Property Owners’ Association: State Money For Garrett County

February 7, 2017


The State (DNR) owns approximately 90,000 acres of land in Garrett County which is not subject to property taxes for the county due to state ownership.  The current means to recoup some of the lost property taxes is to provide the county with 25% of the revenue obtained from the sale of timber on this land.  For the last several years, however, very little timber has been harvested so the revenue coming to Garrett County has been very low.  This process currently exists throughout Maryland for all counties in which the state owns land that cannot be taxed.
To remedy this situation and insure a fair amount of revenue, consistent with the amount of acreage owned by the state, this bill will provide a more equitable reimbursement of funds to Garrett County for land owned by the State of Maryland. The proposed bill breaks down the acreage into “units” of 10,000 acres and would mandate $250,000 per unit income to the county annually.  SB273 will make the County’s reimbursement approximately $2 million annually. SB273 is being heard by the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee on Wednesday, February 15 at 1:00 p.m. Please send written testimony to by February 14, asking the Budget & Taxation Committee to give SB273 a FAVORABLE REPORT, and indicate if you plan to testify in person. Senate Bill 273 (SB 273) may be seen here. The existing system related to timber would no longer be used.
Your POA supports this bill because it is a fair way to reimburse the county for taxes that currently cannot be collected, and asks that you consider sending a written testimony  of endorsement.
Thanks very much in advance for your support on this bill which, if passed, will insure Garrett County is fairly reimbursed for uncollectable tax revenue.


Bob Hoffmann


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NEW LISTING- 1305 Deep Creek Drive

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WOW! Impressive lakefront chalet with western exposure and an iconic, ‘postcard’ view of Deep Creek Lake & Wisp Ski Resort. Unbelievable level, grassy, lakefront lot.

Ultra rare 3 slip private dock.

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Views from virtually every room in the house.

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Extend the fracking ban

Marylanders have long held serious misgivings about the use of hydraulic fracturing to drill for natural gas, and we have shared those concerns. Under the administrations of both Gov. Larry Hogan and his predecessor, Martin O’Malley, there have been efforts by the Maryland Department of the Environment to adopt what Democrats and Republicans alike have vowed would be the strictest fracking regulations in the country. Yet over and over again, there have been doubts about whether the protections involved — to ensure clean drinking water supplies and preserve Western Maryland’s scenic resources — would be adequate.

The most recent rules, as drafted by the Hogan administration and now under review, are no different. And as the nation’s natural gas glut continues — to the extent that even oil industry advocates doubt that Maryland is likely to attract much drilling even if a temporary ban on fracking is lifted — many are asking, why risk fracking at all?

We agree. It’s a bad bet. When members of the Maryland General Assembly reconvene next month, high on the agenda should be making permanent the temporary moratorium on fracking that is set to expire next year. Fracking advocates have failed to make the case that the economic value of recovering gas from the Marcellus Shale deposits outweighs the potential economic and environmental harm that accompanies it.

And it’s highly likely that a majority of Maryland residents agree with that position. That was the conclusion of a recent poll conducted by OpinionWorks for the Don’t Frack Maryland Coalition, which found support for a fracking ban even in Western Maryland. In all, the survey determined that state residents favored a ban by a 56-28 margin with 16 percent undecided.

This is not a position we take lightly. Western Maryland has an unemployment rate above the statewide average — between 4.4 and 5.2 percent by county compared to the statewide average of 4.0 percent. But it is also highly dependent on tourism, with scenic attractions like Deep Creek Lake, the Youghiogheny River, Swallow Falls State Park, the C&O Canal and many others that are a key part of the state’s $16.4 billion visitor business. Even if fracking doesn’t cause immediate harm to any of those attractions, how might public perception of the region change?

Still, it isn’t just a matter of image. The risks posed by fracking are real. Often, the problem is the method of disposal for wastewater from well injection sites — the technology involves forcing a mixture of water, chemicals and sand under high pressure into underground rock to release trapped gas — and its impact on local groundwater. In neighboring West Virginia, for example, the U.S. Geological Survey found Wolf Creek in Fayette County contaminated with sodium, chloride, strontium, lithium and radium traced to a nearby underground well.

But that’s not all. The potential adverse impacts include damage to human health, clean air and water; excessive noise pollution and even microearthquakes. That doesn’t mean fracking can’t be done relatively safely compared to, say, coal mining or logging, which have also operated in Western Maryland, but it does mean that the potential for adverse impacts, even accidental ones, is quite high — the sheer volume of water required (as much as 7 million gallons to frack a single well) practically dictates that.

And even if Maryland dropped the moratorium and adopted the MDE rules, it’s unlikely there’s going to be any gold rush to purchase or extend gas leases. That’s what makes an outright ban the safest possible wager — the resource won’t be going away; it will remain buried in those shale deposits like a savings account. If at some future date, the risk is more manageable and the demand for the resource is more robust, perhaps the moratorium can be revisited. In the interim, Maryland will learn more from the mistakes of neighboring states.

That makes a ban on fracking a win-win for everyone, except perhaps the U.S. oil and gas industry. But even they may not complain too much given the multitude of more pressing problems from falling demand and low prices to high production from Middle East competitors. If Maryland earns a national reputation for being ultra-cautious about its precious water resources, so much the better.

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Family’s dreams come true with opening of High Country Creamery, Market

Imagine a young couple, more than 60 years ago, traveling the roads of Grantsville talking about their future and the difference they could make in their communities.

Ruth and Olen Beitzel raised a family, welcomed grandchildren into the world and embarked on careers and business, yet they never lost that dream and desire to make a change.

“When we were just 16, I was riding with him in a milk truck to the creamery and while he was unloading the milk, Olen said to me, ‘Someone ought to make cheese in this area with all of the farmers we have.’ I must have heard him say that to me over a 100 of times since that day,” Ruth said. “Then a few years ago, just around the time he was turning 70 he mentioned it again and I asked, ‘Do you think the time is now?'”

To her surprise, he said yes and the couple, along with their family began to make plans to make that dream a reality — a reality that set to open on Saturday — High Country Creamery and Market in Grantsville.

Olen said he never forgot that dream. “I guess you could say I got busy doing other things. But after I retired from Beitzel Corp., I felt like I still had things to do.”

Encouraged by the show of support, the Beitzels began to put their plan into action and shared their plans with their daughter, Linda Kling. Olen and Ruth knew they needed to find a cheese-maker and they already had a candidate in mind — grandson, Brandon Kling.

“Brandon has always liked to create things and we asked if he would be interested,” Olen said.

“I had not thought of cheesemaking, but as we talked about what he had in mind, it got my gears turning. I had always liked to cook and I like to be creative,” Brandon said. “Cheese-making is both scientific and artistic.”

Seeing the unlimited potential in this plan, Brandon agreed and made contact with the cheese-makers at Firefly Farms in Accident. He worked closely with Mike Cooke at Firefly as an apprentice for two years to educate himself about the process. Once he completed the apprenticeship, the family opened up a pilot plant in neighboring West Virginia to get a jump-start on their business, while plans and work was completed on the Grantsville facility.

The West Virginia plant allowed Brandon to perfect his methods and soon the plant began soliciting businesses and restaurants to offer their cow’s milk cheese products.

“We do not put anything into our cheese that is not natural. Cheese is simple — milk, salt, cultures and natural flavorings, no preservatives,” Brandon said.

Their efforts were quickly rewarded and now High Country cheeses are offered at more than a dozen stores and restaurants. High Country products have also been offered at local Farmers Markets.

The new store, located at 97 Locker Lane, will feature a viewing area, where people can see first-hand how cheese is made. The store will be stocked with cheese accompaniments, local produce, including fresh meat and baked goods and a variety of gift items. An area will be se -up for tastings and a wide array of foods will be offered at the in-house eatery.

Ruth said the desire from the first day of planning has been to offer quality products made with quality ingredients, with a dedication to scratch-made foods.

“It’s all farm to table. That is how we ate growing up. It wasn’t called farm to table, but it was all natural, grown or raised locally and that is what we will have here,” she said.

“We like to say nothing will be served here that is frozen except ice cream,” Brandon said. “We also want to have a museum-like area, where kids can visit and see first hand where the food they try is made, with a understanding of its origin.”

Linda said the family plans to expand their product line to include preserves, canned items and pickles, all made with old family recipes.

High Country Creamery and Market will be open until 7 p.m. Saturday. Cheese-making days will be Monday and Wednesday. The business will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 7a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

For more information, click here.


Obituary: Jim Delligatti / Pittsburgh-area McDonald’s franchisee who created Big Mac

Rest in Peace Jim Delligatti, a true Deep Creek Lake all-star. His family owns the Honi-Honi Bar, Uno’s, Arrowhead Market and the Garrett 8 movie theatre.

Before it became the single-greatest-selling sandwich in the history of the world; before it became an actual economic index scrutinized by professors and policy-makers; before it became a symbol of the American appetite; even before it became the subject of an unforgettable tongue-twisting advertising jingle, the Big Mac was the product of the ingenuity of a Western Pennsylvanian.

Michael James “Jim” Delligatti, 98, of Fox Chapel died Monday. He really was the local man who made it big — a big sandwich, a big American statement, and a big caloric load (550 calories — including the special sauce — roughly a quarter of the recommended daily allowance, in fact).

Mr. Delligatti also later came up with the concept of breakfast at McDonald’s.

“Jim was a legendary franchisee within McDonald’s system who made a lasting impression on our brand,” McDonald’s said in a statement. “We will remember Jim as an insightful franchisee, a knowledgeable businessman, and an honorable gentleman who left a legacy of four generations of family members running great restaurants in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.”

A native of Uniontown, he was an Army sergeant in the European Theater during World War II. When he returned home, he hitchhiked across the country, from Pittsburgh to California, where he worked at drive-ins and carhops. He eventually brought that experience back to Pittsburgh and, with business partner John Sweeney, in 1953 opened Delney’s — a drive-in on McKnight Road.

In 1955, he traveled to Chicago for a restaurant convention. Fatefully, it was the only year that Ray Kroc and McDonald’s had a booth at the show.

“He thought he could do better with some costs, so he signed up with them to open a franchise in Western Pennsylvania,” his son, Michael Delligatti, said. That first location also opened on McKnight Road, in 1957. In the same kitchen, at age 49, Mr. Delligatti created the signature sandwich that’s left an indelible grease stain on American pop culture and sated billions of hungry bellies the world over.

“He’d opened some restaurants at that point, and he was looking to improve and gain more sales,” his son said. “He wanted to create a larger sandwich that people would really like. He asked McDonald’s and they turned him down several times. Finally, they said OK.

“He was fooling around and came up with the Big Mac. But the buns he had wouldn’t work because the meat would slide around. So he went to a local bakery and got a double cut bun with sesame seeds, which was more visually appealing.”

He spent a few weeks developing the special sauce. “We’re all sworn to secrecy on that,” Michael Delligatti said with a chuckle.

Mr. Delligatti sold the first Big Macs (originally called “The Aristocrat” and the “Blue Ribbon Burger”) for 45 cents in 1967 in his McDonald’s in Uniontown. McDonald’s corporate officials liked it and did a test market in all Pittsburgh-area stores. The product went national a year later and since has reached sales in the tens of billions.

The famous advertising jingle — “twoallbeefpatties …” — was created in 1974 by Keith Reinhard, chairman of the New York ad agency DDB Worldwide.

In 1986, The Economist magazine created “the Big Mac Index” as an informal way to compare foreign currency values against the U.S. dollar. Based on the theory of purchasing-power parity, which says that exchange rates should equalize the price of a purchased item in any two countries, the index uses just one item — a Big Mac — because it is available in more than 100 countries.

Mr. Delligatti would go on to own 48 franchises, and although he sold most of them back to the company in 1982, his family still runs 21 in Western Pennsylvania. Though fast food has been maligned for its association with an unhealthy lifestyle, in 2007, on the 40th anniversary of the Big Mac, Mr. Delligatti told the Post-Gazette that he still ate at least one a week — at age 89.

That year the McDonald’s Big Mac Museum Restaurant opened on Route 30 in North Huntingdon; it features a 14-by-12-foot replica of the burger.

“He was an awesome dad. He liked to do a lot of different things. He was a great pingpong player. He liked to water ski and did some snow skiing. He was a real go-getter,” Mr. Delligatti said of his father, who continued to work regularly well into his 90s.

He was also a philanthropist. In 1979, he, along with Pittsburgh oncologist Vincent Albo and the Pittsburgh Steelers, helped co-found the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh, which provides lodging to the families of seriously ill children undergoing treatment at area hospitals. Today, the house is attached to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC in Lawrenceville.

He is survived by his wife, Ellie Delligatti; sons James and Michael; and five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Visitation is from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. today and Friday at the Devlin Funeral Home in West View.

The funeral Mass is at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph’s Parish in O’ Hara. Memorial contributions may be made to the Pittsburgh Ronald McDonald House or to Providence Connections, a North Side social services agency.

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Deep Creek Lake and Garrett County, Maryland Experience Record Increases in Tourism

2016 has been a record year for tourism in the Deep Creek Lake area and Garrett County, Maryland with a 6.3% increase in county accommodations sales, a 19.3% increase in heads on beds, a 2.3% increase in sales tax collections and a 23% increase in visitors to the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce’s website,

The increases follow a banner 2015 in Deep Creek Lake and Garrett County, which saw a 3.1% increase in county accommodations sales, a 2.5% increase in sales tax collections and a 46% increase in visitors to the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce’s website,

The Chamber attributes much of the increase to the Chamber’s aggressive marketing plan with concentrated efforts and new ad strategies.

And, according to the Maryland Office of Tourism, Garrett County’s increases have even outpaced Maryland’s tourism growth. In Fiscal Year 2016 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016), Maryland grew tourism sales tax revenues 6.4%, while Garrett County grew tourism sales tax revenues 7.0% during the same time period. Maryland grew lodging sales tax code collections 6.3% in FY16 while Garrett County grew lodging sales tax collections 9%.

“Tourism is an economic engine for Garrett County and we are pleased to see that this engine continues to churn out additional revenues and business for our community,” said Nicole Christian, president & CEO of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce. “Even with Mother Nature being less than cooperative last winter and an abbreviated ski season, Garrett  County’s overall tourism sales tax revenues still outpaced the state’s growth. We attribute this continued growth to our aggressive marketing efforts.”

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Check out some of the best views of Deep Creek Lake

Here are a few of my favorite views of Deep Creek Lake!
To see the homes I have listed on Highline Drive, click here or here.
To see the home I have listed on Grandview Drive, click here.


NEW LISTING: “Valhalla- Hall of the Gods”

Check out my new listing in Mountainside!



This custom 5 bedroom masterpiece features some of the best views at Deep Creek Lake!

Filled with modern craftsmanship, towering stonework and elegant designs, the home boasts three fireplaces, sauna, bar, screened in porch, attached garage, extensive decking and much more.


Dock slip availability through HOA as Class A lot. Truly a must see! Established vacation rental, $51k YTD 2016.

This home is a Taylor-Made rental home. For a 3-D tour and more, click here.
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