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Local News

WMHS To Cut Positions


The Western Maryland Health System is making what it calls "process changes" that will result in sustainable reductions to both its labor and non-labor expenses. According to a release from the hospital yesterday, about 95 full-time positions will be eliminated throughout the health system, including 54 full and part-time positions that are already vacant. About 44 employees will be displaced from their current positions, with approximately half being offered other opportunities within WMHS. Severance benefits will be offered to the estimated 20 employees who will be separated from the organization. The cuts will result in savings of nearly $6 million in salaries and benefits for WMHS.



Man Dies in Single-Vehicle Crash


Thirty-two year old Bedford resident Arthur Lee Hogamier was killed in a single-vehicle crash Sunday, after his SUV slid off a Napier Township Road. He lost control of the car while driving along Route 31. He tried to pass another car around 5 a.m., when his vehicle became airborne and repeatedly rolled until it stopped near a wooded area along Charlie Road. Hogamier was pronounced dead at the scene, and Pennsylvania State Police are continuing the investigation.



Man Pleads Guilty to Felony Theft


Lonaconing resident Michael Leslie Staup has pleaded guilty to two charges of felony theft, related to the embezzlement and theft of money from the George's Creek Fireworks Committee and the Oak Hill Cemetery Association over a period of eight years. In the fireworks case, Staup was sentenced to a total of 3-1/2 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution of just over $8,000. The same sentence was imposed in the Cemetery Association case, which will run concurrently with the other sentence. He was also ordered to reimburse the association over $27,600.  He was also ordered to perform 150 hours of community service at the cemetery, if the association would allow him on the property.



Accidental Fire in Barton


A one-story, single-family home under construction on Keplinger Lane in Barton caught fire this past weekend, causing about $250.00 damage to the structure. A juvenile was playing with fire in the basement of the home, when ordinary combustibles caught fire and started to spread to the insulation. The owner is Shirley Colmer. The fire was out by the time firefighters arrived. There was no damage to the structure itself.



Important Voter Deadlines Approaching


Several important deadlines for the upcoming 2012Presidential General Election are approaching. The deadline to register to vote, update address information, and request a polling place change is Tuesday, October 16th at 9 p.m. Online applications must be submitted by 9 p.m. on the same date; a mailed application must be postmarked by October 16th. Paper voter registration applications can be obtained at several locations, including the local boards of elections, the Motor Vehicle Administration and public institutions of higher education. Voters with disabilities who are assigned to inaccessible polling places may also request to be reassigned to an accessible one; that request must be submitted in writing by October 16th at 9 p.m.



Missing Teen Contacts Parents


A missing Berlin girl called home over the weekend, saying she was all right, but won’t come yet. Daria Kiesnowski ran from Conemaugh Counseling Services on Friday afternoon, and police have no new leads in the case. She says she is staying with a friend, and it is assumed she is still in the area. Daria Kiesnowski was adopted from Poland in 2007, a process which took three years. Thaddeus and Tracey Kiesnowski met Daria and two other children, in 2006. The three were adopted, and the family settled in Berlin, Pennsylvania.



Outdoor School Conducted


Fifth-grade students from all of Allegany County’s public elementary schools once again had the opportunity to participate in environmental studies through their outdoor school experiences, held at the Western Maryland 4-H Center in Garrett County. This year, Superintendent Dr. David Cox, spent a night at camp with the students as well. The Outdoor School program was reinstated just a few years ago, after a more than 25-year hiatus, due to a lack of funding. Two years, ago, the Board voted to rename the program in honor of their late colleague, Dr. C. Fred Sloan.



Group Says It Has Evidence of Voter Fraud


A voter watchdog group, Election Integrity Maryland, says it has turned up evidence of voter fraud in Maryland. There were, they say, at least two instances of voting in a general election by those who had died. In another case, a nursing home resident in Timonium allegedly voted twice in even-year elections since 2002.



DLLR Overpays Jobless Benefits


The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s Division of Unemployment insurance allegedly overpaid millions in benefits to people who were actually working, according to a report, released last week, by the Office of Legislative Audits. Unemployment benefits were also given to those who were either in prison or dead. Maryland’s interim Labor Secretary Scott Jensen says the department agreed with the auditor’s findings and has made a series of changes to correct the problems. The report covered 2-1/2 years, from June of 2008 through January of 2011.



New Traffic Law in Effect


Several traffic safety laws went into effect yesterday, including one that requires drivers to stop at intersections where there are non-functioning traffic lights. The law applies, for example, when the power is out at those intersections, and is designed to bring order to what can become chaos. After stopping, drivers must yield to any other vehicles or pedestrian in the intersection. Violators face a $90 fine and two points to their licenses.

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