Fatal Crash In Somerset County
Two people were killed and two others injured in a two-vehicle accident in Somerset County on Saturday. According to Pennsylvania State Police, a vehicle being operated by 25-year-old Amy Oblack entered into the opposite lane and struck the passenger side of a vehicle being driven by 61-year-old Roger Hay. Oblack and the passenger in Hay’s vehicle, 61-year-old Glennes Miller, were pronounced dead at the scene. Hay and an unnamed passenger in Oblack’s vehicle suffered serious injury. The crash remains under investigation.
WV Teachers to Get Pay Bump
The West Virginia Legislature gave the final approval over the weekend to an across-the-board 1,000 dollar teacher pay raise. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin originally proposed a 2 percent hike for teachers and service personnel, but the senate changed the teacher raise to $837 and two percent for service personnel. The House then went with 1,000 dollars across the board for both. Governor Tomblin said the change is more expensive than his original bill, but he supports it. Delegate Roy Cooper of Summers County told House members the raise wasn’t enough.
Woman Found Dead in Home
A homicide investigation is underway in Martinsburg after a woman was found dead in her home on Saturday. The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department and Medics were dispatched to the home, where they found 72-year-old Martha Tyler dead at the scene. According to the Sheriff’s Department, Tyler had a bag over her head and her hands were bound. After the scene was secure a homicide investigation was initiated. Tyler was taken to Morgantown for autopsy. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call 304-267-7000.
Indecent Assault Investigated
Pennsylvania State Police are investigating a report of indecent assault on a minor that allegedly occurred in a Somerset Wal-Mart. A juvenile inside the store reported being inappropriately touched on 3 separate instances by an unknown man. The subject in question is a white in his 40’s, approximately 6 feet tall with a chubby build. He was clean shaven and wore glasses with thick lenses. He was reportedly wearing blue sweat pants with a navy blue zip up hoodie with a plain gray t-shirt underneath. He was also noted as having a possible speech impediment and a possible abnormality or disability to his right hand. Anyone with information is asked to call State Police at 814-445-4104.
Frederick Man Arrested for Arson
A Frederick man was arrested early Sunday morning for allegedly trying to set a house on fire. Police say 45-year-old Harry Burton Keller, following a dispute with other resident of the house, tried to set fire to the house using a portable heater and a propane tank. Fire officials said no significant fire was started and the area was secure. Keller is being charged with attempted first-degree arson and other related charges.
Warrant Served to PA Man
On Saturday, Cumberland Police served a fugitive warrant to a Hyndman man. 60-year-old Robert Lee Smith was served the warrant as a result of Smith being wanted by Pennsylvania authorities for a parole violation. Smith was taken for an initial appearance at District Court and was held without bond pending extradition.
Somerset Area School District Parents and guardians are reminded that Friday, March 7, is an early dismissal for students as scheduled on the district calendar. Elementary students will be dismissed at 12:35 pm. Junior Senior High students will be dismissed at 12:55 pm.
The cause of a blaze that destroyed a Flintstone home is ruled accidental. According to officials with the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office the fire began just before 3pm yesterday afternoon in a home on National Pike. The cause was an accidental electrical failure of a wall outlet. The two story wood frame single family home was a total loss. About 50 firefighters had the blaze under control in about 45 minutes. The fire caused about 90 thousand dollars in damage. The occupants were displaced and are being assisted by the local American Red Cross.
A Ridgeley man is behind bars on charges of assaulting a police officer and destruction of property. At about 8pm last night Cumberland Police were called out to a business on the downtown mall for an unruly patron. 52 year old Curtis Coover began to swing his fists at the officers before being escorted out of the establishment and placed under arrest. Coover continued to struggle and resist the officers and broke an antenna to one of the police cruisers. Coover was transported to the Cumberland City Police Department for processing and later taken to the Allegany County District Court Commissioners Office for a bond hearing. He was held on a $5,000.00 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center.
The 7th annual Delfest is just a little more than two months away. Del McCoury and the Del McCoury band made several stops around the area including a benefit concert for the Allegany County Animal Shelter. The Delfest Foundation has donated more than 100 thousand dollars to local charities throughout Allegany County. The band includes Del McCoury, Ronnie McCoury, Rob McCoury, Alan Bartman and Jason Carter.
An amber alert remains in place for Caitlyn Marie Virts an 11 year old W/F in the company of Timothy Virts a 38 year old W/M last seen in Dundalk, MD operating a 1999 Dodge Durango MD tag 5AJ4458. Do not take action call 911. The Maryland State Police at the request of Baltimore County Police Department have issued a Maryland Child AMBER Alert for Caitlyn Marie Virts. She was last seen at approximately 7 am in the area of Dundalk, MD. The child is believed to have been abducted by the suspect. VEHICLE: A possible suspect vehicle is a black 1999 Dodge Durango bearing MD registration: 5AJ4458. Anyone with information is asked to immediately call 911 or Baltimore County Police Department at 410-887-7320. Do not take action which could endanger your safety or further endanger the abducted child. . Please Contact Baltimore County Police Department at 410-887-7320. Police have identified the victim in yesterday morning's homicide in the 3100 block of Ardee Way in Dundalk as Bobbie Jo Cortez, 36, of the Ardee Way address. Cortez is the mother of 11-year-old Caitlyn Marie Virts, who is missing and believed to be with her father, Timothy Howard Virts, 38. An Amber The investigation into Bobbie Jo Cortez's murder remains in its early stages. Police have confirmed the following:At 9:13 a.m. yesterday morning, Baltimore County Police and Fire personnel responded to the 3100 block of Ardee Way for a cardiac arrest. First responders found the victim, deceased, in her bedroom. The investigation has not yet determined when Mrs. Cortez was last seen alive, though detectives have confirmed that she was alive yesterday. Detectives have also confirmed that Mrs. Cortez lived at the Ardee Way home with her three children -- Caitlyn, Caitlyn's twin sister and a son -- and with two adults whose relationships with the victim have not been verified. Also, for the past several weeks Mrs. Cortez allowed Timothy Virts to live at the home. Yesterday morning , one of the occupants of the house found Mrs. Cortez, dead, in her bedroom. Police have not yet confirmed how she died. At about the same time, the occupants of the house discovered that Caitlyn and Timothy Virts were missing, along with the Dodge Durango. An Amber Alert was issued at 10:46 a.m. Police are concerned for the safety of Caitlyn Marie Virts since she is not supposed to be with her father. The Dodge Durango is registered to Daniel Williams Cortez, 38. Cortez is the victim's husband. He currently is held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on various sex offense charges. Police do not know what, if any, relationship Cortez has with Timothy Virts and this homicide case. Timothy Virts is a suspect in the abduction of his daughter, Caitlyn. Police want to talk to him about the death of Bobbie Jo Cortez. The victim's other two children are safe and in the custody of family members.
An Everett Pennsylvania man faces rape charges. 45 year old Michael Edmonson is charged with allegedly having sexual contact with three female victims ages 14,22 and 23 between 2002 and 2014. All three victims were minors at the time of the sexual assaults. Edmonson is behind bars at the Bedford County Jail without bail.
Two Morgan County residents face charges after being arrested for running a meth lab. Tuesday at about 6pm West Virginia State Police were called out to Martinsburg Road for a report of a disturbance. 31 year old Jeremy McCumbee and 25 year old Trista Courtney were arrested. Both face charges of operating a meth lab. Bail was set at 20 thousand dollars for both. According to officials this is the first confirmed discovery of a meth lab in Morgan County.
The Maryland Board of Public Works approved more than $5.8 million in funding for projects including the Westernport Water Distribution System Improvements Phase II project in Allegany County . Grant and loan funding of $2,312,000 – a $756,500 Water Supply Financial Assistance Program grant, a $743,500 grant in the form of loan forgiveness from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund and an $812,000 Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund loan – to the Town of Westernport will help fund the Westernport Water Distribution System Improvements Phase II project. The project entails the replacement of the aging water distribution system throughout the Town, including the installation of water meters, storage tanks, booster pumps and other ancillary features. The project helps to protect public health and conserve drinking water.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has confirmed a second case of chronic wasting disease. The adult female deer was harvested in Allegany County during the December 2013 firearm season. The first confirmed case of the diseases in Maryland was reported in February 2011 also from Allegany County.
Maryland Department of the Environment will be working with City of Cumberland officials on the combined sewer and storm water overflow system. A meeting was held in Annapolis yesterday. Senator George Edwards says he believes the meeting went well. “We want to make sure the department of the environment is working hand in glove with all the parties involved in this project. You’ve got the city of Cumberland who actually owns the project then you’ve got LaVale flows into it you’ve got the county that flows into it and the City of Frostburg flows into it and they are under this consent order by 2020. We asked the city of Cumberland to set up a meeting to discuss the whole project. We got the impression maybe that hasn’t occurred and there was some misunderstandings maybe and not everyone was getting the information they need.” Meanwhile Edwards says state officials are working right now on trying to pass the state budget.
An Oakland man is sentenced to spend 18 months behind bars on heroin charges. 31 year old Robert Stewart was arrested in October by members of the Garrett County Narcotics Task Force. Officers conducted surveillance on the truck he was driving and observed traffic violations. As officers were preparing to stop the truck, Stewart pulled into the parking lot of an Oakland business. A drug-detection canine provided a positive alert and the truck was searched. A large quantity of heroin was found in the driver’s door pocket and also below the center console and arm rest. Smaller quantities of clonazepam, marijuana and drug paraphernalia were found throughout the truck.A passenger, Anthony Ashby Racic, 34, Frostburg, previously pled guilty to possession of heroin and to possession with intent to distribute clonazepam and is serving a sentence in the Division of Correction.
The need for blood is constant. Be a hero and donate blood at the Mineral County Technical Center in Keyser WV March 7th from 8:15 to 2:15. For any questions please call 304-788-4240.
Shows for Seussical Jr. At Frankfort High School have been added for this weekend. Show times are this Friday the 7th at 8pm, and Sunday the 9th at 3pm! shows are at Frankfort High School. Tickets are $10 for adults $8 for students and children under 4 are free! For more info call 3016976339!!
The cause of a fire that took the life of an 86 year old Grant County woman is ruled accident. According to West Virginia Assistant State Fire Marshal George Harms Dora Lee Hawk was cooking in her kitchen yesterday afternoon when the blaze broke out. Her body has been sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy. The home was a total loss.
Maryland Deputy State Fire Marshals concluded a vehicle fire investigation with the arrest of the owner. The incident originally occurred at 2:35 a.m. on February 28, 2014 at 338 Front Street in Westernport.Investigators quickly determined a 2007 Pontiac G6 was intentionally set on fire and developed the owner, Anthony F. Serpone, Jr. (23) as the suspect. The ongoing investigation led investigators to conclude that Serpone set multiple fires on the interior of his car. Damage to the vehicle was estimated at $5,000. Serpone was arrested today at his residence without incident and confessed to intentionally setting his car on fire. A clear motive was not established at the time of arrest. He was transported to the Allegany County Detention Center where he remains on a $5,000 bond. He was charged with 2nd Degree Arson, 1st Degree Malicious Burning, 2nd Degree Malicious Burning and Burning with Intent to Defraud.
The Allegany County Public School System will extend the end of the third marking period of the 2013-2014 school year as a result of additional lost instructional days due to inclement weather. The end of the third marking period will now be on Friday, April 4, 2014, with a three-hour early dismissal on Monday, April 7, 2014. Report card distribution has been delayed until Monday, April 21, 2014. Meanwhile Garrett County Board of Education officials say so far 19 days of school have been missed. School systems are required to operate schools which are open for pupil attendance for at least 180 actual school days and a minimum of 1,080 school hours during a 10-month period, and open a minimum of 3 hours during each school day (Md. Code Ann. Ed. Art. § 7-103). The school system is in dialogue with Maryland State Department of Education to determine what alternatives will be considered possible in adjusting the calendar.
A Pennsylvania man is injured after his vehicle is hit by a train. Yesterday just before 10 am 43 year old Brian Trent of Somerset was heading southbound on Geiger Road when he approached a railroad crossing. The signal lights began flashing but Trent drove onto the tracks while a CSX train was approaching. The train hit his front passenger side and his vehicle spun around and was hit a second time and was pushed along the tracks. Trent sustained serious injuries. Pennsylvania State Police are investigating.
A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 802,503 visitors to the five Parks in Western Pennsylvania in 2012 spent over $44 million in communities near the parks. That spending supported 677 jobs in the region. The five parks include: Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS, Flight 93 National Memorial, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Friendship Hill NHS, and Johnstown Flood National Memorial.
Frostburg State University, along with Christopher Newport University, Salisbury University and Wesley College recently agreed to become associate football members of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) beginning in the 2015-16 academic year.
Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Morgan and Preston County schools are closed Winchester Public and Winchester Academy are closed
Mineral County will be on a two hour delay
Maryland State offices are open today with liberal leave until 11 a.m.
West Virginia State Fire Marshals are investigating a fatal fire in Grant County. The fire broke out after 4 yesterday afternoon in a home on Laurel Dale Highway Route 93 near Walkers Ridge.
Meanwhile firefighters from around the region battled a blaze in Hardy County. The fire broke out early this morning just before 5am in a building at South Fork Estates.
Two people are hospitalized after a chain reaction crash. At about 11 o’clock last night 63 year old James Marshall of Ohio was driving a tractor trailer along I-68 westbound near Town Hill when he lost control around a curve and the tractor trailer hit the guardrail and overturned blocking westbound traffic. The roadway was shut down for about two hours while emergency crews were on the scene investigating and cleaning up the crash site. During the traffic backup Anthony Powell of Delaware was driving a separate tractor trailer and crashed into five vehicles that were waiting for the road to reopen. Two people were taken to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center for injuries. Both tractor trailer drivers were charged in connection with the accidents.
Potomac Valley Hospital in Keyser, W.Va., has become part of WVU Hospitals and the West Virginia United Health System, effective March 1. WVUH purchased the hospital from long-time owner Harold McBee, Sr., for about $22 million.Potomac Valley Hospital (PVH) is a 25-bed critical access facility, employing more than 200 people. About 50 physicians from the surrounding community, including two general surgeons, have privileges to provide care there. PVH also has a rotating staff of emergency medicine physicians who reside on the premises.Mr. McBee will serve on the board for the hospital, which now becomes a not-for-profit entity.
Children in Hampshire County now have a safe space to be interviewed in child abuse and sexual assault cases. Friday an open house was held at the Hampshire County Courthouse for the new Sarah’s House Child Advocacy Center satellite office interview room inside the courthouse. Prosecutor Dan James says January of last year they created a multidisciplinary intermediary team to discuss ongoing cases surrounding child abuse and neglect to make sure none of the cases fall through the cracks. One of the issues the MDIT discussed was the need for a location in Hampshire County for children to be interviewed locally. The nearest Child Advocacy Center was in Keyser or in Martinsburg. James says “unfortunately child abuse neglect cases are a good portion of my docket and because of the nature of it they are closed files so the public doesn’t know about it but there is so much going on. This is our way to let the community know what is going on and the need to help these children and minimize the stress with these kinds of cases.” Thanks to the support of the MDIT and Hampshire County officials and a grant obtained by SARAH'S House CACProgram Director Amber Talleythe CAC satellite office is now a reality. Talley says it is so important to provide children with a comfortable quiet place to discuss what has happened to them. She says everything in the room promotes a soothing atmosphere close to home. “Even as an adult if you can think of a really stressful situation where you are driving to you know when you are driving in that car the more you are driving and thinking about it the more the anticipation is building and the more stressful you are getting and it is 10 times worse for children because they don’t know how to display that stress a lot of times when they have traveled longer distances they are hungry, they are tired and they are stressed.” Hampshire County is now one of only 20 counties in West Virginia with a child advocacy center.
All schools in the Mountain Ridge School District are on a two-hour delay today, Friday, February 28, 2014.
Garrett County Schools are on a two hour delay
Union Educational Complex in Grant County will be on a 2-hour delay on Fri. Feb. 28, 2014 due to extreme cold temperatures.
All schools in Preston County will be on a 2-hour delay on Fri. Feb. 28, 2014. Essential staff reports on a regular schedule, bus drivers check your buses at your regular time, central office staff reports on a 1-hour delay, and all other staff reports on a 2-hour delay.
Somerset Area School District will be operating on a 2-hour delay on Friday February 28, 2014.
Friends Aware Day Program is on a two hour delay for the Mountain Ridge school district.
With all the snow days piling up this school year Garrett County Board of Education officials have announced at this time, there have been NO adjustments to the school calendar.
Maryland Deputy State Fire Marshals have identified the victim of the early morning blaze on Friday, February 14, 2014. Lateef Gazal (23) of Bowie was located inside the burned remains of the two-story, single family dwelling converted to an off-campus college rental located at 144 Bowery Street. A preliminary report by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner revealed the cause of Gazal’s death to be the result of thermal burn injuries and smoke inhalation. Gazal was one of four people who occupied the home. Two escaped with minor injuries and the third was not at home at the time of the fire.
Seventy five firefighters from Allegany and Garrett counties responded to the blaze just after 5:00AM after one of the occupants became aware of the fire. Upon arrival, firefighters initially made an interior fire attack but had to exit the home due to a partial collapse. Investigators determined smoke alarms were present but it still cannot be verified if they operated. A team of Deputy State Fire Marshals spent several days sifting through fire debris and conducting interviews and determined the fire originated in the kitchen of the first floor of the dwelling. It was determined that the fire was likely accidental in nature and investigators continue to consider the specific source of ignition of the blaze. Allegany County’s Combined County Criminal Investigation Unit (C3I), Frostburg City Police and Frostburg State University Police assisted with the investigation.The Office of the State Fire Marshal continues a developing partnership with the Frostburg State University community and the City of Frostburg in promoting a fire safe community to include those properties used for off-campus student housing. "All Marylanders, students or non students should check and test smoke alarms and plan for two escape routes from each living space of their home" stated State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci
A Ridgeley man is hospitalized following a crash in Garrett County. At about 5:30 last night Maryland State Police were called out to Chestnut Ridge Road south of the PA State Line. 34 year old Jessica Shuck of Ridgeley, WV, was driving south and lost control of her vehicle and crossed into the north bound lane and was struck by a vehicle driven by 48 year old Joe Arnold of Meyersdale, PA. The passenger in Shuck’s car , 34 year old Daniel Ryand Ridgeley, WV, was flown by helicopter to Ruby Memorial Hospital with serious injuries. A third vehicle, 2007 Toyota 4 Runner, following Arnold was unable to stop and collided with the rear of his car. The investigation is continuing by the Maryland State Police.
Four Western Marylanders are arrested following a protest at the steps of the Allegany County Courthouse. A local Unitarian minister and three western Maryland residents were arrested just before noon today outside the Allegany County Courthouse in Cumberland for peacefully protesting Virginia-based Dominion Resources’ plan to build a liquefied natural gas export facility at Cove Point in southern Maryland. The protesters blocked the courthouse entrance to demand justice in the controversial federal handling of the massive $3.8 billion project, which would take nearly a billion cubic feet of gas per day from fracking wells across the Appalachian region, liquefy it on the Chesapeake Bay, and export it to Asia. Joining Rev. Ellen were three young people, including two native residents of Cumberland who are students at Frostburg University and a local Frostburg resident who has seen the impacts of fracking elsewhere. With signs reading “Don't Bring Fracking to Western Maryland” and “This Is Our Public Comment!” they specifically called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to conduct a full and fair Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Cove Point. They also appealed to Governor Martin O’Malley and members of Congress to break their silence and join them in demanding this most rigorous and participatory type of environmental review.All participants expressed deep concern that Dominion’s Cove Point plan would incite enormous pressure to open western Maryland to industrial fracking wells and new gas infrastructure, harming public health and transforming the rural landscape that sustains local livelihoods.Dominion’s Cove Point export plan has sparked growing opposition across Maryland in recent months, drawing a record crowd of environmental protesters to Baltimore last week as hearings began at the Maryland Public Service Commission. The state must sign off on Dominion’s permit to build a 130-megawatt gas-fired power plant to run on-site liquefaction operations, and the Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal this Saturday in Calvert County. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is also weighing Dominion’s plan but, to date, has rejected calls for a full Environmental Impact Statement made by dozens of environmental, health and faith leaders, Maryland citizens, and Maryland’s Attorney General. Advocates contend that a less thorough and less participatory “Environmental Assessment” would fail to account for the domino effect of rising gas prices, expanded fracking, new pipelines and compressor stations and, ultimately, significant new carbon pollution that the Cove Point project could trigger region-wide.
Mineral County Schools Superintendent Rob Woy will be retiring Mineral County Board of Education President Kevin Watson says Woy has served in as superintendent for the past three years. “Mr. Woy has just done an incredible job. I would love to beg him to stay and sign on for another couple of years with us but I do understand he is looking forward to his retirement and spending time with his family so I wish him the best.” Watson says they hope to have a new superintendent in place by July 1st.
As part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen the durability and flexibility of its electric system, FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) plans to invest more than $143 million in 2014 in service reliability infrastructure upgrades in its Potomac Edison service area. This represents about an $80 million increase compared to what the company invested in reliability infrastructure projects in western Maryland and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia last year.
Major projects scheduled for this year include transmission enhancements, building new distribution circuits, replacing underground cables, and making system enhancements in high-growth areas experiencing new residential and commercial development.
"Many of the planned infrastructure projects are designed to enhance the reliable, day-to-day service we now provide our customers," said James A. Sears, Jr., FirstEnergy's president of Maryland Operations and vice president of Potomac Edison. "We also are taking steps to prepare our system for tomorrow's inevitable growth. Whether we are trimming trees, installing new equipment at substations or rebuilding older transmission and distribution facilities, our objective is to make a good system even better."
Of FirstEnergy's $143 million infrastructure investment in the region for 2014, about $42 million will be for transmission-related projects built and owned by Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Company, a FirstEnergy transmission affiliate.
Potomac Edison's 2014 enhancements are expected to have both localized and widespread system benefits to customers throughout the service area. Scheduled projects include:
· Rebuilding a 500-kilovolt (kV) transmission line in Frederick County, Md., as part of a joint project with Dominion Power. Potomac Edison will invest $13 million for its part of the project which will enhance reliability of the regional electric grid.
· Investing more than $18 million to trim trees and control vegetation along 2,600 miles of distribution and high-voltage transmission lines to help reduce tree-related storm damage and lessen the duration of storm outages. Some areas scheduled for 2014 include Allegany, Berkeley, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties.
· Continuing improvements at the Doubs Substation in Frederick County, which includes a new control building and emergency generator, at a cost of more than $4 million. The work will enhance service reliability and ensure adequate capacity to accommodate load growth in the area for years to come.
· Upgrading equipment on about 90 distribution circuits throughout the service area at a cost of about $4.4 million. The enhancements – installing new wire, cable and fuses, as well as replacing aging equipment – are expected to enhance the electrical system and reliability for about 65,000 customers in Maryland and West Virginia.
· Replacing underground distribution cables with new equipment. Work totaling more than $4.5 million is planned in all areas of the service territory, with a focus in Frederick and Damascus, Md. Outages involving underground wires often take longer to restore than overhead outages.
· Installing new equipment at a cost of more than $2.5 million to increase capacity of the Davis Mill Substation in Montgomery County, Md., to accommodate accelerated growth in the Germantown and Clarksburg areas.
· Installing new equipment at the Corning Substation in Berkeley County, W. Va., to allow for load growth and help enhance reliability for existing customers in the Tabler and Inwood areas.
· Dividing a large distribution circuit in the South Martinsburg, W. Va., area to prepare for load expansion in this fast-growing area of new residential and commercial construction.
· Replacing equipment at the Urbana Substation to better protect existing high-voltage equipment and help reduce the risk of outages in the Urbana, Md., area.
· Completing systematic repairs and replacing equipment on a 138-kV regional transmission line spanning Hardy and Mineral counties, W. Va., to help enhance regional reliability.
· Replacing distribution lines, some dating from the 1930s, in the Sharpsburg area of Washington County, Md., to help reduce outage frequency and duration.
· Inspecting and proactively replacing distribution and sub-transmission utility poles in the Potomac Edison service area. Approximately 24,000 utility poles will be inspected in 2014, with about 300 expected to be replaced.
Potomac Edison serves about 250,000 customers in seven Maryland counties and 132,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Visit FirstEnergy on the web at www.firstenergycorp.com, and follow Potomac Edison on Twitter@PotomacEdison.
A Moorefield man is sentenced to spend more than three and a half years behind bars. 20 year old Timothy Hawks was sentenced on charges of “possession of Material to be Used in the Manufacture of Methamphetamine.” HAWKS was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal pending designation to a Federal institution. This case was investigated by the Potomac Highlands Drug & Violent Crime Task Force, consisting of officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the West Virginia State Police - Bureau of Criminal Investigations and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE/HSI); the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, the Hardy County Sheriff’s Office and the Moorefield Police Department.
Union Educational Complex in Grant County will be closed on Thu. Feb. 27, 2014 due to extreme cold temperatures.
Maysville Elementary School in Grant County will be on a 2-hour delay on Thu. Feb. 27, 2014 due to extreme cold temperatures.
South Branch Vocational School in Grant County will be on a 2-hour delay on Thu. Feb. 27, 2014 due to extreme cold temperatures.
Petersburg Elementary School in Grant County will be on a 2-hour delay on Thu. Feb. 27, 2014 due to extreme cold temperatures.
Petersburg High School in Grant County will now be on a 2-hour delay on Thu. Feb. 27, 2014.
Fire crews are on the scene of a small hotel fire in Somerset County. The blaze broke out early this morning in a hotel on Golf Course Road in Stoystown. No one was injured in the blaze.
An 18 year old Bedford Pennsylvania girl is killed in a crash. According to Pennsylvania State Police the accident happened Tuesday at about 8:10 in the morning along Quaker Valley Road. 18 year old Breena Morris of Fishertown was heading westbound on State Route 56 when she lost control on the icy roadway and crossed into the eastbound lane and hit a vehicle driven by 56 year old Francis Terek of Johnston. Morris’s vehicle then struck a guardrail. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Terek suffered minor injuries.
So far only 14 thousand dollars has been raised to make this year’s payment on the Keyser Athletic Facility. Keyser High School Principal Charles Wimer they have to make a 273 thousand dollar payment each year and the goal is for the High School to raise about 100 thousand of that payment. “There is fundraising going on for the school. A lot of different groups are raising money but there needs to be a more focused effort raising money to pay off our financial obligation to the Board of Education.” Wimer says whatever the high school cannot come up with becomes the responsibility of the Board of Education. Wimer says there will be about five more years of payments. Wimer says it is a problem and it is an issue because it is a drain on the Board of Education budget and there are a lot of needs in Mineral County that are not being funding because the money is being used to pay off the debt for the Keyser Athletic Facility.
The Allegany County Human Resources Development Commission recently received a donation of winter coats from the Firefighters Coats for Kids Foundation. Members of IAFF Local 1715 received 78 new winter coats through the "Operation Warm" initiative. Donations were presented to the Cumberland Street Head Start Center, under the direction of the HRDC.
The Coats for Kids Foundation was established in 2004 in Alexandria, Virginia. Over the years, they joined forces with Operation Warm, Inc., to provide new coats for in-need young people. For more information, visit www.operationwarm.org.
Keyser’s Mayor and City Council are working on the city’s budget. Mayor Randy Amtower says they will be making some tough cuts this year. Amtower says he and council will be holding a budget meeting on March 20th and their budget has to be submitted to state officials by March 28th. “I have run some projections on where I think our revenues may be looking at the reduced revenues that were expected in Coal Severance and reduced revenues that were expected in lottery monies the initial budget showed us at a 67 thousand dollar deficit we went back and I made additional cuts with it and I submitted that to the Council.” He says council members are reviewing the new budget numbers now. Keyser Mineral County Public Libraries Director Connie Sutton made a presentation before the council last week. The state law requires libraries to raise an equal amount of local funding for state funding allocations. This current fiscal year the City of Keyser budget allocation was cut from 13,200 to 2,297. Sutton says this is a twofold cut for the libraries. She says they don’t get 11 thousand dollars for this year and they will lose 11 thousand dollars next year. Sutton says they have cut their budget as much as possible and had to supplement funding from their reserve fund. She says she was surprised to see a website was created by library supporters in order to raise funds. Those who wish to donate to the library can log on to the gofundme site http://www.gofundme.com/7213j0. Sutton says they are asking supporters to also go to the next council meeting Wednesday and express the importance of the library system. She says they cannot continue to dip into their reserve fund for operational expenses. Sutton is also inviting council members to visit the library and see how many people in the community benefit it. Amtower says there have been cuts across the board because of drops in revenue from the Coal Severance Tax and Lottery funds. He says he is also requesting one of the city’s sewer projects to be granted at an interest rate at one and a half percent than what is approved which would save about one million dollars over 40 years. Amtower says that would help the sewer rates overall but not the general budget for the city. He says they have been running lean for some time and they are trying to make the best budget decisions possible focusing first on police department and road department budgets. He says they are trying to make sure every dollar has an impact on the most amount of people. Amtower says as for funding the library he believes there will be money set aside in the budget but he does not think it will be the 13 thousand that was set aside last year. He says the ultimate budget discussions are up to the council members. The fiscal year is not over until the end of June so Amtower says they will not know until July 1st what carryover money might be left. Then he says they will do a budget revision.
Rocky Gap Casino Resort announced today that it will make several additions to the property this spring highlighted by the addition of 150 new parking spaces, which will
bring the total to 750. The resort is also enlarging its Pro Shop and the kitchen at Signatures Bar & Grill. The fitness center will also be expanded and will include new exercise equipment. Landscaping will also be added around the resort and the new parking lot. The expansion is compliant with the lease from Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Construction will begin this spring.The project will not involve any park operated land or parking lots. A portion of the lakeside loop trail will be temporarily closed during the construction phase. That will be the only impact to park visitors.
Burlington Primary will be closed today February 26, 2014 due to a water line break
Garrett County Schools will be Closed today 2/26/14
All schools in Preston County will now be closed on Wed. Feb. 26, 2014. Essential staff reports on a regular schedule, central office staff reports on a 1-hour delay, and all other staff does not report.
Union Educational Complex in Grant County will be on a 2-hour delay on Wed. Feb. 26, 2014 due to inclement weather.
Snow emergency plan in place for Garrett County
A Lonaconing man is arrested and charged with sexually soliciting minors. Yesterday investigators with the Allegany County Combined Criminal Investigation Unit (C3I) arrested 28 year old Christopher Russell Pavlicek, of Lonaconing, on an arrest warrant charging him with Sexual Solicitation of a Minor and two (2) counts of 2nd Degree Assault.The charges are the result of an investigation into allegations reported to the Maryland State Police that Pavlicek had solicited a 12 year old girl and a 13 year old girl via the internet to send him nude photos of themselves and to engage in sexual acts with him. The charges of 2nd Degree Assault stem from inappropriate physical contact Pavlicek had with the victims at his residence.C3I Investigators obtained a search warrant and served it at Pavlicek’s residence on Tuesday and recovered evidence related to the investigation. They were assisted by a Crime Scene Technician with the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division.Pavlicek was taken before a District Court Commissioner for an initial appearance and is currently being held at the Allegany County Detention Center on $20,000.00 bond pending his next court appearance.
One person is hospitalized following a crash in Mineral County. Last night emergency crews were called out to the crash on Pine Swamp Road. One person had to be transported to the hospital via trooper 5.
The cause of a storage building fire is ruled accidental. The blaze broke out at about 7am yesterday morning in a storage building on Clifton Terrace Lane. 20 firefighters were on the scene and had the fire under control in about 30 minutes. A passerby noticed the fire and called emergency officials. The blaze caused about 85 thousand dollars in damage. The building contained a backhoe, motor home, boat and a dump truck. The building and contents are a total loss
Two Cumberland men face burglary and drug possession charges. Yesterday at about 3pm Cumberland City Police Officers responded to a private residence on Goethe Street for a Burglary that was reported to be in progress. Upon arrival, officers observed Mark Whorton, age 30 of Cumberland, walking out of the residence with his hands elevated above his head. Officers checked the residence and located Rodricus Wilkes, age 25 of Cumberland, in a room inside the unoccupied home. It was learned that neither of the two individuals had permission from the property owner to be inside the residence and as a result they were placed under arrest. A search incident to arrest was conducted and found on Whorton’s person was a sandwich baggie containing a quantity of suspected Cocaine. Officers also found a marihuana smoking device on Wilkes’s. Both individuals were transported to the Cumberland Police Department for processing. Whorton and Wilkes were later taken to a bond hearing at the Allegany County District Court Commissioners Office where they released on their personal recognizance pending trial.
A Springfield man is charged with arson. 20 year old Evan Hunt was arrested by Hampshire County Sheriff’s officials for setting a fire at a home at Bird Ridge Estates on February 18th. Crews were called to the scene at about 8pm that night. The house was under construction and crews at the scene noticed footprints in the snow leading from the burning home. Deputies received a tip that Hunt may have been involved. He admitted to the officers he was responsible for starting the blaze but claimed it was accidental. According to deputies the cause of the blaze was not ruled to be accidental. Hunt is being held at the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail.
A water line repair needs to be performed by the Fountain Water District on Wednesday, February 26, 2014. The water line is located along Patterson Creek Road, just south of Route 50. The repair will begin at 8 AM when the water line will be closed. This will cause water pressure to be lost for businesses and homes that are located south of Route 50. Repair could take two or more hours to complete the work. Fountain Water District is advising residents to boil their water from 8 AM through the day on Wednesday. Residents are being asked to conserve their water use during this period.
(posted July 29th 8am) Garrett County will get 250 thousand dollars in federal funds to strengthen the broadband network. The money comes from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the announcement was part of a western Maryland visit by ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl. The funding will go to the Last Mile Wireless Broadband Network and will bring broadband almost 800 residents and businesses in Garrett County. Gohl also made several stops throughout the region to talk about the importance of locally grown food for the economy. He visited the Cumberland Farmer’s Market to take a look at a locally grown market’s impact on the downtown region, the Evergreen Heritage Center to learn about programs to teach students about environmental science and wellness including local foods. He also stopped by the award-winning FFA chapter at Northern High School in Accident and took a tour of the cheese-making facility at FireFly Creamery and Market in Accident; The Frostburg Grows greenhouse at Frostburg State, a plant breeding business outside of Oakland and DeBerry Farms, which sells to farmers markets and grocery stores and produces specialty foods.
(posted July 22nd 8am) A Keyser man is one of the first in the area to develop his own video game. Right now the game is available for download on Google play. John Berg the owner of His Light Game Studio says Galactic Disintegration is a 2D space shooter type of game. Berg says he hopes to get the game on the Apple App store soon.https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.hislightgamestudio.GalacticDisintegration&hl=en
(posted July 22nd 8am) A group of about ten children are back home today after getting to spend a week with their fathers who are inmates at two local prisons. Thanks to Camp Hope the children spend one on one time with their fathers who are incarcerated either at WCI or NBCI. Michael Page and his son Michael explain what they enjoyed most about the experience.
Motorists might not be looking forward to the winter weather today and tomorrow but the folks at Nemacolin could not be happier. On Monday the new Sundial Lodge opens to the public. General Manager Chris Plummer says the timing is perfect. Whether you are an adventure sports fanatic or a foodie there is something for everyone at the new Sundial Lodge at Nemacolin. A fire destroyed the original lodge earlier this year. Plummer says the new facility takes on a more modern look than the old building which was modeled after some European chalets. After breaking ground in July the new facility is ready for guests. Features include a breath taking view, bowling alley and arcade, ski shop and rentals and a 200 seat indoor outdoor dining facility that will include live entertainment. Plummer says he thinks the view from the Sundial is the best feature looking over the Laurel Highlands.
(posted Oct 1st 7am) Seven time Olympic Medalist and part of the 96 gymnastic dream team and Ovarian Cancer Survivor Shannon Miller says she is amazed by the turnout at the Vicki Linn Ovarian Cancer Awareness Walk. Miller says her main message is that everyone needs to take charge of their health. Michaela Linn daughter of Vicki Linn says having Miller speak at the event is very meaningful. Linn says the money raised from Saturday’s walk will go to fund ovarian cancer research and will go to help cancer patients in our area.
Bells ring out with the reading of the names of 40 men and woman Amidst the cow pastures and the corn fields in southwestern Pennsylvania there is a boulder that serves as a marker and a headstone. It marks the site of the United Flight 93 crash on 9-11 2001 where 40 passengers and crews members lost their lives. Today Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar walked with the family members of those passengers through a new ceremonial gate that leads through two marble walls inscribed with the names of those victims through a field to their last resting place. Biden calls the field in Shanksville hallowed ground made sacred by the passengers and crew of United Flight 93. In addressing the families Biden said “ As you live in this moment that Yates only wrote about ‘Pray I will and sing I must but yet I weep’ my personal prayer for all of you is that in each succeeding year you are able to sing more than you weep.” Biden says it is an honor to be back at the site but like all of the families we wish we were not here and did not have to commemorate this and it is bitter sweet moment for the nation. He says today is just as a momentous day in their lives regardless of the anniversary they experience for at least an instant the terror of that moment returns along with a sense of disbelief. Biden says his hope is that as every year passes the depth of their pain recedes. He says he hopes the families find solace in the fact that all the people attending have not forgotten the bravery of those men and women and what they did is still etched in the minds of Americans forever and that’s why it is important for the Shanksville Memorial to be preserved. Jerry Bingham father of passenger Mark Bingham who was the last to board the plane says he comes to the site from Tennessee because he feels closer to his son and when you love your kids it’s what you do. He says walking through the gate this morning he felt that closeness with his son. Work continues on the memorial . National Park Service officials say more than 100 thousand people have donated to help build the memorial. They still need five million dollars in private funds to build a learning center and the Tower of Voices which will include 40 unique bells representing each passenger and crew member. About 1400 people visited the crash site memorial for the ceremony this morning.
(posted Sept 5th 7am) Two people are hospitalized and a state prison inmate is back in custody after a stabbing and carjacking early yesterday morning. At about 7:30 yesterday morning emergency officials were called out to I-68 near Grantsville for a reported assault. 37 year old Larry Johnson an inmate at the Western Correctional Institution was part of an inmate work crew. He entered the passenger side of the Division of Correction van and stabbed Correctional Officer 47 year old Robert Goss Senior repeatedly with a pair of pliers. Goss was in the driver’s seat but Johnson was able to get behind the wheel and after being pepper sprayed by Goss jackknifed the van. Johnson then ran to the side of I-68 and flagged down an Mitsubishi Lancer driven by 22 year old Alan Gnegy of Morgantown, WV. Gnegy told officers he stopped because he thought someone needed help. Johnson then allegedly used the same pliers to stab Gnefgy in the head as he pulled him out of his vehicle. Johnson then drove off in the stolen car. After a 12 mile pursuit Johnson was stopped in an area known as Sky Valley just off Route 495 after he lost control and hit a tree. He was not injured in the crash. He is being charged with attempted murder, assault, carjacking, motor vehicle theft, escape and fleeing and eluding. Both Goss and Gnegy were taken to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center where they are being treated for their injuries.
Goss is a 17 year veteran of the Department who has been recognized for his distinguished service and is highly regarded by both institution staff and area State Highway personnel that have worked with him on road crew details. Johnson a minimum security inmate, was nearing the end of a 20 year sentence for carjacking and a handgun violation. DPSCS continues to coordinate with Maryland State Police, who will lead the criminal investigation, and local authorities