Troopers log 455 local traffic stops during holiday travel period

From Staff Reports Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — Maryland state troopers in Allegany and Garrett counties logged 455 traffic stops during the Thanksgiving holiday traffic enforcement period.

In Allegany County, troopers of the Cumberland barrack logged 243 traffic stops throughout the county during the five-day enforcement period.

Those troopers issued 128 traffic citations and 178 warnings. They also arrested two people for driving under the influence and made six criminal arrests. Troopers responded to five motor vehicle accidents, according to Lt. Todd May, commander of the Cumberland barrack.

In Garrett County, troopers of the McHenry barrack logged 212 traffic stops, issued 123 citations and 128 warnings.

Those troopers handled one traffic accident investigation, one drug arrest and one warrant arrest from Nov. 23 through 27, according to a barrack official.

Statewide, troopers issued more than 10,000 traffic citations and warnings as part of a variety of increased enforcement efforts that ranged from DUI patrols to cargo theft prevention.

Maryland State Police increased patrols throughout the holiday period and focused enforcement efforts on drunken driving, aggressive driving and speeding. Troopers issued 5,231 citations and 5,009 warnings for traffic violations from Wednesday through Sunday.

Troopers also made 156 criminal arrests during that period.

The officers worked special drunken driving saturation patrols throughout Maryland and arrested 113 suspected drunken drivers.

Troopers responded to 284 traffic crashes statewide. Maryland State Police investigated five fatal crashes in which six people were killed. Two of those crashes occurred in Frederick County and the others occurred in Washington, Harford and Queen Anne’s counties.

The Maryland State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division was busy in the days leading up to the holiday. Those troopers conducted “Operation Night Owl,” an extra enforcement initiative aimed at preventing cargo theft and reducing the number of unsafe commercial vehicle operating during the period of increased travel.

From Nov. 18 through 23, enforcement division troopers conducted 1,260 commercial vehicle inspections. Troopers placed 133 commercial vehicles out of service for serious equipment violations and placed 137 commercial drivers out of service for being unqualified, exceeding drive hours or other safety regulation violations.

Working in weigh stations and using portable scales, troopers found 205 of the trucks they checked to be overweight. The enforcement division troopers issued 746 citations and 644 warnings.

Maryland State Police traffic safety efforts will be continuing through the New Year’s holiday. Initiatives will be worked in cooperation with local law enforcement, the Maryland Highway Safety Office and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Maryland lawmakers consider Marcellus shale gas tax

Posted: Monday, November 28, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 8:44 am, Mon Nov 28, 2011.

By GREG MASTERS Capital News Service | 0 comments

ANNAPOLIS Maryland lawmakers are starting to debate how much “severance tax” should be imposed on the natural gas that might be produced from the Marcellus Shale rock formation in Western Maryland.

Though it is not clear when, or even whether, Maryland will allow drilling in the Marcellus Shale using the controversial gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” an advisory commission created by Gov. Martin O’Malley to develop recommendations is already considering potential sources of revenue for the state from natural gas production.

Garrett County would impose a 5.5 percent county tax.

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Garrett church to again host Christmas puppet show

For the Cumberland Times-News Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — Pleasant View Baptist Church will again present a Christmas Puppet Show entitled “An Unexpected Christmas’’ written by Donna VanLiere to be held over two weekends in December.

“A winter storm has left one disgruntled group of travelers stranded in a train station. Unable to do anything but stare at each other, this unlikely mix — one Christian, one doubter, one serious skeptic and one goofball — strike up a serious conversation about the Christmas story and the miracle of Jesus.’’

This light-hearted story combines a powerful message told by Jim-Henson-style puppets with special lighting and effects, multimedia, a multi-level 40-foot stage, and lots of upbeat, catchy Christmas songs to help get everyone into the Christmas spirit.

The puppet show will be held over two weekends, with 12 different performances.

The schedule is as follows: Fridays, Dec. 9 and 16 at 6:30 p.m.; Saturdays Dec. 10 and 17 at 2 p.m, 4 p.m., and 6 p.m.; and Sundays Dec. 11 and 18 at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

There is no cost for the presentation, but seats are limited at each showing so persons must have reservations.

“This is our gift to your whole family this Christmas season. Its not just for children,’’ said Senior Pastor Wally Weeks, Pleasant View Baptist Church.

The church is located two miles south of Oakland along U.S. Route 219. Reservations can be made online at www.pleasantviewbc.org or by calling the church office at 301-334-8515.

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Tangy cranberry holds important holiday role as fruit of the season

Matthew Bieniek Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — While the turkey likely will always hold center stage at Thanksgiving, the tangy cranberry seems destined to hold an important supporting role in the pageant of food that graces Thanksgiving tables in Western Maryland and across America.

Cranberries are part of family traditions.

“My Mom used to make the best cranberry relish. She would take the cranberries, some apples and some oranges, peel them all, and grind them up in an old handcrank table-top grinder. Then she would add sugar to flavor and let it sit a few days before Thanksgiving,” said Glenn C. Riffey of Cumberland. His mom’s tradition continues today. “My brother now makes it, when he thinks about it, and he does a pretty good job of it. But Mom’s was the best . …”

Some other folks put cranberries on the turkey sandwiches made from leftovers on Friday.

Cranberries are native to North America and today are important to the agricultural economies of several states, especially Wisconsin and Massachusetts.

While cranberries sold in stores are cultivated in several states, wild cranberries grow in some areas of Western Maryland. The wild cranberries need cool temperatures to thrive, as they do in some area nature preserves and state lands. Cranberries can be found in the Cranesville Swamp, located in West Virginia and Garrett County, according to The Nature Conservancy, which is protecting the swamp.

“There are two types of cranberries at Cranesville. … The large cranberry, whose shiny red berries can be up to one inch wide, is the same species grown for commercial harvest,” according to a pamphlet produced by the conservancy. The cranberries are eaten by birds, fox, raccoons and bears, the pamphlet says.

Cranberries also grow in the Finzel Swamp and the Mt. Nebo Wildlife Management area, according to the Department of Natural Resources. The bogs in which the berries grow are 18,000 years old, which rank them near the oldest peat bogs in North America, according to the DNR.

The United States Department of Agriculture predicted a 10 percent increase in the cranberry harvest in 2011, a prediction that seems to be coming to fruition. Cranberry production was expected to total more than 6 million barrels in 2011, with Wisconsin producing 4.30 million and Massachusetts 2.10 million of the total. A barrel of cranberries weighs 100 pounds.

“While most people think the majority of cranberries are consumed at Thanksgiving, about 20 percent are consumed during Thanksgiving week. The rest are consumed throughout the year in juice, as sweetened and dried products and as ingredients. The per capita consumption is a little over two pounds a year,” according to the website of The Cranberry Marketing Committee.

Like every other product, cranberries had an experience with negative publicity during the “cranberry scare” of 1959, according to the American Council of Science and Health. Just before Thanksgiving, a panic started when federal officials warned cranberries were contaminated with a weed killer that produced cancer in lab rodents. The actual fact was that the chemical would only cause problems at a level requiring consumption of 15,000 pounds of cranberries every day for years. Supermarkets stopped selling the berries and cranberry products. It took the industry a while to recover. But recover it did, as any Thanksgiving feast will show.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com

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Maryland's Native American Tribes Struggle for State Recognition

Local Native American tribes struggle as recognition passes them by.

November 23, 2011

By Emaun Kashfipour, Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS – Every year around this time, Thanksgiving reminds many Americans of the relationship between Native Americans and Pilgrims who shared a meal hundreds of years ago.

But in Maryland, today’s Native Americans are not as well-known.

There are more than 20,000 Native Americans living in Maryland, according to the most recent census, and there are eight indigenous tribes who form and operate communities just like any other group.

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Grants benefit local homeless shelters

The Family Crisis Resource Center will receive $9,020 and the Allegany County Human Resources Development Commission is the recipient of $30,030.

For the Cumberland Times-News Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — Programs in Allegany and Garrett counties that provide emergency shelter will benefit from grant money awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the state of Maryland.

Gov. Martin O’Malley announced the award of more than $578,000 to 48 programs across the state.

Locally, the Family Crisis Resource Center will receive $9,020 and the Allegany County Human Resources Development Commission is the recipient of $30,030.

The Garrett County Community Action Committee will receive $23,000.

The grants are awarded to the county commissioners to distribute to the agencies.

Emergency solutions grants help local jurisdictions and nonprofit organizations provide emergency and transitional housing services for homeless individuals and families in 21 Maryland jurisdictions. Last year, the agencies funded by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development helped 7,389 individuals. In addition to emergency shelter, the grants help fund support services to help individuals and families find long-term affordable housing solutions — a key component of the governor’s plan to end homelessness by 2015.

“These grants support a broad range of housing and services — from street outreach and safe havens for those with serious health conditions and mental illness to transitional and permanent homes that families need to start rebuilding their lives,” said DHCD Secretary Raymond Skinner.

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Turkeys raised by Garrett farmer gobbled up

Purchasing of fresh, all-natural birds a growing national trend

Angie Brant Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — As we gather to observe the Thanksgiving holiday, many will be dining on a golden-brown roasted turkey. Meal preparations often include a trip to the grocery store to pick up a frozen turkey, but for others, shopping is done on the back roads of Garrett County.

William Lantz, senior agent at the Garrett County Cooperative Extension, said the practice of purchasing fresh turkeys is a growing trend. The number of farms raising fresh turkeys is small, but successful.

Lantz said consumers are demonstrating an increased interest in how crops are grown, and in the case of livestock and poultry, how the herd or flock is fed and raised.

The number of frozen turkeys purchased and prepared each year is far above the total of fresh turkeys sold, but one area farmer said his sales are growing with each passing year.

Sam Yoder said that nearly every one of his birds was spoken for by the beginning of November. He said many of his orders are secured through stops at his family’s produce stand. Yoder operates a century-old farm that has passed through his family for several generations. On the 170-acre farm on Pleasant Valley Road, Yoder and his family raise chickens, turkeys and draft horses.

Yoder has raised turkeys for more than 25 years. Initially, he raised a cross-breed of domesticated and wild turkeys, but changes in state policy forced him to change his flock to double-breasted white turkeys. For the past several years, he has increased the number in his flock to 300, based on demand.

Yoder prides himself in offering an all-natural turkey and said he raises nearly all the feed for his flock on the farm. He does not feed the turkeys any artifical additives or antibiotics. Yoder and other area farmers also raise turkeys for an eco-friendly market in the Virginia area. Yoder sent 50 birds to the market every month, beginning in August.

Many of Yoder’s orders are standing orders and buyers order their bird for the following year on the day they pick up their turkey for Thanksgiving. He said he even has a few customers who travel to his farm in the summer months to see how he raises the birds. 

“I have even had customers come and take pictures of the turkeys with their cell phones to show their families on Thanksgiving Day,” he said with a chuckle.

Once an order is placed, Yoder asks each customer to choose a day for pickup. Most birds are dressed just hours before pickup and Yoder never freezes the birds, he merely chills them. Fresh turkeys are sold based on weight after they have been dressed.

“The general rule of thumb is that toms will lose around nine pounds and hens lose around seven pounds after we dress them. For a large turkey, say one weighing 50 pounds, it would not be unusual for it to lose 10 pounds,” he said.

He said the majority of his sales are for whole birds and many times the birds are too large for standard-size roasters. One of his early sales was a bird weighing 46 pounds at dressed weight.

Raising turkeys is not difficult for Yoder, who said he abides by a simple adage, “Turkeys are either healthy or they are dead.”

The first step in the process, beginning at a hatchery, is the fertilization of eggs. The eggs hatch in 28 days and the young turkeys are called poults. The poults are then shipped to farms across the country, including the one owned by Yoder, within 24 hours. Yoder said the poults are at their most vulnerable when they are being shipped, through the U.S. mail, because of the temperature and shipping measures. It is imperative to keep the young poults warm. For the next five weeks, the young turkeys are carefully monitored and kept warm; this is called brooding.

According to Yoder, the size of the bird is largely dependent upon the length of the growing cycle. The typical life cycle is 16 to 18 weeks for an average-size turkey. For larger turkeys, a life cycle of 26 to 28 weeks is required.

Yoder said the difference between the taste and flavor of a fresh versus frozen turkey is subjective.

“The main thing that I hear is that customers want to know where and how they are raised and be sure that they are indeed fresh and all-natural,” he said.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 45 million turkeys are consumed each Thanksgiving in the U.S. In 2010, more than 242 million turkeys were raised, with an average live weight per bird of 28 pounds, with nearly 6 billion pounds of turkey processed.

Contact Angie Brant at abrant @times-news.com.

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Cover story: Is now the time to buy a second home?

By Michele Lerner SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

If you long to retire within sight of the Chesapeake Bay, by the shores of Deep Creek Lake or atop the mountains at Wintergreen, you may be thinking about taking advantage of today’s low interest rates and affordable prices to buy your golden-years dream home right now.

Financial advisers and Realtors suggest that while this might be the right move for some homeowners, the decision to buy a second home should be made only after careful consideration of the impact the choice would have on finances and lifestyle.

“The first and most important consideration is to make sure that buying another home doesn’t compromise your overall financial plans,” said Ronya Corey, a financial adviser with Merrill Lynch in the District.

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Judge grants new trial for W.Va. man in Garrett deputy's 1979 slaying

By DON AINES dona@herald-mail.com

2:16 p.m. EST, November 23, 2011
HAGERSTOWN—
More than three decades after he was convicted of killing a Garrett County Sheriff’s deputy, Roberto Oskar Rezek was granted a new trial this week in Washington County Circuit Court.

Judge Daniel W. Moylan on Monday reversed Rezek’s 1980 convictions for first-degree murder, robbery and other offenses in the 1979 shooting of Deputy David Livengood during a burglary at an Army-Navy surplus store in Oakland, Md., court records said.

Moylan ruled that the instructions on the law given the jury by Judge Frederick C. Wright III should have been binding and not advisory. In his opinion Moylan cited two Maryland Court of Appeals decisions in 1980 and 1981 which the state’s highest court ruled “the court’s instructions are binding on the jury.”

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Augie's Adventures: Goodyear DuraTracs first field test

Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 7:00 am

By Andy Aughenbaugh, Times Outdoors Writer | 0 comments

Back in October, I spent some time in Garrett County chasing whitetails. The recent rains had the trails on our hunting lease wet and muddy. The logging operation on a section of the property had the main access road a clayey muddy mess.

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