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Budget, Health Care Exchange on General Assembly Agenda

Writing Governor O'Malley's $39 billion budget is on the table this week for the Maryland General Assembly. The budget does not raise taxes, but increases college tuition no more than three per-cent. And, there is also the issue of a structural deficit of about $300 million. This week, the Senate is due to take a final vote on emergency legislation that would provide health insurance for those who tried, but failed to get coverage due to technical problems with the website.

 

Employees Steal $70,000 Worth of Merchandise

Two employees of Bedford businesses have been accused of stealing more than $70,000 worth of merchandise from their respective employers, and selling it online for a profit. Thirty-four year old Joshua Baker and Kevin McMakin were involved in a scheme, where stolen bike parts from the Cycling Sports Group were sold on eBay by McMakin, an employee of Fat Jimmy's Outfitters. Both were arraigned last Friday in Bedford County District Court.

 

"Wait and See" Attitude for Canal Place

What will happen with Canal Place and the Footer Dye Works building depends on meetings to be held over the next several weeks, among the city, county, and state officials. Maryland State Senator George Edwards says if a private developer is secured for Canal Place, the situation will move forward. Senator Edwards notes that $116,000 has been set aside in next year's budget for Canal Place. While salaries for the three employees totaled over $211,000, the state has only agreed to set aside $116,000 in Governor O'Malley's $39 billion budget. Senator Edwards says that revenues are also generated from the shop leases, and from parking at Canal Place.

 

Enrollment Packages Sent to Wrong Addresses

Because of an error with the state's health exchange, nearly 400 Medicaid enrollment packages were sent to the wrong addresses. While the packages don't contain private medical information or social security numbers, they do contain the applicant's name, date of birth and Medicaid ID number. It was reported over the weekend the exchange website had posted the wrong customer service number in some sections, where applicants were actually calling a pottery business in Seattle. These are the latest in a series of problems with the health exchange website.

 

"Exorcism Killing" Reported in Montgomery County

A Maryland woman accused of killing her two children has told investigators that she thought an exorcism was necessary to remove the presence of the devil. Zakieya Latrice Avery, along with another woman-Monifa Denise Sanford-are charged in the deaths of one year old Norell Harris and Zyana Harris, a two-year old girl. Two other children in their Montgomery County home were injured. Both women are being held without bond.

 

No Injuries in Winchester Plane Crash

There were no injuries at the Winchester Regional Airport, when a small aircraft crash while practicing "touch-and-go" landings. The plane, which was registered out of Martinsburg, veered off a runway, hit a runway light and went through a sign, before stopping in the grass. The pilot and a passenger were uninjured. The unidentified pilot said he swerved to avoid hitting a deer.

 

Company Files For Bankruptcy

The company at the center of the chemical spill in Charleston earlier this month, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Freedom Industries says it can't pay its bills, because its clients are demanding cash payments because of  the leak. Freedom Industries says it believes the ground below a chemical tank froze, causing about 7500 gallons of a hazardous material to leak into the Elk river. The bankruptcy filing will have no impact on the ongoing federal investigation.


 

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