Sock monkeys are a labor of love for Ida Maust

The Garrett County Republican

Gradually, she began making more for birthdays and other gifts as needed. Then she started teaching the nursery-aged Sunday School class at her church about 30 years ago. She started making sock monkeys to give to her students on their birthdays, and continued this for as long as she taught the class.

Maust said she’s not sure how many monkeys she has made over the years, but estimates that it is somewhere between 400 and 500.

“I don’t know how many I made each year,” she said. “I know one year I made 80, when I gave each of my children and grandchildren one for Christmas, but that’s been a good many years ago now.”

She has been trying to make one for each great-grandchild when they turn 2 (which included three last month.)

The current count is nine children, 36 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren, with three more on the way.

Maust and her husband, Elmer, were married 47 years before he died in March 2002.

In the early days, she bought the socks locally, but then wasn’t able to find them at stores. She used regular socks that didn’t have the red heels for awhile until she was able to get them again. Today, she buys them by the box online.

“Sometimes I just got socks that were brown or gray or something that would look nice for a monkey,” she said. “I like these better because it’s what they were intended for.”

She said she doesn’t feel bad about cutting the socks up to make monkeys for children.

“I still get a lot of socks and give them to organizations when they need them,” she said.

Maust slowed down on the sock monkey making during some years, especially when she was busy with Garrett County Hospice, working as the volunteer coordinator.

Now 86, Maust went through some changes in her life in the last two years. It began with a knee replacement in July 2019.

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Oakland B&O Museum in need of volunteers

The Garrett County Republican

OAKLAND — The Oakland B&O Museum is ready for the summer, but the lack of volunteers is preventing it from being operated on regular hours.

Oakland Councilman Terry Helbig, who is also chairman of the museum’s committee, said at Monday’s meeting that the historic railroad station needs people to donate time toward keeping the museum open.

Helbig said the regular roster of volunteers consists mostly of senior citizens, some of whom have health issues — and they are in the high-risk category for COVID-19. Because of that, they have been reluctant to return to the station, which had delayed reopening until permitted by Gov. Larry Hogan’s recovery plans.

Helbig himself manned the station over the weekend, hosting a couple dozen visitors.

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$5 million in federal funding announced for Garrett airport

The Garrett County Republican

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Rep. David Trone, all D-Md., have announced $16 million in funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation for airport infrastructure improvements in Western Maryland.

Garrett County Airport will receive $5,035,688 for the expansion of its apron.

The project will expand the existing general aviation apron to 10,100 square yards to meet Federal Aviation Administration design standards. The grant will fund the final phase, which consists of construction.

An intent to fund this project was previously announced by the secretary of transportation on May 15, 2019.

Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field will receive $6,304,480 for the rehabilitation of its main runway, while Frederick Municipal Airport will receive $4,662,770 for the relocation of a taxiway.

Funds authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which waived local cost-share requirements for federal airport grants through FY2020, will help cover state and local funding obligations for the projects.

“These airports provide a vital connection between Western Maryland and other parts of our state and region. They have continued to serve communities and local economies despite facing significant financial challenges in recent months,” said Cardin, ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. “Improving and upgrading Maryland’s public infrastructure will be critical for our recovery from the downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. I will continue to fight for investments like these throughout our state.”

“The Hagerstown Regional Airport, Frederick Municipal Airport and Garrett County Airport serve as crucial connecting hubs, support local jobs, and create economic opportunity. This investment will go a long way toward keeping critical infrastructure modernized so that all our airports can continue providing top-notch service,” said Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “We will keep working to bring federal resources to Maryland’s transportation infrastructure given the vital role they play in local communities like these in Western Maryland.”

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Fireworks displays set for Independence Day weekend

The Garrett County Republican

OAKLAND — With COVID-19 putting a damper on many summer events, it’s not holding back a pair of mainstay fireworks displays in Garrett County.

Fire on the Mountain

Fireworks will light up the sky July 4 as the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce presents the annual “Fire on the Mountain” Fireworks Display.

The display is set to begin at dark. The fireworks are launched from the top of the Tubing Park at Wisp Resort. Prime viewing locations include the Scenic Overlook on U.S. 219, Wisp Resort, local businesses in McHenry, and from boats on the lake, particularly around McHenry Cove.

For any location from which you choose to view the fireworks, remember to practice social distancing.

Wisp Resort is the associate sponsor.

Supporting sponsors are Deep Creek Shop n Save; Huey’s Ice Cream; Bear Creek Traders; Perkins Restaurant and McHenry Beverage Shoppe compliments of Hugh Umbel and Ray Shurg; Ledo Pizza, Pasta & Pub; Property Owners’ Association of Deep Creek Lake; and Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales.

Contributing sponsors are Railey Realty, Railey Vacations and Silver Tree Marine LLC.

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Community Action coordinates food donation sites

The Garrett County Republican

OAKLAND — The Garrett County Joint Information Center is directing all questions and local offers of donations related to COVID-19 to Garrett County Community Action.

The non-profit has been appointed to manage all local contributions related to COVID-19 such as homemade face coverings, food assistance, volunteer sign-ups and cash donations.

Community Action has announced six separate food drives throughout the month of June.

Nonperishable food will be collected, with the first date today, June 8, at the following locations:

• Pine Grove Church of the Brethren:

June 8 3-7 p.m.

June 11 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

June 15 3 p.m.-7 p.m.

June 18 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

• Bloomington Volunteer Fire Department:

June 19 6 p.m.-8 p.m.

• Friendsville Volunteer Fire Department:

June 20 10 a.m. to noon

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Garrett County permits vacation rentals to reopen

The Garrett County Republican

OAKLAND — Garrett County officials on Thursday lifted the order that closed vacation rental properties, but with a number of restrictions and warnings.

Following Gov. Larry Hogan’s Wednesday announcement of the first phase of his reopening plan, the county commissioners voted to amend their state of emergency declaration to allow the use of rental units effective immediately.

County Health Officer Bob Stephens also rescinded his March order on the rental units.

“Garrett County has been very blessed to have low numbers of infections, and we are in fact the lowest … in the state,” Stephens told the commissioners. “We are all still at some risk. There will be new transmissions from time to time. Our goal in all of this is to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

Commission Chairman Paul Edwards said the reopening of rental units comes with orders for both property owners/managers and the guests.

“The county, in consultation with the Garrett County health officer, have agreed that the order the health officer of March 27, 2020, closing all TVRU (transient vacation rental units) and vacation rental properties … is hereby rescinded, and that is subject to the provisions of the executive order and guidance of the office of legal counsel,” Edwards announced.

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Maryland eases some coronavirus restrictions on outdoor recreation, allowing golf, boating and more

The Baltimore Sun

Maryland remains under a stay-at-home order with schools and many businesses closed, but Gov. Larry Hogan announced a slight easing of restrictions Wednesday on outdoor recreation and nonemergency medical procedures.

The governor amended his stay-at-home order to allow for individual and small group sports — such as golfing and tennis, outdoor fitness instruction, recreational fishing and hunting, recreational boating and horseback riding — starting Thursday.

Also, Maryland’s state-owned beaches and parks will open Thursday for walking and exercise. Local governments will have the flexibility to take similar actions at their discretion, Hogan said.

“I know how anxious people are to get outside, both for their physical and mental well-being, and we know that outside activity is safer than inside activity,” Hogan said during a news conference Wednesday at the State House in Annapolis.

He said his coronavirus advisory team had “much discussion” Tuesday on the issue of outdoor activities, and members ultimately agreed to allow “lower-risk outdoor activities.”[Ocean City to reopen beaches, boardwalk this weekend, as resort town sees first coronavirus cases] »

Hogan also announced that hospitals can resume nonemergency procedures, which had been barred in an attempt to keep inpatient populations low in case a surge of COVID-19 cases threatened to overwhelm them.

“Many Marylanders may have put off important procedures, screenings and other things that they really need to attend to,” Hogan said. “If there’s something that you have had to delay — like a PET scan or a biopsy, an angioplasty or an orthopedic procedure — you should now be able to take care of those time-sensitive procedures.”

The changes marked the first easing of Hogan’s strict statewide restrictions, imposed starting in March to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The governor has pushed back against a wider reopening, saying the state needs to reach a sustained decline in the number of hospitalizations for treatment of the illness.

The governor’s move to reopen golf courses followed lobbying by owners and operators of clubs. A Politico reporter even asked him about it in April during a live interview.

“I want to get you on the record on this critical issue,” Politico reporter Jake Sherman asked. “Will golf courses in your state open any time in the near future?”

“Is there particular golf course that you would like to have open?” Hogan responded, chuckling. Hogan went on to say that opening golf courses would be “one of the early things that we do” as part of reopening — a pledge he fulfilled Wednesday.

David G. Bannister, board member of the Caves Valley Golf Club in Baltimore County, said he thinks golf is an activity that can be done safely.

While some courses might reopen immediately, Caves Valley plans to take its time preparing the facility and open May 22.

“We need a couple weeks to get things ready to go,” Bannister said. “Caves is a high-end experience. In order to present it the way you want, it takes a little time to tidy up.”

Republican lawmakers also had pressed to allow golfing, including U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, Maryland’s only Republican in Congress. Though he’s not a golfer, Harris said as an anesthesiologist he understands how to control infections.

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