FLOOD RELIEF GRANTS AVAILABLE
Disaster relief grants of up to $5,000, are now being made available to residents of Allegany and Washington Counties, as the result of damage from flooding on June 12th. While flood damage amounted to several million dollars, it did not reach the $8 million threshold required for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance. A center to help residents has been opened locally at the Cresaptown Volunteer Fire Department, and will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., through next Sunday. Residents should bring copies of receipts or other documentation, detailing damage to their homes or personal property.
GARRETT COUNTY DEVELOPER PLEADS GUILTY
Garrett County developer Lewis Strosnider has pleaded guilty in a bank fraud conspiracy case. Strosnider faces up to 30 years in prison in connection to the scheme, involving three properties in Western Maryland and West Virginia. He acknowledged his role in the fraudulent transactions, which caused three banks to lose more than a million dollars. He could face up to 30 years in prison, when sentenced on November 19th.
MAYSVILLE MAN DIES IN CRASH
Twenty-two year old Maysville resident William VanMeter died in a Sunday morning crash on Route 42. The preliminary investigation showed that VanMeter, for an unknown reason, crossed the highway and hit a heavy-duty pickup truck, head-on. The two people in the truck were not identified. The accident remains under investigation by the Grant County Sheriff's Office.
I-68 WESTBOUND ONE LANE THIS WEEK
A reminder to avoid traveling on Interstate 68 westbound this week, as the road will be a single lane, at least through Friday. Depending on the weather, State Highway Administration crews will be working in that area, pouring concrete for the final sections of the new bridge deck, Patterson Avenue will be closed at the I-68 overpass between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. tonight and tomorrow. The project began last summer and should be completed by late November of this year, weather permitting.
FRANKLIN STREET CROSSING TO CLOSE
The Franklin Street Crossing, over CSX tracks will be closed this Wednesday through Friday, weather permitting. The closure is necessary to complete repairs, before school starts. The City Street Department will assist CSX with road repairs, so the work can be completed in a timely manner.
FLEETWOOD DRIVE MATTER CONSIDERED CLOSED
A dump site on Fleetwood Drive is not a violation of county law. The Allegany County Commissioners addressed the matter at last week's meeting. The site is owned by a county employee who works in code enforcement, and leases the property to a construction firm. However, Delegate Kevin Kelly is questioning the findings of the report, in that none of the neighbors was consulted during the investigation.
DELEGATE CHALLENGES AIRPORT INFORMATION
West Virginia Delegate Gary Howell says there is a "fair amount of incorrect information," regarding the use of the Cumberland Regional Airport in Wiley Ford. In a letter to Dr. Gregg Wolff, incoming chair of the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority, Delegate Howell questioned why non-aeronautical events at the airport would jeopardize FAA funding. And, there is the question of whether the airport is considered a Cumberland entity, or one from West Virginia. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's opinion is that, as far as open meetings laws are concerned, they apply to the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority, the governing organization of the airport. The next meeting of the Airport Authority will be August 28th.
MAN CHARGED WITH 2ND DEGREE ASSAULT
Twenty-two year old Charles Ace Casey was arrested Saturday at a Maryland Avenue residence, and charged with the second-degree assault of a female victim. Casey was accused of hitting the woman in the back of the head during an argument. He was arrested and taken to Cumberland Police Headquarters. He was later held in the Allegany County Detention Center on $3500 bond.
STATE POLICE INVESTIGATING SWANTON THEFTS
The McHenry barrack of the Maryland State Police is investigating the theft of two golf carts and a self-propelled lawnmower from two sheds located on Beckman's Peninsula Road in Swanton. One of the golf carts is described as a white, electric powered "Easy Go" cart with a white fiberglass roof; the other displayed various Pittsburgh Steeler decals. The mower is a a gray, Honda self-propelled lawnmower with a bagger. Anyone with information is asked to contact the McHenry barrack at (301)-387-1101.
IRT PROGRAM BEGINS WEDNESDAY
The Innovative Readiness Training Program will begin Wednesday at the Allegany County Fairgrounds, and run through August 21st. The program, sponsored by the Allegany County Health Department and HRDC, will address restorative and preventive dental care, pain management, and endocrinology services. Veterinary care will also be offered to pets. The program is open to anyone, regardless of income.
HOSPITAL CENTER FINED FOR DEFICIENCIES
The Western Maryland Hospital Center in Hagerstown has been fined $150,000 for 43 state and federal deficiencies in the state-run residential care facility. The report from the Maryland Office of Health Care cited numerous deficiencies due to poor executive leadership and management practices, as well as safeguarding medication. Since that report, Meritus Health has taken over interim management at the hospital center.
O'MALLEY TALKS HEALH EXCHANGE, IMMIGRATION
During his visit to Western Maryland last week, Governor Martin O'Malley acknowledged the state did not do a good job in administering the health care exchange website. He does, however, have more confidence in the current I.T. staff, which is working on the new website when enrollment opens in November. He would prefer, at this point, for people to talk about the health information exchange. He also addressed a Department of Homeland Security request to move 50 immigrant children to Salem Children's Group in eastern Garrett County; the request was turned down. Citing a lack of transparency on the issue, Governor O'Malley says he believes congregate living sites are not the way to go for the children. He notes there is a difference between federal foster care and state foster care.
CONTRACTOR COMMENTS ON TEMPORARY TRUST FUND BILL
The West Virginia Contractor's Association Executive Director Mike Clowser believes the federal government should have passed a six-year federal highway bill instead of a "stop-gap" measure to continue the Federal Highway Trust Fund program through May of next year. Clowser says that without a multi-year deal, West Virginia and other states may be hesitant to start major road projects, in fear funding will run out before they complete them.