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.