Digest

September 14, 2007

Loans available for drought losses

The state has made $5 million in loans available for drought-stressed farms.

Gov. Martin O'Malley announced yesterday during a daylong visit to Harford County that Maryland farmers who have lost crops because of drought or weather-related events this year can apply for a low-interest loan.

"The drought has been one of our toughest issues so far," O'Malley told a gathering of Harford officials. "These loans will offset the hardest-hit farms."

The loans, offered at a fixed 5 percent APR interest rate, can be repaid over five years. They will help farmers pay for production costs affected by weather or for essential family living expenses for up to $75,000, officials said. The 2007 Farm Drought and Weather Event Recovery Assistance Loan Fund will accept applications on a first-come, first-served basis.

Farmers, participating in some type of USDA Risk Management Agency-supported crop insurance coverage, can also apply for funds. They must show evidence of financial loss, due to the 2007 drought or weather, and present a referral letter from their commercial lending institution.

For more information, visit www.marbidco.org.

Mary Gail Hare

Baltimore Co.

: Owings Mills

Brewster's service planned

Gov. Martin O'Malley and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer are scheduled to speak tomorrow at a memorial service for former Sen. Daniel Baugh Brewster, who died of cancer last month.

All of the state's current and former U.S. senators are expected to attend, along with about two dozen other elected officials.

The service for Brewster, a hero of World War II who served one term in the U.S. Senate after serving in the House of Representatives and the Maryland House of Delegates, will be at 2 p.m. tomorrow at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church, 232 St. Thomas Lane, Owings Mills.

Cecil County

: Elkton

Man pleads guilty to murder

An Elkton man has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder charges in a shooting that prosecutors say was the result of a robbery disguised as a drug deal.

Matthew Blackburn, 20, will be sentenced Oct. 22. He admitted gunning down Timothy Musselman, 28, in March at Musselman's home in Rising Sun.

In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped five other charges, including armed robbery, and agreed to recommend a prison sentence of 50 years. Blackburn has agreed to testify against co-defendant Charles Muzzi, 20, of Elkton.

State's Attorney Christopher Eastridge says Musselman paid Blackburn $450 for marijuana, but Blackburn didn't have the drugs. When Musselman refused to get out of Muzzi's sport utility vehicle, Blackburn shot him in the chest and back, he said.

Associated Press

Allegany County

: Cumberland

Station fights ban on games

A Cumberland radio station will be able to broadcast high school football games while it fights a decision by the Allegany County school board denying access to the games.

A federal judge in Baltimore granted the temporary injunction requested by WCBC-AM. The judge ruled the station's constitutional rights were violated by the ban and the public would be served by an injunction.

The station claims the board's ban on access to a stadium press box was a result of unflattering news stories about the county schools. In one story, a reporter was able to walk into five county schools without being questioned.

Associated Press

Garrett County

: McHenry

Grant to help build park

A $2.2 million federal grant will help build a business park near Deep Creek Lake.

The Commerce Department has awarded the Economic Development Administration grant to the Garrett County Commissioners to begin work on the McHenry Business Park.

County officials say the park, on 150 acres adjacent to the Garrett County Airport, will create 435 commercial and light-industrial jobs and attract $25 million in private investment.

Associated Press

Frederick County

: Frederick

Teen charged in vandalism

Frederick police have arrested a 16-year-old boy in the recent vandalism to the key sculptures set up last month downtown.

The unnamed boy is charged with 10 counts of destruction of property and related charges.

According to police, officers found the boy Wednesday while interviewing people near the Baker Park Band shell. Police learned he had run away from home Sept. 3 and was the same boy implicated in the vandalism.

He has been booked and released to his mother's custody.

The Frederick Arts Council put 30 of the 6-foot high, hand-painted fiberglass keys on display around the city to mark the council's 30th anniversary. At least 10 of the sculptures were damaged with spray paint.

Associated Press

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