Maryland briefs

April 23, 2003

Tyson to close plant; 600 to lose jobs

BALTIMORE (AP) - Tyson Foods Inc. said Monday more than 600 workers will be laid off and several dozen poultry growers will be without contracts as it phases out operations at a Maryland poultry complex.

Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson said it planned to close the lower Eastern Shore plant by the end of the year, putting an end to its operations in Maryland.

The world's largest meat company said it will begin reducing operations immediately at the plant, which employs about 600 people and processes about a million chickens a week.

Storm costs state more than expected

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Winter's ice and snow are long gone, but West Virginia motorists and state highway officials still are dealing with the damage roads endured from a series of harsh storms.


This winter was the most costly ever for the state Department of Transportation, with final bills totaling $45.6 million. The agency had planned to spend $25 million.

The agency also had to pay another $18.6 million to fix road slides and other damage caused by February's ice storm and floods. The federal government might be able to help with that, said Carl Thompson, deputy state highways engineer.

Man pleads guilty to ex-girlfriend's slaying

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A man accused of stalking, kidnapping and then killing his ex-girlfriend pleaded guilty to a general charge of homicide Tuesday, nine months after he led police to her body in Maryland.

John F. Passmore III, 24, entered the surprise guilty plea on the morning that he was scheduled to go to trial in the death of Melissa Chamberlain, 21, of Middletown Township.

Instead, a Bucks County judge began considering whether Passmore is guilty of first-, second- or third-degree murder.

Report: Species crimping W.Va.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - More than 1,000 nonnative plant and animal species are spreading across West Virginia, many wreaking havoc on the state's forests, animals and industries at an economic cost that's significant but hard to calculate.

That's the conclusion of a report set to be released Wednesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The environmental nonprofit agency wants to rally support for national and state funding to combat invasive species.

Forests, which cover about four-fifths of the state's 15.5 million acres, are threatened not only by the gypsy moth but by diseases and weeds.

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