FLOOD WATERS FALLING FAST

Flood waters in the Eastern Panhandle are receding fast. Nearly four inches of rain drenched the area this past weekend, causing a number of road closings and pushing area river waters to their edges. According to the National Weather Service, 3 to 5 inches of precipitation fell between Friday and Sunday evening in the Eastern Panhandle. But the water is draining fast, and rivers have already crested in many places. A short dry spell just ahead of last week’s rainfall is believed to have made the difference.

HEDGESVILLE WOMAN CHARGED WITH DUI

A woman from Hedgesville has been is behind bars. Berkeley County deputies say 26 year old Alyssa Linaburg is facing felony charges after being involved in two crashes, then fleeing… all while impaired by drugs. Linaburg… who admitted taking drugs prior to driving, is charged with felony neglect of a child resulting in injury; DUI with injury; DUI with an unemancipated minor; hit and run; hit and run with injury; failure to maintain control; and driving while her license was suspended for the third time. A young boy who was a passenger, was taken to Berkeley Medical Center for injuries. Linaburg is in the Eastern Regional Jail in lieu of a $27,600 bond.

I-81 LANE SHIFTS FORECAST

Be aware… nighttime lane closures will occur on Interstate 81 near Marlowe all this week, to prepare for shifting of traffic for the new pavement. If you can avoid that area, you will probably save yourself a lot of time and aggravation. Plan on an alternate route if possible.

MARTINSBURG CITY HOLIDAY SCHEDULE CHANGES

City of Martinsburg Offices will be closed on Monday, December 24th, and remain closed thru Wednesday, December 26th for the Christmas holiday. Normal business hours will resume on Thursday, December 27th. Garbage will be collected as normal on Monday. Tuesday’s garbage will be collected Wednesday, but with NO RECYCLING. Garbage collection will return to normal schedule next Thursday and Friday. The City of Martinsburg Offices will also be closed on Monday, December 31st and Tuesday, January 1st for the New Year’s holiday. Normal business hours will resume Wednesday, January 2nd. As with Christmas week, garbage on Monday, December 31st will be collected as normal. Tuesday’s garbage will be collected Wednesday, along with normal Recycling pick up. Garbage collection will return to normal schedule for Thursday and Friday, January 3rd and 4th. Also note… trash collection will start earlier… at 5 am… on December 24, 26 and 31, so set all trash to the curb the night before or before 5 am the day of collection.

TWO BERKELY COUNTY MEN CHARGED IN CONNECTION WITH MARYLAND ARMED ROBBERY

Two Berkeley County men have been taken into custody as a result of a multi-agency investigation into an armed robbery in Baltimore, Maryland. 19 year old Charles Ruark of Inwood, was charged with four counts of credit card fraud, two counts of conspiracy. He is also being held as a fugitive from justice. 22 year old Jordan Tate of Bunker Hill, was charged with six counts of credit card fraud and four counts of conspiracy. He is also being held as a fugitive from justice on the armed robbery warrant that was issued in Maryland. Two young women were also arrested in connection with using credit cards in Berkeley County that were taken during that robbery. 18 year old Leana Mohn and 19 year old Icyes Berry… both of Inwood, are facing charges of conspiracy.

MAN CHARGED WITH DUI WAIVES PRELIMINARY HEARING

A Bunker Hill man who was charged last month with driving under the influence causing death in a single-vehicle crash, has now waived his right to have a preliminary hearing within 10 days. 32 year old Matthew Ostendorf waived Thursday’s hearing to hire an attorney of his choice. Earlier this week… on Monday…. Ostendorf did not appear in Berkeley County Circuit Court for a change of plea hearing on previous DUI charges. A new preliminary hearing has not yet been scheduled, but will occur sometime after he obtains counsel. Ostendorf meanwhile, is in the Eastern Regional Jail.

FATAL CRASH IN HEDGESVILLE

A crash Thursday evening on Back Creek Valley Road in Hedgesville, leaves one person dead and two others injured. 25 year old Mason Wriston of Hedgesville was the driver. Wriston was taken to Berkeley Medical Center and pronounced dead at the hospital. A passenger… 23 year old Brooke Shambaugh of Berkeley Springs, was flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia with “critical, but non life threatening” injuries. A 15-year-old juvenile passenger was taken to Berkeley Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries and later released. An investigation is underway, and so far police say it appears that speed, alcohol, and possibly drugs were contributing factors.

FORMER JEFFERSON COUNTY PROSECUTOR, NOW CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER, ARRESTED FOR FAILURE TO UPDATE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY

A former Jefferson County assistant prosecuting attorney who was convicted of indecent exposure, now has new legal troubles. 66 year old J. Michael Cassell has now been charged again… this time, for failure to update the sex offender registry. Back in In January, Cassell was convicted of indecent exposure after sexually molesting a client in his Charles Town office in May 2017. He entered a no contest guilty plea for a single count of indecent exposure, and was sentenced to one year in jail, with all but one day suspended, and to register as a sex offender for 10 years. Last month, it came to the attention of authorities, that Cassell had not filed his annual registration as required by law. Cassell served as a Jefferson County assistant prosecuting attorney from 1985 to 2005.

MARTINSBURG MURDER SUSPECT REMAINS PARALYZED IN HOSPITAL

Authorities said on Thursday, that a Martinsburg man charged with the murder of an 86-year-old woman during a carjacking back in September, remains paralyzed. 36 year old Adam Domer, is facing charges including murder, grand larceny, robbery, and malicious wounding. But Domer never appeared for a preliminary hearing in November, because at the time he was in a Morgantown hospital for treatment for an abscess on his spine that caused an infection, which left him paralyzed from the neck down. He was placed on home confinement monitoring due to his condition, but prosecutors say he should be returned to the Eastern Regional Jail upon his release from the hospital.

$600 MILLION UP FOR GRABS IN RURAL INTERNET GRANTS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making as much as $600 million in loans and grants available to help build broadband infrastructure in rural areas. Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers and municipalities are all eligible to apply to the USDA’s program for funding that would help get rural areas with insufficient broadband service on-line. The first round of applications are due by April 29th… the second by May 29th, and a final round of applications is due by June 28th. For more information on the program, visit www.reconnect.uda.gov.