Cumberland Times-News

April 17, 2009

Byrd among Pig Book ‘Oinkers’

Jan Alderton, Managing Editor

Citizens Against Government Waste issued its Pig Book last week, detailing what it perceives as wasteful tax dollar spending in Washington.

Among the Pig Book “Oinkers” of 2009 is U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) for the $200,000 his congressional district received for a tattoo removal program.

U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) received the Highway Robbery Award for a $9.5 million allocation for Corridor H.

Michigan Sens. Carl Levin (D) and Debbie Stabenow (D) received the Dim Bulb Award for a $951,500 expenditure for downtown Detroit energy efficient street lamps.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was cited by the group for garnering $700,000 for Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green to complete a monitoring system that will collect real-time weather observations through a statewide grid of stations in the state. “Apparently the Weather Channel is not sufficient,” the Pig Book said....

Although Wal-Mart expressed an interest this past year in building a new store near Frostburg, there appears to be no movement forward. A State Highway Administration said the company desired a traffic light for the new store but the state would not comply.

After the light request was denied, Wal-Mart apparently scrapped the pro-ject....

One of the largest casinos on the East Coast opened last Wednesday at the Meadows Racetrack and Casino near Washington, Pa., in the southwestern portion of the state.

The new 35,000-square-foot casino offers direct competition for the two racetracks in West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle — Wheeling Island in Ohio County and Mountaineer Casino Racetrack Resort in Hancock County. The new facility has space for 3,700 slot machines.

“We really think we can reach out into extended areas of Ohio, West Virginia and, certainly Maryland,” David La Torre, Meadows spokesman, said....

Although the company would not say how many workers were affected by the closure of the American Woodmark plant in Moorefield, W.Va., the number appears to be well over 200.

The Moorefield Examiner reports an estimated 250 people were employed at the Moorefield facility, located on South Fork Road. The firm announced the closure on April 1....

Ocean City vacationers who enjoy going to the Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille may find that there will be many more of the restaurants in the future.

According to The Daily Record in Baltimore, the restaurant plans to open nearly 130 locations across the East Coast in the next five years. Greene Turtle already has 20 locations in Maryland, one in Washington, D.C., and one in Delaware....

At the Maryland Board of Public Works meeting last week, state Comptroller Peter Franchot questioned a $400,000 line of credit extension given to the Maryland Economic Development Corporation for Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort.

According to Lisa Rein, writing in the Washington Post’s Maryland Moment blog, Franchot said: “I can’t imagine it’s going to be a banner year for conferences and corporations. Given the condition of the economy, how can we have any confidence we’re not going to be right back here next year?”

But Robert C. Brennan, MEDCO’s executive director, called the 216-room, five-story hotel an “asset of the state” that he will fight to keep alive. “The next three months look very good” for bookings, Brennan is quoted as saying in the Post report. He assured the board that Rocky Gap would end the year in the black....

Ashley Taylor Landon, granddaughter of the late television actor Michael Landon, will serve as Queen Shenandoah LXXXII during the 82nd Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival April 24-May 3 in Winchester, Va.

She is the third member of the Landon family to be crowed queen of the festival. Once she is crowed, she will take part in numerous festival activities, including the Firefighters’ Parade and the Valley Health Queen’s Ball May 1, and the Grand Feature Parade May 2....

Seen on the Internet — Actual newspaper headlines:

• Food basic to student diet

• Dealers will hear car talk at noon

• Lawmen from Mexico barbecue guests

• Smokers are productive, but death cuts efficiency

• British union finds dwarfs in short supply

• Sex education delayed, teachers request training

Jan Alderton is managing editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Contact Jan Alderton at jpalderton@times-news.com.