Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mayor McDermott To Be Sworn Into House of Delegates On Jan. 12

POCOMOKE CITY, Md. - The town of Pocomoke will soon be losing its mayor, but not just yet.

Mayor Mike McDermott will be sworn into the House of Delegates for District 38-B on Jan. 12.

City officials say McDermott will remain mayor until then. At that point, Robert Hawkins, the First Vice-President of the City Council, will take on mayoral responsibilities, but not the official title. Hawkins will continue to serve as a councilman.

A new mayor will be elected in the city's scheduled elections in April of 2011.

2010 Pardoned Turkey Will Live At Mount Vernon

WASHINGTON – The turkey President Barack Obama will pardon this year for Thanksgiving is going to George Washington's house, not Mickey Mouse's, after his life is spared.

(2009 Turkey Pardon)

A Disneyland spokesman said Friday that after five years of taking turkeys, the park will no longer become home to the bird that the president pardons in an annual White House ceremony. Instead, after Obama pardons the turkey Wednesday, the fortunate fowl will live out the rest of its life at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate in Virginia.

"We're moving on to do new things and surprise our guests with new things," said Disneyland spokesman John McClintock.

Presidents have been pardoning a turkey at Thanksgiving for years, but where the bird goes after its White House cameo has changed. For 15 years, until 2004, the birds went to a historic farm in Herndon, Va.: Frying Pan Farm Park.

Disneyland took over in 2005 when the California park was celebrating its 50th anniversary. The pardoned turkey and an alternate — Marshmallow and Yam — got a police escort to the airport and flew first class to California.

Marshmallow became the grand marshal of Disneyland's Thanksgiving parade, and the sign above his float read "The Happiest Turkey on Earth." The turkeys then retired to a coop at the park's Big Thunder Ranch, where three of the other pardoned birds — "Courage" and "Carolina" from 2009 and 2008's "Pecan" — still live. Florida's Disney World got the birds from 2007, when they arrived on a United Airlines flight that was renamed "Turkey One."

The 21-week-old turkey being pardoned this year will arrive in Washington from California next week and stay at the W Hotel, just a block from the White House. Once at Mount Vernon, he'll be driven to his pen in a horse-drawn carriage and be greeted with a trumpet fanfare.

Emily Coleman Dibella, a spokeswoman for Mount Vernon, says it's appropriate that the turkey will go to Washington's home. In 1789, Washington became the first president to issue a Thanksgiving proclamation, and the Washingtons also raised and ate turkeys at Mount Vernon. Wild turkeys still roam the estate.

The pardoned Tom will not, however, be put on permanent display at Mount Vernon, which prides itself on historical accuracy. The large white turkey the president will pardon is not like the smaller brown birds the Washingtons would have had. After Mount Vernon's holiday festivities end Jan. 6, the turkey and his alternate will be cared for behind the scenes.

Pilots Exempt From Some Security Screenings

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Transportation Security Administration has agreed to let airline pilots skip the security scanning and pat-downs that passengers face at the nation's airports, pilot groups said Friday.

Beginning Friday, pilots traveling in uniform or on airline business will be allowed to pass security by presenting two photo IDs, one from their company and one from the government, to be checked against a secure flight crew database, the TSA said.

The Obama administration's retreat on screening pilots comes less than a week before the hectic Thanksgiving holiday travel period. Some travelers are threatening to protest the security measures by refusing to go through the scanning machines. Airlines are caught in the middle.

Pilots welcomed the changes.

"This looks good. It's basically what we've been after for 10 years," says Sam Mayer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association at American Airlines, the union that raised objections to the new screening process about two weeks ago. "Pilots are not the threat here; we're the target."

Pilots have also argued that it made no sense to subject them to the same screening process as passengers since they control the plane. If they were intent on terrorism, they could crash it and the scanners wouldn't provide extra safety.

TSA offered few details about the specific changes in screening of pilots, which expands a program tested at airports in Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Charlotte, N.C.

"Pilots are trusted partners who ensure the safety of millions of passengers flying every day," said TSA Administrator John Pistole. He said putting pilots through a faster screening process would be a more efficient use of the agency's resources.

Pistole has defended the invasive pat-downs and said intelligence about potential terrorist attacks and plots to evade airport security have guided these changes.

Still, some lawmakers want a review of the government's pat-down procedure.

Pilots have complained about possible health effects from radiation emitted by full-body scanners that produce a virtually naked image, and they said that pat-downs by security inspectors were demeaning. Passengers have lodged similar complaints, but the government is not changing the screening requirements for air travelers.

Federal Police Officer Gets Probation For Shooting Family Pet, Bear-Bear

Federal police officer Keith Elgin Shepherd was fined and given probation before judgment Friday for shooting a Siberian husky he claimed attacked his pet and was threatening him and his wife at a community dog park in Severn in August.

"We are overjoyed that it's gotten this far," Rachel Rettaliata told Anne Arundel County District Judge Thomas J. Pryal. She and her husband, Ryan Rettaliata owned Bear-Bear, the dog shot in the Quail Run community dog park and injured so severely that it had to be euthanized. "Our lives have been turned upside down."

After a 31/2-hour trial, Pryal called the shooting of Bear-Bear "an overreaction" and said it was unreasonable, causing pain and suffering to the 3-year-old dog.

Pryal said he was ready to convict Shepherd, 32, on charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty and, with the nearest home about 66 yards away, discharging his personal handgun within 100 yards of homes in the Quail Run neighborhood. He offered Shepherd probation before judgment, allowing him to avoid a criminal record if he successfully completes probation.

Shepherd accepted the terms and, barring new criminal charges or not fulfilling the conditions of probation, he will have the opportunity to have his record expunged in three years. He cannot appeal.

Pryal fined Shepherd $500 for animal cruelty and gave him a suspended fine of $1,000 on the handgun charge. During his one-year unsupervised probation, he must complete 80 hours of community service.

During the trial, testimony from the two sides about what happened at the dog park was in conflict.

While on the stand, Shepherd said that Bear-Bear had bitten his dog around the neck, then bared its teeth at him. Seeing no rock or stick to use, he took a few steps back, pulled his personal Glock and shot the dog once, then called 911, telling the dispatcher to make sure animal control officers came to help the wounded dog.

Assistant State's Attorney Kimberly DiPietro argued that Shepherd had other options for handling what Shepherd perceived as a threatening situation for himself, his wife and his German shepherd.

"Did you kick Bear-Bear?" she asked Shepherd in cross-examination.

"No," he replied.

The verdict left the community that has rallied around the Rettaliatas — thousands locally and online — with mixed feelings. About 15 supporters attended part or all of the trial, some carrying "Justice for Bear-Bear" signs outside the courthouse before the trial, others wearing "Justice for Bear-Bear" T-shirts with Bear-Bear buttons pinned to their clothing. The Justice for Bear-Bear Facebook page has more than 15,600 members.

"I think the judge made the right decision," said Pamela Semies, a retiree who came from Halethorpe to attend the trial. "I would have liked to see the judge make the penalty stiffer."

She said she believed the judge made it clear that shooting the dog was the wrong way for Shepherd to handle the situation.

"I don't think Bear-Bear's death was in vain. A person will think a little more next time. Suppose [the bullet] would have ricocheted and hit a child, a person," she said.

Wendy Cozzone, who operates Cheryl's Rescue Ranch in Gambrills and heads the Anne Arundel County Animal Welfare Council, said it was important to see that Shepherd was held publicly accountable for a bad decision that proved fatal to someone's pet.

"I just wish one time, one of these cases, animal abuse cases, a statement would be made. And then someone says, 'Boy, I better not abuse animals or neglect animals. I might get that kind of a sentence,' because the judge says you're going to get the toughest fine you can get," she said. "I guess we take it one step at a time."

The Rettaliatas declined to comment as they left the courtroom. But their expressions were buoyant, a contrast to when they were listening to testimony, when Rachel Rettaliata appeared to sniffle and Ryan Rettaliata looked somberly down at the floor.

David Putzi, Shepherd's defense attorney, said he was not surprised but understood the rationale of the judge's decision.

Shepherd accepted the probation agreement, Putzi said, because "I think he wants to move on."

How this might affect Shepherd's work — he is a civilian police sergeant for the Army at Joint Command Myer-Henderson Hall in Northern Virginia and serves as a sergeant in the Army Reserves — is unclear.

"I think he's optimistic that it won't have too negative an impact," Putzi said. Shepherd, as a federal officer, was allowed to carry a personal weapon while off duty.

The prosecutor was pleased with the trial's outcome.

"I'm happy that he was held accountable for his actions," DiPietro said.

During her cross-examination of Shepherd, she noted that he did not get Bear-Bear's leash to hit him with, did not try to grab the dog's rear legs or take the leash of his German shepherd, Asia, from his wife. His wife did not drop Asia's leash, and neither Shepherd nor his wife retreated from the dog park through any of its three gates, she said.

Rachel Rettaliata's brother, Steven Ryan Kurinij, who lives with the couple, said he'd taken Bear-Bear to the private dog park about 6 p.m., as he often did. The Shepherds arrived later with Asia. The couple asked whether Bear-Bear was friendly, and after Kurinij said yes, the Shepherds said Asia was friendly, too, and entered.

Kurinij described two dogs playing, up on their hind legs making "little grunts," followed by Shepherd's wife screaming and Shepherd shouting.

"He told me, 'You'd better get your dog,' and he pulled out what I thought was a Taser and shot it — in the abdomen" in a sequence that took just seconds. Asked by DiPietro why he didn't jump in to get Bear-Bear, Kurinij replied, "I didn't have time to." Under cross-examination by Putzi, Kurinij said that at no time did it seem to him that the dogs were fighting.

In contrast, Shepherd said the dogs started out playing, but said that once his timid dog backed away, the husky attacked. He described a nearly minute-long sequence that included Bear-Bear's biting his dog around the neck, his wife "calling out hysterically" and him moving to grab Bear-Bear's collar, only to see the husky turn toward him.

He said he shouted a dozen times at Kurinij to get his dog but "he did absolutely nothing." Fearing for his wife as the husky bared its teeth, he shot the dog, he said.

Initially, county police closed the case, said Detective Tom Middleton. But the case was not really closed, he said, because his supervisor had not signed off on it.

Amid a public uproar, County Executive John R. Leopold ordered a full police investigation. Meanwhile, the state's attorney's office was reviewing the initial information and later solicited information from the state attorney general's office and federal officials. Charges were brought about two weeks after the shooting.

The Rettaliatas have adopted two huskies since Bear-Bear was shot. The Shepherd family has moved from the neighborhood.

Unusual Number of Structure Fires Being Investigated

State Police are investigating the rash of fires that occured on both ends of the Eastern Shore late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

The 911 Center received a reports of a fire at 10:20 PM at 5202 Cobbs Station Rd. near Cheriton.

At 10:21 there was a report of a fire at 23776 Ann's Cove Rd. near Bloxom.
Another fire was called into the 911 center at 11:20 which was at 64 Kerr St. in Onancock.

Then at 3:30 AM fire destroyed a building at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Wachapreague.

State Police investigators are trying to determine if any of the fires were arson and if there is any connection among them. It is very unusual to have that many fires within such a short period of time on the Eastern Shore.

Virginia Institure of Marine Science Burned

A fire destroyed the main research building at the Eastern Shore Laboratory of the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science on Thursday.

Seaside Hall included a small library, classroom space, offices and laboratories. No one was inside the building, which broke out in the early hours of Thursday morning. Firefighters responded to the scene less than five minutes after receiving notice. The fire is under investigation by State Police.

Mark Luckenbach, director of the lab, says the fire destroyed all of the equipment and materials in the facility, located in Wachapreague. The 2,368-square-foot Seaside Hall held computers, microscopes, glassware and lab gear, along with a shellfish collection and preserved specimens of fish and invertebrates. A collection of pressed algae with specimens dating back to the 1960s was lost, as well. No living creatures were housed inside the building.

No computer data was lost, however, because digital files are backed up to servers in other buildings or on the web, Luckenbach says. The staff is now created an inventory of the building’s contents to file insurance claims. VIMS Risk Manager Carol Tomlinson is estimating the value of the building and its contents to be more than $1 million.

Two state biologists working for the Virginia Department of Games and Inland Fisheries and the Division of Natural Heritage, respectively, leased space in the building, and also lost materials and equipment.

Public events scheduled to take place at the building have been cancelled, including a lecture on summer flounder on Dec. 1.

The Eastern Shore Laboratory serves as both a field station for VIMS and as a site for resident research in coastal ecology and aquaculture. In its 40 years, it has become internationally recognized for its shellfish research.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I thought this sounded good! Here is a turkey recipe that also includes
the use of popcorn as a stuffing ingredient -- imagine that. When I found
this recipe, I thought it was perfect for people like me, who just are not
sure how to tell when turkey is thoroughly cooked, but not dried out. Give
this a try. 

8 - 15 lb. turkey 

1 cup melted butter 

1 cup stuffing (Pepperidge Farm is Good) 

1 cup un-popped popcorn (ORVILLE REDENBACHER'S LOW FAT IS BEST)

Salt/pepper to taste 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Brush turkey well with melted butter, salt, and pepper. 

Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. 

Place in baking pan making sure the neck end is toward the front of the oven, not the back. 

After about 4 hours listen for the popping sounds.
When the turkey's ass blows the oven door open and the bird flies across
the room,.... it's done.

An Opinion On The Sprinkler Requirement

Remember the 'residential fire sprinkler requirements' that and the comments circulating around Pocomoke City AND Worcester County? Please read this. It seems Stewart Dobson is trying to "get a handle on their logic."

Some people might wonder why I believe the new residential fire sprinkler requirement that’s sweeping the country is a load of bovine-generated biomass.

It’s simple. Advocates argue that some 3,500 people die each year in house fires and that this will help lower that number. But if the main concern of governments is to save our lives — at our own expense — think about this:

More than 51,000 people die of colon cancer every year, according to the National Cancer Institute, 14 times the number of people who will lose their lives in house fires, yet neither the federal, state or local government has seen fit to require us to install an early warning detection system where the sun don’t shine.

I’m trying to get a handle on their logic.

Seeing how my *** apparently belongs to the government, one would think it would want to do more to protect it from far greater dangers instead of demanding only that I water it down in case of fire.

Personally, if all I had was smoke detectors in my house, which I do, and if the alarm sounded, I would get my *** out of there, thus saving it a fraction of the cost.

On the other hand, while we have the Southern Building Code, the BOCA building code and the International Code Council, et al, we do not have a formally adopted Southern *** Code, BOCA *** Code or an International *** Council, which means that for now, anyway, our ***es are unregulated, as anyone who has been to Wal-Mart will attest.

Another factor might be that the zoning code makes no provision for a single-family ***, a high-rise *** and a multi-unit ***, although there is a good argument that Congress would fall in the latter category.

But I’m serious about this. If this is all about saving lives, what’s the difference between requiring people to pay for a sprinkler system they may not want but could save their lives and mandating colonoscopies that they may not want and could save their lives?

Governments will no doubt respond that your *** is none of their business, unless, of course, you are preparing to fly commercially, in which case, they are going to check your *** out before allowing you to check in.

Considering all this, I have a suspicion that this particular aspect of the building code, has less to do with saving our ***es than we are led to believe.

After all, if protecting our ***es is what this is about, a wiser and more cost-effective expenditure would be the $3,000 average cost of a colonoscopy than the average $4,000 cost of a fire sprinkler system, albeit the former costs more on a per square foot basis.

Then again, government’s preference for mandated sprinkler systems over mandated colonoscopies could be more fundamental.

I’m sure that even with the job shortage these days, finding a qualified *** inspector would be difficult unless, of course, you’re flying commercially.

by:Steve Dobson
The Public Eye

Oglesby To Begin Job At State's Attorney In Early January

by: Christine Cullen
(Nov. 19, 2010) The race to become the next state’s attorney for Worcester County came to an end last Friday, when incumbent Joel Todd conceded defeat to his challenger, Beau Oglesby, in the close contest.

Todd, who has been the state’s attorney since January 1995 and was a deputy prosecutor since 1985, bowed out of the race after the second round of absentee ballots were tallied Nov. 12. Oglesby held a 90- vote lead over the incumbent, which proved to be insur- mountable with only a handful of ballots left to be counted next week.

“It has been my honor and pleasure to serve the citizens and visitors of Worcester County as a prosecutor since July 1, 1985. Justice, and only justice, has been my pursuit throughout that time. I have done the very best that I know how to do,” Todd wrote in a statement conceding victory to his opponent.

Todd ended the second absentee vote count with 10,4675 votes to Oglesby’s 10,555. The final tally of 35 absentee ballots that were held over, plus ballots sent in by members of the military, will take place Nov. 22, but there will not be enough ballots left for Todd to overtake Oglesby’s lead.

If all 50 military ballots that were sent out are returned, the total number of voted to be counted on Nov. 22 would be 85, which is fewer than what Todd would need to win. As of Monday, the county Board of Elections had received 14 military ballots.

This was the second time Todd and Oglesby ran head-to-head for the office. Oglesby, a deputy state’s attorney in Caroline County, also challenged Todd in 2006. That election was even closer than the 2010 race: Todd retained the office by just 14 votes.

“We’re very happy with the outcome. We know our work is going to be cut out for us. We’re looking forward to proving to the voters who voted for me that their trust was well placed, and we look forward to earning the trust of those in the county that weren’t quite ready to vote for me,” Oglesby said Monday.

Oglesby will take the helm of the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office in early January. Until then, he will be on double-duty: continuing to prosecute cases in Caroline County and getting familiar with the major cases under way in Worcester County to ensure he is ready to take over prosecution.

“We’re already engaged in getting up to speed on all of the cases. I’ve already met with members of [the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation] regarding some of the homicide cases, and I will meet with them on all pending major cases,” he said.

“I intend to make the way as smooth for him as I can,” Todd said in the statement. “I pledge to the voters that during the remaining time in my term of office I will do everything I can to prepare him for the cases and issues awaiting him on the first Monday of January 2011.”

In his 25 years working for and running the state’s attorney’s office, Todd said he feels he has made a positive impact on crime in the county. When Oglesby takes over in January, Todd will return to life as a private citizen and he is looking forward to the privacy that will bring.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have served. Now, I’m looking forward to not having to live my life under a microscope any more,” he said Monday.

Concert To Benefit Assateague Island Lighthouse

CHINCOTEAGUE --A concert on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge to benefit the
Restoration Fund for the Assateague Island Lighthouse will see the debut of "The Light of Assateague," a ballad specially written for this occasion.

Bill Troxler, whose musical group Three Sheets will perform the concert, is well-known in Washington and Baltimore circles for his hammer dulcimer workshops. Troxler has now written a new ballad to celebrate the 143 years that the Assateague Light has sent its signal out over the waves.

Those years have caused weathering to windows, walls and metalwork.

Restoration was started in 2009 but more remains to be done.

The concert is set for Friday, Nov. 26, at 7 pm. Tickets are $20 and all proceeds go toward lighthouse restoration work. Tickets are available at H&H Pharmacy, Egret Moon Artworks or Chincoteague Natural History Association at 757-336-3696.

At The MarVa Theater ~ Don't Miss It!

Accomack County Supervisors Still Have NO Answers

By Linda Spence

The Accomack County Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, November 17, at the board chambers in Accomac.

Well, the top 20 delinquent tax payers don't have to be concerned about their names being in lights, on a big sign that is, but Supervisor Donald Hart isn't letting them off easy. Hart stated that these people have owed this money for a long time. Hart went on to say it's not fair to the low income, fixed income, elderly and other citizens who pay their taxes on time. The board agreed that the names of those delinquent tax payers will be put in big, bold letters in an advertisement in both local papers. To avoid this from happening, these county property owners need to pay up now.

Several citizens addressed the board during the public comment part of the meeting, including Accomack County Citizen Toni Trepanier; Trepanier asked the board why the county has citizens social security numbers to begin with. She said the county doesnt extend credit and she has never asked for credit and doesn't understand they have her social security number. Trepanier was referring to the county's stolen laptop that contained citizens' private information.
Concerning that stolen laptop, County Administrator Steve Miner gave an update. He reported that he has met with the Counties insurance advisors and their IT Specialists who made a number of recommendations that are being implemented, including encrypted software that is being installed. He also stated that the County Attorney's office is set up for any claims of fraud. According to Miner, there have been no reported cases of fraud that are affiliated with the stolen laptop and he encourages the citizens to remain vigilant.

According to County Attorney Mark Taylor, the notice provided by the county regarding the laptop theft complied and was approved by the VA Attorney General's Office. He stated that they have no information at this point that anyones identity information has been misused as a result of this theft. He continued, "it is most likely that the information has been cleared and the laptop has been resold. We would like to think that happened, but we cannot and have not proceeded on that basis. We have tried our best to protect our citizens without educating the crook on what could be on the computer."

And there's another crisis in the county, but this one has 4 legs. There's simply too many cats that are unvaccinated which can easily contribute to feline disease and most importantly rabies. Supervisor Ron Wolff had led the proposed idea of requiring cats to be licensed, but after talking to citizens and learning more about the issue, now believes that licensing will not achieve what he had hoped. He withdrew his attempt to license cats and the board voted unanimously to find a group of citizens who can come up with possibilities to help find a solution for the rabies and overpopulation problem.

5 Year Old Donates Life Savings To Fire Department

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Financial support to help rebuild the Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department has poured in from across West Virginia and the country, but none touched members of the department more than the donation of one boy's savings.

On Saturday, Joshua Shaffer, 5, wearing a firefighter's hat and jacket -- his Halloween costume -- donated $45.85 from his plastic piggy bank.

The money, made up of change, was his life savings.

The department lost its main station, three trucks and nearly all of its equipment in an electrical fire on Oct. 1.

Shaffer's donation epitomizes the support from the community, especially the children, said Tom Miller, secretary of the 40-member department's board of directors.

Elementary, middle and high school students from across Kanawha County and the state have raised more than $5,000 through fundraisers, Miller said.

"There are just no words to describe it," Miller said.

J.T. Shaffer, Joshua's father, said Saturday his son decided to donate his savings after watching a YouTube video of the fire that destroyed the main station.

"They can't do it all by themselves," Joshua Shaffer said Saturday, after presenting the jar of coins to members of the fire department at Sissonville High School.

In honor of the donation, members of the VFD presented Joshua with a certificate, naming him an honorary junior firefighter.

He also shook each firefighter's hand before getting the chance to climb into the unit's fire truck and push a few buttons.

Joshua said Saturday he's already planning to begin saving money for "Big Josh," a fire truck the department plans to purchase and name after him.

The Sissonville VFD is operating out of the garage of Charleston Auto, just down the road from the burned-out station. The department runs three fire stations to cover an area of about 125 square miles.

Even after the loss of their main station, members of the volunteer department have not missed a single call, Miller said.

The fire destroyed nearly $2 million in property, equipment and vehicles, he said. The department's insurance will cover damage to the trucks and building, which totals about $1 million.

Insurance coverage for the lost equipment has not been settled.

Miller estimates that the department needs to raise an additional $350,000 to completely rebuild and re-establish itself.

The outpouring of support has been "overwhelming," Miller said.

In just two months, the department has raised about $100,000 through donations, fundraisers, and corporate and state pledges, he said.

Offers of help also have come from outside West Virginia. Fire departments from as far away as California, Alaska and British Columbia have donated equipment and supplies.

The department must have a plan to rebuild and re-establish itself by May, Miller said.

Without a plan, insurance policies of the people who live within the department's district could be affected, because the unit is operating out of a temporary location, he said.

The department is working on a plan, Miller said, "but "I have no idea where, or when we'll build. There are still a lot of questions that have to be answered yet."

Members of the Sissonville VFD will host a holiday family-portrait event from noon to 8 p.m. today at Sissonville High School. Portraits cost $10.

Additionally, the department is sponsoring a Dec. 18 holiday bus trip to Elkins. Tickets are $65 and include dinner, entrance to a Broadway-style show, time to shop in the area and transportation.

To book a ticket for the holiday trip, call the fire department at 304-984-0674.

Search For Ohio Family Ends In Tragedy

November 18, 2010

Mt Vernon, OH - The search for an Ohio family and a family friend came to a close today as they were found dead, hidden inside a hollow tree. The discovery was made approximately 2:30 pm today in the vicinity of the Kokosing River Lake, near Waterford Road in Fredericktown, Ohio, about 20 miles from where they were killed.

Matthew Hoffman instructed Sheriff's investigators where to find the bodies, which were stuffed in trash bags. It is not known how Hoffman got the bodies into the tree.

"The tree was hollow to a point," the sheriff said, adding it would be speculation to understand how the remains were put into the tree.

Hoffman is an unemployed tree trimmer, who has been observed by neighbors sitting in trees spying on people and also collected bags full of leaves while walking around near a local lake. Hoffman has been described as strange and scary.

Hoffman has been charged with kidnapping after a SWAT team found 13 year old Sarah Maynard, bound and gagged, in his basement.

Knox County Sheriff David Barber advised that Sarah's mother Tina Herrmann, brother Kody Maynard and family friend Stephanie Sprang were murdered on Wednesday, November 10, inside Herrmann's home. Sarah was also kidnapped at this time.

Exactly how the three were killed has not been released, but Barber advised that Hoffman is the only suspect.

Knox County Prosecutor John C. Thatcher advised that an indictment against Hoffman was being prepared and that the case would go to a grand jury. Neither he nor Barber would comment on whether, or not, Hoffman confessed.

Hoffman is scheduled to appear for a preliminary court hearing on Tuesday. An indictment against him could come within 4 to 6 weeks, Thatcher said.

Hoffman is being held in lieu of a $1 million bond.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mickey Mouse Turns 80 Today

Today is the official Mickey Mouse birthday.

On November 18th 1928, First film Steam Boat Willie was showcased in a colony theater in New York City. It was a great hit and thus the date was officially declared to be Mickey Mouse birthday.

"I hope that we never lose sight of one thing: that it was all started by a Mouse.” - Walt Disney.

We remember these famous words on 80th Mickey Mouse birthday.

Parents Want To Know What Happened To Recess

NEWARK -- Parents of Pocomoke Middle School students told the school board they want recess reinstated at their children's school.

Several parents of PMS students attended Tuesday's board of education meeting to voice their concerns over the lack of recess offered to fourth- through eighth-graders at Pocomoke Middle. They called recess a "fundamental need" for the students.

"Recess is something ancient," parent Douglas Voss said. "It's timeless."

Voss said recess, which had been offered on a limited basis in recent years, was eliminated at the school this year in an effort to further increase test scores and academic performance. If it were implemented in a balanced way, he contended, a recess of just 30 minutes a day could be beneficial.

"A cognitive break in the middle of the day does improve academic performance," he told the school board.

Voss said the brain needed time to relax so that students could continue to engage cognitively during the latter half of the school day. He added that schools with recess had fewer discipline problems.

Another parent, Michael Hooks, compared the student dismissal at Pocomoke Middle in the afternoon to a scene in the movie "Grease," with kids sprinting out of the building. He said he and his wife had trouble getting their fourth-grader to do his homework after school because he was so wound up -- a problem they did not have with him last year, when he enjoyed recess at the elementary school.

"They don't have that outlet," he said.

Theophilus Moses said that with childhood obesity rates high, it was crucial that the middle schoolers get some time outside. "They are our future," he said. "We owe it to them."

Although school board members said they needed more time and information before they could make a decision on the matter, they did pass a motion to have Superintendent of Schools Jon Andes review the county's policies and procedures regarding recess and to make a recommendation on the subject to the board. They expect to address the issue by budget work session scheduled for Dec. 7.

"We're really going to take a hard look at this," board member Doug Dryden said, thanking the parents for their professional presentation. "This is the way the process is supposed to work."

PMS principal Caroline Bloxom stressed that the school worked in partnership with its parents in a statement that did not commit the school to any course of action on recess.

"We are partners with our parents," she said in a statement, "and we seek their involvement and feedback. In fact, being receptive to all opinions is crucial to school improvement."

Air Force Warns Troops About Facebook Feature

WASHINGTON – The Air Force is warning its troops to be careful when using Facebook and other popular networking sites because some new features could show the enemy exactly where U.S. forces are located in war zones.

In a warning issued on its internal website earlier this month, the Air Force said that "careless use of these services by airmen can have devastating operations security and privacy implications." The message was also sent to senior commanders, who were asked to get the word out to their forces.

The sites are a concern for U.S military services, which have 95,000 troops in Afghanistan and roughly 50,000 in Iraq. The Army, which provides the bulk of the battlefield forces, said it intends to circulate a similar warning about location services to key personnel next week.

The applications, which are offered by a variety of services including Facebook, Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt, can identify a person's location, even pinpoint it on a map.

A key concern is that enemy forces could use such features to track troops in the war zone who have a Blackberry or other smart phone and use those networking services.

Location services have grown in popularity as more people get smart phones that have GPS and other means of determining the user's location.

In most cases, however, users have to go into the program manually and check in — or list a location — in order for that location to show up.

According to Facebook's practices, for example, users must either download the Facebook application and then check in to a location, or go to the mobile Facebook page to check in. The default setting for Facebook then allows a user's friends to see the location, but that setting can be manually changed to allow friends of friends or "everyone" see the location.

Rastafarian Inmates No Longer Isolated Over Hair

RICHMOND, Va. – Many Rastafarians and other inmates in Virginia who have spent years in isolation for refusing to cut their hair were moved to a prison where they can live together, the state Corrections Department said Wednesday.

The Associated Press reported in June that 48 inmates were being held in segregation for ignoring the state's grooming policy, which bans beards and calls for hair to be kept above the shirt collar.

Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor told AP that 31 inmates were transferred to Keen Mountain Correctional Center in southwestern Virginia late last week. The change was made to "better manage and utilize critical bed space" because the offenders will be held two to a cell instead of just one, Traylor said.

"While there remains a need for consequences when offenders choose not to adhere to VADOC policy, it was determined that offenders whose only offense is failure to comply with the grooming policy should be housed and managed separately from the general population but did not require housing in segregation," Traylor said.

Inmates will not have all the privileges of the prison's general population, but they are allowed to move inside their unit, more personal property, and educational and other programs.

Traylor said in June the policy was needed to prevent inmates from hiding weapons and drugs in their long hair or beards, and also to keep them from quickly changing their appearance if they escape. At least 10 Rastafarian inmates, who view growing their hair unbridled, typically in dreadlocks as a tenet of their religion, have been in isolation since the policy was enacted in 1999.

Traylor said about 300 inmates identified themselves as Rastafarians, and only 13 are out of compliance with the grooming standards. Inmates will continue to have their heads shaved when they enter prison, Traylor said.

"It should not have taken eleven years, but DOC is finally realizing that there was never any need to punish these prisoners because of their religious beliefs," said Kent Willis, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia.

The Virginia ACLU represented a group of Rastafarian and Muslim inmates who unsuccessfully challenged the policy in 2003.

Virginia is among only about a dozen states, mostly in the South, that limit the length of inmates' hair and beards, according to the American Correctional Chaplains Association. A handful of those allow accommodations for those whose religious beliefs prohibit cutting their hair. There is no hair policy for federal prisoners.

"Being isolated in such a fashion for years, even while inside prison, is beyond the pale of a civilized society," said Evans Hopkins, a former prisoner, award-winning writer and close friend to Rastafarian inmate Ivan Sparks, who died last year while in segregation. "I hope the DOC will continue to try to work these men back into the general population, and prepare them for release."

Others who have fought against the policy for years were not as pleased.

"I'm going to remain hopefully optimistic that this may prove to be better, but I don't quite know yet," said Janet Taylor, whose Rastafarian name is "Queen Nzinga."

Taylor said some inmates who have spent 11 years in segregation may have problems adjusting to having a cellmate, and the time in isolation may have taken a mental toll on the inmates.

Man Shoots TV With Shot Gun Over Bristol Palin's Dance Routine

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A rural Wisconsin man apparently enraged by Bristol Palin's "Dancing with the Stars" routine blasted his television with a shotgun, leading to an all-night standoff with a SWAT team, investigators said.

Steven Cowan, 67, was arrested Tuesday morning after officers coaxed him out of his house in Vermont, a rural community near Madison. Cowan, who is accused of threatening his wife with the gun after destroying the television, appeared in a Madison courtroom Wednesday on a charge of second-degree reckless endangerment. His bail was set at $1,500.

Cowan's attorney at the hearing, Jonas Bednarek, declined to comment.

Cowan's wife, Janice Cowan, told investigators that her husband suffers from bipolar disorder and had threatened her life in the past.

According to court documents, Janice Cowan said her husband came home Monday from the bar and had a beer with dinner before they settled down to watch "Dancing with the Stars."
When Palin, the 20-year-old daughter of tea party favorite Sarah Palin, began her routine, Cowan jumped up and began swearing, saying something like "The (expletive) politics." His wife said he was upset that a political figure's daughter was dancing on TV even though he felt she didn't have talent.

Janice Cowan told investigators her husband left the living room and reappeared 20 minutes later with his shotgun, "raging" with his face bright red, and blasted the TV. She said he then pointed the gun at her and told her to go fetch his pistols, and threatened to kill himself if she brought anyone back. According to the criminal complaint, Steven Cowan's daughter recently took away his handguns for safekeeping. It did not elaborate.

"He scared the bejebees out of me," she told detectives.

Janice Cowan fled the home and went to an attorney's office, where she phoned police.

She told officers that about 15 years ago her husband had threatened her with a machete when he couldn't find some ammunition and has threatened to shoot one of their cows.

She added he was under stress because of financial reasons, saying a doctor helping him with his mental health problems had suggested he temporarily turn over control of properties he rents out to the family's attorney. Calls on Wednesday to a number listed as the Cowans' could not be connected.

The Internet has been abuzz in recent days about how Bristol Palin, who has consistently landed at the bottom of the judges' leaderboard, has been able to remain on the ABC show. Some have suggested that voters - particularly supporters of her mother - have been voting in blocs and manipulating the system.

Both Palins have denied any organized vote-getting tactics. Bristol Palin says voters support her despite lackluster performances because she started the show with no dancing experience.

Two Men Convicted For Having Drug Laden Tractor Trailer

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Two Florida men who were stopped in a stolen tractor-trailer carrying more than three tons of marijuana have been convicted of federal drug charges in Pennsylvania.

Thirty-six-year-old Stanley Narcisse and 35-year-old Eric Emmanuel were convicted Friday of conspiracy and drug distribution charges.

Authorities say Emmanuel was behind the wheel of the truck when police stopped it January 31 on Interstate 81 near the border between Dauphin and Lebanon counties. Paperwork problems prompted state police to search the trailer, where they found about 6,500 pounds of marijuana. Investigators put the street value of the drugs at $6.5 million.

Prosecutors say the trailer had been stolen in Georgia, picked up the drugs in Arizona and was heading to Connecticut when it was stopped.

A sentencing date has not been set.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Two Pocomoke City Teens Arrested On Gun Possession Charges

POCOMOKE CITY — Sheriff's deputies arrested two 18-year-olds in the Pocomoke City area on charges of illegal handgun possession.

One suspect, David Dewayne Dickerson, 18, of Pocomoke, had a loaded revolver in his pants pocket when he stepped out of a vehicle that was the subject of a traffic stop, police said.

Sheriff's deputies had stopped the vehicle in which Dickerson was a passenger because they saw another man wanted on an arrest warrant for handgun possession in the car. That man, Martel Blake, 18, of Pocomoke City, was also arrested at the scene, police said.

Police said Blake had been wanted by police and had been spotted by Pocomoke City police earlier in the day, but had eluded capture. When sheriff's deputies saw Blake's vehicle on Buck Harbor Road, the Sheriff's Office said, they stopped the car and arrested both men.

College Station Man Awaiting Trial For Maryland Murder

A 19-year-old College Station man accused of first degree murder for a Maryland cold case will be in court on December 9th for a motions hearing.

Justin Hadel is charged with the murder of 26-year-old Christine Marie Sheddy who had been reported missing in 2007. Maryland authorities say, at the time of Sheddy's death, Hadel was 17-years-old.

Authorities say Sheddy's skeletal remains were discovered in March near an Inn where she had been a guest, along with Hadel.

Maryland prosecutors say Sheddy died of blunt force trauma and tips from witnesses led them to the shallow grave where she had been buried.

Since his arrest, Hadel has been extradited to Maryland and has been in jail, without bond. Hadel's trial is scheduled to start on February 8, 2011.

Rigell Is Closing His Car Dealership

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - transferredssman-elect Scott Rigell's car dealership in Chesapeake is closing, but hopes that his employees will be able to get jobs elsewhere.

Freedom Lincoln Mercury on Military Highway will close sometime between now and the first of the year. asked Rigell about the closure and how it seemed contradictory to his campaign promise to create jobs.

"It's not a contradiction because this at the Lincoln Mercury store is so far beyond our control," Rigell said.

The biggest reason for the closing is that Ford will no longer make Mercuries after this year.

Despite the store closing, Rigell hopes for no layoffs but couldn't make any promises.

"We're going to stand with our employees, and do everything to make sure every person who is working for Freedom continues to be gainfully employed," said Rigell.

Rigell's business partner, Freedom Automotive president James Church said 40 of the current 67 employees will be transfered to one of the other two Freedom locations in Hampton Roads.

That leaves 27 employees, who mostly work in Parts and Services.

Church said a Cavalier Ford down the street was anxious to hire those employees.

Cavalier is in talks to buy the Lincoln dealership, which means they would sell Lincoln vehicles from their Greenbrier location.

If Cavalier doesn't hire all of them, Rigell hopes to put them to work someplace else.

"I've reached out to some other dealers and asked, 'would you be open to interviewing them and helping," said Rigell.

Rigell and Church both said the auto body shop at the Lincoln Mercury dealer will remain open. They are hoping to lease the rest of the building.

Target, The Dog Who Survived The Afghan War Mistakenly Put To Sleep

Target, the dog who survived Afghan war and melted hearts on Oprah, mistakenly put down at Arizona animal shelter

As a stray on the war-ravaged streets of Afghanistan, she had been shot by the Taliban and blasted by explosives. In fact, the plucky German Shepherd cheated death so often that U.S. soldiers named her Target.

She had even become a life-saving hero by sniffing out a suicide bomber on a military base. But, sadly, these dangers paled against the threat from a clerical error at a U.S. dog pound. An employee at the Pinal County facility was today on administrative leave after euthanizing the shepherd mix by mistake.

'When it comes to euthanizing an animal, there are some clear-cut procedures to follow,' said Ruth Stalter, director of the Animal Care And Control centre.
'Based on my preliminary investigation, our employee did not follow those procedures.'

Sgt. Terry Young, the owner of the dog, told The Arizona Republic, 'I just can't believe that something like this would happen to such a good dog.'

Target and two other dogs, Rufus and Sasha, were mutts who befriended soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, who began to feed them and treated the canines as pets on the military base.

One night in February a suicide bomber came to the base in the middle of the night, wearing 25 pounds of explosives and intent on killing Americans.

The three dogs frightened, barked at and bit the bomber, scaring him and waking the sleeping soldiers in the process. Deterred, the terrorist detonated himself outside instead of coming in.

The lives of 50 soldiers were potentially spared because of the dogs' actions.

Sasha was killed, but Target and Rufus lived. Medics treated the injured dogs like soldiers and the two were saved.

Only five soldiers were injured in the bombing and all recovered

Sgt Young said the dogs was treated like royalty from then on at the base at Dand Patan, near the Pakistan border. With the help of aid groups, Sgt Young brought Target to the San Tan Valley area south-east of Phoenix in August, when he returned home from his tour of duty. Rufus went to live with another soldier in Georgia.

Target was featured on 'Oprah' in September in a show about amazing animals.
On Friday of last week the dog escaped from the family's backyard. Sgt Young then put out notices and contacted TV stations that did reports on the missing dog.

A neighbour found Target wandering later that day and put her in his backyard and called the shelter. The dog did not have a microchip or tag.

On Friday night, Sgt Young found Target's picture on a website used by Pinal County's dog catchers to help owners track lost pets. He thought the shelter was closed for the night and weekend.

He showed up at the shelter in Casa Grande to claim his dog on Monday, only to find out she was dead. County officials say the employee mistakenly took the dog out of its pen Monday morning and euthanized it.

'My four-year-old son just can't understand what is going on with Target and keeps asking me to get the poison out of her and bring her home. They don't want her to go be with God yet,' a teary Sgt Young told the local CBS TV station.

The Arizona Republic said Sgt Young and his family will get the dog's cremated remains.

Wounded Bald Eagle Had To Be Euthanized

ONANCOCK -- An American bald eagle had to be euthanized after it was found severely wounded by a jogger who minutes earlier heard gunshots in the area.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is investigating the incident, which happened in Mount Nebo, near Onancock.

"Shooting a bald eagle is the equivalent of burning an American flag," said Michael Fazio of Nebo Lane, who saw the bird fall out of the sky late last week.

It is unclear whether the bird was shot or was injured some other way, according to a wildlife rehabilitator who was called to the scene. A veterinarian who examined the eagle did not find any shot in it, but its right wing was "totally destroyed," wildlife rehabilitator Kathy Cummings said.

The eagle's body was taken to the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro, where a necropsy will be conducted to help determine what happened, Game Warden Sarah Druy said.

Bald eagles are protected under the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, originally passed in 1940. The penalty for violating provisions of the act is a fine of up to $5,000 or up to one year in prison. Felony convictions carry a maximum fine of $250,000 or two years' imprisonment, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.

The birds also are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Lacy Act.

Cummings said eagles sometimes fight with each other during breeding season and the bird could have been injured during a fight.

Fazio was jogging along the road when a man wearing a hood and carrying a gun shot over Fazio's head. The two men had a verbal exchange in which the shooter said Fazio should not be out running on the road during hunting season and Fazio asked the man to wait five minutes before continuing in order to give Fazio time to get out of the area safely. The man said he was shooting at targets.

Fazio continued jogging and had gone about the length of three utility poles when saw the eagle spiraling out of the sky.

"I don't know if they are connected. ... We're not sure exactly what happened," he said.

Fazio ran back to his house, about a mile away, told his parents what had happened and grabbed a blanket, with the thought of trying to help the injured animal.

When he and his father returned to the spot, they found the bird about 20 feet away from the road.

They called the Accomack County Sheriff's Office, who referred them to Game and Inland Fisheries, where they got a recorded message. Fazio's father then called a local veterinarian, who gave him Cummings' phone number.

Cummings came to the scene and took the bird to Eastern Shore Animal Hospital, but its injuries were too severe and the bird was euthanized.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries crime line at 800-237-5712.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010



Person(s) unknown have been entering unsecured motor vehicles during the day and night time hours removing change and other personal items (i-pods, cameras, pocketbooks, wallets). The only description is of a Black Male on a bicycle wearing a orange jersey with a white number on the back.
Anyone having information is requested to contact the Pocomoke City Police Department (410) 957-1600 or 911. If you see anyone suspicious in your area contact us immediately. 

When leaving your vehicle, secure items in your trunk or remove them from the vehicle and lock all vehicle doors for added security.
J. D. ErvinChief of Police
November 8, 2010

Man Arrested For Multiple Thefts And Burglaries In Pocomoke

POCOMOKE CITY — Police said a man arrested Nov. 12 after a foot chase has been charged with thefts and burglaries from four places and may be charged with additional crimes.

Wilbert Harmon, 49, of Berlin is accused of burglarizing a property at 200 Walnut St. on Oct. 27; theft from a Rite Aid store on Nov. 9; burglarizing an unoccupied home at 417 Walnut St. on Nov. 12; and a theft from the Walmart in Pocomoke.

Harmon is being held at the Worcester County Jail on $20,000 bond, police chief J.D. Ervin said in a statement. In the statement, Ervin said Harmon is a “person of interest in other criminal activities and thefts from motor vehicles” and said police are investigating further.

Robbery At Seaford Motel, 1 Arrest, 2 Still On the Loose

A Maryland woman was arrested and two accomplices are being sought in a late-night robbery Monday at a Seaford motel.

Kristen A. Shockley, 20, of Pocomoke City, was charged with first-degree robbery, possession of drug paraphernalia and conspiracy, said Seaford police spokesman Lt. Richard Jamison.

Police are still searching for Gianfranco Minello, 28, of Milford, and Randy T. Rickards, 30, who is believed to be homeless, on robbery and assorted other charges.

Shockley and the two men followed three people from a Royal Farms gas station on U.S. 13 (Sussex Highway) to the Quality Inn, where they followed the victims into their room and robbed them at gunpoint, Jamison said.

While Minello and Rickards ran out of the room following the robbery, the three victims were able to hold Shockley for police.

The two men were seen leaving in a dark-colored Ford Focus with a temporary Delaware license plate.



Further investigation has linked Minello to an earlier attempted robbery about 2:30 a.m. Monday on Chandler Street where he allegedly confronted a 48-year-old man who was seated in his car and demanded money, Jamison said.

As the victim was complying, one of the bandits pulled out a long gun and hit the victim in the face, injuring him.

The victim was taken to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released.

Shockley is being held in the Baylor Woman’s Correctional Institution in lieu of $32,500 bail.

Seaford police are asking anyone with information about the other two suspects’ whereabouts to call (302) 629-6644 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333.

Many thanks to the reader that sent this in!

Accomack Sells WRONG Property At Auction

HALLWOOD -- A Hallwood resident came home recently to find a man hauling his possessions out of his house after it was mistakenly sold by Accomack County in an auction to collect delinquent taxes.

Eugene L. Justice owns the house at 12211 Mears Station Road in Hallwood, but it is shown on the county tax maps as belonging to the owners of the property next door -- an empty lot that was supposed to have been sold for back taxes.

That property is owned by C. Sheppard and Emma Griffin, according to county records.

Justice's mother, Dorothy Justice, who lives nearby, said her son called her and told her a man with sunglasses was at the house, telling him he had bought it.

Justice does not live in the house but stores items there and visits it from time to time, his mother said.

The man "cleared the house out," including a drum set and furniture, and broke some of the items, she said.

"He took a hammer and broke in. ... They got a hammer and an ax. ... I've never seen anything like it," she said. "He tore things up; he said that's his house."

"They don't want me to talk about it," Dorothy Justice said, identifying "they" as "the county people."

Eugene Justice could not be reached for comment.

An employee at the Accomack County Assessor's Office discovered the mapping error after Justice came into the clerk's office.

"His concern was, he went to the property and the new owners informed him they had purchased the property," said Clerk of the Circuit Court Samuel H. Cooper Jr. "He knew something was wrong because that had been the family home for many years."

It appears the two parcels had been reversed on the tax maps for years, likely before the Assessor's Office was created back in 1980, County Assessor Brent Hurdle said.

Treasurer Dana Bundick said the Assessor's Office notified her of the problem but said she has not been contacted by any of the parties involved.

Accomack's collection attorney, James Elliott of York County, said Monday no one had told him about the problem. He identified the purchaser of the property as Greg O'Bier, who is listed as a Delaware resident on county records.

Elliott said the error falls under an area of law called "mutual mistake of fact" and said the best course of action now is to "put everybody back" where they were before the sale and "untie the knot."

About damages to Justice's possessions, Elliott said, "I only sell land; I don't sell furniture."

He said property sold at tax sale auctions do not include the contents of the house.

"If you take something that's not yours, buyer beware," he said.

Bundick in January signed a memorandum of understanding with the Accomack County Board of Supervisors in which she agreed to pursue a more aggressive policy to collect delinquent taxes in return for her office being given $40,000 more this year to help pay for the work involved.

Elliott represents more than 30 localities in Virginia, including Accomack and Northampton counties. His office oversees the sale at auction of some 500 parcels a year to collect delinquent real estate taxes.

His website states that parcels sold are "subject to any discrepancies on the county, city or town's land maps and to possible rights of parties in possession, encroachments, overlaps, overhangs, deficiency in quantity, all questions of boundaries, location and acreage which a current and accurate survey would disclose, roadways, unrecorded easements or any other matter not of record which could be disclosed by inspection of the premises."

Eight tax sales have been held in Accomack County so far this year, with one more scheduled this week, according to Elliott's website.

Female Giraffe, Keana, Dies At the Norfolk Zoo

NORFOLK — Female giraffe Keana, who was known for hoof issues that caused a noticeable limp, died at the Virginia Zoo on Sunday morning.

Staff always kept a close eye on the giraffe, aware that her abnormal foot growth compromised her stability and gait. Her stall was equipped with padded mats, and care was taken to ensure she was safe and secure. However, early Sunday morning, she was found in her stall unable to get up from a resting position in which her rear legs were in a splay position. Zoo staff and the vet responded immediately to comfort and calm her. Despite their attempts to get her up, she was unable to right herself and return to a standing position.

"Even without hoof issues, a giraffe's center of gravity is so high – 5 to 6 feet off the ground – that these animals are prone to challenges associated with lowering and raising their large bodies to the ground to rest," notes Zoo executive director Greg Bockheim. "Sadly, such challenges are dangerous for these tall, high strung animals; they can cause critical internal injuries or disruptions in their physiological functions that could possibly be fatal."

At times Keana's limp and structural sensitivity was quite pronounced. In the spring of 2009, the Zoo issued a release about her foot issues and discussed the medical care being provided. Keana had a condition that caused the edges of her hooves to grow and roll inward. This abnormal hoof growth creates complications that affect a giraffe's weight bearing bones and muscles, changing its bone structure. Keepers trimmed and filed the hooves on a regular basis to keep them as close as possible to a normal shaped hoof. However, these types of structural changes will jeopardize the long term survivability of an animal. Keana was 8 years old. The average lifespan for a giraffe in captivity is 25 to 28 years.

In October 2010, Keana gave birth to a male calf that survived for only 5 days. The necropsy revealed that the calf had an abnormal heart. After the birth, Keana provided minimal maternal care to the baby, perhaps sensing that it would not be able to survive. This lack of care is common in the wild where the concept of survival of the fittest is protection for the herd. If a mother in the wild senses that a newborn is not healthy and will not thrive, conditions that are not detectable to humans, she may abandon it. These instincts are strong even in animals living in Zoos.

Also in October, the year-old calf Willow was safely transferred to Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida. Willow's parents are the Zoo's other female giraffe, Imara, and male Billy.

Imara and Billy remain on exhibit at the giraffe yard.

Zoo staff, volunteers and faithful visitors appreciate the compassion and support of the Hampton Roads community during this very difficult time.

Northampton County Court

Northampton County Commonwealth Attorney Bruce Jones reports the following cases were heard in Northampton Countys Circuit Court:

Brian Christopher Brittingham, 27 of Exmore, was sentenced to one year six months imprisonment for malicious wounding.

Leston Everton Wright, 23 of Exmore, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for carnal knowledge of an inmate.

Wayne Henry Shrieves, 47 of Melfa, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for carnal knowledge of an inmate.

Dawn Marie Williams, 34 of Cheriton, was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and supervised probation for driving under the influence of drugs and aggravated involuntary manslaughter.

Steven Lamar Kilgore, 25 of Exmore, was sentenced to 26 years imprisonment for two counts of robbery, use of a firearm during commission of a robbery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, breaking &entering while armed with a deadly weapon and possession of a sawed-off shotgun. Kilgore also had probation revoked on the original charge of grand larceny.

Gerald Lee Evans, 29 of Cheriton, pled guilty to grand larceny.

Tow Truck Drivers Hold Vigil

Horns blaring and yellow lights flashing and twirling, a caravan of tow trucks from a dozen companies filled the 500 block of Mosher St. in West Baltimore Sunday night, the same block where 23-year-old Andy Joyce was shot to death two weeks ago while making a service call that his boss says would have netted the young driver $15.

It was part trucker rally, part vigil, an effort to return public attention to a senseless tragedy and to help police identify a suspect in the unsolved murder.

By 9 p.m., about 40 white trucks and red trucks from Quick Response, Greenwood, Universal, Frankford, Ted's, GRI, MEI, Mc-N-Mc, Mel's, AAA, Cherry Hill and Auto Barn towing companies were parked on both sides of Mosher Street. A 75-ton truck from Auto Barn filled the middle of the block and raised a crane adorned with a U.S. flag awash in flood lights.
Andy Joyce had worked only a few weeks for Gordon Kelly's Quick Response towing company when someone shot him once at close range, killing him instantly in the cab of his truck at the corner of Mosher Street and Druid Hill Avenue. The gunman took nothing — not Joyce's wallet, nor the two cell phones in the truck, nor its global positioning device. "I'd never had a driver assaulted," said Kelly, who organized Sunday's event. "To the best of my knowledge, I don't know of a tow truck driver ever being murdered in the city, or even assaulted. And what makes this so unique was that Andy was out on a friendly call, trying to help somebody. This wasn't an impoundment; it wasn't a repossession. This was a motor club call for help. Andy didn't want to do repos or impounds. He didn't want confrontations with people."

Andy Joyce answered a service call on Mosher Street, in an area with many abandoned rowhouses, about 12:30 a.m. Nov. 1. The owner of the disabled vehicle — a woman with a small child — gave Joyce the keys to her car and got a ride home, police told Kelly. More than an hour later, a passerby noticed the Quick Response truck's driver-side door open and the driver slumped against the steering wheel.

Joyce, the father of a 7-month-old boy, was pronounced dead at the scene. Baltimore police said they found his truck with its bed down, ready to load the disabled vehicle. "Andy had activated the bed of the truck and he had pulled cables back, but he had not attached them to the car," Kelly said. "Something made him leave the cables and go back inside the truck."

Kelly told the crowd of mostly drivers and family members Sunday that Joyce would have received $15 out of the $50 his company charged for the call.

No arrests have been made in the killing, which is why Kelly decided to organize Sunday night's vigil — to draw attention to the $5,000 reward offered for information leading to the arrest of a suspect.

"Collectively, as a society, we have to do something to stop all this violence," said Andy Joyce's father, Mike Joyce, a Verizon manager. "And the other thing is, Andy was just performing a service. He was a service guy, like so many others out here — like the BGE workers, like the mailmen, the trash collectors — like so many people out here. They are neutral entities, just performing a service for others. [The vigil] is a way of saying, 'Look what you've done to someone who was performing a service in the community.' "

Accomack County Public Schools Thanksgiving Holiday Break


Accomack County Public schools announced Monday that all Accomack County Public Schools will close at 1:00 PM on November 24 for the Thanksgiving Holiday Break.

All students will have the opportunity to have lunch prior to dismissal.

All Accomack County Schools will also be closed on Thursday, November 25 and Friday November, 26.

Students will return to school on Monday, November 29 at regular scheduled times.