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GO 106 News Archives for 2013-12

Local News

South Cumberland Robbery Investigated


The Cumberland City Police Department and the C3I unit are currently investigating a strong-armed robbery that took place early Sunday morning in the 800-block of Lafayette Avenue in Cumberland. The victim in the robbery, a 38-year old woman, was taken to the Western Maryland Health System for treatment. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is urged to contact Cumberland City Police at (301)-777-1600.



Fires Investigated


Two recent fires are under investigation by the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office. The Hen House sustained about $50,000 in damage in a fire last Friday evening. The cause was traced to a propane leak, feeding the kitchen equipment. The business is temporarily closed for repairs. And, a fire Saturday evening at the Cindy Bittner residence on Mount Savage Road caused about $30,000 in damage. That blaze was determined to be accidental as the result of an overloaded extension cord.


Power Outage in Downtown Cumberland


A transformer fire near the Interstate 68 Crosstown Bridge knocked out power to the downtown Cumberland area yesterday afternoon. The outage happened around 2 p.m. and power was restored by 3:15 p.m. The outage affected traffic signals in the area.



Two Killed in Crash


Two people were killed in a crash along Old Route 220, just outside of Newry early yesterday morning, but the accident went unnoticed for several hours. Thirty-year old Dustin Claycomb and 21-year old Paige Musselman were killed in the crash. Claycomb apparently lost control of his vehicle, went off the road, struck a utility pole, crossed through a yard, and rolled the vehicle several times, before coming to rest on the bank of Poplar Run. Both were ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.



Hyndman Man Charged in Assault


A Hyndman man is charged with assaulting a Bedford County fire chief at the scene of a crash early Sunday morning. Twenty-two year old Michael Sutphin allegedly assaulted 45-year old Ronald Spiker on Fairhope Road. Sutphin was not involved in the crash, but was in the area at the time. Spiker suffered a broken finger, facial injuries and back pain and was treated at the Western Maryland Health System. Sutphin was arested and released on $25,000 unsecured bond.



PACE Tickets On Sale


Tickets for the annual Allegany County PACE reception are now on sale. The event, to be held at the Loew's Annapolis hotel on January 23rd, is themed "Energizing Maryland." Tickets are also available for the PACE breakfast to be held the next day. The price for the tickets, if purchased before Friday, are $130. Checks should be made available to PACE, P.O Box 3273, LaVale, Maryland 21504-3273. Tickets may also be purchased online at" Click the tab for "tickets" on the home page.



Gansler Files Fundraising Suit


Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler has filed suit to stop his opponent's running mate in the governor's race from raising money during the General Assembly session. The suit focuses on Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, the running mate of Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown. Ulman is currently allowed to raise money, but Brown is not.



Double-Fatal Plane Crash Near Gettysburg


The NTSB and FAA are investigating a plane crash in Adams County, Pennsylvania last week, but authorities have still not released the identities of the victims. The crash happened early Thursday morning, and preliminary indications are that mechanical failure was to blame. Debris was strewn a quarter-mile across a cornfield, and the plane was demolished.



Long Term Benefits End on Saturday


Long term unemployment benefits ended for nearly 7,000 West Virginia residents on Saturday, as the House and Senate failed to approve an extension for the program that provides those benefits. Both are now on holiday break. In West Virginia, when a person loses his or her job, they are eligible for 26 weeks of unemployment benefits from the state. After that, they qualify for 28 weeks of extended benefits, paid for by the federal government. The unemployment rate in the Mountain State was 6.1 per cent in November, as compared to the national rate of 7 per cent.



Population Declines in West Virginia


West Virginia and Maine are two states losing population in the past year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The state's population declined just over 2370 residents, when compared to the 2012 census figures. Only 16 of West Virginia's 55 counties showed population growth since the 2010 census.



Warning Issued on Life Alert Scam


The attorney general for West Virginia, Patrick Morrissey, is warning senior citizens about a scam, involving Life Alert devices. Callers are told they could receive a free device, if they provide a credit card number to cover the cost of its shipping, handling, handling and activation fees. The bottom line is, consumers should verify any information requested, before making a purchase.



Delegate Proposes Legalized Medical Marijuana


West Virginia Delegate Mike Manypenny is trying, for the fourth time, to get the legislature to legalize medical marijuana. He says that last year, he had a few lawmakers on his side, but heading into the 2014 session, he says he has 18 to 20 other delegates ready to sign on to the bill. Twenty states and the District of Columbia already allow marijuana use for medicinal purposes. The West Virginia Legislature will convene a week from tomorrow, on January 8th.


Local News

Restaurant Closed By Fire

The Hen House restaurant is closed because of a fire Friday night, and the re-opening date is uncertain. The fire, which was caused by a suspected propane leak. The Hen House was destroyed by fire in the spring of 2006. Co-owner Gary Warn says the fire could not have come at a worse time; because of the holidays, officials who can give the go-ahead for the restaurant won't immediately be available.

Recount Overturns Bedford Election

Court-ordered recounts have reversed the results of a recount in a Bedford County race, held in November. Kimmel Township supervisor Lester Musselman had lost to challenger Dan Potter by one vote. Musselman filed for a recount, which changed the results of the election. A third recount, held last week, showed that Musselman, in fact, was the winner of the election.

Events Manager to be Hired

The Downtown Development Commission has prepared an ad to officially open the search for a new events manager for the town center. Co-manager Ed Mullaney retired at the end of October. Downtown Manager Jennifer Light says the exact title of the position will be promotions manager. While the wording of the ad must be approved by the human resources department at City Hall, the plan is to begin advertising for the position next Monday.

Woman Rescued in Garrett County

A woman and her two dogs were rescued after becoming lost while hiking in Swallow Falls State Park in Garrett County. A "911" was received Friday from the woman, and she was located and airlifted out of the woods by a helicopter. She was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries and was released. She was reunited with her dogs on Friday evening. Her name was not released.

House Destroyed by Fire in Bedford County

A home on Fairlane Drive, just outside of Bedford Township, was destroyed by fire late last week. The fire was reported just before 7 p.m. Thursday. On arrival, firefighters saw the garage was on fire and flames were spreading to the house. The fire was brought under control, but not before it caused major damage, and was declared a total loss.

Woman Held Following Assault Incident

Forty-nine year old Lili Nelson is being held on $5,000 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center, after she was charged with assaulting her husband. Cumberland City Police responded to 1607 Bedford Street, following a hang up complaint from "911." Nelson's husband said she had struck him in the face, following an argument. She acknowledged that she hit him, but only out of fear for her safety. She was the arrested and remanded to the Allegany County Detention Center.

Man Arrested in Downtown Assault

Cumberland resident Wesley Eugene Baker II was arrested late last week, following an alleged assault incident in the 300-block of North Centre Street earlier in the week. He was charged with second-degree assault and theft, after an adult female applied for charges in District Court. The 35-year old Baker was charged and was being held at the Allegany County Detention Center on $15,000 bond.

Senator Edwards Previews Session

There are several issues on the table for the upcoming General Assembly session, including Common Core educational guidelines, the so-called "rain tax," and the structural deficit. Senator George Edwards, in pointing out that 2014 is an election year, says there may be a corporate tax reduction this year, so that the legislature's leadership can say to its constituents, "We cut taxes."
To him, Senator Edwards says the structural deficit is the biggest problem Maryland is facing. And, he acknowledges that people and businesses, are leaving the state. He says the "wealth factor" in the state will be studied during the next session. Senator Edwards adds that this should have been done two years ago.

Local News

Scarpelli Announces House Bid

Cumberland City Council member Nick Scarpelli has announced his candidacy for the Maryland House of Delegates in District 1-C, a seat now held by LeRoy Myers, who is not seeking reelection. Scarpelli, who was first elected to the Cumberland City Council in November of 2010, had once considered a run for the House, but decided to run for city council instead. The Maryland primary will be held on June 24th, with the general election set for November 4, 2014.


Holiday Inn Express To Be Built By 2015

A project which has been discussed since 2010 may become a reality by 2015. That is the tentative date for the opening of a new Holiday Inn Express hotel in LaVale. The hotel will be located near Campground Road, Braddock Road and Interstate 68. The Downtown Cumberland Holiday Inn recently transitioned to a Ramada Inn.


Two Arrested in Robbery

Two Cumberland residents-27-year old Tara Crawford and 33-year old Timothy Lee Hairston-have been arrested in connection with a robbery near a liquor store on Union Street earlier in the month. The victim told police he had purchased several alcoholic beverages from the store, when he was followed outside by two people. The woman had asked him for the alcoholic beverage, and the man pushed him down and stole the beverages and a small amount of money. Video surveillance led to the arrest of the two. Ms. Crawford was held on $3,000 bond and Hairston was held on $7500 bail.


Breaking and Entering Investigated

The Cumberland City Police are seeking a suspect in a breaking and entering at a residence in the 500-block of Riehl Avenue. The incident happened sometime between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when an unknown person or persons broke into the residence by forcing a window out of the back door, then reaching in and unlocking the door. Several items were stolen from the home. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Cumberland City Police or Crime Solvers at (301)-722-4300.


Man Served Bench Warrant

Cumberland resident Larry Joseph Rodeheaver was served with bench warrant on Christmas Day, charging him with violating the terms of his probation. He was served with the warrant, then taken to District Court, where he was released after posting a $100 bond.


Cumberland Man Arrested for DUI

Cumberland resident William Laverne Swartz was arrested Christmas Eve, following a noise complaint in the 400-block of Park Street. The noise was coming from his van; officers detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage, and he was asked to perform standard field sobriety tests. Swartz was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. Following an appearance in District Court, he was issued citations and released.


Health Effects of Fracturing To Be Studied

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has commissioned a study on the public health effects of natural gas drilling in far Western Maryland. The study will assess the prospective impact of fracturing on water and air quality, noise and public safety, and will be done by the University of Maryland's School of Public Health. The results will be delivered to a state commission, created to advise regulators on safe drilling practices. The commission's final report is due in August.


Beitzel Comments on Upcoming Session

Delegate Wendell Beitzel says there may be legislation introduced next month, that would reduce business taxes to make the state more business-friendly. There will be budget problems, and Delegate Beitzel notes that the state borrows money, based on the amount of anticipated real estate tax collections. He says debt service on the budget is paid by those tax collections. On the recently enacted gas tax, Delegate Beitzel says the state has a plan to use that money, and it plans a mass transit project for Montgomery County, which should generate $35 million per year. The only problem is, it costs $100 million a year to operate that portion of the system.


Library Facing Deep Cuts

The Mineral County Library may be facing a possible $25,000 to $30,000 loss in funding, that could mean fewer staff members and shorter hours. Library Director Connie Sutton didn't request any additional funding from the Mineral County Commissioners, but wanted to alert them to the shortfall. The problem is being attributed to a lack of adequate local funding.


Christmas Tree Recycling Sites Open

Christmas trees can be dropped off to the recycling sites, located throughout Allegany County from now through January 18th. Trees and other live greenery, including wreaths and swags can be disposed of there; however, all decorations must be removed. There are at least ten recycling sites located throughout the county.


Perini Passes at Age 74

Dominick Perini, owner of a construction company that built some of Western Maryland's major commercial and institutional projects over the past 30 years, has passed away at the age of 74. Perini suffered an apparent heart attack Monday evening. Another venture, Perini Services, Incorporated operates five nursing homes in the states of Maryland and Pennsylvania. The nursing homes have a total of 900 beds and employs about 1,000 people.


Robbery Suspect Shot to Death in Home

One man was killed and another suffered three gunshot wounds following a Christmas morning robbery attempt near Fayetteville, Pennsylvania. Janorris Hughes was killed as he entered a home on Mt. Cydonia Road. Thrity-six year old Terry Fulton was shot three times, but the homeowner, Mickle Shaffer was arraigned in connection with the shooting.


WV State Police Add App to Android, iPhones

The West Virginia State Police have added a new smart phone application to help fight crime. The goal of the app is to enhance communication between the public and West Virginia State Police. It allows you to keep in contact with Facebook, Twitter, the West Virginia State Police website, and the sex offender registry and detachment information. The new app also can help the public locate the nearest detachment by using the GPS on their phone. It can be downloaded for free at the iStore for Apple products and at the Google play store for Android devices.

Local News

Cumberland Woman Arrested in Jewelry Theft

Fifty-nine year old Cumberland resident Vickie Lynn Herbaugh has been arrested in connection with that jewelry theft last Sunday from a Virginia Avenue business. She had been developed as a suspect early in the investigation. Police responded to a private residence on Arch Street on an unrelated matter; Ms. Herbaugh was seen wearing some of the reported stolen jewelry, and was arrested. She was charged with burglary and theft and held on $20,000 bond, pending her next court appearance. The investigation by the Cumberland City Police and C3I unit.


Western Maryland Missing Out on Gas Drilling

All four companies that had filed drilling permits in the Cumberland area have now withdrawn them. Part of the reason could be that a drawn-out state review of hydraulic fracturing has weakened the region's appeal to the energy industry. There is ongoing, heavy drilling in both West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Wholesale natural gas prices have dropped about a third of what they were in July of 2008. And, the small portion of Maryland, mostly in this area, contains pockets of natural gas, but few of the liquid compounds such as ethane, butane and even oil.


Man Charged with Trespassing

A North Carolina man suffered minor injuries, when his car was struck by a CSX train early Tuesday morning. Twenty-six year old Dustin James Turbin of Willow Springs, North Carolina was driving along the tracks near Faulk's junkyard along Waxler Road, when his pickup truck became lodged, with its front end across the tracks. There was damage to his truck, but only minimum damage to the train, which stopped following the accident.  Turbin was charged with trespassing on CSX property. The accident investigation by the Sheriff's Office and CSX, is continuing.


Cumberland Woman Arrested for Theft

Twenty-seven year old Cumberland resident Ashley Dawn Dougherty, was arrested, but later released on an unsecured bond. She is charged with the unauthorized removal of property and theft of less than $1,000. Following her arrest, she was processed, served, and taken to the Allegany County District Court Commissioners' Office for a bond hearing.


Somerset Receives Grant

Somerset Hospital has been awarded a three-million dollar state grant. The money, according to Senator Richard Kasunic and Representative Carl Walker Metzgar, will be used for facility renovations there. The grant was announced this week.


Dismissal Sought in Frederick County Suit

Frederick County deputies are asking a federal court judge to dismiss a wrongful death suit involving a man with Down's Syndrome, who, they say, contributed to his own asphyxiation by resisting arrest. The parents of Robert Ethan Saylor filed the suit, but the deputies say they were at fault as well, for putting their son in the care of an aide who couldn't control his angry outbursts. The deputies say Saylor was being arrested after refusing to leave a theater seat for which he had not paid.


Standardized Tests Criticized

The Maryland School Assessments tests are outdated and meaningless in the age of Common Core Academic Standards,  and that is why two legislators are seeking a waiver this school year from a federal requirement to give standardized tests. The MSA's, according to some, lack purpose and waste instructional time because they don't reflect Common Core standards.


Holiday Foods and Decor Can Be Deadly for Pets

With the holiday season in full swing, there are foods, decorations, and plants in the home that can prove toxic and even fatal for your pets. Some may surprise you. K.C. Theisen, director of Pet Care Issues for the Humane Society of the United States, says grapes, raisins, and garlic can be toxic for pets. Chocolate, which is plentiful this time of year, can be especially bad. Plants such as holly and poinsettias can be toxic, as well as mistletoe berries. Theisen says to be sure to keep decorations and ribbons out of reach. A cat, for example, could mistake ribbon or plastic decorations for a toy.


New ACA Deadline

There is a new deadline for residents enrolling for health insurance through the federal exchange. They have until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to enroll. Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield is the only company in West Virginia offering health insurance plans through the federal exchange. The number of West Virginia residents continued to climb above 2200 before the new deadline was established.

Local News

Cumberland Woman Arrested in Jewelry Theft

Fifty-nine year old Cumberland resident Vickie Lynn Herbaugh has been arrested in connection with that jewelry theft last Sunday from a Virginia Avenue business. She had been developed as a suspect early in the investigation. Police responded to a private residence on Arch Street on an unrelated matter; Ms. Herbaugh was seen wearing some of the reported stolen jewelry, and was arrested. She was charged with burglary and theft and held on $20,000 bond, pending her next court appearance. The investigation by the Cumberland City Police and C3I unit.


Western Maryland Missing Out on Gas Drilling

All four companies that had filed drilling permits in the Cumberland area have now withdrawn them. Part of the reason could be that a drawn-out state review of hydraulic fracturing has weakened the region's appeal to the energy industry. There is ongoing, heavy drilling in both West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Wholesale natural gas prices have dropped about a third of what they were in July of 2008. And, the small portion of Maryland, mostly in this area, contains pockets of natural gas, but few of the liquid compounds such as ethane, butane and even oil.


Man Charged with Trespassing

A North Carolina man suffered minor injuries, when his car was struck by a CSX train early Tuesday morning. Twenty-six year old Dustin James Turbin of Willow Springs, North Carolina was driving along the tracks near Faulk's junkyard along Waxler Road, when his pickup truck became lodged, with its front end across the tracks. There was damage to his truck, but only minimum damage to the train, which stopped following the accident.  Turbin was charged with trespassing on CSX property. The accident investigation by the Sheriff's Office and CSX, is continuing.


Cumberland Woman Arrested for Theft

Twenty-seven year old Cumberland resident Ashley Dawn Dougherty, was arrested, but later released on an unsecured bond. She is charged with the unauthorized removal of property and theft of less than $1,000. Following her arrest, she was processed, served, and taken to the Allegany County District Court Commissioners' Office for a bond hearing.


Somerset Receives Grant

Somerset Hospital has been awarded a three-million dollar state grant. The money, according to Senator Richard Kasunic and Representative Carl Walker Metzgar, will be used for facility renovations there. The grant was announced this week.


Dismissal Sought in Frederick County Suit

Frederick County deputies are asking a federal court judge to dismiss a wrongful death suit involving a man with Down's Syndrome, who, they say, contributed to his own asphyxiation by resisting arrest. The parents of Robert Ethan Saylor filed the suit, but the deputies say they were at fault as well, for putting their son in the care of an aide who couldn't control his angry outbursts. The deputies say Saylor was being arrested after refusing to leave a theater seat for which he had not paid.


Standardized Tests Criticized

The Maryland School Assessments tests are outdated and meaningless in the age of Common Core Academic Standards,  and that is why two legislators are seeking a waiver this school year from a federal requirement to give standardized tests. The MSA's, according to some, lack purpose and waste instructional time because they don't reflect Common Core standards.


Holiday Foods and Decor Can Be Deadly for Pets

With the holiday season in full swing, there are foods, decorations, and plants in the home that can prove toxic and even fatal for your pets. Some may surprise you. K.C. Theisen, director of Pet Care Issues for the Humane Society of the United States, says grapes, raisins, and garlic can be toxic for pets. Chocolate, which is plentiful this time of year, can be especially bad. Plants such as holly and poinsettias can be toxic, as well as mistletoe berries. Theisen says to be sure to keep decorations and ribbons out of reach. A cat, for example, could mistake ribbon or plastic decorations for a toy.


New ACA Deadline

There is a new deadline for residents enrolling for health insurance through the federal exchange. They have until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to enroll. Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield is the only company in West Virginia offering health insurance plans through the federal exchange. The number of West Virginia residents continued to climb above 2200 before the new deadline was established.

Local News

Unemployment Rate Drops in November

The Maryland unemployment rate dropped from 6.7 per cent in October to 6.4 per cent in November; the state gained 8900 jobs last month. A combination of better job growth, coupled with the 2013 federal sequestration, caused an "open and down" year for jobs. A new federal budget deal from Congress could be a turning point for the state, with the expectation of a faster pace of job creation in the new year.


Police Investigate Jewelry Theft

The Cumberland City Police and C3I unit are investigating the theft of jewelry from a business in the 100-block of Virginia Avenue. The theft was reported on Sunday; several rings had been stolen from the business. A potential suspect has been identified, and is being sought for questioning. Anyone with information is asked to contact Cumberland City Police at (301)-777-1600 or the Crime Solvers' hotline at (301)-722-4300.


Destruction of Property Reported

The Cumberland City Police Department is investigating a destruction of property incident at 758 Greene Street early Sunday morning. Officers saw that a store front window had been broken; however, there was no entry into the building. The damage is believed to have occurred around 4 a.m. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Police Department at (301)-777-1600.


Man Held Without Bond

Thirty-year old Cumberland resident David Lee Sines is being held without bail, following an incident on Sunday, where he allegedly tried to abduct two children from the grounds of an apartment complex on Oldtown Road. Sines was seen picking up two girls, ages 4 and 7. Witnesses yelled for him to leave the children, he ran. Sines was found a short distance away and placed under arrest. He was charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault and other sex offenses.


Funding Sought for Sewer Line Repair

The town is Meyersdale is looking for funding to replace some sewer lines along Beachley Street. Sewer plant operator Jeff McKenzie has identified one of the primary sources of sewer violations in the town. The Meyersdale Municipal Authority has authorized McKenzie and engineers from a local firm to look for funding for the repairs.


Attorney General Comments on Elections Ruling

Attorney General Doug Gansler, who is running for Governor, has responded to a State Board of Elections ruling, which allows candidates to raise money during the legislative session, even if they are on a ticket with someone who is barred from fundraising during the 90-day session. Gansler stressed that the ruling came from the State Board of Elections, and not from his office. Gansler questioned the ethics of the ruling, which in part, stated the Governor and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown are barred from raising money.


Bank Rejects Latest Takeover Bid

A $1.2 billion takeover bid by Men's Wearhouse has been rejected by Joseph A. Bank Clothiers, Incorporated. The board of directors at Bank, based in Hampstead, Maryland, says the proposed price undervalued the chain and was not in the best interest of its shareholders. If there would have been a merger of the two, it would have created a $3.5 billion retailer, with more than 1700 stores that experts say would better compete with department stores.


Labor Negotiations to Resume in 2014

Negotiations between the West Virginia University hospitals and the union representing more than 900 of its workers are scheduled to resume after the first of the year. The latest contract offer from Laborer's Union Local 814 was soundly rejected. Two issues causing concern are staffing and the fact that the union is not satisfied with a proposal to eliminate health insurance for union members who work 20 hours a week, starting in 2015. Negotiations will resume on January 6th.


Commission Approves New Betting Options

The West Virginia Lottery Commission has approved using electronic touch screens at the state's racetrack casinos as an option for betting on live table games. Electronic touch screen wagering on table games had been allowed, but the new option would allow players to bet from either the actual live table or from an electronic station. Table game revenues fell 36 per cent for the first five months of this fiscal year, and the innovations will hopefully help West Virginia casinos to compete with new and established gambling complexes in Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Local News

Woman Dies in Weekend Fire


An elderly Short Gap woman was killed in weekend fire at her home on Old Furnace Road. Firefighters discovered a fire in the kitchen on arrival, and the victim's body was found on the kitchen floor. The fire was first reported around 12:40 p.m. Saturday. Further details, including the identity of the victim are unknown at the present time.



Women Sentenced on Drug Charges


Twenty-eight year old Romney resident Tonya Renee Haymond has been sentenced in Federal District Court to 31 months in prison for distribution of heroin. And, Rio resident Megan Rohrbaugh will serve two years probation for distribution of Oxycodone. They were among 17 people who appeared for plea or sentencing hearings in an Elkins courtroom this past week.



C3I Investigates Stabbing


Three, yet-to-be-identified men were treated at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, following a stabbing incident early Saturday morning on Route 40. The men had been at a Cumberland establishment earlier in the evening, and later were involved in an altercation in the LaVale area along Route 40. None of the injuries was life-threatening. Along with the C3I unit, the LaVale barrack of the Maryland State Police investigated.



Warehouse Fire Causes $150,000 Damage


A fire at a Franklin Street warehouse, caused about $150,000 in damage Friday morning. The cause of the fire was traced to a malfunctioning electrical cord. The warehouse was being used by the Western Correctional Institution and the Western Maryland Health System. The fire was brought under control in about a half-hour, but the building sustained smoke and water damage.



Wiring Caused Arch Street Fire


A fire Thursday afternoon, was started by faulty electrical wiring. The home, at 308 Arch Street was owned by John Morgan and occupied by Charles Landenberger and five other people. Damage estimates were placed at $10,000. The Red Cross provided assistance to the victims. Columbia Gas and Potomac Edison were also on the scene of the fire.



Man, Juvenile Charged in Assault Incident


Both 18-year old James Gregory Hebert and a 17-year old juvenile male were charged in connection with an altercation, which took place in the 300-block of Caroline Street earlier in the month. Both had been arguing over money, and both claimed they were assaulted by the other. Both were charged with second-degree assault.



Domestic Assault Results in Charges


Thirty-two year old Christopher David Shrader was released on personal recognizance, pending trial, following a domestic assault incident on York Place. Shrader is accused of physically assaulting his fiance, and her injuries were consistent with her account of the situation. Sharader was placed under arrest and charged with second degree assault.



Hagerstown Police Seek Murder Suspect


The Hagerstown Police Department is seeking a man in connection with the shooting death of 20-year old Everette Wade of Locust Street. Officers found a man in the 100-block of East Baltimore Street, with a gunshot wound to the stomach. Wade was later taken to the Meritus Medical Center, where he later died. The shooting was determined to be an isolated incident, and anyone with information is asked to contact the Hagerstown Police Department.



Three Sentenced for Arson Fires


Three college students will be spending the holidays in jail, after each received a two-week sentence in Washington County Circuit Court. The three-18-year old Clear Spring resident Jacob Hess, 20-year old Olivia Hannah of Frederick, and Sarah Mathews of Adamstown-were involved in a series of arson fires that happened in late March and early April. The fires ranged from grass and trash-can fires to sheds, vehicles and barns.



Elections Board Rules on Fundraising


The Maryland State Board of Elections has ruled that candidates who are permitted to raise money during the legislative session can continue to do so, even if they are on a ticket with someone who is barred from fundraising during the 90-day session. While the ruling affects candidates in several different ways, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown's running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman is not covered by the fundraising ban, because he is neither a state lawmaker nor a statewide office holder.



Former Bank Manager Sentenced


Former Weston, West Virginia bank manager Deborah Radcliff has been sentenced for embezzling nearly a quarter-million dollars of customers' money. She has been sentenced to three years and one month, and will also pay a minimum of $100 a month in restitution. Following her release from prison, she will be on three years' supervised release. Currently, Ms. Radcliff is free on bond, and will report to federal prison in February.


Local News

Commissioners Approve Scholarship Program

The Allegany County Commissioners have approved a program that would provide more money for those wishing to attend Frostburg State University or Allegany College of Maryland. The money would be provided from revenues from slots at Rocky Gap. The agreement for the Allegany County Opportunity Scholarship fund is for five years, and the county would have no say in awarding the scholarships.


Keyser Primary Opening on January 8

The new Keyser Primary School will be open on January 8th. Students who will be attending the school will not have to return until then, because of the transition. The new school will have 31 full-sized classrooms, along with nine small instructional spaces for speech, special education and therapy/physical therapy, according to the Cumberland Times-News.


No Movement on Keyser Pre-K/Head Start Building

No action was taken on the Keyser Pre-K/Head Start building during this week's meeting of the Mineral County Board of Education. Gina Spriggs, director of the Catamount Children's Center, now located in the Grand Central Business Center, was looking to possibly relocate the center in the Head Start building. The Grand Central Business Center will be closing on December 31st.


Dollar Store Opening Next Summer

At least one new Dollar General Store will be opening in the summer of 2014. Although the  Mount Savage Road location is on track, but the Allegany County Board of Zoning Appeals denied a request for a special exception for construction of a building at Nave's Crossroads. That area is currently zoned for general urban development.


Police Respond To Vehicle Tampering

Cumberland City Police are investigating several vehicle tampering incidents in the 400 and 500-block of Louisiana Avenue. Several victims told policea that an unknown person or persons had entered their vehicles, rummaging through the glove boxes and consoles, looking for valuables. There are no suspects, and police are asking residents to lock their vehicles and taken items of value into their residences, and to not leave them in plain view during the Holiday Season.


Brothers Sentenced in Fraud Case

Two brothers, William and Ronald Kuchera, have been sentenced to five years probation each, for defrauding the federal government through their Windber defense firm. Charges against them were felony counts. They paid about $4.6 million in court-ordered forfeitures and restitution to the federal government.


Website Not Without Faults

Maryland is currently addressing nine major issues with the health care exchange website, and hopes to have 260,000 residents enrolled by the end of March. The deadline to be enrolled by January 1st is next Friday. Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown says all options are open, in order to meet the goal of over a quarter million residents enrolled. Governor Martin O'Malley commented that although the site is functional, he acknowledges it is not glitch-free. The Governor says the hope is to sign up 4 to 5 per cent of the state's population. As far as the website is concerned, Governor O'Malley says problems were expected.


Committee Recommends Cap on Spending

The Maryland Spending Affordability Committee has recommended the state's budget spending be capped at four per cent growth for the next year. The panel has also recommended cutting the state's budget deficit by $125 million. The spending affordability process was initiated in 1982, but its recommendations are not binding on the Governor. Finally, the committee has recommended maintaining the state's Rainy Day Fund at 5 per cent of estimated revenue, or about $803 million for Fiscal Year 2015.


Unemployment Decreases in West Virginia

The West Virginia unemployment rate is nearly a full percentage point below the national average, fall to 6.1 per cent last month. Nationally, the rate was 7 per cent. The total number of West Virginians without a job fell 1400 in November to 48,200. Increases were seen in non-farm payroll jobs, goods-producing, mining and logging, and in the financial services sector.


West Virginians Warned of Scam

West Virginia residents are being warned of a phone scam. People, pretending to work for the IRS, has threatened a number of residents, threatening them with arrest or other punishment, if they don't pay a certain amount, using a pre-paid debit card or money order. They use common names and fake IRS badge numbers, but they know the last four digits of the victim's social security number. Anyone who believes they may have a tax issue should contact the IRS immediately.

Local news

Child Struck By Vehicle

There were no charges filed against a Cumberland man, whose car struck a 12-year old boy in the 1,000-block of Frederick Street on Tuesday. The driver, Charles Neus, said he wasn't able to stop before he struck the youngster. The child was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, where he was listed in stable condition.


Legislative Audit Office Releases DVA Report

The Maryland State Department of Legislative Audits has released a report concerning the Department of Veterans Affairs, and several problems were found. Most of the discrepancies related to bookkeeping matters and federal funding issues. One of the findings noted the department did not follow established procedures on "sole source" procurements. The audit is recommending written justification for procurements and retroactive approval for state contracts from the Board of Public Works.


FSU to Hold Commencement Saturday

Frostburg State University will hold its 143rd commencement ceremonies this Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Harold J. Cordts Physical Education Center's Main Arena on the FSU campus. President Dr. Johnathan Gibralter, will confer degrees on graduates from the colleges of Business, Education and Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Holiday Schedule for City

There will be no trash collection in the city of Cumberland next Wednesday, Christmas Day, and January 1st, New Year's Day. Residents of areas affected by the change should put their trash out the next regularly scheduled collection day. Christmas trees will be collected for recycling, beginning on Monday, January 6th. Trees must be completely undecorated and placed to the curb area as possible the evening before the pickup.


Schools Benefit from Hooley Plunge

The 2013 Hooley Plunge, which benefits Allegany County Special Olympics and other local programs for the developmentally disabled, raised more than $40,000 for SLE programs and Unified Sports. Funds allocated to the school system will help fund computers, instructional supplies, equipment, and field trips. The 2014 Hooley Plunge will be the tenth annual, andf the date is Saturday, March 1, 2014.


Contract Ratified by Food Workers

Workers for Safeway and Giant Foods-the parent company of Martin's Food Markets-have overwhelmingly ratified a three year labor contract that preserves health benefits and raises wages over three years. The contract covers 28,000 UFCW workers in Local 27 and Local 400, and takes effect immediately. The contract allows current employees and some future employees to keep their current health benefits, rather than being shifted onto health care exchanges.


Maryland Needs Plan for Aging Population

Maryland's population is getting older, and the state of Maryland needs a better plan to deal with it. AARP leaders from eight states met this month to discuss their policy priorities for the next year. AARP State Director Hank Greenberg hopes the 2014 Maryland General Assembly will work toward a comprehensive plan to protect the state's aging population. Greenberg says some of those needs include improving care giving, retirement planning and utility reliability. He adds Maryland seniors need more resources to be able to age in their homes.


Health Exchange Deadline Extended

Insurance carriers participating in Maryland's health care exchange, have extended the deadline for individuals and families to enroll in order to be covered. Those who enroll in a qualified health plan through the exchange have until next Friday, December 27th, in order to be covered by the first of the year. The previous deadline was this coming Monday. The deadline was extended because of computer glitches enountered since the website went online October 1st.


Gas Prices More Expensive in West Virginia

Gas prices in areas of West Virginia-especially in Jefferson and Berkeley counties-are considerably higher than those in Pennsylvania, or even Maryland. The West Virginia gas tax is not the driving force behind higher prices; it's a practice called "zone pricing," a practice wholesalers use to set the price of gas, according to the region where the gas is going. State Senator Herb Snyder is trying to get a bill passed, which prohibits zone, or predatory, pricing. New York has such a law, and Snyder is modeling his legislation after that.

Local News

Canal Place Funding Debated


The Cumberland Mayor and City Council are somewhat divided on providing further funding for Canal Place. While Council member Nick Scarpelli is in favor of funding the entity, Councilman Dave Kauffman said he may consider funding of about $20,000. Councilman David Caporale wants to study the issue further, while member Nicole Wagoner and Mayor Brian Grim say the would abstain from any vote on funding, citing potential conflicts of interest.



Garrett Commissioners Vote to Fund School Board Request


The Garrett County Commissioners, in a unanimous vote, have agreed to give the Board of Education there $2.2 million for FY '15. One of the conditions of the funding is that the board stop plans to close three schools there, and that the public school system participate in the Garrett County Employee Health Care Coalition.



Deaths Ruled Murder-Suicide


The deaths of a Somerset County couple have been ruled a murder-suicide. The bodies of 59-year old Karen Louise Harkcom and 57-year old Michael David Harkcom were found Monday afternoon at their Shanksville Road home in Stonycreek Township. While the investigation is continuing, police said earlier there was no danger to the public in connection with the incident.



Man Arrested in Restaurant Break In


Allegany Sheriff's deputies have arrested Bradford Joseph Whetstone II in connection with a breaking and entering and theft at D'Atri's Bakery in LaVale. He was developed as a suspect and arrested while they were handling a separate incident at the Country Club Mall. Whetstone is accused of breaking into the bakery and stealing an undisclosed amount of cash. He was held at the Allegany County Detention Center in lieu of $25,000 bond.



Mayor Amtower Being Treated for Cancer


Keyser Mayor Randy Amtower has disclosed he is being treated for thyroid cancer. The Mayor says he wanted to inform the residents of Keyser, and after undergoing surgery in November, he says he will receive a radiation treatment next month, which would allow him to return to his mayoral duties.



Police Investigating Breaking and Entering


Cumberland City Police are investigating the breaking and entering of South Cumberland Pharmacy early yesterday morning. A suspect shattered a glass door, but did not enter the building. A K-9 team attempted to track the suspect, who left the scene in an unknown vehicle. Video surveillance is currently being reviewed for images of the suspect. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Cumberland Police Department.



Garrett Board To Hold Meeting


The Garrett County Board of Education will hold an emergency business meeting tomorrow. The meeting will be held at the Garrett College auditorium, beginning at 5:00 p.m. Topics of the meeting include the Garrett County Public Schools Budget/Deficit and the Advisory/School Consolidation Impact Committee process. The meeting is open to the public.



ACM To Hold Graduation Friday


Allegany College of Maryland will hold its commencement exercises Friday, and expects to graduate more than 200 students. The ceremony begins at 7 p.m. in the ACM Physical Education building. Candidates for graduation are expected to receive approximately 235 associate degrees and certificates in ACM's varied and numerous career and transfer programs. Those who attend ACM at the Bedford and Somerset campuses are part of the exercises. The commencement address will be delivered by Stephanie McVicker, of Schellsburg, Pennsylvania, who has distinguished herself with high academic achievement.



Maynard Coments on Resignation, Detention Center


A task force, of which State Senator George Edwards is a member, has recommended gradually closing the state run Baltimore City Detention Center. The report came one day after Public Safety and Corrections Secretary Gary Maynard announced his resignation. While he emphasized one issue had nothing to do with the other, Maynard says before taking a job with the Criminal Justice Institute, he commented there are things he needed to do before leaving.

After the initial indictments, which included 13 correctional officers, came in April, many called for Maynard's resignation. Maynard says the task force is dealing with concerns about violence and corruption in the correctional system. Maynard says a "best practices" policy is being instituted, which includes screening inmates for gang affiliations.




Berkeley, Morgan Counties Buck Harvest Higher


Even though there are indications the 2013 buck harvest in Berkeley and Morgan counties in West Virginia was higher than last year, the West Virginia DNR says the jurisdictions are still under-harvested. Given the deer population in Jefferson County, this year's harvest of 433 bucks is "ridiculously low," according to DNR biologist, Rich Rogers. There were 891 bucks taken in Berkeley County and 747 in Morgan County. The region was led by Hampshire County, which saw over 1600 bucks taken during the two-week season.


West Virginia School Board Approves Calendar Changes


The West Virginia Board of Education has instituted a new state policy, which gives county school systems in the state more control over their calendars, but does not mandate year-round instruction. The newly adopted policy allows counties to establish year round calendars, if the community believes that is most appropriate for its students. The policy also requires county school boards to develop a plan to make up instructional time lost due to bad weather, early dismissals and late arrivals.

Local News

School Boards Ask for Financial Relief

The Allegany and Garrett County Boards of Education are asking members of the Western Maryland Delegation to the General Assembly for financial help, due to the loss of revenues in the state wealth formula and a declining student enrollment. The delegation has been able to help stem the losses, but it can't fund the entire loss of revenue from the counties.


Keyser May Pursue Condemnation Proceedings

To get started on a water system improvement project, the city of Keyser may begin condemnation proceedings against hold-out properties. Keyser hopes to begin work on the $5 million project in the spring, and it still needs 14 easements, but about ten fewer than it needs before work can begin. The easements would allow the city to enter private property to install or replace existing lines, or to perform other maintenance procedures in the future.


Frostburg Man Charged

Frostburg resident Harold Nicol was arrested, after a complaint was filed about three people looking inside of vehicles on Washington Street early Sunday afternoon. Nicol had a loaded nine-shot revolver in his waistband, and police discovered that he had a protective order that prohibited him from having a gun. He faces a number of related charges, and was held on $7500 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center.


Berlin Couple Found Dead

A Berlin, Pennsylvania couple was found dead in their home on Shanksville Road early yesterday afternoon. The bodies of 59-year old Karen Louise Harkcom and 57-year old Michael David Harkcom were found shortly after noon. Police say there is no danger to the public and further details were not available.


DNR Announces Survey Results

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently released the results of a survey regarding deer hunters and landowners in Western Maryland. The purpose was to gauge support for instituting mandatory antler restrictions for deer hunting in Allegany and Garrett counties, as well as assess awareness of venison donation programs in the region. The survey found support for antler restrictions, and substantial support for hunters and landowners for voluntary quality deer management, versus antler restrictions. Most respondents say they would participate in venison donation programs if they were located closer to their homes or hunting locations.


Washington County Authorities Search for Teen

The Washington County Sheriff's Office is continuing its search for a missing16-year old girl. Tabitha Wilson was last seen Thursday morning in Boonsboro, when she failed to return home from school. She is described as being about 5-feet tall, weighing about 115 pounds. She has hazel eyes and red hair, and was last seen wearing a grey sweatshirt with a blue design on it. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the Washington County Sheriff's Office.


Washington County Improving School Security

Washington County is improving security to the entrances to 15 of its public schools. About $852,000 has been budgeted for the improvements; design work was awarded to a Frederick firm, at a cost of $69,555. While some of the improvements may begin late this school year, but most of the work will be done over the summer break of 2014.


Homestead Tax Credit Deadline December 30th

Over a million Maryland residents have applied for the Homestead Tax Credit, in advance of a December 30th deadline. Those who do not submit applications by that date will lose their shot at the break for the 2014 tax year. The credit is designed to keep property taxes on homeowner-occupied residences from increasing more than 10 per cent each year. If you applied after 2007, you don't need to resubmit an application.


Holidays Can Break Maryland Family Food Budgets

The upcoming holiday break means no school for the kids, and for some, it may mean fewer meals. Molly McCloskey, director of the Maryland "No Kid Hungry" campaign, explains that families can't always stretch their food budgets to provide more weekday meals-let alone put aside a special Christmas dinner on the table. She says 270,000 Maryland children depend on SNAP food assistance, and those benefits were reduced last month. McCloskey adds that Marylanders are known for their generosity, and it's helpful to remember that hunger isn't a seasonal problem.

Blitz Results in Over 50 Sex Offender Arrests

A four-day law enforcement operation, aimed at verifying compliance of registered sex offenders resulted in over 50 arrests. Fifty-four of 317 registered sex offenders in West Virginia were not in compliance with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. The initiative, termed "Operation Lump of Coal," was conducted in five West Virginia counties; a similar operation, in August, found 10 out of 209 registered sex offenders out of compliance.

Local News

PSC Approves Backbone Turbine Project


The Public Service Commission has approved a project from Fair Wind Power Partners, LLC, to build up to 15 wind turbines on Backbone Mountain. There are conditions to the approval, including filing the appropriate reports regarding endangered species, transmission system improvements, and any upgrades to the transmission system. The project will begin construction next spring, and be operational in 2015.



No Autosports Events at Airport


The Potomac Highlands Airport Authority has turned down a request to hold autosports events at the Greater Cumberland Regional Airport next year. The Federal Aviation Administration says that holding such events conflicts with its criteria for use, and could interfere with a $2.3 million grant awarded in September. However, president of National Road Autosport, John Felten, says the group may challenge the FAA decision, and is considering another venue, including the Allegany County Fairgrounds.



West Virginia PSC Approves Sewer Rate


The West Virginia State Public Service Commission has ruled on a long running dispute between the city of Romney and the Central Hampshire Public Service District. The PSC has approved a rate of $3.82 per 1,000 gallons, and a rate of $6.89, when at least 75 per cent of the city's wastewater treatment plant is completed. There should be no further action on the issue, and a first reading of the ordinance will take place today. A second and third will tentatively be held on January 6th.



Dog Shot in Bowman's Addition


A dog was shot and killed over the weekend, near the intersection of Amherst Avenue and Brown Hill Road in Bowman's Addition. The gun was a small calibre weapon and the dog was left to die in a ditch, along the road. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Allegany County Sheriff's Department, or other law enforcement agencies.



Man Arrested for B & E, Outstanding Warrant


A Springdale Street man was arrested and charged with the breaking and entering of a residence on Virginia Avenue over the weekend. Thirty-four year old James Cordell Welch had allegedly been in the residence, stealing copper piping. It was also discovered that Welch was wanted in Delaware for manufacturing CDS. He was taken to District Court, and ordered held at the Allegany County Detention Center on $25,000 bond.


Ridgeley Closes Center for Winter


The Ridgeley Mayor and Council have decided to close the town's community center for winter. While they had hoped it would become self-sustaining, it was more cost-effective to close for a couple of months. There are plans for form a committee, to promote the building, and to book events that would help cover the cost of utilities and other maintenance expenses.



Pennsylvania Man Arrested for DUI


Seventy-three year old Irwin, Pennsylvania resident David Bittner was arrested for driving under the influence over the weekend, after he crashed his car on the Friendsville Road, just north of Buffalo Run Road. Bittner traveled across the south bound lane, striking the guardrail, then traveled back and hit the north bound guardrail. He was not injured, and refused medical treatment. He was later released to a sober driver.



MRHS Holds Honor Society Induction


The Mountain Ridge Chapter of the National Honor Society recently held its 7th annual induction ceremony, and welcomed 61new members into the organization. The National Honor Society ranks as one of the oldest and most prestigious national organizations for high school students, having been established in 1921. Keynote speaker for the event was Frances Ann Shaw, retired Mountain Ridge English teacher.



Northern High, Frost Elementary Honored


Both Frost Elementary School and Northern Garrett High School have been recognized as a 2014 Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. At a recent awards ceremony, conducted by the Maryland State Department of Education, Superintendent of Schools, Dr. David Cox and Frost Principal Kim Smith were on hand to accept the award. More than 95 per cent of Frost Elementary School students obtained proficient or advanced MSA scored in reading and math.



Commissioners Establish Scholarship Fund


The Allegany County Commissioners are establishing the Allegany County Oportunity Scholarship, to benefit residents attending either Allegany College of Maryland or Frostburg State University. Funds will be provided from a percentage of the annual gross revenue generated by the video lottery machines at Rocky Gap Casino Resort. 



Lung Cancer Screening Tool Available


Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the nation, and accounts for the highest percentage of cancer deaths in Maryland. The American Lung Association has launched a new, online tool to help people determine if they should get what's called a "low-dose" screening for the disease. Dr. Elizabeth Gore, a radiation oncologist, explains.The online assessment takes visitors through a series of questions to help determine if they meet guidelines for low-dose screening. Anyone can take the assessment, but Dr. Gore says certain people should make it a point to do so.




West Virginia Replaces GED Exam


West Virgina has replaced the GED test with a high school diploma equivalency exam, provided by CTB/McGraw Hill. The test will continue to be offered for free, and the new test will be administered, starting in January. The McGraw Hill exam will be offered in both the paper-and-pencil and online versions.

Local News


In an effort to increase awareness of the hazards of intoxicated driving, members of the West Virginia State Police will conduct a sobriety checkpoint in Hampshire County tonight from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. tomorrow.  The checkpoint will be conducted along U.S. Route 50 near Romney.



Rocky Gap Casino Resort announced yesterday that the new 5,000 square foot Allegheny Event Center is now open and is available for groups up to 300 people in a variety of configurations including banquet, theater, or classroom style.  There is now more than 12,000 square feet of meeting space at the resort including executive boardroom, restaurant, bar and lounge spaces with views overlooking the lake, and outdoor locations featuring a grill and views of the golf course and scenic Rocky Gap State Park.



West Virginia is doing away with the GED test, and replacing it with a high school diploma equivalency exam from CTB/McGraw Hill.  The new Test Assessing Secondary Completion exam, or TASC, will be available in January.  The GED exam is moving to a digital version, increasing the test fee from 50 to 120 dollars.  The base price of the new exam is 52 dollars, and is available in print and online versions.



Pennsylvania Police say someone stole tires from Maple City Tire in Meyersdale sometime between Monday and Wednesday this week.  The tires were valued at roughly $11,200. It was unclear how they entered the business.  Anybody with information regarding this incident is asked to call State Police at  814-445-4104.



The city of Keyser may pursue condemnation proceedings against hold-out properties to allow the work to begin on a multi-million-dollar water system improvement project, by spring. At least 16 of 20 outstanding easements need to be obtained and Dunn Engineering, which is designing the project, reported at Wednesday's City Council meeting that the city still needs 14. The easements would allow the city to enter private property to install or replace existing water lines and make repairs or other improvements in the future. The holdup appears to be local residents who either will not sign or have not yet been made aware of the need for the easements. The city plans to make a concerted effort in the next two weeks to obtain the necessary easements, but if that effort is unsuccessful, the next step will be the court system and condemnation proceedings.



The Maryland Public Service Commission approved Fair Wind Power Partners LLC’s application to construct up to 15 wind turbines on Backbone Mountain. Several residents voiced concerns that the wind project would just be an extension of the Criterion Wind project, which is the deadliest industrial wind project in North America for bats and birds. The Savage River Watershed Association Board of Directors said that the two other wind projects on Backbone Mountain kill thousands of migrating bats and hundreds of birds annually. The project, which would generate 30 megawatts of electricity, is slated to begin in the spring of 2014 and be operational in 2015.



A student service club at Allegany College of Maryland is asking the District 1 legislative delegation to help them with tax relief. The state requires payment of the six percent sales tax on items resold to raise money for charity. The Peace Studies Club has donated funds to the Union Rescue Mission, Toys for Happiness, organizations helping veterans returning from war, Doctors Without Borders, the Ark of Hope animal rescue and Haiti relief. Last year, though, those charities were deprived about $500, which went to pay Maryland taxes. Club members asked the delegation to intervene at the legislator’s pre-General Assembly session meeting Monday night at Allegany College of Maryland. Club members made a similar request last year, but said they’d gotten no response.



The Cumberland Times-News is reporting that a 911 call made the night that Stephen Schleuniger, by his confession, took the life of 43-year-old Lisa Ann Simmons, never made it to police. A neighbor’s report of “loud banging” and “screaming” at 27 Browning St. the night of Sept. 5 made it to the Allegany County 911 center — but the caller finally told the 911 dispatcher to “forget it now” and not to send police. Roger Bennett, Allegany County 911 Division chief, said the matter was reviewed and there was no violation of protocol on the part of the dispatcher.



Cumberland City Police officers were dispatched to a recently condemned building on Davidson Street yesterday after it was reported that people were seen in and around the building.  Officers entered the building and found three three suspects illegally inside the residence. Eric Rosenberger, 33 of Cumberland,  Chasity Kesner, 23 of Ridgeley WV, and Amber Lynn Warner, 33 of Cumberland were escorted out of the building and taken to Cumberland Police Headquarters for processing.  All three suspects were charged on citations under the City of Cumberland Housing Code Ordinances.  All three were released after receiving citations pending trial at District Court.


 Cumberland City Police officers served a criminal summons on a Cumberland man yesterday, stemming from a private citizen complaint.  48 year old Fernando  Alvarado, entered a restaurant on Queen City Drive and began to argue with employees earlier this month.  A man attempted to step in and stop the disturbance and was allegedly struck in the face by Alvarado.  He was charged with assault and disorderly conduct.  Alvarado was served with the summons and released pending trial at the Allegany County District Court.


 Cumberland City Police officers responded to a Bedford Street address yesterday in reference to a reported assault.  While responding to the complaint, officers were advised that the suspect had fled the area on foot.  34 year old Travis Lee Houdershell, of Cumberland was located at a business on Frederick Street.  He was arrested charged with assault.   Houdershell was held at the Allegany County Detention Center on a $3000.00 bond. 





The U.S. Adventure Racing Association has selected McHenry as the site for its 2014 U.S. National Championships of Adventure Racing, which consists of a grueling 100-mile/30-hour race, according to an announcement made by‚ÄąDeep Creek 2014. Deep Creek 2014 is the event production company and host organization presenting the 2014 International Canoe Federation Canoe Slalom World Championships, which will be held at ASCI from Sept. 17 to 21.  Deep Creek 2014 Executive Director Todd Copley said “No other destination in the world can boast that they are hosting both a world championship and a national championship in the same year.”  This race will be held in October. Garrett County will be featured on banners at 40 qualifying events and will receive extensive coverage in Adventure World Magazine during the year leading up to the event.

Local News


A handful of Maryland schools, including two in the local area, are on the state’s short list of best schools. The winners of the Blue Ribbon School awards were announced Wednesday. Frost Elementry in Allegany County, and Northern Garrett High in Garrett County, are among the six that made the list out of Marylands’ 1,400 schools. In a special ceremony, state school leaders congratulated principals, teachers and parents on the prestigious award. The Blue Ribbon committee looks at a number of factors when judging schools, including test scores and grades, and attendance.



Tickets for the 15th Annual Potomac Valley ORIGINAL TOUGHMAN CONTEST, that will be held January 17th & 18th at the Frankfort High School Gymnasium, will go on sale this Saturday. Ticket prices are $20 general admission and $25 for reserved ringside seats. Tickets will be available at Blankenship’s Store in Wiley Ford, Parkview Liquors in Cumberland, Jolly Roger Liquors in LaVale, Grady’s One Stop in Fort Ashby, Chestnut Ridge Gas & Liquors in Grantsville and Riverside Sports National Hwy, LaVale . To purchase tickets online, or To sign up to fight or sign up to be a Ring Girl visit



 Charges are pending against a the owner of a used Subaru dealership next to the Tunnelton-Denver Elementary School in Preston County.  Nearly 40 students had to be taken to the hospital last Friday after students in the school building complained of breathing problems. West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Law Enforcement officers said Wednesday the dealership may have been burning illegal materials.  The smoke from the burning materials was pulled into an outdoor furnace and pushed the smoke throughout the school.  The state Department of Environmental Protection is testing samples of the burnt materials to determine what was being burned. 



 With Mona Ridder serving her last day at executive director of the Mineral County Development Authority, a great deal of the meeting of the county agency Tuesday morning dealt with transition. In late October, Ridder announced her retirement from the development authority to be effective Jan. 1, 2014, and during the November meeting, board members suggested the last day for her could happen following the December meeting. The committee to seek an executive director is working toward creating a job description for the position while Commissioner Jerry Whisner told board members he had already received a resume for the position.



A Piedmont man has pleaded guilty to three felonies, including one tied to the operation of a dog fighting venture. Timothy Paul Stewart, 34, of Piedmont, entered pleas of guilty to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of dogs for dog fighting. In October of this year agents served a federal drug trafficking indictment upon Stewart at his Mineral County home, where officers observed seven firearms in plain view. officers then returned with a federal search warrant to seize controlled substances, the seven firearms, and ammunition.  Officers then discovered evidence of an animal fighting venture including dogs, dog pelts, cages, and training equipment for the dogs in the basement. Officers also seized approximately 25 grams of cocaine base and $3,968 in U.S. currency. Stewart, who is in custody pending sentencing, faces up to 45 years in prison.



The We Are Fort Hill organization will hold the 2013 Fort Hill High School Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday, January 24, 2014, at Fort Hill High School in the media center.  This year the group will honor ten individuals who have made significant achievements in their lifetimes.

               The following Fort Hill alumni will become members of the school’s HOF:  James F. Combs, the Honorable George C. Eskin, Dr. Roseann Weber Harmon, Dr. John Archie Hardin, Dr. Walter L. Henry, Dr. Terri Ott Lally, the Honorable J. Frederick Sharer, Glen R. Shipway, Dr. Judy L. Twigg, and Shannon Workman.

            The public is invited to attend the luncheon at a cost of $15 per person.  


Domestic Assault in Cumberland

A Cumberland woman was arrested Monday evening, following a domestic disturbance. Officers arrived at a residence on Avirett Ave. at 5:17PM.  A man told them his ex-wife lives at the residence with him, and she assaulted him during an argument. Jeri Gough  Officers then contacted the woman, 51 year old Jeri Gough, inside of the residence where she admitted to the altercation. Officers observed injuries to the victim consistent as to what had happened.  Gough was placed under arrest and charged with Assault 2nd Degree. She was released on her personal recognizance pending trial in District Court.


Multiple Calls for A Domestic Dispute

Cumberland Police arrested a Grand Ave. man after repeated calls to his residence shortly before 1am yesterday.  The victim advised that she had been arguing with 28 year old Joshua Darby over relationship issues.  She advised Darby became upset and grabbed her by the throat.  She was able to get away from him.  Officers observed injuries to the victim consistent to what they had been told had happened.  Darby was placed under arrest and charged with Assault 2nd Degree and Failure to Obey. He was released on his personal recognizance pending trial in District Court.


Assault on Police / CDS Arrest

Cumberland Police responded to a residence on Davidson St. for a report of a disturbance outside on the street just after 3am yesterday.  They made contact with two men sitting in front of the house in a vehicle.  They advised that a subject in the house was the problem. .  That subject exited the residence, mumbled something to the officer and then pushed him attempting to get back in the house.  The subject, identified at 41 year old Daniel Levon McQueen of Baltimore, resisted arrest which resulted in a brief struggle with the officers.   A search revealed McQueen had 27 baggies of crack cocaine.  Several marijuana cigarettes were located in the ash tray of the vehicle. 32 year old Darrell Kevin Young of Glen Burnie, MD was arrested for the possession of marijuana.  Both face numerous drug charges, McQueen was held on $150,000 bond.



One person is dead and three other injured in a two vehicle crash early yesterday morning in Hagerstown. Police say the driver of one of the vehicles, 32 year-old Jeremy Wayne Peel Sr of Hagerstown, was transported to Meritus Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.          Three people in the other vehicle were also hospitalized, but the extent of their injuries is unknown.  Police say charges are pending the results of their investigation.  The accident occurred in the 600 block of Frederick Street at 1:44am yesterday.



The Allegany County School Board announced at their regular monthly meeting yesterday that they have collaborated with the Garrett County School system to come up with a nine issue wish list, which is to be presented to the state General Assembly in the upcoming session.  The list includes funding requests and reduced regulations.  Both school boards plan to officially present their wish list to the District 1 legislative delegation during a joint meeting with the lawmakers on Monday.



Ridgely’s Community Center will be closed until March.  The Town Council made the decision yesterday, adding that a committee will be formed to determine ways to make the center financially solvent. From Jan. 2011 to November 2013, the community center lost more than 24 thousand dollars. Council members had asked for volunteers to serve on a committee, but no one showed interest at yesterday’s Town Council Meeting.



 The Preston County Sheriff's Department and WV State Police are looking for a suspect that robbed the Wesbanco Bank in Bruceton Mills.   It was reported an unknown male entered the bank, demanding money from bank employees at about 2:47PM Monday. The suspect then fled the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of money.   Officers are asking anyone with information regarding this crime to contact the Preston County Sheriff's office at 304-329-1611 or the West Virginia State Police at 304-329-1101.    



Police in Bedford County arrested at least 18 of 23 people accused of low-level drug dealing Tuesday in a countywide sweep that targeted suspects as young as 17 and as far away as Altoona.  The early morning arrests, dubbed "Operation Stocking Stuffer" for the holiday season, hit alleged dealers who, according to police affidavits, sold heroin, prescription pills and counterfeit drugs to undercover officers and their informants. One is accused of illicitly selling a handgun, while at least two allegedly involved children in deals.  District Attorney Bill Higgins said at a press conference that "Taking these people off the streets will make Christmastime in Bedford County a lot happier,". Higgins acknowledged that there were "no major players in this arrest," which followed a similar operation in March. All the targets in that sweep have since been convicted, Higgins said.



Emergency Management in Hampshire County is seeking aid to move a 1 million dollar hazardous materials command module from Hardy County to Hampshire County.  Brian Malcom, Homeland Security and Emergency Management director in Hampshire county, told the county commission that the high tech defense against weapons of mass destruction tractor trailer, is scheduled to be pulled from the region due to lack of funding. The commissioners agreed to set aside 10 thousand dollars to get the equipment ready.


Maynard Steps Down

After more than six years on the job, Gary Maynard is stepping down as the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.  The announcement was made late yesterday afternoon in a news release. Governor Martin O'Malley credited Maynard with closing the House of Correction in Jessup in just 12 days, shortly after taking the job in 2007.  The nearly 130 year old prison had been plagued by inmate violence, including the stabbing death of a corrections officer in 2006.  Maynard is expected to leave his job by the end of the month, and will become senior vice president of the Criminal Justice Institute.  It's a non-profit consulting firm for prisons. The governor has named Gregg Hershberger, Acting Secretary of Public Safety and Corrections.  He is currently the Deputy Secretary for Operations.



A Bedford County man who was killed in an early morning blaze Monday has been identified. The body of 58 year Denver D. Yoakum was found in a two story log cabin on Warmuth Lane, about 6 miles south of Bedford just off of Route 220. Yoakum was an employee of Miller Quality Recycling, which owned the structure.  Authorities have said he died of smoke inhalation.  Firemen had trouble accessing the sit of the blaze, and were hampered by frigid temperatures and blowing snow. The Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal’s office is continuing to investigate the cause of the blaze.

Local News

One man was found dead after a fire in a log cabin about 6 miles south of Bedford yesterday morning.  Firefighters were called to a 2 story log cabin on Warmuth Lane, just off of route 220 at Miller Quality Recycling.  The roof collapsed and the structure was destroyed. The victim’s identity has not been released, but authorities confirm the man died of smoke inhalation. He was apparently an employee of the company. Firemen were hampered by frigid temperatures and blowing snow, as well as the remote location of the fire. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal.
Legislators Meet
Local legislators met with constituents for about two hours Monday night at their annual pre-session meeting.  The District 1 Delegation  About 30 people attended the meeting with Sen. George Edwards and delegates Wendell Beitzel, Kevin Kelly and LeRoy Myers Jr.  Topics of discussion included Freedom of speech, community schools, matters pertaining to safety of correctional officers, limitations on practice by nurse practitioners and the potential for slot machines for veteran’s organizations. The meeting took place at the Allegany College of Maryland Auditorium.
Arrests were made following searches at residences in Friendsville and in Mountain Lake Park last month. 38 year old Jaynelle DeWitt of Friendsville and 37 year old Sarah Greene of Mountain Lake Park face numerous drug possession and manufacturing charges. The search warrants were executed by the Garrett County Narcotics Task Force, C3I Narcotics investigators, the Garrett County Sherrif's Department, MD State Police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the MD State Fire Marshal's office.
The origin of a fire Saturday that displaced 6 tennants in an apartment building on Central Avenue in Cumberland has been determined.  The Cumberland Fire Department says the blaze was caused by improperly discarded smoking material.  Fire damaged one of the apartments, causing 15 thousand dollars in property damage, while two other apartments sustained smoke damage. No one was injured in the fire.
Garrett County Money Woes
Garrett County is facing a 5.4 million dollar loss in 2015, according to a news release. A previous estimate of a $2.5 million projected loss of real property tax revenue has increased to $3.2 million. The Garrett County Public School System is facing a loss of 2.2 million dollars.  The school system is attempting to alleviate some of the pressure by going ahead with plans to close three elementary schools. Grades in the Northern schools would be reconfigured, and school boundary lines would be adjusted to accommodate the closings. County officials have yet to determine a date to publicly release a budget proposal.
For the 10th consecutive holiday season, two area businesses have made donations to the Allegany County Public Schools’ Project Y.E.S. (Youth Experiencing Success) program.  The money will be used to purchase Christmas gifts for several deserving high school students, and the non-monetary contributions will be wrapped for opening on Christmas morning. Kelco Federal Credit Union , and The Final Touch sports shop donated cash or products to the project. The Project Y.E.S. program offers in-school support, tutoring services, and guidance in career planning to all qualifying ACPS students in grades six through twelve.  Other donations are still being sought.  Interested parties should contact any of the area high schools for more information. 


State Police from McHenry were called shortly after 6pm yesterday for a domestic assault on First Avenue in Friendsville.  36 year old Matthew Umble was arrested after he allegedly assaulted a woman.  He was taken before the District Court Commissioner and held on 3 thousand dollars bond.
A West Virginia couple was arrested for marijuana possession Saturday afternoon near Grantsville.  Maryland State Police say they pulled a vehicle over for a traffic violation on I-68, and a probable cause search revealed a quantity of the drug. Arrested were 32 year old Warren Brown and 26 year old Jada Brown.  The woman was also found to be wanted by Frederick County authorities for prostitution.
A truck driver was found dead in the sleeping compartment of his rig just before 11 am Saturday on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Troopers from the Somerset Turnpike and the County Barracks say 49 year old Robert Slaven Jr of Springfield, Ohio was found in his truck about a mile west of the Somerset Interchange.  An autopsy reveald the cause of death as natural.
On Sunday December 8, 2013, at 3:59 am, Cumberland City Police Officers responded to a residence at the 100 block of Memorial Avenue for a reported assault.   Investigation into this matter revealed that the victim observed her boyfriend Richard Welsh destroying household property.   The victim attempted to stop Welsh when she was allegedly bitten on her shoulder by him.  Welsh left the area and was later located on Virginia Avenue and placed under arrest.  It was also revealed that Welsh had a No Trespassing order on the premises where the incident took place.  Welsh was transported to the Cumberland City Police Department where he was processed, served and taken to the Allegany County District Court Commissioner’s Office for a bond hearing.  He was held on a $3,000.00 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center.  The victim did not require medical attention.
On Sunday December 8, 2013, at 9:41 pm, Cumberland City Police Officers responded to a business on Park Street for a reported Theft.  Store personnel advised that Daniel Miller, age 31 of Cumberland, was seen taking  items and walking out without paying for them.  Miller was placed in custody and transported to the Cumberland City Police Department where he was processed and served.  He was taken to the Allegany County District Court Commissioners for a bond hearing.  He was held without bond at the Allegany County Detention Center.


Winter Storm

Mother Nature brought disappointment to some, and relief to many others over the weekend. While some icy conditions exist this morning, the 6 to 8 inches of snow that was predicted over the weekend never materialized. Trecherous driving conditions do exist this morning and many schools are operating on a delay, or are closed.  Stay tuned to this station for updates, or click the storm center on this stations website for the latest information.


Fort Hill Wins!

The Fort Hill Sentinels won the Maryland Class 1A State Football Championship on Saturday, beating Frederick Douglas 25 to 0 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.  Coach Todd Appel said his players knew they were playing a team that offered a great defense…..Fort Hill won the state football championship two other times, in 1997 and 1975.


Central Avenue fire

Cumberland firemen were call shortly before midnight Saturday to a three-unit apartment complex on Central Avenue. Firemen say the blaze was contained to the second story unity, but the other two sustained smoke damage. The occupant of the apartment was not at home at the time of the blaze, the fire was discovered by other tenants. The fire was brought under control in about 10 minutes. Six people were displaced by the blaze.  The cause remains under investigation.

Maryland Residents Are Getting Older

Maryland's population is getting older, and the AARP thinks the state needs a better plan to deal with it. AARP Maryland state director Hank Greenberg said he hopes the 2014 Maryland General Assembly will work toward a comprehensive plan to protect the state's aging population.
"Maryland is now at a point where there are more people who are over the age of 60 than there are children in school," he said. "The resources need to match some of those needs that we know are coming."  Greenberg said some of those needs include improving caregiving, retirement planning and utility reliability.


Health exchange director resigns

The director of Maryland's health insurance exchange resigned Friday amid ongoing technical problems and questions about a Caribbean vacation she took while the online marketplace faltered. Rebecca Pearce was hired two years ago to build a $107 million exchange.  Her resignation was accepted during an emergency session Friday night.  Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who was tasked by the governor with overseeing the state's implementation of the federal health care reform law, said that he did not know Pearce planned to leave town until she was already gone.

2 Preston County Schools Evacuated Due to Carbon Monoxide

Students at Tunnelton-Denver Elementary School and South Preston Middle School in West Virginia were evacuated Friday afternoon after being exposed to higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide. A neighboring business' furnace apparently pushed smoke into the school, which caused the high levels of carbon monoxide. Ambulances from 7 counties were called to the school to transport 37 patients to several hospitals.  Students were complaining of nausea and dizziness. None of the illnesses seemed severe. 


Randolph County, WV Man Charged for Sexually Assaulting 11 Year Old

Bond was set at $150,000 cash only for the Randolph County, WV man who allegedly had sex with an 11-year-old girl twice. WV State Police arrested Jared Michael Iseli, 20, of Beverly, last week, and charged him with two counts of sexual assault. Police said Iseli told them he had met the girl at a park in Elkins and kept in contact with her through Facebook and text messages. 


Steeler QB Aids Hagerstown Fire Marshal

The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation awarded the Hagerstown Fire Marshal’s department with a grant, which will be used to get a dog, a trained explosives detection K-9, and also for training for the dog's handler. Officials said the grant allows the city to replace a program that was cut because of the budget a few years back.  A representative from the Steeler Quarterback’s Foundation sent a statement saying: "We are proud to be able to assist their K-9 unit's vital impact on their community."

Local News

Two Local Companies Adding Workers

Hunter Douglas fabrication plant in the North Branch Industrial Park has announced it will be adding 250 jobs by July. The company has scheduled an open house and job fair next Tuesday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hunter Douglas is expecting a greater demand for its products, and is anticipating this by adding the extra workers. Hamilton Relay of Frostburg has also announced it is expanding its workforce. It wants to fill more than 20 new captioning assistant positions. Hamilton also has additional openings for other positions.


Clarysville Chief Indicted

The chief of the Clarysville Volunteer Fire Company, Eric Clark, was indicted last July for misuse of fire company funds. Clark faces various charges involving theft, embezzlement, and the misappropriation of funds involving the county's bar operation. Clark was the manager of that as well. He is scheduled to appear in court on December 18th to face the charges. Clarysville is not the only fire company that has recently experienced difficulties; the Baltimore Pike and McCoole Fire Departments have also experienced financial difficulties.


Accident Man Jailed on $25,000 Bond

Accident resident Ben E. Nicol is being held at the Garrett County Detention Center on $25,000 bond, following an incident involving his estranged wife and her male companion. Nicol is accused of threatening the couple with a shotgun, which was found in the residence in the 10,000-block of Bittinger Road. He faces numerous charges in connection with the incident. There were no physical injuries sustained by either of the two adult victims.


"Scam Artists" Hit Keyser

Two people are being sought by Keyser Police for scamming at least two businesses with what is being called a "quick talking shell game," that has netted them $100 or more in cash. The Mineral News-Tribune says the two-an African American couple-went into a restaurant and paid with their food with a $50 bill. They then argue over the amount of change provided, and following the confrontation, there are loud exchanges with restaurant staff. Money is passed back and forth and the two leave with extra money. One incident occurred on November 23rd and the other just this past Monday.


Drug Dealers Sentenced

A Baltimore resident and a woman from Windsor Mill, Maryland have been sentenced on drug distribution charges. In the first case, Cornelius Boyd Allmond was sentenced to 14 years in prison, with four years suspended,  for heroin distribution. In the second, Windsor Mill resident Qiona Rashawn Davis was sentenced on similar charges. Davis had tried to deliver heroin to an inmate housed at the Federal Correctional Institution. She was sentenced to three years in prison, with two suspended. She will serve her sentence on home detention.


Man Arrested for Disorderly Conduct, Marijuana Possession

Thirty-six year old Cumberland resident Donald Ray Devore is being held in the Allegany County Detention Center, following an incident Wednesday in the area of East Oldtown Road and Grand Avenue. He was outside yelling and screaming profanities near a church there. He continually refused to lower his voice, and a search revealed a baggie of marijuana. He was taken to the District Court Commissioners' Office for a bond hearing. He was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and possession of marijuana.


County Looking to Cut Jail Costs

Mineral County is looking for ways to cut costs, and to cut down on ways to keep non-violent offenders out of jail. The county now must pay over $48 per day each, to house inmates. Mineral County has not paid its bill since February. Among the options are home confinement, and not jailing non-violent offenders between court appearances. County Commissioners across West Virginia have also tried, through legislation, to remove the burden of paying for inmates from the counties.


Kelly Comments on Legislative Process

Even though the Maryland Sheriff's Association and the state Fraternal Order of Police opposed it, Maryland still passed one of the strictest gun control measures in the country. Delegate Kevin Kelly says 71 votes are required to pass any type of legislation. Of that number, the majority of representation comes from the larger metropolitan areas. And Governor Martin O'Malley has little trouble in mustering the votes he needs. Delegate Kelly adds bills cannot be amended from the floor of the House. Delegate Kelly sits on the House Judiciary Committee, and he says there were two major issues it encountered during the last legislative session. And, Delegate Kelly says he received about 27,000 emails, primarily on gun control. He says there are major flaws in the gun control laws; he commented on the rush to buy handguns and assault-type rifles, before the law went into effect on October 1st.


Teacher Earns Certification

Forth Hill High School Honors and AP biology teacher Ann  Stark recently achieved National Board Certification. She now joins 23 other county teachers who have earned this advanced teaching credential, which is achieved upon successful completion of a voluntary assessment program designed to recognize effective and accomplished teachers.


Opening of Keyser Primary School Undetermined

A problem with the curing process for concrete floors at the new Keyser Primary School, and some other minor issues have prevented the facility from opening, and there is no definite date on when that will happen. It was announced last July that the school was not ready for use, and primary school students are currently attending the Keyser Middle School. Officials there say they want all the items on what they called a "punch list" to be addressed, before the school can open.


Financial Disclosure Rate for Judges High in Maryland

The Center for Public Integrity rates Maryland highly, when it comes to judges who disclose financial information at the state's highest court level. The Center did an investigation into personal financial disclosures where they found judges who oversaw cases where they had a financial interest. The Maryland Court of Appeals received a score of 72.5 out of 100, second only to California. However, the state does not allow financial disclosure information to be made easily accessible by the public. Citizens must visit a court's offices in person for that information.


Marylanders Second Most Likely to Swear

Marylanders came in second to Ohio, in a survey of states in which people are most likely to curse. But, interestingly, Maryland is the third most courteous state in the country. The Marchex Institute conducted the survey, which showed that, beside Ohio and Maryland, the most likely residents who cursed were found in New Jersey, Louisiana and Illinois. The most courteous states, in order, were South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Louisiana, and Georgia.

Local News

Schleuniger to Speak with Hagerstown Authorities

As part of a plea agreement announced this week, Stephen Schleuniger has agreed to speak with Washington County authorities about the death of his former girlfriend, Tammy Myerly. Schleuniger pleaded guilty Tuesday to second degree murder in connection with the death of Lisa Ann Simmons of Cumberland. He is expected to be sentenced to 30 years in prison, with ten years suspended. Ms. Myerly was found dead in 2010, and the State Medical Examiner could not determine a cause of death.


Commissioners Look to Delegation for Aid

The Allegany County Commissioners' top priority for the Western Maryland Delegation is to seek exemptions from state laws and requirements linked to the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay. Another fee, which is designed to slow to slow housing growth and pollution going into the bay. County Administrator David Eberly says, in some cases, that could add $15,000 to the price of a new home in the county. The county is asking the delegation to ask for an exemption option for slow/no growth counties.


Bedford Judge, Commissioners' Trial Set for March

March 25th has been set as the date for a trial which pits the Bedford County Commissioners against Judge Thomas Ling. At issue is Ling's right to control certain county funds; the two sides also disagree over pay for the court officers. The trial, which has been scheduled in Harrisburg, could resolve the long standing issue between the two.


Holiday Inn Changes Hands

The Downtown Cumberland Holiday Inn is now a Ramada Inn. The Holiday Inn had been owned by CHPHC Hotel , LLC and managed by Prism Hotels and resorts. All employees will remain in their current positions, and all prior commitments will be honored. The outside signs of the hotel will be changed in the next few days. The transaction became effective on November 29th.


Man Charged with Over $5,000 in Thefts

Cumberland resident Levi Metzner has been charged with theft, after a business on Market Street reported about $5100 worth of merchandise had been taken from his business. Metzner allegedly entered the business after the close of business hours and took numerous items on several occasions between November 19th and 23rd. The majority of those items were recovered by police. Metzner, 19-years old, was served and released pending trial in Allegany County District Court.


Keyser Investigating Copper Theft

A vacant Virginia Street house in Keyser was recently stripped of plumbing and electrical lines, presumably to be sold for scrap copper. The previous owner of the home, in the 300-block, had passed away, and the caretaker-a relative-reported the theft. Other communities, including Westernport, had reported similar problems with homes that were for sale, uninhabited, or those undergoing renovation.


Myers Comments on Decision Not To Run

The Allegany County Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual pre-legislative breakfast at the downtown Cumberland Holiday Inn yesterday. Delegate LeRoy Myers has chosen not to run for re-election, but rather will run for a seat on the Washington County Commission. In making his decision, Delegate Myers says he wanted to ensure the voters would pick the right person for the job. He partially attributed his decision to the "politics of politics" in Annapolis and the frustrations he has encountered over the past 12 years or so. Delegate Myers says he does much better in making decisions than trying to find reasons to make decision. The district was redrawn in January of 2002, and-at the time-was District 2A.


Scarpelli Seeks City Funding for Canal Place

In what could have been termed a surprise move Tuesday evening, Cumberland City Council member Nick Scarpelli suggested beginning discussions that could lead to the city providing $80,000 in funding to assist Canal Place. The entity is facing a $125,000 budget deficit in FY 2015, in part because the city and county had decided to phase out funding for the tourism center from the hotel/motel tax revenue. While he says the issue is not out of the question, Mayor Brian Grim believes the state should be operating Canal Place, since it owns the facility.


Somerset County Woman Paroled in Fraud Case

Meyersdale resident Faith Ann Robertson, who had fraudulently solicited money for murder victim Justine Jackson's headstone was sentenced this week in court. Ms. Robertson, of Krause Trailer Park, was given credit for the 89 days she had served and was paroled immediately.


More Details on Ocean City Church Fire

Fire officials in Ocean City say a church fire that killed its pastor was caused by a man who put gasoline on himself, set himself on fire and ran into the church while on fire. The blaze killed the man, John Sterner. As a result Pastor David Dingwall died in the fire. A third person remains at the Johns Hopkins Burn Center in Baltimore. Reverend Dingwall's death has been ruled a homicide, while Sterner's death was a suicide.


West Virginia May Face Budget Cuts

If West Virginia's revenue collections continue to come in below projections, there could be mid-year budget cuts. The state is about four per cent below projections, and has collected $57 million less than expected since July. West Virginia lawmakers will be working on the new budget during the 2014 regular legislative session, which opens in Charleston on January 8th.

Local News

Plea Agreement Reached in Case

Stephen George Schleuniger of Cumberland has pleaded guilty in connection to the death of Lisa Ann Simmons, whose body was found last month in a remote location in Winchester, Virginia. Schleuniger will be sentenced on January 14th, and it's expected he will receive a sentence of 30 years with ten suspended. He was indicted in October. Schleuniger eventually led law enforcement authorities to her body. He has also agreed to speak with Washington County  law enforcement authorities, regarding the death of his prior girlfriend in 2010. The cause of death for Tammy Myerly was ruled "undetermined," and that case was closed by law enforcement.


Rape Suspect Indicted

Twenty-four year old Marlon Matthew-Khan Hawkins has been indicted by an Allegany County Grand Jury, charging him with second-degree rape. The alleged incident happened in October of last year, when Hawkins was accused of raping an 18-year old woman. Evidence was taken, and DNA from the victim matched samples from Hawkins. He is currently free on $10,000 bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for December 10th.


Two Charged in Hit and Run

Two area residents have been charged in connection with a hit and run incident that happened in mid-November. Thirty-four year old Robert Deter III of Cumberland and 25-year old Alicia Royer of Frostburg were in a pickup truck which struck two people in an alley behind Maryland Avenue on November 13th. Both victims were treated at the Western Maryland Regional Hospital, and both Deter and Ms. Royer were subsequently charged and released pending trial in District Court.


No Charges in Garrett County Accident

No charges were filed in an accident early yesterday morning on westbound Interstate 68 near the five-mile marker. Twenty-year old Malcolm Satchell of Butler, Pennsylvania fell asleep at the wheel of his vehicle, which left the roadway and struck the guardrail. He traveled down an embankment about 75 feet. He was not injured and refused treatment at the scene. Responding were crews from the Friendsville Fire Department and the Northern Garrett Ambulance service.


Demolition Meeting to be Held

The Allegany County Board of Education will hold a meeting on Tuesday, December 17th at 6 p.m. at Allegany High School. The meeting will be to inform nearby residents of the plans for demolition of the former Braddock campus of the Western Maryland Health System, which has been selected as the site for the new Allegany High School. Representatives from the design firm of Grimm & Parker Architects will be in attendance to provide the public with an overview of the demolition process, schedule and traffic changes.


Town Hall Meeting Held on Sideling Designation

Some residents want the Western Maryland delegation to the General Assembly to have Sideling Hill designated as "wildlands," to protect any future development. The Department of Natural Resources has abandoned the idea of allowing off-road vehicle trails on Sideling Hill. Senator George Edwards says that certain criteria must be met for an area to be designated as wildlands; if the criteria is met, then the DNR would sponsor legislation through the governor's office to make the designation.


Local Author Has Book

Local author Frank Bittinger  has a new book available for Kindle called "A Christmas Canticle." Proceeds from the book will benefit area animals in need. The author says the book is a variation on the Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol.," The book is available at Amazon dot com.


Slow Start to Holiday Shopping in Maryland

Holiday shopping in Maryland "did not meet expectations," according to the Maryland Retailers Association. Stopping short of calling shopping "bleak," Patrick Donaho, of the MRA, says many retailers weren't "overjoyed" by weekend figures. Donaho blamed an early start to the holiday shopping season as one of the reasons, because of the short amount of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Retailers may have to resort to bigger discounts and better bargains as Christmas draws closer.


Tobacco Use Declines for West Virginia Youth

Nearly half of high school students in West Virginia have never used tobacco. A recently released survey shows that the percentage of students who have never smoked cigarettes increased from 25.7 per cent in 2000, to 53.2 per cent in 2013. The percentage of teen smokers has declined from 38.5 per cent to 18.6 per cent during the same period. Outreach programs and those aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of tobacco are being credited for the decline.


Trial for Bunker Hill Woman Set

A Bunker Hill, West Virginia woman will stand trial in March, after being accused of selling a lethal dose of heroin to a man who died in March of 2012. Thirty-nine year old Autumn Blaine is accused of providing the drug to 32-year old Paul Burcham, who was found in Ms. Blaine's home. His cause of death was listed as a large amount of morphine in his blood, along with other unprescribed narcotics.  


Trial of Teen Murder Suspect Changed

The trial of a Morgantown teenager, charged with the murder of a friend, has beed moved up from February of next year to January. Sheila Eddy is accused of the July, 2012 murder of Skylar Neese, whose body was found in Greene County,  Pennsylvania, just north of Morgantown earlier this year. Ms. Eddy and Rachel Shoaf were charged. Ms. Shoaf has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. In the Eddy case, pre-trial motions will be heard on January 22nd, with the trial set for January 28th.

Local News

Fire Ruled Accidental in Nature

A Thanksgiving afternoon fire at the Charles Colmer residence on Robin Street in Lonaconing has been ruled accidental in nature. The fire destroyed the home, causing nearly $100,000 in damage to the structure and its contents. It originated in a second-floor bedroom, and was attributed to an electrical malfunction. The dwelling was a total loss and the displaced residents are being assisted by family and friends.


County Won't Intervene is Establishing Food Bank Credit

The county won't be stepping in to help people who have experienced food stamp cuts, with commission president Mike McKay noting that it is not the proper role for county government. A citizen had asked the commissioners to intervene in establishing a line of credit to the Western Maryland Food Bank. The citizen had asked that the county use a portion of the state disparity grant to back up a line of credit for the Food Bank. Even if the county wanted to help, its options are limited, according to Commissioner McKay.


Response Team Called to CSX Shops

The Cumberland Fire Department and the Hazardous Incident Response Team responded to a call at the CSX property yesterday morning. A locomotive had leaked in the new car shop. Units remained on the scene for about an hour and a half.


Television Stolen From Car

Cumberland City Police are investigating the theft of a flat screen television, which was taken from the back seat of a car on Columbia Street overnight Sunday. There are no suspects and anyone with information is asked to contact the Cumberland City Police Department. The Police Department also is reminding residents to lock their vehicles and to take items of value into their homes, and not to leave them in plain view in their vehicles during the Holiday Season.


Berkeley County Receives Grant

Berkeley County has received a $100,000 grant to make repairs to its historic courthouse. The county must provide 20 per cent in matching funds for the project, which will to replace the building's roof. Work on the project could begin in January. The courthouse has not been used for court proceedings since 2006.


Couple Victim of Scam

A Pennsylvania couple are the latest victims of a scam, from a caller, claiming to be from the "Mega Millions" sweepstakes, and telling them they had won a sizeable amount of money. The caller tells the victim they have to send $200  to be eligible for the prize, and they are incessant in their calls. At one point the caller threatened them, saying, quote, "We're going to blow up or burn up your house," end quote. One person in Somerset County has been scammed out of $2,000, and residents are advised to call police if they get a similar call.


Frederick Man Found Dead

A 23-year old Frederick man was found dead this past weekend, the victim of a stabbing. Merlin Edjardo Alvarez Garcia was found, after receiving a call about a man, lying on a dirt pathway. There are no suspects and it remains an open investigation. Garcia's body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore, and police are awaiting autopsy results for more information.


Gas Prices Above National Average

The price for a gallon of regular gas in Maryland is hovering around 15 cents higher than the national average. Greg Laskowski, of says the Free State is not alone, as the same situation is being experienced in other states, such as Florida. He says there are some refinery issues in the Gulf Coast area; also, as exports increase, it creates a shortage of U.S.-flagged vessels. Laskowski cited the Jones Act from the 1920's, regarding oil issues. Laskowski says, in the Northeast, there is a greater reliance on European crude oil. Marylanders may think the increased prices are related to the recently increased gas tax; Laskowski says this is not the case.


Person Dies in Sunday Evening Crash

One person was killed Sunday night and rescue crews were taking another person to the hospital, following a single-vehicle accident on West Virginia Route 45. The crash was reported just after 10 p.m., and there were reports the vehicle was on fire at one point. Crews were preparing a landing zone for a helicopter to take the survivor to the hospital.


Former Judge to Plead Guilty

Former Mingo County Judge Dallas Toler is expected to plead guilty to a federal voter fraud charge. Toler is the fourth official there to plead guilty to a federal charge as part of a larger investigation focused on corruption in that county. Toler resigned in October, about the time he was named in a federal information filing.

Local News

Bedford County Woman Killed in Crash


An Everett woman was killed in a single vehicle crash early yesterday morning in Snake Spring township. Forty-year old Beth Ann Morris died when her car went out of control on Route 30. The car struck a rock embankment and came to rest. The investigation into the accident is continuing.



Schools To Be Fully Staffed After Christmas


The Allegany County Board of Education and various law enforcement agencies have agreed to have the school system fully staffed with nine resource officers after the Christmas break. The nine officers will be assigned to various schools, with others working on a rotating basis in the outlying schools. The costs for the school resource officer programs will be shared between the county and the Board of Education.



Numerous Items Destroyed in Wiley Ford Fire


Losses have been placed at $250,000 in a Saturday evening fire on Motorcycle Lane off Detrick Lane in Wiley Ford. A three-bay garage at the Stewart residence contained a boat, four-wheeler, and various equipment and items, which were destroyed in the 10:40 p.m. fire. There were no injuries, and the cause remains under investigation.



Virginia Man Nabbed for Marijuana Possession


The McHenry Barrack of the Maryland State Police has arrested a Virginia man for marijuana possession. Thirty-one year old Christopher Michael Dibenedetto was stopped for a traffic violation on Interstate 68near Grantsville. A probable cause search was done, and marijuana was found in the car. He was arrested for possession of both marijuana and paraphernalia. It was also discovered Dibenedetto was wanted in Worchester County for failure to appear in court.



Vick Announces Resignation


Andy Vick, executive director of the Allegany Arts Council and chairman of the Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority, announced his resignation Saturday night at an Arts Council Event. Vick is planning to leave for a similar job in Colorado, and his resignation is effective at the end of the year.



Dr. Giarritta Passes at Age 88


Dr. Nicholas Giarritta passed away on Thanksgiving Day at the age of 88. Dr. Giarrita was instrumental in the revitalization of downtown Cumberland, having established the Bistro and Gourmet Shop. He was also instrumental in coaching many young people in the art of fine dining. Dr. Giarritta was also active in the Cumberland Theatre Organization. At his request, he will be cremated and there will be a Memorial Mass celebrated Saturday, December 14th  at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick's Catholic church.



Delegation Plans Public Meetings


The Western Maryland Delegation to the General Assembly has scheduled pre-legislative meetings in the next several weeks. The Allegany County meeting will be held next Monday at 7 p.m. at Allegany College of Maryland. Garrett County's meeting will be December 19th at the Garrett College Continuing Education building. Other delegation meetings with county and city officials have also been scheduled.


Piedmont Approves Trash Fee Increase


After much discussion, the Piedmont Town Council has voted to raise garbage collection fees by two dollars a month, beginning immediately. One of the firms submitting a request for proposal was J & D Trucking, which charges $13.30 per customer, but would not collect trash from dumpsters. The council also voted to not obtain a "p-card," which would have been used as a credit card for purchases.



Women Fill Shopping Carts, But Don't Pay


One of two women has been charged with theft as the result of a Saturday incident in the 700-block of Park Street. Twenty-one year old Tiffany Diehl allegedly filled a shopping cart with items, and then left the store without paying. One of the two fled the scene, but Ms. Diehl was arrested and charged. She was later released on her own recognizance. The second person involved has been identified and charges are pending.



No Charges in Route 220 Accident


No charges were filed in a single-vehicle accident  Saturday in the vicinity of the Route 220 Park-N-Ride. Fifty-two year old Joseph Rotruck was driving in the area, when he became distracted and ran into a ditch. His 2011 Toyota flipped onto its top and came to rest in the southbound lane. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries, and Route 220 was shut down for a short time following the accident.



Woman Cited for Failure to Yield to Sheriff's Cruiser


Cumberland resident Mary Ann Cleggett was cited for failure to yield right of way, following an early evening accident Thanksgiving night. She turned left from Henderson Boulevard onto Mechanic Street, and was struck by Allegany County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Detrick. Both vehicles sustained damage. Ms. Cleggett complained of neck pain, but refused treatment, while Deputy Detrick sought medical treatment at the hospital. Both cars were driven from the scene.



Franklin Man Charged with Killing Bald Eagle


Franklin, West Virginia resident Chris Armentrout has been charged with killing a bald eagle, and has had hunting privileges revoked for the next ten years. Natural Resource Officers, acting on a tip, investigated the case against Armentrout, and he has since pleaded guilty to the illegal possession of a bald eagle. He was fined $1500 and was ordered to pay court costs of over $160.00.


Maryland Deer Season Underway


The firearm deer season is underway in Maryland, and will continue through December 14th. Bowhunters and muzzleloaders have killed 26 per cent more deer in September and October, than during the same period last year. Officials are encouraged about this year, even though the total deer harvest dropped below 90,000 for the first time in a decade. The firearm season accounts for more than half the total.



Human Remains Found in Harper's Ferry


Human Remains have been found near the Shenandoah River, near Harper's Ferry. the medical examiner's office there says the remains are that of an Hispanic man, and he may possibly have been from Arizona. The cause of death is not known, as he either died of natural causes, or was murdered. Anyone with information should contact the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.



More Flexibility for West Virginia School Calendar


The West Virginia State Board of Education may give county school boards more flexibility with school calendars, but requires county school systems to provide at least 180 days of instruction for the students each year. Guidelines also state that county school boards would also have to hold at least two public hearings before voting on a schedule. If approved, the changes would go into effect during the 2014-2015 school year.


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