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Rates and routes are on the move for CATS

Carroll Area Transit System last week announced that beginning July 1, certain fares will be lowered and shuttle services will be connected.

Doug Howard, executive director of CATS, said the moves are part of an effort by CATS to enhance transportation services and provide a viable alternative to driving.

CATS will decrease the fares on the Westminster-Eldersburg Shuttle and the Taneytown Shuttle from $2 to $1. There is also a 50 percent discount for senior citizens, people with disabilities and those with a medical card for the shuttles.

Meanwhile, new shuttle routes, featuring "connected shuttles" have been approved by Carroll County and Maryland Transit Administration and will also go into effect on July 1.

The new shuttle routes will link the Westminster Shuttle, South Carroll Shuttle, Westminster-Eldersburg Shuttle and the Taneytown Shuttle.

By making transfers at designated stops, passengers will be able to access any shuttle stop from any of the four routes.

The new routes also add some stops such as the Eldersburg Library, Taneytown Library, county office building and Carroll Community College.

CATS is also lowering fares on its demand-response service, which provides transportation throughout the county. The service is currently $2 for each five-mile segment. The new rate will be $2 for the first five miles, then $1 for each five-mile segment beyond the first two.

For more information on the fare and route changes, call Doug Howard at 410-876-RIDE.

Steve Horn on tap for FPACC's June meeting

The Finksburg Planning and Citizens' County will host county Director of Planning Steve Horn at its next meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, June 26, at Sandymount United Methodist Church, 2101 Old Westminster Pike, Finksburg. All local residents are invited.

FPACC officials say Horn will be available to discuss the Finksburg Area plan and the recently enacted Gateway Tax credit for Finksburg gateway businesses.

In addition to Horn, a representative from Gerstell Academy will also be on hand to discuss progress at the school.

Hearing set for new parking requirements

The Carroll County Department of Planning has scheduled a workshop and a hearing on amendments that have been proposed to make changes to county parking regulations.

The workshop will be held at 4 p.m., Monday, June 30, in Room 105 of the County Office Building, 225 N. Center St., Westminster.

At the workshop, citizens will be able to meet with county staff members and ask questions prior to a public hearing on the proposed amendments.

The public hearing is set for 10 a.m., Thursday, July 24, in Room 311 of the County Office Building, 225 N. Center St., Westminster.

Bed bugs are surprise guests at Hashawha

County officials announced last week that a number of bed bugs were discovered in a cabin at the county-owned Hashawha Environmental Center in Westminster.

Hashawha is used for camping and conferences, and also houses the county's Outdoor School activities. On June 16, counselors spotted the insects on a sheet in the cabin where they had spent the night. They did not report being bitten.

No children slept in the cabin since the insects were discovered. Youngsters who were scheduled to move in were instead moved to a conference building, where cots were set up.

The Health Department was notified, and an exterminator who treated the area after the discovery said evidence suggests the incident was contained to a portion of a single bunk room.

Health officials said bed bugs are not known to transmit human pathogens. Officials said parents of anyone who slept in one of Hashawha's five cabins since June 1 will be notified.

Traffic stop leads to drug possession arrest

A 48-year-old Westminster man was arrested on June 21 on drug charges after a county Sheriff's Office deputy stopped him for traffic violations.

Police said Michael Anthony Watson was arrested at about 4:15 a.m. in the 1800 block of Route 140 after the vehicle he was driving weaved across the right lane divider, then back across the left lane onto the left shoulder, nearly onto the grass median.

During the traffic stop, the Sheriff's Office Canine Team performed a sniff of the vehicle for drugs, which led to an "alert" by K-9 Alex.

A search of the vehicle uncovered about 130 small plastic bags containing small quantities of crack cocaine, police said. Also recovered were a pouch with small quantities of heroin and cocaine, and a syringe and pipe, police said.

Watson was transported to Carroll County Central Booking, where he was charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia and other charges.

Following a bail review before the District Court Commissioner, Watson was released on personal recognizance, police said.

Landfills ease rules to accept storm debris

Carroll County's Northern Landfill and Hoods Mill Landfill are currently accepting debris that exceeds the usual size limits as a means of helping residents clean up after recent storms.

Items that can be taken to the landfills include branches, trunks and clean stumps up to 12 inches in diameter and 8 feet in length.

This service is available free to Carroll County residents only through Saturday, June 28 at both facilities. For more information, call 410-386-2035.

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