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WCBC’s Top News Stories of 2018

December 29th, 2018 by WCBC Radio

Cumberland Times News Stops The Presses

It’s been a time of upheaval at the Cumberland Times News.  During 2018, corporate officials made the decision to shut down the local press in favor of printing the paper in Johnstown and then having it transported here for local delivery.  As a result, the staff has been cut substantially, and the future seems to be cloudy.

Plans Announced To Reopen Downtown Cumberland To Traffic

Faced with a need to replace aging infrastructure under the current pedestrian mall, local officials took the opportunity to revisit the 40 year old decision to end traffic access on Baltimore Street.  Plans for a single lane of traffic were announced, with funding for the project still a hurdle to be crossed in 2019.

River Park Proposed For Potomac River In Cumberland

A few years ago, local businessman George Merling was thwarted when he tried to put in a Potomac River access for boating at the former Moose Building on Beall Street.  Although he was stopped, the idea of economic development tied to the river has led to Canal Place officials pursuing a river park for the river through Cumberland.

Three Man Alliance Gains Election To BOE

During the 2018 campaign for board of education, Bob Farrell, David Bohn and Wayne Foote announced they would be running as an alliance for positions on the five member board, giving them more ability to affect change in the school system.  Current actions against Foote notwithstanding, the three take office in January.

 

 

 

Megan Shaffer Sentenced For Killing Alex Stevens

Alex Stevens, of Frostburg, was found dead in a wooded area of eastern Garrett County, and after a long investigation, his girlfriend, Megan Shaffer, of Carpendale, was charged with the crime.  This year, Shaffer was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison.  Her lawyers has appealed the severity of that sentence.

LaVale Barracks Closed For Replacement

After 60 plus years of service, the state has decided it’s time to replace the Maryland State Police Barracks in LaVale.  A new facility will be built on the same site, and there was a decommissioning ceremony held late this year.  While the new barracks is under construction, State Police will work out of a building in Mexico Farms.

City Council Applicant Names Kept Secret

There’s been plenty of interest in the Cumberland City Council seat being vacated by new Allegany County Commissioner Dave Caporale.  16 people have applied, but due to an interpretation by City Solicitor Michael Cohen, the names of those people were not released to the public.  On the surface, it seems like a blow to transparency.

Outgoing BOE Wants Foote Removed By State

Three members of the Allegany County Board of Education are leaving the board in early January, and in their last official act, voted to recommend that Wayne Foote be removed from the board for inappropriate conduct and releasing information from executive sessions without authorization.   Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess.

 

 

 

 

Allegany High School Closes On Segwick, Reopens On Haystack

Over 90 years of high school education ended on Segwick Street in June when the old Allegany High School closed.  In addition to notable final events, a time capsule was also opened.  In August, Governor Larry Hogan was on hand as the new $52 million Allegany opened on Haystack Mountain, to mainly glowing reviews.

Deputy Suspended After Mishap Near Hospital

Allegany County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Mackert was suspended from duty in September after allegedly making false statements about an accident he was involved in to police.  Mackert is said to have claimed to have hit a deer on Route 51.  He was later charged with DUI and other offenses for a mishap on Willowbrook Road.

Janitor Sentenced For Sexually Assaulting Mountain Ridge Student

Another case of sexual abuse of a student at Mountain Ridge High School was adjudicated this eyar.  24 year old Michael McKenzie was sentenced to ten years, with five suspended, for the sexual assault of a 16 year old boy in January.  McKenzie is a former part time custodian at Mountain Ridge, and will have to register as a sex offender.

Local Medical Marijuana Arrives As One Of First Operations In State

A year ago, Allegany Medical Marijuana Dispensary opened as one of the first in the state.  The selection and licensing of dispensaries and processors has been a long one, and being one of the first also allowed the Cumberland operation to deliver to areas of the state that did not yet have a nearby dispensary.

 

 

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