DNR won't poison pesky Deep Creek Lake plant

SWANTON, Md. — The Department of Natural Resources says it won’t use a herbicide to attack an invasive aquatic plant in western Maryland’s Deep Creek Lake this year.

The agenda for Monday’s meeting of the Deep Creek Lake Policy and Review Board includes an update on the state’s assessment of Eurasian water milfoil. Some area residents say the plant threatens to strangle recreational boating on the lake.

The DNR says a study last year found that milfoil was not outcompeting native aquatic plants. The agency says it will study the matter further this summer but won’t try to kill the invasive plant.

More here.

Fourmile Ridge wind farm gets PSC approval

Building begins after Garrett issues permits

Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News

FROSTBURG — The Maryland Public Service Commission approved the Fourmile Ridge wind project on Wednesday.

Synergics is planning on constructing 24 wind turbines in two arrays with an eastern array located on the west side of Big Savage Mountain and western array located on Fourmile Ridge.

Construction will begin on the project as soon as the permits are issued by Garrett County, according to Frank Maisano, spokesman for the Synergics project.

The county has provided Bennett Brewer and Associates of Frostburg, the engineer of record for the project, comments on the sediment and erosion control plan as well as the stormwater management plan, according to Jim Torrington, chief of the Garrett County Permits and Inspections Division.

“There are a host of things that need to be added to plan; it needs a major revision,” said Torrington. “We are awhile out before a permit for activity can be issued.”

The project is also awaiting Federal Aviation Administration approval because there was an issue with the Grantsville VOR/DME system.

The FAA is proposing to decommission the Grantsville VOR/DME system and that request is under way, according to Maisano.

Ed Kelley, manager of the Garrett County Airport, and the Maryland Aviation Administration have expressed opposition to the plan to decommission the Grantsville VOR/DME system.

With Garrett County as an ideal spot for wind turbines, all of the projects will and do affect the safety and economic outlook of the Garrett County Airport, said Kelley in a letter to Melinda George of the FAA.

“Local economic growth and commerce could be lost by the proposed decommissioning causing additional economic hardships to Garrett and Allegany County Airport,” he wrote. “The region cannot afford to lose critical all weather, en route and terminal access in the National Airspace System.”

The PSC recommended that Fourmile Wind Energy LLC’s request of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity waiver application be granted but with conditions.

The conditions are similar to those that Synergics was required to meet when constructing the Roth Rock project, which prevented it from going into operation until such conditions were met.

The project raised concerns with environmentalist because a major portion — 75 percent — of  it is in the state’s designated “sensitive areas.”

Matt Brewer, a partner with Bennett Brewer and Associates, indicated during a PSC public hearing that the project was adjacent to those “sensitive areas.”

“We have been fully cognizant about that through the design process. We have very deliberately avoided impact to those areas,” said Brewer.

“We have completed numerous environmental studies and testing over the last three years and have incorporated those studies into the design.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article. Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

Cabin in the woods – 89 LINZ LN – $299,500 – GA8062043


Cozy, well maintained 3BR, 2 Bath Log Home centrally located on Linz Lane off Glendale Road. Private setting on level 1+/- acre wooded lot w/ 26’x32′ detached garage. Covered front porch & back deck area perfect for relaxing & cookouts. Furnishings, boat & trailor negotiable. No HOA, home warranty plan to purchaser at settlement.


Railey Realty is growing, adds second Deep Creek lake location

Railey Realty has a brand new location at Deep Creek Lake to serve you! Stop by our Midlake Office, by McDonald’s, at the intersection of Glendale Rd.


Railey Realty is proud to announce the addition of long-time Deep Creek Lake REALTOR ® and Associate Broker Lisa Goodfellow and her team of professionals to their real estate brokerage. In addition to Lisa, the Goodfellow Group includes licensed salespersons Nancy Geisler, Cindy Sanders, Cindy Mahoney, Jim Wilmot, Susanne Roszell, and Kevin Heselbach.  Lisa has been selling real estate for 26 years and has won many prestigious sales awards throughout her career.

Railey Realty co-owner Mike Kennedy commented “We are extremely excited to add the Goodfellow Group to our existing team of top producing real estate agents. They are a natural fit at Railey Realty with their many years of experience, high sales volume, and attention to customer service.”

Garrett County’s largest real estate brokerage now has two offices to better serve their clients. In addition to their main sales office located at 2 Vacation Way in McHenry, the Railey group purchased the former Goodfellow Real Estate Services building near the Dry Dock Plaza.  The Goodfellow Group will continue to operate out of their existing location at 19567 Garrett Highway in Thayerville which is now a Railey Realty branch office.

More here.

Md. superintendent pays a visit

Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News

MCHENRY — Maryland Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery spoke about the state’s public education system, the new Common Core standards and answered questions during the Business Before Hours breakfast held at Dutch’s at Silver Tree at Deep Creek Lake.

“I absolutely love my job and the reason why is because I get to go out and talk about the thing that I love to do the most with the people who support it the most,” said Lowery on Wednesday.

Education Week, the premier schools publication in the country, has deemed Maryland as the No. 1 state for education in the country for five years in a row, according to Lowery.

“That’s not only looking at academics, that’s looking at the kinds of support there,” said Lowery. “You are a huge piece, the chamber and the people of the community, of that No. 1.”

The College Board, which creates and produces the Advanced Placement test, has deemed the state No. 1 for the test.

In the last 10 years, the number of students taking the Advanced Placement test in the state has increased from 18,000 to about 28,000, according to Lowery.

The number of students who were deemed “successful,” scoring a 3 or better on the test, doubled.

Maryland led the country in coalescent early childhood in ages 0 to 5, in a way that was a concentrated, cohesive effort, said Lowery. The early childhood results feed into the K-12 system, which is also No. 1.

“We know that the achievement gap comes into our schools,” said Lowery. “So, what happens to children 0 to 5 is probably more important than anything else in their life.”

From 2010 to 2013, the state has almost doubled the number of students who are coming in ready for kindergarten.

The state has a readiness assessment, which looks at how students integrate socially with their peers and looks at their behaviors.

Johns Hopkins University is working on revising the assessment to make it stronger, according to Lowery.

The assessment is associated with Common Core standards, according to Lowery. The standard assesses if students who graduate from high school are college- or career-ready.

Even with all the accomplishments the state has made, Lowery said that she has still set more goals.

“My goal is to have Maryland be the national model for closing the achievement gap,” said Lowery.

The county is home to Crellin Elementary, which is the No. 1 school in the state, according to Nicole Christian, president and CEO of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce.

“We all know how important our schools are; they are important for our children and the students of our community,” said Christian. “They are important for our work force community and economic development. We have been very privileged to have a great school system here in Garrett County.”

Lowery was asked if she would work with businesses to keep the 180 school calendar days but also help tourism raise additional revenues that could be used for education.

Tourism in the county has shrunk due to the school calendar, attendees said.

Lowery indicated that a task force was formed to address the school calendar days and that a conversation was being held with the superintendents to discuss it.

“I’m always open and willing to have a conversation. I just want to make sure we have the right people (representatives from the school district and the business community) at the table when we have the conversation so that we really understand what the needs are and how we can work with each other,” said Lowery.

Lowery was also asked if she would support revising the wealth formula to make it more equitable for the county. Garrett County, which is ranked fifth on the wealthy formula, is wealthier than Howard County and almost as wealthy as Montgomery County.

“That is conversation we are having; we did kind of start looking at the index this year,” said Lowery.

Lowery said that she will speak with her chief operating officer, Steve Brooks, about the wealth formula. Lowery said that if she comes back to the county she would bring Brooks to explain the wealth formula and address any concerns.

Lowery has been in education for 35 years and her favorite job as educator was as a high school principal, according to Cynthia Downton, president of the Garrett County Board of Education.

“I asked her (Lowery) what she wanted you to know and she wanted you to know that the work we do with every child is the right work,” said Downton. “Educating children is her job, it’s her hobby and I think if you get the opportunity to speak with her you will also see that it’s her passion.”

Lowery also traveled to Grantsville Elementary, where she read to students, following her talk.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

Md. attorney general: Environmental audit shows need for enhanced enforcement

  • April 22, 2013 – 10:56 am EDT

BALTIMORE — Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler says his annual environmental audit has found the need for enhanced enforcement of pollution laws.

Gansler says pollution related to urban and residential growth is also a concern and the audit highlighted the benefits of increasing public awareness of environmental issues.

The audit was the fifth for Gansler, who visits different areas each year. The 2012 audit covers the Youghiogheny River and Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland, the state’s coastal bays, and the watersheds of the Wye and Savage rivers and the Potomac’s North Branch.

More here.

Oakland’s Civil War Days recalls Jones-Imboden Raid

Confederate troops burned railroad bridge in 1863

Angie Brant Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — The streets of Oakland are about to be overtaken by Union and Confederate soldiers, but this time, the skirmish will bring together the community in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Jones-Imboden Raid.

Beginning Thursday, the community will observe the milestone with a series of events and activities called Oakland Civil War Days.

Though Garrett County was not yet a county at the time of the April 1863 raid, those early residents were witness to the battles between both sides of the Great War.

The residents of Oakland had managed to avoid much of the direct fighting until Robert E. Lee began plans to destroy major supply lines for the Union Army and targeted a nearby railroad bridge. Lee’s orders were carried out by two brigadier generals, John D. Imboden and William E. Jones.

A small group of Union soldiers from Company O of West Virginia were tasked with protecting the bridge, an invaluable portion of the B&O Railroad that helped provide much-needed supplies. These soldiers were in no way prepared for the more than 600 Confederates headed their way. Members of the 12th Virginia Cavalry, the First Maryland Battalion and John H. McNeill’s Partisan Rangers took the Union soldiers by surprise, as well as the residents of Oakland.

The Confederate soldiers quickly subdued the opposition and burned the railroad bridge. While violence was avoided, the Confederates pillaged homes and businesses for supplies and food. The Union forces stayed only briefly in the area, as they moved toward their other targets, but the impact of that raid was not soon forgotten.

Accounts of those difficult days have been preserved and will be featured during Oakland Civil War Days, organized and hosted by the Garrett County Historical Society.

According to volunteer John Rathgeb, the four-day event will begin with a presentation by Our Town Theatre. Actors will present the experiences of those early settlers and soldiers in a series of vignettes titled “Civil War — The Common Threads” on Thursday as well as during special events throughout the weekend. The capture of Company O will be re-enacted Sunday at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church.

Rathgeb said he believes the living history demonstrations will be of particular interest to visitors.

“We will have encampments set up at The Glades, at the B&O Museum, including drills, marching and inspections,” he said. “We will have Civil War-era medical re-enactors and we will also have soldiers foraging throughout the community, just as they did during the Jones-Imboden Raid. Foraging was common at this time in Oakland. Oakland was occupied by Company O and while they were here they co-existed with the residents, likely using supplies they were able to find, as did the Confederate Calvary when they raided the town.”

Speakers will include authors Steven French and Daniel Toomey, acclaimed historians, as well as storyteller and singer Matthew Dodd. Hammer and Strings and the Shenandoah Minstrels will provide period music. Hammer and Strings will also  perform at a dinner Friday at the Pleasant Valley Community Center.

Shenandoah Valley Minstrels will provide the musical accompaniment for a Civil War dinner/dance Saturday at the Oakland Elks Club. Reservations for both dinners can be made by calling the Garrett County Historical Society at 301-334-3226.

“While the Jones-Imboden Raid of the Civil War, which took place in Oakland, may not have the notoriety of the Battle of Gettysburg, the railroad in Oakland was important enough that when it was burned by the Confederate Calvary, John Garrett, president of the B&O Railroad, at the time, ordered it to be rebuilt, and it was done in five days,” said Oakland Mayor Peggy Jamison. “The railroad has always played an important role in the history and heritage of Oakland and the town appreciates the hard work of the committee that is bringing this small, but significant, event to our attention.”

Rathgeb said he hopes Oakland Civil War Days illustrates the determination and fortitude of the people of Oakland who rallied and recovered from the raid in just days following the exit of the Confederate soldiers. Activities and demonstrations will be held throughout the community and a free shuttle service will be available to accommodate visitors.

A full schedule of events can be found at www.agreatsmalltown.com/civil-war-days.html.

Contact Angie Brant at abrant@ times-news.com.

Garrett working to be better prepared

Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News

MCHENRY — In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Garrett County is working to become better prepared by establishing a state-of the-art emergency operations center at its airport. Previously, a makeshift command center at the courthouse was used.

John Frank III, director of emergency management, is working on the procurement and purchasing for the center and hopes to move forward to the bid process in the next two weeks.

“It’s centrally located at the Garrett County Airport, which is owned and operated by the county. If there is a major event in the county, we can expand to use the airport terminals,” said Frank. “We really didn’t have an emergency operations center. Ultimately, I want to be at a point where I can preplan for an incident that is coming, give out the warning and get all of the department heads together.”

Frank said the operations center would have air assets and additional resources with Garrett College nearby.

The center is in need of generators, fiber optics, phones, computers, broadband and a GIS mapping system. The mapping system is imperative and would cost about $45,000, Frank said.

“This is our chance to do it right and not on the cheap,” said U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski during a March meeting with Frank and the Garrett County commissioners to discuss the storm’s aftermath. “That center needs to function for whatever comes up; you need to be multiple function, multiple emergency.”

Frank has applied for a Maryland Emergency Management Agency grant for a generator.

“Let’s not self-censor on the basis of costs,” said Mikulski. “It won’t be all done in one grant or one application.”

The center will have broadband once the countywide broadband project is complete, according to Monty Pagenhardt, county administrator. Currently there is broadband up to Mosser Road where Garrett College is located.

“We were ill-prepared for Hurricane Sandy,” said County Commissioner Jim Raley. “One of the problems we had with Hurricane Sandy was the failure of generators.”

A generator that failed filled the Dennett Road Manor nursing center with smoke, which prompted an evacuation of its 100 residents in the height of a snowstorm, according to Raley. Mikulski suggested that the locations of vulnerable populations and essential services be identified and that periodic generator drills be conducted at those locations.

“We can handle a 3-foot snowstorm. We couldn’t handle when the trees were tangled in electric lines and they were in the roads and the road crew couldn’t get through,” said Raley. “We don’t ever want to be in that position again.”

During the storm, the county had problems restoring some of the pockets of electricity because the power outage was in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, feeding into Maryland, according to Raley.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has three R’s related to emergency preparedness, readiness, response and rehabilitation/recovery, Mikulski said.

Raley said an after-action analysis was done following the storm and, at Gov. Martin O’Malley’s urging, Frank was appointed. Former director of emergency management Brad Frantz had retired and was retained on a contractual part-time basis. O’Malley thought a full-time director was needed, Raley said.

Frank met with MEMA on April 2 to talk about the plans for the center. Mikulski requested that Frank ask MEMA to do an inventory of items that are necessary for the center. Mikulski said she is excited that Frank is working with MEMA because that agency would be able to help with best practices.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

Farmette for sale – 4150 Garrett Hwy – GA8008251

4150-garrett-hwy 4150-garrett-rd-barn

This fabulous Farmette is located on over 20 acres of natural beauty. Includes a recently completed three bedroom, 2.5 bath home, a well-maintained barn, two level shop, a recently completed tool shop/apartment complex, and beautifully placed pond. This property is truly one-of-a-kind. More here.

Listing # GA8008251