1/8 – Va. man injured in helicopter crash

1/8 – Va. man injured in helicopter crash

Cumberland Times-News

GRANTSVILLE — A Virginia man was taken to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center after he crashed his helicopter in an open field near Amish Road early Wednesday evening.

Maryland State Police said Kolby Lee Reese suffered multiple injuries in the incident that occurred at about 6:15 p.m. No information was available concerning his condition.

The incident remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and state police.

The helicopter is reportedly owned by Chesapeake Bay Helicopters in Chesapeake, Va. Unconfirmed reports indicated the pilot was en route to Pittsburgh when the aircraft crashed. The pilot reportedly used a cell phone to report the crash.

Garrett County 911 alerted state police, Garrett County Sheriff’s Office, Garrett County Roads Department, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Grantsville Volunteer Fire Department and Northern Garrett Rescue Squad.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Virginia man injured in helicopter crash

1/8 – Va. man injured in helicopter crash

Cumberland Times-News

GRANTSVILLE — A Virginia man was taken to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center after he crashed his helicopter in an open field near Amish Road early Wednesday evening.

Maryland State Police said Kolby Lee Reese suffered multiple injuries in the incident that occurred at about 6:15 p.m. No information was available concerning his condition.

The incident remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and state police.

The helicopter is reportedly owned by Chesapeake Bay Helicopters in Chesapeake, Va. Unconfirmed reports indicated the pilot was en route to Pittsburgh when the aircraft crashed. The pilot reportedly used a cell phone to report the crash.

Garrett County 911 alerted state police, Garrett County Sheriff’s Office, Garrett County Roads Department, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Grantsville Volunteer Fire Department and Northern Garrett Rescue Squad.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

December 2009 Real Estate Sales Update – Deep Creek Lake & Garrett County, Maryland


There were a total of 29 residential sales in the month of December in Garrett County and at Deep Creek Lake. This pace is slightly ahead of last year (27 sales – Dec 2008).
This is certainly debatable, but 12 of these sales appear to vacation homes or 2nd homes, while the majority are primary residential. This certainly makes a difference in pricing strategies, specifically demand-based pricing.

The average list vs. ORIGINAL sales price is 84.49% (up slightly from November), though the ADJUSTED list vs. sales price is 90.96% of asking price (almost identical to November).

The current number of active/for sale residential listings is 602. 23 of these homes are under contract.

Here are the statistical breakdowns:

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

December 2009 Sales Update – Deep Creek Lake & Garrett County, Maryland


There were a total of 29 residential sales in the month of December in Garrett County and at Deep Creek Lake. This pace is slightly ahead of last year (27 sales – Dec 2008).
This is certainly debatable, but 12 of these sales appear to vacation homes or 2nd homes, while the majority are primary residential. This certainly makes a difference in pricing strategies, specifically demand-based pricing.

The average list vs. ORIGINAL sales price is 84.49% (up slightly from November), though the ADJUSTED list vs. sales price is 90.96% of asking price (almost identical to November).

The current number of active/for sale residential listings is 602. 23 of these homes are under contract.

Here are the statistical breakdowns:

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Allegany, Garrett get thousands in federal funds

Allegany, Garrett get thousands in federal funds

Department of Homeland security grant awards decreased for both counties

Megan Miller
Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — Allegany and Garrett counties have been allocated thousands of federal dollars in Department of Homeland Security grants, according to a news release from the office of Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Through the State Homeland Security Grant program, the federal department allocates funding annually to Maryland’s state government, which in turn distributes the money to county emergency management and law enforcement agencies. The funding is intended to support homeland security projects and preparation at the local level.

Allegany received $233,182, down from about $270,000 in 2008, according to Dick DeVore, chief of the emergency management division of the Allegany County Department of Public Safety. Garrett County received $154,362, about 10 percent less than its allocation in 2008, said Public Safety and Emergency Management Director Brad Frantz. Since fiscal 2007, Allegany has received a total of $822,700 in federal homeland security funds, while Garrett has received $544,000.

The federal department allocated just under $17 million to Maryland in fiscal 2009, part of $861.3 million distributed nationwide.

Garrett County law enforcement will receive about 25 percent of the county’s total allocation. Sheriff Gary Berkebile said one of his top priorities for that money is to develop communication interoperability among county emergency services.

“We’re glad to have it and we will put it to good use,” he added.

Allegany County will take advantage of an opportunity provided by a slight change in funding use guidelines, DeVore said.

“Prior to this round of funding, if equipment was purchased with the money it was the county’s responsibility to pay for maintenance,” he explained. “This round of funding now allows us to provide some maintenance to equipment we’ve already purchased.”

At least 25 percent of the funds must be used for planning, training or exercises for law enforcement terrorism prevention, according to the federal department. Up to 50 percent of the grants can be used to pay personnel costs, including operational overtime, intelligence sharing, participation in trainings and hiring consultants. No more than 3 percent can be used for management and administrative costs.

In a Dec. 8 news release, department secretary Janet Napolitano announced a reduction in next year’s total State Homeland Security grants. The total allocation will drop from $861.3 million to $842 million.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Delegation to hear concerns on sheriff’s office, slots, wind power

Delegation to hear concerns on sheriff’s office, slots, wind power

Kevin Spradlin
Cumberland Times-News

(from article)

In Garrett County, emergency services, legislation to authorize an increase in the hotel/motel tax and to establish minimum setback requirements and decommissioning standards for commercial wind turbines are key issues.

Among statewide issues, local organizations are seeking state lawmakers’ support in keeping teacher pensions state-funded and to modify the collective bargaining process that currently allows the state Department of Education, instead of an independent mediator, to serve as final authority in labor disputes between teachers’ unions and the state board.

Rocky Gap State Park is one of five locations authorized to operate slots. The eastern Allegany County facility is permitted up to 1,500 machines. To date, there has been no qualified bid submitted for the site. The Allegany County commissioners asked the delegation in November to introduce a bill that would allow third parties to purchase licenses to operate some of the machines.

The Garrett County commissioners have asked the delegation to introduce a bill that would grant them the authority to increase the hotel/motel tax. It’s an issue that local businesses and property owners object to. Joyce Bishoff, interim president of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, indicated that an accommodations tax increase could turn people away from visiting.

The commissioners also want the authority, as their counterparts in Allegany and Kent counties do, to have public sales of homes of residents who are 60 days or more delinquent in the payment of water and sewer bills. During a November meeting, the county’s Department of Public Utilities noted property owners were more than $280,000 in arrears.

There have been a number of requests from private individuals and agencies as well.

Linda Jones of the Garrett County side of Lonaconing is asking the delegation to continue pushing for equal payments for widows deemed “wholly dependent” and “partially self-supporting” after a death in the workplace. Jones, whose husband Dale Jones was killed in April 2007 during a mining incident along with Frostburg resident Michael Wilt, praised the passage of legislation in 2009 that increased payments, but wants a level playing field.

Frostburg resident and former state senator John Bambacus has appealed to the delegation to codify Gov. Martin O’Malley’s ban of wind turbines on state land. Bambacus said the ban currently is continued only at the whim of the state’s chief elected officer.

Bambacus also wants legislation introduced to prohibit wind turbines on mountain ridges in Garrett and Allegany counties.

In correspondence with Bambacus, Delegate Wendell Beitzel said such legislative efforts might be “futile … due to the current frenzy to develop alternative energy sources and the governor’s opposition to anything that stands in the way of wind energy development.”

Beitzel also said that such legislation “could come back to haunt us” if it would prevent other possible uses that would “foster economic development, recreational infrastructure and tourism-related activities.”

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Allegany, Garrett get thousands in federal funds

Allegany, Garrett get thousands in federal funds

Department of Homeland security grant awards decreased for both counties

Megan Miller
Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — Allegany and Garrett counties have been allocated thousands of federal dollars in Department of Homeland Security grants, according to a news release from the office of Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Through the State Homeland Security Grant program, the federal department allocates funding annually to Maryland’s state government, which in turn distributes the money to county emergency management and law enforcement agencies. The funding is intended to support homeland security projects and preparation at the local level.

Allegany received $233,182, down from about $270,000 in 2008, according to Dick DeVore, chief of the emergency management division of the Allegany County Department of Public Safety. Garrett County received $154,362, about 10 percent less than its allocation in 2008, said Public Safety and Emergency Management Director Brad Frantz. Since fiscal 2007, Allegany has received a total of $822,700 in federal homeland security funds, while Garrett has received $544,000.

The federal department allocated just under $17 million to Maryland in fiscal 2009, part of $861.3 million distributed nationwide.

Garrett County law enforcement will receive about 25 percent of the county’s total allocation. Sheriff Gary Berkebile said one of his top priorities for that money is to develop communication interoperability among county emergency services.

“We’re glad to have it and we will put it to good use,” he added.

Allegany County will take advantage of an opportunity provided by a slight change in funding use guidelines, DeVore said.

“Prior to this round of funding, if equipment was purchased with the money it was the county’s responsibility to pay for maintenance,” he explained. “This round of funding now allows us to provide some maintenance to equipment we’ve already purchased.”

At least 25 percent of the funds must be used for planning, training or exercises for law enforcement terrorism prevention, according to the federal department. Up to 50 percent of the grants can be used to pay personnel costs, including operational overtime, intelligence sharing, participation in trainings and hiring consultants. No more than 3 percent can be used for management and administrative costs.

In a Dec. 8 news release, department secretary Janet Napolitano announced a reduction in next year’s total State Homeland Security grants. The total allocation will drop from $861.3 million to $842 million.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Wind facility would threaten endangered species

Wind facility would threaten endangered species

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

Dear Mr. Secretary: In light of the recent federal court ruling on endangered species, I am trying to understand the department’s position on current Maryland law which exempts any industrial wind plant project from comprehensive environmental review process (PSC CPCN hearing process) if its generating capacity is limited to 70MW or less.

You will recall that the department opposed the passage of this law, requested by Synergics President Wayne Rogers after he withdrew his initial 40MW proposal targeting the Roth Rock ridge in Garrett County when faced with endangered species conditions he found objectionable.

Under SB 566, which passed the General Assembly in 2007 and was signed by Gov. O’Malley, Rogers reapplied for an exemption, again for a project along Roth Rock, this time requesting to build a 50MW plant.

Synergics has argued that the PSC cannot consider in its “exemption” determination any issue other than “grid safety and reliability.” Current law, as I understand it, precludes any comprehensive environmental review, and thus the conundrum facing the Department.

Does the department agree that it no longer has any role to play in protecting threatened and endangered species as these might be affected by the installation and operation of 70MW or smaller wind projects?

Will it continue not to challenge the current PSC interpretation that, because it believes the Maryland General Assembly’s intention was to rescind any socio-economic or environmental oversight, it cannot deny permission to a developer of a 70MW or smaller industrial wind plant — even if the wind energy project might result in harm to species listed by DNR as endangered and thus heretofore protected under the State’s Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act?

In the case of the Mourning Warbler at Roth Rock, for example, a massive wind project could indeed remove this state endangered species from its only reliable nesting site in the state.

Interestingly, in Synergics’ original application for its Garrett County wind plant (Case No. 9008), the department filed extensive comments which expressly asserted and explained that the Mourning Warbler, protected under Maryland’s Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act, would be harmed.

Under the re-filed “exemption” application (Case No. 9191), there is no filing from the Department and no mention of the endangered Mourning Warbler issue.

As you know, I filed a request for internal DNR staff documents under the state’s Public Information Act, and was told that such records were “pre-decisional” and therefore not made available to me.

It may be that by ignoring the implications of federal law for Maryland, not to mention state law, the department is at risk for failing to implement and enforce the law.

As your expert staff knows well, Golden Eagles and other species of concern are placed at risk by any massive industrial facility placed high above the ridgelines of Maryland’s mountains.

John N.Bambacus

Frostburg

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Report shows coal production was up in 2008

Report shows coal production was up in 2008

Coal association director takes issue with results

Michael A. Sawyers
Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — Surface mines accounted for 76 percent of the coal produced in Maryland in 2008, according to the 87th Annual Report of the Maryland Bureau of Mines, a document the agency is required to publish to comply with state law.

Allegany County operations accounted for 1,217,805 tons of coal mined from the surface. Another 1,112,086 tons were produced in Garrett County.

Deep mines, all in Garrett County, pumped out 718,652 tons.

The coal production in Maryland’s two westernmost counties was up 619,961 tons from 2007, when 2,428,583 tons were mined.

The problem with the bureau’s report, according to Adrienne Ottaviani, executive director of the Maryland Coal Association, is that it is already a year old.

“Those are 2008 numbers and things have changed a lot since then,” Ottaviani said Wednesday.

Coal production is down and jobs have been lost, Ottaviani claims, blaming federal regulators within the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Surface Mining.

“Permits are being held up based upon a multitude of different issues, including the construction of high walls and ground control plans,” she said.

“Between the federal government believing that there is really such a thing as global warming and thinking coal is the culprit, this is not really the season for coal,” Ottaviani said. “They are doing everything they can to stop coal as an energy source. Companies can’t continue to produce coal (as profitably) under the regulations they have.”

Green sources of energy, Ottaviani said, are wonderful, but will never be able to replace the $50,000 to $60,000 per year jobs and fringe benefits generated by coal mining.

Ottaviani said there were 1,300 direct jobs in the Maryland coal mining industry in 2008, but that number has dwindled.

“One problem happened when AES Warrior Run had internal mechanical problems and wasn’t buying and burning our coal for a while. Companies had to lay people off. Fortunately, AES got that worked out and is buying local coal again.”

Ottaviani said AES is the shining example of how coal can be burned with low emissions. “They have the lowest emission level in the state and one of the lowest in the country,” she said. “I have been trying for years to get other power plants to retrofit or consider new construction to achieve those same emission rates.”

The annual report from the state mining agency points out as well that the bureau’s Acid Mine Drainage Section in 2008 spent $32,345 to modify the lime-dosing apparatus at the abandoned McDonald Mine where acid drainage continues to pollute lower Georges Creek.

Another $394,500 was spent on the Aaron Run project, a tributary to the lower Savage River that is being restored with the hope that it will once again be the home to native brook trout.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Bear Watch

Bear Watch

Cumberland Times-News

Large bear killed near Friendsville makes 47 dead on state’s roads

On Dec. 24, a 324 pound male black bear was struck and killed on Interstate 68 at mile marker 8 near Friendsville, making it the 47th bruin to die on Maryland highways in 2009, according to an unofficial count kept by the Cumberland Times-News.

Also on Christmas Eve, a bear was reported to have been struck on Aaron Run Road in the Savage River drainage. A Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service crew was dispatched to the scene and watched as the bear left the area on its own, according to spokesman Harry Spiker.

To report bear incidents in Allegany County, call the Maryland Wildlife Service at (301) 777-2136. In Garrett County, call (301) 334-4255. Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers may be contacted at (301) 784-2523.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350