Kayaking In January?


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A flash of color caught the eye of John Bambacus, Friendsville, while he was hiking along the Youghiogheny River just south of Friendsville on Saturday, and to his surprise he observed three kayakers ignoring the frigid temperatures and enjoying the elevated water levels of the Yough. He captured one of them “on film” with his cellphone. The unusual weather conditions for January in Garrett County continue, with warmer than normal temperatures and far less than normal snowfall. Winter, which seemingly has hardly begun, will likely begin to wind down within the next six weeks or so. Of course, the proverbial ground hog of Punxsutawney, Pa., may present a different forecast next Thursday…

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Brinkley: Western Maryland wants responsible spenders in Congress

Originally published January 31, 2012

By Bethany Rodgers
News-Post Staff

As congressional candidate in a district that ranges from the hills of Garrett County to the tech corridor along I-270,–Maryland Sen. David Brinkley said he has found something that ties everyone together: dismay over federal spending.

“The common denominator they all have is a concern about federal government spending sucking the economy dry,” he said.

The same concern propelled him to run for the 6th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Republican legislator from New Market said national debt and bloated government spending isn’t a new problem, but it’s one that keeps getting worse.

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Proposed Doubling Of Flush Tax Worries Some Legislators

Jan. 26, 2012

by Ellen Stodola

Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS – A number of legislators are concerned that Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal to raise the flush tax from $2.50 to $5 a month to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay could be too much for constituents to handle, especially in a bad economy.


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The flush tax, which raises funds for updates of wastewater treatment plants, as well as septic systems and stormwater management, costs each household a total of $30 a year. But O’Malley’s proposal for the Bay Restoration Fund ties the fee to consumption, with $5 being the average that most people will pay per month. Those who use less water could pay less, but high-volume users could pay upwards of $60 a year.

Though many legislators agree that the Chesapeake Bay is a priority, they also have to consider what this would mean for Maryland residents.

“Believe me, I’m on the side of cleaning the bay up,” said Delegate Jay Jacobs, R-Kent. “But it’s going to be a very difficult year for me to vote for any increase.”

More here.

Buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland? Call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! I take great pride in referrals, and I assure you, I will take great care of your friends, family & colleagues!

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411 FAIRWAY DR – GOLF COURSE – GA7710842 – $249,000

411 FAIRWAY DR
OAKLAND, MD 21550

Lovely 5BR/3BA raised rancher on 16th Fairway at Oakland Golf Course. Beautiful in-ground pool with pool building. Hdwd flooring on both levels, two levels finished, 2 family rooms, 2 fireplaces, formal LR, formal DR, eat-in kitchen, pantry, 2 car garage. Jetted tub in shared bath, MBR with MBA, Gas h/w baseboard heat up and in-floor gas radiant heat lower level, huge utility room. Seller RE agent

Contact Jay Ferguson @ 301-501-0420 or DeepCreekLaker@Gmail.com for more information or to setup a private showing for this property.

Listing # GA7710842

$249,000

Buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland? Call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! I take great pride in referrals, and I assure you, I will take great care of your friends, family & colleagues!

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Garrett County, Md., officials consider aiding financially strapped whitewater course

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
First Posted: January 30, 2012 – 1:16 am
Last Updated: January 30, 2012 – 1:16 am

OAKLAND, Md. — Elected officials in far western Maryland are considering whether Garrett County should take an active role in helping a financially strapped, man-made whitewater course.

The Garrett County Commissioners were set to meet in a closed session Monday to discuss the problems of the nonprofit Adventure Sports Center International near McHenry. They say they’ll make a public announcement Feb. 7.

The center’s operators acknowledged earlier this month that they have defaulted on bank loans, partly due to the financial problems of the group that owns the nearby Wisp ski resort.

More here.

Buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland? Call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! I take great pride in referrals, and I assure you, I will take great care of your friends, family & colleagues!

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Board Of Ed. Holds Elementary School Closure Hearings

Jan. 26, 2012

The Garrett County Board of Education recently held its public hearings for the potential closings of Kitzmiller and Dennett Road elementary schools. The hearing for Kitzmiller Elementary was held last Thursday (Jan. 19) in that school’s multipurpose room, while the hearing for Dennett Road Elementary took place on Tuesday in the gymnasium of Southern High School – a venue chosen to accommodate the large crowd expected by the board.


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Both events began with a presentation by Sue Waggoner, interim superintendent of schools. Those presentations showcased the fiscal problems faced by the county and the BOE, namely the trending loss of enrollment and Maryland’s wealth formula, which ranks Garrett County as the state’s fifth-wealthiest county despite its large number of students who qualify for free and reduced meals.

“This is like a grieving process as we’re dealing with the potential loss of our schools,” Waggoner said. “We’re looking at every aspect of this situation while trying to make tough decisions.”

Waggoner also talked about trying to attract some of Garrett County’s 294 homeschooled students into the system through the use of technology and offerings in advanced-placement courses. This addition of students would potentially increase state funding, though, as Waggoner explained, this would require some support from lawmakers in Annapolis, as Maryland currently does not permit funding for part-time students.

More here.

Buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland? Call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! I take great pride in referrals, and I assure you, I will take great care of your friends, family & colleagues!

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Edwards, Beitzel Seek Increased School Funding

Jan. 26, 2012

Sen. George C. Edwards (R-Dist. 1) and Del. Wendell R. Beitzel (R-Dist. 1A) announced yesterday that they will pursue a statewide legislative effort that would cap losses of state funding for K-12 education incurred by Garrett and Allegany counties.

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s fiscal year 2013 budget includes a 5.5 percent cut in funding for Allegany County and an 11.8 percent cut in funding for Garrett County. This is on top of the approximately 6 percent cut that these two jurisdictions took in funding during the FY 2012 budget.


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“The state really needs to look at how the wealth formula is computed,” Edwards said. “This bill would be a benefit to Garrett and Allegany counties and potentially others if we can get it passed. It would also give the state time to study how we compute wealth for K-12 education and look at appropriate various changes to the formula.”

This is the second year in a row that Garrett and Allegany counties have received the largest cuts in K-12 education funding for the state, the senator noted. The state’s portion of education funding is based on a formula commonly referred to as the “wealth formula” and student enrollment. These two factors are used to calculate the money that is distributed statewide for the educational needs of the counties.

“The futures of the children of Garrett and Allegany counties are being jeopardized due to massive losses in state funding for education,” said Beitzel.

During the 2011 legislative session, Edwards and Beitzel led legislative efforts to cap the losses a local jurisdiction receives in education based on the wealth formula. That bill was met with opposition from the O’Malley administration.

The western Maryland legislators, however, convinced other lawmakers to include extra education funding for Garrett and Allegany counties in FY 2012. This funding was included the passage of the alcohol tax. That funding, however, was good for only one year.

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No smoking

Businesses finding Clean Indoor Air Act is helping

Cumberland Times-News

Employees from the Allegany and Garrett counties health department frequently inspect restaurants, taverns and other appropriate businesses to see if the non-smoking provisions of the state Clean Indoor Act are being violated.

A Garrett County establishment was fined $100 recently for having done so a second time. A third offense would draw a $500 fine and subsequent offenses would result in a $1,000 fine.

Garrett health officer Rodney Glotfelty said such violations aren’t often found.

That doesn’t surprise us, because businesses seem to be taking the law seriously.

One reason this is so is that patrons who do not smoke are appreciative of being in a non-smoking environment. Being in the presence of tobacco smoke can be offensive to non-smokers, and the dangers of inhaling secondary smoke are proven.
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The owners of one restaurant have told us that when the smoking ban was imposed, they thought their business would suffer.

What happened, they said, was that their business actually improved.

So, we believe, did their own health prospects and those of their employees and patrons. Whether smokers agree with it or not, the law is a good one, and it works.

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Buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland? Call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! I take great pride in referrals, and I assure you, I will take great care of your friends, family & colleagues!

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School officials make case for new Allegany

Kristin Harty Barkley Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — The Allegany County Board of Education won’t find out until this spring whether it will receive funding to begin designing a new Allegany High School.

But officials, who pitched the project to Gov. Martin O’Malley and other members of the state’s Board of Public Works on Wednesday, believe they’re making a good case.

“I feel like it went pretty well. They were very interested,” said Superintendent David Cox, who showed state officials poster-size photos of conditions at the 87-year-old building, including its antiquated boiler room and dilapidated auditorium.

“We just wanted to show the age of the building and to support what the architects have told us about it being beyond its useful life.”

Cox, who traveled to Annapolis on Wednesday with all five members of the local Board of Education, as well as several county officials, had about 10 minutes to tell state officials about the Allegany High School project.

The Board of Public Works — made up of O’Malley, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp — heard requests Wednesday for building projects from school systems across the state.

The typically long day of presentations has become known as the “beg-a-thon” because so many school officials plead for funds.

O’Malley announced earlier this month that he plans to ask the Maryland General Assembly to approve more than $370 million in school construction funding in the fiscal year 2013 budget — the second-highest single-year funding level in state history.

Last year, lawmakers approved $250 million for school construction. The General Assembly’s annual 90-day session started Jan. 11.

In December, local school officials pitched the AHS project to the state’s Interagency Committee on School Funding, describing how the BOE, Cumberland City Council and Western Maryland Health System signed off on a land swap deal to allow a new Allegany High School to be built on the site of the former Braddock campus of the hospital.

The cooperative effort has impressed state officials, Cox said.

“I feel positive about it,” said Cox, who planned to stay overnight in Annapolis to attend today’s PACE reception with local legislators. “I don’t take anything for granted though. I think we’ve done about everything we can.”

Members of the Western Maryland Delegation, who are supporting the Allegany High School project, announced Wednesday that they are also taking steps to assure that school systems in rural counties aren’t crippled by state funding cuts this year.

Sen. George Edwards and Delegate Wendell Beitzel said they’re pursuing statewide legislation that would cap funding losses for Allegany and Garrett county school systems, which suffered the biggest state cuts last year.

O’Malley’s FY 2013 budget includes a 5.5 percent cut in funding for Allegany County and an 11.8 percent cut for Garrett County, which is considering closing up to three elementary schools to make ends meet.

“The citizens from these areas have made it clear that these schools are at the heart of the community and closing them would cause irreparable harm for the students and their families,” Beitzel said of Friendsville, Kitzmiller and Dennett Road elementary schools.

Last year, Edwards and Beitzel led legislative efforts to cap a jurisdiction’s funding losses due to the so-called “wealth formula.” But that funding was only good for one year.

“The state really needs to look at how the wealth formula is computed,” Edwards said. “This bill would be a benefit to Garrett and Allegany counties and potentially others if we can get it passed.”

Cox said that school officials appreciate the legislators’ efforts to minimize state funding cuts, which was on the Board of Education’s list of “legislative priorities” for 2012.

Contact Kristin Harty Barkley at kbarkley@times-news.com

Buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland? Call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! I take great pride in referrals, and I assure you, I will take great care of your friends, family & colleagues!

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Maryland Realtors plan to fight O’Malley proposal to cap mortgage tax deduction

By Associated Press, Published: January 25

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland real estate agents expressed alarm Wednesday at Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal to cap state income tax deductions for people who make more than $100,000, a change that would have a big impact on mortgage interest deductions.

Patricia Terrill, president of the Maryland Association of Realtors, said the proposal was just about the only thing that members of the 22,000-strong group were talking about during their annual legislative day in Annapolis.
“Let’s face it, the homeowners have been beat up enough,” said Terrill, wearing a “Save Maryland’s Interest Deduction” sticker. “We need to protect our homeowners.”

Under O’Malley’s plan, a single Maryland taxpayer whose federal adjusted gross income is more than $100,000 would see a 10 percent reduction in the amount they could claim in state income tax deductions. A single earner making more than $200,000 would see a 20 percent reduction.

The governor says while he doesn’t like reducing the deductions, he has said changes in his budget plan would affect only about one in five Maryland taxpayers. O’Malley, a Democrat, says new revenue is badly needed after years of budget cuts due to the recession.

More here.

Buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland? Call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! I take great pride in referrals, and I assure you, I will take great care of your friends, family & colleagues!

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