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THE TRI-STATE'S CLASSIC ROCK STATION
GO 106 News Archives for 2011-12

Local News


Oldtown Man Arrested for Sexual Offenses

Sixty-three year old Marvin Dale VanMeter of Oldtown has been arrested on numerous counts of sex offenses. VanMeter had allegedly sexually abused two teenage boys, one 14 and the other, 13 years old. The abuse of one of the victims began when he was much younger and continued until now. The other victim had allegedly been abused once, this past summer. VanMeter is being held in the Allegany County Detention Center on a quarter-million dollar bond, pending his next court appearance. Several other potential victims have been identified and additional charges are anticipated. The investigation is continuing.

 

Nizer Sentenced to Ten Years

Thirty-two year old Justin Allan Nizer of Cumberland has been sentenced to ten years in prison, with three suspended, for second degree assault. Nizer will then be placed on three years’ probation. In February of this year, police responded to a report of a stabbing at a local night spot in Cumberland. Nizer was accused of stabbing several victims during an altercation there. Prosecuting the case was Assistant State’s Attorney Thomas Werthman. Nizer was represented by attorney David Schram.

 

Murder Victim Was Pregnant According to Autopsy

A woman, found dead a week ago in a Hampshire County cabin, was approximately three months pregnant at the time of her death. James Zell, her boyfriend, has been charged with the strangulation death of Kelly Elizabeth Butler. Zell has admitted killing Butler, and remains jailed in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, where he was arrested following a traffic stop. He is awaiting extradition to West Virginia.

 

Man Pleads Guilty Via Video Conference

Washington County, Pennsylvania resident Brett Bailey has pleaded guilty to third-degree murder for shooting Samuel Taylor in Somerset County. Bailey appeared via video conference, admitting to the shooting of Taylor during a drug deal near the Union Street playground. Taylor died three days later at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown. Bailey will be sentenced on March 27th at 9:30 a.m. He could face up to 40 years in jail, with a mandatory minimum of five years.

 

Resident Arrested for Assault, Disorderly Conduct

Twenty-five year old Cumberland resident Timothy Dale Ryan, Jr., was held on $5,000 bond in the Allegany County Jail, following an incident early Wednesday, near the intersection of First Street and Virginia Avenue. Ryan had allegedly assaulted another person; while the victim was being treated, he stepped between the ambulance crew and the patient. He also grabbed and officer and shoved him. He was charged with second-degree assault, disorderly conduct, and failure to obey a lawful order.

 

Theft at Wisp Investigated

The McHenry barrack of the Maryland State Police is investigating a theft at the Wisp Resort Wednesday morning. An unknown person or persons took a pair of red and white Vokl-brand skis, along with 46-inch ski poles. Anyone with information is asked to contact Corporal Upole at the McHenry Barrack. The number is (301)-387-1101.

 

Bartlett Increasing Fundraising

Maryland’s Sixth District Congressman Roscoe Bartlett is “ramping up” fundraising for a re-election bid, now that a court has dismissed a challenge to the redistricting map. Bartlett says he has raised about $150,000 in recent weeks to boost his campaign “war chest.” Previously lackluster fundraising efforts fueled some speculation that Bartlett planned to retire. Several prominent Republicans, including state GOP Chairman Alex Mooney, said they have been considering joining the race.

 

Maryland Receives Money for Childrens’ Health Care

The state is receiving over $28 million to help provide more children with health coverage. The money, from the U.S. Health Department, is a performance bonus payment for surpassing a Medicaid enrollment target and adopting procedures to improve access to Medicaid and Children’s Health insurance Program. It is the second year Maryland has received the bonus funding.

 

Lieutenant Governor Returns Campaign Donations

Maryland Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown has returned over $4700 in political donations he received from Richard Stewart. Stewart pleaded guilty to federal authorities this month for failure to pay about $4 million in employment taxes. And, a spokesman for Governor Martin O’Malley, said he will decide what will be done with $7,000 in donations he received from Stewart. The Maryland Republican party has also called on candidates to return donations from Stewart.

 

Winter Trout Stocking To Begin Soon

Winter trout stocking in West Virginia begins next Tuesday. The Division of Natural Resources says 30 streams and 27 lakes in the Mountain State will be stocked with a total of 43,500 pounds of trout by January 31st. Recent rains have raised stream flows and replenished state-run hatcheries’ springs.

Local News


Health Department Confirms Case of Legionnaire’s Disease

The Allegany County Health Department is investigating one confirmed case of Legionnnaire’s Disease in a resident of Grandview Apartments in Westernport. To protect the privacy of the resident and family, personal details about the case will not be released. Legionnaire’s Disease is caused by a type of bacteria, called Legionella, which can be found in many different water sources. Symptoms of the disease can include a high fever, chills, chest pain and cough. Signs appear 2 to 14 days after coming in contact with the bacteria.

 

Kelly Pre-files Child Protection Legislation

Delegate Kevin Kelly has pre-filed a bill, requiring parents or guardians of a missing or deceased child to notify law enforcement officials within certain periods of time, based on the child’s age. Proposed laws were developed after Casey Anthony’s acquittal in Florida this year, on charges she murdered her two-year old daughter, Caylee. Under Kelly’s legislation, prosecutors could bring felony charges against parents who do not quickly report missing children. Senator George Edwards has said he would support a similar bill.

 

Positive Economic Development News for County

The county is set to receive some positive economic news at the Allegany County Commissioners’ meeting tonight. Merkle Response Services, Incorporated is planning to expand into Allegany County. The commissioners will vote on the lease of 32,000 square feet in building 27 of the Riverside Industrial Park. The lease will become effective January 1st. Merkle Response Services will use the building as a secondary disaster recovery and business continuity site in the event that renders its primary facility in Hagerstown inoperable, according to the Cumberland Times-News.

 

Woman Arrested After Warning From Police

A Grand Avenue woman was arrested after being initially warned by police during a domestic incident early Tuesday morning. Kimberly Sue Haines was released on her own recognizance, following a hearing in District Court. A person in the home had claimed he had been assaulted by Ms. Haines, and she had been yelling, cursing and throwing items inside the residence. She was charged with second-degree assault, disorderly conduct and failure to obey a lawful order.

 

McKee’s Rocks Man Charged with Possession

Twenty-year old McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania resident John Felix Olszewski was released, following a hearing in Allegany County District Court Tuesday. He was initially stopped on Baltimore Avenue for a traffic violation. A drug scan by a K-9 unit resulted in a positive alert for the presence or odor of drugs. A front seat passenger  handed the officers a pack of cigarettes, with Olszewski telling them it contained a marijuana cigarette. He was placed under arrest and taken to the Cumberland City Police Department for processing.

 

Somerset To Join 911 Network

Somerset County is set to link with 10 others in establishing an enhanced 911 system. The 911 Emergency Services network would be internet-based, and for one thing, would allow text messages to be received from hearing-impaired residents. Also, dispatchers would be able to receive photos of a robbery in progress from a cell phone. The Pennsylvania Emergency management Agency was recently awarded a $2.5 million grant to build out the system.

 

Wisp Waiting for Snow

Warmer temperatures in November and December have slowed business at the Wisp resort in McHenry. It is hoped the lost business can be recovered in January and February . Garrett County received a couple of inches of snow this week, and Wisp has one of the most state of the art snow making systems on the east coast. Having Deep Creek Lake close by allows the Wisp to get the water to make snow.

 

General Assembly Could OK Online Gambling

The Maryland General Assembly has to approve it, but buying a lottery ticket could soon be as easy as clicking your mouse. Web ticket sales are considered legal, and Maryland has been exploring online sales to fill the budget shortfall, which is projected at $1.1 billion. Online revenues could bring it at least $250 million. Lottery officials are taking comments from the public to decide if there is enough interest to move forward.

 

High Court Sides with West Virginia

The United States Supreme Court agrees with the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office in a generic drug-pricing case. The court rejected an appeal from CVS Pharmacies, Walgreen’s, Walmart, Target, Kroger and Sears. The retailers are accused of violating West Virginia’s law, requiring stores to pass on the lower wholesale cost savings for generic prescription drugs to consumers. The state is looking to recover the alleged overcharges and civil penalties from the drug retailers.

 

Tolls Rise on Turnpike

If you drive the Pennsylvania Turnpike, tolls will be rising for drivers paying with cash, beginning Sunday. Drivers, however, paying with E-Z Pass won’t see an increase. The Turnpike Commission approved the toll hike in July. This is the fourth straight annual boost by the commission to pay off bonds that fund highway improvements and mass-transit systems around the state. The most common cash toll for passenger vehicles will increase from $1.10 to $1.25.

Local News


Health Department Confirms Case of Legionnaire’s Disease

The Allegany County Health Department is investigating one confirmed case of Legionnnaire’s Disease in a resident of Grandview Apartments in Westernport. To protect the privacy of the resident and family, personal details about the case will not be released. Legionnaire’s Disease is caused by a type of bacteria, called Legionella, which can be found in many different water sources. Symptoms of the disease can include a high fever, chills, chest pain and cough. Signs appear 2 to 14 days after coming in contact with the bacteria.

 

Kelly Pre-files Child Protection Legislation

Delegate Kevin Kelly has pre-filed a bill, requiring parents or guardians of a missing or deceased child to notify law enforcement officials within certain periods of time, based on the child’s age. Proposed laws were developed after Casey Anthony’s acquittal in Florida this year, on charges she murdered her two-year old daughter, Caylee. Under Kelly’s legislation, prosecutors could bring felony charges against parents who do not quickly report missing children. Senator George Edwards has said he would support a similar bill.

 

Positive Economic Development News for County

The county is set to receive some positive economic news at the Allegany County Commissioners’ meeting tonight. Merkle Response Services, Incorporated is planning to expand into Allegany County. The commissioners will vote on the lease of 32,000 square feet in building 27 of the Riverside Industrial Park. The lease will become effective January 1st. Merkle Response Services will use the building as a secondary disaster recovery and business continuity site in the event that renders its primary facility in Hagerstown inoperable, according to the Cumberland Times-News.

 

Woman Arrested After Warning From Police

A Grand Avenue woman was arrested after being initially warned by police during a domestic incident early Tuesday morning. Kimberly Sue Haines was released on her own recognizance, following a hearing in District Court. A person in the home had claimed he had been assaulted by Ms. Haines, and she had been yelling, cursing and throwing items inside the residence. She was charged with second-degree assault, disorderly conduct and failure to obey a lawful order.

 

McKee’s Rocks Man Charged with Possession

Twenty-year old McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania resident John Felix Olszewski was released, following a hearing in Allegany County District Court Tuesday. He was initially stopped on Baltimore Avenue for a traffic violation. A drug scan by a K-9 unit resulted in a positive alert for the presence or odor of drugs. A front seat passenger  handed the officers a pack of cigarettes, with Olszewski telling them it contained a marijuana cigarette. He was placed under arrest and taken to the Cumberland City Police Department for processing.

 

Somerset To Join 911 Network

Somerset County is set to link with 10 others in establishing an enhanced 911 system. The 911 Emergency Services network would be internet-based, and for one thing, would allow text messages to be received from hearing-impaired residents. Also, dispatchers would be able to receive photos of a robbery in progress from a cell phone. The Pennsylvania Emergency management Agency was recently awarded a $2.5 million grant to build out the system.

 

Wisp Waiting for Snow

Warmer temperatures in November and December have slowed business at the Wisp resort in McHenry. It is hoped the lost business can be recovered in January and February . Garrett County received a couple of inches of snow this week, and Wisp has one of the most state of the art snow making systems on the east coast. Having Deep Creek Lake close by allows the Wisp to get the water to make snow.

 

General Assembly Could OK Online Gambling

The Maryland General Assembly has to approve it, but buying a lottery ticket could soon be as easy as clicking your mouse. Web ticket sales are considered legal, and Maryland has been exploring online sales to fill the budget shortfall, which is projected at $1.1 billion. Online revenues could bring it at least $250 million. Lottery officials are taking comments from the public to decide if there is enough interest to move forward.

 

Web ticket sales are considered legal, and Maryland has been exploring online sales to fill the budget shortfall, which is projected at $1.1 billion. Online revenues could bring it at least $250 million. Lottery officials are taking comments from the public to decide if there is enough interest to move forward.

 

High Court Sides with West Virginia

The United States Supreme Court agrees with the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office in a generic drug-pricing case. The court rejected an appeal from CVS Pharmacies, Walgreen’s, Walmart, Target, Kroger and Sears. The retailers are accused of violating West Virginia’s law, requiring stores to pass on the lower wholesale cost savings for generic prescription drugs to consumers. The state is looking to recover the alleged overcharges and civil penalties from the drug retailers.

 

Tolls Rise on Turnpike

If you drive the Pennsylvania Turnpike, tolls will be rising for drivers paying with cash, beginning Sunday. Drivers, however, paying with E-Z Pass won’t see an increase. The Turnpike Commission approved the toll hike in July. This is the fourth straight annual boost by the commission to pay off bonds that fund highway improvements and mass-transit systems around the state. The most common cash toll for passenger vehicles will increase from $1.10 to $1.25.

Local News


Woodland Road Fire Investigated

A one-story, wood-framed home on Woodland Road in Frostburg has been declared a total loss, following a fire Monday evening. Firefighters from six companies fought the blaze at the home of Roger Buskirk. Eight people were displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross. The cause remains under investigation, but it is known it originated in the basement. Smoke detectors were present and activated; losses were placed at a total of $50,000.

 

Minnick Trial Set for February

The trial of Jeffrey Minnick has been set for February, and certain statements made by Minnick, when questioned about the murder, will be admissible at trial. His lawyer argued that he was in custody, but had not yet been read his Miranda rights when investigators were questioning him in connection with the Garrett County slayings of 24-year old Timothy Lax and 18-year old Jessica Baker. Investigators found the bodies on June 1st by some railroad tracks that police say is frequented by vagrants. Minnick’s bloody hunting knife was found nearby.

 

More Details on Morgan County Murder

More details are emerging in a murder investigation in Morgan County, West Virginia. James T. Zell, Jr., is charged in connection with the murder of his girlfriend, 29-year old Kelly Elizabeth Butler. Her body was found in a cabin, in a remote section of Hampshire County, West Virginia. Zell told police he blacked out, following an argument, and when he came to, she was lying dead on the floor, with fingerprints around her neck. He has admitted he loaded her body into a vehicle and took it to a cabin in Hampshire County. An autopsy is pending. The process has begun to transport Zell from Pennsylvania-where he was arrested-to West Virginia.

 

No Charges to be Filed in Bow-and-Arrow Killing

There will be no charges filed against a Center City man who shot and killed Tony Bittinger with a bow-and-arrow on October 10th. Bittinger, who had been romantically involved the man’s wife, made several threatening phone calls before driving to his home to confront him. The man told him repeatedly to leave; when Bittnger did not, he was shot in the chest with the bow and arrow. The shooting was justified in the state’s Castle Doctrine, adopted this past summer. It expands a homeowners’ right to use deadly force against intruders. The man who shot Bittinger will not be identified, as he is not being charged in connection with the incident.

 

Police Look for Breaking and Entering Suspects

The Cumberland City Police are investigating a breaking and entering that took place at 506 Linden Street on Monday afternoon. Two suspects were seen running from the residence, as the homeowner returned. They were described as wearing different colored hooded sweatshirts. The investigation revealed they had opened the front door of the residence; they had also forced open the rear door of the home. Drawers, cabinets, and closets were opened in the basement, and in each room of the house. It doesn’t appear as if anything was taken. The Maryland State Police Crime Lab responded to assist in processing the scene and the investigation is continuing.

 

Sears, K-Mart Shutting Down Stores

There is no word on any possible closings in Maryland, but Sears and K-Mart have announced they are shutting down between 100 and 120 stores, after terrible holiday sales during the most crucial time of year for retailers. Sears says the closings will generate $140 and $170 million in cash in inventory sales. Same-store revenue fell 5.2 per cent to date for the quarter at both Sears and K-Mart. There are more than 4,000 Sears stores in the United States and Canada.

 

 

Man Enters Guilty Pleas to Heroin Distribution

A 64-year old Martinsburg man entered a guilty plea to one count of an indictment, charging him  with the distribution of heroin within 1,000 feet of Winchester Avenue Elementary School in April of 2010. Jerome Holden Cunningham could face a maximum prison sentence of up to 40 years and a fine of $2 million. He is free on bond, pending sentencing.

 

Damage Claims Expected to Surpass $1 Million

Damages from tar that leaked from a tanker owned by a Maryland-based trucking company on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last month will likely be well over a million dollars. More than 400 drivers reported damage, after a leaky valve spread the “goo” over 40 miles of the Turnpike, near Pittsburgh, during high travel time last month. MTS Transport of Stevensville says it is working with its insurer to cover the damages. The truck driver, from Glen Burnie, was fined $1,000 and put on administrative leave.

 

West Virginia Food Tax To Drop Next Month

The tax on food in West Virginia will drop from three to two per cent next month. Beginning January 1st, a family of four will save about $52 per year, or about $1 per week. An approved plan has the tax decreasing to one per cent next July, with the tax being completely removed by July 1, 2013. West Virginia has had a food tax, in one form or another, since 1934.

Local News


Man Arrested in Connection with Girlfriends’ Murder

 Morgan County resident James Zell has been arrested in connection with
 the murder of his girlfriend. The body of 29-year old Kelly Butler was
 found in an abandoned cabin in the Eagle Mountain subdivision of Pin Oak
 in Hampshire County. Zell was arrested in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania for
 driving under the influence. He was interviewed Thursday, but, at the
 time, declined knowledge of her whereabouts. By Friday, he gave a full
 confession and admitted to killing the woman. He will be extradited to
 West Virginia.


 Police Seek Information on Breaking and Entering

 Cumberland City Police are seeking information on a Christmas Day
 breaking and entering in the Bellvue Street area. The victims were away
 from their homes for a period of time; when they returned home, they
 observed their residence had been forcibly entered and several items had
 been stolen. Anyone with information is asked to contact Cumberland City
 Police at (301)-777-1600 or Allegany and Mineral County Crimesolvers at
 (301)-722-4300.


 Man Held in Assault Incident

 Cumberland resident James Derek Coffey was charged with assault and
 disorderly conduct, following an incident, occurring on Baltimore Street
 last Wednesday. Coffey is accused of shoving another man to the ground,
 and then kicking him in the head. The victim refused medical treatment,
 but Coffey was arrested on Christmas Eve and taken to the Allegany
 County Detention Center in lieu of $5,000 bond.

 

Animal Shelter Wins National Award

Local resident Pete Masloch has received the Henry Bergh Leadership Award, from the No Kill Advocacy Center. The award, according to the Cumberland Times-News, is given for unwavering commitment to ending the systematic killing of animals in shelters. Bergh was a 19-th century animal advocate who launched the treatment for the human treatment of animals in North America.


 Eight Garrett County Businesses Cited

 Eight Garrett County businesses recently failed compliance checks for
 selling alcohol to minors. Businesses in Oakland, Deer Park and
 Friendsville each received fines, and several had their alcoholic
 beverage licenses suspended. Several other businesses will have hearings
 next month. The clerks who sold alcohol to the Maryland State Police
 cadet are criminally charged, and will have to appear in Garrett County
 District Court.


 EMS Company Receives $300,000 from Commissioners

 The Mathias-Baker, West Virginia EMS squad was recently given $300,000
 by the Hardy County Commissioners, so it can continue operations. The
 company recently paid over a million dollars to settle allegations that
 it submitted false claims for payment to Medicare and Medicaid programs,
 and would have had to “fold” if not for the financial assistance. The
 EMS group will have to report its financial progress to the
 commissioners on a monthly basis, and the Hardy County Commissioners are
 working on a contingency plan, should the company fail to rectify its
 financial situation.

 

Bill Introduced on Sexual Assault

A Pennsylvania State Representative has been working to pass an amended bill that would create the offense of institutional sexual assault in a school or child center setting. Representative Carl Metzgar says the bill it would apply whether or not the student has reached the child has reached the age of consent, which is 16 years old; the bill would also make the crime a felony.


 Christmas Tree Collections Announced

 Christmas trees will be collected for recycling in Cumberland on
 Friday, January 13th. City residents wishing to recycle their Christmas
 trees are asked to remove all decorations and place the tree curbside
 the evening of January 12th. For additional information, contact the
 city’s Public Works Department at (301)-759-6620.


 Former ACM Athletic Foundation President Dies

 The former president of the Allegany College of Maryland Foundation,
 Nello Caporossi, died on Saturday, December 17th. He had been president
 of the group for 21 years. Caporossi was also a member of the Maryland
 Terrapin Club and a charter and founding member of the Fort Hill “F”
 Club. He had been employed at the Kelly-Springfield Tire Company for 36
 years, retiring as a Production Superintendent. At his request, he was
 cremated, with his ashes being spread at the Canaveral National Seashore
 in Florida.

Local News


Man Arrested Twice in Same Day

Cumberland resident John Esposito was arrested twice in the same day Thursday. At 10:54 a.m. he was stopped in the vicinity of Maryland Avenue, and failed those tests. He was released pending trial in District Court. Later that day, he was arrested a second time for driving while impaired. A search also led to the recovery of a small amount of suspected marijuana. He was then taken to District Court and held on $5,000 bail.

 

Judge Denies Contempt Claim

A Bedford County judge has denied a motion to hold a County Commissioner in contempt for alleged disparaging remarks he made about the Bedford Area School District. The school board had filed suit against Commissioner Gary Ebersole. The School district had wanted the judge to find Ebersole in contempt for statements made in the Bedford Gazette and Shoppers’ Guide. The District’s Attorney, however, failed to establish that his advertisements and comments in his unsuccessful run for re-election this past fall disparaged or humiliated the district or its employees.

 

Man Seeks to Establish Shooting Range

A Mineral County resident and former gun shop owner wants to lease the former tennis courts along Route 46, in order to build a public shooting range. Greg Harr says he has been approached by several people, wanting to have a place to practice their marksmanship. The range would be available to those who become members of the Mineral County Sportsmen’s Association, and Harr says he now has about 60 potential members. He is expected to present the proposal to the Keyser City  Council at a future meeting.

 

O’Malley Hosts Redistricting Hearing

Governor Martin O’Malley hosted a recent hearing, concerning the proposed legislative redistricting map for 188 seats in the Maryland General Assembly, and says he will weigh comments and consider changes, before formally submitting the map on the first day of the General Assembly. Opponents of the proposal criticized having less than a week to review the map, which was made public on December 16th. Once submitted, lawmakers will have 45 days to either approve it or pass an alternative plan. If lawmakers don’t approve an alternative plan, the Governor’s proposal becomes law.

 

Woman Wanted on Arson Charges

A Frederick County woman is being sought in connection with intentionally setting fire to her home in November. Patricia Cullop then barricaded herself in the attic of the home. She also made the “911” call to report the fire. She may be in the Frederick County area, and anyone with information on her whereabouts should contact police.

 

Gardner’s Boyfriend Believes She is Alive

The boyfriend for Robyn Gardner, who went missing while on vacation in Aruba with Gary Giordano, believes she is still alive, and the victim of human trafficking. Richard Forester said that Giordano’s story that she went snorkeling and was swept out to sea is implausible, because she was afraid of the ocean. Forester says he will remain patient and won’t give up, until there is information on her whereabouts.

 

Marcellus Shale Bill Signed into Law

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has signed a bill, establishing a comprehensive regulatory framework for natural gas drilling in Marcellus Shale. The bill establishes permit fees for drillers, requires companies to provide public notice of drilling sites and mandates that new well pads are at least 625 feet from residences. Named the Horizontal Well Act, the bill overwhelmingly passed the House and Senate earlier this month, during a special session.

 

Man Pleads Guilty To Robbery

An Eastern Panhandle resident has entered a guilty plea to robbing the BB & T bank in Martinsburg. Mark Daniel Haines is accused of using the drive-through of the bank, and demanding money, which the teller put in the drawer. He fled with over $7500. The case was investigated by the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 

 

Local News


State Settles Inmate Rights Case

Maryland will pay more than $60,000 in attorney fees to lawyers who represented a WCI inmate, who filed a freedom of information request, and a subsequent lawsuit in 2002. Richard Massey filed a request for four pieces of information concerning practices at the prison, which he claimed might be exposing inmates to hepatitis “C.” Massey had requested information on the health care contracts the prison had wanted with providers, and information on testing, treatment and education programs for inmates for Hepatitis “C.” The money will be divided between the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Maryland and the Public Justice Center, according to the Cumberland Times-News.

 

Woman Charged with Theft

Twenty-three year old Shannon Marie Kelly of Cumberland is facing charges in connection with a theft from a Forester Avenue home on Wednesday. She is accused of taking several pieces of jewelry from a residence there, and pawning it at a local shop. She was ordered held on $3,000 bond, but posted bail, pending her next appearance in court. She is charged with theft from $1,000 to under $10,000.

 

Pertussis Case Does Not Indicate Outbreak

Thursday’s article in the Cumberland Times-News regarding a local pre-kindergarten child having “whooping cough” or pertussis does not indicate an outbreak, according to the Allegany County Health Department. Although it is highly contagious, an outbreak involves two or more cases, which are not in the same household. The Health Department offers pertussis vaccines through its multi-purpose clinic on Wednesdays from 1 to 4 p.m. For information on the clinic, call (301)-759-5082.

 

Pedestrian Struck in Lonaconing

A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on Route 36 in Lonaconing early yesterday afternoon. The victim was taken to the Western Maryland Regional medical Center with minor injuries. The incident took place at 35 Main Street, according to the Allegany County “911” Center.

 

Repairs on Boulevard Today

The City of Cumberland, along with its contractor, Carl Belt, Incorporated is making repairs to Westbound Industrial Boulevard today. Traffic control will be set up in the area. Drivers are urged to obey all traffic control signs and flagmen in the area. The repairs will take place in the area of Kirk Auto. Repairs, and should last until about 5 p.m. Travel lanes will be restricted at times during the repairs.

 

Cold Weather Shelter “Goods and Funds Drive” Set

The Delfesst Foundation Service Committee and GO-106 are conducting a “goods and funds” drive for the local Cold Weather Shelter, located at the Union Rescue Mission. The Cold Weather Shelter assists those in need of housing during the winter months. It is estimated that, in our community, there are over 200 homeless individuals. The drive will take place at Braddock Square in LaVale on Friday, January 6th from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Specific items are needed, including baby products, baby formula, diapers and wet wipes, travel size toiletry items and cash. Checks should be made payable to the DelFest Foundation.

 

Fort Hill Sponsors Annual Holiday Endeavor

The Christmas Committee at Fort Hill High School is once again sponsoring the school’s annual Christmas Endeavor, an initiative during the holiday season, designed to help students and families who are less fortunate. Since the program’s implementation in 2004, the group has provided gifts for 212 deserving Fort Hill students. Additionally, student helpers from Sarah Cowan’s class at Fort Hill wrapped blankets that will be placed in each stocking along with a Sentinel t-shirt, personal care items, various gift cards and candy.

 

Trooper Released from Hospital

Trooper First Class Sean McCarty has been released from Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center, after being pinned between two cars. McCarty, who has family ties to the Cumberland area, was using his patrol car to block traffic in Frederick County, on Ballenger Center Drive. While investigating, one of the cars accidentally reversed and pinned McCarty between the vehicle and the patrol car.

 

Public Works Postpones Action on Pharmacy Contract

The Maryland Board of Public Works has postponed action on a $120 million pharmacy contract for the state’s prison inmates. The board deferred action on the five-year contract with Diamond Pharmacy to wait for unsuccessful competing bids to have their protests heard by the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals. Correct Pharmacy Services, Incorporated will continue to provide services until the appeals are resolved; Correct is one of the bidders that filed an appeal.

Local News


Board Votes to Accept MOU With City of Cumberland, WMHS

The Allegany County Board of Education has voted to unanimously accept the Memorandum of Understanding between the Mayor and City Council of Cumberland and the Western Maryland Health System that will allow the school system to acquire the property located at the Braddock Campus of the WMHS to be used as the site for a new Allegany High School. The Braddock Campus is particularly attractive since it is located within the city limits, and the site also already has all major utilities in place and has relatively flat terrain, which makes it easier to repurpose. A presentation will be made to the Board of Public Works on January 25th of next year.

 

City Accepts Land Swap; Rhodes Hired as City Administrator

The Mayor and City Council voted 3-0 to accept the land swap deal in the hopes a new Allegany High School will be built at the former Braddock campus of the Western Maryland Health System. There were two abstentions, as Council Member Mary Beth Pirolozzi serves on the hospital system’s board of directors, and Concilman David Kauffman is employed by the school system. Also during last night’s meeting, Jeff Rhodes, who had been the acting city administrator, was permanently named to that position. He replaces Jeff Repp, who left the job earlier this summer.

 

April Trial Date Set for FSU Student

Shanee Liggins, who has been charged with murder in the death of fellow student Kortneigh McCoy, will stand trial on April 30th. She had her first court appearance yesterday in connection with the stabbing death on November 6th. Following the hearing, a pre-trial release amount was set at $350,000. Five days have been set aside for the trial.

 

State Attorney Appeals Reopening of Case

Garrett County State’s Attorney Lisa Thayer Welch is appealing the reopening of the 1980 murder conviction of a West Virginia man in the slaying of a Garrett County Sheriff’s Deputy, David Livengood. The appeal is based on the contention that the Judge in Roberto Rezek’s trial gave improper jury instructions. Rezek, at the time, was sentenced to life plus 15 years in the shooting death of Deputy Livengood.

 

Slots License To Be Awarded Early in 2012

A slots license for Rocky Gap State Park won’t be awarded until at least February, according to the Maryalnd Video Lottery Facilities Commission. Background checks on the officers of the companies bidding for the license must be conducted, and those checks probably won’t be finished until the end of next month. The two companies bidding for the license are Evitts Creek Resort LLC and Landow Partners LLC, a real estate company owned by former Democratic Party Chairman Nathan Landow.

 

Vandals Sought in Lonaconing Damage

Police are investigating the vandalism of Christmas lights in the town of Lonaconing. Mayor Jack Coburn says the town incurred anywhere from $600 to $800 in damage, with the majority of the vandalism taking place in the vicinity of the Iron Furnace and near Main and Union Streets. About 500 lights were damaged or stolen. The town has video surveillance near the locations where the damage occurred, and town officials and police are currently reviewing that.

 

Bedford Visitors’ Bureau Helps Non-Profits

The Bedford County Visitors’ Bureau has awarded over $36,000 to area non-profit attractions and events for promotion of projects next year. The bureau traditionally dedicates 10 per cent of the funds from its hotel/motel tax revenues to help non-profit attractions promote themselves. The beneficiaries from the Pennsylvania Consort to over $7700 for the Fall Foliage Festival.

 

Plan Maryland Takes Effect

PlanMaryland, which has been described by some as a usurpation of local power over land use, has been accepted by Governor Martin O’Malley. However, the Governor has described it as a framework for making wise decisions about where the state should invest in capital projects. Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin, who plans to introduce legislation that would undo the plan, called the adoption of the plan by executive order, “the height of arrogance,” adding that it should have been brought to the legislature, in the form of a bill.

 

 

Maryland Unemployment Rate Falls Below Seven Per Cent

The Maryland unemployment rate dropped to 6.9 per cent in November, down from the 7.2 rate set in October. More Marylanders are in the labor pool, and 9500 fewer residents are unemployed. Maryland employers added 2,000 jobs in November. In West Virginia, the unemployment rate fell to 7.1 per cent. Mineral and Hardy counties’ rate remained unchanged, while Hampshire County’s rate rose last month, when compared to October.

 

Somerset County Holds Postal Meeting

More than 40 residents of New Baltimore, Pennsylvania attended a meeting Monday night to discuss  the possible closure of several post offices in the Somerset County area. If the New Baltimore post office closes, a rural carrier from Berlin would add New Baltimore to its route. Lock-box cluster units could be used for residents’ mail, and their physical addresses would not change. An agreement has been announced to delay post office and mail processing center closings until May 15th at the request of several senators.

Local News


Two Charged After WCI Visit

Nineteen-year old Baltimore resident Mia Taft and a 16-year old companion have been charged, after allegedly passing suspected marijuana to an inmate at the Western Correctional Institution in Cresaptown on Sunday. Ms. Taft was jailed on $25,000 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center, while the teen was released to the custody of her parents, pending action by juvenile authorities. Corrections officials seized 17 small baggies of suspected marijuana; the two allegedly tried to pass the suspected marijuana to an inmate during a visit to the institution.

 

Postal Service holds Meeting

About 100 people turned out at a public meeting at Fort Hill High School last night to protest the U.S. Postal Service plan to close more than 250 mail processing centers, including the one in Cumberland. They are also considering plans to eliminate overnight mail, extending delivery times to two or three days.  The Postal Service, however, has delayed those plans until May, to give Congress time to consider the matter. Written comment is being taken through January 3rd on the plan.

 

New Page Executives to Receive Bonuses

A federal bankruptcy judge has cleared the way for 15 New Page company executives to receive $1.5 million in bonuses. Many of the company’s vendors have not received any type of payment during the bankruptcy proceedings. Those debts range anywhere from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars owed to contractors and suppliers from large companies.

 

Board To Hold Special Meeting

The Allegany County Board of Education will hold a special meeting today  at the Central Office on Washington Street. The meeting will be held to consider the Memorandum of Understanding among the school board, the city of Cumberland, and the Western Maryland Health System. The meeting is open to the public. Immediately following the special meeting, the Board will meet in executive session for an appeal hearing.

 

Man Convicted in North End Robbery

Frostburg resident Torrey Love has been convicted of armed robbery, in connection with the January robbery and assault of a Cumberland resident in the 300-block of Columbia Street. He remains jailed, pending a pre-sentence investigation. He reportedly was on probation for a prior armed robbery conviction, and has also been convicted of other offenses.

 

Gas “Relights” Underway in Mineral County

Columbia Gas of Maryland is currently “relighting” the homes of residents, after damage was done to a Columbia Gas Transmission line late last week. The outage was reported in Elk Garden. Residents whose homes have not had service restored are asked to turn on their porch lights. For those not home during the service restoration process, crews will leave a door hanger, informing them of the outage and requesting that they call Columbia Gas for a service call.

 

DUI Checkpoint Conducted

Troopers from the Maryland State Police Barrack in Cumberland conducted a DUI Saturation Patrol on Route 36 and Route 40, in and around the city of Frostburg. As a result, four Troopers stopped 20 vehicles and issued 20 warnings and eight citations. One person was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, and driving on a revoked license. Motorists are encouraged to report possible intoxicated drivers by contacting the Maryland State Police at (301)-729-2101,  then pressing “pound” 77.

 

Police Looking for Hit and Run Driver

Cumberland City Police are looking for a driver, concerning a hit and run accident Saturday in the 700-block of Fayette Street. An unknown vehicle struck a parked vehicle, causing minor damage to the driver side rear view mirror. The vehicle did not stop at the scene of the accident. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Cumberland Police Department at (301)-777-1600.

 

Maryland to Share “Race to the Top” Grant

The state of Maryland nine others sharing a half-billion dollar grant through the federal “Race to the Top” program. The federal competition offers an incentive to schools for good student behavior. It’s unclear how much Maryland will receive, but the money will go towards early childhood education programs. Maryland received a quarter million dollars last year.

 

Reducing Dropout Rate Would Improve Economy

There were 6900 high school dropouts in the Class of 2010 in West Virginia, but one person says reducing that would translate to new jobs, increased pay for individuals and more tax revenues for the state. Former Governor Bob Wise, who heads the Alliance for Excellent Education, says the Mountain State would see a dramatic rise in earnings and increased spending, if those dropouts became “new graduates,” and 60 per cent of them go on to complete some kind of higher education.

Local News


Cumberland Woman Struck, Killed Friday

Sixty-three year old Hazel Louise Arnold of Cumberland was struck and killed Friday evening along Route 51, near the PPG Road exit. Ms. Arnold had exited a vehicle, driven by Albert Francis Long, to remove a deer from the roadway he had struck. Another car, driven by James David Johnson, struck Ms. Arnold. She was pronounced dead on arrival at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center. Charges are pending in the accident, which is being investigated by the Maryland State Police.

 

Cumberland Resident To Stand Trial

Mark Alan Shirey of Cumberland will stand trial in the death of his ex-wife’s boyfriend. Charges were bound over for trial, following a hearing Friday in Bedford County Court. He is accused of first-degree murder in the death of Michael Wayne Simpson. No trial date has been set, but Shirey is due back in court next month, for a status conference.

 

Fechheimer To Lay Off Workers

Fechheimer Brothers Company facility in Grantsville plans to lay off 59 workers by March 1st. The company notified state regulators of the move. Fechheimer is based in Cincinnati, Ohio, and makes uniforms for police, firefighters, umpires and a range of other professions.

 

House Fire Reported in North End

A house fire was reported in the 600-block of Holland Street late last night. The fire was contained to the basement area of the home. Several Fire companies were dispatched to the scene. The fire remains under investigation by the city fire marshal.

 

Smith Trial Postponed Until February

The trial of Keyser businessman Brian Smith has been postponed until February, as the court must first sort out what will and what won’t be allowed as testimony in the case. Motions and responses will be kept sealed until the trial date to enable the court to seat an objective jury in February, according to the Mineral News-Tribune. The new trial dates are February 6th through the 8th, with a pre-trial hearing set for January 17th at 2:30 p.m.

 

Guilty Plea Entered by Law Office Secretary

A guilty plea has been entered by a law office secretary in Bedford County, who was accused of embezzling more than $80,000 from her employer over a period of almost 6 years. Carla Kagarise of Manns Choice signed an open plea agreement on a charge of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received. Ms. Kagarise had been the secretary for Bedford Attorney Kristin Banasick. She was arrested on November 22nd of last year.

 

Delegation Meeting Set

The Western Maryland Delegation to the General Asembly has announced its annual public meeting, which will take place on Wednesday, January 4th at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Allegany College of Maryland auditorium. The meeting is open to all citizens, who are encouraged to attend and contribute any comments, questions or suggestions regarding state issues or legislative matters. The Allegany County Teacher’s Association will provide refreshments.

 

Scholarship Fund Announces 75th Anniversary Plans

The 75th anniversary and reunion of all classes is being planned for the weekend of July 7th at Greenway Avenue Stadium. Several activities are being planned for that day, with a dance being planned for the Cumberland Holiday Inn. Volunteers are needed to insure a successful gathering. Anyone wishing to volunteer for a specific committee or for more information should contact forthill75th@gmail.com. The Fort Hill Scholarship Fund is spearheading the 75th anniversary activities.

 

County Announces Holiday Schedule

All Allegany County Government offices will be closed on Monday, December 26th and Monday, January 2nd. Allegany County Transit will not have any fixed route bus service and All Trans vans will not operate on Friday, December 23rd; Monday, December 26th; Friday, December 30th and Monday, January 2nd. Public transportation services will operate on Tuesday, December 27th; Wednesday, December 28th; and, Thursday, December 29th.

 

Panel Urges Reduction of Structural Deficit

A panel of lawmakers is recommending that Governor O’Malley and the General Assembly reduce the state’s structural deficit by 50 per cent in the next legislative session, and is giving O’Malley the flexibility to close some of the gap with tax increases, instead of budget cuts only. The recommendations, however, are not binding on the Governor, who submits the state budget in January.

Local News


Another Arrested in Robberies

Another suspect has been arrested in connection with the robbery of a Cumberland Valley couple Sunday night. Thirty-five year old Melvin Ray Howell III, of Cumberland, was captured south of Hyndman on Wednesday. The Pennsylvania State Police conducted the search near the intersection of Route 96 and Stringtown Road. Howell was taken into custody without incident, and jailed on $150,000 cash bail. On the scene Wednesday were about two dozen state police vehicles, along with one personnel carrier and two vans. The area they searched is sometimes known as Hosselrode Hollow.

 

Cause of Death Released in Fire Investigation

The identities of the victims of last Sunday’s fire on Estelle Street have been confirmed. Delores Crawford, Ruth Crawford and Kellie Lynn Appold died from smoke inhalation and thermal burn injuries, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office. It is known that the gas had been shut off to the home about two weeks before the incident, as a result of a leaking wall-mounted gas space heater. The victims had been using electric, oil-filled radiant space heaters. No evidence of smoke detectors was located, but it is known the occupants were approached in September in an effort to offer services such as free installation of smoke detectors, but were denied access to the home.

 

Cooperative to Enter into Agreement with County

The Maryland Broadband Cooperative, in partnership with the Allegany County Commissioners, is expected to enter in to an agreement, in which the county will provide access to space for MdBC electronics to light fiber along Interstate 68. This partnership brings the county into the Cooperative’s agreement with the state of Maryland, which received a $115 million federal stimulus grant for broadband availability throughout the state through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, or “B-TOP,” administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

 

Remains Identified

An investigation into the cause of death is underway, but experts have identified the remains found in a wooded area near Shadyside Lane in Bedford several weeks ago. A forensic odontologist has identified the body as that of Audrey Rock Phoenix of Portland, Oregon. She had been designated as an “endangered missing person” by the Portland Police Department on May 18th of this year. Investigators are also looking into how she came to be in the wooded area.

West Virginia Remains Identified

A body found in the Monongahela National Forest last month has been identified as 58-year old Michael Hamner, of Thomas, West Virginia. The Tucker County Sheriff’s Department says Hamner was originally reported missing on January 13th of this year, and was found by deer hunters on November 19th. The West Virginia Medcial Examiner’s Office has not determined a cause of death, but foul play is not suspected.  

 

Laurel Man Arrested on Assault, Endangerment Charges

Fifty-three year old Laurel resident Bernard Cornelius Fletcher has been charged with two counts of assault, and one of reckless endangerment, in connection with an incident Wednesday evening in the 900-block of Maryland Avenue. The victim told police she had been held at knifepoint by an acquaintance during the assault. She refused medical treatment. Fletcher was arrested and held without bail.

 

Bedford Man Enters Guilty Plea

Twenty-one year old Bedford resident Charles Keith Horsh has pleaded guilty to the burglary and arson of Trinity Lutheran Church in Bedford Borough on June 8th of this year. He is expected to be sentenced to 10 to 20 years in state prison on January 13th of next year. Damages to the parish house were estimated to be more than a quarter-million dollars. He has been housed at the Bedford County Jail since June 15th of this year, after failing to post bail, which was set I the amount of $500,000.

 

Missing Man May Be in Western Maryland Area

Baltimore County Police say a missing Baltimore man may be in the Cumberland/West Virginia area. Fifty-six year old David Alexander has been missing since December 6th. He left his Baltimore home for a doctor’s appointment, and never came back. He is described as 6 foot, two inches tall, weighing 220 pounds. He has blue eyes, grey hair and a mustache.

 

Delegate to Introduce Cell Phone Bill

A Baltimore County State Delegate will introduce legislation that would make the use of a hand-held cell phone a primary offense; it is now a secondary-type violation. The National Transportation Safety Board is trying to prohibit texting, emailing, or using any cellphone, while in the car. Delegate Dana Stein says that he will also work to make distracted driving a crime, although using a hands-free cell phone while driving would not be illegal under the bill he will propose.

Local News


Fourth Suspect Apprehended

A fourth suspect in a series of business and home invasion robberies was captured in the parking lot of a downtown Cumberland business yesterday afternoon. Gregory Thomas Laisure is being charged in connection with the robbery at the Brass Kactus on Offutt Street, Billie’s Gas-N-Grub in Flintstone, and at a private residence on Hawk Street in Rawlings. Earlier, the Pennsylvania State Police executed a search warrant at a private residence in Stringtown, Pennsylvania; as a result, investigators were able to find Laisure. Jerome and Cory Crabtree, along with Zachary Huffman are already in custody and have been charged in connection with the same incidents.

 

American Woodmark to Close Hardy County Facility

The continuing housing slump has caused the closure of the American Woodmark in Hardy County, West Virginia. That location, and another in Kentucky, will shut down by April 30th of next year. The Washington Business Journal says the company is closing its employee defined-benefit pension plans, effective May 12, 2012, shifting instead to higher company contributions to employee 401(k) plans. According to the company’s most recent annual report, American Woodmark employed about 3700 workers. An assembly plant in Oklahoma was idled in 2009.

 

Cause Of Death Determined in Triple-Fatal Fire

The identities of the victims of last Sunday’s fire on Estelle Street have been confirmed. Delores Crawford, Ruth Crawford and Kellie Lynn Appold died from smoke inhalation and thermal burn injuries, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office. It is known that the gas had been shut off to the home about two weeks before the incident, as a result of a leaking wall-mounted gas space heater. The victims had been using electric, oil-filled radiant space heaters. No evidence of smoke detectors was located, but it is known the occupants were approached in September in an effort to offer services such as free installation of smoke detectors, but were denied access to the home.

 

Fire Causes $5,000 Damage to Cresaptown Home

An off-duty State Police Officer is being credited with saving a McMullen Highway residence from destruction early yesterday morning. TFC. Mark Lechliter drove by the house, and discovered the fire. He took a fire extinguisher out of his vehicle and put the fire out. The structure was owned by Anne Miller and Joseph Morgan and was undergoing renovation, and therefore, unoccupied at the time. Smoke alarms were present and activated. The fire did $5,000 worth of damage, and was accidental in nature, caused by an overloaded electrical panel.

 

Westernport Man Faces Charges from DNR

Westernport resident Richard Allan Wilkinson faces numerous charges, in connection with an incident earlier this month in Garrett County. Wilkinson is charged with possessing a loaded weapon in a vehicle, failing to report a deer kill, hunting under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of alcohol, and exceeding the bag limit of deer. His vehicle was stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence; officers found a loaded rifle and fresh deer blood in the truck. They then located a freshly killed deer in his garage. No trial date has been set.

 

Humane Society Offers Poaching Reward

The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a reward of up to $2500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally killing a deer in Somerset County earlier this month. A ten-point buck had been poached in Jenner Township; witnesses hear and saw someone shoot the deer from a vehicle around 7 a.m. and saw a dark-colored Ford pickup truck with no cap drive away from the scene. Anyone with information should call the Pennsylvania Game Commission office at 1-888-PGC-8001.

 

Postal Service To Delay Cutbacks

The United States Postal Service is delaying the closure of 252 mail processing centers and 3700 local post offices until mid-May. The agency is giving Congress more time to pass legislation that would give it more authority and liquidity to stave off bankruptcy. The postal service is expected to default on a $5.5 billion payment to the Treasury, and is predicted to lose a record $14.1 billion next year. The postal service had planned to hold a public hearing next week on a proposal to transfer mail processing from Cumberland to Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

 

Inner Harbor Has Most Polluted Water in Maryland

The water in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor has been determined to be the state’s dirtiest, polluted by storm water, bacterial contamination, and trash. Attorney General Douglas Gansler took a tour of the Inner Harbor earlier this week. He noted that cleanup begins further upstream, to the other cities and counties. Many jurisdictions have already submitted cleanup plans.

 

School Building Authority To Take Comment on Proposal

The West Virginia School Building Authority is allowing 30 days for comment by county school systems on a proposal, concerning who is working at school construction sites. The proposed policy would keep registered sex offenders and illegal immigrants off the work crews. SBA Executive Director Mark Manchin says the policy is proactive, and not reacting. The SBA is expected to approve the policy after the 30-day comment period.

Local News


Three Arrested in Robberies

Three men have been arrested in connection with a series of robberies in the area, and police are seeking a fourth suspect. Twenty-three year old Cody Crabtree, 20-year old Cory Joseph Crabtree of Cumberland and 21-year old Zachary Huffman of Oldtown have been taken into custody in connection with the robbery of the Brass Kactus on Offutt Street, Billie’s Gas and Grub in Flintstone, and the robbery of a woman at a private residence on Hawk Street in Rawlings. Investigators have obtained an arrest warrant for Gregory Thomas Laisure, also in connection with the robberies. Cody and Cory Crabtree are being held on $2.5 million each and Huffman is being held on $25,000 bond.

 

Fire Appears to be Accidental

 The cause of a fire Sunday morning, that took the lives of three
 residents, appears to be accidental in nature. The cause has not been
 officially determined, but it is known it originated on the first floor
 of the home, where all three occupants had been sleeping. Killed in the
 blaze were 66-year old Delores Crawford, her 37 year old daughter, Ruth,
 and 45-year old Kelly Appold. Property losses to the wood-framed
 building and its contents were placed at $80,000.

 

Three Baltimore Men Arrested in Connection with Strong-Armed Robbery

Three Baltimore residents have been arrested in connection with the assault and robbery of a gas station attendant at the Sunoco station on Industrial Boulevard Monday. Karl S. Chambers, Jason McCray and Bruce Satterfield were taken into custody in connection with the incident.  The three claimed that they had given the attendant $40, but received only $20 worth of gas. An argument led to one of the suspects striking the attendant. Cumberland City Police apprehended the three, and all are being held at the Allegany County Detention Center.

 

Man Pleads Guilty in Carjacking Incident

Frostburg resident Jonathan Bittner has pleaded guilty to carjacking his 71-year old neighbor earlier this year. He entered the guilty plea, and other charges against him were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. Carjacking, however, carries a maximum prison term of 30 years. Bond was revoked and Bittner was remanded to the Allegany County Detention Center to await sentencing.

 

 Inmate Death Ruled Homicide

 The death of an inmate at the North Branch Correctional Facility last
 week has been ruled a homicide. He was identified as 57-year old  Lewis
 Thompson, who was found strangled in his cell last Thursday. The
 investigation into the incident is continuing, and State Police have
 briefed officials in the Allegany County State’s Attorney’s Office.

 Counties Form Coalition Against PlanMaryland

 Allegany, Carroll, Frederick and Washington Counties are joining forces
 against a proposed statewide development plan, known as PlanMaryland.
 They are forming the coalition to lobby against the plan, saying they
 also hope to include other rural counties, such as those on the Eastern
 Shore, to strengthen their influence in Annapolis. Frederick County
 Commission President Blaine Young says that the interests of urban and
 suburban areas sometimes outweigh those of rural sections of the state.

 ACM To Hold Commencement

 Allegany College of Maryland will graduate 225 students in ceremonies
 Friday evening in the Physical Education Building. Graduation ceremonies
 begin at 7 p.m., with about 240 associate degrees and certificates to be
 conferred. The exercises include students who attended ACM campuses in
 Bedford and Somerset counties in Pennsylvania.

Local News


Three Arrested in Robberies

Three men have been arrested in connection with a series of robberies in the area, and they are seeking a fourth suspect. Twenty-three year old Cody Crabtree, 20-year old Cory Joseph Crabtree of Cumberland and 21-Zachary Huffman of Oldtown have been taken into custody in connection with the robbery of the Brass Kactus on Offutt Street, Billie’s Gas and Grub in Flintstone, and the robbery of a woman at a private residence on Hawk Street in Rawlings. Investigators have obtained an arrest warrant for Gregory Thomas Laisure, also in connection with the robberies. Cody and Cory Crabtree are being held on $2.5 million each and Huffman is being held on $25,000 bond.

 

Fire Appears to be Accidental

 The cause of a fire Sunday morning, that took the lives of three
 residents, appears to be accidental in nature. The cause has not been
 officially determined, but it is known it originated on the first floor
 of the home, where all three occupants had been sleeping. Killed in the
 blaze were 66-year old Delores Crawford, her 37 year old daughter, Ruth,
 and 45-year old Kelly Appold. Property losses to the wood-framed
 building and its contents were placed at $80,000.

 

Three Baltimore Men Arrested in Connection with Strong-Armed Robbery

Three Baltimore residents have been arrested in connection with the assault and robbery of a gas station attendant at the Sunoco station on Industrial Boulevard Monday. Karl S. Chambers, Jason McCray and Bruce Satterfield. The three claimed that they had given the attendant $40, but received only $20 worth of gas. An argument led to one of the suspects striking the attendant. Cumberland City Police apprehended the three, and all are being held at the Allegany County Detention Center.

 

Man Pleads Guilty in Carjacking Incident

Frostburg resident Jonathan Bittner has pleaded guilty to carjacking his 71-year old neighbor earlier this year. He entered the guilty plea, and other charges against him were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. Carjacking, however, carries a maximum prison term of 30 years. Bond was revoked and Bittner was remanded to the Allegany County Detention Center to await sentencing.

 

 Inmate Death Ruled Homicide

 The death of an inmate at the North Branch Correctional Facility last
 week has been ruled a homicide. He was identified as 57-year old  Lewis
 Thompson, who was found strangled in his cell last Thursday. The
 investigation into the incident is continuing, and State Police have
 briefed officials in the Allegany County State’s Attorney’s Office.

 Counties Form Coalition Against PlanMaryland

 Allegany, Carroll, Frederick and Washington Counties are joining forces
 against a proposed statewide development plan, known as PlanMaryland.
 They are forming the coalition to lobby against the plan, saying they
 also hope to include other rural counties, such as those on the Eastern
 Shore, to strengthen their influence in Annapolis. Frederick County
 Commission President Blaine Young says that the interests of urban and
 suburban areas sometimes outweigh those of rural sections of the state.

 ACM To Hold Commencement

 Allegany College of Maryland will graduate 225 students in ceremonies
 Friday evening in the Physical Education Building. Graduation ceremonies
 begin at 7 p.m., with about 240 associate degrees and certificates to be
 conferred. The exercises include students who attended ACM campuses in
 Bedford and Somerset counties in Pennsylvania.

Local News


Couple Victims of Home Invasion, Robbery
A Centreville couple was beaten and robbed Sunday night in a home invasion. The incident happened between 9:30 and 10 p.m., when three suspects forced their way into the residence, and punched, kicked and eventually robbed the two. Money, prescription medication and firearms were stolen before the suspects fled, traveling south on Evitt’s Creek Road, in an unknown vehicle, driven by a fourth suspect. Anyone who observed a suspicious vehicle on Evitt’s Creek Road, or who can provide a description of the suspect is asked to contact the state police at Bedford. The number is (814)-623-6133.

Man Arrested After Chase
A man was arrested following a pursuit from Mineral into Grant County. Mineral County Sheriff’s Deputy Leatherman tried to initiate a traffic stop on a Ford Taurus, which had been reported stolen. The driver, Lawrence Rowe, failed to stop, but was eventually apprehended through the use of a tire deflating device. Rowe was charged with fleeing in a vehicle, grand larceny, and other charges. The case remains under investigation by the members of the West Virginia State Police, Moorefield/Petersburg detachment, and members of the Mineral County Sheriff’s Department.

Fire Determined To Be Accidental in Nature
A fire at Clark Trucking on Lower George’s Creek Road in Barton has been determined to be accidental in nature, traced to an electrical malfunction in the ceiling of the building. Damage to the structure and its contents totaled $60,000. The fire was discovered just after 3 a.m. Sunday by a passerby. Six fire companies responded to the call, and it took them about 20 minutes to control the blaze.

Deputies Investigate Four-Vehicle Crash
Two people were taken to the hospital, three vehicles were towed from the scene, and one person was charged in a four-vehicle crash on Route 220, in the area of Jared Drive late Sunday afternoon. A vehicle, driven by 18-year old Marley Kamp of Lonaconing failed to stop for a vehicle, driven by 56-year old Robin Shook of Cumberland. Also involved in the collision were 20-year old Kevin Knotts of New Creek and 43-year old Robert Mayle of Deer Park. Ms. Kamp was charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision. Route 220 was closed for a time, while the scene was cleared.

Pre-Legislative Meeting Set
Members of the Western Maryland delegation to the General Assembly are holding their annual public meeting on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Garrett College Continuing Educaiton Building, Rooms 205-207. The pre-legislative meeting is open to all citizens who are encouraged to attend and contribute any comments, questions or suggestions. Senator George Edwards and Delegate Wendell Beitzel will be available to discuss any questions pertaining to state issues or legislative matters.

Two Arrested for Stealing Christmas Trees
Two men have been charged with misdemeanor theft, after being accused of stealing Christmas trees from a nearby lot. Cory Mathew McCarty and Tyler Scott Zegles, both 21 years old, were seen carrying fresh Christmas trees in the area of Park Street early Saturday morning. Both were released pending trial.

Fire Destroys Londonderry Township Home
A vacant home in Londonderry Township was destroyed by fire Sunday evening. Fire companies from three states responded. The house on Cook’s Mill Road is about four miles south of Hyndman, and was fully involved when the first firefighters arrived. The home was owned by Darlene Roach. Since nobody was living there, there was no electricity to the building.

Midnight Madness Sale Thursday Evening
The second annual Midnight Madness Sale is scheduled for Thursday evening in downtown Cumberland. Downtown Mall Manager Ed Mullaney notes that for every $100 spent locally, $68 will stay in the community. In comparison, only $43 of that $100 stays in the community, when spent at a national chain, and zero dollars when it is spent out of town or online. A complete schedule of holiday events can be found at www.mdmountainside.com.

FSU Receives Accreditation with Commendation
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has reaffirmed Frostburg State University’s institutional accreditation and offered a commendation to the University for the quality of its Periodic Review process and report. Reaffirmation of FSU’s accreditation means that the University-including all of its off-campus instructional sites-continues to meet the requirements put in place by the Commission on Higher Education in its Characteristics of Excellence.

Future “Bright” Maryland’s Wine Industry
The Maryland Wineries Association is reporting that 28 state wineries have paid the $200 Annual fee to ship directly to consumers, and that 540 wineries from out of state have also registered to ship to customers in Maryland. Many have upgraded their websites to take online shipping orders; more are expected to begin shipping to out-of-state customers in the new year. The only complaint has been the fee, which many believe it too high.

West Virginia Special Session Underway
A special session of the West Virginia legislature is underway in Charleston. The session is being held primarily to deal with natural gas drilling in Marcellus Shale. Passage of the bill is likely, and it could happen this week. The current version of the bill keeps the permit fee recommendations at $10,000 per fee structure, and $5,000 for subsequent wells. The permit fee will pay for more inspectors for the State Department of Environmental Protection.

Local News


Three Die In City Fire

Three people died in a fire on Estelle Street early yesterday morning. They have been identified as 66-year old Delores Crawford; her daughter, Ruth; and 45-year old Kelly Appold, who was Ruth’s partner of two years. The fire broke out around 4 a.m. yesterday, as a passerby called 911. Estelle Street is a dead end, and is located just off of Maryland Avenue, parallel to Interstate 68. Both the city and state fire marshals were on the scene yesterday, beginning an investigation into the cause of the triple-fatal blaze.

 

Man Arrested in Pharmacy Hold-Up

A Cumberland man has been arrested in the armed robbery and theft at Steve’s Pharmacy last Thursday evening. Thirty-year old Shannon Lee Cline was taken into custody on Friday evening. He is accused of entering the pharmacy with a knife, and demanding prescription pain medication. He then fled the business on foot, headed toward McMullen Highway. Surveillance video and numerous interviews led to Cline’s arrest. He had been staying at a private residence in Rawlings. Numerous items of evidence were recovered at the home. Investigators also found several other types of drugs, as well as paraphernalia.

 

Woman Killed in Single-Vehicle Accident

Icy roads are to blame for a fatal Saturday morning crash on Jasper Riley Road in Oakland. Killed in the crash was Melissa Ann Schoch. She was a passenger in a vehicle, drviven by her husband, Adam Troy Schoch. He was driving westbound when he lost control, due to an icy patch in the road; the vehicle traveled out of control, and struck a tree on the eastbound shoulder. He was taken to Garrett County Memorial Hospital.

 

Investigation into Inmate Death

The Maryland State Police are investigating the death of a state prison inmate who was found in his cell Thursday night at the North Branch Correctional Institution. The 57-year old inmate is not being identified until family can be notified by Division of Corrections officials. Shortly after 6 p.m., an inmate in Housing Unit 3 approached a correctional officer and said something was wrong with his cell mate. Officers responded, found the inmate unresponsive, and transported him to the Western Maryland Regional Health Center, where he was pronounced dead. The body was then taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore.

 

Man Arrested in Decatur Street Assault

A 49-year old Cumberland man was arrested for assault, following an incident Thursday on Decatur Street. Roger Lynn Davis allegedly assaulted another person with a baseball bat, in a disagreement over items being stolen from his house. Davis was taken in custody, and the victim was treated at the scene and then taken to the Western Maryland Regional medical Center for further treatment. Davis was charged with first and second-degree assault and disorderly conduct. He was taken to District Court, and later held on $10,000 bond.

 

Garrett County Opposes Elk Reintroduction

The Garrett County Commissioners are going on record in opposition to reintroducing elk in Western Maryland. The commissioners say the idea originated with a special interest group, and that they were not included in preliminary talks on the issue. In Allegany County, Commissioner Bill Valentine says meetings with sportsmen’s groups will be arranged to discuss the proposal. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has formed a partnership with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Foundation to study reintroduction in Western Maryland.

 

Residents Complain of Wind Turbine Noise

Several residents in the Green Mountain area of Keyser are complaining about the noise created by 23 newly constructed wind turbines. The residents there say the turbines produce a loud, steady noise, and have asked Edison Mission to at least turn them off at night. Homeowners are petitioning Edison Mission. None of the energy produced goes to West Virginia, as it has been purchased by the University of Maryland, and the Maryland Department of General Services.

 

Public School Benefit from Hooley Plunge

The Allegany County Public School System was the second largest beneficiary of the 2011 Hooley Plunge, held on March 5th of this year at Rocky Gap Sate Park. The schools earned more than $27,000 for certain programs and Unified Sports. Money allocated will help fund computers, instructional supplies, equipment and field trips. Founder of the event, Dr. Sean McCagh says he hopes as the event grows, it is hoped the amount of money the school system receives will also increase.

 

Traffic Deaths Decrease by Ten Per Cent

Traffic deaths in Maryland fell by 10 per cent last year. There were 493 traffic fatalities in Maryland last year, as compared to 549 in 2009. The decrease in deaths, according to Triple-A, Mid-Atlantic, is partially because of more air bags, better anti-rollover technology, improved road signs and safe-driving campaigns. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says a reduction in crash-related deaths involving drunken drivers is also a factor.

Local News


Garrett County Sheriff’s Department Probes Fatal Hit and Run

The Garrett County Sheriff’s Department is looking for information on a fatal hit and run, between 6 and 6:30 a.m. Thursday. Fifty-two year old Kenneth Wayne Friend was struck and killed when walking along the shoulder of Route 495; he was going to a neighbor’s house to help shovel snow. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The Garrett County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information to contact them by calling (301)-334-1911.

 

Man Robs Steve’s Pharmacy

The third robbery in two days occurred last night at Steve’s Pharmacy in Bel Air Plaza. The suspect is described as a white male, 5 feet, eight inches tall, and wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers sweatshirt. He walked into the pharmacy, armed with a knife, and fled southbound on U.S. Route 220. This is the second time Steve’s Pharmacy has been robbed in three months; earlier this week, both the Frostburg 7-11 Store and Billies Gas-N-Grub in Flintstone were robbed at gunpoint.

 

Planes Destroyed by Fire At Airport

Indications are that damages, as the result of a fire at the Greater Cumberland Regional Airport late Wednesday evening, could exceed a million dollars. The fire swept through at 16-unit hangar at the airport, just before 11 p.m., and destroyed nine airplanes, motorcycles, and other vehicle stored in the single-story multi-hangar building. Eight fire companies responded to the call from the Mineral County Emergency Center. Investigators from the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office were on the scene to determine the cause and origin of the fire. There were no injuries.

 

Devore Named Head of Emergency Services

Richard DeVore  has been permanently named to the position of Director of Emergency Services, effective Monday, December 12th. He has served as Acting Director since July of this past year. The appointment was made during last night’s Allegany County Commissioners’ meeting. DeVore originally served as a dispatcher for Civil Defense, now the 911 Joint Communications Center. He has held a number of key positions during his 26 years serving the citizens of Allegany County. Most recently, he held the position of Emergency Management Division Chief.

 

Cardin Sponsors Home Heating Legislation

Maryland United States Senator Ben Cardin is co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation to provide more help for low income Maryland families in paying their heating bills this winter. The LIHEAP Protection Act would maintain last year’s funding level of $4.7 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Co-sponsors of the bill include U.S. Senator Jack Reid of Rhode Island and Olympia Snow of Maine. Senator Cardin also signed a letter to Senate appropriators, urging continued funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program and State Energy Program, at adequate levels.

 

New Speedway Promoter Named

Joe Padula, the promoter at Thunder Valley Raceway in Central City, is now the new promoter of the Bedford Speedway. Padula will take over promotion from J.R. Keifer and Jim Maybury, who recently stepped aside, following the track’s 75th anniversary season. The Bedford Speedway is the oldest continuously operating race track in Pennsylvania. The 2012 racing schedule at Bedford is being finalized, and Padula is hoping to coordinate Friday shows at Bedford with Saturday racing at Thunder Valley.

 

Audit Reveals Payments to Deceased

A state legislative audit says Maryland pay approximately $426,000 in Medicaid to ten people who were, in fact, dead. The audit was released this week, and also found that between January of 2008 and August of 2011, $2.5 million in erroneous payments were made for 323 people who may have already been dead. Auditors matched Social Security death records to the names of people for whom payments were made.

Local News


Billie’s Gas-N-Grub Robbery Investigated

The Maryland State Police and the C3I unit continue to investigate the armed robbery of Billie’s Gas-N-Grub in Flintstone Tuesday evening. Just before 7:30 p.m., two armed men entered the store, threatened the cashier with a handgun, then fled with money from the cash register. There were no injuries and the suspects have not been apprehended.

 

Home Heating Program Up in the Air

The Maryland Energy Assistance Program in Western Maryland is in jeopardy this winter, unless the federal government agrees to a final budget decision on benefits or provides those benefits while waiting on the decision. The Cumberland Times-News reports that in Garrett County alone, MEAP provides services to about a quarter of the households there, but they have not been given permission to release any of the money. Community action agencies have about a million dollars in benefits, and is waiting for permission to release the money.

 

Fees To Rise in City

The Cumberland City Council is looking at raising fees for eight services, in connection to construction projects. The rise in fees includes site plan review, zoning map amendments and Board of Appeals applications. It has been fifteen years since any of the fees have been updated, and some may go up as much as 900 per cent.

 

County Naming New Emergency Services Director

Allegany County is expected to name a new director of the Department of Emergency Services. Dick DeVore is the acting director of the department, which includes the Animal Shelter and Animal Control, 911 Joint Communications, Emergency Management Division, and the Emergency Medical Services Division.

 

Man Served with Arrest Warrant

A Cresaptown man has been served with an arrest warrant, charging him with first-degree burglary and misdemeanor theft. Twenty-one year old Antonio Maurice Smith is charged with an incident on November 25th, where he allegedly entered a Fort Cumberland Homes residence. The tenants saw Smith fleeing out the back door. He was taken to District Court, where he was held on $7500 bail.

 

Bedford Tables Reassessment Bid

The new board of Bedford County Commissioners will be sworn in on December 21st, so the current board voted to table the 2012 property reassessment bid, sending the matter to the new incoming commissioners. The only bid received was from Tyler Technologies, which conducted the 2009 reassessment. Bedford County’s nearly $14.5 million budget is also being revealed, and does not include capital expenditure requests or revenue from housing state inmates, who were withdrawn from the county jail last February with no explanation.

 

Schurick Guilty on All Counts

Former aide to Governor Robert Ehrlich has been found guilty on all counts for authorizing so-called “robo-calls” on Election Day, 2010. Paul Schurick had been the campaign manager for then-Governor Robert Ehrlich, and had authorized the calls suggesting that Governor Martin O’Malley had won before the polls had actually closed. Schurick’s lawyers say they will appeal the verdict.

 

State Senator May Consider Run for Congress

Maryland State Senator Nancy Jacobs is forming an exploratory committee, as she considers a run for Congress in the state’s second district. She would challenge Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger. A deciding factor in whether she will run is how much support she will get now that she has announced she is considering a run. She believes she will need to raise around $2 million to run for the seat, and says she has received support and pledges of financial help.

 

Gun Thefts Reported in Somerset County

Several gun thefts have been reported in Somerset County, between Monday night and Tuesday morning of this week. Two guns were stolen from cars, and another, from a home in Hooversville. There was also a report of a stolen weapon from a car, belonging to a person in Stoystown, which is about 10 to 15 minutes from the Hooversville area. It’s not clear if those thefts are connected.

Local News


Police Continue to Investigate Robbery

The Maryland State Police, the Allegany County Sheriff’s Department,  and Frostburg City Police are continuing to investigate the armed robbery of the 7-11 store, along Main Street early yesterday morning. The suspect is described as a white male, about 5’8” or 5’9” tall and wearing a white shirt and blue jeans. The suspect also wore a plastic bag over his head to conceal his identity.  He entered the store around 4 a.m. and fled with an undetermined amount of money.

 

Another Convenience Store Robbery Reported

Law enforcement authorities are investigating a second armed robbery last night at Billie’s Gas-N-Go in Flintstone. Around 7:30 p.m., two men entered the business and threatened the cashier with a handgun, then left with an undetermined amount of money. Those suspects have not been apprehended, and the investigation is continuing.

 

Keyser Residents Arrested on Drug Charges

Three Keyser residents have been arrested on drug charges in Frederick County. Their car was pulled over Saturday, for lack of a working rear tag light. After a drug-sniffing dog alerted officers to the presence of drugs, they found both heroin and cocaine. Taken into custody were 44-year old Joletta Rebovich; 35-year old Celesta Jamison; and, 26-year old Chad Lewis. All are charged with possession of heroin; additionally, Lewis was charged with possession of cocaine.

 

Woman Pleads Guilty in Infant Death

Moorefield resident Vicki Hawks has pleaded guilty in the death of her infant son last May. She will undergo an evaluation, after which the court could accept the plea, or not. She could be sentenced to life in prison with or without mercy. She was charged with first-degree murder in the case; she reportedly told a co-worker before the baby was born, that the infant would not live very long. She gave birth on May 1st, and the child had been alive about two hours. The body was discovered in a plastic bag outside a residence on Jenkin’s Run Road in Hardy County.

 

Thirty Workers May Be Affected by Processing Closure

If the United States Postal Service consolidates mail processing operations in Cumberland, up to 30 jobs would be eliminated, and first class mail that now takes a day could take two to three days to be delivered. As proposed, the mail processing operation could be moved to Johnstown. The Postal Service has scheduled a public hearing on the changes for December 19th at 6 p.m. at Fort Hill High School. The public will then have the opportunity to make comments, ask questions and register their feedback, according to the Cumberland Times-News.

 

Frostburg Man Has Hearing on Assault, Kidnap Charges

Twenty-nine year old Jonathan Bittner is scheduled for a hearing on charges he beat and kidnapped his 71-year old neighbor in a robbery attempt last April 28th. Bittner entered the victim’s home, beat him about the face and head, while demanding cash. He also forced the man into the victim’s car, got behind the wheel, and crashed it on Interstate 68. He fled the scene, and the victim was found by a passerby.

 

Chamber Hosts Pre-Legislative Breakfast

Three of four members of the Western Maryland delegation to the General Assembly attended yesterday morning’s pre-legislative breakfast at the downtown Cumberland Holiday Inn. In his remarks, Senator George Edwards says that some of the major issues of the upcoming session will be the gas tax, Marcellus Shale legislation, and Plan Maryland, a new land use plan for the state. Delegate Kevin Kelly says that the state may get involved in the “panhandling” issue. And, Delegate LeRoy Myers that while state government debates raising any number of fees, there is little to no discussion on how to streamline government and reduce spending.

 

Keyser Man Charged with Burglary, Theft

Keyser  resident Joshua Delawder has been arrested on charges of burglary, theft and destruction of property, in connection with the robbery of the Loch Lynn Church of God in October. He is accused of stealing money and damaging church property.

 

Bedford County Raises Taxes; Hyndman Holds Line

The Bedford Borough Council voted this week to raise property taxes, and to make substantial cuts in a budget that will require drawing from reserves. Meanwhile, Hyndman borough is keeping its property tax rate steady for 2012, even though spending is expected to increase by a few percentage points. Hyndman Council president Stanley Robinson noted that he would not take a look at any tax increases, while the borough still has a surplus in its accounts.

 

Hagerstown Man Held on $1.2 Million Bond

Fifty-six year old Hagerstown resident Joseph Charles Peer had his bail increased from $650,000 to $1.2 million, following his arrest on charges of child sexual abuse and making child pornography.  He has a preliminary hearing on December 28th. The victim, who is around 12 years old, told investigators that Peer had her perform sexual acts with him over a period of four years, and that he took 50 to 100 photographs of her in the nude, on at least three separate occasions.

 

Woman Found to be At Fault in Collision

Ninety-year old Carlisle, Pennsylvania resident Dolores Ryan was found to be at fault in a collision early Monday evening on Route 340 in Washington County. Ms. Ryan was eastbound in the westbound lanes of the road, and struck two vehicles, head-on. Thirty-five year old Amy Fowler of Middletown and 42-year old Harper’s Ferry resident Richard Reynolds were taken to the hospital. Ms. Ryan was transported to the hospital for treatment of a serious head injury. All three vehicles were towed from the scene.

Local News


Police Continue to Investigate Robbery

The Maryland State Police, the Allegany County Sheriff’s Department,  and Frostburg City Police are continuing to investigate the armed robbery of the 7-11 store, along Main Street early yesterday morning. The suspect is described as a white male, about 5’8” or 5’9” tall and wearing a white shirt and blue jeans. The suspect also wore a plastic bag over his head to conceal his identity.  He entered the store around 4 a.m. and fled with an undetermined amount of money.

 

Keyser Residents Arrested on Drug Charges

Three Keyser residents have been arrested on drug charges in Frederick County. Their car was pulled over Saturday, for lack of a working rear tag light. After a drug-sniffing dog alerted officers to the presence of drugs, they found both heroin and cocaine. Taken into custody were 44-year old Joletta Rebovich; 35-year old Celesta Jamison; and, 26-year old Chad Lewis. All are charged with possession of heroin; additionally, Lewis was charged with possession of cocaine.

 

Woman Pleads Guilty in Infant Death

Moorefield resident Vicki Hawks has pleaded guilty in the death of her infant son last May. She will undergo an evaluation, after which the court could accept the plea, or not. She could be sentenced to life in prison with or without mercy. She was charged with first-degree murder in the case; she reportedly told a co-worker before the baby was born, that the infant would not live very long. She gave birth on May 1st, and the child had been alive about two hours. The body was discovered in a plastic bag outside a residence on Jenkin’s Run Road in Hardy County.

 

Thirty Workers May Be Affected by Processing Closure

If the United States Postal Service consolidates mail processing operations in Cumberland, up to 30 jobs would be eliminated, and first class mail that now takes a day could take two to three days to be delivered. As proposed, the mail processing operation could be moved to Johnstown. The Postal Service has scheduled a public hearing on the changes for December 19th at 6 p.m. at Fort Hill High School. The public will then have the opportunity to make comments, ask questions and register their feedback, according to the Cumberland Times-News.

 

Frostburg Man Has Hearing on Assault, Kidnap Charges

Twenty-nine year old Jonathan Bittner is scheduled for a hearing on charges he beat and kidnapped his 71-year old neighbor in a robbery attempt last April 28th. Bittner entered the victim’s home, beat him about the face and head, while demanding cash. He also forced the man into the victim’s car, got behind the wheel, and crashed it on Interstate 68. He fled the scene, and the victim was found by a passerby.

 

Chamber Hosts Pre-Legislative Breakfast

Three of four members of the Western Maryland delegation to the General Assembly attended yesterday morning’s pre-legislative breakfast at the downtown Cumberland Holiday Inn. In his remarks, Senator George Edwards says that some of the major issues of the upcoming session will be the gas tax, Marcellus Shale legislation, and Plan Maryland, a new land use plan for the state. Delegate Kevin Kelly says that the state may get involved in the “panhandling” issue. And, Delegate LeRoy Myers that while state government debates raising any number of fees, there is little to no discussion on how to streamline government and reduce spending.

 

Keyser Man Charged with Burglary, Theft

Keyser  resident Joshua Delawder has been arrested on charges of burglary, theft and destruction of property, in connection with the robbery of the Loch Lynn Church of God in October. He is accused of stealing money and damaging church property.

 

Bedford County Raises Taxes; Hyndman Holds Line

The Bedford Borough Council voted this week to raise property taxes, and to make substantial cuts in a budget that will require drawing from reserves. Meanwhile, Hyndman borough is keeping its property tax rate steady for 2012, even though spending is expected to increase by a few percentage points. Hyndman Council president Stanley Robinson noted that he would not take a look at any tax increases, while the borough still has a surplus in its accounts.

 

Hagerstown Man Held on $1.2 Million Bond

Fifty-six year old Hagerstown resident Joseph Charles Peer had his bail increased from $650,000 to $1.2 million, following his arrest on charges of child sexual abuse and making child pornography.  He has a preliminary hearing on December 28th. The victim, who is around 12 years old, told investigators that Peer had her perform sexual acts with him over a period of four years, and that he took 50 to 100 photographs of her in the nude, on at least three separate occasions.

 

Woman Found to be At Fault in Collision

Ninety-year old Carlisle, Pennsylvania resident Dolores Ryan was found to be at fault in a collision early Monday evening on Route 340 in Washington County. Ms. Ryan was eastbound in the westbound lanes of the road, and struck two vehicles, head-on. Thirty-five year old Amy Fowler of Middletown and 42-year old Harper’s Ferry resident Richard Reynolds were taken to the hospital. Ms. Ryan was transported to the hospital for treatment of a serious head injury. All three vehicles were towed from the scene.

Local News


Frostburg 7-11 Robbed

The Maryland State Police and Frostburg City Police were on the scene of a robbery at the 7-11 store along Main Street this morning. Reports say an armed robber fled the scene with an unknown amount of money. The robbery occurred around 4 a.m. The investigation is continuing.

 

Former Keyser Teacher Sentenced

Former Keyser teacher Denise Fitch has been sentenced to serve between one and five years in prison, after earlier pleading guilty to three counts of third-degree sexual assault. The sentences will be served concurrently for each counts of sexual assault. After the first year, it will be determined whether she will continue to serve the remainder of the sentence.

 

Fire Reported at FEMA Center

An electrical malfunction is being blamed for a fire yesterday afternoon at the FEMA Distribution Center on PPG Road in Cumberland. Fire broke out in the rear area of a 35-foot communications motor coach; the sprinkler system activated and controlled the fire from spreading to adjacent motor coaches located in the structure. Damage to the vehicle was estimated at $400,000. A malfunction in a cable, leading from the charging unit inside the rear section, sparked the blaze, which brought out 40 firefighters to the scene.

 

State Will Not Seek Death Penalty

The Garrett County State’s Attorney will not seek the death penalty in the case of Jeffrey Charles Minnick, who is accused of killing two residents in a wooded area of Oakland earlier this year. He is accused in the deaths of 18-year old Jessica Baker and 24-year old Brandon Lax. State’s Attorney Lisa Thayer Welch cited the wishes of the victims’ families and lengthy delays that are sometimes involved in death penalty cases, as reasons for seeking life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole for Minnick.

 

Sheriff To Seek Solution to Panhandling Problem

Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson will meet with the  County Commissioners next Tuesday, to discuss the growing number of panhandlers in the county, especially in the LaVale area. Sheriff Robertson says he would like to “weed out” those who are truly not in need. Panhandlers are especially prevalent in the Country Club Mall and Braddock Square areas.

 

Keyser Fire Station Experiencing Problems

There are some problems with the new, $1.6 million state of the art building, housing the Keyser Volunteer Fire Department. At a recent meeting of the Keyser Mayor and City Council, Fire Chief Chris Paitsel reported that one problem they are experiencing is the inability to adjust the computerized climate control system. The contractor failed to obtain a laptop and associated software for adjusting the temperature. The construction of the new Memorial Bridge necessitated the move to West Piedmont Street, from its former location on Center Street.

 

Fire Damages Hampshire County Home

Three adults escaped a blaze at a home on Apple Drive near Romney Friday afternoon. About two dozen volunteers from seven fire companies battled the blaze, but the house was reported to be a total loss. At the residence were John Lorence and his wife, Chastity and one other adult.  The home was reportedly insured. Neighbor Charles Jones III was passing by, when he noticed the flames. He alerted the three to the fire, and they were able to escape without injury.

 

Disturbance Leads to Arrest

Cumberland resident Raymond Desales Washington was arrested, following an early morning disturbance Monday, in the 300-block of Furnace Street. There was an argument between a man and a woman in a taxi cab in that area. Officers separated the two. Washington reportedly resisted arrest, and was also found to be in possession of prescription medication. He was charged with failure to obey a lawful order, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and possessing of CDS, which was not marijuana.

 

Teen Charged As Adult in Stabbing

Seventeen year old Washington County resident Matthew Smith is being held at the County’s Detetnion Center, after being charged with attempted first-degree murder in a weekend stabbing. An adult victim was found to be suffering from multiple wounds to his upper body in the 1,000-block of Marshall Street. Smith was found a short time later and arrested. He is also being charged with other counts, in connection to the stabbing incident.

 

Post Office Cutting Service to Save Money

The United States Postal Service is going ahead with cuts to first class mail that will slow delivery and eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day. With no immediate help from Congress in sight, the USPS is looking to quickly trim costs by about $3 billion. The move could provide short-term relief, but could also prove counterproductive, pushing more business onto the Internet.

 

SHA Allegedly Concealed Unspent Funds

According to an audit report from the Office of Legislative Audits, the Maryland State Highway Administration repeatedly requested new contract from the Board of Public Works, while millions of dollars remained unspent from previous awards for the same work. The audit resulted in significant management changes at the highway administration, including the departure of some senior officials. The SHA has been accused of failing to fully disclose significant details of its contracting practices to the public works board.

 

 

 

Local News


Former Keyser Teacher Sentenced

Former Keyser teacher Denise Fitch has been sentenced to serve between one and five years in prison, after earlier pleading guilty to three counts of third-degree sexual assault. The sentences will be served concurrently for each counts of sexual assault. After the first year, it will be determined whether she will continue to serve the remainder of the sentence.

 

Fire Reported at FEMA Center

An electrical malfunction is being blamed for a fire yesterday afternoon at the FEMA Distribution Center on PPG Road in Cumberland. Fire broke out in the rear area of a 35-foot communications motor coach; the sprinkler system activated and controlled the fire from spreading to adjacent motor coaches located in the structure. Damage to the vehicle was estimated at $400,000. A malfunction in a cable, leading from the charging unit inside the rear section, sparked the blaze, which brought out 40 firefighters to the scene.

 

State Will Not Seek Death Penalty

The Garrett County State’s Attorney will not seek the death penalty in the case of Jeffrey Charles Minnick, who is accused of killing two residents in a wooded area of Oakland earlier this year. He is accused in the deaths of 18-year old Jessica Baker and 24-year old Brandon Lax. State’s Attorney Lisa Thayer Welch cited the wishes of the victims’ families and lengthy delays that are sometimes involved in death penalty cases, as reasons for seeking life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole for Minnick.

 

Sheriff To Seek Solution to Panhandling Problem

Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson will meet with the  County Commissioners next Tuesday, to discuss the growing number of panhandlers in the county, especially in the LaVale area. Sheriff Robertson says he would like to “weed out” those who are truly not in need. Panhandlers are especially prevalent in the Country Club Mall and Braddock Square areas.

 

Keyser Fire Station Experiencing Problems

There are some problems with the new, $1.6 million state of the art building, housing the Keyser Volunteer Fire Department. At a recent meeting of the Keyser Mayor and City Council, Fire Chief Chris Paitsel reported that one problem they are experiencing is the inability to adjust the computerized climate control system. The contractor failed to obtain a laptop and associated software for adjusting the temperature. The construction of the new Memorial Bridge necessitated the move to West Piedmont Street, from its former location on Center Street.

 

Fire Damages Hampshire County Home

Three adults escaped a blaze at a home on Apple Drive near Romney Friday afternoon. About two dozen volunteers from seven fire companies battled the blaze, but the house was reported to be a total loss. At the residence were John Lorence and his wife, Chastity and one other adult.  The home was reportedly insured. Neighbor Charles Jones III was passing by, when he noticed the flames. He alerted the three to the fire, and they were able to escape without injury.

 

Disturbance Leads to Arrest

Cumberland resident Raymond Desales Washington was arrested, following an early morning disturbance Monday, in the 300-block of Furnace Street. There was an argument between a man and a woman in a taxi cab in that area. Officers separated the two. Washington reportedly resisted arrest, and was also found to be in possession of prescription medication. He was charged with failure to obey a lawful order, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and possessing of CDS, which was not marijuana.

 

Teen Charged As Adult in Stabbing

Seventeen year old Washington County resident Matthew Smith is being held at the County’s Detetnion Center, after being charged with attempted first-degree murder in a weekend stabbing. An adult victim was found to be suffering from multiple wounds to his upper body in the 1,000-block of Marshall Street. Smith was found a short time later and arrested. He is also being charged with other counts, in connection to the stabbing incident.

 

Post Office Cutting Service to Save Money

The United States Postal Service is going ahead with cuts to first class mail that will slow delivery and eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day. With no immediate help from Congress in sight, the USPS is looking to quickly trim costs by about $3 billion. The move could provide short-term relief, but could also prove counterproductive, pushing more business onto the Internet.

 

SHA Allegedly Concealed Unspent Funds

According to an audit report from the Office of Legislative Audits, the Maryland State Highway Administration repeatedly requested new contract from the Board of Public Works, while millions of dollars remained unspent from previous awards for the same work. The audit resulted in significant management changes at the highway administration, including the departure of some senior officials. The SHA has been accused of failing to fully disclose significant details of its contracting practices to the public works board.

Local News


Robbery, Stabbing Suspect Captured in Charles County

 A man accused of assaulting, stabbing and robbing a Cumberland cab
 driver in mid-November, has been captured in Charles County, Maryland.
 Terry Allen Craig was taken into custody, following a C3I investigation,
 which included interviews with several witnesses and a review of
 surveillance video. He was charged with armed robbery, kidnapping,
 first-degree assault, theft and related charges. Craig was returned to
 Cumberland over the weekend to face the charges.

 Retired Officer Dies in Two-Car Wreck

 Retired Cumberland City Police Officer Wallace Bruce “Wally” Keller
 died in a two vehicle accident Friday afternoon at the intersection of
 Industrial Boulevard and Lamont Street. Keller had attempted to cross
 both the east and westbound lanes of the boulevard, when his car was
 struck by another, driven by Linda Sue Hoover of Windber, Pennsylvania.
 Keller later died at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center. The
 accident is under investigation.

 Cumberland Man Held on $3,000 Bond

 Cumberland City Police arrested Carl Spates Stallings, following a
 disturbance complaint on Golden Lane early Saturday morning. Police had
 been to the home two hours earlier, when Stallings refused to leave.
 When they returned, he was arrested for disorderly conduct and
 trespassing. He was taken to District Court for an initial appearance
 and held on $3,000 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center.

 Authorities Continue Investigation of Body Found in Bedford County

 More information is expected to be released on the body of a woman who
 was found in Bedford County last week. Hunters discovered the remains
 between Shadyside Drive and Mickey Lane in Bedford Township. Authorities
 cordoned off the area which was excavated by a forensics team from
 Mercyhurst College and the Hollidaysburg Forensic Services Unit. About
 22 people were on the scene, which is near the Midway Service Plaza.

 Berlin Man Killed in Accident

 Berlin resident Jeremy Miller and George Brodmerkel of Sewickley were
 killed in a two vehicle crash late Friday morning. The accident occurred
 along Route 31, about two miles from the Somerset County line, as
 Miller’s car collided with another, driven by Brodmerkel.  Miller was
 apparently on his way to work in the Mount Pleasant area. The crash
 remains under investigation.

 West Virginia Plans for Special Session

 West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin says there will be a special
 session of the legislature this month to make changes in the regulatory
 bill for natural gas drilling in Marcellus Shale. The special session
 will begin next Monday, with Governor Tomblin indicating that the
 $10,000 permit fee in the proposed legislation for the first well on a
 pad may be lowered, but a 625-foot distance from an unoccupied dwelling
 for the drilling sites, most likely will stay in the bill. The regular
 2012 West Virginia Legislative Session begins next month.

Local News


Body Found Along Turnpike

A forensic archeologist from Mercyhurst College is being called in to excavate an area in Bedford County along the Turnpike, where the body of a woman was found on Wednesday. The body had been there several months, according to the Bedford Freepress. Hunters discovered the body around 9:35 a.m. There is no further information on the discvovery.

 

Juveniles Arrested in Vandalism Incident

Three juveniles were charged with destruction of property after they were caught spray painting several homes in the 700-block of Maryland Avenue and the 700-block of Elm Street. Nine separate locations were spray painted, and the amount of damages was valued at over a thousand dollars. A citizen tip led to the arrests of the juveniles.

 

Columbia Street Man Arrested for Possession

The Cumberland City Police arrested 30-year old Daniel Alvin Hill of Cumberland  Wednesday evening on Columbia Street for possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. A Cumberland City Police, investigating a disturbance complaint, and found Hill allegedly using a glass smoking device, which is commonly used to smoke marijuana. Hill handed a small baggie of marijuana to the officer. He was released on personal recognizance, following a hearing in District Court.

 

Mayor, Council Endorses Prescription Program

The Keyser Mayor and City Council have voted to participate in a prescription drug program to benefit residents who do not have insurance to cover the cost of medications. The Mineral News-Tribune says the program, provided by Caremark, provides a discount of 20 to 25 per cent. The program, however, will not allow residents to “double-dip” by paying on prescriptions that are already covered by insurance.

 

Two Students Expelled in Somerset

Two students have been expelled from school in Somerset, with the expulsion to be discussed at the next school board meeting on December 12th. One of two sophomores brought a handgun onto a school bus, and gave it to a second earlier this week. The school’s DARE officer, Detective Rich Appel conducted a search of the building and interviewed other students after the two were removed from the school, and their parents were notified.

 

Maryland Department of Public Safety Reorganizes

Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections Gary Maynard has named J. Michael Stouffer to the new position of deputy secretary of operations, as part of a reorganization of the agency. Stouffer will oversee correctional operations in three regions, head security and parole and probation operations for the prison system. Allegany County’s North Branch Correctional Institution and Western Correctional Institution are considered to be in the North region.

 

Bartlett Chief of Staff May Run for District Seat

The chief of staff for Sixth District Congressman Roscoe Bartlett may be a possible candidate for the Congressman’s seat, implying Bartlett may not run for an 11th term next year. For his part, Congressman Bartlett says he has plans to run in 2012. Bud Otis has allegedly approached an unnamed political consultant to run his campaign, if he decides to do so. There is speculation Bartlett will withdraw from the race shortly before the January 11, 2012 candidate filing deadline.

 

Agency Returns Unspent Funds

The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration has returned more than $25 million in unspent funds back to the general fund. An audit has found weaknesses in communication among various offices; it was also revealed that DDA’s accounting system, most likely, masked the underspending. The DDA has a new chief financial officer and the department is hiring a consultant to help restructure its financial operations.

 

Tomblin, Maloney May Face Off Next Year

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin may be facing Republican Bill Maloney during next year’s election. Both have filed their campaign papers, with less than six months to go before the May 8th Primary Election. During the October Special Election, Maloney came within a few percentage points of defeating Tomblin, who was then the Acting Governor and State Senate President.

 

Local News


Education Officials to State Their Case

A group of Allegany County education officials will have 20 minutes today before the Interagency Committee on School Construction to state their case for a new Allegany High School. Superintendent Dr. David Cox will tell the agency about the proposed land swap between the city of Cumberland and the Western Maryland Health System, and that the community is in need of a new Allegany High School. The Cumberland Mayor and City Council is expected to vote in the next week on the land swap proposal.

 

Somerset County to House Wind Farm

The Twin Ridges Wind Farm will begin construction in Somerset County, and will span four townships, including Southampton, Northampton, Larimer and Greenville. In all, there will be 68 turbines built, and once operational, the wind farm will create enough electricity to power 40,000 homes. The four townships will share up to $240,000 per year. The Meyersdale School districts will split up to $93,000 annually, with Somerset County receiving up to $37,000 per year.

 

Keyser Drafts Policy for New Police Hires

The Keyser Mayor and City Council adopted a policy this week, that would require all new law enforcement hires to pay a percentage of training and equipment if they choose to leave employment within a year of graduating from the academy. City Police Chief Karen Shoemaker has two prospects to replace two others the city is losing. One of the potential officers dropped out of the police academy, while another is leaving, to work for the Mineral County Sheriff’s Department.

 

Man Arrested on Burglary and Assault Charges

A Cumberland man was arrested at a Central Avenue residence on Tuesday, after he allegedly entered a neighbor’s residence and attacked him. Thirty-four year old Joseph Glenn Rawls was also found to be in possession of a knife, and had entered the home without permission. He was held at the Allegany County Detention Center on$5,000 bond.

 

Substation Sustains Damage

A Bedford Rural Electric substation recently incurred $90,000 worth of damage, when several ground wires were stolen. The substation is located in Bedford Township, and the theft happened around November 21st along the Lincoln Highway. The Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the theft.

 

Man Sentenced for Sexual Molestation

A Hagerstown man has been sentenced to 15 year in prison, after pleading guilty to sexually molesting a girl, who was 11 years old at the time.  Thirty-year old Thomas Sean Crammer blamed his use of cocaine and alcohol for “blurring the lines” between right and wrong. On his release, Crammer will be on five years of supervised probation, and must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

 

Giordano Released from Jail

Maryland businessman Gary Giordano has been released from jail in Aruba, but it is not clear where he will be arriving in the United States. Giordano has been in jail for nearly four months, as a suspect in the disappearance of his traveling companion Robyn Gardner. For his part, Giordano has denied any wrongdoing, saying Ms. Gardner was swept out to sea while they were snorkeling.

 

One of Three Counts Dismissed Against Schurick

One of three conspiracy counts against former longtime gubernatorial aide Paul Schurick has been dismissed. Schurick is accused of trying to suppress voter turnout in last year’s election through the use of so-called “robocalls,” urging Marylanders to stay home on Election Day. Jurors are hearing opening arguments in the case this week.

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