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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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County Health Officer Bob Stephens also rescinded his March order on the rental units.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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Garrett College leads state in enrollment growth

The Garrett County Republican

McHENRY — Garrett College led all Maryland community colleges in enrollment growth during the spring 2020 semester, according to recently released statewide enrollment data.

The college led the state in credit hour enrollment growth, increasing the number of credit hours taken by its students by 5.85 percent in spring 2020 compared to spring 2019. Garrett finished the spring enrollment period with 6,190.75 credit hours, 342 more credit hours than in spring 2019.

Garrett was third in headcount enrollment growth, behind neighboring Allegany College of Maryland (7.6 percent) and Baltimore City Community College (6 percent.) It grew from 569 to 605 students, an increase of 6.33 percent.

“This is a very impressive enrollment performance for the college,” said Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College’s president. “It’s a testament to our faculty and staff. We consistently emphasize that enrollment is everyone’s business — and everyone deserves credit for this accomplishment.”

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Rutherford checks six local state parks off his ‘Bucket List’

The Garrett County Republican

OAKLAND — Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford was able to check six more state parks off his “State Park Bucket List” while visiting Garrett County last week.

Over Friday and Saturday, he visited Sang Run State Park, Youghiogeny Wild River Natural Environment Area, Herrington Manor State Park, Swallow Falls State Park, Deep Creek Lake State Park and Deep Creek Lake Natural Resources Management Area.

“It was great to cross a few more state parks off my #LGStateParkBucketList this weekend in Garrett County,” Rutherford posted on his Facebook page. “Western Maryland has some of the most beautiful and scenic public lands in the state, especially in the winter if you can withstand the cold! Each location has its own unique history and features, and they are all well worth a visit any time of year.”

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This -N- That Grocery set to open Feb. 28

The Garrett County Republican

OAKLAND — This -N- That Grocery is set to open on Friday, Feb. 28, at the Brodak Plaza in Oakland.

The store is a locally owned and operated discount store offering a wide variety of grocery items, including meats and dairy.

Owners Anthony Brodak and Susanna Pannell are currently engaged to be married and have two children, 4-year-old son Ivan and 1-year-old daughter Jade.

“We want to have things priced lower so people can afford to grocery shop,” Pannell said. “We are a family of four, and going to the grocery store isn’t always fun when you see the ending cost. So we just want to be affordable so people don’t have to worry about their wants opposed to what they need. They can still get what they want here at an affordable price.”

She noted that the main products will be grocery items, but other odds and ends will be available, such as paper products and some medicines.

“We’re going to have a lot of different items such as steaks, chicken — everything basically that you could want in freezer food,” she said. “We just got signed up yesterday with a dairy person, so we’re going to have cheeses, sour creams and yogurts.”

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Habitat Women Build Work Day set for March 7

The Garrett County Republican

ACCIDENT — Garrett County Habitat for Humanity, in partnership with Lowe’s, will hold its annual Women Build Work Day on Saturday, March 7, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Garrett College Career Technology Training Center at 116 Industrial Drive in Accident.

More than 40 volunteers are expected to help build affordable housing for Garrett County families in need as part of Habitat for Humanity’s National Women Build Week.

“Women Builds have been happening in Garrett County with great success for over 10 years,” said Steve Bortz, GCHFH executive director.

This year’s build will focus on walls for a new build in Grantsville. Volunteers from Habitat’s hospitality committee will supply a sit-down lunch for all the volunteers that day.

“We had a great group of volunteers out to help with Women Build last year, with over 60 ladies (and gentlemen) participating,” Bortz said. “The volunteers accomplished a tremendous amount last build season, and we know this year’s kickoff is sure to be a great success, too.”

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Mountain bike trails planned for Broadford Park

The Garrett County Republican

OAKLAND — Members of Oakland Town Council gave their blessing Monday for a group of bicyclists to raise money to develop a system of mountain bike trails at Broadford Park.

Aaron Hordubay, representing the Garrett County Composite Mountain Biking Team, presented a conceptual design of trail routes that would span the length and width of the park with paths for different difficulty levels.

The group last year suggested development of the trail system to fill a gap, as some parks provide smooth, paved trails while others have technical, “aggressive” paths.

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