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OAKLAND — The Garrett County Health Department recently became one of seven county health departments in Maryland to receive national accreditation from the Public Health Accreditation Board.
“I’d have to say, honestly, Garrett County is not a good health department — Garrett County is a great health department,” Howard Haft, deputy secretary of public health at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said during an accreditation celebration Wednesday. “Incredible leadership, incredible staff that are very dedicated with many, many years of dedicated service.”
The health department received accreditation in November and all the work was done by staff, who worked in each domain, according to Rodney Glotfelty, the health department’s health officer.
“Accreditation is a big deal — only 12 percent of local health departments in the United States have been accredited so far,” Glotfelty said. “Of that 12 percent, only 7 percent serve populations under 50,000.”
Once documentation was submitted to the accreditation board, a site review team visited the health department to discuss the various domains, said Glotfelty.
“When you step back and look at how many health departments in the nation reached this level and most of them being much bigger, the standards don’t change regardless of the size,” said Paul Edwards, chairman of the Garrett County Board of Commissioners. “For us to reach that with the size and scope of the staff here, when others that are much bigger have yet to do that, I think it speaks volumes of the commitment of the staff and Rodney’s leadership.”
The health department earned accreditation after a two-year, multi-faceted peer review assessment process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of quality standards and measures for public health.
“It’s not just the documentation. It’s really the fact that people put their heart and soul into it and they change how they do things to make them just the absolute best practices in the nation,” Haft said. “You are really the unsung heroes in health care.”
The national accreditation program works to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of the nation’s health departments. The program, which is jointly supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, sets standards against which the nation’s more than 3,000 governmental public health departments can continuously improve the quality of their services and performance.
“I just wish that everybody in the state legislature, federal legislature, everybody in the community really understood how important the work you do every day is — I understand it,” Haft said.
“If you think about it, you have hit the apex of your industry and that’s something worth celebrating,” said Edwards.
OAKLAND — The Garrett County Planning Commission has decided to let a consultant lead discussions about possible countywide zoning.
The commission is planning on hiring a consultant once there is money in the budget, Deborah Carpenter, director of the department of planning, said.
“As far as the board of county commissioners go at this point, I don’t think we have any interest in doing anything on countywide zoning. Not to say if something was brought to us we wouldn’t consider any action on it,” Jim Hinebaugh, commissioner and planning commission member, said during a planning commission meeting last month.
The first step in addressing countywide zoning would be to get public input followed by research and recommendations for a plan of action from the consultant, Carpenter said.
The commission is reviewing the comprehensive plan to see what sections may need public comment, more discussion or possible changes, said Carpenter. The planning commission began the review of the 2008 comprehensive plan last year.
“I think there may be more support than there was for countywide zoning 10 years ago or 20 years ago,” said Hinebaugh, who indicated that he didn’t have a position on zoning.
At least 30 percent of county citizens are already subjected to zoning because of living in the Deep Creek Watershed or in one of the municipalities, William DeVore, zoning administrator for the Deep Creek Watershed and member of the planning commission, said.
The Garrett County Board of Realtors supports performance-style zoning in the county, Paul Durham, planning commission member, said.
The commission also decided to give Karen Myers, who was representing Deep Creek Marina LLC, approval for a special exception and variance for an aerial (zip-line-type) adventure park to be located on Deep Creek Drive in McHenry.
We are pleased to announce the State Lakes Protection and Restoration Fund Bill passed the House on 138-0 vote at noon today. Since the bill has already passed the Senate, it is on the way to Governor Hogan’s desk to enact into law.
The bill is a “small bill”. It only asks that DNR create the fiscal structure for a Fund. No allocation of money was requested. Even so, at one point late in the process, DNR suggested a small language which could have killed the bill. Fortunately Delegate Dana Stein spoke out against this recommendation.
Deep Creek Lake is one of 16 state-owned lakes across the state and, like DCL, it appears that all are facing challenges of lake aging and need for protection and restoration efforts. The State of Maryland owns these lakes and is, therefore, responsible for their health as natural and recreational resources.
Another reason for celebration: This is the first bill supported by all lead lake-related entities: County Commissioners, Garrett County Board of Realtors, Chamber of Commerce. A CLEAR DCL, Friends of DCL, DCL POA and Green Glade Guardians. Over 50 lake property owners also sent letters of support. .
More thank yous! We do want to recognize our lobbyist Eric Gally for his hard work tracking the bill and the lake people who came to Annapolis to testify in support of the bill: Joe Zamoiski, Tony Fuller, Richard Matlick, and Brian Greenberg. Folks from state environmental colleagues also helped us secure passage: Kristen Harbeson from MD LCV, MD Sierra Club, and The Nature Conservancy.
Next Step. We will need to “fund” the Fund. To do so we must convince the Governor to allocation financial resources into the Fund in his next budget. We hope all the entities which supported the bill will also actively work for its
Since the budget process begins almost immediately, Friends of DCL will be developing a Fund the Fund Campaign to be launched early in the summer.
All our work todate has led up to the creation of the mechanism and now the challenge to get funding for it to enable the state to do the work needed to restore and protect our beloved lake for generations to come.
Let’s hope the snow in Garrett County melts soon and the high water levels subside because we have a lot to celebrate this summer– and some fun Fund-raising to do!
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