Washington County

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FREDERICK, Md. (AP) - A state-sponsored Civil War tourism group is piggybacking on a National Park Service youth program to promote local museums.

The Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area said in a statement Tuesday that its new program is a companion to the "Every Kid in a Park" initiative President Barack Obama announced last year.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on a proposal to expand the annual black bear hunt to Frederick and Washington counties.

The plan is among a number of proposed regulatory changes the agency released Tuesday for the 2016-18 hunting seasons. The public comment period runs through March 15. Public meetings are scheduled March 9 in Annapolis and March 14 in Hagerstown.

Bear hunting has been restricted to Garrett and Allegany counties since Maryland ended a 51-year moratorium in 2004.

National Park Service

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - The National Park Service is seeking applicants for the agricultural use of land in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

The agency said Monday it's offering long-term lease agreements on 25 properties in Allegany, Frederick, Montgomery and Washington counties. The leases will be for up to 10 years, starting in April.

The bid deadline is Jan. 4.

The park service says preference will be given to farmers who can demonstrate knowledge and experience in sustainable agriculture and conservation practices.

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BOONSBORO, Md. (AP) - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is coming to Washington County.

Vilsack is scheduled to attend a Western Maryland Agriculture Workshop in Boonsboro on Monday.

Democratic Rep. John Delaney is hosting the event.

The workshop will include a panel discussion and chances for Marylanders to talk with federal and local agency representatives one-on-one.

The workshop is being held at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center.

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BioCannatix wants to locate a medical marijuana site near Hebron in Wicomico County.

The company hopes to be one of the 15 companies that the state of Maryland chooses to grow medical marijuana.

WBOC reports that County Executive Bob Culver is neither for nor against the facility.

He told the television station that he is aware of at least six  outfits looking to locate in the county.

The company says the facility could cost up to $8 million to build and could provide 40 to 50 jobs.

Don Rush

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - Election officials say the number of unaffiliated voters in Maryland has been growing.

The Herald-Mail reports that statistics from the Maryland Board of Elections show that the number of voters declining to declare any political party affiliation is surging.

Data shows that in the last five years, the number of unaffiliated voters statewide has grown more than twice as fast as Democrats, and about four times as fast as Republicans.

In Washington County, unaffiliated voters have increased by more than 25 percent since 2009.

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - Washington County prosecutors are weighing a report on the death of a man after he was shocked by a police stun gun in Hagerstown.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office says it recently gave its findings to the state's attorney's office. Deputy First Class Carly Hose said Friday that prosecutors will hold a news conference when they are ready to announce results of the investigation.

Thirty-one-year-old Darrell Brown of Upper Marlboro died April 24 after Hagerstown city police were called to a home he allegedly had broken into.

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - Maryland's two-week firearm deer season is opening with more Sunday hunting opportunities and other rule changes aimed reducing the whitetail population.

Maryland's most popular deer season begins Saturday and continues through Dec. 13. The Department of Natural Resources says hunters using modern firearms accounted for 46 percent of all deer taken in 2013-14.

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CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) - A group seeking separate statehood for western Maryland is holding its first official town hall meeting in Cumberland.

Volunteer Rich Biancone says the gathering Friday night at Allegany College of Maryland is for supporters, detractors and people who are just plain curious.

He tells the Cumberland Times-News that the initiative is led by Carroll County resident Scott Strzelczyk.

The group aims to form a new state composed of Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties.


HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - State fire officials are seeking information about 14 suspicious fires that have caused more than $60,000 damage in Washington County.

The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office said Wednesday that the fires occurred between March 17 and March 27. The blazes have occurred in trash containers and numerous motor vehicles. All occurred during the late night or early morning hours.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Arson Hotline at 1-800-492-7529.