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More Deer Targeted In Maryland's Catoctin Mountain Park

THURMONT, Md. (AP) -- The National Park Service says government sharpshooters are preparing to further thin the deer herd in Catoctin Mountain Park near Thurmont.

The agency said Tuesday that starting next week and continuing through March, portions of the park will be closed weekend afternoons and evenings to allow for safe shooting. Closed areas will be clearly posted.

Sharpshooters killed 233 deer in the park last February and March, reducing the estimated deer density from 123 per square mile to 87 per square mile. Park officials say the deer density is still six times larger than in healthy forest ecosystems.

Public hunting is prohibited in the 5,770-acre park, which surrounds the Camp David presidential retreat.

Catoctin Swimmer Proves Seeing Isn't Competing

THURMONT, Md. (WUSA) -- Catoctin freshman Jason Polansky has been blind since birth and swimming since he was four years old.  This is his first season on Catoctin's swim team and Polansky's coach and teammates agree his talent and determination is inspiring.

Anyone who has attended a swimming event knows that a pool during a swim meet is as intense as a basketball court or a football field during a game.  Coaches yell instructions from the side of the pool, opponents splash menacingly in nearby lanes and winning the race depends on timing and rhythm. 

Unemployment Benefits Begin To Run Out

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- A last-minute bid to extend unemployment benefits failed. That means unemployment benefits start to run out December 1st.

"I never thought I was going to be on unemployment," said Kristopher Smith, Frederick, who was laid off 19 months ago.

He continued, "I thought I had done everything right. I worked for a company for 10 years. I had, I stayed with them, I was loyal with them."

Smith said he was a supervisor, creating computerized databases for car dealerships. When those companies faced hard economic times, Smith lost his job.

"My severance package ran out, and I went on unemployment," he said. That has now run out, too. "Because of what's going on right now, it ends yesterday."

Many lawmakers don't want to extend unemployment benefits because it could add to the national debt. Smith said unemployment is not the place to cut.

15 Year-Old Boy Joins Maryland Cadet Program

The Frederick News-Post reports that Austin Foertschbeck has always had an interest in fire and rescue services.

"I'm an active person that likes to help out in the community," he said. "Fire and rescue is the best of both worlds."

Foertschbeck, 15, was one of the first to sign up for Carroll Manor Fire Co.'s Cadet Program. He has been volunteering at the Adamstown fire station for little over a month.

The program is open to people ages 15 to 18 who are interested in being a member of the company. Once enrolled they learn about fire and EMS services.

"We didn't want to single it out to any one branch or the other," said Pam Gentel, coordinator of the program.

Once the program's bylaws and charter are passed, Gentel expects the cadets to start meeting within two weeks. There are five members already signed up.

"I'm looking forward to it," she said. "It will be pretty promising and our goal is for it to expand."

Father Charged In Infant Death In Brunswick

Maryland Fire Marshal: Medical Clinic Blaze Suspicious

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — Maryland fire investigators say a blaze that destroyed a medical clinic in a historic Frederick farmhouse is considered suspicious.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Bruce Bouch said Friday morning that an arson dog detected accelerants at the scene of the Thanksgiving Day fire in the farmhouse in the 8100 block of Runnymeade Drive. Officials say two firefighters sustained minor injuries while battling the blaze.

Bouch says investigators have been in touch with the owner, but he is out of the state.

The clinic closed earlier this year after Dr. Nicola M. Tauraso’s medical license was suspended.

Historic Farmhouse Damaged By Fire; 1 Hurt

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) -- Fire officials say a historic farmhouse in Frederick was severely damaged in a blaze. One firefighter suffered minor injuries.

The fire was reported Thursday about 8:15 a.m. when a passer-by saw flames coming from the Tauraso Medical Clinic.

Twenty-one fire trucks were eventually call to the scene. Fire was still seen coming from the roof about three hours later.

Damage was estimated at $500,000. The cause of the blaze is under investigation, but fire officials said Friday that accelerants were found at multiple locations at the scene of the blaze.

The structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The house is believed to be 230 years old.