged with both assault and a fourth-degree sex offense.
Grantsville Man Wrecks, Charged With DUI
Grantsville resident Austin Tombley was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, following a single-vehicle accident on Route 40, east of Route 219. Tombley's vehicle went off the roadway and overturned. He was not injured; he was taken to the McHenry Barrack for processing, where he was later released.
DJS Schedules Foster Parent Sessions
The Department of Juvenile Services is looking for people and families who are interested in learning more about becoming foster parents. DJS is looking for families, interested in fostering youth between the ages of 12 and 18. There will be an informational session on Tuesday at the LaVale library, between 3 and 7 p.m. On Saturday, there will be a session at the George's Creek Library from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on March 27th from 2 to 7:30 p.m. There will also be sessions in April in both Oakland and Grantsville.
Volunteers Work on Final Trail Segment
Volunteers are working to complete the final 30-mile segment of West Virginia's 330-mile Allegheny Trail. The trail runs from an area near Bruceton Mills to a junction with the Appalachian Trail in Monroe County. The Forest Service will check the route of the trail and make any changes before approving it.
Gansler Not in Favor of Pot Legalization
Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, while in favor of medical marijuana use, is not in favor of decriminalization. Gansler says Maryland should NOT take a cue from the way things were done in Colorado and in other states. He says he wants to make sure Maryland approaches the matter in the right way. While he is willing to explore the concept of decriminalization and legalization, it should be done incrementally
Men's Warehouse Buys Joseph A. Bank
Men's Warehouse has acquired Joseph A. Bank Clothiers for a reported $1.8 billion in cash. Both boards of directors approved the latest tender offer from Men's Warehouse. The deal creates the fourth largest men's clothing retailer in the country. The combined company will have 23,000 employees in 1700 stores across the country. The Joseph A. Bank Headquarters is in Hampstead, Maryland, and several Maryland legislators are concerned about the future of the Carroll County Headquarters, one of its largest employers.
Two Children Dead in Fayette County, West Virginia
Two young children, found unresponsive in their Fayette County, West Virginia mobile home, were later pronounced dead. A three-month old and a one year old were found unconscious and not breathing when they were found Tuesday morning. The cause of death, the identities and circumstances surrounding their deaths were not initially known.
West Virginia Teachers to Receive Raise
The West Virginia legislature recently approved a $1,000-across-the-board teacher pay raise. Several proposals were floated during the Legislative session, but the $1,000 per teacher raise won out over the others. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin says he would have preferred another proposal, but will support the increase in pay. Delegate Roy Cooper of Summers County, a former teacher, says the raise wasn't enough because of the monumental job they have.
Allegany Base Model Approved
The Allegany County Board of Education has unanimously approved a base model design for the new Allegany High School on Haystack Mountain. The cost was estimated at $34.5 million. The base model design has nine fewer classroom spaces, no sports fields, tennis courts and no auditorium. The state of Maryland is contributing 93 per cent of the projected cost. The county has committed $9.2 million to the project. It will now be placed for bid by prospective builders.
Friendsville Fire Traced to Wall Outlet
An accidental fire yesterday morning in Friendsville was caused by a malfunctioning wall outlet, and has left Robert Pavor homeless. He lived in the home, owned by Mary Jane Tabor. The fire caused a total of $50,000 in damage to the home and its contents. It was discovered by a passerby shortly after 9 a.m.
Frostburg Man Cited for Paraphernalia Possession
A Frostburg resident was given a criminal citation for possessing drug paraphernalia, following a traffic stop in the area of Lamont Street. Paul Robert Goetz was the passenger in a vehicle. A positive alert from a K-9 unit led to the discovery of a pipe on Goetz. The pipe contained the residue of a controlled dangerous substance. He released from the scene, pending his next court appearance.
Keyser Woman Held in Assault Case
Thirty-five year old Heather Jackson of Keyser remains in the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail on $1,850 bond, following an assault incident Monday night. She is accused of hitting a 43-year old victim in the head with a piece of wood. The victim was treated at Potomac Valley Hospital. The incident happened around 8:15 p.m. at a North Main Street residence.
Route 36 Meeting Set
The Maryland State Highway Administration and the Allegany County Department of Public Works have scheduled a public informational meeting, regarding parking on Route 36, the Mount Savage Road in Mount Savage. The meeting will be held next Tuesday, between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., at the Mount Savage School Cafeteria. The changes to be discussed would be put in place as part of an upcoming roadway resurfacing project, scheduled for this spring in Mount Savage. On street parking has caused problems with drivers having to enter the opposing lane of traffic to get by, and for emergency vehicles trying to fit between the parked vehicles.
Man Arrested for Possession
Cumberland resident Sean Thomas Major of Cumberland was arrested early yesterday morning on Race Street. Officers stopped the vehicle for an equipment violation, and a strong odor of marijuana was coming from the vehicle. Major admitted he had a smoking device in the center console of the vehicle. Along with the pipe, officers found a small baggie of marijuana. He was issued two criminal citations and was released, pending his next court appearance.
Missouri Woman Held on Warrant
A traffic stop on Interstate 68 led to the arrest of a woman, who had an active warrant from Missouri. Christa Fontaine Reynolds was taken into custody, and CDS was also located on her. She was taken to the Garrett County Sheriff's Office, where she was held on the warrant.
Safe Streets Board Holds Meeting
Crime in the Cumberland area dropped 5.4 per cent over the last year, and it has decreased by over 35 per cent during the last several months. David Goad, Project Director of the Cumberland Safe Streets program notes that warrants are down by 43 per cent. An aspect of the Safe Streets Program is the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Program. Goad says groups such as the city of Cumberland and the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce are getting involved, and looking at ways to reduce crime. A commercial and residential survey is being created toward that end. Goad says that a disproportionate number of people living in so-called crime "hot spots" is committing the majority of crimes. He estimated that to be about 20 to 25 per cent of the people living there.
Man Held on $30,000 Bond
A Bedford County man is being held in the Bedford County Jail, in lieu of $30,000 bond, after trying to run over a woman with his truck. the victim told Zachary Simmons that she was going to stay with her mother for the night on Friday; she, however, returned and was sprayed in the chest and face with mace pepper spray. Police found him hiding under a trailer. He now faces several charges, including recklessly endangering another person and reckless driving.
Virts Waives Extradition to Maryland
Timothy Virts, who is accused of murdering his ex-wife and abducting his daughter, has waived his right to extradition and will be returned to Maryland. His daughter, Caitlyn, has been reunited with her twin sister and brother, and is in the custody of social services. It's not known when Virts will be returned to the state to face the charges lodged against him.
Two Arrested by Fugitive Task Force
Two area fugitives have been arrested in Berkeley County, West Virginia by law enforcement authorities. Martinsburg resident Derrick Brown had been wanted by Florida for violation of parole on an underlying charge of murder and robbery. Calva Springette, also of Martinsburg was wanted for the distribution of crack cocaine. The operation of locating and arresting the pair was conducted by the Mountain State Fugitive Task Force, which is comprised of the U.S. Marshal's Service, the West Virginia State Police and the Morgan County Sheriff's Office, among others.
Martinsburg Woman Strangled, Smothered
A 38-year old Martinsburg man, William Jackson, has been arrested in the murder of Martha Tyler, whose body was found in her home Saturday. The West Virginia State Medical Examiner's Office has ruled she had been strangled and smothered. Ms. Tyler's front door was kicked in by an intruder two weeks ago, but there was no sign of forced entry last Saturday. Jackson was arrested after he had used Ms. Tyler's bank card for a cash withdrawal in the area.
Extra Sessions in Store for Lawmakers
House Speaker Michael Busch is telling legislators to expect both morning and evening sessions this week, as next Monday is "Crossover Day." That means bills have to be approved by at least one chamber of the legislature, so they can be considered by the opposing chamber during the final three weeks of the legislative session. There is also the possibility of a Saturday session to finish the work. Two major issues that remain are reducing the penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana, and the Senate Finance Committee is now considering raising the minimum wage.
Forced Entry Investigated
Cumberland City Police are investigating the breaking and entering of the Western Maryland Central Labor Council office on North Mechanic Street this past weekend. The incident occurred as a person or person accessed the building by breaking a second-floor window, accessible from the roof of an adjacent building. Alcoholic beverages and other items were stolen from various rooms at the office. A previous burglary from December is still under investigation.
Officers Respond to Ramada Disturbance
A Cascade, Maryland man was charged with second-degree assault, following a weekend incident at the Ramada Inn early Sunday morning. The manager received a complaint about a fight in one of the rooms, involving Scott Andrew Thompson. A female victim had visible facial injuries, and Thompson was taken into custody. He received a bond hearing and was released on his personal recognizance.
Complaint Leads to Three Arrests
A suspicious vehicle complaint has led to the charging of three people on drug paraphernalia charges. A syringe, crack pipe, and a device used for snorting drugs was found in a car, driven by Cindy Lewis of Keyser. Also in the car were Kenneth Divelbliss of Rawlings and Cumberland resident Daniel Gore. All three were charged with possession of CDS paraphernalia, issued a criminal citation and released.
Potomac Center Investigation Continues
Allegations of physical and sexual abuse at the Potomac Center in Romney continue to be investigated, and it could take most of this year to finish. Two dozen children were removed from the center, with as many as 12 identified as victims of abuse, with ten suspects identified. Removing the children has had a financial impact on the center, as fifty people have been laid off, and the remaining staff cut to 32 hours per week. The management and staff of the Potomac Center are cooperating with the investigation.
Shelter Waiving Certain Adoption Fees
It's "all things Hooley" in the area this month, and at the Allegany County Animal Shelter. Spokesperson Becky McClarren says now is the right time to give back to the community, and has a special offer from the shelter. Ms. McClarren says animals have many therapeutic qualities for the owners and family members. The Shelter is waiving adoption fees for families who have autistic or developmentally disabled members. She points out that many pet owners brought both service dogs and family pets to the recent Hooley Plunge at Rocky Gap.
BW Outranks in National PSAT Scores
The ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade students at Bishop Walsh School earned higher scores than the national average in the 2013 Preliminary SAT tests. The higher scores were reported in the critical reading, math and writing categories. An average of 3.5 million United States students take the preliminary SAT tests each year. Bishop Walsh also learned that its most recent test scores for students in Advanced Placement course are among the highest in the world.
Garage Fire Investigated
The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office has determined a Garrett County fire this past weekend to be accidental. The fire was reported in the 6,000-block of Sang Run Road on the Greg and Robin Carr property. Losses were estimated at a total of $70,000. There was a mechanical failure in equipment in the detached garage of the home. The blaze was discovered by a passerby. Forty firefighters were on the scene, to contain the fire.
Berkeley County Murder Investigated
A 72-year old Martinsburg woman was murdered over the weekend, and authorities have begun an investigation. They say Martha Tyler's home was forcibly entered about two weeks ago, but it's not known if anything was taken from the home on Saturday. Ms. Tyler was pronounced dead at the scene, and an autopsy is being conducted at the State Medical Examiner's Office.
"Meth Bill" Dies in West Virginia Legislature
The so-called "meth bill" died in the waning hours of the West Virginia legislature Saturday. The bill would have made it more difficult for people to obtain certain cold medications, which contain materials used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. Another bill, which would have paved the way for a pay raise for elected county officials, also failed Saturday night
Everett Man Accused of Over 2400 Counts of Rape
Everett resident Michael William Edmonson is in the Bedford County jail in lieu of $100,000 bail, after being accused of 2,426 counts of rape and contributing to the condition of minors. He is accused of raping three young girls, beginning when they were as young as five, over the course of several years. Edmonson was arrested after two of the victims came forward, after several years of abuse. Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins says, that when it comes to pedophiles, he will "put them in jail for as long as I can."
Two Killed in Somerset County Crash
Two people were killed and two others hurt in a car crash Saturday in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Two cars collided along Cooper Kettle Highway in Milford Township just after noon, and one person in each car was pronounced dead at the scene. Killed in the accident was Roger Dale Hay. Also pronounced dead was a 25-year old passenger in one of the cars. Serious injuries were suffered by 25-year old Amy Michelle Oblack and Glennes Ann Miller. Law enforcement authorities continue to investigate the crash.
Motorcycle Stolen From Residence
Cumberland City Police are investigating the theft of a motorcycle, stolen from a residence in the 400-block of Goethe Street. Sometime during the past week, a person or persons removed the 2004 Suzuki RMZ 250 motorcycle from a shed at the rear of the residence. There are no suspects at this time, but if anyone has information, they are asked to contact Cumberland City Police at (301)-777-1600.
Man Held at Detention Center
A Ridgeley man is being held on $5,000 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center, following an incident late last week. Fifty-two year old Curtis Coover is accused of acting in a disruptive manner towards the staff of a downtown Cumberland Mall business. He also allegedly swung his fists at officers as he was being led out of the establishment. He also broke an antenna on one of the police cruisers at the scene. He is being charged with assault on police, disturbing the peace, destruction of property and disorderly conduct.
Contract for Bridge Work to be Awarded
The city of Cumberland is expected to award a contract for work on a number of West Side bridges at tomorrow's meeting. The city's Engineering Department has updated the load ratings for several bridges, including the Washington Street, Cumberland Street, Fayette Street structures, and the Green Street underpass. A revised posting for the Cumberland Street Bridge places an 11,000-pound limit for a single-axle vehicle, and 22,000-pounds for a combination of axle vehicles. CSX and the city are working on a traffic planning study that will prioritize solutions to those problems.
Minimum Wage Debate Set
A discussion on raising the minimum wage will be held tomorrow at the Second Baptist Church on Grand Avenue. Both sides of the issue will be covered, and Congressman John Delaney, among others, will speak in favor of the proposal. Those speaking against raising the minimum wage include Allegany County Commissioner Mike McKay, who owns and operates several dry cleaning locations in the region. The public is invited to the debate, and to ask questions afterward. The forum begins at 11:30 a.m.
FSU Opportunity Scholarship Applications Available
Current and prospective Frostburg State University students from the county are encouraged to apply for the Allegany County Opportunity scholarship. The application deadline has been extended to April 1st. Eligible recipients are required to have been a resident of the county for at least three years, must be admitted to FSU, have at least a 3.0 grade point average, and complete the FAFSA applications. The scholarship was established by the Allegany County Commissioners, with revenues from the Rocky Gap Casino Resort. More information can be obtained from the FSU Financial Aid Office at (301)-687-4301.
CUW Campaign Through April 30th
The County United Way campaign has reached about 74 per cent of its $500,000 goal, with about $135,000 more to be raised by the April 30th deadline. The County United Way benefits numerous programs in the region, including the area food pantries, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and homeless programs and initiatives. The CUW also has been a major partner with the Union Rescue Mission, supporting the Cold Weather Shelter from January through April of each year. Gifts are tax-deductible and can be made on the CUW website at "cuw.org," or you can send a check to 71 Baltimore Street, Third Floor in Cumberland.
Somerset Gender Bias Suit Settled
Eighteen former and current female teachers in a Somerset County school district have received anywhere from $360 to $13,950 in a gender bias lawsuit that was settled out of court. The teachers in August, contended they were hired at lower salaries than men with similar experience. Windber School Superintendent Rick Huffman said that an internal investigation showed no bias, the legal fees for court would have exceeded the settlement figure of $150,000. The attorney for the teachers, Samuel Cordes, contended that discrimination did occur. His firm was paid $60,000 out of the settlement.
Father, Abducted Daughter Found in South Carolina
Social media played a part in the arrest Friday night of Timothy Virts, who is accused of killing his ex-wife and abducting his daughter from her Dundalk home on Friday. A Florence, South Carolina hotel owner, where Timothy and Caitlyn were staying, saw their pictures on a Facebook/Amber Alert page, and called authorities. Timothy Virts was arrested at the hotel, and Caitlyn is safe.
Contractor Blamed for Ongoing Problems
The former contractor that helped build and maintain the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange website continues to be blamed for ongoing problems. Noridian Health Care Solutions has been replaced by another contractor Optum/QSSI. Republican Delegate Tony McConkey says he heard the federal government was not going to reimburse the state for the glitches, and that to fix the website, it will cost over $30 million. Fellow Delegate Steve Arents, of the Upper Eastern Shore, says that legislators "don't have a clue" where the money is going and how it's being spent.
Civil Fine for Marijuana Possession Approved
The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has approved a bill that would replace criminal penalties with a civil fine for possession of limited amounts of marijuana. The measure will now receive a full vote in the Senate, which approved a similar measure last year, with bipartisan support. The bill would replace criminal penalties for possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana with a $100 fine, similar to a parking ticket. It also would make penalties for minors the same as those for underage possession of alcohol.
Charles Town to Add Concert Hall
The Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races says it will add a 1200-seat concert venue, as it seeks to fend off increased competition from Maryland's casinos. Construction begins this month, and should be completed by the end of September. A name has not yet been selected. Charles Town has faced tough competition the last several years from Maryland casinos, especially from the Maryland Live! casino at Arundel Mills, which now has a 500-seat concert venue on its casino floor.
House Vote on Minimum Wage Bill Today
The Maryland House of Delegates may vote on increasing the minimum wage in the state to $10.10 per hour by 2017. Amendments dealing with expanding the exemptions from the higher minimum wage bill were defeated. Another change, which would have linked future minimum wage hikes to the inflation rate, was also defeated. The Senate version of the bill is also expected to be revised, before a vote is taken.
National Pike Home "Total Loss"
A home, on National Pike across from the Flintstone Elementary School, was completely destroyed by fire yesterday afternoon. The two-story home, owned by Edward and Sheila Wharton, sustained a total of $90,000 in damage. The cause was ruled accidental, due to the failure of a wall outlet. The Flintstone Elementary School schedule was affected by the fire, as some buses were delayed, having been re-routed by police and fire personnel to the back entrance. The Whorton family is being assisted by the American Red Cross.
Firefighters On Scene of North End Incident
An off duty Cumberland City firefighter, Lt. Tim Malone is being credited for discovering a structure fire in the 700-block of North Mechanic Street early yesterday afternoon. The flue of a woodburning stove clogged, causing smoke to run from the metal insert into the attic area. There were no injuries and no damage was reported, but the area was blocked off for a short time.
Edwards' Bills Moving in General Assembly
Several bills, sponsored by State Senator George Edwards are making their way through the legislative process. One bill, which would remove the ex-officio member from the Allegany and Garrett County Boards of Education have passed both the House and Senate, and will now be considered by the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill which would prohibit Sideling Hill as an off-road vehicle trail has also passed, and is on its way to the House Environmental Matters Committee. The Property Tax Credit for upper stories of commercial structures has unanimously passed the Budget and Taxation Committee and will be heard on the Senate floor soon.
Sunday Alcohol Sales Being Considered
The Garrett County Liquor Control Board has asked for legislation that would allow voters to decide on Sunday liquor sales, both on and off premises, The House Economic Matters Committee considered the on-premises sale bill earlier in the week. Some election districts already have Sunday sales and other merchants want to be able to do the same. The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce also supports Sunday sales for alcoholic beverages.
Guns Stolen In Bedford County
The Bedford Barrack of the Pennsylvania State Police is investigating the burglary of a Liberty Township residence in Bedford County late last month. During the break in, a case of beer was consumed on the premises, and several valuable weapons were stolen, including a pre-Civil War era pistol; a 410-gauge shotgun the was made in 1914; and two black powder derringer pistols. The guns were taken from the 1600-block of Wall Street, and anyone with information is asked to contact the Pennsylvania State Police at (814)-623-6133.
Cattle Stolen from Hampshire County Farm
Eighteen black Angus cows were stolen earlier this week from the Elkhorn Farm in Hampshire County. Thieves entered the farm, owned by Denzil and Danny Smith and stole the livestock, which weighed between 500 and 600 pounds each. The cows could be valued at about $1,000 each. Authorities say the theft had to have been well planned; a $500 reward is being offered for any information leading to a conviction.
Two Arrested for Trespassing, Disturbing the Peace
Two Cumberland residents were served with criminal summonses, and later released, accused of several incidents between the end of February and this past Sunday. Forty-one year old Joesph Ansel and 42-year old Sherry Johnson are accused of repeatedly harassing and threatening to assault a Park Street resident. Joseph Ansel is also accused of spitting on the victim. Both will face trial in Allegany County District Court.
Marking Period Extended, Board Reclaims Days
Earlier this year, the Allegany County Board of Education was forced to extend the second marking period. Mia Perlozzo-Cross, spokesperson for the board says because of recent bad weather, they have been forced to extend the third marking period. Ms. Cross says the third marking period will end on Friday, April 4th, and there will be a three-hour early dismissal on Monday, April 7th. The board has reclaimed April 17th and 21st as instructional days. Schools have been closed for 15 days during the 2013-2014 school year. The Maryland State Board of Education had granted a waiver to the local board, to reclaim President's Day in February.
Hagerstown, Suns Deadlocked in Negotiations
Negotiations between the city of Hagerstown and the Suns are deadlocked. The minority owner of the team, Tony Dahbura, says the team has agreed to pay a lump sum of $50,000 for two additional years. The fee had been $1 per year, until recently. The Suns are optimistic an agreement can be worked out.
Statewide Amber Alert Issued
Police are searching for an 11-year old girl, after her mother was found murdered in their Dundalk home. Caitlyn Virts is possibly with her father, 38-year old Timothy Virts, and police are concerned for her safety. Timothy Virts is the chief suspect in the murder of Caitlyn's mother, 36-year old Bobbie Jo Cortez. Virts is reportedly driving a black Dodge Durango with Maryland license plates 5AJ4458.
Maryland Adjusts Testing Dates
Because of the days lost during the latest snow storm, Maryland Education officials are giving local school systems more flexibility in adjusting the days they give the Maryland School Assessments. The original 12-day window can be extended two more days, until March 14th. Make up tests can be given between March 17th and 18th. The MSA Science Test will begin as scheduled on March 24th, and will close on April 11th. This is the final year for MSA testing, which has been given for more than a decade in grades 3 through 8.
Casino Revenues Grow
Casino revenues grew, in February by more than $15 million since last February. All casinos showed increased revenue, including the Rocky Gap Casino Resort, which took in $3.1 Million after being in operation for just 9 months.
Grant County Woman Dies in House Fire
Eight-six year old Dora Lee Hawk of Grant County died Monday afternoon in a house fire. She was cooking in her kitchen, when the fire broke out, and the blaze is being considered accidental in nature. The body has been sent to the West Virginia State Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy. The assistant State Fire Marshal, George Harms, said there was heat damage to the kitchen and living room areas, with smoke spreading throughout the rest of the house. The investigation into the fatal fire is continuing.
Woman Sentenced on Heroin Charge
Grantsville resident Sheana Renee Livengood has been sentenced to four years in prison, on a charge of possession of heroin, with intent to distribute. A related charge was merged with the more serious charge. She also must pay $345 in court costs. She was found guilty in October. She was charged last April, when she was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped. Police found a substantial quantity of the drug on her, following a positive alert from a drug detection dog.
Kitzmiller Man Sentenced to Prison on Assault Charge
Kitzmiller resident Michael Evans will spend the next three years in prison, with all but 18 months suspended, on a charge of assault and driving under the influence of alcohol charges. Last September, Evans was accused of hitting a police vehicle with a four-wheeler, then fleeing. He also tried to hit the officer with the vehicle. He was arrested by another officer along Walnut Bottom Road. It was determined he was under the influence of alcohol at the time.
Man To Serve Year in Prison
Grantsville resident Ben Nichol will serve a year in prison in connection with a domestic incident. Nichol was sentenced on a charge of reckless endangerment. Maryland State Police responded to a home in the Accident area for a domestic dispute. It was determined he returned to his former marital residence with a shotgun and confronted two adults at the home.
Bus Involved in Minor Accident
An Allegany County school bus was involved in a minor accident yesterday morning on Route 220, while it was on its way to the Career Center. There were 21 students on board Bus #63, when it hit the back of another vehicle. There were no injuries and a replacement bus took the students to the school. The Allegany County Sheriff's Department and personnel from the school system were on the scene of the accident to investigate.
Meeting Set to Discuss CSO Proposal
A meeting among all interested parties has been scheduled to further discuss the combined sewer overflow issue for the Cumberland, Frostburg, and LaVale areas. A meeting was held yesterday morning at the office of State Senator George Edwards in Annapolis. Among those in attendance were representatives from the Maryland Department of the Environment, Cumberland Mayor Brian Grim, City Engineer John DiFonzo, Dave Wendt of the LaVale Sanitary Commission and members of the Western Maryland Delegation. At issue is should the city spend $30 million to mitigate problems with the combined sewer and storm water system; and, if so, would the area be liable for fines if the mitigation does not work.
Board's General Fund Declining
The Allegany County Board of Education's General Fund has dropped to $9.6 million in 2013, and is expected to decline even further to about $1.8 million in Fiscal Year 2015. This year's decrease in funding is due to the board using just over $3 million for operations of the school system and a million dollars to be used for the demolition of the former Sacred Heart Hospital, so that the new Allegany High School can be built on the site.
Flames Destroy Bedford County Home
A home, which is used as a seasonal camp in Bedford County, was destroyed by fire early Tuesday morning. The house is located in the 4800 block of Lincoln Highway, Route 30, in Napier Township. The fire was reported around 4:15 a.m. Crews had difficulty in using fire hydrants in the area because of near-zero temperatures. Route 30 was closed for a short time, because ice had formed on the roadway.
MCDA Appoints Director
The Mineral County Development Authority has named Kevin Clark as its new director. Clark was chosen from a field of 19 applicants, and his first day on the job will be March 15th. Clark is a graduate of Petersburg High School, but moved to Mineral County in2005 as a student at Potomac State College. He is the owner of Clark Construction in Fort Ashby; he and his wife are partial owners of the Subway franchise in Fort Ashby.
Dirt Bike Stolen From Grantsville
The McHenry barrack of the Maryland State Police is investigating the theft of a dirt bike from a residence along Chestnut Ridge Road. The incident happened sometime between the end of January and February 25th. It is a 2003 Honda XR 100 R. It has a "number 88" graphic on the front plate and also has a torn seat with black duct tape over it. An "AMSOIL" sticker is on the side plate. Anyone with information is asked to contact the McHenry Barrack of the Maryland State Police at (301)-895-1101.
Woman Accused of Stealing from Hidden Valley
A woman has been accused of committing false transactions, after she was seen, on video, taking merchandise off the rack at a Hidden Valley Ski Shop, scanning the merchandise to the computer to be purchased and returning it for money to be put on her credit card. Authorities say Billie Sleith did this ten times over a two-week period. About $2800 worth of merchandise was returned. The owner of the ski shop provided state police with evidence of the falsified returns, and additional charges may be filed in the future.
House Considering Gun Bill
The Maryland House of Delegates is considering a bill that would link Maryland's gun registry to its criminal database. Montgomery County Delegate Luiz Simmons says the crime database and the gun registry do not presently "communicate" with each other. Delegate Simmons says there are approximately 110,000 Maryland residents who now have guns, that shouldn't own them. Meanwhile, Delegate Mike Smigel, an Upper Eastern Shore Republican, is trying to have gun control repealed in the state, pointing out that Maryland is losing money, revenue, and people. Despite the fact that such a bill is presented each year, legislators don't even take a vote on it.
Former Superintendent Dies at 78
Former Maryland State Police Superintendent George Brosan has passed away at the age of 78. Brosan lived in Annapolis, and began his career with the New York City Police Department as a foot patrolman, working beats in Central Park and Harlem, and later with the department's tactical police force. His career ended during the Schaeffer Administration. Bishop Robinson, the-then secretary of public safety and corrections, was asked to explain why Brosan was let go, Robinson simply commented that it was a "professional decision."
Frederick Deputy Resigns After Guilty Plea
Frederick County Sheriff's Deputy Todd Joia has resigned, after pleading guilty to breaking and entering a Berkeley County, West Virginia business. The Sheriff's Office there says Joia stole money from two gaming lottery machines at Ruby's gaming parlor. Joia took a plea deal, and was sentenced to a year in jail, which was suspended. Her also was ordered to pay restitution of just over $245.00.
February Good Month for W.Va. Tax Collections
State tax collections in West Virginia came in at $9 million above estimates. It is the second month in a row for better than expected revenue collections. Overall, the news is not as good. Revenue collections are $64 million below estimates for the year with just four months remaining in the present Fiscal Year. Personal income tax collections were about $6 million above estimates, while sales tax collections were reported to be $2.3 million below estimates.
Man Arrested in Arson Case
A Westernport man is accused of setting his own car on fire. Anthony Serpone set several fires inside the car last Friday morning on Front Street in Westernport. Damage to his 2007 Pontiac G6 was estimated at $5,000. He was arrested yesterday and admitted setting the fire. He is being held on $5,000 bond on several charges. Serpone was employed as a driver for the Tri-Towns Emergency Medical Services, and was placed on suspension, pending the results of the investigation.
School System Extending Marking Period
The Allegany Country Public School system will extend the end of the third marking period of the current school year, as the result of additional lost instructional days due to inclement weather. The end of the third marking period will be Friday, April 4, 2014, with a three-hour early dismissal on Monday, April 7th. Report card distribution has been delayed until Monday, April 21, 2014.
City Begins Budget Discussions
Discussions have begun on the city of Cumberland's Fiscal Year 2015 budget, which has been estimated at $36.3 million. The city could save $400,000 annually by switching the health care provider to CIGNA insurance, from the present coverage provided by Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The Mayor and City Council are currently involved in a dispute with the International Association of Firefighters Local 1715, as the firefighters want workforce and safety issues addressed in conjunction with switching the providers.
Three Hurt In Accident
Three people were injured in two accidents Monday night on Interstate 68 near Flintstone. In the first accident, a truck driver was injured, when his rig traveled out of control at the 57-mile marker. One half-hour later, another tractor-trailer crashed into five stopped vehicles, whose drivers were waiting for the lanes to be cleared. Two people were taken to the hospital. There are no details on the identities of the drivers involved in either of the accidents.
Garrett Struggles With School Calendar
Garrett County has issued a statement, noting the school system has been closed 19 days due to bad weather, with the possibility of further closures during March. The statement notes that any consideration of waiver days would be made after March, and that it is talking with the Maryland State Department of Education to determine the alternatives, when adjusting the 2013-2014 calendar.
Ridgeley Streamlining Code Enforcement
The town of Ridgeley has established a uniform process and series of fines for code enforcement. The penalty for violating a town ordinance is $25 for the first offense, with a progressive structure to $100. If a violation is not corrected fines, up to $100 can be written every five days. Unpaid fines of over $1,000 will be turned over to collections or a lien placed on the property. Before being adopted, a second reading on the ordinance will be held during the March 11th meeting.
Man Charged for October Incident
A Rockwood man faces felony charges as the result of a fiery, high speed crash in which he and a female passenger were injured. Twenty-three year old Mason Ansell is being charged with aggravated assault by motor vehicle while under the influence, driving at safe speeds, careless and reckless driving and driving on the right side of the road. The incident happened on October 6th.
Somerset Driver Hit By Train
Somerset resident Brian Ronald Trent was seriously injured when he drove his vehicle onto a railroad crossing, even though the warning lights had been activated. His vehicle was struck in the front passenger side; it then spun around, and was hit, and pushed along the tracks, before coming to rest. Trent was flown to the hospital for treatment of serious injuries.
FSU Football Joins NJ Conference
Frostburg State University, along with Christopher Newport University, Salisbury University and Wesley College have agreed to become associate football members of the New Jersey Athletic conference, beginning with the 2015-2016 academic year. In addition, Southern Virginia will be an affiliate member of the NJAC, starting in the fall of 2014, and will elevate to associate member in 2015-2016.
Possible "Jumper" Taken Into Custody
A Hagerstown man was treated at Meritus Hospital after he attempted to jump from the southbound side of the Interstate 81 bridge spanning the Potomac River yesterday morning. The man had first driven to the northbound side of the bridge, and returned to the southbound side. The 43-year old man climbed onto the wall in an apparent suicide attempt. Washington County deputies and Maryland State Police troopers made contact with him, and were able to physically take him into custody, to keep him from falling. Southbound Interstate 81 was closed for about 25 minutes. No names are being released by authorities, because of the sensitive nature of the call.
Gas Prices on the Rise
Gas prices have risen fifteen cents higher per gallon, on average, than they were a month ago locally and 17 cents higher nationwide, according to the Triple-A Daily Fuel Gauge report. The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Maryland is now $3.46; In West Virginia, the price is $3.50, and in Pennsylvania, the price is $3.63. The national average is $3.45, which is up from the $3.41 average last week.
Hagerstown Man Arrested in Altoona
Hagerstown resident Darrell Brown and James Harris have been arrested in Altoona, after being accused of bringing drugs into that area. During a traffic stop, Brown was found to have several grams of crack and a small amount of marijuana on him. Found in the car were digital scales, two cell phones, and a box of plastic bags. Bail for Harris was set at $7500; Brown's bail was set at $25,000 cash.
Minimum Wage Debate Continues
The Maryland General Assembly has yet to agree on a minimum wage bill. Governor Martin O'Malley wants to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016, with future increases tied to the inflation rate. Lawmakers on Monday night proposed a statewide increase to $10.10 an hour over the next three years, rather than allow smaller counties with a lower cost of living to have less of a wage hike. Matt Hanson, campaign director for "Raise Maryland," says the Governor's minimum wage plan for "tipped" workers would be 70 per cent of the minimum wage. He says tipped workers are more likely to fall below federal poverty levels. Hanson acknowledges there are objections from both Republicans and Democrats on the minimum wage issue. Hanson says if the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation since 1968, it would now be over $10.74 per hour.
Maryland Case Could Set National Precedent
State lawmakers are considering an overhaul of how poor, non-violent offenders are handled in the court system. The outcome of a Maryland case could provide a blueprint on how to litigate for change in other states where legal counsel is not guaranteed during bail hearings. Each year, thousands of defendants appear before court commissioners, not judges in the early stages of their case, where bail is set without an attorney present. One suggestion has been to move toward a one-hearing process before a judge and eliminate the court commissioners' current role.
Standardized Testing Underway
The annual round of standardized tests are underway in Maryland this week, despite legislator's efforts to cancel or replace them this year. At least two Maryland legislators say the tests are a waste of time, because they no longer reflect what students are learning. Common Core Standards have led to curriculum changes, and they say Maryland tests haven't kept pace. Canceling and replacing the tests could have taken weeks.
Lottery Revenues Drop in January
Lottery revenues continued to drop in January, falling 12 per cent when compared to January of 2013. Competition from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland has contributed to the drop. Year-to-date lottery revenue of just over $612 million is down 8 per cent from the same point in the 2012-2013 budget year.
Gee Named WVU President
The West Virginia University Board of Governors has unanimously selected E. Gordon Gee as the next permanent president of the university. Gee has been the temporary president since January of this year, and was also president of the university from 1981-1985. The Higher Education Policy Commission is expected to hold an emergency meeting to approve an offer to Gee.
Two Dead in Preston County Fire
Two people were killed in an early morning fire Sunday in Preston County, West Virginia. Several fire companies, including those from Preston and Garrett Counties responded. While the investigation is being conducted by the West Virginia State Fire Marshal's Office, the bodies were taken to the West Virginia State Medical Examiner's Office for positive identification, and to determine the cause of death.
Garrett County Developers Headed to Trial
Two Garrett County men will go to trial in May, after pleading not guilty to a $3.7 million bank fraud scheme. Forty-nine year old Samuel R. Van Sickle and 47-year old year old Louis Strosnider of Oakland were indicted by a federal grand jury last month. They are accused of attempting to fraudulently obtain money and property from area financial institutions through false names, and inflating the value of the properties. Both are on release, promising to appear for their next court date.
Downtown Bill Approved in Senate
A bill, sponsored by Senator George Edwards that would benefit downtown areas has unanimously passed the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. The legislation would create a tax credit to attract developers and support building owners, and would make the upper stories of downtown buildings more attractive to potential business owners. The vote was 13-0, and a companion bill has been introduced in the Maryland House of Delegates.
Residents Arrested for Numerous Disturbances
Two Cumberland residents have been served summonses in connection with an investigation that began in November of 2013 through last month. Both Brenda Sue Thomas and Joshua Michael Darby are accused of causing disturbances on February 10th, and nearly a dozen more between November of last year and this past February. Both are awaiting trial in Allegany County District Court.
Cumberland Man Arrested for Burglary
Cumberland resident Anthony Eugene Palmisano has been charged with burglary, destruction of property and trespassing, following an incident last month at a Pennsylvania Avenue residence. Palmisano is accused of breaking into a home, causing damage to the front door. He left the area and was not immediately located, but he was arrested. He was served with the charges and released, pending trial in Allegany County District Court.
Keyser Receives Reduction in Finance Rate
The city of Keyser will save nearly a million dollars on the financing of a loan. Mayor Randy Amtower appeared before the Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council in Charleston last week, to ask for a reduction in the interest rate on a 40-year loan on a $2.6 million project in Hawthorne Heights. The rate was reduced from 2.5 to just one percent, with the total savings estimated at $921,000. Improvements to the Hawthorne Heights area includes new sewer lines, storm water management systems, gutters and drainage, and repaved streets.
Hooley Plunge Raises $100,000
Estimates are that the 10th annual Hooley Plunge this past weekend raised approximately $100,000 for the Allegany County Special Olympics and other programs for the developmentally disabled. Becky McClarren, one of the organizers of the event, says that while about 800 people actually "plunged," thousands more watched. It is important to note that all money raised on Saturday will stay local. Ms. McClarren noted that there were several gold medals awarded to local participants in the Special Olympics Winter Games. Dr. Sean McCagh, who spearheads the fundraising effort each year was presented a proclamation from the city of Cumberland and a key to the city during Saturday's event. Cumberland City Council members Nicole Wagoner, Nick Scarpelli, and Dave Caporale presented the proclamation.
Rail Trail to Close for Maintenance
Portions of the Western Maryland Rail Trail will be closed for scheduled maintenance, beginning next Monday through March 27th. The work involves the removal of trees and limbs damaged by insects and recent ice storms. Maintenance will be done throughout the trail; as an alternative route, visitors can use the adjoining C & O Canal unpaved towpath.
MIPS Program Set for FSU Next Week
The Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program, or "MIPS," will be presented next week at Frostburg State University's Compton Science Center. The program provides funding for university-based research projects, and the event takes place from 3 to 5 p.m. For more information on the MIPS briefing, contact Linda Steele, program specialist at (301-687-4137 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allegany County Hosts MASC Legislation Session
The Allegany County Association of Student Councils played host for the first time, to the Maryland Association of Student Councils 2014 Legislative session held at Allegany High School. The theme was "Landing on the Mountaintop." Nearly 400 students from across the state had the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities during the session.
Somerset Distributes Grants
Somerset County distributed about $320,000 in grants to various businesses through its Tourism Grant Program. Among the grants were $18,000 to the Allegheny Trail Alliance; the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial received $15,000 for marketing; and, Seven Springs Mountain Resort received $35,000 for its marketing efforts. Businesses and groups have to submit a business or marketing plan that shows how the money will be used to help grow and benefit their businesses.
First Energy to Invest In Improvements
First Energy Corporation, the parent company of Potomac Edison, says it will invest more than $143 million this year to improve reliability in the P.E. service area. That's $80 million more than what First Energy invested in projects last year. Along with the inspection and replacement of utility poles, Potomac Edison will be completing systemic repairs and replacing equipment on a 138-kilovolt regional transmission line spanning Hardy and Mineral Counties in West Virginia.
Paper Company Merger on Hold
The bond holders of Verso paper company are not "on board" with the New Page merger, so the deal is off, for now. Verso's bond holders are concerned about the debt exchange needed to finance a planned merger with the company. Despite trying to make a deal, the bondholders are presently unwilling to engage in "constructive dialogue."
Maryland May Eliminate Black Bear Quota
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is considering a plan which would eliminate the black bear hunt quota, rather than opening the season for a pre-determined number of days. The plan would eliminate the need for hunters to call a hotline each night to determine the status of the hunt. Comments are being accepted at the DNR website, and a meeting has been set for Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Mountain Ridge High School cafeteria.
Circuit Judge to Retire
Garrett County Circuit Court Judge James Sherbin has announced he will retire, but will remain on the bench until Governor Martin O'Malley appoints his replacement. Sherbin has been a judge for 18 years. Nominations are being accepted through August 20th, but there is no time frame for making the appointment.
Car Fire Ruled Arson
A car fire early Friday morning in Westernport has been ruled arson, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office. A 2007 Pontiac G-6, owned by Anthony Serpone was reported to be on fire on Front Street. Firefighters from Potomac, Tri-Towns and Piemont responded. There were multiple points of origin in the car. Anyone with information is asked to contact the State Fire Marshal's Office at (301)-766-3888.
Garage Fire Ruled Accidental
A fire in a garage on Neck Lick Acres Road in Oakland has been determined to be accidental in nature. The blaze a the Leroy Bernard property, caused about $70,000 in damage to the structure and its contents. The origination point was inside the building, and was caused by a faulty electrical outlet. Smoke detectors were present and activated. The fire was reported early Friday morning.
Delaware Man Issued Drug Citations
A traffic stop on Interstate 68 in Garrett County early Friday morning, resulted in the discovery of marijuana and CDS paraphernalia in a car, driven by 21-year old Maliek Shammack of Newark, Delaware. He was charged with possession of marijuana and CDS paraphernalia and released after signing them.
Cumberland Man To Be Extradited
Cumberland resident Travis Maurice Peck is awaiting extradition to the state of West Virginia, for failure to appear for a 2011 Grand Jury indictment in Mineral County. Peck was arrested after a traffic stop on Oldtown Road on Saturday. He was placed under arrested, and taken to Police Headquarters for processing. He was then taken to District Court and held in the Allegany County Detention Center to await extradition to Mineral County.
Some Bedford County Residents Without Water
More than 300 people in 120 homes in the Six Mile Run area of Bedford County have been without water since February 11th. The water company there had a roof collapse, with company members unable to filter water until there is a new building. Trucks had been bringing in water, but hoses were freezing, which made it difficult to deliver the water. Residents there are under a boil water advisory, which is expected to last for some time.
USS Somerset Commissioned
The USS Somerset was officially commissioned over the weekend, joining the U.S. Naval Fleet in Philadelphia. The motto of the ship is "Courage Through Adversity," and pays tribute to the passengers and crew of Flight 93, which crashed in Somerset County on September 11, 2001. The Somerset now joins the USS New York and USS Arlington in the Naval Fleet.
Chamber Urges Increase Highway User Sharing
The Allegany County Chamber of Commerce has written to both House and Senate Representatives, urging favorable reports to bills dealing with increased local highway user revenues. The letter notes a 95 per cent reduction in Highway User Revenues, which makes it extremely difficult for local governments to maintain and improve local roadways. Prior to the reductions, local governments received about 30 per cent of the revenues, but now receive less than 10 per cent.
Potomac Valley Now Part of WVU System
Potomac Valley Hospital in Keyser is now a part of the West Virginia University United Healthcare System. The deal became effective over the weekend. WVU bought Potomac Valley for a reported $22 million. Potomac Valley is expected to offer more services in the future, and to enhance those that already exist.
More Allegany County Make Up Days Announced
The Allegany County Board of Education has voted to change the Thurssday before Easter and the Monday after, as instructional make-up days for students. To date, Allegany County Schools have been closed due to bad weather a total of 14 days. With the most recent decision to reclaim the time around Easter, the final day for students will be Monday, June 16th; the last day for teachers will be Thursday, June 19th, barring no further calendar adjustments.
Heroin Bust Yields 15 Pounds
Pennsylvania State Police found 15 pounds of pure, uncut heroin in an air compressor during a stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Somerset late last month. Law enforcement authorities say this is unique, in that they have never seen this much unadulterated heroin before. It could be worth millions of dollars. Taken into custody were Illinois residents Maria Pina and her passenger Gilberto Ocampo. They both remain jailed on bonds of one-half million dollars each.
High School Course Registration Underway
Online high school course registration is underway for Allegany County students entering high school this fall. Mia Perlozzo-Cross, spokesperson for the Allegany County Board of Education, says the registration is ongoing, through Wednesday. Ms. Cross says that course selections are available on the school system's website, or hard copies are being made available through high school guidance counselors.
Harsher Penalties for Second-Degree Murder Possible
In a move that could have an impact on upcoming murder trials in the state, the Maryland Senate has unanimously passed a bill that increases the penalties for second-degree murder. The bill would change the maximum sentence for second-degree murder from 30 years to 40 years in prison. The bill will now go to the Maryland house of Delegates for consideration.
Tomblin's Brother Charged with Drug Crime
The brother of West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has been charged with selling the painkiller oxymorphone in the Chapmanville area of the state. Governor Tomblin acknowledged that this is a difficult time for his family, but commented that his brother must be held accountable for his actions. The case is being investigated by the U.S. 119 Task Force and the West Virginia State Police.
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