Plans progressing for Leo Martin Memorial Park

The Garrett County Republican

MTN. LAKE PARK — Plans for Leo Martin Memorial Park are moving along. Mountain Lake Park officials reviewed landscape designer Daniel Lucas’ latest rendering of the project during their council meeting last Thursday.

The butterfly-shaped park is to be located near the corner of Md. 135 and G Street on the site where the Bashford Amphitheater once stood. Martin served as mayor of Mountain Lake Park for 16 years.

Officials discussed the park design, which features flower beds shrubbery, fitness areas, a splash pad, a pavilion where weddings and other activities can be held, an outdoor fireplace, swings, as well as spaces where tents can be set up for festivals and other events.

In the center of the “butterfly” will be a silo-like tower with manufactured stone veneer and a spire top.

“It’s almost like a little castle that’s going to be really visible to the highway,” Mayor Don Sincell said. “It’ll have a spiral staircase and slides for kids.”

Lucas’ current plan shows a circular elevated stage with grass-terrace seating. Sincell noted, however, this feature might be changed.

The town has received Program Open Space and Community Parks and Playgrounds Program grants from the state totaling $235,000 for the project.

Sincell provided a brief update on Mountain Chautauqua, which is slated for July in Mountain Lake Park.

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Garrett County school board accepts report

Cumberland Times News

OAKLAND — The Strategic Facilities Committee, established and appointed in March by the Garrett County Board of Education, detailed its final report during a public meeting Tuesday with recommendations to address enrollment, demographic data and the community’s concerns and preferences.

Some recommendations in the capital projects plan include the establishment of a joint working group composed of staff of the Board of Education and county government to further identify and coordinate the program; to add security in the form of five security vestibules that help improve control of the school environment by allowing administrators and staff to know who’s in the building at all times; to address disruptive behavior by building dedicated spaces for de-escalation that get students back in the classroom as soon as possible; to undertake projects identified by the superintendent and staff that are in need of upgrade or replacement; and to enclose open-space classrooms to reduce noise and distractions for students.

Funding for the capital program is estimated to cost $50.6 million over six years, an average of $8.4 million per year.

David Lever, facilitator of Education Facilities Planning LLC and a part of the facilities commission, provided a comparison using current replacement value.

The replacement value of county schools is approximately $232 million and the industry standard capital expenditure is 2%. When added with deferred maintenance, the total in comparison comes to $99 million, an average of $9.9 million per year.

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$100,000 grant coming to Garrett County

The Garrett County Republican

McHENRY — The Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area Maryland Heritage Area was notified that one of the Garrett County projects on the reserve list was awarded funding by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.

Garrett College Foundation was awarded a project grant for $100,000 for development of the Garrett College to Ag Hall Heritage Trail.

“In July, the Town of Oakland received funding for the Oakland Heritage Trail and the Chamber (of Commerce) was awarded a Heritage Area management grant totaling $129,631 so we were thrilled to receive additional funding from the reserve list this year,” said Kim Folk, heritage area & groups director for the chamber. “That brings the FY20 grand total of MHAA grant funding to $229,631 for the Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area. These grants will allow the recipients to expand awareness of Garrett County’s historical and cultural heritage.”

The Ag Hall Heritage trail will provide locals and visitors a trail from Garrett College to the Agriculture Heritage Hall at the Fairgrounds, both located on Mosser Road. This trail will connect the two largest event venues in the county, as well as adding to the counties already growing and extensive trail system. Interpretive signage will be included along the route.

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Lakers move to 6-2 after splitting pair of games

The Garrett County Republican

MCHENRY — The Garrett Lakers’ men’s basketball team moved to 6-2 on the season after blowing out Pennsylvania Highlands Community College last Wednesday (Dec. 4) before falling in overtime on the road to Montgomery College.

Penn Highlands

at Garrett

Seven Lakers scored in double figures as the hosting Lakers defeated Penn Highlands, 117-52, at the CARC Arena for the team’s third consecutive victory.

Garrett, down 10-7 early, got a three-point play from D’Monte Brown and a three-point basket from Meron Gheybreyesus as the Lakers took the lead. Cameron Selders later drained a three-pointer 10 minutes into the first half to give the hosts a double-digit lead at 27-17.

This would prove to be the spark plug for the rest of the match, as from then on it was all Lakers. Garrett finished the first half on a blistering 26-6 run to create an insurmountable 64-29 lead going into the locker room and then proceeded to outscore the Black Bears 53-23 in the second half.

Strahinja Ivic led all scorers with 21 points for the Lakers and snagged eight rebounds. Gheybreyesus finished with 19 points and six rebounds. Brown added 15 points; Sam Martin and Merlon Devine each had 11; and both Oliver Jacquot and Ngoye BobManual chipped in with 10 to round out the team’s double-figure scorers.

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Colder temperatures projected for Maryland later in winter

The Washington Post

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — While many burrowed indoors the third week of November as extreme record-breaking cold impinged upon life across the Mid-Atlantic, the snow machines at Wisp Ski Resort were busy whirring and churning out a base layer of snow for the upcoming winter.

The third week of November is the earliest the ski resort has started making snow in the past five years, said Lori Zaloga, director of marketing for Wisp, in McHenry, Maryland.

Climate scientists are pretty sure of one thing: This winter, the weather could vary. A lot.

The slight snowfall that glided over most of Maryland and portions of northern Virginia late Tuesday into Wednesday morning was a prime example.

The strong cold front that enabled the changeover from rain to snow was the result of an amplified, S-shaped jet stream that dipped through the eastern U.S., said Stephen Baxter, winter weather lead at the national Climate Prediction Center.

While this swing in weather from mild to frosty was predicted by one type of model through the Christmas holiday, another model indicates milder weather from now until Santa hitches up the sleigh.

There is the chance for another wintry mix on Monday, although once again the varying temperatures make it hard to say whether the region will receive freezing rain, sleet, or snow from the holiday grab bag of precipitation.

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House of Hope Food Drive set for 41st year

From The Garrett County Republican

OAKLAND — For the 41st year, the House of Hope food drive will take place in Oakland.

This year’s event is planned for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 14, along Second Street in front of the Cornish Café.

Non-perishable food items and cash donations will be accepted. The House of Hope is primarily geared toward short-term emergency situations where a quick response and flexibility are critical.

It is a non-denominational, non-profit “network of concerns” particular to Garrett County. The House of Hope can assist with food, clothes, accommodations, bills or other specific needs.

Over the last 40 years, roughly $60,000 in donations and more than 80 pickup truck loads of food have been donated.

Chuck Nolan started the food drive in 1978, and he continues to be the driving force behind it.

He noted that the idea came from the birth of his first daughter, Bridget.

“We had gone through the training, my wife and I, so I could be in the delivery room,” he said. “So this beautiful baby girl was born, and the nurse let me give her her first bath. I remember to this day looking down and holding this precious little girl, and I thought to myself, ‘What a gift God’s given me. What can I do to give back to my community for this gift … to give back to God?’ And that’s how the House of Hope food drive started.”

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Garrett County tourism growth exceeds state average

The Cumberland Times-News

MCHENRY — Deep Creek Lake and Garrett County have seen record increases in tourism during fiscal 2019, which ended June 30, with an 8.7% increase in county accommodations sales, 8.8% in admissions and amusement collections, 14.09% in visitors to the chamber of commerce website and 3.2% in guests to the Visitors Center in McHenry.

The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce attributes the continued growth in tourism to its strategic and effective marketing efforts.

According to the Maryland Office of Tourism, Garrett County’s recent increases even outpaced Maryland’s tourism growth. For FY 2019, Maryland grew sales tax revenues specific to tourism 4.0%, while Garrett County’s tourism sales tax revenues grew 4.4% during the same time period.

Garrett County grew lodging sales tax collections 5.1% and Maryland grew .8%. Due to county lodging growth over the previous three years, the chamber secured an 8.9% increase in state tourism marketing match grant funds for fiscal 2020.

“We have capitalized on the strong economy by being strategic and innovative with our marketing,” said Nicole Christian, chamber president and CEO.