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GO 106 News Archives for 2014-04

Local News


The Will's Mountain Fire in Bedford County which burned for six days, was intentionally set. The initial investigation showed the fire began around 2 p.m.  on April 19th, and burned about 1,000 acres of land. More than 100 firefighters were called to the scene; firefighting aircraft were used to drop water on the flames. As the investigation gets underway, the DCNR Bureau of Forestry,  Forest Fire Protection Division, is asking for the public's help. Anyone with information is asked to contact special investigator Terry Smith at (717)-362-1472.



A Bedford county resident, who was found dead in the woods near his Woodbury Township home, apparently died of natural causes. Sixty-five year old Robert Miller left his home last Saturday, and his family became concerned when he didn't return. Several agencies searched for him, and he was found around 9 p.m.



Grantsville resident Eric John Moser faces numerous sex offense charges, following the execution of a search warrant at his home. Moser has been charged with two counts each of fourth-degree sex offense, second-degree assault, and one count of third-degree sex offense. Alleged offenses occurred between January and March of this year, and also on April 23rd. He remained jailed yesterday on $5,000 bond.



Stafford, Virginia resident Devon Mulgrew faces a number of charges, following an accident on Interstate 68, east of Lower New Germany Road. Mulgrew was found to be driving while impaired. He was also found to have CDS and CDS paraphernalia on him. Additionally, he was charged with child endangerment as he had two children-ages four and five-in the vehicle at the time of the accident and arrest. He was taken to a district court commissioner for a bond hearing.



Nineteen year old Garrett County resident Andrew Cody Lucas was injured in a single-vehicle accident Sunday on Steiding Church Road, near Turkey Neck Road. Lucas' vehicle crossed the roadway, struck an embankment and overturned. He was hospitalized. The Southern Garrett Rescue Squad  and Deer Park Volunteer Fire Department responded to the 4:36 p.m. accident.



A ceremony was held in Cumberland yesterday, marking Worker's Memorial Day. The names of those who lost their lives on the job in Maryland were read, and the numbered around 70. Jessica Martinez, deputy director of the National Council for Occpational Safety and Health, says almost every death and illness could be prevented. Martinez says worker deaths can be categorized as transportation incidents, violence at work, equipment malfunctions, falls, exposures to harmful substances, and fires and explosions. She explains why those most at risk of death and injury are Latino workers and those born in other countries.



The bulk of money from the gas tax increase will be going to two mass transit projects in Montgomery and Baltimore Counties. The "purple line" in Montgomery County, for example, will cost approximately $2.2 billion. Delegate Wendell Beitzel says funding will come from a public/private partnership.



The former Coca-Cola Bottling building in Romney,which has been used for Hampshire Arts Council performances and other community activities, is being preserved by the Loy Foundation, owner of the facility. The building has had several problems over the years, including a large heating bill this past winter, and other HVAC issues. Work that is being done on the building will cost around $40,000.



The Piedmont City Council filled an empty spot by searing in Susie Clark. Ms. Clark will finish out the unexpired term of Gary Bradley, who resigned in March. She had previously been elected to two terms on the local council, and will be stepping into the position of street commissioner.



Somerset resident Jeremy Kubas was captured by law enforcement, after leading police on a nearly 6-mile manhunt. Kubas had been wanted on a warrant from the Somerset County Sheriff's Department for a number of charges. He had pleaded guilty to burglary and trespassing charges; he is also accused of stealing items from his mother and grandfather to sell for cash. He is currently being held in the Somerset County Jail.



 The Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Lillian Lowery, was in town last week on her Tour of Excellence. While here, she visited Frost Elementary, during its Blue Ribbon Schools celebratory event. Frost was recognized in December as a Maryland Blue ribbon School of Excellence. They were presented with a Blue Ribbon School flag and a plaque of recognition.



The Allegany County Judy Center received the Innovative Spirit Award yesterday, during a luncheon in Greenbelt, Maryland. The award was presented at the 8th annual Judith B. Hoyer Foundation Awards Celebration. Judy Centers offer nearly 13,000 children, ages birth through kindergarten and their low-income families throughout the state high quality and early childhood education programs. They also provide critical services, such as full-day and full-year programs, healthcare, parenting education, early intervention services, and family engagement opportunities.



Twenty-four year old Joshua Finney of Hancock was killed early Sunday morning on Interstate 70 westbound at the Big Pool exit. Finney went off the road, striking a road sign, before re-entering the roadway of the ramp. The vehicle overturned, ejecting Finney and came to rest on top of him. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation by the Maryland State Police is continuing.



The unemployment rate fell in the majority of West Virginia's 55 counties in March. Jobless rates fell in 46 counties, while they were unchanged in two counties. The unemployment rate rose in seven other counties. Monongalia County had the lowest rate at 4.1 per cent, followed by Jefferson at 4.9. The highest rate was reported in Wetzel County. The seasonally adjusted rate in March rose two-tenths of a percentage point to 6.1 per cent.

Local News



Silver Spring resident Phillip Anthony Battaglia and Brendan Ryan O'Connor of Front Royal, Virginia were arrested for breaking and entering a Wood Street residence in Frostburg early Saturday morning. The victims were awakened to find two men in the home; one victim said she found Battaglia straddling her and licking her face. Another victim awoke to find another man kicking him. Additional charges may be filed, pending further investigation.





Two men were arrested in Frostburg early Saturday morning; one faces marijuana possession charges, while the other has a number of possession counts against him. Sean Thomas Major of Cumberland was issued a criminal citation for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, while Eduardo Arroyo of Barrelville was found to have a number of oxycodone pills on him. Arroyo was charged with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, possession and obstructing and hindering a police officer.





A Baltimore man was arrested in connection with the burglary of Deep Creek Pharmacy, which happened in January of last year. Twenty-nine year old David James Wilson was located at the University of Baltimore, where he was arrested by University Police. A warrant for his arrest was obtained last month, when evidence analysis was completed by the Maryland State Police Crime Lab. Wilson is being held at the Baltimore City Detention Center on $5,000 bond.





The city of Keyser is changing its city hall hours in an effort to coincide with other departments and better serve the public. The new hours, which take effect today, will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The change was unanimously approved by the council.





Cumberland resident Brian Green was arrested early Friday evening, near a North Mechanic Street business. He had been inside, asking patrons for money, and appeared to be intoxicated. He was escorted out, but again became disorderly and broke a window. He was restrained by the owner, and he was taken into custody without incident. He was charged with trespassing and destruction of property and released pending trial.





Cumberland resident Duane Montaque-Bey was served a criminal summons by City Police for trespassing on CSX property along Queen City Drive. The incident actually took place in March, and Montaque-Bey was served recently with the summons. He was released pending trial in District Court.





A judge has ruled against the Shade-Central City School district, which was attempting to get the Somerset County Appeals Board to adopt a new methodology for valuing coal. The district had tried to see higher taxes levied on property used for coal mining,  arguing that multiple parcels of the resource were under-assessed. About 60 parcels owned by coal companies in Shade Township were affected by the ruling.





The USS Somerset arrived at its home port in California, several weeks after its commissioning. The ship was commissioned on March 1st and traveled through the Caribbean Sea and Panama Canal to reach its port in San Diego. The ship was named in honor of the crew and passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Somerset County on September 11, 2001.





Nearly 24 child care workers and supporters at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind have been staging an informational picket in front of the campus. The school has notified 35 workers that their positions are being eliminated, to be replaced by employees who have, or be working on, an associate's degree. The new workers will be paid about $8,000 more than those they replace.





Western Maryland Delegate Kevin Kelly considers himself a conservative Democrat, and opposed the recently passed decriminalization of marijuana. Delegate Kelly claims that one of six children under the age of 15 who try the drug once, will become addicted to that or a more serious drug. He says the state is sending a message to its youth. One drawback of the decriminalization is that to get the drug, a person has to enter what he called the "drug culture," where there is no quality control, and buyers have no idea what they're purchasing. There are vast differences in the potency of marijuana. Delegate Kelly added that parts of the bill were not thought through; while a person cannot be arrested for having less than 10 grams of marijuana, the bill does not address paraphernalia such as rolling papers, pipes and baggies.







The Mountain State Fugitive Task Force is looking for two people who had been charged in Berkeley County By the Martinsburg Police Department for operating a clandestine drug lab. A trailer fire occurred on April 1st, which led authorities to look for James Exline and Amy Burcker. Exline is 5 feet, nine inches tall with brown eyes and hair. Ms. Burcker is 5'3" with hazel eyes and blonde hair. Both have ties to Berkeley County, along with Maryland and Florida, and both are believed to still be in the area, and are being helped by family and friends.  They should be considered armed and dangerous, and tips are being treated as anonymous. Information can be forwarded to Deputy Mike Ulrich at (304)-267-7179.





Patriot Coal is expected to lay off at least 100 miners at its Boone County location, which is devastating news for that community. There are nearly 850 workers at two mines in the area. Boone County lost nearly a million dollars last year in its budget, with coal severance accounting for half of that. However, a spokesman for Patriot says he can see metallurgical coal making a comeback sometime next year. 





A 19-year old Keedysville, Maryland man who is accused of the March 15th stabbing deaths of his grandparents, is being transferred to the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital in Jessup. Joseph William Minoglio will receive a mental health examination, before he is cleared to return to the Washington County Detention Center.





Maryland's primary election is June 24th, and at this point, more than half of the state's voters are either not thinking about it, or are undecided on who will become the next governor. A poll, by St. Mary's College, shows that Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown has a double-digit lead over his competitors.





More West Virginia families will be helped by WIC, as the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has raised its income eligibility guidelines. A family of four, for example, can earn $44.123 and still qualify for the Women, Infant, and Children's program; that is an increase of $555 in the eligibility ceiling. Nearly 46,000 mothers and young children are already served each month.


Local News

Money for Pothole Repair Released

Allegany County will benefit from a $10 million state fund to fix potholes and repair roadways damaged by this past winter. Allegany County will receive just over $228,000, while Garrett has been allocated nearly $293,000. The funding amount was based on the number of roadway miles maintained by each local government. This funding is separate from the state's Transportation Trust Fund.


Klan Plans Cumberland Rally Tomorrow

A noon  rally has been set for tomorrow by the Ku Klux Klan. The gathering will take place in front of the courthouse on Washington Street. The Traditional Rebel Knights of the KKK, from Braddock Heights, Maryland,  announced plans for the rally on its website; the event will conclude at 1:30 p.m. The group informed the Cumberland City Police of its plans several weeks ago. Operations Supervisor, Captain Greg Leake says they will hold banners and demonstrate their right to do so, and that they have assured law enforcement they won't cause any problems.


Bear Den Fire Mostly Contained

Crews have been able to extinguish most of the hot spots in the Bear Den Fire on Will's Mountain. The fire began last Saturday, and crews continued to patrol and extinguish the remaining hot spots, as well as conduct rehabilitation work along the control line. Crews were  working to repair the hand and dozer lines that were cleared down to the bare mineral soil. Despite the massive fire, which destroyed hundreds of acres, injuries were limited to cuts and scrapes sustained by the firefighters.


Pennsylvania Woman Arrested in Keyser

Shippensburg, Pennsylvania resident Linayia Kithcart was arrested, following an altercation at the Sheetz store in Keyser last weekend. She and another woman were involved in an altercation, and had left the store, heading toward Keyser. They were arrested during a traffic stop on South Mineral Street, near Lincoln Street. Ms. Kithcart was charged with second-offense DUI and driving without insurance. She was taken to the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail.


Man Charged with Assault Counts

Independence Street resident Amos Victor Tichennel was charged with second degree assault, after Cumberland City Police were asked to check on his welfare. During the check, Mr. Tichennel became combative  and assaulted the officers. He was taken to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, following the incident. Charges were filed a District Court, and he was released pending his trial date.


Possible Project to be Discussed

A possible future water project for the Barrelville/Sunnyside area will be discussed next week at the Mount Savage Fire Hall. The Allegany County Commissioners and Public Works officials will be on hand for the 7:00 p.m. meeting. Again, this is a possible future water project, and residents of the area and all interested citizens are invited to attend.


Water Projects Funded in Pennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania has announced an investment of more than $40 million in water projects across the state, including some in this region. For example, West Providence Township in Bedford County, and Upper Yoder Township in Cambria and Somerset counties will get money for wastewater treatment projects. Lawmakers say the projects could bring more jobs to the region.


Field to be Named After Former Principal

Bishop Walsh School will be dedicating its new softball field on Monday at 2 p.m. The field will be named in honor of Sister Phyllis McNally, former president/principal at the school. She will be in attendance and is expected to throw out the first pitch, as the Girls' Softball Team plays its first game on the new field.


Area Schools Make Top 40 in State

Allegany High School in Cumberland is among the top 40 high schools in the state, according to a study published by U.S. News and World Report. Allegany ranked 27th, while several Washington County schools made the list. The number one rank went to Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda. In West Virginia, several regional schools ranked near the top. They include East Hardy, Moorefield, Pendleton County, and Tucker County High Schools.


USS Somerset Arrives in San Diego

The USS Somerset arrived at its home port in California, several weeks after its commissioning. The ship was commissioned on March 1st and traveled through the Caribbean Sea and Panama Canal to reach its port in San Diego. The ship was named in honor of the crew and passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Somerset County on September 11, 2001.


Committee To Welcome Comptroller

The Greater Cumberland Committee will hold its next meeting on Thursday, May 1st at the Garrett College Career Technology Training Center in Accident. The program speaker will be State Comptroller Peter Franchot, who is expected to cover a wide variety of topics such as economic development, transportation, energy, education and leadership. The meeting begins at 11:30 a.m.


Another Guard Sentenced in Beating Case

Michael Morgan, a former correctional officer at the Roxbury Correctional Institution, has been sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison, in connection with the beating of a state prison inmate there in 2008. Morgan was sentenced earlier this week in Baltimore.


SHA Seeking Project Proposals

The Maryland State Highway Administration is seeking proposals for transportation-related projects, funded through the Transportation Alternatives Program, or "TAP." Charlie Gischlar, public information officer for the SHA, says the deadline for submitting proposals is May 15th. Gischlar says the SHA is inviting local governments and government-sponsored community groups to submit applications for projects.


Task Force Seeking Two on Drug Charges

The Mountain State Fugitive Task Force is looking for two people who had been charged in Berkeley County By the Martinsburg Police Department for operating a clandestine drug lab. A trailer fire occurred on April 1st, which led authorities to look for James Exline and Amy Burcker. Exline is 5 feet, nine inches tall with brown eyes and hair. Ms. Burcker is 5'3" with hazel eyes and blonde hair. Both have ties to Berkeley County, along with Maryland and Florida, and both are believed to still be in the area, and are being helped by family and friends.  They should be considered armed and dangerous, and tips are being treated as anonymous. Information can be forwarded to Deputy Mike Ulrich at (304)-267-7179.


Coal Company Laying off Miners

Patriot Coal is expected to lay off at least 100 miners at its Boone County location, which is devastating news for that community. There are nearly 850 workers at two mines in the area. Boone County lost nearly a million dollars last year in its budget, with coal severance accounting for half of that. However, a spokesman for Patriot says he can see metallurgical coal making a comeback sometime next year.

Local News

Man Handed Maximum Sentence

Green Spring, West Virginia resident Cory A. Orndorff was sentenced to 40 years in prison, for one count of child abuse, resulting in the death of an 18-month old child, who had been entrusted to his care.  He had also pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse, resulting in injury. Orndorff was accused of biting the girl and throwing her to the ground.  The sentences will run consecutively, but he could be eligible for parole in as early as 12 years. Following his release, he will be added to the child abuse registry, and placed on probation for 40 years. He is also being required to pay restitution to the victim's family, including funeral costs and any medical bills.


Claims Against Puff & Stuff Settled

Charles and Traci Casey, owners of Puff & Stuff stores in Cumberland and LaVale will forfeit nearly $274,000 to settle claims they sold synthetic drugs at their stores. They were permitted to keep $86,000 or the nearly $260,000 that was seized in March of last year. They have also agreed to stop selling substances that are distributed as potpourri, spice or bath salts. The agreement noted that claims against the Casey's were allegations, but with no determination of liability.


Crews Working to Contain Fire

Crews continue containment operations of a major brush fire on the Pennsylvania side of Will's Mountain. The fire, which is about 70 per cent contained,  has been burning since Saturday afternoon. In all, the fire has burned 900 acres. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is continuing to warn Centerville area residents that they still may encounter smoky conditions as control efforts continue. Residents and non-firefighting personnel are prohibited from entering the unburned fire area. And, while there is no more need for additional supplies, but the Cumberland Valley Township Volunteer Fire Department is thanking the many people who have contributed food, drink and other supplies. Travelers using Route 220 are reminded that the 35-mile-per-hour speed limit in the area of Centerville.


Five Arrested in Drug Raids

Three separate drug raids in Keyser have resulted in five people being arrested for cocaine and prescription pill distribution. Arrests were made on North Main Street, Ridge Street and Maple Avenue. Thirty-eight grams of cocaine and various prescription narcotics were seized. Taken into custody were Jason Johnson of Rawlings; forty-three year old Regina Brooks of Keyser; also arrested were Keyser residents Sonya Rosenberger, Samual Bloom, and 18-year old Kayla Duncan. The Keyser Police say the arrests were made, following a lengthy investigation into drug activity in the city.


Assault Summons Issued

Thirty-year old Cumberland resident Ashley Commire was arrested on a second degree assault charge. She is accused of throwing a plastic ashtray and hitting her in the face at a Baltimore Pike residence. She was served and released, pending trialin Allegany County District Court. The victim did not require medical attention, and the alleged incident happened on April 15th.


Summons Served for Violation of Protective Order

Cumberland resident Eric Turner was served a criminal summons on two counts of violation of a protective order and harassment. A resident charged that Turner failed to comply with the conditions of a protective order she had issued against him; Turner is alleged to have contacted her on two separate occasions, since the issuance of the order. Turner was served and released, pending trial in Allegany County District Court.


Man Arrested for Disrupting Service

Keyser resident Merrill Shipman IV has been charged with a felony offense, following an incident at the Easter morning Mass at the Church of the Assumption in Keyser. Shipman is accused of going through the church and snuffing out the candles, and had attempted to access the communion hosts on the altar. He faces a possible charge of disturbing a worship service, which is a crime in West Virginia. Police are consulting with Prosecuting Attorney Jay Courrier before filing any additional charges.


Severance to be Extradited

Former Cumberland resident Charles Severance, who is being called a person of interest in three northern Virginia murders, has been ordered to be extradited to Virginia on an unrelated weapons charge. He has been held in Wheeling, West Virginia, since his arrest last month.


Beitzel Discusses Highway User Funds

The state of Maryland has seen its highway user revenue-money used to repair roads and the like-dwindling from about $500 million to about $160 million in recent years. Delegate Wendell Beitzel says the state basically balanced its budget by taking money from that fund.  Delegate Beitzel said a bill, that would have incrementally restored the highway user fund to 20 per cent, instead of the present 10 per cent, created a lot of conversation in the General Assembly.He urged municipalities to get in touch with Annapolis, to let them know they want the fund restored. The irony of the situation, according to Delegate Beitzel, is that Maryland has the money to fix its roads.


Garrett County Outage Canceled

A planned power outage in the Garrett County area for Monday has been canceled by Potomac Edison officials.  Their engineers are able to do maintenance work at the McHenry substation without disrupting power.


Archbishop Attending Canonization Ceremonies

Baltimore Archbishop William Lori is in Rome for the canonization ceremonies for Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII. He left yesterday, leading about 40 Baltimore-area Catholics for Sunday's ceremony. Pope Francis will declare the two saints during a Mass at St. Peter's Square on Sunday.

Local News

Brush Fire Spreads in Bedford County

The brush fire continues to burn on Will's Mountain in the southwestern corner of Bedford County, and it continues to spread. It has nearly doubled in size, and has consumed 300 to 400 acres since it started on Saturday. Fire crews have been working to contain the fire on the ground, and are using helicopters to conduct water drops on the flames. Yesterday's rain showers did little to help with firefighting efforts. Crews are continuing to burn out the southeast line of the fire.  In a related story, speed limits are being reduced to 45 miles-per-hour on Route 220, south of Bedford, because of limited visibility caused by smoke from the fire. Drivers are urged to use caution, and to yield the right of way to emergency vehicles.


Carbon Monoxide Causes Evacuation

The first floor of Cumberland's downtown Ramada Inn was evacuated yesterday, due to high carbon monoxide readings. A senior citizen prom was cut short and moved to the HRDC Center on Virginia Avenue. The carbon monoxide was traced to gas appliances in the kitchen, and the air inside was not being refreshed. The fire department cleared the scene a little after 1 p.m.


Mineral County Pursues Business

Mineral County's Development Authority is working to bring the manufacturers of Sriracha hot sauce to Mineral County. Delegate Gary Howell says Mineral County is courting Huy Fong Foods, and if successful, that could mean 60 full-time and 200 part time jobs to the area. The creator of the sauce now has a facility in Irwindale, California, but has been receiving complaints of a spicy odor coming from the factory. Keyser's and Fort Ashby's Industrial Parks are far enough away from heavily populated areas, and that would not be a problem. Delegate Howell has been in direct contact with the manufacturer.


Breaking and Entering Investigated

The Cumberland City Police are investigating the breaking and entering of a business in the 300-block of Valley Street. A hole had been kicked in the wall, where entry was made. About $600 in inventory and $150 in cash were taken, along with a television set. Anyone with information is asked to contact Cumberland City Police at (301)-777-1600.


No Injuries Reported in Truck Fire

There were no injuries in a truck fire yesterday afternoon on the Will's Creek Bridge in Cumberland. The fire was reported around 11 a.m. The driver said she noticed the fire as she was driving across the bridge. Both the engine compartment and passenger area of the truck were heavily damaged. There were no injuries.


Ridgeley Woman Arrested

Twenty-one year old Ridgeley resident Jessica Jones was arrested, after charges were filed in connection with an April 18th incident. Ms. Jones allegedly spat on another person, and threw an electronic device at him, striking him in the knee. The assault incident happened on Maryland Avenue. She was charged with second degree assault and disorderly conduct and released on personal recognizance pending trial.


Woman Charged with Making False Statement

Cumberland resident Sue Lilly was served a criminal summons and later released, after being charged with two counts of making a false statement to a police officer, and two counts of obstructing and hindering an investigation. Ms. Lilly claimed she had been assaulted by her ex-boyfriend, but it was determined no assault had taken place. She also allegedly made a false robbery complaint on April 4th, when she claimed to have been robbed of her medication.


Extradition Hearing Set for Today

A hearing will be held today on whether to extradite former area resident Charles Severance from West Virginia to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Severance has been called a person of interest in the killings of three northern Virginia residents. Authorities there say they want to speak with him about the murders. Severance is currently in a West Virginia jail, in relation to a Loudon County, Virginia firearms charge.


Mineral Board Earmarks Money for Libraries

The Mineral County Board of Education will be giving $5,000 to the Keyser-Mineral County Library; it has also earmarked an additional $1,000 to the Piedmont Library. Keyser's money will come from carryover funding for the current year. Board members say they would like to have contributed more, but there are other expenditures to consider, such as the Keyser Sports Complex and other bills that need to be paid.


Woman Cited for Brush Fire

 Bedford County experiencing its problems with the Will's Mountain brush fire; now, there's word that a Tucker County, West Virginia woman has been cited for a brush fire there. Firefighters responded to, and contained, a brush fire just before 1 p.m. Sunday. They were able to put the fire out, before it reached a nearby home. The landowner, who was not identified, was cited for burning during a prohibited period, between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., and for allowing the fire to escape.


Delegation Discusses Session

The Allegany County Chamber of Commerce held its annual Legislative Wrap Up breakfast yesterday at the Ali Ghan Shrine Club. State Senator George Edwards considers the state's structural deficit one of the biggest issues in the General Assembly. After passing a $38.7 billion budget this year, Senator Edwards says the House and Senate now need to get together to address a $235 million deficit. He says it is an ideal time to do so, with a new Governor to be elected this year. Despite the local Chamber of Commerce's opposition, Maryland passed a minimum wage increase during the session. Senator Edwards says many say prices on various items will have to be  raised, to keep pace with the increased minimum wage.


FSU Chooses Chartwell's

Frostburg State University has chosen Chartwell's Higher Education Dining Services as its partner to manage food service on campus, beginning May 23rd. Chartwell's is recognized as the leading college and university food service provider in the United States, and will include made-to-order meals. A Subway franchise will open at Sowers Hall in the fall, and Starbuck's coffee will be offered at the start of the 2015 spring semester.


Virts Indicted in Amber Alert Murder Case

Dundalk resident Timothy Virts has been indicted for the murder of the mother of his children, and the abduction of his daughter, Caitlyn. He is additionally charged with the attempted sexual abuse of a minor relative. His wife's body was found on March 6th; police say Bobbie Jo Cortez' had been stabbed to death. Virts, who had been prohibited from being with his daughter, was found with her at a South Carolina motel on march 7th.


Maryland Spent $90 Million on Health Exchange Site

The state of Maryland spent over $130 million on its troubled health exchange website. Of that amount, over $90 million has been attributed to technology expenses. Governor Martin O'Malley and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown have said the website is a small part of the exchange.


Western Md. Democratic Summit Set

The 10th annual Western Maryland Democratic summit will be held this Saturday at Hager Hall in Hagerstown, and will feature Mary Beth Cahill, who had been chief of staff for the late Senator Edward Kennedy, and had been campaign director for John Kerry's 2004 Presidential Campaign. Sixth District Congressman John Delaney will deliver the Morning Keynote address; Ms. Cahill will deliver the evening address. A straw poll for the 2014 Democratic candidates for Governor and Attorney General will also be held.

Local News

Arrest Made in Fire

An arson arrest has been made in an Easter morning fire on Nest Lick Acres Road in Oakland. Dayton Bolyard, co-owner of the home, is being held on $250,000 bond at the Garrett County Detention Center. He is accused of intentionally setting the fire after a domestic dispute that was ongoing, just prior to the fire being reported. The fire caused an estimated $100,000 in damage to the one-story, wood-framed single family dwelling, owned by Bolyard and his wife, Julie. No injuries were reported, and others who lived in the house are being assisted by family and friends.


Woman Sentenced, Another Awaiting Sentencing

Forty-eight year old Flintstone resident Stacey Williamson has been sentenced to two years probation, and ordered to make restitution to the U.S. Postal Service. Ms. Williamson, who had been convicted of the felony offense of theft of government funds, must repay over $1700 to the USPS. Piedmont resident Shannon Broadwater has yet to be sentenced on a charge of illegal use of the Internet to facilitate the distribution of crack cocaine. Ms. Broadwater has also agreed to forfeit over $3900 in cash, which were proceeds from the illegal activity. She is free on bond pending sentencing. Both women appeared recently in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg, West Virginia.


Event Postponed Due to Perceived Threat

Meyersdale's Easter Egg Hunt, originally scheduled for Saturday was postponed, due to a possible threat that contaminated needles were planted at the Paul Fuller Playground and Park, along Grant Street. Parks and Recreation President Maridann Vincent said she received a phone call on 10:30 Saturday, from a concerned resident. The resident said she had received a text message earlier in the morning about the possible threat. However, following an investigation, the threat was unfounded.


Cumberland Men Arrested in Marijuana Counts

Twenty-six year old Harley Donovan Brooks, Jr., and Demedtreous Trevele Taylor were arrested following a traffic stop on Pershing Street Sunday. A small quantity of marijuana was found in the passenger compartment and about 270 grams were found in the trunk. Both were arrested; Taylor was issued a criminal citation and released pending trial. Brooks was held at the Allegany County Detention Center on $8500 bond. The marijuana had an approximate street value of over $5300.


State Superintendent Visits Thursday

Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Lillian Lowery will be in the area on Thursday, on her Tour of Excellence. She will visit Frost Elementary School from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Frost has been recognized by the State Department of Education as a 2014 Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, along with only five other schools in the state. More than 95 per cent of Frost students obtained proficient or advanced MSA scores in reading and math, consistently excelling in student performance on state assessments. Additionally, 100 per cent of Frost Elementary School teachers are highly qualified.


Arbor Day Observance Set

Allegany College of Maryland will celebrate Arbor Day tomorrow, with a program that centers on forest stewardship in Allegany County and concludes with a campus tree planting. The public is invited to participate. The event begins at noon in the College Center's Gilpin room. For more information, call (301)-784-5152.


C & O Canal Classroom Dedicated

A C & O Canal classroom has been established at Canal Place and will be fully operational by next year. Mia Perlozzo-Cross, of the Allegany County Board of Education, says the classroom recognizes the partnership between the Park Service and school system. Over the last year, the C&O Canal Park Service worked with the Board of Education to develop a curriculum. The classroom will be permanently based at the Canal Shoppes.



Police Concentrating on Interstate

Law enforcement agencies from three states will be concentrating safety efforts on Interstate 81, following a series of accidents there. Officers from Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania plan on increasing patrols. I-81 has also become a pipeline for drugs, especially heroin. Many drivers also use I-81 to escape the traffic of Interstate 95.


O'Malley Signs CPR Bill

Maryland students will now be required to complete a 30-minute CPR course before they graduate. Governor Martin O'Malley has signed the bill, and it is hoped that Maryland will lead the way for a nationwide requirement.


West Virginia Vehicle Renewals Online

The state of West Virginia is enabling most residents of the Mountain State to now renew vehicle registrations online. Residents of  forty-three West Virginia's counties now have that option. Online renewals are an effort to make renewals more efficient; getting the registration for a new or recently purchased vehicle will still have to be done in person or through a dealership.

Local News

Crews Battle Brush Fire
Crews have been battling a brush fire in the mountains near the Cumberland Valley Fire Company since Saturday. As of last night, the fire spread to nearly 200 acres, and crews have worked around the clock to contain it. Planes and a helicopter carrying an 80-gallon water bucket were called in to battle the blaze. Conditions are not in the firefighters' favor this time of year. They aren't sure what caused it, but are urging area residents to be cautious this time of year, as the fire danger is high.


Moorefield Man Faces Felony Drug Counts

Twenty-six year old  Reginald Redman of Moorefield faces a felony drug count, following his arrest in Keyser. Redman, who had a warrant on file for his arrest on charges of battery and violation of probation, was found to have a half-gram of amphetamines on him when arrested. He was jailed on Friday at the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail on a total bond of $5800, in addition to being detained without bond for the probation violation.


Resident Jailed Following Alleged Drug Deal

Twenty-five year old Angelo Carlton was arrested late last week, after police saw him taking part in an alleged drug deal on Columbia Street. Carlton was charged with possession of crack cocaine, marijuana, obstructing and hindering police and disorderly conduct. After running from police, he was quickly apprehended. He was jailed at the Allegany County Detention Center in lieu of $3,000 bond.


Turnpike Arrest Nets 160 Heroin Bricks

A man was stopped on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last week, and a search of his rental car netted 160 bricks of heroin; that translates into 8,000 individual stamp bags, which were packaged and ready for distribution. The driver, James Farrish, told State Police he was traveling to Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was stopped when he failed to turn on his headlights when entering the Allegheny Tunnel. This was the third large drug bust in the Somerset area of the turnpike, so far this year.


State Police Seek Missing Man

The Pennsylvania State Police are looking for a Springs man, who has been missing since January 6th. Shane Spidle Boone was last seen driving a black 2013, 4-door Jeep Wrangler, with Pennsylvania license plate JGH-3891. He was known to frequent the Grantsville and Hagerstown areas. He is described as 6-feet tall, 190 pounds, with dark brown hair and a full beard and mustache.


Granstville Man Arrested for DUI, Drug Violations

Twenty-five year old Grantsville resident Sean Thomas Mastej was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol. Marijuana and CDS paraphernalia were also found. He was taken to the McHenry barrack, processed and charged. He was later  released to a sober driver.


Grantsville Man Held on $20,000 Bond

Grantsville resident Timothy Hart Winkler is being held on $20,000 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center, after allegedly threatening a Seymour Street resident with a handgun. Winkler allegedly pulled the gun from his waistband, cocked it , and pointed it at the victim. He was later processed, served and taken to the Detention Center, following a hearing at the District Court Commissioners' office.


Man Charged with Resisting Arrest, Assault on Police

Cumberland resident Jobe Osave McDowney was charged with two counts of assault on police, following a Saturday incident on Cecilia Street. McDowney is accused of assaulting his girlfriend; when police tried to talk with him about the assault, he refused to talk with them, refused to obey their orders, and used profanity toward them. While he was being arrested to shoved one officer, and kicked a second one. He was charged with assault on police, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. He was held on $5,000 bond.


Man Arrested Twice in Two Days

Cumberland resident John Tyler Brennan was arrested twice in as many days this past weekend. In the first incident he was charged with disturbing the peace, and released after being served with a criminal summons. In the second incident, he was charged with threatening both three adults and a juvenile with a torque wrench and a knife. He was charged and held in the Allegany County Detention Center on $5,000 bond.

Mineral Board Finalizes Calendar

Pending approval from the West Virginia State Board of Education, Mineral County students will begin school on August 14th, and could conceivably finish their school year on May 29th. The Thanksgiving break was kept intact, but four of those days could be used as makeup days. The week after Easter, next year, could also be used as make up days for students. Every county in the Mountain State is now required to provide 180 days of instruction, regardless of the number of days missed due to bad weather or other conditions.


Service Interruptions For Garrett County

Two brief service interruptions have been scheduled by Potomac Edison in the McHenry area of Garrett County next Monday. The interruptions will occur at 7 a.m., and again at 4:30 p.m., affecting about 2700 customers in the McHenry area, including those along Route 219, the Marsh Hill Road and Hoyes Run Road areas. Potomac Edison will try to contact affected customers by phone prior to the outage. The utility regrets the inconvenience, but says the maintenance work is necessary to ensure service reliability in the area.


Mayor Continues Blighted Property Campaign

One of Mayor Brian Grim's priorities during his term in office is ridding the city of blighted properties. Mayor Grim has compiled a list of hundreds of them, and is working aggressively to get those buildings in the city's hands. Cumberland has been working with the owners to either have them renovated, or demolished. Efforts have also been focused in the Baltimore Avenue and the Columbia Street areas of the city. In some cases, properties have been subject to tax sales; during those sales, some sell for as little as $500. If they are not sold, they revert back to the city of Cumberland. Mayor Grim says that in other cases, the owners come to the city to say they have properties available, but don't know what to do with them.


Destruction of Property Reported

A Friendsville resident reported that his 2002 Dodge Dakota was shot in the passenger side with a shotgun, and has reported it to the McHenry barrack of the Maryland State Police. The truck was parked outside of his residence on the Blooming Rose Road, and the victim reported he heard a gunshot outside of his residence around 3 a.m. Anyone with information is asked to contact the McHenry barrack at (301)-387-1101.


Unemployment Rate Virtually Unchanged

The unemployment rate remained essentially unchanged from February to March, with only 2300 jobs added last month. The state's unemployment rate was 5.6 per cent; the national rate was 6.7. Job gains were reported in the private sector, led by retail, transportation and utilities, followed by business and professional services. However, Maryland's job growth in the past year lagged behind the national average by about one-third.

Local News

Portions of Oakland Evacuated After Accident

A two-block radius of Oakland was evacuated yesterday, including the courthouse, the Garrett County jail, Appalachian Crossroads and the surrounding areas, after an 18-wheeler, carrying about 10,000 gallons of propane, overturned along Route 219. A spokesperson for the Maryland State Police at McHenry says there was a minor fuel leak in the truck, but no propane escaped. The Maryland Department of the Environment arrived on the scene to "upright" the truck. The incident was initially reported around 9:30 a.m., and it took several hours before the accident scene was cleared.


Former Keyser Resident Arrested

Fifty-four year old Rose Talbert, formerly of Keyser, was arrested there, following a disturbance on North Main Street. Ms. Talbert, who now lives in Richwood, West Virginia, was arrested after refusing leave the front porch of  a residence there. She was charged with assault and public intoxication, and taken to the Potomac Highlands Jail.


Massachusetts Avenue Home Rebuilt

The home of Darrell Lee Powell, which had been destroyed by fire last July, has been rebuilt. Powell decided he wanted to remain part of the neighborhood, after the electrical fire caused about $30,000 in damage to the structure. Powell expressed thanks to not only those who rebuilt the home, but also the neighbors, who contributed both donations and well wishes.


Man Served with Arrest Warrant

Cresaptown resident Marcus Craig Younger was served with a bench warrant for failure to appear. He was taken to the District Court Commissioners' Office for a bond review. Following that, he was released on personal recognizance.


Police Investigate Stolen Trailer

The Maryland State Police Barrack at McHenry is investigating a stolen trailer, from Hardesty True Value, Incorporated. Sometime over the course of this past weekend, a person or persons went onto the Hardesty property and took the 2014 Car Mate Enclosed trailer. It is six feet by  twelve feet, and had three ladder racks on top. The Maryland State Police are asking anyone with information to contact them at (301)-387-1101.


Schools Open Today and Monday

All Allegany County Public Schools and offices are open, both today and Monday. The Maryland State Board of Education granted a request to use those days as instructional make-up days for students. Additionally, the last day of school for students will now be Wednesday, June 11th, and it will be a three-hour early dismissal.


Chamber Presents Plaque to Teacher of the Year

During the April Allegany County Board of Education meeting, the Chamber of Commerce presented a plaque to Dana Reinhardt, the 2014-2015 Allegany County Teacher of the Year. She is a third-grade teacher at George's Creek Elementary School. The Chamber's Education Committee is a strong and active voice for business/education partnerships within the county and the region.


Mineral Grants $18,000 to Library

The Mineral County Board of Education granted the Keyser-MIneral County Public Library $18,000 for the coming fiscal year and to give $1,000 to the Piedmont facility. Of the $18,000 given to Keyser, the bulk will come from a levy, and an additional $5,000 will come from fiscal 2014 carryover funds.


NWS Schedules Weather Spotter Class in Petersburg

The National Weather Service is presenting a Weather Spotter class in Petersburg on April 30th. The class, which will be held at upper level 5 of the Grant Courthouse from 6 to 9 p.m. SKYWARN is a national network of volunteer severe weather spotters, and are trained by the National Weather Service Forecast Offices on how to spot severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail and flooding. If you are interested in taking the class, call the Grant County Office of Emergency Services at (304)-257-5451.


President Declares Federal Disaster

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency has announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the state of Maryland to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by the snowstorm on February 12th and 13th. Presidential action makes federal funding available to state and eligible local governments and certain private, non-profit organizations on a cost sharing basis for emergency work in Baltimore, Carroll and Howard counties. Federal funding is also available on a cosxt-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.


O'Malley Comments on Marijuana Legislation

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed the state's marijuana decriminalization bill on Monday. While several prosecutors had urged him to veto the bill, O'Malley observed that very few go to prison for a first or second marijuana offense. This law allows police officers to issue citations, rather than conduct a full-blown arrest. Governor O'Malley still maintains this is an experiment Maryland should not be engaged in; part of his thinking involves jobs that open in the state that require federal background checks and security clearances. Concerns of racial disparity played a role in his decision; Governor O'Malley says that involvement with marijuana can be an impediment to employment.


Chief District Court Judge Named

Prince George's County Judge John Morrissey has been named the next chief judge of the State's District Court. Morrissey will succeed District Court Chief Judge Ben C. Clyburn when he retires next month. Morrissey will oversee the court's 34 locations and nearly 2,000 employees, including the state's 116 judges. The state District Court has a budget of $165 million, and processes more than 1.7 million cases per year.


Capito, Tennant Keep Pace with Contributions

U.S. Representative Shelley Moore Capito brought in more than $817,000 for her U.S. Senate bid last quarter, and her likely opponent Natalie Tennant, kept pace by raising almost $800,000. the two are vying for the post now held by U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, who is retiring after five terms. Projections are that both candidates will win the May primary; while a Republican has not won a West Virginia Senate election since 1956, political analysts give Capito the edge in the general election.

Local News

Two Proposals Offered for Footer Building

The Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority  has two proposals on hand for the development of the Footer Dye Works building. However, those names will not be released for now. The proposals were due last Friday, and a committee of state-level officials has been formed to examine the offers. More details on the offers will be released as regulations permit.


Safe Streets Warrant Initiative

A total of 33 people were served with 36 arrest warrants, during last week's April Safe Streets Initiative, conducted by the Cumberland City Police Department. The public and other police agencies were responsible for the roundup, with charges ranging from failure to appear, to violation of court orders, to more serious offenses, including assault and sex offenses. The operation took place last Monday through Friday.


Woman Pleads Guilty in Fraudulent Fundraising Case

Somerset, Pennsylvania resident Mandy Lee Klinkner has pleaded guilty of holding a fraudulent fundraiser for a four-year old cancer patient. Ms. Klinkner had been charged with felony counts of theft by deception, theft, and receiving stolen property. She actually had pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct, a third-degree misdemeanor.


Student Charged in Tech Center Incident

Juvenile petition charges have been filed against a 17-year old student at the Mineral County Technical Center, following an incident on Monday. The student threw a 21-year old into a wall. The students, who are both mentally challenged were, "horsing around," according to Keyser Police Chief Karen Shoemaker. The victim was taken to the hospital with injuries to his face and other lacerations.


Keyser Approves FY 2015 Budget

The city of Keyser has approved its 2015 Fiscal Year budget, which includes expenditures of $1.5 million, or $23,000 less than the current fiscal year. The budget, which was submitted to the State Auditor's Office last month, will be adjusted in early summer as the city receives final numbers from its current budget. Some areas that received a reduction in funding are public safety, the street department, and funding for the city attorney.


Groups Opposing Sunday Hunting

Governor Martin O'Malley had been urged to veto legislation that would expand hunting on Sundays here in Western Maryland. The Maryland Ornithological Society and the Maryland Horse Council both opposed the move. Until the bills that would authorize hunting deer and other game on private and public lands in Garrett, Allegany, Washington, and Frederick counties were passed, the practice has generally been prohibited in the state, though numerous exceptions have been made.


Cumberland To Begin Recycling Program

As part of a new, three-year deal with Burgmeier Hauling of Altoona, the city of Cumberland will begin a recycling program. Burgmeier is being paid $750,000 per year for three years, and Cumberland Mayor Brian Grim says recycling will help the city reach its goal of waste stream reduction, as mandated by the state of Maryland.Mayor Grim says the public will be provided with educational materials prior to the start of recycling; the intent is to offer recycling pickup on the first trash pickup of the week in the various neighborhoods. Mayor Grim commented on recycling types of paper materials.


Easter Egg Hunt Set

The city of Cumberland, with the help of Frostburg State University Recreation Program students and 4-H will host the annual Easter Egg Hunt at Constitution Park on Friday. Activities start at noon, with the actual egg hunt at 1 p.m., in the area of the tennis courts. The kids should bring a basket or bag for eggs, and prizes will be awarded in each age group.


Fracking Film, Discussion Set Monday

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," will be discussed this Monday at Allegany College of Maryland. A film, entitled, "Gasland, Part II" will be shown, and a panel discussion on the subject will follow. The event begins at 6 p.m. at the Zimmer Theatre in the College Center. The panel discussion will follow the film. Admission is free and open to the public.


Chamber Hosts Legislative Wrap Up

The Allegany County Chamber of Commerce will host a Legislative Wrap Up breakfast next Tuesday at the Ali Ghan Shrine Club. The breakfast begins at 7:30 p.m., with members of the Western Maryland Delegation providing a recap of business legislation and issues addressed during the 2014 Legislative Session in Annapolis. A question and answer period will follow.


Two Year Old Dies After Drowning

A two-year old boy was found face down in standing water on a pool cover in Maugansville died this past weekend at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The unidentified toddler wandered away from family members, and was found about 2 p.m. on the cover of an above-ground pool.


Homeland Security Official Charged

A former supervisor with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been charged with misusing his government-issued credit card at the Charles Town casino. Fifty-five year old Gene Protogiannis of Lovettsville, Virginia was indicted on 45 counts of wire fraud; the offenses allegedly occurred last year, when he used the card to receive cash advances at the Hollywood Casino. Nearly $116,000 were withdrawn. He faces up to 20 years in prison, along with a $250,000 fine on each of the 45 counts against him.

Local News

Young Woman Found Dead

A 25-year old woman was found dead in Bedford County Sunday morning, and the Pennsylvania State Police there are investigating. The woman was found inside a mobile home at the Fillo Trailer Park, along Route 52 in Bedford Township. Both the State Police and coroner were on the scene for most of the day. Bedford County State's Attorney Bill Higgins says the cause of death is undetermined, and an autopsy is planned.


Frostburg Officer Assaulted

The Frostburg Police Department handled 127 calls over this past weekend, one of which resulted in the injury of an officer. While investigating a large party at 38 Paul Street, Patrolman Zapf was struck in the head by Deara D. Parker. She was subsequently arrested and charged with second degree assault, among other counts. Also charged was Johnny Bentley Norris. The charges were issued on a criminal summons, and they include second-degree assault, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. Officer Zapf was treated for minor injuries at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center Emergency Room.


WMHS CEO Comments on Alliance

The alliance among the Western Maryland Health System, Frederick Regional Health System, and Meritus Health has been in the works for some time, but now it has a name-Trivergent Health Alliance. Barry Ronan, Chief Executive Officer of the Western Maryland Health System, says the facility looked at 50 different names, and one that was not copyrighted. While the three looked at the spectrum of a loose association to a full merger, it was decided the best way to go was an alliance. Ronan says the alliance encompasses shared services, revenue, information technology, and pharmacy services, among others. The alliance affects 1100 employees, with annual expenditures of $370 million. The CEO's of each system began discussing an alliance when it became evident there would be changes in the health care system. With more risk involved, Ronan says with a reduction in revenue, it was calculated that at least a billion dollars in revenue would be needed to remain viable.


PSC Ordered to Help Utility Customers

The Maryland Public Service Commission has ordered utility companies to give customers "a break," in light of this past winter, which brought frigid temperatures. The PSC is ordering utilities to apply energy assistance grants to both the generation and distribution charges on customer bills. For its part, Potomac Edison has expressed its willingness to work with customers on late bills. P.E. offers zero interest payment plans for many customers who are behind in their bills.


Tax Sales Set

Both Allegany and Garrett Counties have set the dates for their annual tax sales. The Allegany County sale will take place on April 30th at the county office complex, beginning at 10 a.m. In Garrett County, the sale is on May 2nd, at the Garrett County commissioners public meeting room. To be removed from the tax sale in Allegany County, property owners must make full payment on all charges no later than 4:30 p.m. on April 29th.


Assault Results in Drug Charge

Twenty-four year old Leonard Lewis Livengood was issued a criminal citation, charging him with possession of CDS paraphernalia. Cumberland City Police responded to a home in the 500-block of Valley Street in reference to an assault complaint. While inside, police found a marijuana smoking device. He was released, after he was issued the citation.


Garrett County Schools Finish on June 17th

Garrett County Schools were closed a total of 20 days this school year, and the Maryland State Department of Education has granted a five-day student waiver for the system. that means the last day of school in Garrett County will be Tuesday, June 17th. June 13th, 16th, and 17th will be two-hour early dismissals. Schools will be closed on Good Friday, but the other days for Easter vacation have been designated as make up days.


Pet Vaccinations Set

The Allegany County Health Department is holding its annual Spring Vaccination Clinic on Sunday, April 27th. The event will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at the George's Creek Elementary School. Vaccinations for cats and dogs over the age of 4 months will be $5.00. All animals must be in a carrier or on a leash. For more information, contact Misty Joy at (301)-759-5047.


State Won't Enforce Campaign Contributions

Following a landmark Supreme Court ruling, election officials in Maryland say they will no longer enforce a state law that imposes an overall $10,000 limit on campaign contributions in a four-year election cycle. They will continue to enforce a law, limiting individuals to contributing no more than $4,000 to a particular candidate during an election cycle; however, donors can give $4,000 to as many candidates as they'd like.


CareFirst Dominates Enrollments

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has signed up more than 53,000 people through the health exchange website, but even more called the carrier and enrolled directly because of online technical problems. Almost 65,200 had enrolled in private insurance3 through the four carriers selling on its website during the same time frame.

Local News

Name Selected for Affiliation


Trivergent Health Alliance has been selected as the name of the new affiliation among the Western Maryland Health System, Frederick Regional Health System, and Meritus Health in Hagerstown. According to the Western Maryland Health System Facebook page, the new alliance will help each organization achieve shared goals of enhancing the quality of care, improving population health, and reducing the cost of providing care. The post also credited Clay Jones of the WMHS Finance Department for coming up with the name.



Missing Child Found Safe


A child who had been reported missing early yesterday afternoon has been found safe. Cumberland City Police say they conducted an extensive search for the 9-year old, who had been reported missing from her Arch Street residence. The child was located at a friend's residence in South Cumberland, and she was returned to her home.



Four Arrested for Drug Possession


Four people were stopped Saturday evening on Route 219, south of Friendsville Road, and charged with marijuana possession. Kristyn Lyn Wilson of Lubbock, Texas, along with Patrick Eric-Stevon Staten of Capitol Heights, Maryland, Paris Shaquille Hal of District Heights and Danielle Ileen Kirk of Washington, D.C. were charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia on a criminal citation and released.



Firing Range Given Go-Ahead


The Allegany County Commissioners have given approval for development of a law enforcement firing range and training facility at Mexico Farms, on county-owned property. County employees will build the facility and the only outstanding expense will be an eight-foot fence surrounding it. Money that was saved from the construction of the new sheriff's office will be used toward the expected costs of building the fence. That was quoted at about $4500.



FSU Planning Security Facility


Frostburg State University is planning to build a new public safety building, which will be twice the size of the current building, which is 2500-square feet. The original campus police station, which was built in 1953 on University Drive, will be replaced by a 5,000-square foot building, which will be located on Braddock Road.



Charges Dropped Against Elk Garden Man


Attempted second-degree murder and other related counts have been dropped against Elk Garden, West Virginia resident Roger Lee Paugh. He had been accused of shooting Westernport resident Dustin Loy. Following an investigation, it was determined that Loy's gunshot wound to the hand had been self-inflicted. Loy will be charged with providing false information to law enforcement.



Man Sentenced to Prison in Sexual Abuse Case


Hampshire County resident Harry Wright has been sentenced to at least 20 years in prison, after pleading guilty to eight counts of sexual abuse. Wright will serve no less than 20 years, but no more than 100 years in prison. He was also fined $1,000 for each count. While two witnesses testified against Wright at the sentencing, three testified on his behalf.



Two Pennsylvania Men Face Drug Charges


Two Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania men have been arrested for allegedly transporting heroin through Somerset County. Both Joe Molina-Delgado and Lewis Henderson were allegedly transporting the drugs, valued at over $30,000, when they were stopped on the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Somerset. There were 2,000 stamp bags of heroin found in the car, which would likely have been sold for $15 to $20 per bag on the street.



Cumberland Man Charged with Theft


Thirty-five year old Cumberland resident Joseph William Wood has been charged with theft, after allegedly failing to pay for a taxi cab ride. The criminal citation was issued in the area of Fourth Street at Seymour Street in South Cumberland. He was released from the scene, pending further action in District Court at a later date.



Former Frostburg Mayor Passes Away


Services will take place today for former Frostburg Mayor William "Bill" Davis, who died Friday at the Frostburg Village Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. He was 81. Davis had also been a teacher in Allegany County Schools, and was a real estate agent. Internment will be at the Frostburg Memorial Park.



Master's Program in Nursing at FSU Approved


Although the program still needs approval by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the University System of Maryland gave its approval to a master's degree in nursing at Frostburg State University last week. The program will address a shortage of nursing educators, and adds a master's degree, with an emphasis on either education or administration. Only FSU will have an online option to make the program more attractive to working nurses with scheduling conflicts.



Maryland Man Added to Most Wanted List


A former high-ranking State Department official has been added to the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List, after brutally killing his wife, mother and three sons in 1976. William Bradford Bishop bludgeoned the victims with a sledgehammer in an upper-class Bethesda, Maryland neighborhood then, and has been spotted in several foreign countries and the United States, but has never been arrested. Bishop would now be 77 years old, and a reward of up to $100,000 is being offered for information leading to his arrest.



O'Malley to Sign Decriminalization Bill


Governor Martin O'Malley will sign the marijuana decriminalization bill today, despite prosecutors across the state urging him to veto the legislation. The bill would reduce the penalties for possessing less than 10-grams of the durg from 90 days in jail, to civil fines, starting at $100. He is also expected to sign a bill to expand medical marijuana use.



Family Dollar to Close 370 Stores


Family Dollar Stores has announced it is closing 370 stores in the United States, but it is unclear whether the closures will affect any local or regional facilities. The chain has stores in more than 45 states; slow sales were cited as a factor in marking the decision. A final statement on which stores would be closing has not been made.



Maryland Ranks High In Foreclosures


The state of Maryland has the third highest foreclosure rate in the country, despite fact that foreclosure rates are down more than 20 per cent across the country. A spokesperson for RealtyTrac says it has seen rates increase, and that has been the trend for the past two years in the state. About 1 in 189 homes in Maryland are in foreclosure.



Common Core Legislation Approved


Common Core is often a controversial topic in Maryland, but there wasn't much opposition to three pieces of legislation that have received final approval in the General Assembly. The bills address concerns about testing and implementation. Maryland State Education Association President Betty Weller says time, flexibility, and resources were needed. Weller says Common Core State Standards are the biggest education change she's seen in her career, and more tweaks may be needed as they are implemented.




Farimont Man Injured by Power Lines


Eugene Boyce, of Farimont who is a delivery driver for Lowe's in Morgantown, is in UPMC Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, after suffering electrical shock during a delivery this past Friday. Boyce was delivering supplies in a large boom truck on Sand Springs Road near Cheat Lake, when he tried to raise overhead power lines to allow the truck to pass underneath. He was found on the roof of the truck cab and was Life Flighted to Pittsburgh.

Local News

Winchester Court Coming to LaVale

A shopping area, entitled "Winchester Court" is coming to the Winchester Road area, across from Western Sizzlin' Steak House. Penntex Ventures from Greensburg, Pennsylvania is developing the area for shopping; another anchor building of 17,000 square feet is already committed to a national retailer. The original structure, which housed Maple Mountain Industries, was built in 1965. Opening of Winchester Court is scheduled for next spring.


County Tax Collections Down

Income tax collections are expected to drop over $858,000 for fiscal year 2015, but that will not require "devastating" cuts, according to finance director Jason Bennett. The situation isn't as bad as in recent years, when the county had to reduce its workforce by 18 per cent. On the positive side, about $700,000 per year will be coming from the Rocky Gap casino operation. The county is in the midst of its budget process, and proposals reflecting the shortfall, will be presented at next week's meeting.


Terrapin Run Plan Under Fire

State officials continue to slam the Terrapin Run project, which would consist of 920 homes near the Green Ridge State Forest. According to a state planner, growth areas should be confined to areas where infrastructure can be supported; originally, Terrapin Run called for 4300 units there. Along with the shortfalls in infrastructure, other concerns included a lack of provisions to protect against agricultural, farmland and other sensitive areas. the hearing on the plan was continued until May 21st at 5 p.m.


Cumberland Man Arrested in Break In

Cumberland resident Michael Butler is free on $3,000 bond, after being charged with the breaking and entering of a Bowery Street residence in Frostburg. Butler fled the home, when the residents returned, and discovered him. Butler had entered the residence and was gathering up laptop computers and other valuables, before being confronted by the residents. He was found at another home in the 100-block of Bowery Street and arrested.


Marijuana Arrests Made

Two men have been arrested in the Friendsville area, in separate incidents, and charged with marijuana possession. In the first Dumfries, Virginia resident Donte Campbell was stopped on Interstate 68, at the one-mile marker; he was charged and issued a criminal citation, before being released. The second incident saw Martinsburg, Maryland resident Aaron Tisdale was issued a criminal citation and released, after being stopped in the area of eastbound Maple Street, west of First Avenue.


Preston Murder Trial Continues

The trial of a Preston County man, accused of the May, 2012 murder of Leslie Layman continues this week. Masontown resident Denny Franklin Ervin is charged with first-degree murder in Ms. Layman's death. Ervin is accused of shooting her, at least once, with a .22-calibre revolver. Ervin and Ms. Layman had previously been in a domestic partnership, which was termed as "stormy."


Water Project Meeting Set

The Allegany County Commissioners have scheduled a public meeting, regarding a possible future water project for Barrelville/Sunnyside. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 30th at 7 p.m., at the Mount Savage Fire Hall. Residents of that area and all interested citizens are invited to attend. On hand will be representatives of the Department of Public Works, to answer questions and discuss details about the project.


Methadone Clinic Draws Criticism

A methadone clinic, which is scheduled to open in Williamsport on April 24th, has triggered a reaction from citizens in area. A meeting was held this week with Washington County Sheriff Doug Mullendore. Where to place the clinic, safety concerns, and monitoring those using the clinic were discussed. Traffic congestion from limited parking has been the most common issue at the current clinic, located on Day Road in Hagerstown.


Grand Jury Indicts Man in Fatal Stabbings

A Washington County grand jury has indicted 19-year old Joseph William Minoglio, who is accused of stabbing his grandparents to death at their Keedysville home. New, related counts were added to the indictment. Both 84-year old Joseph Michael Minoglio and his 78-year old wife, Peggy, were found dead in their home on March 15th. Their grandson has been charged with two counts each of first and second-degree murder, and first and second-degree assault.


O'Malley Allows More Gaming Permits

Governor Martin O'Malley has signed a bill into law, that would allow more gaming permits for non-profit organizations in Frederick County. Civic and charitable groups will now be able to hold up to four gaming events each year, with major prizes of more than $5,000. The Veterans of Foreign Wars requested the bill, and will allow non-profits raise additional money, and do more for the community.


Hopkins Strike Enters Third Day

About 2,000 employees of Johns Hopkins Hospital-most of whom are service and maintenance workers-vow to remain on the picket line, at least through today. According to the workers, the hospital failed to offer at least $14 an hour for every worker, with the local union charging that some of those workers make so little, they have to rely on public assistance for basic needs. For its part, Johns Hopkins says that although it's moving forward, they continue to negotiate in good faith to reach a fair settlement for all.


Group Wants Additional Tobacco Tax

The Maryland General Assembly ended on Monday, but already one group is pushing for an additional $1 increase in the state's cigarette tax. The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids is asking incumbent lawmakers and those running for office to sign a pledge, promising they will vote for the increase. Amy Barkley, of the group, says 64 per cent of Marylanders support the hike. The higher taxes go, the more people will quit smoking, and this "diminishing rate of return" may not produce the effect they want. As for the issue of electronic cigarettes, Ms. Barkley says lawmakers cannot, obviously, tax them by the pack.


Drones Used to Research Real Estate

Drones are being used in the Lewisburg area of West Virginia to test the real estate market. Foxfire Realty is utilizing the technology to provide panoramic aerial views of the farms and country estates they are marketing on behalf of their clients. The commercial use of drones by real estate professionals is allowed, although regulations for commercial use are not expected to be in place until September of next year.

Local News

Student Arrested in Stabbings

A 16-year old sophomore at the Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Pennsylvania is being charged as an adult in connection with a series of stabbings yesterday at the school. The juvenile stabbed up to 20 people at the school, with two in critical condition. His name has not been released.


Museum To See Improvements

The Allegany Museum will benefit from being included in the state budget. The museum will receive $250,000 for several improvements, including a new roof and other renovations. Museum officials approached Governor O'Malley last fall with its requests, without the benefit of meeting with local legislators, but later acknowledged that mistake. Officials want the facility to become a fully certified museum as an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution of Washington.


City to Have Curbside Recycling

As a feature of its new contract with Burgmeier Hauling of Altoona, the city of Cumberland will be providing weekly recycling pickups. Mayor Brian Grim says citizens have requested the service. Burgmeier will be paid around $145,000 each year of the three year contract for recycling service.


Company Furloughs 40 Employees

Bedford Reinforced Plastics has announced the temporary layoff of 40 of its employees, but the company hopes to have them return to work in the near future. That number represents about one-sixth of its work force, who were furloughed last Friday; the slowdown is being attributed to poor economic conditions, with first quarter sales much slower than expected. There was no word on when the employees would be called back to work.


Somerset Man Arrested by Garrett County Deputies

Somerset, Pennsylvania resident Matthew James Shaner was arrested Tuesday night by Garrett County Sheriff's deputies. A call was received for law enforcement authorities to be on the lookout for a vehicle involved in a theft from Wal Mart. The car was stopped on Route 219, and a search of the vehicle resulted in stolen property, drugs and drug paraphernalia being found. He was charged with drug possession, making false statements to a police officer, and possession of a hypodermic needle. Additional charges against Shaner are pending.


Man Arrested for Discharging Gun

Keyser resident Donald Citarelli has been charged with shooting a deer rifle within 500 feet of a building. Police say alcohol was involved, and that the shot was fired during a domestic disturbance at Citarelli's home on West Piedmont Street. No one was injured, and Citarelli was taken to the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail, where he has since posted bail.


Man Arrested Following Domestic Incident

Cumberland resident Charles Robert Ballard, Jr., has been charged in connection with a domestic incident on Winton Place Tuesday. Ballard is accused of assaulting a woman by throwing her down on the bed; she was able to free herself, but Ballard also allegedly threw her to the floor and bit her finger. She was taken to the hospital for treatment; Ballard was arrested, and later released on personal recognizance, on a charge of second-degree assault.


Man Issued B & E Summons

Cumberland resident Michael Adrian Munday was issued a summons on a charge of fourth-degree burglary. He is accused of breaking into, and entering a home in the 900-block of Bedford Street on March 31st of this year. As he opened the window, a person in the home screamed, and he fled the scene. Charges were applied for in District Court, which resulted in the summons being issued.


Annual Tax Sale Set for End of April

The annual Allegany County tax sale will take place on Wednesday, April 30th at the county office building. The sale begins at 10 a.m. The tax lien sale of properties will be advertised four times in the Cumberland Times-News. To be removed from the advertisement, all taxes must be paid by 4:30 p.m. on April 29th.


Guard Sentenced for Assault

A former prison guard at the Roxbury Correctional Institution near Hagerstown has been sentenced to 30 months in a federal prison. Tyson Hinckle was sentenced for conspiring with officers to assault inmate Kenneth Davis in March of 2008. At one time, Davis had been incarcerated in Cumberland. Hinckle is the seventh former officer from RCI who has been sentenced in connection with the series of assaults on Davis. Sixteen former and current officers have been convicted.


Attorney General Calls for Probe

Attorney General Doug Gansler is calling for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the state health exchange's failed web launch. Gansler-who, himself, is a Democratic gubernatorial candidate-says the state's citizens would like to have some answers for when re-enrollment begins in November. Gansler called the failed website a "debacle," and said there was a lack of transparency and competition in awarding the original contract. Gansler responded to charges that his call for a special counsel was no more than a "campaign tactic." The Attorney General acknowledged that the issue is relevant to the campaign.


Auto Loan Companies Settle

The state of West Virginia has settled complaints with two Virginia auto loan companies over their debt collection practices. The settlement, reached in Jefferson County Circuit Court, involved Fast Auto Loans, Inc., and Virginia Auto Loans, Inc. Car title loans are banned in the Mountain State. The companies were accused of threatening prosecution in order to collect debts, charged excessive interest rates and failed to follow the law in seizing consumers' vehicles. The companies, as part of the settlement, have agreed to pay $450,000 to the state.


W. Va. Electric Bills Among Lowest in the U.S.

The West Virginia Public Service Commission has announced that the state is among those with the lowest electricity rates in the nation. West Virginia rates were the sixth lowest in the entire country. The only states with cheaper rates are Arkansas, Idaho, North Dakota, Washington and Louisiana. Rates are as low as they are, because of the abundant amount of natural resources in West Virginia, as well as oversight by the Public Service Commission.

Local News

Man Sentenced in Meth Case

Cumberland resident Gary Ray Bookheimer has been sentenced to 12 years of actual incarceration on charges of possession with intent to distribute meth, and manufacturing of the drug. Judge Gary Leasure sentenced him, following a trial in which he was found guilty on April 2nd. Prosecuting the case for the state was Assistant State's Attorney Samuel Lane; attorney Kelly Clark represented Bookheimer in the proceedings.


Contract Awarded to Altoona Company

The city of Cumberland's sanitation contract was awarded to Altoona-based Burgmeier's Hauling, which means the city will no longer utilize Advanced Disposal, which currently employs 20 Teamster's union workers. A spokesman for the union claimed that Advanced was the low bidder, but city officials disagreed with that. Burgmeier will be paid just over $750,000 per year for three years of residential hauling. There are also provisions in the contract for a weekly recycling pickup and bulk hauling.


Allegany Project Draws 14 Bidders

There are 14 different companies, which have expressed an interest in razing the former Sacred Heart Hospital, to make way for a new Allegany High School. Companies from as far away as California have obtained bid packages for the project. A pre-bid conference was held yesterday at the site of the former hospital, to take questions from interested contractors, nine of whom were at the meeting.


Former Coach Passes at 72

Ellerslie native Royce Waltman, who began his coaching career at Bedford High School, and went on to be a part of Bobby Knight's coaching staff at Indiana, passed away Monday night at the age of 72. His basketball record at Bedford was 277-113, where he coached from 1966 to 1981. Waltman later was an assistant to Knight with the 1984 gold-medal winning United States Olympic team. Waltman also coached DePauw, Indiana University, where he compiled a 99-38 record.


Preston County Residents Arrested on Drug Charges

Two Preston County residents are being held in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail on drug charges. Thirty-nine year old Joseph Sirota and 23-year old Kelly O'Donnell face numerous counts, and were additionally charged with being fugitives from justice. Bond has been set at $75,000 for each.


FCI Inmate Sentenced for Assault

A current inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland has been sentenced to 12 additional months in prison for assaulting a correctional officer. Forty-four year old Rene Lapointe had been an inmate at a Hazleton facility at the time of the assault. Lapointe had entered a guilty plea in connection with the incident.


Two Taken to Hospital Following Monday Accident

Route 36, the Vale Summit Road and Cabin Run Road were closed for a time late Monday afternoon, following a two-vehicle accident. Twenty-seven year old Cassandra McKenzie filed to yield the right-of-way to a vehicle driven by 32-year old Amy Ravenscroft of LaVale. The injured were taken to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center by ambulance for treatment of what are being termed non-life threatening injuries. Assisting at the scene were the Frostburg Volunteer Fire Department, Shaft Fire Department, Clarysville, and the Frostburg area ambulance service.


Rocky Gap Reports $4 Million in March

The Rocky Gap Casino Resort reported $4 million in revenues for the month of March, but the Maryland Live casino in Hanover took in about $61.8 million, contributing to a record-breaking $77.9 million haul in statewide casino revenue. Of the $77.9 million taken in by the casinos, more than half is tax revenue. More than $30 million will go to the state Education Trust Fund and the rest to various state and local programs. A portion of Rocky Gap's revenues is returned to the Allegany County Commissioners' scholarship fund, which helps provide higher education opportunities at Allegany College of Maryland and Frostburg State University.


Work to Begin in Bedford County

Work begins Monday on the Richard Street Bedford Turnpike Interchange project. Work consists of concrete patching, minor paving and concrete grinding. Most of the work will be done between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. All work on the $1.2 million project will be completed by the beginning of September.


Maryland Lawmakers Wrap Session

The 2014 session of the Maryland General Assembly is history, but saw both a gradual increase in the state's minimum wage and the decriminalization of marijuana, for small amounts. In the waning hours of the session, Howard County Representative Warren Miller spoke against the minimum wage bill, calling it the "inflation bill."Senate Minority Leader David Brinkley spoke against a pay raise for legislators; he acknowledged there were representatives who were upset about a potential raise. Western Maryland Delegate LeRoy Myers won't be returning to Annapolis next year. Another legislator, State Senator Norman Stone, is retiring after 52 years at the State House, initially serving as a delegate. He says one thing he will not miss, if the frustration of not getting a bill passed.


Fight Reported at House Office Building

A fight between two men-not legislators-was reported on the final night of the 2014 session of the Maryland General Assembly. The fight, which took place inside the office of Harford County Delegate Mary Dulany-James at the House Office Building, was between two men who were brothers. One of the two was an aide to Delegate Dulany-James.

Local News

Minimum Wage, Marijuana Bills Pass


Maryland's minimum wage will increase to $10.10 per hour by the year 2018, as the result of legislation passed on the final day of the 2014 General Assembly session. The bill, which was one of Governor Martin O'Malley's signature pieces of legislation this year, was passed on a vote of 87-47, but not without debate. And, the Governor says he will sign a bill, which will decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. That was also passed on the last day of the General Assembly session.



Coney Fire Ruled Accidental


Last Friday evening's fire in a Lonaconing apartment building on Jackson Street has been ruled accidental in nature. The fire, which began in the kitchen of one of the units, has been traced to a malfunctioning electrical outlet. The property is owned by Droll's Rentals, LLC, and was occupied by Cody Lucas. A total of $60,000 in damage was done to the structure and its contents. Smoke detectors were present and activated. Seven occupants were displaced, and are being assisted by the American Red Cross.



Search Begins for Mineral School Superintendent


The search for a new Mineral County School superintendent will get underway shortly, and the deadline for application a little over a month away, on May 12th. Current Superintendent Rob Woy is retiring in June. the search will be advertised in the media, as well as trade publications. Woy replaced former Superintendent Skip Hackworth in 2011.



Suit Filed Against Potomac Center


A suit has been filed against the Potomac Center, alleging abuse; the suit further states the facility failed to supervise its employees. The suit was filed on behalf of an unnamed 17-year old former resident, who was at the center between November of last year and January of this year. Allegations of physical and emotional abuse are included in the suit. The teenager is developmentally disabled, and the suit was filed against the center and 12 employees.



Recorder, Police Chief  Leaving Romney Posts


Both the Romney City Recorder and its police chief are leaving their positions in the next several months. Eighty-three year old Iliff  Maphis has been the town recorder for the past twenty years, and will be leaving on the last day of June. Chief Donald See is also a twenty-year veteran, and will be retiring on May 30th.



Woman Cited for Cell Phone Use While Driving

Ridgeley, West Virginia resident Teresa Ann Rose was cited for using a cell phone while driving, following a single-vehicle accident on Route 220 and Willow Run Road. She was traveling northbound, when her car went out of control and crashed into some mailboxes, along the shoulder of the highway. Ms. Rose was taken to the hospital by the Tri-Towns Rescue Squad, and later cited for using a handheld telephone, while the car was in motion. a first-time offense carries a fine of $83.





New Jersey Fugitive Captured in Somerset County


A New Jersey man, who was on the state's 12 most wanted list for more than 20 years, was captured in Somerset County this past weekend. James Barclay was wanted for aggravated sexual assault. At the time, he pleaded guilty to those charges, but failed to show up for sentencing in the Garden State. He was found in Boswell, Pennsylvania by U.S. Marshals and the Pennsylvania State Police over this past weekend.



Destruction of Property Reported


Cumberland City Police are investigating a destruction of property incident in the 300-block of Helen Street on Sunday. A person had thrown a brick through the windshield of an unoccupied BMW. There are no suspects, but Cumberland City Police are asking for information at (301)-777-1600.



Budget Workshops Set for This Week


The budget process for Fiscal Year 2015 is continuing, and there is a budget workshop meeting set for this week. The first budget workshop meeting will be held Thursday at 3 p.m. at the Allegany County Office building. The preliminary budget will be presented on Thursday, May 1st and the finalized document will be presented on Thursday, June 5th at 5 p.m. during the Allegany County Commissioners' public business meeting.



New Immunizations for School Students


Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, there are new immunization requirements for children entering the seventh grade, which includes a "T-DAP" vaccine and a meningococcal vaccination. In addition, all students entering kindergarten must now have had two varicella vaccinations. A child has up to 20 days from the start of school to show proof of vaccinations. Allegany County Public Schools open for the 2014-2015 school year on Monday, August 25, 2014.



Former Council Member Faces Second Theft Charge


Former Hagerstown city council member and attorney Kelly Cromer is facing a new theft charge. She was initially sentenced last week on a charge of theft between $10,000 and $100,000 for stealing more than $12,000 from the grandchildren of a woman whose estate she administered. She is now charged with stealing money from a man in late November, 2012. The trial on the new charges is set for July 10th.



Audit Shows Felons Voted in 2010 Election


The Maryland Office of Legislative Audits shows that 15 felons cast ballots in the 2010 gubernatorial election, even though they are prohibited from doing so. Between October of 2011 and March of 2012, more than 380 people had violated their probation, but were not removed from voter lists. In some cases, auditors found that sentences had been extended up to eight years. The Office of the State Prosecutor has been informed of the 15 felons who should not have voted.



Index Charts Race, Ethnicity in Maryland Kids' Test Scores


A new index that tracks how kids are doing in Maryland breaks it down by race and ethnicity. The Annie E. Casey Foundation report tabulates milestones and situations connected with child well-being, such as preschool, attendance, math and reading test scores and other factors. Laura Speer, with the Casey Foundation, says there are profound differences between Asian-American and white children, compared to African-American and Latino kids. Children of color are predicted to be the majority of children in the United States in just four years, according the Census Bureau. Add about 20 years to that, and they will be the majority of adults, too. Speer says that's why the disparities cannot be ignored.



WV School Superintendent Retiring


The State Superintendent of Schools in West Virginia, James B. Phares, has announced his retirement, effective June 30th. The move was unexpected, but not a surprise to state board of education president, Gayle Manchin. His announcement came at the same time that an Iowa firm was hired to conduct a national search for his replacement. Phares officially took office in January of 2013.


Local News

Minimum Wage, Marijuana Decriminalization Pass


The Maryland State Senate was working overtime on Saturday, giving approval of a minimum wage bill by a 34-13 vote. The legislation would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2018. The House will have to move quickly on the bill, as today is the final day of the 2014 General Assembly session. The House has given preliminary approval to decriminalize marijuana possession, eliminating charges for possessing small amounts of marijuana and reduce the offense to the severity of a traffic violation. The bill goes to the Senate today for final approval.



Local Legislation Passes


Two pieces of legislation, with a direct effect on this area have passed in the final hours of the Maryland General Assembly. One of those bills would help develop the upper stories of downtown commercial buildings, while the second would aid school districts with declining enrollment, including those in Allegany and Garrett counties. That bill would mandate the state to supplement shortfalls in the state aid formula. Since 2009, Allegany County has lost almost 12 million dollars, which is 15 per cent of the board of education's budget.



Jackson Street Fire Investigated


A fire on Jackson Street in Lonaconing is being investigated by the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office. Two apartments in the building were damaged, with at least one of the residents displaced by the fire. There were no injuries, and the building was evacuated without incident.



Hyndman Man Arrested for DUI, Assault


Hyndman resident Jamy Lacomb was arrested by Cumberland City Police Saturday afternoon, but later released on his own recognizance, pending his next court appearance. Lacomb had knocked on the door of a Linden Street home, and was found in a vehicle at the rear of the home. When arrested, Lacomb allegedly grabbed an officer by the shirt, and damaged a pair of the officers' sunglasses. He was charged with driving under the influence, second degree assault and destruction of property.



Mineral To Decide on School Calendar


The Mineral County Board of Education has set a special meeting for tomorrow, to decide on the proposed 2014-2015 school calendar. At stake is when to actually begin the school year, and to comply with a 180-day requirement for instruction. One proposal would begin the year on August 7th, and dismiss for the summer on May 21st, if there are no more than 7 snow days. The second proposal would begin the year later in August, and end the school year on May 29th, provided there are no more than 7 snow days.



P & Z Commission Sets Comprehensive Plan Meeting


The Allegany County Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on Wednesday on the final draft of the Allegany County 2014 Comprehensive Plan. The plan consists of ten chapters, addressing issues such as housing, transportation, public facilities, mineral resources and economic development. The meeting is set for 5 p.m. at the Allegany County office building on Kelly Road.



Water Distribution Work Announced


Phase two of the Westernport water distribution project gets underway today. The project is primarily focused on Johnson Street, and the area west of it. Work begins at the intersection of Johns and Front Streets and will continue up Johnson Streets. Those residing in the area should expect delays and be attentive of street closures and detours. Parking is being prohibited within the active work area.



Bank Robbery Reported in Somerset County


The First National Bank on Main Street in Stoystown was robbed Friday afternoon, just before 3 p.m. A man went into the bank, demanded money, and fled the scene. He was described as being about 5 feet, five inches in height, wearing blue jeans, a black hoodie, a camouflage jacket and mask, and carrying a yellow umbrella. The same bank was robbed less than a year ago, on May 6th.



Bedford To Benefit From Act 89


Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has announced more than $2.1 billion in highway and bridge projects in the North Central and South Central regions of the state. Act 89, clears the way for such projects as a resurfacing of nearly 8 miles of Pennsylvania Route 36 from the Bedford County line to Taylor, Blair, and Freedom Townships. Also Pennsylvania Route 26 in Bedford County will receive just over 10 miles of resurface work.



Deputy Hits, Kills Pedestrian in Washington County


A Washington County Sheriff's Deputy has been placed on paid administrative leave, after striking and killing a pedestrian on the Dual Highway in Hagerstown Thursday morning. Twenty-eight year old Lindsay Cyndle Eldessocky was hit by Deputy First Class Bryan Teets. Ms.Eldessocky was taken to Meritus Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead. Deputy Teets was on duty at the time; at the conclusion of the investigation, all information will be reviewed by the State's Attorney's Office.



Board Votes to Revamp Health Exchange


The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange's board of directors voted to replace the technology in the state's badly flawed health-exchange website, instead of fixing its current system or partnering with the federal health care exchange. Maryland's Sixth District Congressman John Delaney says the state is trying to get the federal government to pick up the cost of the switch. He points out that Maryland spent several hundreds of millions of dollars to build the website.

Delaney says Maryland had an original enrollment goal of 150,000, but only achieved 50,000 by last Monday's deadline. And, Delaney says that for months, he had been advocating for Maryland to switch to the federal website.




Task Force Clears Nearly 1300 Cases


The Mountain State Fugitive Task Force arrested 941 fugitives last year, clearing 1298 cases. A breakdown of the cases shows 17 homicide warrants were executed, but nearly 750 warrants were executed for narcotics violations. There were also 146 sex offender warrants, 101 for burglary and 99 for weapons offenses. The Northern District of West Virginia includes 31 participating agencies, 3 full time and 77 part-time task force officers.



West Virginia to Lose Population


Beginning in 2016 and continuing through  2030, the state of West Virginia will experience a decline of 20,000 residents, according to a study from West Virginia University. A U.S. Census report shows that deaths outpaced births by about 1,000 last year. The report also projects that the share of the state's population of those over 65 will grow about 23 per cent by the year 2030.

Local News

Committee Approves Minimum Wage Increase

The Senate Finance Committee has approved a bill to raise Maryland's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and it could hit the full Senate floor by today. Supporters are hoping the final bill can clear the House and Senate by the time the legislative session ends on Monday night. Senate Minority Leader David Brinkley, who sits on the Finance Committee, believes the increase is not a good idea for the Maryland economy. Some of the changes made by the Senate are beneficial; however, he believes any minimum wage increase should be decided by the federal government. On another subject, Brinkley says he is not surprised by the health board's decision this week to scrap the state's website and adopt software, developed by Deloitte Consulting, which is used by the more successful exchange in Connecticut.


Two Arrested in Recent Drug Raid

Thirty-three year old Charles McCord and 23-year old Molly Ann Nelson have been arrested, as a  result of what Frostburg authorities call one of the largest drug busts to happen there in recent memory. A drug raid at an Ormand Street residence in late March resulted in the recovery of marijuana, hashish, LSD, and nearly $26,000 in cash. Both McCord and Nelson were released after posting bond. Frostburg Police Chief Royce Douty noted that this is the type of drug activity that is taking place, not only in Frostburg, but also throughout Allegany County.


Firing Range Proposed

Allegany County is considering the construction of a shooting range for law enforcement training on land near PPG Road in Mexico Farms. J. Robert Dick, chief of the County's Division of Public Safety, says the facility wouldn't cost a lot of money, and would be located close to the existing public safety building. County staff could do most of the work. A fence would be built around the range; that could be purchased by the county, and installed by an outside contractor.


Harford Joins Rural Counties Coalition

The Maryland Rural Counties Coalition continues to grow, as Harford County Executive David Craig joined as an Associate Member, expanding the membership to 11 counties. The Coalition, which includes Allegany, Frederick and Washington counties, represents nearly 1.2 million Maryland residents. The coalition is charged with strengthening their policy-related standing in Annapolis. Since December of 2011, seven additional counties have now become members. 


Pennsylvania Man Charged with CDS Possession

Brownsville, Pennsylvania resident Christopher Lockhart has been charged with possession of marijuana and CDS paraphernalia. Lockhart was stopped for speeding Wednesday afternoon on Route 40, in the area of Pig's Ear Road. A vehicle search resulted in the discovery of the marijuana and paraphernalia. He was processed, and later released from the McHenry barrack of the Maryland State Police.


Women Issued Summonses For Children's Absenteeism

Thirty-five year old Cumberland resident Naomi Smith has been arrested for failing to send her children to school numerous times between August 27th of last year through March of this year. She was served with the summons and released, pending trial in District Court. Additionally, 42-year old Tracy Bender of Cumberland was cited for failing to send her child to school, with absenteeisms,  dating from August of last year, through March of this year. She, too, was served and released, pending trial in District Court.


Man Served Summons for February Burglary

Fort Ashby resident Malcolm Parsons was served a criminal summons for fourth-degree burglary, in connection with an incident in February of this year. Parsons is accused of entering a West Oldtown Road residence, and damaging a screen in the process. He was observed by a neighbor, climbing out of a window, and running in an unknown direction. There was no property taken, nor was anyone harmed. He was served and released, pending trial in Allegany County District Court.


Bedford County Town Still Without Clean Water

Six Mile Run in Bedford County experienced a roof collapse at its water facility in mid-February, and the approximately 300 residents there are still without clean water to use. Officials there say they have been working hard to rebuild the facility, and that, along with and insurance settlement, they are look for state help to pay for about $80,000 in repairs. Residents have been on a "boil water" advisory since the collapse, and an emergency water permit was issued, but that expires a week from tomorrow.


Security Increased at MCI

Prison officials at MCI-Hagerstown have increased security, as the result of an increase in contraband found there. Cell phones appear to be a significant problem, and an ongoing investigation has not implicated any correctional officers or employees. The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is combating the problem by investing more than $1.1 million in gate-entry security measures.


Ignition Interlock Bill Passes House

A bill, known as the "Blow-N-Go" bill has passed the Maryland House of Delegates, and will now go to Governor Martin O'Malley's desk, to be signed. The bill requires repeat DUI offenders to use an ignition interlock system to make sure they're under the legal limit, before driving. If they are unwilling to submit to the interlock system, they would have to hand over their driver's licenses for one year.

Local News

Funding Approved for Garrett County Schools

The Operating Budget Conference Committee has met and approved just over $464,000 in additional funding for the Garrett County school system for this coming year. While the final budget has not been passed, both the House and Senate sides of the committee agreed on the figure. Both Delegate Wendell Beitzel and Senator George Edwards both sit on the Committee, and worked to get the funding approved. Senator Edwards commented that the legislation would help Garrett County Financially, until the wealth study is completed.


Complaint Filed Against Historical Society

A woman has filed charges against the Allegany County Historical Society, charging that wheelchair access provided by several buildings it controls, do not meet state and local disability requirements. Marilynn Phillips filed the complaint with the Maryland Civil Rights Commission. Ms. Phillips has had a mobility disability for 67 years, because of polio, contracted at age 2. The Allegany County Historical Society has been in touch with Ms. Phillips on the matter.


Bids on Sacred Heart Demolition Being Accepted

Bids are being accepted for the demolition of the former Sacred Heart Hospital on Seton Drive, the site of the new Allegany High School. Officials are hoping the school can be built and opened by the fall of 2017. Bids should be submitted by 1:30 p.m. on May 13th. The contract calls not only for the removal of the hospital building itself, but also grading, temporary fencing, and relocation of utilities, among other stipulations.


Entertainment Announced for Downtown

"Cumberland Comes Alive" is the theme for entertainment this spring and summer on the downtown Cumberland Mall and at Canal Place. Sandy Saville, of the Downtown Development Commission, says bands will be coming in from New York City, Richmond, Virginia, and there will also be local talent featured weekly at both locations.


Mount Savage Arrested for Drunk Driving

A Mount Savage man driving in the Cumberland area, was arrested yesterday, and charged with driving under the influence. Joseph Malloy was seen using a cell phone while driving. An Allegany County Sheriff's Deputy determined that Malloy appeared to be intoxicated. An open container of alcohol, as well as several other unopened ones were found. He was charged with driving  under the influence, driving while impaired, violating a license restriction for alcohol, and using a handheld device while operating a motor vehicle.


Two Arrested on Drug Charges

Kevin Eugene Pratt, of Romney and Jeremy Whetzel of Cumberland were arrested by Cumberland City Police Tuesday afternoon, and now face several drug charges. A traffic stop and vehicle search revealed at least two hypodermic syringes, along with a bag, containing 77 large capsules of heroin. The approximate street value was $2300. Pratt was charged with possession of CDS paraphernalia and a hypodermic needle. Whetzel faces counts of heroin possession, possession with intent to distribute, along with possession of CDS paraphernalia and a hypodermic needle. He was held in the Allegany County Detention Center on $7500 bond. Pratt was released on personal recognizance.


Wildlands Legislation Passed

The Maryland General Assembly has passed legislation that would expand the state's Wildlands System by 50 per cent. Some of those Wildlands are located in both Allegany and Garrett Counties. Over 22,000 acres of sensitive state-owned lands will be permanently protected, because of the bill. More than 90 per cent of citizens surveyed by the Maryland Greenways Commission have said some parts of Maryland should be left in their natural state forever.


Somerset Inmate Sentenced for Attack

An inmate, who was charged with assaulting a state prison guard has been sentenced to 40 months to 10 years in prison. Fifty-year old Mark Wilson The incident happened last Memorial Day weekend, and he will serve the sentence concurrently with the one he is now serving for robbery.


ACM Sets Open House

Allegany College of Maryland will hold an open house on Saturday, April 12th, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The 17th annual event will highlight the more than 60 career programs designed for the workplace. There are nearly three dozen transfer programs in which students can enroll in to continue at four-year colleges. There will also be a random drawing of tuition vouchers, totaling
$3,000. Six, $500 awards will be drawn at 2:15 p.m.


Audit Reveals "Questionable" Purchases

An audit, released this week, shows at least four state employees used state-owned credit cards to buy all kinds of personal items, worth nearly $260 million. The 24-page report from the Maryland Office of Legislative Audits revealed that one employee turned in bogus, or doctored receipts to make it look as if the purchases were legitimate. One State Health Department employee bought several items, including toys. The employee pleaded guilty and spend six months in prison. In another instance, the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services bought nearly $40,000 in gift cards. The employee implicated in that also pleaded guilty and spent six months in prison. Additionally, the employee had to make restitution.

Local News

Firefighters Remain on Scene of Columbia Street Fire

Numerous fire companies were on the scene of a fire this morning at 249 to 251 Columbia Street. The Allegany County Office of Emergency Services says Cumberland units were on the scene, with mutual aid from District 16, LaVale, Wiley Ford, and Cresaptown. There is now one engine from Cumberland, watching for "hot spots." Two firefighters were taken to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center for treatment. It is known that residents of those two homes escaped unharmed. The Maryland State Fire Marshal is also on the scene, and the American Red Cross also responded, and is aiding the affected families.


Multi-Count Federal Drug Indictment Filed

Nine people have been arrested in Keyser, Allegany, and Garrett counties, as part of a 73-count federal drug indictment. The indictment charges cocaine trafficking and money laundering. The lead defendant in the case is Cedric Malachi Jones of Florida. Jones faces 58 counts. If convicted, each defendant faces up to life imprisonment on the conspiracy charges alone. Those indicted from Keyser include Paul Ellis, Dixie Sherylann Layman, Samaria Alice Clifford, Robert Lee Jessie, Christopher Lee Redman, and Troy Aaron Wilt. From Oakland, Sheena Collins was indicted, as was Adrian Nicholas Sanchez of Cumberland, and Dominique Stephens of Westernport. From Ranson, West Virginia, Tequila Smith was indicted. Others from out of the area include Ebony Ishia Haynes Jack of Palm Coast, Florida, along with Travis Sinclair Howard of Palatka, Florida.


General Assembly Enters Final Week

The Maryland House and Senate are expected to be working overtime this week, in anticipation of next Monday's final day of the 2014 session. Any bill that does not clear the House and Senate by midnight next Monday will be considered dead, and will have to be considered next year. Both chambers will have some evening, and possibly a weekend session to complete its work load.


One Killed in Bedford County Crash

Tractor-trailer driver Damion Lobban was killed in a single-vehicle crash Saturday morning. Police say he fell asleep while rounding a curve on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, near the 158-mile marker in West Providence Township. Passenger Benjamin Blue, who was in the sleeper section of the rig, was thrown from the truck and suffered major injuries.


Keyser Woman Served With Bench Warrant

Keyser resident Jacqueline Kile was served an arrest warrant for failure to appear in Wicomico County. Cumberland City Police took her to the District Court Commissioner's Office for a bond review, and she was ordered held on $3,000 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center.


Cumberland Man Charged with Assault, False Imprisonment

Cumberland resident Dalton Brimhall was served a criminal summons, in connection with an incident that occurred on March 23rd. He allegedly became angry with a woman, spat on her, flicked cigarette ashes on her, and bent her fingers back. The incident happened on Arch Street. He was charged with second-degree assault and false imprisonment, and later released pending trial in Allegany County District Court.


Council Member to Take Parks Spot

Piedmont Council member Paula Boggs will be doing double-duty, as she has agreed to take over the parks and recreation spot, vacated by the resignation of Gary Bradley last month. Ms. Boggs is also serving as street commissioner, and will take on the additional duties temporarily, until a replacement for Bradley is named.


Telephone Recycling Underway

Students from the Allegany County school system are participating in the telephone book recycling campaign, now in its 22nd year. The project is managed by the Allegany County Commissioners, the Solid Waste Management Board, and the Allegany County Board of Education. All recycled telephone books help Allegany County reach its 20 per cent recycling goal, a mandate from the state of Maryland.


Minimum Wage Bill Remains in Committee

Although the House of Delegates has approved an increase to the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour by the year 2017, legislation remains in a Senate Committee. Senator Mac Middleton, chair of the Senate Finance Committee wants a minimum wage bill to also address an increase in what the state pays personal care aides from non-profit organizations who work with the severely disabled. Senator Middleton says some aspects of the minimum wage bill need to be addressed. Middleton says the Governor is committed to the personal care aides. Middleton says the vacancy and turnover rates are significant, around 33 per cent.


Man Convicted of Child Abuse Death

A 12-member jury has found a Martinsburg man guilty of the child abuse death of his son. Twenty-one year old James Mauldin will be sentenced on May 29th. Mauldin was convicted of the New Year's Day death of three-year old Kaiwon Connelly. Mauldin was found guilty of several charges, including death of a child by a parent, guardian, or custodian by child abuse.


West Virginia Has Slowest Growing Personal Income

West Virginia has the slowest growing personal income rate in the U.S., due, in part, a decline in mining and other industries. Personal income grew only about 1.5 per cent last year; the highest growth was recorded by North Dakota at 7.6. per cent. Even though declines were reported in mining, durable goods, manufacturing and construction in the Mountain State, mining-including oil and gas extraction, were major sources of personal earnings growth in North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas last year.


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