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LOCAL NEWS


COVENANT HOUSE PAYMENTS TO CONTINUE

 

Even though Cumberland Covenant House is being investigated for payment fraud, Medicaid payments will continue, based on the need for adult day care in Allegany County. The facility was facing a suspension of payments, beginning Saturday, as federal law dictates payments be suspended if allegations of fraud are "credible," which is a lesser standard. Medicaid payments were suspended earlier this year to over half of Washington, D.C.'s home health care providers, but were temporarily reinstated by order of a federal judge.

 

 

FLINTSTONE MAN FINED IN BEAR POACHING CASE

 

Forty-eight year old Steven McKee of Flintstone will be paying $1300 in fines and restitution, after he pleaded guilty to killing a black bear out of season. As the result of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped a number of other charges against McKee, including one that he used bait to lure game, in an area of the county where it is prohibited to stem the spread of chronic wasting disease among deer. He was fined $500 for shooting the bear with a crossbow; he must also make restitution of $800 to the DNR for the bear, and a deer he shot and didn't report.

 

 

MAN HELD ON $10,000 BOND IN THEFT INCIDENT

 

Twenty-year old Cumberland resident Joshua James Connell was held on $10,000 bond, after he was arrested at a local scrap yard, trying to sell items stolen from a Market Street parking lot. Connell was arrested after a search of the vehicle was conducted at the scrap yard. It was determined that another person with him was not involved and was released. More items from the Market Street theft were located at Connell's home. The investigation is continuing and anyone with information is asked to contact Cumberland City Police.

 

 

WOMAN JAILED AFTER GARRETT COUNTY STOP

 

Sara Ann Kelly Gardner of Swanton, was jailed on both drunken driving and drug distribution charges, following a traffic stop on Maryland Highway near Edgewood Drive. Ms. Gardner was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, obstructing and hindering a police officer and driving while impaired. She was released after posting $5,000 bond, pending a District Court trial.

 

 

S.H.A. PREPARES FOR WINTER

 

Winter is coming and the State Highway Administration is ready! During a press conference at the SHA offices on Vocke Road, Tony Crawford, District 6 Engineer, says one new innovation this year is the "A.V.L.," or Automatic Vehicle Locator. The S.H.A. is also able to monitor the amount of salt that is being spread on the road, according to Crawford. Monitoring the use of salt will help reduce the amount used while maintaining and effective level of service. Pre-treating the roads is also done, using salt brine, before a predicted weather event.

 

 

 

TWO AREA FIRES REPORTED

 

Emergency crews responded to two fires in the area yesterday. The first was reported in Oldtown, at 23900 Mountain Lake Roads, just before 4 a.m. A house fire on Carol Avenue in Keyser was reported just before 3 p.m. In that incident, one person reportedly refused medical treatment at the scene. There was no indication of injuries in the Oldtown fire.

 

 

NO INJURIES REPORTED IN BUS ACCIDENT

 

No injuries were reported in an accident yesterday morning, involving a collision between a vehicle and Frankfort High School bus. The accident happened on school grounds, with several emergency responders on the scene, along with the school's resource officer.

 

 

RATE HIKE BEING NEGOTIATED

 

 A proposed $151.5 million rate hike request for two subsidiaries of First Energy Corporation is being negotiated with the West Virginia Public Service Commission. Hearings are being held this week, involving the request from Potomac Edison and Mon Power. The full rate hike request would raise the average customer's bill from $92.62 to $107.98.

 

 

AMBER ALERT CANCELLED

 

Twenty-seven year old Tiamarie Valenzuela and her two children were found in New Castle, Delaware Tuesday night, after she left Odenton, Maryland and threatened to drive off a bridge with them. The Amber Alert that had been issued was cancelled. Ms. Valenzuela called police herself after friends and family had told her about the alert. No criminal charges are pending in the case.

 

 

PARCC TESTS DELAYED

 

The Maryland State Board of Education has approved a framework for updating graduation requirements, and delays the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC tests until the 2016-2017 school year. PARCC tests for tenth grade English and Algebra I.

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LOCAL NEWS


WOMAN SENTENCED IN CRUELTY CASE

Carol Jean Detrick was sentenced yesterday in court, in connection to the "Lucky 33" animal cruelty case on Greene Street this past June. She will serve 33 days in jail, one day for each dog that was abandoned when she and her husband vacated their property at 661 Greene Street. She was also fined $500 in restitution as partial repayment of the thousands of dollars that were spent on rescuing and follow-up care for the animals. She will also serve three years probation, undergo counseling and be prohibited from owning or providing care for any animals. This sentence was identical to that of her husband, Robert's. He was sentenced on August 4th for his part in the case.

 

ROMNEY MAN HURT IN ATV ACCIDENT

Forty-year old Romney maintenance worker Edward "Sonny" Lewis is recovering in the ICU at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, after his four-wheeler rolled, and landed on top of him. Lewis had been riding in the woods off River Road at the time of the accident; he was flown to the hospital by the Maryland State Police Trooper Five helicopter. His son Derrick, a volunteer for the Romney Fire Department, was one of the responders.

 

ATV ACCIDENT KILLS 4-YEAR OLD GIRL

Four-year old Tailynn Felker  died, and three children were injured in an all-terrain vehicle in Somerset County late Monday afternoon. A 14-year old girl was driving, when the vehicle lost control near a Somerset County railroad crossing; the ATV rolled, and threw the four year old girl an unspecified distance. A 1-year old boy, a three-year old girl and a 9-year old girl were on board. The injured children were taken to the Meyersdale Medical Center.  None of the children were wearing a helmet.

 

NO CHARGES IN FROSTBURG FIRE

No charges will be filed in a minor fire Monday afternoon on Center Street in Frostburg. The Office of the State Fire Marshal says the occupants of 127 Center Street were attempting eliminate pests on the front porch, by using an ignitable liquid, and the fire was extinguished before any damage was done. There was no criminal intent. The two-story, wood-framed residence is owned by Joseph Gutman.

 

MEYERSDALE WOMAN ARRESTED IN BURGLARY

Forty-year old Meyersdale, Pennsylvania resident Lynn Firl was arrested in connection to a burglary in the 1800-block of  National Highway in Frostburg. The McHenry barrack of the Maryland State Police responded to a burglary in progress; Firl was arrested at the scene and charged with burglary and destruction of property. She is being held in the Garrett County Jail on $3,000 bond.

 

CHECKPOINT NETS ONE ARREST

One person was arrested as the result of a sobriety checkpoint, conducted last weekend on McMullen Highway near Warrior Drive. The Allegany County Sheriff's Department says a total of 580 vehicle passed through the checkpoint. In addition to one arrest, 11 citations were issued, along with five warnings for violations, including driving on a suspended license, speeding violations and registration violations. The Sheriff's Office, along with the Cumberland City Police and the State Highway Administration worked together on the checkpoint.

 

PLANE CRASH SURVIVORS NAMED

Two people who were involved in a plane crash in Preston County on Sunday have been identified. Tunnelton resident Richard Rhodes and Gabril Gabrilidir of Morgantown were in the plane when it went down off Ringer Road, just west of the Valley Point Airport. Both were taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital. There is no word on what caused the plane to go down, and the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration is continuing.

 

TGCC MEETING SET FOR NOVEMBER 6TH

The Greater Cumberland Committee has scheduled its next meeting for Thursday, November 6th at 11:30 a.m. The Cumberland Country Club is hosting the meeting. Allegany College of Maryland President Dr. Cynthia Bambara will facilitate a panel on building awareness of how out educational institutions support regional workforce needs.

 

FREE CONCERT SET AT F.S.U.

Frostburg State University will host acclaimed modern rock quartet, Honor by August, next Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The concert will be held in the Alice Maincur Assembly Hall in FSU's Lane University Center. The FSU concert will kick off the band's national tour. The Washington Post called Honor by August, "one of the most promising new talents on the East Coast. They have shared stages with the likes of Bon Jovi, Switchfoot, Imagine Dragons, and Third Eye Blind. The event also kicks off the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's "Raise Your Voice for Care" College tour, which helps raise awareness about a disease that has affected the lives of so many.

 

GAS PRICES CONTINUE TO DROP

The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Cumberland is $3.12 per gallon. Prices around the region are reaching their lowest levels in more than three years, and in some areas, the price has dropped below $3.00 per gallon. That could also be the case, nationally, by the end of the year.

 

SCHOOLS DISMISS EARLY TODAY

Allegany County Public Schools will dismiss three hours early today. The three-hours will be used for teacher work time.

 

EARLY VOTING PROBLEMS IN MARYLAND

The Maryland State Board of Elections has examined about 20 voting units, after voters reported the machines displayed a different candidate than the one they selected during early voting. Twelve of the units were thoroughly tested, and the other eight were taken out of service. The board says it will continue to monitor reports. Early voting continues through tomorrow.

 

THREE-MINUTE MISTAKE COULD COST A LIFE

The Maryland State Fire Marshal is reminding residents that, when setting clocks back one hour this weekend, it's also a good time to check the battery in your home's smoke detectors. Research from the American Red Cross shows people think they have five minutes to escape from a fire, when, in fact, it's really only two minutes. A new Red Cross "Home Fire Preparedness Campaign" kicked off this month to set the record straight. Spokesperson Anne Marie Borrego says home fire drills may be the only way to beat the clock...and save lives. And, she has advice about how to conduct a fire-safety conversation with children.

 

NUMBER OF COAL MINING SITES DROPS

West Virginia now has only 96 active coal mining sites in the state; the number has continued to drop over the past two years, with 184 active mines at the end of 2012 and 152 at the end of last year. In the last two years, about 4,000 miners have lost their jobs. The industry is seeing a shift in production from mines in southern West Virginia to the northern section of the state. "Scrubber" technology was added to northern power plants during the 1990's, which enables them to burn high-sulfur coal found in northern West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

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One Child killed in ATV accident in Somerset County


One Child killed in ATV accident in Somerset County
One child is dead and 3 others were injured as a result of an ATV accident around 5pm last evening on Scratch Hill Road in Summit Township, Somerset County.  State Police say 5 people were on the ATV, driven by a 14 year old girl, when it went out of control and rolled.  A 4 year old girl was thrown, and later died as a result of her injuries.  The children were take to Meyersdale Medical Center.  No helmets were worn.  The investigation is continuing.
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LOCAL NEWS


CAR FIRE RESULT OF "DRUG MANUFACTURING"

North Centre Street was closed for several hours yesterday, after police say a car fire occurred, as the result of "clandestine drug manufacturing." The fire erupted inside the vehicle, as it was traveling on Centre; one of the two people in the car was taken to the hospital for treatment of burns, while the other fled the scene, prior to the arrival of police. A number of agencies, including the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office, the C3I unit, and the Western Maryland Clandestine Lab Team, responded.

 

LOCAL FACILITY UNDER INVESTIGATION

The Cumberland Covenant House on Paca Street is under investigation for alleged Medicaid fraud, and will lose those payments after November 1st. The center cares for nearly five dozen patients. A search warrant was executed last month. Delegate Kevin Kelly has been asked to contact the Governor's Office and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, asking that the payments continue until the legal issues are resolved. CEO Susie Root says that without the payments, Covenant House, quote, "won't last long."

 

GRAND AVENUE FIRE RULED "ACCIDENTAL"

Last Thursday's fire, in the 400 block of Grand Avenue, in which two children died, has been ruled "accidental" by the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office. Three-year old Halaina Smith and 7-year old Emily Edwards died in the fire, with four other family members escaping. Five occupants of the property at 404 Grand Avenue were also able to escape. The fire originated in the living room of 402 Grand Avenue and quickly spread. Family and friends held a candlelight vigil at the site of the fire Saturday night.

 

JURY TRIAL ORDERED IN DOG DEATHS CASE

Former Bel Air resident Christopher Adam Preston will go on trial in early December on charges of animal cruelty, in connection to last summer's case involving the death of nine dogs on McGill Drive. Neighbors had complained of several dogs being left in the house for about eight weeks, and animal shelter officials found nine dead dogs in the house. Three remaining dogs survived, although they were suffering from dehydration, starvation and anemia due to flea infestation. Preston's trial is set for December 9th at 8:45 a.m. in Circuit Court.

 

POTOMAC STATE STUDENTS JAIL IN HOME INVASION

Potomac State College students Damien James Steward Brannon and Dwayne Tyrone Hudson were arrested in Washington, D.C., in connection with a recent home invasion in Keyser. The two were taken into custody on October 17th, two days after the home invasion in the 200-block of North Water Street. Police reports say three suspects, armed with a handgun, held the occupant at gunpoint, stealing weapons and electronic items from the home. A 15-year old was also arrested in connection with the case.

 

PIEDMONT CONSIDERS SEWER FUNDING OPTIONS

The town of Piedmont is considering a number of options to fund its sewer system, through possible grants and a loan from the local bank. The sewer system there is in need of repair, according to an audit from the Rural Water Association. The cost for repairs is at least $100,000; as for a loan to make the repairs, government officials there may seek the help of First United and Trust Bank.

 

PRESTON COUNTY PLANE CRASH

Emergency units were called to the scene of a downed plane in Preston County Sunday afternoon. A single-engine airplane crashed just west of the Valley Point Airport; two people were aboard the plane, and they were both flown to local trauma centers in Morgantown, West Virginia. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash. There was no word on the victim's identities or conditions.

 

CUMBERLAND MAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT

Cumberland resident Joshua Tyler Corey Newton was charged with second-degree assault, following an incident late Sunday night in the 1000-block of Lexington Avenue. Newton allegedly assaulted another man, who claimed he threw a glass cologne bottle at him, and struck him in the face. He was arrested, taken to a District Court for his initial appearance and released on personal recognizance by a District Court Commissioner.

 

DIAZ AWARDED RECERTIFICATION

Matthew Diaz was recently awarded re-certification by the International Economic Development Council. Diaz first achieved the Certified Economic Developer designation in 2008. With over 12 years of economic development experience, Diaz has led Allegany County Government's Department of Economic and Community Development since 2006.

 

ENDOWMENT CAMPAIGN UNDERWAY

The Allegany Museum's Endowment Campaign is underway, with a kickoff reception held last Thursday. Dr. Julianne Ferris, of the Museum's Advisory Board, says they have been working to convert office space into museum space, and will be losing revenue because of that. She says one of the major features of the museum is the Kelly-Springfield Tire Company display. Dr. Ferris says both the Old German and Old Export breweries also have a display, and adds the endowment fund is critical for the long term success and survival of the museum.

 

ADULT ED ORIENTATION SESSIONS ANNOUNCED

The Allegany County Adult Education Program, offered by the Allegany County Public School system, will host a two-day orientation session on November 5th and 6th. During the orientation, individuals wishing to earn a high school diploma will be given an overview of both the G.E.D. and the National External Diploma. A student who satisfactorily completes the requirements of either program will be awarded a Maryland High School Diploma. To register for the orientation session or for more information, call (301)-687-8025.

 

EARLY VOTING ENDS THURSDAY

The Maryland Board of Elections is reporting the early voter turnout is higher among Democrats than Republicans; about 3.2 per cent of all eligible voters have cast their ballots, as of yesterday. Nearly 73,000 Democrats have cast their ballots, while nearly 34,000 Republicans have voted early. Centers will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through this Thursday.

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LOCAL NEWS


ARSON RULED IN SATURDAY FIRE

 

A dispute between a mother and her 14-year old daughter, resulted in an arson fire Saturday night at the Fort Cumberland homes. A female juvenile used a cigarette lighter and paper to start the fire, and she has been charged with first degree arson, malicious burning and reckless endangerment. If convicted on all charges, the maximum penalties include 40 years in prison and/or $60,000 in fines. She was taken to a Department of Juvenile Services facility in Rockville, following her arrest.

 

 

MAN CHARGED IN DOMESTIC ASSAULT

 

Thirty-seven year old Ryan O'Toole has been charged with second-degree assault and theft, as the result of an incident last Tuesday on Polk Street. The woman alleged that O'Toole assaulted her by pulling her hair, punching her in the nose and biting her hand. She was treated at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center. O'Toole also allegedly stole some prescription medications and fled the scene. He is being held on $5,000 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center.

 

 

POLICE ASK FOR HELP IN FIRE CASES

 

The Cumberland City Police are asking for help in solving the what is believed to be the intentional setting of fires in the East Offutt Street and Candoc Lane areas of South Cumberland. A total of three fires were found by a newspaper delivery person in the area, just before 5 a.m. yesterday. Anyone with information is asked to contact police or Crime Solvers at (301)-722-4300.

 

 

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR CDS VIOLATIONS

 

Flintstone resident Ashley Lynn Bucklew was arrested, and later released on personal recognizance on CDS drug counts. Ms. Bucklew was stopped on Industrial Boulevard, and a K-9 scan of her car revealed the presence of CDS. She admitted the items were hers. Her purse was searched and additional CDS was located. She was charged with one count each of possession of CDS, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

 

WATER GRANT RECEIVED BY COUNTY

 

Maryland U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, along with U.S. Congressman John Delaney have announced that Allegany County will be receiving a $450,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development to upgrade critical water infrastructure in the county. The federal grant funding will be used to extend Allegany County water mains to connect the Rawlings community water system and to replace the existing aged distribution system. The funding will be used to construct a new water storage tank and treatment facility, bringing water to 345 homes and businesses to the Rawlings area.

 

 

CANAL PLACE CONSIDERS FUND REQUEST

 

The Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority is considering a $2 million request for state funding, in assisting needed upgrades at the Footer Dye Works building and other infrastructure projects around the heritage area. Canal Place authorities recently entered into an exclusive agreement with Washington, D.C. developer Michael Joy, to develop the Footer building into a fully functioning mixed use facility.

 

 

BLACK BEAR RESULTS RELEASED

 

The Maryland black bear hunt yielded a total of 69 bruins harvested last week, slightly less than last year's total of 94. For the first time, the hunt was carried out as a four-day season, instead of being guided by a pre-determined quota. Over 3600 hunters applied for hunting permits; 450 were issued. Garrett County reported 57 bears taken, while there were only 12 from Allegany County.

 

 

LEAF COLLECTION BEGINS THIS WEEK

 

Leaf collection in Cumberland begins today, and will extend through the beginning of December. This week, the Seton Drive area will have leaves collected by the Cumberland Street Department; next week, leaf collection will take place on the Upper West Side; November 10th through the 14th, will see the lower West Side collected. Along with the collections, resident may also bag leaves and place them at the curb on their regular trash days.

 

 

STATE AGREES ON EBOLA PROTOCOLS

 

Health and hospital officials in the state have agreed on a coordinated strategy for dealing with potential Ebola patients. Carmela Coyle, the President and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association says potentially infected patients will be taken to one of three hospitals-Johns Hopkins, Medstar in Washington, D.C., or the University of Maryland Medical Center. The National Institute of Health is only one of 4 federal facilities that have biocontainment units.

 

 

 

RGA RUNNING ADS FOR HOGAN

 

The Republican Governor's Association is running a series of television ads for Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan. One of the ads highlights several tax increases approved during the O'Malley administration. Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, the Democratic candidate, leads Hogan by 9 percentage points, according to a Washington Post poll. Hogan's campaign says Brown is leading by only one percentage point.

 

 

UNEMPLOYMENT FALLS IN ALL W.VA. COUNTIES

 

The unemployment rate in West Virginia fell in all 55 counties in September, with the state's seasonally adjusted jobless rate set at 6.6 per cent. Hampshire County's rate was quoted at 5.1 per cent down from nearly 5.9 per cent in August. Other regional counties with declines in the unemployment rate were Preston County at 4.7, and Pendleton at 4.3. Mingo County was the only one with a jobless rate in double digits at 11 per cent.

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LOCAL NEWS


TWO CHILDREN KILLED IN FIRE IDENTIFIED

Seven-year old Emily Edwards and five-year old Halaina Smith, who were sisters, were killed in an early morning fire yesterday, which broke out at 402 Grand Avenue in Cumberland. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is in the process of confirming the identities, and cause of death. The children's parents and two siblings escaped the fire uninjured. The neighbors, at 404 Grand Avenue-the other half of the duplex-also escaped uninjured. The blaze heavily damaged 402 Grand Avenue, while 404 received moderate smoke damage. Both families have been displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross. Two firefighters were treated at the scene for minor injuries. The origin and cause of the fire remain under investigation.

 

CUMBERLAND MAN KILLED IN MID-AIR CRASH

Cumberland resident Breandan McFawn was one of three people killed yesterday afternoon, when a plane and helicopter collided in mid-air near the Frederick Municipal Airport. McFawn was aboard a helicopter, which was involved in a training exercise, when it collided with the plane. Two men aboard the plane were taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries.

 

NO PLANS FOR COMMISSIONERS TO MEET WITH MINERAL

The Allegany County Commissioners say they have no plans to meet with the Mineral County Commissioners to discuss the ongoing controversy over jurisdictional law with the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority.  PHAA Chair Dr. Gregg Wolff wrote a letter to both the Allegany County Commissioners and Authority members, charging board members were suspended from participating in any further meetings because of what he called "petty politics and myopic personal agendas."

 

RACING MAY RETURN TO FAIRGROUNDS

Local businessman Craig Knippenberg, owner of Nationwide Insurance on Mechanic Street, is proposing the start up of racing at the Allegany County Fairgrounds next summer, with six to eight races on the card. Arrangements are being finalized to bring dirt track racing to the fairgrounds, with the track to be renamed the Cumbeland Speedway. The county has notified Oval Track promotions it will not extend its contract with the county for another year.

 

SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT SET

The Allegany County Sheriff's Office is conducting a sobriety chekpoint at an undisclosed location this weekend to promote awareness and reduce the number of alcohol impaired drivers on the roads. The checkpoints will be clearly marked with signs, lights, and uniformed deputies, who will utilize both marked and unmarked vehicles. They will be checking for violations including driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to use seatbelts, failure to use child safety seats, and handheld cellular devices. So far this year, the Sheriff's Office has investigated 336 motor vehicle crashes and conducted 1,474 traffic stops, resulting in 62 traffic-related arrests.

 

GARRETT MAN POSTS BOND IN TRAILER PARK INCIDENT

Garrett County resident James Chones is free on bond, following his arrest for an October 13th incident at the Lower White Oak trailer court in Swanton. Chones allegedly kissed the female occupant of a trailer, left and then urinated in her yard, before trying to enter another trailer. He was charged with assault, indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and two counts of  burglary.

 

HAMPSHIRE ROAD TO CLOSE FOR 3 DAYS

Paving and shoulder work will cause the closure of Dunmore Ridge Road, east of Augusta, next week. The work will stretch from Route 50, to about 2/3 of a mile north of Sedan School Road. Work will take place from 7:30 a.m. till dark next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Drivers should expect delays.

 

SENATOR OPPOSES FRACKING WASTE

West Virginia Senator John Unger wants to keep the waste material from hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" from entering the Mountain State. There have been discussions of using the LCS landfill in Hedgesville for the disposal of radioactive fracking waste. Unger fears that the waste could seep into portions of the Eastern Panhandle water supply. Pennsylvania has introduced a moratorium on dumping the material in the state's landfills.

 

YOUNGSTERS CAN TEACH ELDERS ABOUT TECHNOLOGY

"If you need help with your computer, ask a kid." That saying may be a joke, but AARP is taking it seriously by partnering the non-tech savvy with high school students in Maryland. At a recent event, about 80 students helped 80 seniors with technology questions. Mike Kulick, of AARP/Maryland says it doesn't take long for seniors to navigate their devices when they have a young coach by their side. Kulick adds that sometimes when family members are involved in the tech teaching, it can be frustrating, but these pairings with high school students bring different results.

 

GROUP WANTS RETAILERS TO STOP SELLING TOBACCO

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is launching a first-of-its-kind national campaign urging retailers to stop selling tobacco products. Several retailers such as Wegman's, CVS, and Target have already stopped selling the products. Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States; the state of West Virginia has one of the highest smoking rates in the nation. The end result of the Campaign is to ultimately create a tobacco-free generation.

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LOCAL NEWS


CHILDREN DIE IN EARLY MORNING FIRE

A five-year old and seven-year old girls, now identified as Emily Edwards and Halaina Smith,  died in an early morning fire on Grand Avenue. The call was initially received at 2:55 a.m., when the occupants of 402 and 404 Grand Avenue were awakened by the sound of smoke alarms. The fire originated in 402 Grand Avenue where two adults and four children were sleeping; those at 404 Grand Avenue escaped without injury. Nearly 45 firefighters brought the blaze under control in about a half-hour. The children's bodies were taken to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore for autopsy. The joint investigation is being conducted by the State Fire Marshal's Office, the C3I unit, the Cumberland Fire Marshal's Office and Cumberland City Police to determine the origin and cause of the fire.

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LOCAL NEWS


INVESTIGATION REVEALS HEROIN RING IN SOMERSET

Four people have been arrested in what police are calling a heroin trafficking ring between Somerset and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Drug deals were done in several Somerset locations, including the Arby's restaurant, the parking lot of a neighboring hotel, and even in front of the Somerset County courthouse. Arrested were Darrell Mar, Jr., Delron Stewart and Nakia Bostick. Mandy Klinkner, of Somerset County, had been in the company of the others, but, so far, is not facing any charges.  Ms. Klinkner admitted to stealing from a young cancer patient; she has since made full restitution.

 

KEYSER MAN ALLEGEDLY STABS FATHER

Thirty-two year old Keyser resident Gregory Kent Rotruck is in the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail on charges of attempted murder for allegedly stabbing his father Tuesday evening. Rotruck was arrested shortly after the incident, while his father underwent surgery at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center. Gregory Rotruck allegedly became combative, and broke a door jamb, and used that to hit a police communications officer. The dispatcher was treated at Potomac Valley Hospital and released. Rotruck also allegedly assaulted a police officer at the station.

 

MAN ARRESTED IN SEPTEMBER INCIDENT

Thirty-two year old Christopher Douglas Balderson of Cumberland has been arrested in connection with an assault incident in the 200-block of Virginia Avenue. Balderson allegedly struck a person with a closed fist, knocking him to the ground; when another person intervened, Balderson sliced the second victim's arm; that person was taken to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center for treatment. Balderson posted $35,000 bond and was released, pending trial.

 

MAN CHARGED WITH VIOLATING PEACE ORDER

Twenty-year old James Raymnond Harry Searles was arrested and charged with violating a peace order, one hour after being issued the order. He was later taken to District Court for his initial appearance and released on personal recognizance by a District Court Commissioner.

 

PHAA CANCELS TONIGHT'S MEETING

The Potomac Highlands Airport Authority has cancelled its meeting for today, due to a lack of a quorum. Mineral County has suspended its representatives from attending the meetings for the time being; Allegany County also has one seat open. The items on the agenda would be moved to the next meeting for Thursday, December 4th.

 

BEAR HUNT  ENDS TODAY

Forty-eight bears had been harvested as of yesterday; the annual black bear hunt ends today in Allegany and Garrett counties. Nine of those had been taken in Allegany County, with 39 from Garrett. To reach the record number of bears taken last year, 49 will have to be taken and checked today.

 

COALITION REPORTS COMPLIANCE CHECKS

The Frostburg Community Coalition is reporting, during a check of Frostburg bars,  no violations of serving underage patrons alcohol were reported. A total of 103 checks were performed at the local establishments that had signed the FCC's Cooperating Alcohol Agreement. Seven violations were reported during the fall, 2013 semester.

 

WATER PROJECT MEETING SET

The Allegany County Department of Public Works has scheduled a public meeting regarding a potential water project for the Barrelville/Sunnyside area. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 5th at 7 p.m. at the Mount Savage Fire Hall. Residents of the area, and all interested citizens are invited and encouraged to attend.

 

EXCHANGE WEBSITE BEING TESTED

The state is testing its revamped health exchange website, utilizing technology from Connecticut, on how well it can handle thousands of users over different periods of time. Endurance tests will be run on the system to check how it operates under high loads, for long periods of time. The new website is set to open for people to browse on November 9th; enrollment begins on November 15th.

 

"FIVE PER CENT" CAN PROTECT KIDS FROM SEXUAL ABUSE

Thousands of Maryland residents are being trained to prevent child sexual abuse, in conjunction with local YMCA's as part of a goal to train five per cent of the country's adult population to provide a cushion of support for children of all ages. The Redwoods Group Foundation has been providing grants to cover the training costs. Michael Graves, of the Foundation, says one in ten children will be sexually abused before age 18; 90 per cent will be abused by someone they or the family knows and trusts.Graves says the training is not just for parents, teachers, coaches, and those with regular, direct contact with children; he wants everyone to consider it to provide neighborhood-level protection for all children.

 

SOCIAL SECURITY RECIPIENTS TO RECEIVE RAISE

For the third straight year, Social Security recipients will receive a slight cost-of-living increase. Sixty-million will receive a benefit increase, on the average of $20 per month. The cost-of-living adjustment, or "COLA," will also increase government benefits for millions of disabled veterans, federal retirees, and people drawing disability payments for the poor.

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LOCAL NEWS


POTENTIAL TENANTS SHOWN FOOTER BUILDING

Potential tenants, mostly from out of the area, have toured the Footer Dye Works building, in an effort to attract them to the commercial building. The Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority received an update yesterday during its regular meeting. Developer Michael Joy has shown the property to a number of prospective tenants, and has also given them a package that outlines details about the city, county, and heritage areas.

 

BLACK BEAR HUNT RUNS THROUGH TOMORROW

The 2014 Western Maryland black bear hunt began Monday and runs through tomorrow, and there is no quota on the number to be taken. There have been 450 permits granted this year, 70 more than last year's totals. However some hunters have chosen not to take part, even after receiving permits. And, there is still a limit of one bear taken per permit.

 

POLICE TO UNDERGO ACCREDITATION PROCESS

A team of Assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies will be in Cumberland the week of November 10th, to examine all aspects of the Cumberland Police Department's policies and procedure, management, operations and support services. The visit is part of a voluntary process to gain accreditation, which is a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence. There will also be a public meeting on November 11that 5:30 p.m., in which public comment will be being taken.

 

NO INJURIES IN POCAHONTAS ROAD FIRE

Seven fire companies responded to a fire in the 2200-block of Pocahontas Road  in Finzel yesterday morning. The flue fire at the residence extended into the wall of the home. Units cleared the scene by early afternoon. There were no injuries.

 

EARLY VOTING TO GET UNDERWAY

Early voting begins today in West Virginia and tomorrow in Maryland. Voting in the Free State will continue until October 30th, for the November 4th general election.

 

PARADE GETS UN DERWAY AT 7 P.M.

The annual South Cumberland Business and Civic Association's Halloween parade gets underway at 7 p.m., traveling from First Street, to Virginia Avenue, and disbanding in the Industrial Boulevard area. No parking is allowed along the parade route after 4 p.m., and the streets will be closed at 5:30 p.m. West Industrial Boulevard will be closed, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

 

KEYSER TO DISCUSS SEWER BONDS

The city of Keyser will discuss an ordinance for the issuance of sewer revenue bonds to help pay for improvement projects related to the city's sewer system. The city has begun two major system improvement projects, including new stormwater management systems and other upgrades in the Hawthorne Heights area, along with the construction of the new $30 million wastewater treatment plant.

 

WOMAN ARRESTED IN MEYERSDALE STABBING

Forty-five year old Kelly Sue Jarvis of Meyersdale is being held on $10,000 bond in the Somerset County jail, in connection with an incident in which victim, Clifford Lee Felker was stabbed on Monday. An argument between the two resulted in Felker being stabbed. He was taken to Conemaugh-Meyersdale Medic al Center, where he is listed in good condition.

 

POLICE INVESTIGATE BREAKING AND ENTERING

Cumberland City Police are investigating the breaking and entering of a Yale Street residence, in which several thousands of dollars and several pieces of jewelry were taken. Police say the home was ransacked. The crime occurred between 9 a.m. and noon on Monday. Anyone with information is asked to call Cumberland City Police at (301)-777-1600 or Crime Solvers at (301)-722-4300.

 

DOG STOLEN FROM RESIDENCE

A brindle-colored Pit Bull/Boxer mix dog was stolen from a home in the 300-block of Caroline Street Monday evening. The victim, who admitted she left the back door of her residence unlocked, told police the 8-month old puppy was kept in a kennel in the living room of her home. Anyone with information can call Cumberland City Police at (301)-777-1600; anonymous callers can get in touch with Crime Solvers at (301)-722-4300.

 

BISHOP WALSH TO HOLD OPEN HOUSE

Bishop Walsh School will hold a Fall Open House on Tuesday, October 28th from 8:30 to 11 a.m. The event is for all members of the family, and will offer a brief assembly, followed by tours of the Pre-K through 12th grade school, including BW's new state-of-the-art biology and chemistry labs. For more information, contact the school at (301)-724-5360 or visit online at "www.bishopwalsh.org."

 

JUDY CENTER RECOGNITION

The Allegany County Judy Center, located at South Penn and Beall Elementary Schools, was recently recognized in the Maryland State Department of Education/Division of Early Childhood Development's 2014 Partners Newsletter, for successfully completing two, five-week summer camps for children, ages 3 to 5. These school readiness camps addressed the importance of routines and structure and learning school readiness skills. The Judy Center modeled appropriate behaviors and addressed separation issues. Children went fishing, to the movies, bowling, and participated in Frostburg State University's "Pirates Ahoy," sponsored by the FSU Child Literature Center.

 

BERLIN ROBBER THWARTED

 The potential robber at the CSI Coalfield Mini Market in Berlin was stopped over the weekend by a clerk...with a can of bug spray. A surveillance camera showed a woman putting a bag on the counter, ordering clerk Annabelle Miller to fill it with money. Ms. Miller quickly grabbed a can of bug spray, and gave the robbery suspect a chance to leave. She then sprayed her with Raid, and she quickly left the store. While she provided a description of the woman to police, authorities say confronting any robber may not be "the best move." The investigation is continuing.

 

GOVERNOR, DHMH SECRETARY DISCUSS EBOLA

While there have been no Ebola cases in Maryland, one woman from Texas arrived last week at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda for treatment. Governor Martin O'Malley says there are four keys in stopping the spread of Ebola: identify, isolate, treat, and contain. He says this is not the first time we've experienced something like this, and cited Sars, Mersa, and the swine flu. Governor O'Malley also cited the anthrax attacks experienced after 9-11.

HOGAN EARNS N.R.A. ENDORSEMENT

Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan has earned the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, based on his commitment to Second Amendment rights. They also cited Lt. Governor Anthony Brown's support for Maryland's sweeping gun-control law last year, in choosing Hogan. Brown has urged his opponent to release a questionnaire that earned Hogan an "A-" grade from the group; Brown got an "F" from the group.

 

GAS PRICES CONTINUE DECLINE

A gallon of regular gas in the state has dipped below $3.00 in some parts of Maryland, and the decline is predicted to continue. The state average is $3.08 per gallon, but-for example-in Salisbury, the average price is $2.96, and in some parts of Baltimore City, the price is $2.91.

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FLINTSTONE MAN TAKEN TO JOHNS HOPKINS

A Flintstone man, suffering severe burns to his arms and face, was airlifted to Johns Hopkins Hospital by the Maryland State Police Medevac  helicopter early yesterday morning. A fire, fueled by kerosene, "flashed," and caused the burns. The incident is being investigated by the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office. A landing site for the helicopter was set up by the Flintstone Volunteer Fire Department; a county paramedic from Bowman's Addition also responded to the incident, about 12:30 a.m.

 

FOUR FSU STUDENTS TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL

Four  Frostburg State University students were taken to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center earlier yesterday, after a carbon monoxide detector activated at 7 American Avenue. The Frostburg Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene. Several area ambulance services and rescue squads took the students to the hospital.

 

WOMAN KILLED IN SOMERSET CRASH

A woman was killed in a single-vehicle crash in Somerset County Sunday evening. Police say Maryanne Larison was riding in a car, driven by her husband, James, when the car traveled off of Route 403near the Conemaugh Police Station. The car went into a wooded area of the road, and hit a tree head-on. James Larison was taken to the hospital. There is no word on what caused the crash.

 

WOMAN ARRESTED FOLLOWING ACCIDENT

Police say a woman who caused an accident in Garrett County early yesterday morning, had a blood alcohol level of .33, more than four times the legal limit. The Maryland State Police at McHenry say Lindsey Taylor Osborne of Deer Park struck another vehicle near Glendale Road. The victims followed the car for several miles, and were able to get a description and vehicle tag number. Officers arrived at her residence, to find her extremely intoxicated. She acknowledged that she was "very drunk" and was sorry for "hitting those people." She was arrested and charged with DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.

 

HOME INVASION CASE LEADS TO WEAPONS CACHE

A 15-year old has been charged as a juvenile, as the result of a search warrant stemming from last week's home invasion on North Water Street in Keyser. Police found numerous stolen items, including guns. Three male suspects, armed with handguns entered the home Wednesday, and forced a resident onto the floor, before stealing electronics and other weapons. Two properties were search over this past weekend, in connection with the home invasion and robbery.

 

"TOYS FOR HAPPINESS" CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF

The annual Toys for Happiness campaign officially kicked off last night, with the annual dinner at the Bedford Road Volunteer Fire Company. Chuck Koelker, chair of the event, says they have already received applications for this year, even though they were last year's forms. Koelker says the 2014 applications are on the way.

 

CORRIDOR "H" SEGMENT MAY BE OPEN SOON

A segment of Corridor "H" may be open by Thanksgiving. The one-and-one-half mile segment  is near the connector to West Virginia Routes 42 and 93 in the Mount Storm area. The speculation is that another four mile section could be open by the end of the year, but next spring is a more realistic goal. When completely finished, Corridor "H" will connect I-79 near Weston, West Virginia with the junction of Interstates 81 and 66 in Front Royal, Virginia.

 

CUMBERLAND MAN CHARGED WITH THEFT

Charges are pending against another person, but 40-year old Cumberland resident Byron Morrison was charged with theft, following an incident Sunday night in the 400-block of Maryland Avenue. Morrison told a cab driver he would get money to pay for his fare, but fled the area. He subsequently told police he didn't have any money, so he couldn't pay the fare. He was processed and issued a criminal citation. The other passenger has been identified by police.

 

LEAF COLLECTIONS TO BEGIN

The Cumberland Street Department is beginning leaf collection within the city limits next Monday, October 27th. The first area to have leaves collected will be the Seton Drive area; that will be next Monday through Friday. The Upper West Side will have leaves collected November 3rd through the 7th, followed by the Lower West Side and North End. Residents may also bag leaves and place them at the curb on their regular trash days. Burgmeier Hauling will collect up to eight bags of trash per pickup day, including leaves.

 

L.B.C. MEETING SET

The "Let's Beautify Cumberland" committee will hold a meeting on Monday, November 3rd at the City Hall Council Chambers. The meeting takes place at 7 p.m. The Christmas Luncheon will be held on December 10th.

 

SEAT BELT USE ON THE RISE IN WEST VIRGINIA

Seat belt use in West Virginia has risen from 52 per cent in 2001 to 82 per cent in 2013. That was the largest increase of any state in the country. The difference is, according to Bob Tipton, director of the West Virginia Highway Safety Program, the primary seat belt law that was passed a little over a year ago. In 2000, 411 people died in car wrecks in the Mountain State; in 2013, that number dropped to 332.

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TWO MORE ARRESTED IN ASSAULT INCIDENT

 

Two more men have been arrested, in connection with an assault incident on October 9th on Maryland Avenue. Twenty-two year old Charles Ace Casey and 25-year old Garrett Michael Ketterman were arrested Friday evening and charged for their part in the incident in which Jonthan Edward Harriss was charged with attempted 2nd degree murder. Casey was charged with first-degree assault and related charges; Ketterman was charged with second-degree assault. Both are being held in the Allegany County Detention Center.

 

 

MAN ARRESTED IN ARMED ROBBERY

 

Forty-two year old Wayne Eugene King was arrested Friday evening, and charged with armed robbery in the area behind the main Post Office on Park Street. The man said the suspect demanded his money, and pointed a handgun at him. When he showed he had no money on him, the suspect fled. A person, matching the description given was apprehended and taken to police headquarters. King was also charged with assault, reckless endangerment and using a handgun in a crime of violence.

 

 

KEYSER POLICE INVESTIGATE BURGLARY, ROBBERY

 

Keyser City Police say they have developed "persons of interest," in connection with the burglary and robbery at a North Water Street home last week. Three armed men held the resident of the home at gunpoint, while they robbed his home of guns and electronics. A shot was fired during the incident, but no one was hurt. The investigation is ongoing, and Keyser City Police have developed some suspects, based on photographic surveillance.

 

 

SYSTEM RESPONDS TO BED BUGS, LICE IN SCHOOLS

 

There have been specific reports of bed bugs and head lice in the Allegany County Schools, and the system has responded to those concerns. All custodial personnel are aware of specific instances of the bugs and lice, and are working diligently to clean any contaminated areas to ensure that all staff and students are provided a safe and supportive learning environment. If a school needed to be chemically treated, professionals that specialize in pest control would apply those treatments. Parents are also receiving letters on detecting, treating and reporting issues.

 

 

ANNEXATAION PETITION DENIED

 

The Mineral County Commissioners have denied a request from the city of Keyser to annex the Airport and Bonnieview additions into the city's corporate limits. The commissioners took about ten minutes late last week, to issue their decision. The majority of those affected by the move were in opposition to it. Keyser Mayor Randy Amtower noted the annexation was "necessary for the financial stability of the city," but the commissioners said he failed to demonstrate that annexation would adequately change the city's financial situation.

 

 

TWO BEDFORD AREA PHARMACIES ROBBED OF PILLS

 

The Pennsylvania State Police at Bedford have been able to identify the car, but are now looking for a person who robbed two pharmacies, one in Claysburg and another at Chestnut Ridge. Police say the man asked for all the oxycodone they had, but was only able to get the drugs at the Chestnut Ridge Pharmacy. They do believe the suspect is local and familiar with the area. Anyone with information is asked to contact State Police at (814)-623-6133.

 

 

MUSEUM TO HOLD THURSDAY RECEPTION

 

The Allegany County Museum is embarking on an endowment campaign, and will hold a reception Thursday evening, to introduce it. Dr. Julianne Ferris, of the Museum's Advisory Board, says they are in the process of converting office space into museum space, and will be giving up their rental income. Thursday's event is to establish the endowment fund.

The museum will feature about 14 different displays, including a major display of the Kelly-Springfield Tire Company. Others encompass glassware, local breweries, and a "Sleeping Beauty Room" for children. The reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m.

 

 

THREE ARRESTED ON METH CHARGES

 

Three people have been arrested in Preston County, in connection with a meth lab operation, allegedly run by Donald Stout. Tunnelton residents Tracy Sapp and Raymond Weaver, along with Kingwood resident James Moats have been charged with providing Stout with pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient in methamphetamine. People who purchase such materials are known as "smurfs." Another person, 29-year old Shawn Capocelli, is wanted in the investigation, and is believed to be living in the Morgantown area.

 

 

TRANSPORTATION PROPOSAL ON NOVEMBER BALLOT

 

Maryland voters will decide if the state transportation fund should be strictly used for transportation issues. This constitutional amendment would decide if the fund can only be spent on transportation issues, unless the governor declares a fiscal emergency. Both chambers of the General Assembly would have to approve the transfer with a three-fifths vote. The so-called "lockbox" proposal would prevent the state from dipping into the transportation fund to make up for shortfalls in the state budget.

 

 

O'MALLEY RAISES MORE THAN $700,000

 

Governor Martin O'Malley has raised just over $710,000 during the third quarter of this year. O'Malley's term will end in January, and he has traveled extensively on behalf of other Democrats, while laying the groundwork for a potential Presidential bid in 2016. Governor O'Malley is beginning to receive more donations from outside the state.

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INFECTED NURSE TRANSFERRED TO N.I.H.

Nina Pham, one of two nurses infected with the Ebola virus while caring for a patient in Dallas, was flown into the Frederick Municipal Airport last night, and later transferred to the National Institute of Health in Bethesda. She was taken to a special biocontainment unit, only one of four in the United States. Pham came down with Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, who later died of the disease.

 

COMPLAINTS LEAD TO FIVE ARRESTS

Citizen complaints and police calls to several Maryland Avenue residences led to the arrest of five people on Wednesday evening.  A three month investigation into the sales and distribution of various narcotics, including heroin and crack cocaine being sold, led to the arrests of Thomas Shannon Stevens, Amanda Lynn Lewis,  Jon Pierre Lopez, Shannon Nicol Grapes, and Robert Wayne Burkett. The raid was conducted by units from the Cumberland Police Department, the Garrett County Special Response Team, and the Maryland State Police "STATE" team. The Allegany County Department of Social Services also assisted on the scene, with the placement of three children, all under the age of six. The investigation is continuing with additional arrests anticipated.

 

COMMISSIONERS SUSPEND AUTHORITY MEMBERS

The Mineral County Commissioners are notifying its representatives on the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority that they are officially suspended from service until the ongoing disagreement over state jurisdiction is settled. The PHAA oversees the Greater Cumberland Regional Airport, and has been involved in a controversy over which state's Open Meetings Law to observe. The members of the Authority-Bill Smith, Monroe Johnson, and Leon Hinkle-will not participate in the meetings until the issue is resolved.

 

INVESTIGATION INTO ACCIDENT CONTINUES

The McHenry Barrack of the Maryland State Police is investigating a Wednesday evening accident on Route 495 at Dry Run Road. A 2001 Subaru, driven by 45-year old Bruce G. Vanwagner of McHenry, traveled off the road and struck a mailbox, before coming to rest. Responding were the Bittinger Fire Department, Northern Garrett Rescue Squad, and Trooper Five; the investigation is continuing.

 

BOND SET AT $17,500 IN ARREST

Cumberland resident Tracy Rae is being held on a total of $17,500 bond following her arrest at the corner of South and Second Street on Wednesday. She was arrested on an outstanding warrant for theft and related charges; also found on her were a crack cocaine smoking device, a syringe, one baggie of suspected heroin and two baggies of suspected crack cocaine. She is being held at the Allegany County Detention Center.

 

KENNEL CLUB TO HOST SHOW

The Upper Potomac Valley Kennel Club is holding its 61st annual dog show, today through Sunday at the Allegany County Fairgrounds. Becky Rephan, with the kennel club, says the Cumberland show is a precursor to shows such as the nationally-known Westminster dog show. About 120 breeds will be represented, with about 600-700 dogs on hand for the show. There is a minimal $3.00 parking fee for the show, which will include performance groups. These include obedience training, and what is known as "Rally." During the weekend show, a service dog from the area will be honored. "Blue" Dieterle responded to a woman who came to participate in the show several years ago.

 

 

NINE CHARGED WITH DRUG TRAFFICKING

Nine members of a Baltimore-based drug trafficking enterprise have been indicted by a federal grand jury. The group has ties to Virginia, New York, and Texas, and prosecutors say they are linked to the 2012 murder of Baltimore resident John Moore in Baltimore. Police seized 30 kilos of cocaine from Moore, and his murder has been tied to the cocaine seizure.

 

"SUN" POLL SHOWS LITTLE SUPPORT FOR O'MALLEY PRESIDENTIAL RUN

The Baltimore Sun says support for a Martin O'Malley presidential run is "conspicuously low," and what little support he has, may be slipping. Nearly 6 in ten voters say they would not support O'Malley, if he decides to seek the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016. Nine per cent of voters say they would like to see who else will run before committing to any one candidate. This most recent poll was conducted October 1st through the 8th, and is based on interviews with 800 likely Maryland voters.

 

WEST VIRGINIA S.A.T. SCORES SHOW IMPROVEMENT

West Virginia school students showed improvement in core subject areas of reading, writing and math on the S.A.T., when compared to the previous year's test results. More than 42 per cent of West Virginia's S.A.T. takers met benchmarks for college and career preps while the number was 39 per cent nationally.

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DEVELOPMENT PLAN PRESENTED TO CITY

 

A new economic development strategic plan, from RKG Associates of Alexandria, Virginia was presented at City Hall yesterday. It is hoped the plan will become a more targeted economic development effort in the future. The over $54,000 plan was funded by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, and the Appalachian Regional Commission. Short, to long term goals, include the use of the former Memorial Hospital site, further development of Canal Place, Rolling Mill and the Willowbrook Road area, and the development of a Cumberland Shopping Plaza in South End.

 

 

MISSING TEEN SOUGHT

 

Bruce Bickling, a 16-year old Fort Hill student, has been missing since September 11th, and police are seeking the public's help in locating him. He has short, blond hair, blue eyes, and a thin build. He was last seen at the school and was wearing a white tee shirt, faded denim shorts and white tennis shoes. Anyone with information is asked to contact Cumberland City Police.

 

 

PRIEST REMAINS JAILED IN SOMERSET COUNTY

 

Father Joseph Maurizio remains jailed in Somerset County, accused of sexually abusing young boys while on mission trips to Honduras. This week, his finances were discussed, with his bank accounts indicating he had hundreds of thousands of dollars the government says he could use to escape the country. The money came from what were called "smart investments," and some are tied to the church and do not technically belong to him. Bond, if any, will be determined within the next ten days or so.

 

 

TGCC HOSTS COALITION MEETING

 

The Greater Cumberland Committee recently hosted its fourth annual North/South Appalachian Highway Coalition meeting at the Bedford Springs resort. The goal of the group is to advance economic development efforts in the region, and includes business, civic organizations, elected officials and government entities. It was learned at the meeting that about eight miles remain in completing the section of Route 219, from Meyersdale, Pennsylvania to the I-68 interchange.

 

 

INTERSTATE 68 TRAFFIC UPDATE

 

There are several traffic changes to be aware of, on Interstate 68 eastbound over the next several weeks. Beginning next Monday, and lasting through Friday, October 24th, the eastbound right lane of I-68 will be closed. The Exit 43B ramp to Industrial Boulevard may be detoured as well. On Monday, October 27th through Friday, October 31st, the eastbound I-68 right lane will remain closed; the exit 43C ramp to Queen City Drive may be detoured; and, the eastbound ramp from downtown may be detoured. Motorists should be prepared for possible delays during peak hours.

 

 

FAIRHOPE BATTERY THEFTS INVESTIGATED

 

About $1600 worth of vehicle batteries were taken from the area along West Street in Fairhope earlier in the month. The person or persons also tried to enter one of the township sheds, causing about $200 in damage. The investigation is continuing.

 

 

SCHOOLS ON TWO-HOUR DELAY TODAY

 

A reminder that Allegany County Public Schools are operating on a two-hour delay for today. There will be no morning kindergarten classes. This time is being used for staff professional development.

 

 

STATE POLICE UNVEIL NEW HELICOPTER

 

About 140,000 patients have been flown on Maryland State Police Medevac helicopters since the program began in 1970. Yesterday, a new, "state of the art" aircraft, the 'AW-139" was unveiled at the Greater Cumberland Municipal airport. Lieutenant Walter Kerr commander of the Helicopter Medical Operations division noted that Allegany County is the 6th of 7 regions to receive the new chopper. The technology it contains is mandated by the both the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.

 

 

COMMISSION TO MEET ON OCTOBER 27TH

 

The Cumberland Neighborhood Advisory Commission will meet on Monday, October 27th, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers. Meetings are held on a monthly basis and are open to the public. For more information, contact City Hall at (301)-759-6424.

 

 

BISHOP WALSH TO HOST PROGRAM ON DYSLEXIA

 

Bishop Walsh School's Pratt Program will be hosting Paula Moraine, the president of the Maryland Branch of the International Dyslexia Association on Saturday, October 25th at 10 a.m. the program will be held in the school auditorium. The topic will be "Learning and the Impact of ADHD, Dyslexia, and Executive Function. This is a free event. For more information, contact Stephanie Pratt at (301)-724-5360, extension 218.

 

 

ATTORNEY WANTS CHARGES DROPPED

 

An attorney for Catherine Hoggle, the Montgomery County mother whose children remain missing, says he wants charges against her dropped, because he says detectives improperly interrogated her inside a state psychiatric hospital this month.  Detectives spoke with her for at least 12 hours, trying to find out where the children were, and what she might have done with them. Since the case began in early September, she has refused to cooperate with police.

 

 

GAS PRICES AT LOWEST POINT OF THE YEAR

 

The national average price for regular gas is $3.18 per gallon, which is down 20-cents from less than a month ago, and 15-cents from a year ago. Virginia has the least expensive gas, with an average of $3.00 per gallon; Maryland is at $3.17, Pennsylvania at $3.31, and West Virginia at $3.33. The highest national average is in California, where drivers there are paying upwards of $3.60 per gallon.

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DRUG BUST IN FROSTBURG

Thirty-six year old Baltimore resident Corey James Douglas, and 26-year old Tiffany Dawn Resh were arrested by the Frostburg Police Department  Monday on drug charges. The C3I Narcotics Unit, the Allegany County Sheriff's Department, and the Cumberland City Police assisted in executing a search warrant in the 200-block of Main Street. Cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin were seized, with an estimated value of over $21,000.  Douglas was held at the Allegany County Detention Center on $300,000 bond, while Ms. Resh was held on $25,000 bond.

 

CONSERVATION GROUP URGES FRACKING BAN

Trout, Unlimited is urging the state of Maryland to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas in the Savage River watershed. The group has added the area to its list of 10 places it says are threatened by fracking. Maryland officials are deciding whether to allow the "fracking" technique, which uses water mixed with sand and chemicals to break up rock deep underground, and release natural gas. For its part, Maryland Environmental regulators have said there is a moderate risk, which may harm aquatic life.

 

STORAGE UNIT FIRE RULED ARSON

The Maryland State Fire Marshal says a fire at Legacy Moving and Storage on Clement Street was intentionally set. It originated in a wooden storage unit on site, and spread to ten other wooden storage units nearby. Losses were set at $2500. The fire was discovered by a neighbor, and the Cumberland Fire Department extinguished the fire in about ten minutes.

 

TROOPER SAVES CHILD ALONG I-68

Trooper First Class Matthew Schoenadel is being credited for saving the life of an infant along Interstate 68 yesterday morning. Maryland State Police received a panic call from a woman, who said her grandson was not breathing. Trooper Schoenadel stopped the car, turned the baby on his stomach to clear his airway. The infant responded and began to breathe. He was taken to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center for treatment. Trooper Schoeandel is a nine year veteran of the Maryland State Police.

 

ALLEGANY UPDATE GIVEN AT MEETING

An update on the demolition work at the site of the new Allegany High School was given during last night's Board of Education meeting. The interior of the building is nearly complete, with the medical office building completely demolished. The total estimated cost of the school is $40 million, and officials say they are on track to open in 2017.

 

CDS, PARAPHERNALIA CHARGES FILED

Cumberland City Police arrested two area men on drug-related charges Monday evening, following a traffic stop on Interstate 68 eastbound. Both Ronald Browning of Ellerslie and Kenneth Wilson III or Cumberland were taken into custody. Browning was charged with possession of CDS paraphernalia, while Wilson was charged with possession of CDS, and three counts of possession of paraphernalia. Police recovered illegally obtained prescription medication and paraphernalia from the car. Both were eventually released from custody.

 

SPRINGDALE STREET INCIDENT PROMPTS INVESTIGATION

Social media reports of the fatal stabbing of a dog in South Cumberland may be false. Cumberland City Police say Allegany County Animal Control is investigating a Monday evening incident, in which a dog suffered some type of injury. Reports from Cumberland City Police say it didn't look as if the dog was injured by an intruder, but the matter is still under investigation.

 

DEMOLITION OF MANSION DELAYED

The Keyser Mayor and City Council may, or may not, demolish the historic Alkire Mansion at Mill Meadow Park. The hope is that grants can be obtained to restore the 18th century structure, which has deteriorated over the years. Developing the building into a residence or business location has drawn only limited interest. Now, city officials are going to wait for about three months, to see if there are any viable grant options available.

 

"MAKING STRIDES" EVENT SATURDAY

The "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" event is this Saturday, beginning and ending on the Canal Place Festival Grounds. Breast cancer survivor Debbie Fornwalt says this is the first time she'll actually be participating in the walk. She says we are approaching the time when the disease will be eradicated. Ms. Fornwalt is a 3-1/2 year survivor, and advises that, although it is a difficult diagnosis and journey through treatment, the diagnosis should not be feared. Pre-walk activities begin at 10 a.m.; registration will begin at 9 a.m. She says she's had so much support from the cancer society, friends, and family...and that is a remarkable thing.

 

TWO-HOUR DELAY TOMORROW

Allegany County Public Schools will operate on a two-hour delay tomorrow. There will be no morning pre-kindergarten classes. The time is being used for staff professional development.

 

SOME HEALTH INSURANCE RATES MAY DROP

Some small businesses in the state may see a small drop in health insurance premiums next year; others may pay as much as 11 per cent more. New rates, which will go into effect in January, affect small firms with up to 50 employees, and not to large or self-insured firms or individuals buying coverage on the state's health insurance exchange. Evergreen Health Cooperative did not seek an increase, because it pledged to small businesses that signed on with the new provider that it would give them a two-year premium guarantee.

 

MARYLAND PERSONAL INCOME GROWTH SLOWS

Personal income in the state grew an estimated one per cent in the second quarter of 2014, compared to 2.5 per cent in the United States as a whole. Maryland's showing was the fifth worst of all states, and it follows four years of statewide incomes lagging behind the rest of the country. The average household income in the state was just over $96,000 last year, down about 3 per cent since 2007. Median household income dropped more than 5 per cent in real terms, to $72,483.

 

HANDS-FREE TECHNOLOGY MAY INCREASE DISTRACTED DRIVING

A study by Triple-A Atlantic says that hands-free technology in cars may actually increase the possibility of being involved in a crash. Once several states made it a primary offense to talk or text on your cell phone, car companies began installing hands-free systems. Triple A says that whether you are using a handheld or hands-free device, the actual risk of being involved in a crash quadruples, because utilizing cognitive skills can be more distracting than it would otherwise be.

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LOCAL NEWS


VERSO CLOSING MAINE PAPER MILL

Verso Paper Corporation, which plans to purchase New Page, is closing a mill in Bucksport, Maine. The closure will happen before the end of the year, reducing the company's coated groundwood paper production capacity by approximately 350,000 tons and its specialty paper production capacity by about 55,000 tons. The facility is closing due to ongoing non-profitability. Verso says it will work with union officials and salaried employees on severance benefits and other assistance.

 

UTILITY WORKERS WANT NEW CONTRACT

Potomac Edison and West Penn Power employees want a new contract, and have been working without one since May 1st. System Local 102 recently rejected contract offers from First Energy Corporation. At issue are staffing levels, and post-retirement medical benefits. Efforts are underway to schedule more negotiations with First Energy.

 

TWO CHARGED ON OUTSTANDING WARRANTS 

Two people were arrested late Sunday morning on Virginia Avenue, and charged with marijuana possession. Thirty-two year old Robert Hess and 25-year old Stephanie Barb were stopped for a traffic violation; it was discovered that both had outstanding bench warrants for failure to appear for trial earlier in the month. They were both charged, but released on personal recognizance, pending trial in District Court.

 

GROUNDBREAKING HELD FOR NEW SCHOOL

A groundbreaking ceremony was recently held for a new Burlington United Methodist Family Services School. Adjacent to the campus gymnasium, the new school will feature seven classrooms, a dining area and administrative offices. Senator Donald Cookman remarked during the ceremonies that although the staff deserves better, most importantly, the students deserve better.

 

THREE COMMENDED IN SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

Three Allegany County Public School Students were recently named Commended Students in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program. Allegany students Ethan Greist and Kristin Ratliff, along with Makea Luzader of Mountain Ridge placed among the top five per cent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the competition by taking the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The three students were among the nearly 34,000 students throughout the nation being honored as Commended Students for their exceptional academic promise.

 

FSU NAMED "MILITARY FRIENDLY" FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT YEAR

Frostburg State University has been named a "Military Friendly School" for the fourth year in a row. The Military Friendly Schools list honors the top 15 per cent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace America's military service members, veterans and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.

 

FROST NAMED "BLUE RIBBON" SCHOOL

Frost Elementary School was recently recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School. Mia Perlozzo Cross, of the Allegany County Board of Education, says the school met rigorous state and national requirements, and was only one of six schools in the state to earn the designation. Ms. Cross noted that Frost also serves some of the county's economically disadvantaged students.

 

CVS EMPLOYEE SAVES ELDERLY WOMAN FROM SCAM

An employee of the CVS Pharmacy in Somerset is being credited with saving an elderly woman thousands of dollars. The 90-year old woman went into the store to buy several money orders, totaling around $3,000, when she was told her grandson had been arrested, and that he needed money for attorney fees and the like. The employee recognized it as a scam. Police are saying that if you receive a similar call, you can call police to verify if an arrest was made.

 

MAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT, OTHER CHARGES

A man police say is homeless, was arrested in Somerset County Sunday, after he was accused of breaking into a woman's home and physically assaulting her. Forty-five year old David Fazenbaker was quickly arrested, after officers received information on his whereabouts. He will be charged with assault and related charges. He had been wanted on an outstanding warrant for stalking, harassment, and prowling.

 

ARREST MADE IN THREATS AGAINST SCHOOL

The FBI and West Virginia State Police have arrested 21-year old Justin Light, a former student at Musselman High School for making an online threat against Musselman High School. The threats were made on social media, through the compromised Twitter account of a former student. There was a strong police presence on the Musselman high school campus yesterday, and attendance was down over 50 per cent. Light is being held in the Eastern Regional Jail.

 

GAP BETWEEN CANDIDATES NARROWING

"The Baltimore Sun" released a poll on Sunday, showing the gap between gubernatorial candidates Larry Hogan and Anthony Brown is narrowing. The poll indicates Brown is leading Hogan by seven points, but many voters are undecided, and there is a 3-1/2 per cent margin of error. Election Day is three weeks from today.

 

W.VA. RECEIVES GRANT FOR METH LAB FIGHT

The West Virginia State Police will receive a million in federal funding to fight meth lab production. The two-year grant was announced, in part, by Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito. The State Police will use the funds to hire and train law enforcement personnel to investigate "meth" production and distribution; additionally, the money will be used for meth lab cleanup.

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LOCAL CONTROL TO GRANT COUNTY SCHOOLS

 

The West Virginia State Board of Education returned local control to the Grant County School System last week. Five years ago, a reported cited "serious deficiencies" in the system, including a breakdown in leadership, a lack of advanced placement and honors classes, as well as individual schools failing to meet Adequate Yearly Progress five years in a row. The State Board could take over the school system in the future, if any of the original problems come up again, within the next five years.

 

 

WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY IN DRUG CASE

 

Thirty-year old Swanton resident Rebecca Lee Smith has pleaded guilty to distributing morphine to a woman, who later died. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered by Judge J. Frederick Sharer; she remains in the Garrett County Jail. Smith had been with the woman prior to her death; she later admitted to taking morphine pills to her home, offering them to the woman, and taking some of the pills herself.

 

 

KEYSER RESIDENTS SENTENCED

 

Two Keyser men were among four people who were recently sentenced in U.S. District Court on cocaine-related charges. Thirty-one year old Troy Wilt was sentenced to ten months in prison for cocaine distribution; thirty-five year old Paul Ellis was sentenced to five years probation, for money laundering, involving about $1500 in proceeds from the cocaine sales. Both pleaded guilty, following an investigation by the Potomac Highlands Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

 

 

WOMAN ARRESTED IN LAPTOP THEFT

 

Cumberland resident Bridget Brianne Michael was arrested over the weekend, and charged with the theft of a laptop computer from a Frederick Street residence, while the occupants were asleep. The victim identified a possible suspect and officers confirmed it during the investigation. She was charged with theft of less than $1,000. Ms. Michael was released pending trial in District Court.

 

 

MAN SERVED SUMMONS, RELEASED

 

A Cumberland man was released pending trial, following an incident in the parking area of the Cumberland City Police Department on Saturday. Sixty-two year old Ronald Diggs was allegedly being verbally disruptive, and acting in an unusual manner. Diggs ran into the garage door, bounced off, and allegedly assaulted an officer, before being placed into custody. He was charged with two counts of second-degree assault.

NEW ROMNEY PLANT TO BE OPERATIONAL BY SPRING

 

A new sewage treatment plant could be "under roof" by November, and operational by May of next year. Construction began in February of this year, and will serve not only the city, but also the high school, middle school, the hospital and the nursing home there. Rates will increase for customers of the system, from the current minimum rate of $24.82 to $29.50. Over a thousand homes will benefit from the new treatment plant.

 

 

 PLANS IN THE WORKS FOR GREENE STREET

 

Alta Planning and Development is under contract to develop a complete street plan for historic Greene Street, and will be concerned with the overall historical character of the street and surrounding environment. Public input is being taken. To be included with all upcoming project meetings, contact Siera Wigfield at cumberlandmpo@allconet.org,or call (301)-722-6360. The plan is being developed at the request of the Cumberland Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the first project meeting is expected to be held early next year.

 

 

"WE ARE FORT HILL" GROUP INDUCTS H.O.F. MEMBERS

 

The We Are Fort Hill organization recently inducted four new members in to the school's Hall of Fame, including Dr. John "Jack" Hamilton, Jr., Dr. Donald S. McCoy, Dr. John Millar and Dr. Linda Weber Dunbar. The recognition luncheon was held at the school on September 27th. Nominations for next year's Hall of Fame are being accepted through January 31st of next year. Nominees must have graduated from Fort Hill fifteen or more years ago, and should be based on significant achievements in lifetime endeavors. Nomination forms are available at "www.forthillhs.com."

 

 

S.A.T. SCORES DROP, TEST TAKERS INCREASE

 

More students are taking the S.A.T. in Maryland, but average scores on the college readiness exam dropped significantly, falling below the national average for the first time in years. Policy changes in Baltimore and Prince George's counties have contributed to the overall drop. Those systems allowed every high school junior to be given the test. Statewide, the average score dropped five points in reading, math, and writing.

 

 

'HUNGER FREE" OPTION RECEIVES SCHOOL KUDOS

 

Breakfast and lunch in school at no charge...it's a new program in place for all public schools in Somerset County, Maryland, and about a dozen schools in Washington County. The idea behind the "Community Eligibility Provision" is that if schools are located in high-poverty areas, most of the students already qualify for free or reduced-price school meals-so why not ditch the paperwork and offer the meals to all students? Dr. John Gaddis, of the Somerset County school system, says it's working out better than he thought it would. Pam Christoffel of the Washington County Hunger Group, says the program brings relief to families facing economic struggles.

Michael J. Wilson, director of Maryland Hunger Solutions, is encouraged to hear about the success in implementing the program in all Somerset County Public Schools, and there are hundreds of other eligible schools in the state. Wilson says the program not only reduces childhood hunger, but administrators appreciate the reduction in paperwork.

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MORE DETAILS ON HYNDMAN HOMICIDE CASE

Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins says it is very clear that drugs were involved in the murder of James Deneen, Jr., on September 25th near Hyndman. Charged with the murder is Jonta Bishop of  Hagerstown, who Higgins says has changed his story several times. Bishop claims the shooting was in self-defense, but Higgins points out that Mr. Deneen was shot "execution-style," in the back of the head. Bishop will now stand trial on charges of criminal homicide and related counts.   Deneen's body was placed in the trunk of a car, and it was set on fire. Three others face related charges in the case-Domenick Gillespie, along with Kimberlee and Nickolas Forbes.

 

STABBING INCIDENT LEADS TO CHARGES

A stabbing incident in the 500-block of Maryland Avenue last night has led to attempted murder charges against Cumberland resident Jonthan Edward Hariss. Cumberland City Police and the Sheriff's Department were called to a large fight in the street; a review of video surveillance and interviews with witnesses led to Hariss' arrest. During the altercation, he allegedly stabbed a 22-year old victim with a knife, and punched a 24-year old male victim in the face. Hariss was taken to a District Court Commissioner for a hearing, and the investigation is continuing.

 

OAKLAND RESIDENT ARRESTED ON SEX CHARGES

Twenty-seven year old Oakland resident Paul Christian Tippen has been arrested in the Mountain Lake Park area on sex charges, following a month-long investigation. Tippen is accused of offenses against a 14-year old girl. He will be charged with two counts of third-degree sex offense, sodomy, prostitution under the age of 16, human trafficking and other related charges. He was taken to the Garrett County Jail to await a bond hearing.

 

FOREFEITURES SOUGHT IN CASE AGAINST PHYSICIAN

If Keyser native Tressie Montene Duffy is found guilty of drug charges lodged against her, then federal authorities will seize both property and cash from her. The amount in question includes at least $30,000 in cash. Dr. Duffy, who practiced in Martinsburg, is accused of writing blank prescriptions and allowing her staff to write them for Xanax, Oxycodone, Valuium and other drugs. Less than a month ago, she was charged in federal court with 100 counts of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

 

SOMERSET COUNTY PRIEST INDICTED ON FEDERAL CHARGES

Father Joseph Maurizio has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of illicit sexual conduct and child pornography. The priest, from Central City, is accused of taking advantage of impoverished children, allegedly offering them money, toys and candy, in exchange for sexual acts , which happened during mission trips to Central American countries. His attorney says Father Maurizio adamantly maintains his innocence.

 

TWO WOMEN CONVICTED OF HEROIN TRAFFICKING

Two Grant County residents face up to 20-years in prison and fines of up to a million dollars, after they were convicted of heroin trafficking in federal court this week. Thirty-two year old Kimberly Michelle Bailey and 34-year old Brenda Michelle Sams both pleaded guilty to charges brought against them. Federal and local investigations involving the FBI and the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crime Task Force led to their convictions.

 

MAN ARRESTED IN DOMESTIC INCIDENT

Cumberland resident Kamal Shiv Datta was charged with second-degree assault, following a Wednesday incident at an East Gate court residence. He and his wife began arguing, when the argument became physical. He struck her in the back of the head and in the face. She didn't require medical treatment. He was taken to a District Court Commissioner and later released on personal recognizance.

 

SLALOM CHAMPIONSHIPS ON NBC NEXT WEEK

A recap of the Deep Creek 2014 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships will air on the NBC Sports Network this Sunday at 7 p.m. It will also be broadcast on Saturday, October 18th, beginning at 5:30 p.m., and Sunday the 19th from 2:30 to 3 p.m. Deep Creek 2014 expressed its gratitude to all those involved, including the 42 teams, ICF, USA, and most of all, the volunteers.

 

TRI-STATE COLLEGE NIGHT SET

Allegany College of Maryland is hosting the annual Tri-State College night this Tuesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Allegany College of Maryland gymnasium.  The event is sponsored by the Allegany County Guidance Counselors Association, in partnership with ACM and its Advancement Office staff. The goal of the event is to help high school students make educated decisions about post-secondary plans. Dozens of colleges, universities, and career and technical schools will have representatives on hand for the event. A total of $1400 in  scholarships will be awarded to two high school juniors and seniors attending the event.

 

FIRST DATA CUTS JOBS

Job-cutting has begun at First Data Corporation in Hagerstown. A number of employees have lost their jobs, but the company has declined to say how many. First Data performs payment transactions for businesses and financial institutions. A spokesperson says job cuts began Wednesday, and will continue for the rest of the week; the company is re-evaluating its workforce worldwide. A year ago, about 550 workers lost their jobs at the Denver location.

 

SETTLEMENT ANNOUNCED IN "CRAMMING" CASE

If you are an AT&T customer, you may be entitled to a refund. Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, along with the attorneys-general of 49 other states and the District of Columbia announced a $105 million settlement in a so-called "cramming" case. Customers were allegedly charged by third party companies for services they never asked to receive, such as horoscopes or flirting tips. Gansler noted that the state worked with the Federal Trade Commision and Federal Communications Commission to resolve the issue. The complaint alleged that AT&T kept at least 35 per cent of the unauthorized charges it imposed on customers. The goal of the agreement, according to Gansler, was to accomplish two things.

 

TEACHER FIRED IN WAKE OF ALLEGATIONS

Hedgesville, West Virginia teacher Erin Steve Thomas has been fired, amid allegations of third-degree sexual assault charges and two misdemeanor counts of computer harassment. A preliminary hearing has been set for October 22nd. He is accused of having a relationship with one of his female students, eventually leading to sexual contact. The girl wanted to end the relationship, after Thomas' wife found out about them meeting at the school.

 

 

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INDECENT EXPOSURE CHARGES FILED

Calvert County resident Rocco Pianpiano turned himself in to authorities there yesterday morning, after being accused in an indecent exposure incident in late September at a Garrett County service station. A woman was putting gas in her van at the station, when the man, who tried to make conversation with her, eventually exposed himself to her. She got the license plate number of the vehicle and called police. Pianpiano, of Chesapeake Beach, was jailed at the Calvert County Detention Center, awaiting a bond hearing.

 

"JUNKYARD PROPERTIES" TARGETED

While the city has targeted the removal of blighted properties, the Mayor and Council are now turning their attention to so-called "junkyard properties" that have unusable items, such as appliances, indoor furniture, and other items outside their properties. They are looking to adopt an ordinance that would tighten restrictions on that practice. The new ordinance, which is an updated, and more specific version, of an older one the city now has in place. The first reading of the ordinance was held this week.

 

BRIDGE WORK NEARLY COMPLETE

Work on the bridges that span Kelly Boulevard and Patterson Avenue on Interstate 68 is nearly complete. Later this month, the project will enter its fourth and final stage. Renovations are expected to be finished in December, with crews returning next spring to do the final surface paving.

 

WOMAN JAILED AFTER TRYING TO FLEE

Keyser resident Shirley Phares remains jailed in the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail, after she tried to flee from police who had stopped her for suspicion of public intoxication. During questioning, Ms. Phares reportedly became combative and attempted to flee the scene on East Piedmont Street. She was eventually charged with public intoxication, obstructing a police officer and fleeing on foot.

 

TEEN FOUND SAFE IN MARTINSBURG

The 17-year old girl who fled from the Burlington United Family Services Children's Home in September has been found. Sadie Kendall was found unharmed in Martinsburg. There are no further details on why she fled the home, or information on how she was found.

 

INFORMATION SOUGHT ON HIT AND RUN

Cumberland City Police are looking for leads in a hit and run accident Tuesday night, that injured the driver of a mini-van on westbound Interstate 68. Police say it appeared a car, traveling with a Ford Super Duty pickup truck struck the mini-van, pushing it into the concrete median. The driver of the car stopped to check his own vehicle, then continued westbound, followed by the pickup truck. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Maryland State Police at (301)-729-2101.

 

BATHROOM FIRE DISPLACES FAMILY

One person inside a home on Seeview Lane in Corriganville, was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation Tuesday afternoon. Several fire companies were called to the home of Russell and Melissa Sword, when fire was found in the bathroom. The cause has been traced to an unattended candle there. Smoke detectors were present in the mobile home, but were not working. A total of $3,000 damage was done; the Sword family is staying with friends and family until repairs are made.

 

MEYERSDALE MAN ARRESTED ON GUN CHARGE

Thirty-one year old Meyersdale resident Jay Bittinger has been charged with theft, after he allegedly stole a .22 rifle from a truck he had been repairing. Bittinger had been working on a truck, owned by Kenneth Ray Housel, at Housel's Salisbury residence. He is accused of taking the gun from the truck. The gun was recovered during an investigation of the incident.

 

THREE PRESTON COUNTY RESIDENTS ARRESTED

Three people have been arrested in connection with a fraud scheme. Charged were Troy Rhodes and Thomas Frankhouser of Bruceton Mills, along with Tunnelton resident Beth Ann Spencer. Rhodes allegedly tried to deposit a financial aid check twice, at two different banks. Frankhouser was charged with forgery and uttering, after he signed a check made payable to another man. And, Spencer was charged with the forgery of an official document from the West Virginia Department of Human Resources. Rhodes was the only one of the three to post bond, and was released.

 

DATES ANNOUNCED FOR PACE RECEPTION

The 39th annual PACE reception will be held January 22, 2015, and once again at the Loew's Annapolis hotel. The PACE breakfast will be held the next day. The chairs for this year's reception are J. Robert Smith of Allegany County and Garrett County's Nicole Christian. The reception is held annually to showcase and advance "Mountain Maryland," and to educate state legislators around Allegany and Garrett Counties. Local perspectives and issues are also presented.

 

VOTER DEADLINE APPROACHING

The deadline to vote in the November general election is next Tuesday, October 14th. Residents are urged to check their voter registration information to make sure it is up to date. If you have a Maryland driver's license or a state-issued ID card, you can register to vote online at the State Board of Elections website. And, early voting begins two days earlier than usual, beginning on October 23rd. Early voting runs through the 30th.

 

CANDIDATES COMMENT FOLLOWING DEBATE

The first gubernatorial debate was held Tuesday at WJZ-TV in Baltimore; several issues, including gun control, taxes, and abortion rights were discussed Although Lt. Governor Anthony Brown did not comment following the debate, but his running mate, Ken Ullman, referred to Hogan as a "political insider." Ullman further commented that Hogan has fought to make guns more available on the street, and has an extreme pro-life stance. Ullman says there is no way of knowing what the next four years will bring. Hogan says Maryland taxes are going to double without any further action, because of the O'Malley/Brown administration.

 

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR TAX CASE

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear a case, involving a Maryland couple who believe their out-of-state income should not be taxed by their state of residence. Howard County residents Brian and Karen Wynne contend they should not be taxed by Maryland, if they pay the income taxes in other states. Brian Wynne is a partial owner of Maxim Healthcare Services, Incorporated.

 

BON-TON CLOSING TWO STORES

The Bon-Ton has announced it is closing a store in Beckley, West Virginia and one in the Clearview Mall in Butler, Pennsylvania. A total of 77 workers are affected by the closures; they will be eligible to interview for available positions at other Bon-Ton or Elder-Beerman stores. They also have the option of receiving severance and other career transition benefits. The company decided to close the stores following performance reviews.

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CASINOS REPORT SEPTEMBER EARNINGS

The newly-opened Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore has had an effect on other casinos across the state. Maryland Live! in Anne Arundel County, revenues dropped almost five-million dollars in September, as compared to the same month, in the previous year. Rocky Gap Generated about $3.6 million from slot machines and table games, which is an increase of about 16 per cent from September of last year. Yet another casino in Maryland is planned for 2016 in Prince Georges County, including 3600 slot machines and 140 table games.

 

HOTEL/MOTEL TAX DISTRIBUTED

Sixteen non-profit organizations will share in about $59,000 in hotel/motel revenue for 2014. Of those 16, the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad received about $15,200; Canal Place was designated to receive $14,920; and, the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament will receive $3,750. The Mayor and Council also voted to transfer $50,000 from Cumberland's general fund to supplement the Downtown Development Commission.

 

WOMAN RELEASED FOLLOWING ASSAULT INCIDENT

A Cumberland woman, Ashley Tilson,  was released, following an alleged assault incident on Spring Street in September. Ms. Tilson is accused of assaulting another woman, but left the area before police arrived. She was served a second summons, as the result of an incident, also in September, where she, along with two others assaulted a man by kicking him to the ground, destroying his clothing and breaking a jewelry item. The victim was taken to the hospital for treatment to his face and ribs. She was charged with two counts of second degree assault, affray, and disorderly conduct.

 

CUMBERLAND MAN CHARGED IN DOMESTIC INCIDENT

Cumberland resident Richard Sachetti was given a criminal summons, in connection with a domestic incident that allegedly happened on Monday. Sachetti and his wife began arguing at their Milten Street residence; the argument escalated, and he allegedly assaulted her. A family friend tried to intervene and was assaulted as well. Both had visible injuries. He was served and released pending trial in Allegany County District Court.

 

VIETNAM VETERAN DIES AT 83

Retired Navy Captain James Bell, a former resident of the area and Vietnam veteran, died September 30th at the age of 83. Captain Bell had been a prisoner of war for 7-1/2 years in Hanoi, during the Vietnam War. He was a 1948 graduate of Allegany High School, and had been living in a nursing facility in Alexandria, Virginia at the time of his death. His parents were Ted and Miriam Bell. Burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

 

PLANT FUNDING TOPS COUNCIL AGENDA

The top item on today's agenda for the Keyser Mayor and City Council is the approval of a grant agreement, needed for the construction of the new sewage treatment plant. The grant agreement, from the state of West Virginia, would provide about $10 million of the $30 million cost of the new plant, which should be operational by 2016.

 

"Y" NAMES DIRECTOR OF HEALTH AND WELLNESS

The Cumberland YMCA has named Ricky Deligny, a native of Saint Lucia, as its Senior Director of Health and Wellness. Deligny comes to Cumberland from the YMCA of Metro Detroit, Bally Total Fitness of Metro Detroit, and the government of Saint Lucia. He has a bachelor's degree in exercise from Eastern Michigan University and a master's degree in Sports Administration from Wayne State University in Detroit. He is certified as a personal trainer and in the Silver Sneakers program for older adults. He began work on September 22nd.

 

POLL SHOWS BROWN-HOGAN GAP WIDENING

Maryland's Gubernatorial candidates, Anthony Brown and Larry Hogan held their first debate on Tuesday. Topics covered included gun control, education, abortion, and crime. A new Washington Post-University of Maryland poll shows Brown is leading his Republican opponent, Larry Hogan, by 9 percentage points. Even more telling is another poll that shows a sizable number of Marylanders don't know enough about the major party candidates for Governor, in order to form a favorable or unfavorable opinion. Dr. Mileah Kromer of Goucher College says the institution did its own poll, which found there is a high level of "don't know" about the candidates.

 

SEARCH FOR MISSING CHILDREN CONTINUES

The search is continuing for two Montgomery County children, who have been missing since September 7th. Their father, Troy Turner has family in this area, and has pleaded with authorities to issue an Amber Alert for the safe return of his children, 3-year old Sarah Hoggle, and 2-year old Jacob. Their mother, Catherine, has been in police custody for a month, and has so far, refused to cooperate with authorities in telling them where the children are.  

 

AIR QUALITY PROPOSALS ADVANCE

The Air Quality Control Advisory Council has formally recommended the approval of protections against smog pollution as proposed by the Maryland Department of the Environment. All coal plants that currently lack state-of-the-art pollution control technology to include the new technology by 2020, must retire the facilities or retrofit them. The proposal still need to be reviewed by a panel of lawmakers and go through a public comment period.

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COUPLE ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES

A Westernport couple was arrested on drug charges, after their children came to school smelling of  marijuana. A search warrant was executed at the Westernport home of Donald Cosner and Amanda Perry on Main Street. A total of over 668 grams of marijuana were seized, along with a mature marijuana plant, along with numerous hypodermic needles, containing residue of suspected heroin. Child Protective Services was called to the home, for the 4, 5, and 7 year old children. Both Cosner and Ms. Perry were taken to District Court, and were awaiting their initial appearance.

 

ARSON, FOUL PLAY RULED OUT IN FIRE

It may be several weeks before the definitive cause of the fire at the Flight 93 Memorial is determined. Foul play and arson, however, have been ruled out. The National Park Service has begun the process of salvaging materials from the buildings that were destroyed on Friday.

 

MAN WAIVES PRELIMINARY HEARING

Mineral County resident Michael Myers, charged with killing his wife, Valerie Kay Myers late last month, has waived a preliminary hearing in Mineral County Magistrate Court. The case will be considered by a grand jury, which convenes in January. Myers is being held in the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail without bond.

 

BOAT LAUNCH SITES EXAMINED

One boat launch site along the Potomac River has emerged as the most attractive option to a group which toured the area yesterday. Dee Dee Ritchie, executive director of Canal Place, Council member Nick Scarpelli, city engineer John DiFonzo and several others walked the area that runs along the north branch of the Potomac River. The consensus was access that includes paddling southeast across the existing portion of the rewatered canal, and pulling out at the maintenance road that leads to the crest.

 

TWO ARRESTED ON BURGLARY, DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY CHARGES

An unnamed 26-year old man and 17-year old juvenile have been arrested for the breaking and entering of the Cumberland Flea Market at One Bennett Lane in the north end of Cumberland. About $3600 worth of merchandise was missing from the market's vendors, most of which was recovered. The adult was held on $5,000 bond, and the 17-year old was released to family on house arrest by order of the Department of Juvenile Services. They were charged with burglary, theft, and destruction of property.

 

STATE POLICE RECEIVE NEW HELICOPTER

The new Maryland State Police helicopter will be unveiled one week from tomorrow at the Cumberland aviation section hangar at the Greater Cumberland Regional Airport. An open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place next Wednesday at 1 p.m. for dignitaries and the general public, to see the new state-of-the art Agusta Westland AW 139 aircraft.

 

ALLEGANY PROJECT DISCUSSED

The architects for the new Allegany High School project recently met with representatives from the instructional areas in the school system. The meeting was held to review plans for respective classrooms; comments taken from staff members resulted in some changes, according to Mia Perlozzo-Cross, of the Board of Education. Ms. Cross says the architects are finalizing the drawings for submission to the Interagency for School Construction, for its review.

 

MPT TRAINS EDUCATORS DURING AMBASSADORS PROGRAM

Two representatives from Maryland Public Television recently trained two Allegany County Public School educators enrolled in the Allegany Ambassadors program, made possible by a grant through MPT and funded by local residents Doug and Betsey Schwab. Through the grant, the educators will receive resources, training and professional development. Various Maryland College and Career Ready resources for literacy, available on the "ThinkPort.org" website, will provide them with flexible opportunities for use and are broken down by grade level as well as the incorporation of STEM.

 

NEW YORK MAN ARRESTED IN PRESTON COUNTY

Thirty-four year old New York resident Michael Hernandez was arrested in Preston County, and charged with the distribution of marijuana. A search warrant was executed last week on Alexandria Drive in Reedsville. Seized in the raid were firearms, marijuana, and several thousands of dollars in cash. Bond was set at $100,000.

 

AVERAGE COST FOR GAS IS $3.30 PER GALLON

While Marylanders may be paying 2-cents per gallon less at the pump, the prices in Cumberland remain the highest in the state. The average price across Maryland is $3.30 per gallon for regular, unleaded gas. In Cumberland, that price was quoted at $3.38 by Triple "A"/Mid-Atlantic. Drivers are paying 4 cents less than at this time last year, when the average price was $3.34 per gallon.

 

MARYLAND ENROLLS 22,000 IN MEDICAID

The state enrolled about 22,000 new people in the Medicaid program last month. A report, released recently, showed that 376,850 people have gained coverage under the federal-state program for the low-income since the exchange launched last year. Another 2,425 people bought private insurance plans last month. Browsing for plans begins again on November 9th.



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