Friendsville gets grant to help complete its part of Garrett County’s loop trail

Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News

FRIENDSVILLE — The town of Friendsville recently received a $78,500 award as one of the recipients of the 2013 Bikeways Program Grant.

“We are very happy to receive the grant. I appreciate the cooperation of everyone that we worked with to achieve this grant,” said Mayor Spencer Schlosnagle. “It is part of the master plan for our future to bring in economic development for recreational activities.”

The grant will be used for designing and engineering a town trail that will extend to the community park.

It also will help with additional signage, bike racks and safety improvements in the future construction of the Kendall Trail, according to Schlosnagle.

The Kendall Trail, which begins on Morris Avenue, is about three miles long and, once fully completed, will go into the Sang Run area of Oakland.

“It’s a big benefit for our community,” said Schlosnagle.

The Bikeways Program is an integral part of the proposed Eastern Continental Divide Loop Trail, an initiative developed and led by Garrett Trails.

The vision for the proposed loop trail is a 150-mile, hard-packed, multi-user trail that runs through the heart of Garrett County and bridges the connections between existing trails and connects to larger trail networks outside the county, according to the Garrett Trails website.

The northern portion of the loop trail leads through Grantsville, eventually connecting with the Great Allegheny Passage in Meyersdale, Pa.

The existing Allegheny Highlands Trail forms a loop at Confluence, Pa., where it can be taken to the southern portion of the loop beginning at Friendsville, according to the trail’s website.

“The benefits of a county-wide recreational trail system are wide-ranging. A comprehensive trail system will enhance the quality of the life within the county and become an indispensable asset,” states the 2003 Garrett County Recreational Trails Plan update.

“Although creating or expanding a trail system can deliver significant economic benefits by itself, communities can do more to capitalize on the economic potential of trails. Trails generate positive economic impacts by delivering additional spending to businesses. As businesses become more productive, new jobs and tax revenue follow.”

Statewide, the Bikeways Program provided 28 winners with $3.13 million in grants to seven counties, Baltimore City and 12 other municipalities, according to the program website.

These projects are the second set of grants awarded through the Bikeways Program, bringing the total to 48 bikeways grant recipients for a total of $5.63 million to date.

The grant was made possible thanks to the assistance of Gov. Martin O’Malley, who facilitated the program; U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and his staff, who are strong proponents of hiking and biking trails; and Garrett Trails, according to Schlosnagle.

“It is a joint effort with everyone working together to make it a reality,” Schlosnagle said.

For more information on the proposed Eastern Continental Divide Loop Trail, visit the website at www.garretttrails.org.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com

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!

877-563-5350 – toll free — 

 Search Homes & Lots for Sale at Deep Creek Lake & Garrett County, Maryland
 —

"Summer Afternoon"

Jul. 19, 2012

Summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language,” said American author Henry James (1843-1916). A great many would agree with his sentiment, especially while playing in the sand or wading in the waves. The height of summer is upon the Mountaintop, with temperatures warmer than the usual Garrett County clime.


‘Like’ on Facebook!

While much of the nearby area is suffering severe drought conditions, this county has been spared the worst of it, with rain being a little less stingy with its appearances. The forecast for the next week is rocky, with storms possible each day. The heat is to be less – back to the more normal mid-70s range. This photo was taken at Deep Creek Lake State Park by staff photographer John McEwen.

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!

877-563-5350 – toll free — 

 Search Homes & Lots for Sale at Deep Creek Lake & Garrett County, Maryland
 —

Local Resident Asks Commissioners To Restore Fairness To Property Taxes

Jul. 19, 2012

The Garrett County commissioners held their bimonthly pubic meeting on Tuesday afternoon. A wide variety of topics were on the agenda, including a presentation about “restoring fairness” to real property taxes, a discussion about opting out of new sprinkler system requirement, funding for the Partners After School program, a public hearing involving the solid waste management plan, and recognition of the Greater Cumberland Committee.

Local resident/business owner Michael Bell gave a 30-minute presentation about restoring fairness to real property taxes. He noted that gas companies, such as Chevron, are exempt from paying property taxes on the Marcellus and Utica shale mineral rights/leases that they from western Maryland landowners.

Bell indicated that other property owners usually do not mind tax exemptions for churches, hospitals, and other entities that are important to their communities. But anytime something is taken off the tax base, other property owners and businesses end up paying more in taxes in order to generate much-needed revenue.


‘Like’ on Facebook!

Bell noted that the county’s revenue base is not growing and that the commissioners may have to raise taxes and/or reduce services in the future. He presented three assessment scenarios in which the county could generate, perhaps, as much as $6.7 million annually by taxing those who have purchased mineral rights/natural gas leases. He stressed that the state already has administrative and legal mechanisms in place to allow this to happen.

“I hope this stimulates discussion about this,” Bell said about his presentation.

In addition to Garrett, he noted, people in Allegany, Washington, and Frederick counties are affected by proposed Marcellus/Utica shale drilling. He suggested that an informal work group consisting of representatives from the four counties be formed to discuss the property tax issue further.

Commission chair Jim Raley thanked Bell for presenting the issue. Raley called it an “interesting idea,” and indicated it could be discussed further.

Also on Tuesday, the commissioners reviewed a new state law that requires new one- and two-family homes to have sprinkler systems. GC Department of Planning and Land Development officials were under the impression that jurisdictions could not opt out of the requirement and had to adopt the new standard in their building codes ordinance by Oct. 1.

But the county’s Permits and Inspections Division was recently notified by the Maryland Codes Administration that jurisdictions can delay that adoption.

“Local governments can opt out until the next cycle of building codes comes into play, which is in 2015,” Planning and Land Development director John Nelson told the commissioners.

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!

877-563-5350 – toll free — 

 Search Homes & Lots for Sale at Deep Creek Lake & Garrett County, Maryland
 —

Chamber Leadership Won't Reveal Source Of "White Paper" Figures

Jul. 19, 2012

by Paul Roberts and Mike Herdering

Garrett County Chamber of Commerce directors refuse to disclose their sources for claims that shale gas revenue in western Maryland could amount to $47 billion, and, despite the chamber’s large county subsidy, the presiding county commissioners apparently see no problem with the chamber making such claims.

Official median government estimates put the value of the gas reserve almost 90 percent lower than the chamber’s figure, at around $5 billion.


‘Like’ on Facebook!

The chamber’s “white paper” on shale gas – published on a web site jointly run by the county and the University of Maryland Extension Service – contains mostly industry talking points and has drawn criticism for promoting gas-drilling while wildly exaggerating claims of its financial possibilities. The issue, which spawned several letters to the editor of The Republican, has been a hot topic locally and led to testy exchanges at a chamber-organized function this week in McHenry.

Those connected with the process say a lagging vacation tourism industry, for many years the Deep Creek Lake area’s economic engine, has local business elites and county officials looking for a replacement; some believe drilling for gas in the Marcellus and Utica shale deposits under the county is the best hope for the future, given tourism’s slide in a national economic slow-down now in its fourth year. Many others, at numerous public meetings over the last two years, have complained that tourism and industrial gas development are not compatible.

Meanwhile, a local businessman who says he helped with the chamber report – and with one by the Greater Cumberland Committee that contains identical financial claims – denies that he was the source for the exaggerated estimate, but says he doesn’t know where the information originated.

Jonathan “Smiley” Kessler, operator of several tourism-related businesses in Garrett County, said he expects horizontally “fractured” wells to be drilled soon on land he owns in Pennsylvania. He estimated what he called “pie in the sky” earnings from the drilling, but insists it “is summarily wrong” to conclude that information formed the basis for the chamber’s undocumented numbers.

Kessler redirected inquiries about documentation to chamber CEO Nicole Christian, who refused to discuss the matter, but said, “We believe our facts to be accurate,” despite the government revenue projection that is $42 billion lower – a gap about equal to oil-rich Alaska’s annual economic output.

Kessler distributed material about gas-drilling in mid-2011 to local policy-makers, including the Garrett County Board of Realtors, with a chart titled “Created for Board of Garrett County Commissioners.” That piece puts the true “total play revenue” not in the billions, but at “$31.4 trillion” – about twice the gross domestic product of the United States.

The only chamber representative willing to offer any explanations was Tony Doerr, a local businessman who was board chair when the white paper was released.

“Maybe we didn’t do our due diligence,” Doerr said. “I can see where it appears that way. Did we learn our lesson? ‘Cite your source.'”

Doerr said that the chamber board, with help from its legislative affairs committee, voted 14-0 to release the white paper. It calls for expediting the ongoing review of state regulations while ensuring “safe development.”

Doerr said he thought the paper, which also contradicts government estimates to claim the county could become a “leading gas supplier” to the Northeast, took a “soft enough stance that it wouldn’t cause anybody any grief.”

“But none of us on the board are educated enough [about shale gas] to say we are experts,” Doerr added.

Doerr, Kessler, and others say that many in the community are concerned about the tourism sector, creeping unemployment, and a dramatic fall in real estate sales.

“Deep Creek Lake is still the core of our community’s business,” summarized Doerr, who owns a construction company. “But we’re just not getting the growth out of it that is needed.”

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!

877-563-5350 – toll free — 

 Search Homes & Lots for Sale at Deep Creek Lake & Garrett County, Maryland
 —

Commissioners To Gauge Interest Of Those Seeking Vacated BOE Spot

Jul. 19, 2012

With elected Garrett County Board of Education member Rodney Durst effectively vacating his position on July 31, the Garrett County Board of County Commissioners is currently tasked with filling his spot.

Consistent with Maryland state code, the commissioners have the legal authority to appoint a replacement to serve out the remainder of Durst’s term of office on the BOE.

To that end, the board of commissioners has begun to solicit letters of interest and personal credentials from persons who may be interested in appointment to this position.

Those interested must reside in District 3, which encompasses Oakland and the surrounding southeastern portion of the county. For more detailed district information one may visit http://garrettcounty.org, and click on the “Board of Elections” link.


‘Like’ on Facebook!

The commissioners ask that interested persons submit their information to Monty Pagenhardt, county administrator at the office of Board of County Commissioners, by the end of the business day on July 31.

The Board of County Commissioners plans to review the individual credentials received and make an official appointment during its public meeting on Aug. 7.

Those seeking further information may contact Monty Pagenhardt at 301-334-8970.

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!

877-563-5350 – toll free — 

 Search Homes & Lots for Sale at Deep Creek Lake & Garrett County, Maryland
 —

Friendsville Days 2012 Set For July 27, 28 At Community Park

Jul. 19, 2012

The 32nd annual Friendsville Days will be held on Friday and Saturday, July 27 and 28, at the Friendsville Community Park. This hometown festival will feature events for all ages. Admission is free. Guests are encouraged to bring a chair and stay all day. Bleachers and tents will be provided. This event will be held rain or shine.

New to this year’s event will be two free $500 drawings to take place at undisclosed times before 9 p.m. on Saturday. Those interested can sign up at the door prize booth and must be present at the time of the drawing, be at least 16 years old, and only have submitted one entry to win. Additional rules apply and will be posted at the booth.


‘Like’ on Facebook!

The event kicks off on Friday with a free meal provided by Northern Rescue Squad Station 3 at 6 p.m. at the park. Other vendors will be open selling food, beverage, and novelty items that evening as well as all day Saturday. The Friendsville Community Watch will be providing two free inflatable rides for youth through teens from 7 to 9 p.m. Country music will be provided by the Crazy Cowboy Band from 7 to 10 p.m. on the outdoor stage.

Saturday will begin with a parade through the streets of Friendsville beginning at noon. Opening ceremonies and awarding of parade prizes will be held following the parade. The national anthem will be sung by Miss Maryland, Joanna Guy, and there will be a 21-gun salute, with raising of the American flag.

American Pie will hit the stage at 2 p.m. and will be performing top hits of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. A hoop dance by Aaron Smith will be presented at 4:30 p.m. and tae kwon do demonstration will be done at 5:30 p.m. Door prizes and raffles will also be held throughout the day. Ruff Creek will perform country music hits from 7 to 10 p.m. A dance floor will also provided. Fireworks will top off the evening at 10:15 p.m.

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!

877-563-5350 – toll free — 

 Search Homes & Lots for Sale at Deep Creek Lake & Garrett County, Maryland
 —

Garrett commissioners praise effort for North/South highway funding

Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — The Garrett County commissioners thanked and recognized The Greater Cumberland Committee executive director Brenda Smith and Dave Moe, coordinator of the North/South Appalachian Highway Coalition, during their public meeting Tuesday for helping to push the federal Surface Transportation Bill through.

“I wanted to thank you on behalf of the citizens of Garrett County,” said commission chairman Jim Raley. “Part of what made sense to me was Brenda and Dave’s efforts and the regional approach you took to this thing. When I look at the construction jobs and the kind of jobs that are going to be available, I think it’s phenomenal.”

Raley also thanked Chris Uhl, the Western Maryland coordinator for Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Office; Robin Summerfield representing Sen. Ben Cardin; Julianna Albowicz representing Sen. Barbara Mikulski, all of whom were at the meeting, for their efforts on furthering the North/South Appalachian Highway project.

“It’s just another piece of the puzzle that helps benefit Garrett County and the region down the road,” added Commissioner Robert Gatto.

The $10-million plus bill, which was recently passed by the House of Representatives, allows for the completion of the Somerset-Meyersdale stretch of U.S. Route 219. The measure included much sought-after repeal of language preventing Pennsylvania from using toll credits it has accumulated as its $35 million share of the $350 million cost of completing the link.

Summerfield, who has been involved with the project since the beginning, noted that TGCC and Cardin and Mikulski accomplished something that, “was a really, really big deal and that was not an easy lift at all.”

“Not one lobbyist was involved,” said Summerfield. “This was truly a grassroots community effort to get the support of three governors, representatives and senators from three states to believe in this idea enough to support what seemed like a tiny policy in a very big bill, which is going to get the 219 portion of this highway done. That happened through all-out persistence.”

Moe said that the bill couldn’t have been passed without the assistance of O’Malley, both senators and the commissioners from Mineral, Somerset and Cambria counties.

“As a result, the legislation surprisingly did much more than we asked for,” said Moe. “… it allowed the states to fund those roadways with 100 percent federal funds.”

Smith thanked the Garrett County commissioners for their support of the project.

“I know that anytime we had come to you and asked for assistance you offered it to us without delay and in a positive manner,” said Smith, who also thanked her predecessor, Coleen Peterson, and Jim Hinebaugh of TGCC. “This has really redefined regional relevance.”

Hinebaugh said the North/South Highway project should serve as a model for other TGCC projects, including education.

Albowicz thanked everyone for their drive, vision and persistence, stating, “I think it proves that if you really believe in what you feel and think is right it comes to fruition.”

Summerfield said Moe and Peterson worked really hard and traveled a lot to get people to support the project.

“It just really speaks to the value of community efforts of all us,” said Summerfield. “I think this should really be encouraging to those of us who can grow cynical about the way the government operates. Citizens made this happen and we can do a whole lot more through that kind of effort.”

Uhl also thanked Peterson and Moe for their hard work, stating, “It’s exciting to see what’s next.”

Raley indicated that he was ready for the four-mile Maryland portion to kick in once it reaches the Maryland/Pennsylvania line.

Nicole Christian, president and CEO of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, also thanked the TGCC for its leadership in the project, noting that it was beyond the scope of what both the Allegany and Garrett county chambers could do.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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!

877-563-5350 – toll free — 

 Search Homes & Lots for Sale at Deep Creek Lake & Garrett County, Maryland
 —

Top 10 Things for Families to do in Maryland

7. Find Beauty and Fun at Deep Creek Lake

Four seasons of family fun can be found in the Deep Creek Lake area. Summer time boasts of boating and swimming at Deep Creek Lake, with its miles of shoreline and piers. The State Park offers campgrounds, beach access, a boat launch, and a kid-friendly Discovery Center. At the Wisp Resort Hotel, thrill-seeking kids will love zipping down the Mountain Coaster as they corkscrew and coast down the mountain. The Funland Family Fun Center is a perfect summer afternoon treat for families wanting to play mini golf, drive go-karts, and eat ice cream at the snack shop.

During the winter, the mountain is covered with fresh powder and the ski hill comes alive. Snow tubing, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and dog sledding takes center stage at various locations in the area. The Bear Claw Adventure Park at the Wisp Resort gives kids a chance to ride a tube down the snow, ice skate, zip line on the Flying Squirrel Canopy Tour, and fly down the Mountain Coaster. In any season, Deep Creek Lake is a beautiful part of Maryland.


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!

877-563-5350 – toll free — 

 Search Homes & Lots for Sale at Deep Creek Lake & Garrett County, Maryland
 —

Investment Group Invites Businesses To Submit Plans

Jul. 19, 2012

Entrepreneurs seeking capital for their businesses may prepare a submission for the newly formed Mountain Maryland Angel Investment Group (MMAIG). The group will invite presentations for the first time on Saturday, Sept. 29, 9 –11 a.m. at Garrett College.

The MMAIG was started by two local entrepreneurs, Bill Meagher and Shane Grady, along with attorney and part-time Garrett County resident, Andrew Sherman. The trio has enlisted more than 30 “angels” to assist entrepreneurs in Garrett County, and the rest of western Maryland, in successfully launching or growing a business.

“The angels are a healthy and strategic blend of full-time and part-time residents dedicated to the long-term economic strength of the county,” said Sherman.


‘Like’ on Facebook!

The MMAIG will review executive summaries of business plans, and will look specifically for businesses with the following attributes: the potential to become a high-growth enterprise with annual revenues of $10 million or more within a reasonable time frame; main location in western Maryland; acceptance of mentoring and coaching; indication of a strong management team to execute the business plan; statement of a reasonable valuation that reflects the risk/reward expectations of Angel investors; outline of a credible exit strategy for investors; a need for capital in the range of $200,000–$1,000,000; proprietary technology; plus early market lead, or other strong barriers to competition.

Following the review of executive summaries, next steps may include reviewing the complete business plan, meeting with the company principals, or requesting a more formal presentation at an Angels’ meeting to evaluate the investment opportunity. The members of MMAIG may collectively screen and investigate a venture, but Angels make investment decisions individually. If a deal attracts interest, members will work through a due diligence phase, as well as negotiations, with the applicant.

Entrepreneurs who are seeking funding, and would like more information on submitting an executive summary for review are asked to contact Julie Yoder, dean of Continuing Education and Workforce Development, at 301-387-3101 or julie.yoder@garrettcollege.edu.

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!

877-563-5350 – toll free — 

 Search Homes & Lots for Sale at Deep Creek Lake & Garrett County, Maryland
 —

Royalty Court Chosen For 45th Annual Autumn Glory Festival

The 2012 Autumn Glory royalty court has been selected for the 45th annual Autumn Glory Festival, with Jenner Wilt selected as king and Cara Brack named queen. The 45th annual court sponsors are Garrett College and M&T Bank.

Wilt is involved in the Southern High School’s theatre department and Our Town Theatre. He also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and complete mission work as well. Brack participates in Southern High School soccer, track (indoor and outdoor), and the Running Club and serves as part of the Southern High School yearbook staff. She volunteers at Garrett County Memorial Hospital, Lions Club Blind Skier Program, Relay for Life, and Landon’s Library, among others.


‘Like’ on Facebook!

The Autumn Glory king and queen will be present at the Autumn Glory kick-off reception to be held at Wisp Lodge on Wednesday, Oct. 10, and they will be featured in the Autumn Glory Grand Feature Parade on Saturday, Oct. 13. In addition to representing their home county during the Autumn Glory Festival and at other events, the royalty court will receive scholarship funds.

The Autumn Glory Festival is Oct. 10–14. Festivities include two large parades, concerts, band competitions, art exhibits, antique and craft shows, and more. The festival is timed to coincide with the peak of fall foliage in Garrett County which is featured in the 2012 Autumn Glory Fall Foliage Tour.

For more information about the 45th annual Autumn Glory Festival, persons should go to www.visitdeepcreek.com.

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!

877-563-5350 – toll free — 

 Search Homes & Lots for Sale at Deep Creek Lake & Garrett County, Maryland
 —