Western Maryland Health System Joins UPMC

The Garrett County Republican

CUMBERLAND — Western Maryland Health System officially has become UPMC Western Maryland, merging into the UPMC hospital network to ensure patient care for communities in the region.

“We are extremely pleased that our health system has joined one of the nation’s largest and most successful integrated health-care providers and insurers,” said Barry P. Ronan, WMHS president and chief executive officer. “Becoming part of UPMC will allow us to further enhance health-care services, leverage UPMC’s innovation and clinical expertise, advance quality initiatives and continue our longstanding commitment to provide superior, compassionate care to patients throughout our tri-state service region.”

UPMC Western Maryland operates the Advanced Lakeside Medical Care urgent care facility in McHenry, as well as Grantsville Lab Services.

To read the full article click here.

Board of Public Works approves funding for clean water, Chesapeake Bay

The Garrett County Republican

BALTIMORE — The Maryland Board of Public Works recently approved more than $4.7 million in grants to reduce pollution and improve water quality, the Maryland Department of the Environment has announced. Garrett County was awarded $40,000.

According to MDE, grants from the Bay Restoration Fund will provide funding for 18 counties to upgrade on-site sewage disposal (septic) systems and make sewer connections to “significantly” reduce the discharge of nitrogen, one of the most serious pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay.

To read the full article click here.

Oakland native’s World War II flight may have inspired song

The Garrett County Republican

OAKLAND — An Oakland native who passed away in November at the age of 100 was once involved in a World War II flight that may have inspired the song “Comin’ in on a Wing and a Prayer.”

J.C. O’Donnell was a 22-year-old Army lieutenant when he flew a twin-engine warplane, a B-26 Marauder, in an intense dogfight in New Guinea on May 28, 1942.

He ended up flying the plane on one engine for four hours, arriving late back to the airstrip at Port Moresby.

News accounts stated that several planes flew over the mountains in New Guinea, and the Americans ended up under attack by more than a dozen Japanese Zero fighter planes.

The battle lasted 35 minutes, and the Marauder’s right engine was destroyed in machine gun fire. The tail was also hit and the fuselage acquired large holes.

O’Donnell took a long route home and was chased by the Japanese planes for about an hour. By the time he got the plane and his crew of six back to the airstrip, it had been declared missing.

To read the full article click here.

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.

To read the full article click here.

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.

To read the full article click here.

$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.

To read the full article click here.