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Category: Latest News

Teen stall mucker gets $274,000 verdict; barn worker should have been considered an employee, not a contractor

This article, written by Daily Record Legal Affairs writer Ben Book, first appeared in the Daily Record on July 8, 2012 and is reprinted here with permission. A Washington County jury has backed a teenage horse farm worker’s argument that when she was injured on the job, she was an employee and not a contract worker.  The jury delivered a $274,010 verdict in favor of Melanie McCartney of Hancock. McCartney suffered serious injuries to her hand after being kicked by a horse while working at Hoffman Family Farms in Clear Spring. According to McCartney’s complaint, the Hoffmans committed “workplace fraud” by classifying her as an independent contractor. Her lawsuit sought $1.7 million on claims that included failing to secure workers’ compensation and failing to provide a safe workplace. McCartney, who was 17 when she started working at Hoffman Family Farms in 2010, earned $8 an hour for cleaning the stalls, training and feeding horses and other responsibilities. Hoffman Farms had about 60 horses on site at the time of the accident. Kimberly J. Jandrain, with Coburn & Greenbaum PLLC in Washington, who represented McCartney, declined to comment. Calls to the owners of Hoffman Family Farms and their attorney, Scott Schubel, were not returned. McCartney had filed an IRS form W-9, the form given to independent contractors. She established that she was in fact an employee by showing, among other...

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Suzanne Stettinius: An Official Olympian

Well, it is official! Suzanne Stettinius (pictured on the right with her U.S. Modern Pentathlon teammates) of Parkton can forever add the word “Olympian” next to her name. The 24-year-old just completed her first Olympic Games on August 12 in London in the woman’s Modern Pentathlon. The event has competitors running, swimming, fencing, riding and shooting a pistol, all in one day. The McDaniel College graduate first got interested in the sport while in college and has competed both nationally and internationally at several of the world’s top venues leading up to these games. Out of the five phases, Suzanne, who is a regular on the local point-to-point circuit, had her highest score in riding. Overall, she finished in 28th place among 36 athletes. To read more about Suzanne, click on this story: “Baltimore County Horsewoman Suzzane Stettinius Talks With Channel 13 About Her Olympic...

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Governor appoints Boniface to represent horse industry on Ag Commission

Bill Boniface has been appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley to serve as one of the five new members to the Maryland Agricultural Commission, an advisory body comprised of representatives from different commodity groups who provide the Agriculture Secretary with information and recommendations on policies and issues facing the agriculture industry. Members serve three-year terms and are eligible to serve two consecutive terms. There are 30 members of the commission, representing poultry, dairy, livestock, nursery, horticulture, field crops, vegetable industry, veterinary, Maryland State Grange, Maryland Farm Bureau, at large ag services, agri business, turf, equine, consumers, organic farming, direct farm marketing, viticulture, agriculture education, tobacco, forestry, aquaculture, food processing, biofuels, and agri-tourism as well as the University System of Maryland. Replacing outgoing equine industry representative Ron Green, Bill Boniface is general manager of the family-owned Bonita Farm, a 400-acre Thoroughbred horse breeding and training operation in Harford County. He is a former president and a current Director Emeritus of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association.  He is currently serving on the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Horse Breeders Foundation. In addition, he is the founding Director of Maryland Million Ltd. and is currently serving on the Board of Director’s Executive Committee. Boniface is also a licensed Thoroughbred owner and member of the Maryland Racing Commission’s Maryland Bred Fund Advisory Committee. Bonita Farm recently diversified part of their operation by planting...

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Murder of Sarah Greenhalgh topic for tonight’s CNN Nancy Grace Show

Tonight, at 8 p.m. on CNN, for one hour Nancy Grace and her panel of experts will discuss the July 9 murder of equine photojournalist and Maryland native Sarah Libbey Greenhalgh. Another Maryland native, and a childhood friend of Sarah’s, Liz Bere, will be interviewed in the second half of the show. To the best of our knowledge, no other locals will be interviewed, although there will be regional and national crime specialists as part of tonight’s panel. As far as The Equiery can determine, there is no “new news” regarding the...

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New Maryland Horse Trails Guide

Too late for the July Trails issue of The Equiery, but this just in: The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has launched a directory to Maryland bridle trails that were once railroad lines. The service provides maps, photos, a description plus reviews and ratings. Pretty nifty! The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., whose mission it is to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people. Did you know that we have over 2,000 miles of bridle trails? Find out more in the July Equiery, featuring Maryland trails and lands!    To have a free copy mailed to you, call 1-800-244-9580 or e-mail, or pick up a copy at the tack or feed store near year (also carried in some restaurants and grocery stores!) – or check out our digital edition!  ...

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$25,000 in grants available for Maryland horse industry projects

The Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) will be accepting grant applications for non-profit research, educational and promotional equine activities, beginning August 1. The board intends to award up to $25,000 in grants that support or develop new opportunities for Maryland’s horse industry. Applications must be received by October 1, 2012.   “The horse industry is a critical component of Maryland’s economy. There are more than 79,000 horses in Maryland, and more than 28,000 citizens are employed in the equine industry,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “The Maryland Horse Industry Board works very hard to stimulate growth and opportunity in Maryland’s equestrian community. This grant program is one way it helps spur needed innovation and encourage those most committed to the industry.” Funding for the MHIB and its grants come from The Maryland Feed Fund, which collects $6 on every ton of horse feed sold in Maryland. It is an effective model for how industry groups can help themselves, without relying on taxpayer dollars. Since the Fund was established in 2002, MHIB has awarded more than $200,000 in grants to nearly 200 projects throughout Maryland. Organizations eligible for MHIB grants include non-profit organizations, clubs and associations, businesses, farms and stables, government entities, schools and educational institutions. Projects will be evaluated for their value to the industry, degree of industry promotion, size and scope of activity, financial need, potential for matching...

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