October 26, 2007

Wicomico woman sentenced in theft

A Mardela Springs woman was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison for stealing $120,000 from her employer.

Christine Foote, 31, pleaded guilty to felony theft scheme charges in Wicomico County for thefts that spanned 18 months at Able Roofing in Salisbury, where she worked as a secretary. She was accused of keeping money owed to creditors.

Owner Mike Houck says Foote's crime nearly sank his business.

Foote had a prior conviction for stealing money from a Fruitland distributor. She is appealing a separate conviction for writing a false insurance application.

Associated Press

Washington County

Hunting ban exception granted

The city of Hagerstown has acknowledged that it gave two municipal employees permission to hunt on city-owned forest land on which public hunting is banned.

City utilities director Mike Spiker said that a ban on public hunting in the 2,040-acre watershed around the Edgemont Reservoir was imposed for safety reasons, but that the employees were granted an exception in return for working there on personal time. The work included painting signs and marking the watershed's boundaries, Spiker told the Hagerstown Herald-Mail on Wednesday.

Spiker said any decision to open the land to public hunting and fishing would be up to the City Council.

He commented in response to complaints from an area resident that the city was being unfair.

Robert Martin, the Hagerstown-based treasurer of the Maryland Sportsmen's Association, said he feels that if the city wants to allow limited hunting in the watershed, it should give all hunters an opportunity to apply. Otherwise, "in my opinion, it just looks a little political," he said.

Associated Press

Frederick County

Muslim center's fate on hold

The Walkersville Town Council has postponed a vote on an ordinance that could block plans for a Muslim worship center on local farmland.

The decision to delay the vote came Wednesday night at a meeting attended by about 200 opponents and supporters. It means the fate of the worship center could be decided at a Board of Zoning Appeals hearing, possibly next week.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community wants to build on 224 acres of agriculturally zoned land. The proposed ordinance would prevent places of worship, schools, antique shops and private clubs from being built on agricultural land. The town Planning Commission recommended approval of the measure this week.

Town Councilman Chad Weddle denies the ordinance is discriminatory. He says the issue of institutional zoning surfaced in January, months before town officials learned of the planned land sale to the Muslim organization.

Associated Press

Frederick man charged in death

A Frederick man was charged yesterday with manslaughter in the accidental shooting of an acquaintance from Hagerstown, police said.

Brian Stone, 22, was showing Michael Brall, 23, a handgun registered to Stone's roommate early yesterday when the gun discharged, striking Brall in the upper right side of his chest, Frederick police said.

Several other friends were in the apartment at the time and there was no indication that the men were fighting, police said.

Associated Press

Talbot County

Escapee prank results in charges

State police say what started in St. Michaels as prank went too far this month when a man posing as an escaped convict alarmed a motorist and caused an unnecessary police search.

According to police, the man in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit darted in front of a motorist then ran into a field. The driver called 911, and troopers and sheriff's deputies searched the area.

Police learned later that Christopher Pentz, 20, was playing a joke on his friends at the nearby firehouse. He was charged with disorderly conduct.

Associated Press

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