Saturday, February 5, 2011

Changes Made In Pocomoke Election Laws


POCOMOKE CITY -- After municipal elections in 2009 led to an investigation by the State's Attorney's Office, the Pocomoke mayor and City Council set out to fill gaps in and make changes to their election laws. With a second city election under the new rules slated for this April, a review of the new election code shows some recommended changes were put in writing, while other reforms rely on city workers remembering new instructions passed down in talks and training.


Resolution 432, passed before the 2010 elections took place, changed who maintains the list of registered voters, handing over that responsibility to the Worcester County Board of Elections. The only other change made in writing allows voters to download absentee ballot applications online.

Town Manager Russell Blake said other changes suggested by the state's attorney report have been adopted in practice, even if they are not specifically called for in the new code.

"As I recall, the state's attorney report was a recommendation, and all recommendations basically have been followed in writing or in practice," Blake said. The changes not committed to code, he said, are still known to the city workers who run the elections.

Distinguishing marks

After candidate Stephanie Burke alleged her opponents manipulated the absentee voting process to win in 2009, then-State's Attorney Joel Todd conducted an investigation and issued a report. No criminal charges were filed, and Todd found no evidence that candidates or city workers engaged in fraud.

Still, the report said the city did not maintain an accurate list of absentee voters and noted that the way city workers marked each absentee ballot with a number allowed his investigators to determine which absentee voters cast which ballots, violating the principle of the secret ballot.

"Clearly, the ballot number enables a party to identify not only who the voter was, but how the voter voted," Todd wrote. "If a voter can be identified and interviewed for investigative purposes, it is possible that they could be identified and interviewed for any other legitimate or nefarious purpose.

Pocomoke's election code at the time said if there are any distinguishing marks on a ballot, then that ballot can be thrown out; thus, the report noted, the town's practice of numbering the ballots conflicted with its own code.

"If the town employees and volunteers working for the Board of Elections supervisors need additional training, and it seems apparent that they do, then that training must be provided," Todd's report read.

Resolution 432, the new election code, also states any distinguishing marks can discredit a ballot. The updated resolution does not specifically instruct election workers to write ballot numbers on outer envelopes and to not write numbers on the ballots themselves -- the change in practice Todd urged.

"The recommendation about not numbering ballots was incidental," Blake said in an interview. In the 2010 election, he said, Pocomoke conducted the election the way the report suggested: Ballot numbers were placed on the envelopes, not the ballots.

Carol Justice, the city clerk, said she was not aware individual ballots should not be marked with numbers, as had happened in 2009. She said she had not received formal election law training after 2009. Mark Tilghman, the attorney who began representing Pocomoke City in 2008, declined to be interviewed.

Jim Peck, director of research and information management for the Maryland Municipal League, said the sanctity of the ballot box is important in all elections.

"In general, there are broad efforts made to ensure when you vote it's between you and the voting booth," Peck said. The practice of numbering each ballot, he said, is "relatively unusual."

www.delmavanow.com

Accomack County Sheriff's Office Accepting Scholarship Applications

Accomack County Sheriff Larry J. Giddens, Sr., announced today that he is accepting applications for the Virginia Sheriffs' Institute Scholarship Program. The VSI Program was established to provide an opportunity for young people across Virginia to pursue an educational curriculum in law enforcement or criminal justice. Full-time and Part-time students are eligible for this program and all applicants must meet the requirements set forth by the Virginia Sheriffs' Institute in order to qualify as a recipient of the VSI scholarship award.

Applicants must live in the locality where the sheriff is a member of the Virginia Sheriffs' Institute.

Applicants must be accepted to Virginia Colleges and Universities with a major in the criminal justice field.

All students interested in the Virginia Sheriffs' Institute Scholarship Program for the 2011/2012 school year should contact Karen C. Barrett of the Accomack County Sheriff's Office @ 787-1131, 824-5666, 891-2489.

Applications may be obtained from the Accomack County Sheriff's Office and must be completed and returned by April 15, 2011.

Missing Boater Unlikely To Be Found

VIRGINIA BEACH

Virginia Marine Police planned to continue looking today for a boater who went missing this week, but officials said Friday that it's unlikely he'll be found alive.

Arno Dawson, 64, from Perth, Australia, was last seen Wednesday evening aboard his 40-foot sailboat, the Wampeter, said John Bull, a Virginia Marine Police spokesman. He moored to the observation pier at Buckroe Beach in Hampton and told authorities he was tired and would move in the morning, Bull said.

At 8:20 a.m. Thursday, a fishing crew spotted the Wampeter cruising unmanned about a quarter-mile north of Little Creek Inlet in the Chesapeake Bay. The Coast Guard and local emergency personnel launched a search for Dawson but called it off at 6 p.m.

Virginia Marine Police resumed the search Friday, focusing on the water and shoreline between the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Bull said. They ended their efforts Friday evening with plans to resume looking today.

Virginia Marine Police don't suspect foul play. It appears Dawson was on the boat alone, said Lt. Jack Smith, a spokesman for the Coast Guard.

Dawson is an experienced sailor who manage s a boat-building company in Australia, Bull said. He found the Wampeter, which was ported in Annapolis, Md., online, purchased it for $26,000 in December and came to the United States in the last few weeks to work on it. He went to sea Monday, planning to sail the boat home, Bull said.

"To our knowledge, he was a very experienced sailor," he said. "That's quite a long sail."

Dawson's daughter in Australia has been notified that he is missing, Bull said.

The Wampeter, a 1980s sailboat, is impounded while the Marine Police investigate. If Dawson doesn't turn up, the boat will go to his family, Bull said.

www.hamptonroads.com

Friday, February 4, 2011

Trial Date Changed For Pocomoke Rape Case

SNOW HILL— The trial for a man charged with raping a Pocomoke City woman has been postponed for a week.

Originally scheduled for Feb. 2, the trial now will be held Feb. 9 and 10, as the office of the state’s attorney and defense council determined that two days were neccessary to try the case. A conflict in schedule for the judges prevented the case from going to trial this week.

Sherrick Martell Handy, of Horntown, was charged for allegedly forcing his way into the apartment of a former girlfriend in the early hours of June 28. He is charged with rape and assault in the first- and second-degree, first-and third-degree burglary and false imprisonment.

www.delmarvanow.com

Possible Code On Drivers License To ID Sex Offenders

Pension reform and budget cuts may be the leading issues in this year’s General Assembly session, but scores of other subjects are under consideration as well, including sex offender identification on driver’s licenses, alcoholic energy drinks and a possible charge for plastic bags at the grocery store.

SEX OFFENDER IDENTIFICATION

Eastern Shore Sen. Richard Colburn (R-37) has submitted a bill that would require the state to put a code on the driver’s licenses of convicted sex offenders so police will be able to identify them.

The code would be something that only police can understand, such as a special numerical code or barcode. The purpose is to alert police that they are dealing with a convicted sex offender, so the officers can ask additional questions if necessary.

A similar measure failed to pass last year amid concerns that it violated the offenders’ rights. Local representatives supported the legislation and wondered if it might have prevented the death of 11-year-old Sarah Foxwell of Salisbury in December 2009, whose accused killer is a registered sex offender.

“This was in the predator bill the Eastern Shore delegation submitted last year. I believed in it last year and I still think it’s important,” Sen. Jim Mathias (D-38) said. “It’s a tool for police and investigators and offers heightened awareness of who they’re dealing with.”

Delegate Mike McDermott (R-38B) agrees.

“I think anything we do that might aid law enforcement in making sure our children are safe and we understand who we’re dealing with when we stop a vehicle is not a bad thing. If it had an impact one time and helped save one child, then it would be worth it,” he said.

www.oceancitytoday.net

Delmarva Discovery Center This Saturday


LOCAL APPRECIATION DAY


Delmarva Discovery Center

Saturday - February 5

10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Come join us for our 2011 Kick Off and Reef Tank Celebration!

50% off admission for locals!

Did you know the DDC has a 90-gallon reef aquarium with live corals? What are tropical animals doing at the Discovery Center? 3.5 to 5 million years ago, the Delmarva Peninsula did not exist and this area was covered by a warm shallow sea. Come learn more about our geological past and view our newest exhibit on February 5th!

Kids, receive a free sturgeon sticker if you find the clownfish at the Delmarva Discovery Center!

12-2 p.m. Dr Whaley, retired professor of geosciences at Murray State University, will bring hands-on fossils representing Eastern Shore marine animals, and discuss the geology of Delmarva.

Brooks Onley, wildlife educator, will be present at the touch tanks to show off our native aquatic animals.


Come touch a horseshoe crab or a whelk!

Check out the fish feedings every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 2 PM!

Police Seize Submachine Guns And Other Weapons From Attorneys Home

Eleven weapons — including two submachine guns — an empty carton of beer and an empty bottle of anti-anxiety medication were among dozens of items seized from the home of attorney Richard C. Ferris II after he was killed during an exchange of gunfire with Chesterfield County police last week.

Police said Wednesday that at least one of the seized guns — a pistol they declined to identify — was used by Ferris when he twice fired on SWAT team members within about 10 minutes Friday from the garage of his home in the 11200 block of Timber Point Drive.

He died of multiple gunshot wounds to his chest, according to the state medical examiner's office.

"There were weapons that … appeared to have been strategically placed throughout the house," Chesterfield police Maj. Terry Patterson said. That "would have indicated to me that there may have been some preparation on his part."

Police hope the items they recovered — including some writings by Ferris — will help provide insight into what led to the standoff and ultimately to his death, Patterson said.

"We're trying to sift through anything that we can to help us understand basically what was going though his mind that night," Patterson said.

Patterson said Ferris' wife, Michelle, and other family members have declined to speak with investigators and have contacted an attorney. Consequently, "we have to rely solely on what we see (and) what we collect" to learn what happened, he said.

Michelle Ferris initially called 911, but police said she had to be coaxed out of the house with her four children and didn't leave until about three hours into the eight-hour standoff. She initially reported that she was concerned about her husband's welfare.

Police executed two search warrants at the Ferris home within hours of his death. On Monday, police served another search warrant to obtain data from Richard Ferris' iPhone recovered from the house, court records show.

The affidavits for the three search warrants have been sealed. But copies of the warrants, which include inventories of everything seized, were made available Wednesday in Chesterfield Circuit Court.

One search warrant was devoted entirely to the numerous weapons, ammunition, gun magazines, cartridge casings and other gun accessories that police found in the home.

The guns police recovered include a .45-caliber Thompson submachine gun with an empty magazine, a 9 mm Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun loaded with 20 rounds, a 5.26 mm ArmaLite assault-style rifle, a 5.56 mm Colt M4LE assault-style rifle with scope and loaded with 17 rounds, a Kel-Tec .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol loaded with seven rounds, a .45-caliber Springfield Armory TRP semiautomatic pistol loaded with seven rounds, an unloaded Springfield Armory 1911 semiautomatic pistol and an unloaded 9 mm Browning CZ83 semiautomatic pistol.

Police said they are uncertain how many of the weapons, if any, may have been related to Ferris Firearms, a side business Ferris operated out of his Chesterfield law office.

Among other things, police are investigating whether a mixture of alcohol and prescription medication may have contributed to Ferris' actions.

Police recovered an empty bottle of Alprazolam that had contained 90 tablets in a prescription filled for Ferris on Jan. 10, and a carton with five empty bottles of beer. Alprazolam, known commercially as Xanax, is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic attacks and anxiety created by depression.

www.timesdispatch.com

"Top Pet Toxins" From ASPCA List


The ASPCA released their annual list of top pet toxins on Friday, and for the third year in a row human medication topped that list.

In 2010, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, IL, fielded more than 167,000 phone calls about pets exposed to possibly poisonous substances. Almost one-quarter of calls received was about human medications ingested by pets.

The most common culprits include over the counter painkillers, antidepressants and ADHD medications. Many times the pet accidentally ingested the medication when a pill was dropped on the floor.
Next on the list are insecticides, which made up about 20% of the call volume. That was followed by substances commonly used to kill mice and rats, that was ingested by animals when left around the home.

People food like grapes, raisins, onions and garlic was also a major toxin, as was veterinary medication. Veterinary medication is designed to taste appealing to dogs, which means they are likely to eat all of it at once if given access to it.

Cleaning supplies also made the list. Bleach and detergents can cause corrosive injuries to the mouth and stomach.

Both house plants and outdoor plants can be harmful when ingested by pets. Lilies can cause life- threatening kidney failure in cats, while sago palms can cause liver failure in both dogs and cats.

Herbicides are also likely to be eaten by cats and dogs, as they typically have a salty taste the animals are drawn to.

Outdoor toxins such as antifreeze, fertilizers and ice melts round out the list. These items should be kept in securely locked sheds or up on shelves where pets cannot get to them.

Reflections on the Governor’s State of the State Address

By Delegate Mike McDermott
2.3.11

Today, the full body of Maryland’s General Assembly heard from Governor O’Malley about his vision for Maryland, and his interpretation of the past year. The Governor stated in his speech, “Everything has a cost…” Well, the question Marylander’s are asking is, “How much?”

His proposed budget holds our deficit at $1.2 billion while actually increasing spending by over $2 billion. There are several fund raids conducted from the Transportation Trust Fund ($120 million) and the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund ($90 million) with additional tax increases to replace the raided funds. At the same time, the governor plans to increase our debt through the issuance of bonds. This will further push our debt ceiling to the edge.


We cannot afford bonuses for all state employees ($750.00), nor the five additional paid holidays he is offering. We cannot afford to continue cutting Medicaid reimbursements while, at the same time, taking our enrollment up over a million Marylander’s (20% of our population). We simply cannot afford to extend ourselves at a time when the revenues from our citizens are contracting.


Today the governor spoke about the state creating winners and losers when it comes to business and industry. If you are about “green” jobs, you’re a winner; if not, you’re a loser. When the state predicates tax incentives and government backed funding sources to favored industry, it is akin to the king extending the scepter to whomever he wishes. Wind farms may be a great idea, but they need to stand on their own as a business endeavor. When the governor talks about “investments”, he should be talking about the private sector, not tax dollars.


We heard about the governors desire to place a moratorium on septic systems in rural developments, with no regard of the chilling effect this could have on land values, private property rights, and development on the Eastern Shore. He stated that “where we eat, sleep, and live…” is affecting our environment as if this, too, is something the government should control.


The governor stated we were “moving forward”, while his budget anchors us to our indebtedness. He called us a grand “experiment in self government”, while he offers only additional regulations, fees, and taxes on the business community. He says, “It’s all about jobs”, as if the government is the one who creates those jobs. The “ghost of disconnect” continues to haunt Maryland policy.


The bottom line is the governor expressed more visible outrage over the recent power outages in Prince George’s County than he did about the dismal state of our economy, and our failure to address critical budget areas when time was of the essence.


Governor O’Malley wants us to move toward a “knowledge based” economy. Well, that begins with a wisdom based budget, and that was sorely missing from the State of the State Address I heard today.

Del. Lewis Introduces Bill To Curtail Freedom of Information Act

Delegate Lynwood Lewis is sponsoring House Bill 2383 that will be heard by a House subcommittee to allow government to seek a determination against a citizen who the government says is harassing the government with Freedom of Information Act requests.

Should the bill pass, any public body would be able to petition an appropriate court for a summary determination whether a requester, in making a request for records, is intending to harass or otherwise abuse the rights or privileges granted by the Freedom of Information Act or whether such request is overly burdensome on the public body.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Friday Is Final Day To Register As A Candidate

POCOMOKE CITY -- Friday is the final day those interested in running for mayor or the District 3 City Council seat can file with the town to run in the April election.

Anyone wishing to run for mayor must be 25 years old, a resident of Pocomoke City for at least one year prior to the election and be a registered voter.

Those running for City Council have to be 21 years old and live in the district up for election. The election is scheduled for April 5.

For more information on how to nominate a candidate, visit city hall or call 410-957-1333.

Pocomoke City Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner

CONGRATULATIONS TO THESE WONDERFUL PEOPLE OF POCOMOKE!

POCOMOKE CITY -- The Pocomoke City Chamber of Commerce, at its annual awards dinner, honored Jason Blair, of Floors Decor and More, with the "Businessperson of the Year" award.

The "Community at Heart" award was presented to Michael Dean of Holloway Funeral Home.

The "Lifetime Achievement for Business" award was presented to Sysco Eastern Maryland.

Pocomoke City Councilman Robert L. Hawkins received the "Individual Lifetime Achievement" award.

Emergency Alert Signals To Sound On Saturday

Saturday, Feb. 5, Worcester County emergency alert signals are scheduled to sound from area fire sirens.

The signals are tested the first Saturday of each month. A steady alert tone will sound at 10 a.m. for approximately one minute.

In the event of an actual emergency, the sirens would be used as additional means to warn the surrounding communities of imminent danger and the need to tune to either radio, television or the Internet for information.

At the MarVa Theater This Weekend



Inmate Labor At Rest Stop Approved By General Assembly In Spite Of Concerns

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Bills allowing inmates to maintain Virginia's rest stops has cleared both houses, but not without debate that doing so could hurt public safety and Virginia's image.

The Senate passed the bill on a 26-14 vote Wednesday after questions by legislators on both sides of the aisle about how the inmates would be supervised and what message it sends to visitors. The House also passed a bill on a 74-24 vote.

Sen. Emmett Hanger said his bill would save the state money. The state currently contracts with private companies to provide the labor, but could pay the Department of Corrections $1.50 per hour for the work.

All work would be outside the rest stops, such as mowing the grass, fixing the roofs and landscaping.

www.wtkr.com

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pocomoke Crime Reports for the Month of January

Family Offense    2011-01-01    1 Block SECOND STREET    ASSAULT - SECOND DEGREE

Assault    2011-01-02    700 Block TENTH STREET    ASSAULT - SECOND DEGREE

Family Offense    2011-01-03    200 Block BONNEVILLE AVENUE    ASSAULT - SECOND DEGREE

Breaking & Entering    2011-01-03    1000 Block LYNNHAVEN DRIVE    BURGLARY - FOURTH DEGREE

Theft    2011-01-04    1000 Block MARKET STREET    THEFT LESS THAN $100

Other    2011-01-05    1 Block CLARKE AVENUE    THEFT LESS THAN $500

Other    2011-01-06    400 Block WALNUT STREET    WARRANT

Theft    2011-01-07    500 Block LINDEN AVENUE    THEFT LESS THAN $100.00

Theft    2011-01-14    2100 Block OLD SNOW HILL ROAD    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Other    2011-01-15    200 Block MARKET STREET    ...DID WILLFULLY AND MALICIOUSLY [DESTROY/INJURE/DEFACE/MOLEST]___________(DESCRIBE), THE [REAL/PERSONAL] PROPERTY OF _______(OWNER/LESSEE, ETC.), THE AMOUNT OF DAMAGE HAVING A VALUE OF LESS THAN $500.00.

Other    2011-01-18    800 Block CLARKE AVENUE    ...DID WILLFULLY AND MALICIOUSLY [DESTROY/INJURE/DEFACE/MOLEST]___________(DESCRIBE), THE [REAL/PERSONAL] PROPERTY OF _______(OWNER/LESSEE, ETC.), THE AMOUNT OF DAMAGE HAVING A VALUE OF LESS THAN $500.00.

Theft    2011-01-19    2100 Block OLD SNOW HILL ROAD    THEFT LESS THAN $100

Theft    2011-01-20    600 Block LINDEN AVENUE    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Theft from Vehicle    2011-01-20    1200 Block CEDAR STREET    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Theft    2011-01-20    700 Block FIFTH STREET    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Breaking & Entering    2011-01-20    800 Block MARKET STREET    BURGLARY - FIRST DEGREE

Theft from Vehicle    2011-01-20    900 Block WALNUT STREET    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Theft from Vehicle    2011-01-20    800 Block CEDAR STREET    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Theft    2011-01-20    400 Block FIFTH STREET    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Breaking & Entering    2011-01-20    200 Block CARSONS COURT    BURGLARY - FIRST DEGREE

Theft    2011-01-21    500 Block LINDEN AVENUE    THEFT LESS THAN $100.00

Theft    2011-01-22    600 Block CEDAR STREET    THEFT LESS THAN $100.00

Theft    2011-01-20    600 Block LINDEN AVENUE    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Theft from Vehicle    2011-01-20    1200 Block CEDAR STREET    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Theft    2011-01-20    700 Block FIFTH STREET    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Breaking & Entering    2011-01-20    800 Block MARKET STREET    BURGLARY - FIRST DEGREE

Theft from Vehicle    2011-01-20    900 Block WALNUT STREET    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Theft from Vehicle    2011-01-20    800 Block CEDAR STREET    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Theft    2011-01-20    400 Block FIFTH STREET    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Breaking & Entering    2011-01-20    200 Block CARSONS COURT    BURGLARY - FIRST DEGREE

Theft    2011-01-21    500 Block LINDEN AVENUE    THEFT LESS THAN $100.00

Theft    2011-01-22    600 Block CEDAR STREET    THEFT LESS THAN $100.00

Theft    2011-01-22    800 Block CLARKE AVENUE    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Theft    2011-01-23    2100 Block OLD SNOW HILL ROAD    THEFT LESS THAN $100.00

Theft    2011-01-24    400 Block MARKET STREET    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Breaking & Entering    2011-01-24    2000 Block BYPASS ROAD    MOTOR VEH/UNLAWFUL TAKING

Other    2011-01-24    600 Block LYNNHAVEN DRIVE    WARRANT

Theft    2011-01-24    500 Block LINDEN AVENUE    THEFT LESS THAN $100.00

Theft    2011-01-25    1400 Block MARKET STREET    TRESPASS-POSTED PROPERTY

Other    2011-01-25    BANK AND GRAY STREET    WARRANT

Other    2011-01-25    400 Block LAUREL STREET    TRESPASS-POSTED PROPERTY

Other    2011-01-26    2100 Block OLD SNOW HILL    ...DID WILLFULLY AND MALICIOUSLY [DESTROY/INJURE/DEFACE/MOLEST]___________(DESCRIBE), THE [REAL/PERSONAL] PROPERTY OF _______(OWNER/LESSEE, ETC.), THE AMOUNT OF DAMAGE HAVING A VALUE OF LESS THAN $500.00.

Theft    2011-01-26    600 Block SECOND STREET    THEFT: LESS $500VALUE

Traffic    2011-01-26    RT 13 NORTH BOUND    DRIVER FAIL TO STOP AT STEADY CIRCULAR RED SIGNAL...

Other    2011-01-27    300 Block SECOND STREET    WARRANT

Theft from Vehicle    2011-01-27    1300 Block SNOW HILL LANE    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Traffic    2011-01-27    100 Block AMES PLAZA    FAILURE OF VEHICLE DRIVER TO STOP AFTER UNATTENDED (VEHICLE, PROPERTY) DAMAGE ACCIDENT...

Traffic    2011-01-27    900 Block MARKET STREET    FAILURE TO IMMEDIATELY RETURN AND REMAIN AT SCENE OF ACCIDENT INVOLVING BODILY INJURY...

Other    2011-01-27    300 Block SECOND STREET    ...DID WILLFULLY AND MALICIOUSLY [DESTROY/INJURE/DEFACE/MOLEST]___________(DESCRIBE), THE [REAL/PERSONAL] PROPERTY OF _______(OWNER/LESSEE, ETC.), THE AMOUNT OF DAMAGE HAVING A VALUE OF LESS THAN $500.00.

Other    2011-01-28    700 Block CLARKE AVENUE    BURGLARY/2ND DEGREE/GENERAL

Theft    2011-01-29    600 Block MARKET STREET    THEFT $100 - L/T 1,000

Other    2011-01-31    300 Block MARKET STREET    ...DID WILLFULLY AND MALICIOUSLY [DESTROY/INJURE/DEFACE/MOLEST]___________(DESCRIBE), THE [REAL/PERSONAL] PROPERTY OF _______(OWNER/LESSEE, ETC.), THE AMOUNT OF DAMAGE HAVING A VALUE OF LESS THAN $500.00.

Other    2011-01-31    2100 Block OLD SNOW HILL ROAD    ...DID WILLFULLY AND MALICIOUSLY [DESTROY/INJURE/DEFACE/MOLEST]___________(DESCRIBE), THE [REAL/PERSONAL] PROPERTY OF _______(OWNER/LESSEE, ETC.), THE AMOUNT OF DAMAGE HAVING A VALUE OF LESS THAN $500.00.

Theft    2011-01-31    500 Block LINDEN AVENUE    THEFT LESS THAN $100

SURF DOG RICOCHET & SPARKLES THE FIRE SAFETY DOG RAISE $5074 FOR TARGET, THE HERO DOG EUTHANIZED AFTER SAVING LIVES IN AFGHANISTAN

SAN DIEGO, CA, January 31, 2011… More than $5000 has been raised for Target's Bunker in a fundraiser that came out of USA Today's Most Heroic dog of 2010.  Surf Dog Ricochet, the SURFice dog, and Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog were among the five nominees, along with Target, the Afghanistan dog who saved many soldiers lives, only to lose hers to an erroneous euthanization.  Ricochet & Sparkles turned their votes into voices for Target, and began raising funds and awareness for her.

 On January 7th, Ricochet and Sparkles asked their supporters to turn their votes into voices during USA Today's Most Heroic Dog of 2010. In addition, they started a fundraiser through Puppy Prodigies/Surf Dog Ricochet, a non profit 501(c)3 organization to help Target's Bunker, founded by Target's family.  Donations came in from all over the country. Thanks to their generous donors, $5074 has been raised during this month long fundraiser.

Target saved the lives of many soldiers in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber walked into a Border Patrol compound.  Target, along with two other stray dogs, attacked the bomber.  Despite the bombing... she survived.  SGT Terry Young adopted Target, and brought her back to live with him in Arizona. One Friday afternoon, Target got out of the yard, and ended up in a shelter.  Tragically, by Monday morning, she was erroneously euthanized.  Target's Bunker has been formed with the hope of keeping another tragedy like Target's from happening ever again.

As this fundraiser comes to a close, a check for $5074 will be presented to SGT Terry Young in the name of Target's Bunker.  But, Ricochet has started a new fundraiser, "Tidal Wave for Target's Bunker" with the hopes of raising additional funds.  Since Target's Bunker is in it's infancy stages of development, donations will continue to be accepted through Puppy Prodigies/Surf Dog Ricochet.  Tax deductible donations can be made on behalf of Target's Bunker at http://www.SurfDogRicochet.com/Target.

Ricochet and Sparkles believe thousands and thousands of dollars can be raised for their hero, Target, and ask folks around the world to join their quest by making a donation, and/or help raise awareness by getting the word out about the new "Tidal Wave for Target's Bunker" fundraiser... which will ultimately save lives.

For more information, contact Judy Fridono/SurfDog Ricochet at pawinspired@aol.com, 707-228-0679

MARVA Theater 1950's [Guess Who] (BTTT)

These pictures were sent in by a reader.

From what I understand they were taken during a play performed at the MARVA in and around the mid 1950's

The reader request is that they would like to see if anyone can guess who the two young performers pictured are?

Do you know this cute couple?



Two Local Police Officers Arrested For DUI


Officer Acquitted on DUI Charge
Exmore Police Officer Raymond Justice, III was found not guilty for Driving Under the Influence and Failure to Maintain Control of a Vehicle at his court hearing on January 26th. The charge of Refusal to Submit to Sobriety Testing was dimissed on a technicality. The incident occured on October 30, 2010.

Upon learning of the charges against Justice, the Town of Exmore put him on administrative leave and he was later suspended without pay or benefits.

The Town has decided to continue the suspension until the Exmore Police Department conducts its own internal investigation.


Local Officer Involved in Accident and Charged with DUI
According to a Criminal Complaint filed in the General District Court in Accomac, Onley Town Police Officer Mark Whitney has been arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated after involvement in a two car accident on January 27th. Officer Whitney was arrested and released.
Since that time Officer Whitney has resigned.

Get Ready For SPRING

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. - With parts of the U.S. socked in by snow, the world's most famous groundhog predicts spring is on the way.

"The sky is here. Prepare yourself for spring," according to the prediction Punxsutawney Phil made through his handlers.

Punxsutawney Phil failed to see his shadow, signaling an early spring.

The forecasts are concocted by Phil's handlers, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's Inner Circle.

German tradition holds that if a hibernating animal sees its shadow on Feb. 2 -- the Christian holiday of Candlemas -- winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow is seen, legend says spring will come early.

Since 1887, Phil has seen his shadow 98 times and hasn't seen it 16 times, including this year. There are no records for the remaining years, though the group has never failed to issue a forecast.

www.wtop.com

hAPPy BiRThDAy tO yOu!!!!!

IF TODAY IS YOUR BIRTHDAY.......................

RAISE YOUR HAND !!!!

And then let's all get up and dance........

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CUZ ~~

Sending best wishes and lots of love.

Little Miss Hope Princess Tea




PRINCESS TEA for girls ages 3 to 10 to benefit Courtney Bloxom! All girls will receive a beautiful real tiara, sash, a beautiful princess skirt, photos and other goodies! And, they will all be introduced on stage at the pageant by Caressa Cameron, Miss America 2010.

NRP - Largest Poaching Sting in 25 Years

Natural Resources Police seized an illegal fishing net filled with nearly three tons of striped bass Tuesday morning off Bloody Point at the tip of Kent Island.

It is believed to be the largest single illegal netting of striped bass in a quarter of a century. The haul, with a market value of about $15,000, was so large that the 25-foot patrol boat had to radio the 73-foot buoy tender M/V J.C. Widener for help.

"My gosh, I did not expect this many fish," said Cpl. Roy Rafter, who spearheaded the operation that began Monday afternoon and continued overnight. "It's overwhelming."
Ten officers and Department of Natural Resources employees spent the afternoon at the Matapeake pier on Kent Island cutting fish out of netting and preparing them for sale. The fish averaged 27 inches and about 10 pounds, with some 40-inch fish mixed in.

The conservation community expressed anger at the latest example of lawlessness.

"This is another example of the staggering abuse of our state natural resources by gill nets," said Tony Friedrich, executive director of Coastal Conservation Association Maryland. "It also shows why NRP's effective enforcement of our marine laws is critical for a healthy bay."

Said Bill Goldsborough, a Chesapeake Bay Foundation scientist and member of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission: "The watermen's community has to step up more than it has and put its house in order. They have to put pressure on the illegal watermen." State officials, who have toughened penalties and stepped up prosecution, vowed to squeeze the poachers even harder. The public, in turn, is offering police tips as never before, said Joe Gill, DNR's deputy secretary and former assistant attorney general.

"This is a sign of good, aggressive police work. This is a sign we are catching offenders," he said. "I think it is unacceptable to the public, as perhaps it wasn't before, to allow this kind of poaching to go on."

Rafter said three unmarked nets were tied together and anchored to form a 900-yard-long death trap.

Gill nets that drift are legal in Maryland. But anchored gill nets — mazes of nylon mesh held in place on the bay bottom by multiple anchors — were banned in 1985 to protect the population of striped bass, also known as rockfish.

Watermen are required to stay within two miles of their gill nets because of the risk that large numbers of other fish could be caught in them and killed. They also are required to mark nets with plastic floats.

Rafter and Officers Greg Harris and Drew Wilson discovered the net Monday afternoon while dragging a popular illegal fishing area on the opening day of the gill net season. It is part of an annual cat-and-mouse game between poachers and their underwater nets and police with their hooks and sonar.

For example, NRP arrested eight Rock Hall watermen last February for numerous striped bass violations, including netting oversized fish. In 2001, 11 Rock Hall watermen were arrested for poaching in the Chester River and officers seized 3,950 pounds of striped bass with a market value of $6,200. In the winter of 1993, officers hauled up 22 illegal nets totaling five miles dotting the
Chesapeake Bay from Baltimore County to Calvert County.

On Monday, after hooking the net, the officers marked it and returned it to the bottom. At midnight, with snow and sleet falling, the officers staked out the area, hoping the poacher would return.

"Ice covered everything. We had to chip away at the build-up on the windows just to keep watch," said Rafter, a former waterman and deputy sheriff. "At dawn, the fog moved in. The only saving grace was the winds were calm and the water was flat."

At 7 a.m., they began hauling in the net and pulling out the fish. When the pile was 3-feet deep on the deck, they called for help. The Widener, on icebreaking duties in the Magothy River, headed across the bay.

The nets will be destroyed and money from the sale of the fish will go to buy more surveillance gear for NRP. Rafter said they have their suspicions about the identity of the poachers, "but it would be hard to prove."

In Memory Of Shadow

A very dear and special person to me had to put her dog to sleep yesterday. I hope this small tribute to Shadow helps mend her heavy heart. Many of you are dog lovers and I am sure you know what this grief is all about.
REST IN PEACE "SHADOW"
FAITHFUL FRIEND....................
YOU WILL BE MISSED............

AND WE WILL LOVE YOU ALWAYS. 2.1.11

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pocomoke Pizza Hut Closed



Pocomoke Pizza Hut is closed for good as of 2/1/2011 after 30 years of business here in Pocomoke.

If you liked Pizza Hut you will now have to travel to get a pizza, as of today it's locked down tight and boarded up.

"Extreme Makeover:Home Edition" At Work In Hampton Roads

Hampton Roads is giving a new home to Beverly Hill, Fred Burdette and their six adopted daughters.

The "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" team, in partnership with local builder Trademark Construction of Chesapeake and hundreds of area volunteers, is in Virginia Beach and over the next week to build a new home for this family, who live in a modest ranch house at 3020 Gentry Road, located just off South Lynnhaven Road behind Lynnhaven Mall. Team leader Ty Pennington and his designers surprised the family this morning while in church services, informing them of their good fortune.

Beginning Tuesday, the public can watch the build from special spectators viewing areas at the site; the public should park at Lynnhaven Mall and take shuttle buses to the construction site. To reach the mall, take I-64 to Norfolk, then I-264 toward the Virginia Beach oceanfront, exiting at Lynnhaven Parkway South, which leads you to Lynnhaven Mall.
Beverly Hill is known to have a heart of gold, and she's been sharing her love for 15 years with more than 35 foster kids, according to a press release. A friend nominated the family last year after the TV show announced it was looking for a deserving family in southeastern Virginia. After raising her two biological children, Beverly and Fred formally adopted six foster girls, who today range in age from 9 to 18. They started in the foster parent program with twins in 1992.

Hill also feeds and clothes the homeless, and Fred gives his wife most of the credit for the work they do.

"I'm a long-haul truck driver, so I'm only home for about a day and a half each week," he said. "It's been Beverly who does most of the work and makes all this happen." Beverly says her motivation comes from her faith.

"God told me to feed people just as he feeds me," she said. "I knew that I had to go out and help others and feed them just as God feeds me and my family every day.

"I cook them fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, hot bread ? good old Southern cooking. "I go where the homeless live, not in shelters, but in the woods, under bridges, wherever. I never ask them why they are there or what they are doing. The only thing we ask them is 'What do you need?'

"Even at Thanksgiving, no one at our house eats until we have gone out that day and fed dinner to the homeless first."

The Hill-Burdettes have inspired their daughters to give back to the community, and now they routinely participate in making meals and delivering necessities to those in need.

Unfortunately their 1,200-square-foot home, pictured here behind the family photo courtesy Drew Landkford, is not as giving as they are, and its failing construction is jeopardizing their passion for giving back. Faulty electrical wiring, a sagging ceiling, and a floor that is crumbling are a recipe for disaster. With only one working bathroom in a house with seven women, the house is overdue for a renovation.
In "Extreme Makeover" style, the show will tear down the old structure when a group of Mack trucks paves a path directly through the home Monday morning in advance of the 106-hour build.

In addition, four oversized trucks have been coming across state today from Martinsville to Virginia Beach, carrying the modular and panelized parts needed to construct the home. TowneBank is picking up the $6,000 bill for the costs associated with this part of the project.
The program is expected to air at 8 p.m. on ABC-TV in several weeks. The Build Team will begin construction immediately following Monday's demolition and expect to be done in time for the Reveal to the family, after they return from a Disney vacation, on Saturday, Feb. 5.

www.dailypress.com

Nine Virginia Travels Arrive Home From Egypt

Nine of 22 local travelers who were stuck in Egypt arrived home safely Sunday from the country, which erupted into massive anti-government protests last week.

Gerry Siekirski, co-owner of Warwick Travel in Newport News, said Monday that she is one of nine passengers who made it home early Sunday morning.

The 13 who were left behind — dubbed the "Cairo 13" by the travel agency — landed safely in Cyprus on Monday and will get to Norfolk about midnight Tuesday.

"Oh, yes, we're gonna be there," Siekirski said about meeting the group at the airport. "I'm alerting families right now."

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo began flying citizens to evacuation points in Europe on Monday. Unrest in Egypt had halted flights and snarled travel out of Cairo since Jan. 25, when tens of thousands of demonstrators began calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

They are citing social, economic and political injustice for decades. At least 100 Egyptians have died since protests began.

Students evacuating

Also in Egypt is a College of William and Mary student studying at the American University in Cairo, according to spokesman Brian Whitson. The student arrived there a week ago, Whitson said, and is now waiting at the airport in Cairo for a return flight to the United States.

American University has about 500 American students in Cairo, of which 350 are in study abroad programs, said university spokeswoman Morgan Roth.

"They have a few more days to confer with their parents and decide whether to leave, whether to leave and come back when classes resume, or whether to stay indefinitely," Roth wrote in an e-mail. "We will provide access to the airport for students as long as the Department of State is providing flights out."

The first plane-load of students arrived in Istanbul Monday morning she said, and airlifts will continue for several days.

Mass exodus

The Cairo airport is jammed this week with thousands of foreigners seeking to flee the unrest, Siekirski said.

"Some were sitting on top of their luggage, some laying beside their luggage, some pushing their luggage," she said. "It was a mass exodus of people trying to get back."

As co-owner of Warwick Travel, Siekirski said she tried to trade place with a client when her name was called out for a Delta flight leaving Cairo, but the airline refused to let her. The remaining local tourists are with co-owner Nancy Alligood, she said.

Countries evacuating their citizens from Egypt include the United States, Israel, Russia, the Czech Republic, and even Iraq, which is flying home for free all citizens, including refugees, who want to return.

Protests continue

There's no clear indication of when protests may end. Mubarak has held power for nearly 32 years and has ignored protestor demands that he step down. Instead, he named a vice president Saturday for the first time in his presidency. He also fired his entire cabinet then swore in a new one.

Protests are ongoing, though, with Egyptians making it clear they want Mubarak gone. Chants in Arabic include "Irhul Mubarak," or "Get out, Mubarak."

According to news reports, more than 40 percent of the Egyptian population of 80 million lives on $2 a day or less, and unemployment is rampant. Citizens are reportedly organizing a million-man march for Tuesday or Wednesday.

Siekirski said she and her group did not see any of the protests since they were in a hotel near the airport, rather than the center of the city. She called her clients "troopers."

"These people have traveled all over the world with me, this is just one more adventure," she said. "It turned out to be a greater adventure than we anticipated."

www.wtkr.com

Rigell's Office On Va. Eastern Shore To Remain Open


Congressman Scott Rigell has announced he will continue to operate an office on the Eastern Shore to better represent the needs of his constituents.


Sylvia Parks will continue to be the Eastern Shore's liason to our elected Representative in Washington DC. Below is the Eastern Shore office's contact information.


Eastern Shore Office
Post Office Box 447
23386 Front Street
Accomac, Va. 23301
757-789-5172
757-789-5175 fax
Sylvia.Parks@mail.house

Last Living WWI Veteran Celebrates Birthday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TODAY FRANK W. BUCKLESBy: Bill Lohmann
Frank Woodruff Buckles doesn't get out as much as he used to, and he doesn't have particularly big plans for his birthday tomorrow. (February 1st)

But then, he is turning 110.

You read that right: 110 .

For those who may not know, here is perhaps an even more stunning fact about Buckles: He's the last known American veteran from World War I, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and one of only three survivors worldwide recognized for direct service during the war. The others, as British subjects, served in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

"He's an unbelievable person," said David DeJonge, a Michigan photographer and president of the World War I Memorial Foundation who is making a documentary of Buckles' life and has become his spokesman.

Buckles lives on his West Virginia farm, near Charles Town, with his daughter, Susannah Buckles Flanagan, and round-the-clock caregivers. As you might expect, he is at almost 110 not in a condition to do cartwheels or make long speeches, but DeJonge reports that Buckles "continues to have great daily discussions with his daughter and caregivers." He occasionally wrestles with illness but is "a fighter and continues to pull through," DeJonge said.

"His daughter reports he's in great spirits and looking forward to his 115th," DeJonge said with a laugh.

I visited Buckles last year at his farm. We chatted about one of his favorite people, Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing. How many people can you talk to who actually knew Pershing when he was leader of the U.S. forces in Europe in World War I?

When they met, Buckles was still a kid; he'd grown up on a farm in Missouri and fibbed about his age so he could enlist in the Army at 16 and head off to war. Pershing noted Buckles' Missouri dialect and asked where he was born. Buckles told him. Pershing's reply: "Thirty-three miles, as the crow flies, from where I was born."

"I had great respect for Pershing," Buckles said. "He was real tough. He didn't have a smile on his face, but that was all right with me."

Seeking the quickest route to the western front, Buckles joined the ambulance service and shipped to England in late 1917. He arrived in France a few months before the shooting stopped in November 1918. After the war, he escorted prisoners of war back to Germany.

World War II was a more painful experience, though he was no longer in the military. He was working as a civilian in the steamship business in the Philippines when he was captured by the Japanese and held as a prisoner at Los BaƱos for more than three years.

Through fate and good health, Buckles has become the modern face of The Great War, and he has lent his voice to the call to restore and rededicate the World War I Memorial in Washington.

DeJonge met Buckles four years ago as he began work on a documentary about the last U.S. survivors of the war. Within a matter of months, Buckles was the last one, and DeJonge began spending considerable time with him, conducting interviews on camera "to get every ounce of memory out of him," DeJonge said.

DeJonge has several hundred hours of interviews and other footage he hopes to transform into a documentary, "Pershing's Last Patriot." Actor Richard Thomas, of "The Waltons" and "All Quiet on the Western Front," has agreed to provide the narration, said DeJonge, who is trying to piece together the funding for the documentary, as well as a proposed larger-than-life bronze statue that has been designed by Pennsylvania sculptor Gregory Marra. The planned statue depicts Buckles with Pershing's riderless horse, and, depending on available financing, could be placed near Buckles' home in West Virginia.

DeJonge has had the privilege of accompanying Buckles to such places as Pershing's home in Missouri, the Pentagon and the White House for a visit with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office.

A highlight?

"Being corrected on history when we were in the West Wing," DeJonge said with a laugh.

"I saw that very famous painting of George Washington crossing the river, and I said, 'Mr. Buckles, look, there's George Washington crossing the Potomac.' He said, 'I believe that's the Delaware.'"

www.timesdispatch.com

Monday, January 31, 2011

Two Arrested For Burglary and Related Charges

POCOMOKE CIT>, Md.- Two Pocomoke City men are facing burglary and related charges after being accused of stealing copper from 11 different locations throughout the city.

Pocomoke City police say that on Friday, Jan. 28, an officer on patrol in 800 block of Clarke Avenue observed two men carrying copper tubing in a bed sheet. Authorities say that when the pair noticed the officer, they abandoned the copper and entered a home.

The officer located both suspects, who after questioning were arrested for stealing copper from the following locations in Pocomoke City between November 2010 and January 2011:





  • 109 Willow St.


  • 618 Clarke Ave.


  • 508 Market St.


  • 406 2nd St.


  • 600 Young St.


  • 812 Clarke Ave.


  • 714 5th St.


  • 405 5th St.


  • 622 Cedar St.


  • 407 Market St.


  • 606 2nd St.

The suspects, identified as 45-year-old Kevin Roger Fisher (top) and 51-year-old Edgeforth Waters,(below) were charged with several counts of burglary, theft and malicious destruction of property. They are being held in lieu of $15,000 bond each.

www.wboc.com

Some Interesting Words.........

Observations and Reflections on Legislative Activities

By Delegate Mike McDermott

January 17th-23rd

  • The session opened on Monday evening with a presentation by Delegate Shawn Tarrant reflecting on the life and legacy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The delegate offered some interesting insights reflecting on many struggles and triumphs by African-American Marylanders.
  • On Tuesday, the committee heard from the Chief Judge Ben Clyburn of Maryland’s District Court system concerning the digitalization of court records. He first reviewed the success of implementing the E-Ticket system (computer generated traffic tickets) which is now utilized on over 50% of all tickets issued. Concerning the coming consolidations and changes, there were many questions regarding some of the operational details which they were not prepared to answer, but the dialogue was helpful. It was suggested that the working committee overseeing the changes for the district courts should include representation from the Judiciary Committee. This was resisted by the Chief Judge as a separation of powers issue. The problem is the District Court is spending money and making decisions about future expenses without input from legislators who will be the ones deciding on funding. Without legislative approval, a lot of tax dollars are at risk of being wasted by a committee preparing for change that may not be fully funded. It was a good example of a failure to partner by government entities which could create significant problems in the future.
  • On Wednesday, I met with a representative of the License Beverage Holders to discuss their recommended changes to the wholesale operations of the Worcester County Liquor Control Board. They had made a presentation to the Worcester County Commissioners on Tuesday. I am waiting to hear back from the commissioners regarding their thoughts on the operations of the LCB before crafting any legislation.
  • On Thursday, the Judiciary Committee received a report from the Chairman of the Parole Commission, David Blumburg, regarding their activities in the past year. Also present in the audience for the review were several wardens and other local correctional service staff from across Maryland. There was much debate over the effectiveness of the Parole Commission in meeting the needs of the local correctional facilities. In fact, at times, members of the Committee had to referee between those speaking to the Committee and those in the audience.
    1. Two discussion items stood out: first, it was reported to us that inmates receiving “Good Time” Credits had a higher recidivism rate that than those who served out more of their sentence. I found this interesting considering that we are rewarding inmates for behaving by letting them go early, only to have them offend again. I was not the only delegate thinking that perhaps we should consider eliminating these credits.
    2. The second issue was the cost of parole monitoring. This cost is suppose to be paid in full by the inmate during his parole/probation time. I was surprised to learn that the Commission Chairman provides a waiver of these fees whenever he is asked to do so; and, further, if the inmate does not pay the fees (Rule 10 of their parole/probation requirements), the Commission does not violate them nor does it require them to make the payments. I found this outrageous and I advised the Chairman that I expected him to fully collect all monies owed to the State of Maryland by any inmate being given the privilege of parole/probation. It is interesting to note that the Governor’s Budget for this year includes a 4 million dollar increase in the fees charged for Parole and Probation Supervision by the state. Sounds like the governor may want to have a sit down with his Parole Commission Chairman before he counts on any money from these guys!
  • In my comments for this past week, I would be remiss if I did not mention an incident which occurred on the floor of the House during the Thursday morning session. One of our Baltimore County Delegates stood and gave a somber tribute to a Baltimore County Fireman, Mark Falkenhan, killed in the line of duty the previous day. The two were very good friends and it was a very heavy, emotional moment in the House. I had stood up to introduce my family and was recognized by the Speaker immediately after this somber moment. I felt compelled to ask the Speaker for permission to pray for the Firefighters family and our colleague who was in mourning. This request was denied based upon some bizarre sense of House protocols that made even less sense once they were explained. I then requested a simple moment of silence. This too was rejected. It seems in the peoples House, a prayer can be said to start the meeting, but we will not do so at any other time. Fortunately, several delegates came over after the session was adjourned and we prayed together for the Firefighters family and our colleague. I received many comments from veteran and freshman delegates alike later in the day indicating that they thought I had done the right thing and they thought it quite strange that my request was not allowed.

I understand protocol, and I respect the Speaker, but I think this unwritten rule is not in the best interest of the House or the people of Maryland. If anything, we need more prayer on the floor of the people’s House.

Man Accused Of Kidnapping Brittany Smith Says She Rode Along Voluntarily

Accused abductor Jeffrey Easley said in a letter from jail that 12-year-old Brittany Smith was his willing cross-country travelling companion.

"I did not kidnapp her or take her aginest her will," Easley, 32, wrote in a letter postmarked Thursday from the Western Virginia Regional Jail. "She made me promise not to leave her."

The one-page letter, hand-printed on lined notebook paper, contains misspellings and lacks punctuation. It doesn't mention the slaying of Tina Smith, 41, who was Easley's girlfriend and Brittany's mother.

"I want the truth out there not all these storys," Easley writes.

It continues: "I made a promise to britt in front of her mom back in july

"i promised never to leave her behind and always to protect her. that what I did."

Tina Smith was found slain at her western Roanoke County home Dec. 6, the same day police discovered that Easley, Brittany and Smith's Dodge Neon were missing. Police found the pair a week later, camping in downtown San Francisco.

Easley was charged with abducting Brittany. Police have called him a suspect in Smith's killing, but no one has been charged.

His letter responds to a Roanoke Times request to interview him.

"Its about time," the letter begins.

Easley told jail authorities on Friday that he would agree to a jailhouse interview, but quickly changed his mind and said he wanted his attorney, Thomas Roe, present. Roe, angry that a reporter had contacted Easley, declined to elaborate on Easley's letter.

"It's way too early in the case," Roe said. "It could hurt his defense."

Brittany has retained Altavista attorney Glenn Berger, who in 1997 won a dismissal of murder charges against an 8-year-old Franklin County boy accused of beating his stepfather to death. Berger would not answer questions about whether Brittany will testify against Easley, or whether she is cooperating with police.

Brittany's father, Benny Smith, a police officer in South Boston, said he did not want to talk about the investigation.

He said Brittany shares time with him and other relatives, sees a counselor twice a week and is being home-schooled.

"Brittany is doing a lot better than anybody thought she would be at this time," Smith said Friday. "She's tough, and she'll make it through all this."

Tina Smith's stepmother said she doesn't understand why no one has been charged in the slaying.

"I'm sitting here going, 'Why isn't this guy being charged with my daughter's death?' " said Liz Dyer, who lives in South Boston, Tina Smith's hometown.

"I know it's not forgotten, but I just would prefer that I could see some evidence that he's going to be charged."

Roanoke County police Lt. Chuck Mason said in a statement on Friday that his detectives and the Roanoke County commonwealth's attorney's office have been actively investigating "the crimes committed against Tina and Brittany Smith." Mason wouldn't answer questions about the case.

"It takes time to complete forensic examinations and to analyze the enormous volume of evidence compiled in this case so far," Mason said in the statement. "Let me assure you when the investigation is complete, and we have a case that is ready for court, we will place charges for the crimes that were committed."

Easley, a landscaper whose mother lives in Franklin County, met Tina Smith online over the summer and moved into the Smiths' home in October. The three became close, according to their postings on social media websites.

Brittany's MySpace page mentions that she and Easley worked out and watched movies together. He called her "Short Stack." She called him "Handcuff Buddy."

Even if Brittany willingly accompanied Easley, the law doesn't care. She's 12, not old enough to give legal consent, police and prosecutors have said.

Easley was being held in solitary confinement at the regional jail. A preliminary hearing on the abduction charge is scheduled for Feb. 8.

www.roanoke.com

House Fire Claims The Life Of One

Sanford,Virginia--Virginia fire departments were called to the scene of a house fire on Saxis Road at 2:30 AM Sunday morning. The home located at 25246 Saxis Road was reported to have flames showing and an occupant still inside the dwelling.

Once the crews arrived on the scene they were able to enter the structure and locate the victim.

Fire departments from Saxis, Bloxom, New Church and Atlantic responded and remained on the scene for several hours to assist in the investigation.

Virginia State Police Investigator Neal is handling the investigation.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Household Items Needed

Any and all household items.

My son is venturing out on his own and is renting a house. He is 18 years old and this is his first time out on his own so he has absolutely nothing to start out with. Nothing.

If anyone has anything at all that you have been wanting to get out of your way please let me know before you throw it away, my son may very well be in need of it.

We have a truck so no item is to big.

So before you throw out that old toaster give me a shout.

You can contact me at pcitypubliceye@gmail.com or you can contact him directly at TBAyres@comcast.net

Thanks

Open Every Day!!



GOOD HOME COOKING EVERY DAY !!


SUNDAY BRUNCH


BLUE PLATE SPECIAL - $5.95


DINE in or CARRY OUT