Push continues for North/South Highway


Cumberland Times-News

As chambers of commerce, our organizations all share a common mission to enhance the business environment and serve as engines for economic growth.

While each chamber operates independently and develops its own business-focused agenda, we have recently identified a singular issue that is of critical importance to each of our counties — the North/South Appalachian Highway.

This key transportation corridor is defined as Route 219 North, linking Garrett County, Md., to Somerset County, Pa., and Route 220 South, connecting Allegany County to Mineral County, W.Va. Bridging these two highways is Interstate 68, which has already proven to be a significant contributor to the economic vitality of our region.

Our shared interest in developing a viable north/south transportation corridor to compliment I-68 reflects an understanding of the positive effects that such intersecting highway systems have on business development.

New businesses mean new jobs and a renewed sense of economic prosperity.

Nearly a year ago, The Greater Cumberland Committee identified the North/South Appalachian Highway as an important economic development tool and determined that its advancement would be their No. 1 priority.

Since that time, our chambers have joined their efforts and have served as county-specific engines of progress on this highway. With well over 100 other businesses and organizations, we have worked together through the North/South Appalachian Highway Coalition to champion this project and together we have overcome significant hurdles and achieved key successes.

Building a major transportation corridor does not happen overnight, but the actions that have been taken over the past 12 months have renewed the commitment to its successful completion. We believe that 2010 will be equally as productive.

On behalf of the hundreds of businesses we represent, we will continue to be active participants in advancing the North/South Appalachian Highway.

Ron Aldom, Somerset County (Pa.)

Joyce Bishoff, Garrett County

Kolin Jan, Allegany County

Anne Palmer, Mineral County (W.Va.)

Chambers of Commerce

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

Existing-home sales take a big fall in December


From the Washington Post:

Sales of previously owned homes took their biggest tumble in at least 40 years last month as the impact of a buying spree spurred by a tax credit for first-time buyers waned, according to industry data released Monday.

Those who rushed to meet the original November deadline to take advantage of an $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers caused a surge in sales earlier in 2009, but left the market wobbly by the end of the year. First-time buyers, who made up more than 50 percent of sales earlier last year, represented just 43 percent of the market in December. The shift also resulted in fewer sales of lower-cost homes, which first-time buyers typically seek.
(more from the Washington Post article)

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

Our Town Theatre in Oakland

I wanted to do a quick blog post about Our Town Theatre in Oakland, Maryland. I dropped my daughter, Kayleah, off on Saturday for one of their kids programs (Kidstuff). I saw the owner/operator, Jane Avery, and Angie Sincell was there assisting. Kayleah had a great time and it was tough getting her to leave when it was time!

Jane was also working on some props for ‘Letters to the Editor’, their current production. I have included some info on the schedules from their website. Stop by and support Our Town Theatre!
______________________

Letters to the Editor will run January 28 – 30 at 8PM and Sunday January 31 at 2PM. There will be a dress rehearsal at 8PM January 27 for high school students.

Auditions for Our Town are noon – 4PM on January 30, 7PM-9PM on January 31, and 7PM-9PM on February 1. Rehearsals will start February 8. Performances will be March 24-28.

Our Town performances will be March 22 through 28.

Kidstuff, creative dramatics for children grades K-5, will meet 10:30AM – noon January 23, February 6, February 20, and March 6.

For more information about any event, call 301-334-5640

Our Town Theatre
121 East Center St
Oakland, MD 21550
301-334-5640
http://www.ourtowntheatre.org/

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

County road crews pull the plug after rainfall

Basins, culverts cleared to remedy water-covered roads

From Staff Reports
Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — Water-covered roadways were reported in Garrett County at mid-afternoon Monday, prompting county road crews into action to unclog water basins and culverts.

“It’s kind of winding down now,” said Jay Moyer, superintendent of the Garrett County roads department. We had steady rain all through the night but we are expecting colder temperatures that will slow the melting.”

Foster, Blue Ribbon and Silver Knob roads were closed temporarily due to high water. Routes that remained passable but with water on the roadway included Boiling Springs, Garrett, Jasper Riley and Crellin Mine roads as of 3 p.m. A minor mudslide on White Rock Road was “cleared up” by county workers at that hour.

The Garrett County 911 center was not able to provide any information about the water-related emergencies.

In Grant County, W.Va., a flood warning remained in effect Monday evening. The South Branch of the Potomac River was expected to crest at Petersburg at 14 feet, one foot above flood stage, at 1 p.m., according to the Grant County 911 center. The emergency center said “no problems” had occurred from the rising waterways in the county as of mid-afternoon.

Schools were dismissed early in Hampshire County, W.Va., due to the potential for small streams to flood some secondary roads, according to a dispatcher at the 911 center. Flooding of the Potomac River in that county was not expected until Tuesday morning, he said.

Maryland Natural Resour-ces Police is advising the public to refrain from boating and other recreational uses of the Upper Potomac River, including creeks and streams due to hazardous water levels from Cumberland to Little Falls.

The advisory extends through Wednesday and will be updated at that time if necessary.

Flood warnings were posted by the National Weather Service at 6:30 p.m. Monday for the South Branch near Springfield, W.Va., and the Potomac at Paw Paw, W.Va.

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

Garrett College may lose tuition subsidy

Action would affect out-of-county students in juvenile justice program

Megan Miller
Cumberland Times-News

MCHENRY — Garrett College is in danger of losing a state tuition subsidy that helps the school draw students to one of its largest programs and helps the students get a more affordable education.

The college’s juvenile justice program is currently on the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s statewide designated program list. That means Maryland students from outside Garrett County can enroll in the program for in-county tuition rates.

The state subsidizes the difference between the in-county and out-of-county tuition, so the college doesn’t lose money on the program. Instead, it likely benefits from increased enrollment, said James Allen, director of institutional planning for the college.

“Juvenile justice is one of our largest programs overall, and of its current group of students, a little over half are from out of county,” Allen said. At 2009 tuition rates, out-of-county students saved $130 per credit hour, which could add up to more than $8,000 for a 64-credit-hour associate degree.

But in November, the MHEC notified the college that the program was one of several it was considering removing from the designated program list as of fall 2010.

A Jan. 13 MHEC memo from George Reid, assistant secretary of planning and academic affairs, said that the statewide subsidy program had been suffering from budget deficits over a period of several years, and as a result, a “more restrictive set of criteria” had to be used to “cut back substantially” on the programs receiving tuition subsidies.

Garrett’s program was slated for removal because of the “amount of students attending the program,” said MHEC spokesman Christopher Fal-kenhagen, who could not elaborate.

But overall, the program, launched in 2000, has seen enrollment increase over the past several years. In 2004, the fall enrollment was 52. In 2009, the fall enrollment was 70, according to Elizabeth Biser, director of the program.

Biser said the MHEC lists three criteria it uses for evaluating designated programs. Programs can be removed from the list if they train students for a job that is no longer new or emerging, if the job field shows a lessening demand for graduates, or if the type of program in question has become more widespread and accessible to students statewide.

But the only other community college in Maryland to offer a juvenile justice associate degree is Anne Arundel Community College, Biser said, 200 miles away from Garrett College. Also, of the 26 students enrolled in that program, only a few are from outside the county.

“While AACC’s program is primarily serving its immediate area, Garrett College’s program is enrolling students from throughout the state,” Biser said.

Biser said the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers used to determine demand for the program’s graduates aren’t specific to the juvenile justice field. Instead, juvenile justice job statistics are lumped in with corrections officers, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, she said. That makes it more difficult to get an accurate report on the demand for graduates in the field.

Through an appeal process, Garrett College managed to secure its program’s place on the MHEC designated program list for 2010-11. But it’s been marked as one of several programs that will be monitored closely in the future, and it could be removed after next year, Allen said. Other programs now being monitored include three at Allegany College of Maryland — hotel and restaurant management, culinary arts and massage therapy.

If the college does lose the subsidy for its juvenile justice program, it won’t affect in-county or out-of-state students, because they aren’t eligible for the tuition reduction, Allen explained. It also won’t affect out-of-county students already enrolled in the program.

But the college could no longer offer the financial incentive to out-of-county prospective students, and that could have a significant impact on the program’s future.

“I would think that we would definitely see a drop in numbers if students had to pay the higher tuition,” Allen said. “It would affect our enrollment, which affects our tuition revenue, which affects everything else.”

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

Price Reduction! $5,000! 7167 Bittinger Rd, GA7087027

A great buy on a split-foyer home located very close to Deep Creek Lake and New Germany State Parks. Features include: multiple garage spaces, circular driveway, full basement, 2nd living room room/kitchen, enclosed back porch/sun room, multi-heat options and room to expand! All this, $139,900!

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

Commissioners Award Bid For Thayerville (Deep Creek Lake) Water Project

Support the Republican Newspaper! Buy an online membership! It’s only $9.95 a year!

Commissioners Award Bid For Thayerville Proj.

Jan. 21, 2010

The Board of Garrett County Commissioners awarded a bid on Tuesday for engineering services pertaining to the Thayerville Water Distribution System Project. By a vote of two to one, the board approved the $225,495 bid submitted by RK&K Engineers of Keyser, W.Va.
Buyer Charlie Junkins, Garrett County Purchasing Department, said bids were due on Dec. 8, 2009. Ten bids were submitted to his office.
(more from the Republican Newspaper)

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

GC Chamber To Host Sessions On Marcellus Shale

Support the Republican Newspaper! Buy an online membership! It’s only $9.95 a year!

GC Chamber To Host Sessions On Marcellus Shale

Jan. 21, 2010

An educational program titled “Your Business & Marcellus Shale: Voices of Experience” will be held on Wednesdays – Jan. 27, Feb. 3, Feb. 10, and Feb. 17 –beginning at 8 a.m. in Garrett College’s Continuing Education building, Room 224.
Hosted by the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, the 90-minute sessions are being offered to help entrepreneurs and established small- and medium-sized businesses understand and respond to Marcellus shale-related business opportunities.
(more from Republican article)

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

O'Malley Proposes Spending Cuts, Bond Sales to Close Budget Gap

Support the Republican Newspaper! Buy an online membership! It’s only $9.95 a year!

O’Malley Proposes Spending Cuts, Bond Sales to Close Budget Gap

Jan. 21, 2010

by Brady Holt

Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS – Gov. Martin O’Malley said Tuesday that the state should continue furloughs, lay off several dozen employees, raise college tuition, and transfer nearly a billion dollars from sources that include its capital fund in order to close a projected $2 billion budget shortfall.

O’Malley described his proposed fiscal year 2011 budget, which also includes a variety of other spending cuts, as a continuation of the “fiscal responsibility” he said has defined his administration.

“If you’re not fiscally re-sponsible, everything comes collapsing down like a house of cards,” O’Malley said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

The state government has shrunk under his administration, O’Malley said, with $5.6 billion in total spending reductions over his term and the elimination of 3,500 positions – 202 this year alone – “in a state that’s already pretty lean.”

O’Malley proposes slashing $375 million from funding for state agencies and $330 million from assistance to local governments.

(more from Republican News)

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

Md. Cutting County Disparity Grants; Garrett To Fare Better Than Others

Md. Cutting County Disparity Grants; Garrett To Fare Better Than Others

Jan. 21, 2010

With the fiscal year 2011 budget draft process under way, Garrett County Financial Services director Wendy Yoder is keeping an even closer eye on state reductions. She reviewed the most recent cut for the county commissioners during a departmental update report on Tuesday.
Just last week, Yoder received notification that state disparity grants will be reduced “across the board” in FY 2011. Grants are given to counties that do not meet at least 75 percent of the statewide average of local income tax revenues. Grant funding, however, is partly based on the state’s capital gains and investments income.

In FY 2010, revenue is down almost $200 million from the previous year. As a result, the eight counties that traditionally receive disparity grants will have their allocations reduced. Garrett County is among them.

But Yoder said Garrett is lucky compared to most counties, especially Prince George’s, which is facing an 84 percent decrease.

(more from Republican article)

Support the Republican Newspaper! Buy an online membership! It’s only $9.95 a year!
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