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.