Md. environmental agency addresses Deep Creek Lake water level concerns

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
First Posted: October 27, 2011 – 11:53 am
Last Updated: October 27, 2011 – 11:54 am

MCHENRY, Md. — Maryland environmental regulators are addressing concerns about low water levels in Deep Creek Lake.

The head of the Department of the Environment said in an Oct. 19 letter to a citizen advisory board that a faulty valve on a hydroelectric dam may be leaking excessive water.

He says Brookfield Power Corp. plans to examine and repair or replace the valve as needed.

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Rural leaders rebel against O'Malley's statewide growth plan

By Nicole Fuller, The Baltimore Sun

9:09 p.m. EDT, October 27, 2011
Bruce Holstein moved to Carroll County eight years ago looking for land to build a house so he could live closer to his grown daughter and her family. He settled on a historic road with no streetlights, flanked by maple and hickory trees, with corn and soybean farms in the distance.

It’s a small-town way of life that Holstein wants to preserve, and he sees no bigger threat than a statewide plan to direct development — a plan set to take effect as early as next month.

Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley’s effort to target growth near existing development — and to withhold funding from local governments that don’t comply — has raised hackles in some corners of Maryland. Some of the most vocal opposition has come from Carroll, where one county commissioner believes the plan is part of a broad scheme orchestrated by the United Nations. In neighboring Frederick County, leaders have called it a communist erosion of democracy.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Takeovers “They want to put us all in one-bedroom condominiums around a city or town,” said Holstein, a retired federal worker from Taylorsville. “They’re going to take that land where farms are now and turn it into green zones, and no one can live there. I don’t need Martin O’Malley to tell me what to do with my land.”

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12-year-old kills 372-pound male bear as Maryland hunt ends

By Don Markus

The Baltimore Sun

2:12 a.m. EDT, October 28, 2011
The annual Maryland bear hunt ended Thursday night after a total of 65 bears were killed, the largest being a 372-pound male shot by a 12-year old boy.

Colton Lucas of Kitzmiller in Garrett County brought down the biggest of the bears, which averaged 154 pounds, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Most of the bears — 59 of them — were killed in Garrett County. The other six were killed in Allegany County.

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DNR, police find lost hunters

On opening day of bear season, pair bagged a bruin but became disoriented in brush

Michael A. Sawyers Cumberland Times-News

SANG RUN — Just six-tenths of a mile from the family home, with 210 pounds of dead bear on the ground and darkness approaching, Robert and Scott Metheny realized they were badly disoriented.

“We were close enough to the house that I could call my mom on the radio and have her honk the horn, and we could hear it, trying to get our bearings,” said Scott, 41.

It was Monday — the opening day of Maryland’s bear season. Scott, now living in Willow Grove, Pa., had drawn one of the coveted 260 hunting permits and had named his father, Robert, 69, to hunt with him. The family home is in West Virginia, but is tucked against the Maryland state line. The duo was hunting on land owned by a relative near the Cranesville Swamp.

“I shot a bear at noon and it ran into some thick cover,” Scott said. Parting pine limbs so that he could see more than a foot or so, Scott came upon the dead bear, a male that would later be estimated to have a live weight of 248 pounds.

Moving the bear was up to Scott, because of Robert’s bad knee.

“It was like rowing a boat,” Scott said. “I’d sit down and pull, sit down and pull.” Scott said his goal was to get the bear to a spot where he could use a wheeled cart to retrieve the animal.

Eventually realizing they were unsure of the direction they were taking, the hunters placed their packs and rifles as a marker to try to stay on course, until there came a time when they couldn’t find the packs in the thick brush.

“The forest canopy is so thick that you can see about 5 percent of the sky,” Scott said.

At one point, Scott stepped into a swamp hole up to his thigh. Then it rained.

“I was so hot from dragging the bear that the rain didn’t bother me at first,” Scott said.

Then the Methenys found their packs, but now they couldn’t find the bear. As the day wore on they found the bear again but then lost the packs and rifles a second time. It was 4 p.m.

“We called Mom at 6 and told her to call the check station (at Mount Nebo) and tell them that we couldn’t get the bear there by 8,” Scott said. “DNR wanted to know if we could make it by 9, but Mom called them back and told them we couldn’t.”

At 9 p.m., Mrs. Metheny called Mount Nebo a third time, to ask for help for the lost hunters.

“We didn’t need rescued, but we needed found,” Scott said.

The fact that Scott and Robert still could not move in the correct direction after hearing the car horn is all you need to know about that piece of Garrett County landscape that bumps up against the Preston County, W.Va., border.

Paul Peditto, director of the Wildlife & Heritage Service, and Harry Spiker, bear biologist, were part of the search party.

“It’s easy to get lost in that country,” Spiker said. “The hemlock overstory is thick. The swamp grass is heavy and the alders are tough.”

Natural Resources Police officers went to the Metheny home to make sure officers knew the radio frequency to use.

“We are grateful to the Maryland DNR,” Scott said. “They put groups around us and kept tightening the circle until they triangulated us.”

Sgt. Art Windemuth said officers sounded sirens and blew whistles and asked the Methenys via radio if they could determine direction of the sound. Windemuth said the Maryland State Police Trooper 5 helicopter was unable to assist because of a low cloud ceiling.

“The coyotes started howling at the sirens and it was an uneasy feeling because there we were sitting on a bear carcass with no rifles and listening to predators,” Scott said.

“There was no easy way to get to us. DNR came around the end of Snaggy Mountain and got the four-wheeler to a spot where we could see their light and we went to them,” Scott said. It was Tuesday by then, 2:45 a.m.

The hunters had been without water for 12 hours, although Robert had two candy bars in his hunting coat. Scott said neither he nor his father required medical attention.

DNR helped the Methenys retrieve the bear Tuesday morning.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com

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Community Complex Becomes A Reality

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Oct. 27, 2011

Saturday was a day for celebration and appreciation. After years of discussion, planning, and seeking funds, the Garrett College Community Aquatic & Recreation Complex (CARC) doors were thrown open and hundreds of people were welcomed to enjoy the amenities of this state-of-the-art facility. It was the grand opening of the CARC, and members of the community were joined by state and local dignitaries to recognize the efforts of all who helped make this community center a reality. Since no grand opening could be complete without the ribbon- cutting ceremony, a blue ribbon was stretched across the CARC entryway. The scissors were held by Garrett College president Richard MacLennan and Don Battista, CEO of Garrett County Memorial Hospital. The hospital operates a wellness center in the CARC. In the photo from left to right in the front are Linda Sherbin, president of the Garrett College board of trustees, Battista, and MacLennan. In back, in the same order are Sen. George Edwards; Garrett County commissioner Bob Gatto; Dr. Jeannr Neff, chair of Garrett College Foundation board; Dr. George Brelsford, GC dean of student life; GC commissioners James Raley and Gregan Crawford; Chuck Hess, CEO, Hess Construction & Engineering Services; Christopher Uhl, representing Gov. Martin O’Malley; and Del. Wendell Beitzel.

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Schedules Set For Trick-Or-Treat, Parades, Socials

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Oct. 27, 2011

Various municipalities of Garrett and Preston counties will set aside time for trick-or-treating this weekend, as well as several Halloween socials and parades.

The schedule is as follows:

Friday, Oct. 28

•Kitzmiller – 6 to 8 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 29

•Deer Park – 5 to 6 p.m.

•Aurora, W.Va. – 5 to 8 p.m.

•Grantsville – 5:30 to 7 p.m.

•Swanton – A Halloween social and parade will be held at the Swanton Community Center beginning with the parade at 5:30 p.m. The parade will travel through town to the railroad tracks before heading back to the center for the social at 6 p.m. The public is invited.

Monday, Oct. 31

•Terra Alta, W.Va. – 5 to 6:30 p.m. A Halloween social will follow for children up to age 12 at the Terra Alta VFW from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The public is invited.

•Mtn. Lake Park – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

•Loch Lynn – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

•Friendsville – 5:30 to 7 p.m.

•Accident – 6 to 7 p.m.

•Oakland – 6 to 8 p.m.

•Swanton – 6 to 8 p.m.

All residents wishing to participate in trick-or-treating should leave their porch lights on. Drivers should be aware of children walking the streets. It is suggested that children wear reflective tape or carry glow sticks while on the streets.

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Grand Opening Of CARC Brings Accolades From Public, Officials

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Oct. 27, 2011

by Peggy Santamaria

The grand opening of Phase 1 of the Garrett College Community Aquatic & Recreation Complex (CARC) provided a day filled with fun and festivities for the nearly 500 people who attended. The long-awaited community center is now a reality.

Garrett College alumni were invited to attend a pre-opening tour and breakfast. About 55 former students gathered to reminisce about the past and marvel at what is the latest stride made by their alma mater. Among the attendees were two who had made quite a trip to take part in these events. Marcelo Grisi arrived from Brazil, and Jim Pedicone drove 1,000 miles from Wisconsin to take part in this event.

The ceremonial ribbon cutting was preceded by messages of congratulations from local and state officials and dignitaries. Among those present and offering congratulations were Christopher Uhl from the office of Gov. Martin O’Malley; Robin Summerfield from the office of Sen. Ben Cardin; Julianna Albowicz representing Sen. Barbara Mikulski; Sen. George Edwards; Del. Wendell Beitzel; Garrett County commissioners Gregan Crawford, Bob Gatto, and Jim Raley; and Don Battista, CEO of Garrett County Memorial Hospital.

Garrett College president Dr. Richard MacLennan recognized the ground-breaking work of his predecessors Dr. Steven Herman and Dr. Jeanne Neff for their vision and determination to develop the concept of the CARC and find ways to bring it to fruition. He expressed deep appreciation for the foresight of former county commissioner Ernie Gregg in working to make this facility a reality and the determination of Sen. George Edwards to find the funds to do it. MacLennan also thanked the current county commissioners for all the support they have provided.

The county commissioners presented a check for $50,000 to the Garrett College Foundation to help sustain the “I Can Swim!” program, offered free to all kindergarten children in the county.

Throughout the day there were demonstrations of activities that will be among the offerings at the CARC.

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Now, These Are Pumpkins!

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Several “whopper” pumpkins were grown this year by Ed Friend on the DeBerry Farm north of Oakland (Friend’s in-laws). According to the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the only official record for pumpkins is kept by the Maryland State Fair, and the current record is 713.5 pounds. Friend took his largest pumpkin to Southern States in Oakland to be weighed on that scale, where it topped out at 773 pounds. Official or not, it’s a mighty big pumpkin! Pictured above sitting on some of this year’s crop are Friend’s children Nicholas (left), age 10, and Tailynn, age 6. The “smaller” pumpkin on the left weighs about 722 pounds. Friend noted that the pumpkins were grown from Atlantic Giant seeds, and took “a lot of fertilizer and a lot of water.” They have “matured” just in time for Halloween, of course, which will be celebrated across the county.

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Are the taxpayers really winning?

As president of the Anne Arundel County Fraternal Order of Police, I find myself looking back at County Executive John R. Leopold’s column, “Budget choices: Taxpayers win again” (The Capital, June 2009).

This column was published almost two years afterThe Capital’sarticle, “Nonprofits lose, taxpayers win in county budget.”

These articles, and others like them, received accolades from our conservative, tax-averse citizens. The taxpayers have had one victory after another under Leopold, as he successfully shaved pay and benefits for county government workers, and cut everything that could possibly be cut from an already lean county workforce. Are the taxpayers really winning? Maybe, like actor Charlie Sheen, they are “epic winning.” Really?

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Maryland to redraw District 6

by Stacy Mathew, Staff Writer

Maryland Democrats plan to redraw the state’s Congressional District map in order to include most of Rockville and part of Germantown in District 6. District 6 currently extends from Garrett County to Hartford County and only includes a small portion of Montgomery County. Democrats hope that this redistricting will be beneficial in April’s primary elections.

Courtesy of http://www.mdp.state.md.us
Maryland Democrats are in favor of redrawing District 6 as part of the 2012 Congressional Redistricting.
The potential map would draw parts of Montgomery County, known for being majority Democrat, into District 6, causing the number of voters to increase from 20,000 to 35,000. The potential map of District 6 would contain Frederick and Gaithersburg counties as well as Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties. “District 6 would be 51 percent or 53 percent Democratic,” said Elizabeth Paul, chairwoman of the Washington County Democratic Central Committee. “Certainly, we would be thrilled to have some good, strong Democratic candidates in the race and have a little bit better shot at actually winning the race than the current District 6 allows us,” she said.

Andrew Harris, Maryland’s other Republican representative, will also have to deal with changes made to his Eastern Shore district. The changes would add much of Hartford County and parts of Northern Carroll and Baltimore counties into the Eastern Shore district; the district will no longer include the residents of Anne Arundel County. Other minor changes will also be made to the rest of the districts.

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