HART, PAWS Joining Forces To Help Animals

Mar. 28, 2013

Partners for Animal Welfare and Safety (PAWS) and HART for Animals are joining forces to continue efforts to save homeless animals in Garrett County and the surrounding area. For the past three years, PAWS has partnered with HART by providing discount vouchers to provide spay/neuter assistance to eligible pet owners in the community.

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HART will continue the PAWS SNAP (Spay/Neuter Assistance Program) and provide spay/neuter vouchers to those who qualify. Funding for the program will be raised through events – such as the upcoming HART Guest Bartender Night at several local restaurants – and grants.

Applications for the SNAP vouchers will be available as of April 1 at the HART web page or by calling the HART clinic. Appointments may be scheduled at the HART Spay/Neuter Clinic by calling 301-387-SPAY (7729).

The SNAP Program is based on income: individual Garrett County residents with annual income of $25,000 or less, or families with a total annual income of $35,000. The program will continue to pay $60 toward the cost of neutering male dogs, $75 for dog spays, $55 for cat neuters, and $65 for cat spays. Proof of income is required to demonstrate financial eligibility. If a pet cannot be spayed/neutered at the HART clinic, HART will issue a certificate to the veterinarian selected by the owner.

HART for Animals Inc. is a charitable animal welfare organization founded in 2003 to improve the condition of homeless animals in the Western Maryland region. HART is a 501(c)(3) corporation, and all donations are tax-deductible. For additional information on HART, the HART Spay/Neuter Clinic or any of its programs, or to donate to the capital fund campaign for the HART Animal Center along Bumble Bee Road, persons may visit hartforanimals.org.

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US Senator Barbara Mikulski Spoke on Job Growth to Garrett County Area

By: Bejoy Joseph
Updated: March 27, 2013
GARRETT COUNTY, MD- United States Senator Mikulski of Maryland is continuing her Western Maryland jobs tour.

On Wednesday, Senator Barbara Mikulski met with Garrett County Commissioners and local officials.

Mikulski spoke to Garrett County officials about how the United States government can assist in bringing economic and job growth to the area. She says it will have to start with national and state governments working together in developing local infrastructure.

“To improve our jobs is for Congress to pass an Infrastructure Bank where state and local governments can be able to build the highways, byways, and waste water treatment that will then be important, not only to public health and public safety, but jobs,” says Senator Mikulski.

FAA Planning To Shut Down Local Navigation Site

Mar. 28, 2013

The Federal Aviation Administration wants to decommission a regional aircraft navigational station because of the Synergics Fourmile Ridge Wind Energy Project that is planned for the Avilton area. Twenty-four wind turbines would be constructed within 1.5 to 3.5 miles of the Grantsville (GRV) VHF omnidirectional range (VOR)/distance measuring equipment (DME) facility.

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Garrett County Airport manager Ed Kelley, the Maryland Aviation Administration officials, and others have voiced their opposition to eliminating the station.

“The decommission of the GRV VOR would leave Garrett County and Cumberland [airports] without a ground-based approach and would eliminate numerous instrument procedures, including six instrumental approach procedures, nine standard arrival routes, four victor airways, and one remote communication outlet,” Kelley stated in a letter on Feb. 13 to Melinda George, FFA Operations Support Group, Atlanta, Ga. “The loss of procedures and services could severely impact the safety of general, commercial, emergency, and military aviation within the now served VOR/DME.”

VOR/DME refers to a combined radio navigation station for aircraft, which consists of two beacons that are placed together.

VOR is a type of short-range radio navigation system that enables pilots to determine their position and stay on course by receiving very high frequency (VHF) radio signals transmitted by a network of fixed ground radio beacons with a receiver unit.

DME operates in the ultra-high frequency (UHF) band and provides pilots with distance information through airborne and ground equipment.

Kelley noted in his letter that pilots operating under visual flight rules who utilize the VOR/DME for training, practice, and proficiency will be forced into other corridors served by only one navigational aid.

He also indicated that while Garrett County is an “ideal spot” for wind turbines, Fourmile Ridge and other projects will and do affect the safety and economic outlook of the Garrett County Airport.

“Local economic growth and commerce could be lost by the proposed decommissioning, causing additional economic hardships to Garrett and Allegany county airports,” Kelley wrote. “This region cannot afford to lose critical, all-weather, en route, and terminal access to the National Airspace System.”

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Garrett County Head Start will close for month

Sequestration forces officials to take action

For the Cumberland Times-News Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — Garrett County Head Start and Early Head Start operations will close for one month in 2013 as the result of the federal government’s budget seque-stration.

Garrett County Community Action Committee an-nounced these actions to accommodate the federal government’s mid-year im-poundment of fiscal 2013 funds. More than 70 employees will experience layoffs or furloughs so that $300,000 can be eliminated. The nine-month Head Start program will close April 12. The 12-month Head Start option will conclude July 12.

Three hundred children and their families and 57 Community Action employees will be impacted by the Head Start action alone, Duane Yoder, president of Garrett County Community Action, said. Other cutbacks will affect the weatherization, senior citizen, housing and core organization activities, according to Yoder.

“The federal reductions occurred in the middle of the federal budget year so we have to absorb these reductions in a very compressed time frame,” Yoder said. “We have already reduced the days of operations for facilities such as the Flowery Vale Senior Wellness Center, eliminated most of our federally assisted energy conservation services and, starting in the fall, will need to reduce our emergency housing assistance to prevent homelessness.”

Patty Gallagher, chairwoman of the Head Start Parent Policy Council, said parents are scrambling to find quality child care they can afford as a result of this unexpected news. The council is working with parents to make the transition to the summer break as easy as possible. The Wrap Around Child Care Center in Oakland operates during the summer, and parents are being assisted in obtaining child care vouchers.

Lowell Bender, who chairs the Community Action Board of Directors, expressed concern the closings will seriously impact the school readiness of Head Start children entering kindergarten.

“We have invested energy and money in trying to make sure that every child is fully ready and the Garrett County scores are among the highest in the state,” he said. According to Mark Colaw, who directs Community Action’s Early Child Education Department, both Head Start programs will resume in September.

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Garrett facility waits to develop its tech

County: With money, center can become state-of-the-art

Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — A new emergency operations center has been established in a conference room at the Garrett County Airport. As money becomes available, features will be added to make the center a state-of-the-art facility, according to John Frank III, Garrett County’s director of emergency management.

In the case of an emergency, the facility will be used as a meeting place for all those involved.

“The entire project is in the fledgling stage and is under development,” said Frank. “It’s centrally located at the Garrett County Airport, which is owned and operated by the county. If there is a major event in the county, we can expand to use the airport terminals.”

Frank said that, in the future, as monies became available, he hopes to install interactive smartboards, video monitors and a terminal for tablets and smartphones.

Also, in the future, the center could be used as a classroom and may expand to include a backup 911 center, according to Frank.

County Administrator Monty Pagenhardt is working on fine-tuning the budget to see what monies are available for the center.

“(The center) is a priority now for the county. It’s going to be a top-notch center,” said Pagenhardt.

The need for a center was determined last year and previously a makeshift command center at the courthouse was used. However, the makeshift center didn’t entirely meet the county’s emergency needs, said Pagenhardt.

“John has been in contact with the Governor’s Office and everything has been coming together for the center,” said Pagenhardt.

Federal Emergency Management and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency have been helpful in moving the process along, according to Frank.

The center will eventually have broadband once the countywide broadband project is complete, according to Pagenhardt. Currently there is broadband up to Mosser Road where Garrett College is located.

Frank said he will have a satellite office at the center.

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

Homes selling faster as buyers outpace supply

Homes sold faster last month than in any February since 2007 as eager buyers met a tight supply of homes for sale, industry figures show.

Homes were on the market for a median of 98 days last month, down from 123 days in February 2011, according to Realtor.com. That means half the homes listed for sale in February were on the market for less than 98 days and half for more than that.

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Garrett approves funds for demolition of center

Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — During its meeting on Tuesday, the Garrett County Commission adopted a resolution for the application of $30,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the demolition of the Crellin Community Center.

“This is a project that has been discussed for the last two years at the Pace Funders meeting and at the community level,” said Peggy Jamison, grants resource officer with Garrett County Community Action.

Though the community had concerns, it was determined rehabilitation was not possible and the best option would be to demolish the center, said Jamison.

Chairman Robert Gatto said nothing has been done with the building for the past 10 years and that he met with community members and they understood that the building needs to be demolished.

The site could possibly be used for another community center.

“It ties in nicely with the school,” said Gatto.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and CDBG are willing to discuss future funding and assistance for redevelopment of the site, according to Jamison.

Jamison also provided a review of the after-school program funding from the CDBG that was awarded in 2009.

“What the funding from the block grant did is it bought some time for the after-school program to continue for about 12 to 15 months,” said Jamison.

There was an unexpected gap in the funding and CDBG was used to fill that gap, according to Jamison.

The $125,000 CDBG grant was matched with $125,000 from the county.

The program served 174 children, according to Jamison, and continues today with three sites in Accident, Grantsville and Southern Middle School.

Also during the meeting Mike Dreisbach, vice president of Garrett Trails and owner of Savage River Lodge, requested that commissioners provide $50,000 as a match for an Appalachian Regional Commission grant  for the next three years and an additional $25,000 to help fund administrative costs for Garrett Trails.

Garrett Trails is a nonprofit and does receive some money from the Taste of Garrett, which is held every year, according to Dreisbach.

There has been a delay with the Department of Natural Resources in the phase II of the Meadow Mountain trail, which will be funded by leftover ARC grant money.

“It makes it tough when we are asking for more ARC grant money when there is ARC money sitting on the table,” said Commissioner Jim Raley.

The second phase of the trail will go across 4-H center property and connect to an existing trail on Rock Lodge Trust Property land.

Last summer, local state foresters  were working on the engineering of the trail and stopped, according to Dreisbach.

“We have done everything we can to try and get them (DNR) to move,” said Dreisbach. “We are trying to determine what happened to that initiative and what happened to that cooperation.”

There will be an executive meeting of the Garrett Trails board today to decide how to move forward.

Garrett Trails is in the final stages of an agreement with the National Park Service to make the Eastern Continental Divide Loop trail part of the national trail system, according to Dreisbach.

Also during the meeting, the commission:

• Approved contract extensions for office furniture; chains and augers; liquid asphalt; motor oil, grease and fuel.

• Approved a resolution setting the real property tax date for May 3 at 10 a.m. in room 207 in the courthouse.

• Said that all budget requests were due on Feb. 15 and that for the first time the constant yield was identical to the tax rate.

• Heard an update and funding request from Karen Reckner, executive director of the Garrett County Arts Council.

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

More here.

Home building gets a big lift in February

Doug Carroll, USA TODAY11:24a.m. EDT March 19, 2013

Housing starts gained momentum in February, rising 0.8% from January to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 917,000, the Census Bureau said Tuesday.

The rate is 27.7% above February 2012. Single-family starts were running at a 618,000 annual rate, up 0.5% from January.

In addition, building permits for future construction were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000, up 4.6% from January and 33.8% above February 2012. Single-family permits were issued at a 600,000 annual rate, up 2.7% from January.

More here:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/03/19/feb-home-building/1998721/