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Montgomery County to Get $2.6M for Snow Removal

(AP)-Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski says Montgomery County will receive $2.6 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to recover some of the costs for snow removal last December.

Mikulski said Friday that the agency had allocated the money to the state of Maryland.

A federal disaster declaration after the heavy snow storm made federal funding available to state and local governments for their cleanup costs.

On Thursday, FEMA also awarded funds to the District of Columbia, Virginia and Baltimore County.

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Seizure Likely Led To Deadly I-270 Bus Crash

NORTH BETHESDA, Md (WUSA) -- It's looking more and more like the bus driver in that terrible crash with school children Thursday suffered some kind of seizure or heart attack.

Maryland State Police say they will wait for an autopsy on the 66-year-old bus driver Joseph Clabaugh, Jr, who died as his bus rolled off the HOV sky ramp on I-270.
 
At least two of the youngsters on the bus say they're pretty sure what caused it.

"We heard, 'Bus driver, look out!' and then felt a smash," says Vincent Oliverio, age 12. "And then we were flipping and rolling down the trees and bushes off the hill."

Bethesda Central to Open a New Farmer’s Market at Horace Mann Elementary School

Bethesda Central is opening a new farmer’s market at Horace Mann Elementary School, 4430 Newark St. NW, Washington, DC 20016. The market will be open from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. every Friday from October 1 – November 19 with the potential to stay open beyond that date.

Vendors will include Vernon Seafood, Walnut Hills Farms Grass-Fed Angus Beef and free range eggs, produce from Bending Bridge Farm and Cat’s Paw Farm, Two Acres Farm sauces, herbs and baked goods, MeatCrafters sausages, LillieBelles pot pies, Upper Crust Breads and Cowgirl Creamery. Other vendors may be added later in the season.

The founders of Bethesda Central Farm Market are working closely with Horace Mann principal Liz Whisnant to use the market as a learning center for the students. Eventually, they would like to engage the students by creating their own school-based garden, growing enough to sell produce from their own kiosk.

Class Trip Turns Deadly After Bus Overturns On Highway

ROCKVILLE, Md. (WUSA) -- One person is dead after a commercial Wolf's bus, filled with children, overturned under the northbound sky ramp onto the I-270 spur, according to officials.

State police spokesman Greg Shipley identified the driver as 66-year-old Joseph A. Clabaugh Jr. of Hanover, Pa. He said Clabaugh died at the scene.

Fire rescue spokesman Captain Oscar Garcia tells 9 News Now that the accident happened at about 4:02 pm, and at northbound lanes of 270 spur between Rockledge and Montrose roads.

According to family members of the children on board the bus, the children were in town for a trip to the National Zoo from Carlisle, Pa. Family members say they were headed back home when the accident happened.

Garcia says the preliminary information is that the bus went off an area of the sky ramp.

The injured were transferred to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

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Court Orders Vote On Montgomery Co. Ambulance Fee

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Maryland's highest court has ordered a public vote on a recently passed ambulance fee in Montgomery County.

The Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed a lower court ruling and ordered the referendum on the ballot for Nov. 2.

The lower court had ruled that elections officials were correct to bar referendums because thousands of people signed their names on petition forms in a manner that conflicted with state law. The county board of elections rejected thousands of petition signatures, including illegible ones and some from people who signed without a middle initial.ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Maryland's highest court has ordered a public vote on a recently passed ambulance fee in Montgomery County.

The Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed a lower court ruling and ordered the referendum on the ballot for Nov. 2.

Handsfree In Maryland

LAUREL, Md. (WUSA) - - The first time you're caught driving in Maryland with your cell phone to your ear it will cost you $40.00 every violation after that carries a penalty of $100 and a point on your driving record.

"People really get distracted when they're on their phone," said Tia Goodwater.

MORE: 9NEWS NOW's Great Hang Up Campaign

But admit it. We've all done it before.

Roger Sullivan said, "I feel a need to see what's happening in my other world when i'm driving so it is a temptation."

"Yes, I have and it's dangerous because i have a kid and i shouldn't be doing it," admitted Sherreen Tolliver.

"It's going to be difficult to enforce." 

County Facing $140M Shortfall for Fiscal 2012

The Gazette reports that Montgomery County has a $145 million budget shortfall that officials already have identified for fiscal 2012, which begins next July.

On Tuesday, county officials told the County Council that known expenditures will be 4.3 percent higher in fiscal 2012 than this year. A fiscal plan approved by the council earlier this year allows for growth of one-tenth of one percent.

To help curb government expenses, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) has directed all county agencies to prepare to trim their budgets by as much as 15 percent. County spokesman Patrick K. Lacefield said such a scenario might not even be the worst case if decisions during the next Maryland General Assembly session, which begins in January, transfer more state expenses — such as teacher pensions — to county government.