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O'Malley to Propose Gas Tax

As the General Assembly session begins, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley says he will propose a sales tax on gasoline, similar to the one he introduced last year; he says the state needs to find another way to make a $700 million to $800 million investment in transportation. Governor O'Malley also says he is confident the state Senate is within two votes of supporting a repeal of capital punishment in Maryland. He believes it is "very possible" that there are two more senators who would vote to repeal the capital punishment this year.

 

Commission Continues to Study "Fracking"

A state commission studying the issue of "fracking" for natural gas wants lawmakers to impose a moratorium on the practice until the issue has been fully analyzed. Three bills will be recommended to legislators this session, addressing the issue of the hydraulic fracturing drilling method, and including a proposed state "severance tax" on any gas extracted to help pay for the effects on nearby communities. More than 160,000 acres in Western Maryland have been leased, and some landowners have complained that they signed away permission to drill on their property without being made aware of concerns about fracking's environmental impact.

 

Threat Received at Allegany High School

Allegany High School was placed on lockdown yesterday, after a threatening message was found written on a wall at Allegany High School on Monday. The message stated that a bomb threat would occur today. The Cumberland Police Department had planned to do a complete sweep of the building, and will remain today at the school, which will remain in lock down mode. Students who take backpacks or large bags to the school will be subject to searches.

 

Business Owners Among 40 Indicted by Mineral Grand Jury

Two Mineral County residents are among 40 who have been indicted by its Grand Jury. John and Tonya Cozatt, owners of Earth Zone, are being charged with various counts involving controlled dangerous substances. Samples of synthetic marijuana were found to have a controlled dangerous substance in them. Earth Zone has two locations, one in Keyser and the other in Short Gap.

 

Judge Orders Conference for Bedford County Representatives

The chief judge of Pennsylvania's second-highest civil court has ordered a conference with the Bedford County commissioners and Judge Thomas Ling, the President Judge there. Ling and the commissioners have been in an ongoing dispute over county funds, with Ling seizing control of money the commissioners insist is outside of his authority. The root of the disagreement is over canceled bonus payments to probation officers, who operate under the court's authority. The meeting should be held within the next ten days, with a final ruling on the matter coming after that.

 

Sheriff Investigates Terra Alta Shooting

A Preston County man has been arrested, after admitting to shooting and killing his father. Robert Dale Tasker is accused of shooting him, shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday. He had gone to his father's house, with the intent of killing him. The weapon was recovered and the younger Tasker was arrested at the scene. He has been charged with first-degree murder and remains held without bond. 

 

Man Tries to Burn Apartment Building

Cumberland City Police responded to a call early yesterday morning on Virginia Avenue, for a report of a distraught man who wouldn't open his apartment door. Officers saw flames coming from the apartment, and discovered several small fires, burning in an obvious attempt to burn the structure. He was taken into custody and the fires were extinguished by the Cumberland Fire Department. The man was later taken to the hospital by officers. The matter is being investigated by Cumberland City Police.

 

Teachers Recertify with National Board

Two Allegany High School teachers, Kay Sheehe and Lori Brown and Jennifer Knotts of Washington Middle School, were all recently  recertified with the National Board and are among the school system's 23 teachers who have earned National Board Certification. Sheehe teaches social studies/history at Allegany, and Brown teaches English/language arts. Knotts is a science teacher at Washington.

 

Trial Delayed for Jefferson County Sheriff

The judge in the civil rights trial of Jefferson County Sheriff Robert Shirley has postponed the start of the proceedings, giving his defense lawyers time to survey potential jurors and decide whether pre-trial publicity justifies a change-of-venue request. Sheriff Shirley is accused of kicking and stomping Mark Daniel Haines after a December, 2010 police chase; he is also accused of falsifying records during a subsequent investigation.

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