Communities that found a better way

From The Messenger

Klamath County, Oregon. Algoma, Wisconsin. Allen County, Kansas. Williamson, West Virgina. Garrett County, Maryland.

What, you might ask, do these places have in common? What they have in common is that they are all rural communities that have been recognized as Culture of Health Prize winners by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest health-related philanthropic organization in the United States.

These communities have decided that the status quo was not good enough and that they wanted a better future for themselves and their families. They all took different paths to change, but the one thing they all did was to decide, as communities, to try.

Willamson has a lot in common with Madisonville. It’s a coal town that had to adapt to a changing economy. To fight the decline of their community, the residents got together and identified their needs and, just as importantly, their available resources. They formed a community betterment corporation called “Sustainable Williamson” to coordinate their resources and their efforts to improve community healthcare, housing, energy sustainability, education and tourism. If you read the Sustainable Williamson action plan (Google it), it reads almost like you could scratch out “Williamson” and write in “Madisonville.”

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First Cool Schools Dunk deemed huge success

From The Garrett County Republican

DEEP CREEK LAKE — On Feb. 22, nearly 400 middle and high school students and staff participated in the first Cool Schools Dunk at Deep Creek Lake.

The event, which occurred the day before the annual Deep Creek Dunk, was established to raise money to help fund the Garrett County Public School’s unified sports teams and the Garrett County community Special Olympics teams. The event raised more than $23,000 in its inaugural year.

“We have schools competing against each other to raise funds for a worthy cause and it doesn’t get any better than that,” Garrett County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Baker said. “We are so excited that our students, our unified sports teams, and our partners at Special Olympics Maryland will all benefit from this event.”

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Deep Creek Lake Catering at the Jubilee opens in Friendsville

From The Garrett County Republican

FRIENDSVILLE — Deep Creek Lake Catering at the Jubilee is now open for business in Friendsville.

It officially started Feb. 12. Owned by Jamie and Rayetta Riggleman, the restaurant is located at 254 Maple St. at the former Jubilee Junction, which closed in September.

Rick and Tammy Thomas served the Friendsville community for more than 12 years at the Jubilee.

“Everyone we have talked to during this transition had nothing but excellent comments on Jamie’s culinary skills,” the Thomas family recently stated on Facebook. “We encourage the towns people and our past customers to stop by and check out their food and services. Our prayers and wishes are that they will be able to build on the foundation of our past customer base and multiply their business many times over. We would like to thank everyone who supported us during this chapter of our life, and we will miss our loyal friends.”

Chef Jamie Riggleman has been in the food industry for nearly 30 years.

“I’ve cooked; I was a culinary instructor for the state department for a while,” he said. “I’ve worked at a lot of nice resorts.”

He and Rayetta Riggleman started Deep Creek Lake Catering about five years ago. They were based at the Ali Ghan Shrine Club in Cumberland, but their lease recently ended.

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