Garrett wind turbine setback bill passes Maryland Senate

Elaine BlaisdellCumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — Senate Bill 2 that deals with setback requirements for wind turbines in Garrett County recently passed the Senate and has been sent to the House of Delegates for consideration, according to Sen. George Edwards.

A provision of the bill dealing with an adjoining property owner’s consent to a variance for a wind turbine setback requirement was deemed unconstitutional by Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler last year. The bill has since been amended, removing the provision, according to Edwards.

The word “neighboring” was added to the definition of setback distance, Edwards said. That portion now reads a setback distance means the distance measured from the base of the tower of a wind turbine in an industrial wind energy conversion system to any neighboring residential or school building in all directions.

The bill provides for a minimum setback for a wind turbine of “no less than two and a half times the structure height” in the county. The wind turbine setback requirement doesn’t apply to wind systems that have submitted a specified interconnection application to regional electricity grid operator PJM before March 1, 2013.

More here.

Garrett commissioners OK Capital Improvement Program for schools

$582,400 earmarked for renovation project design at Southern Middle

Elaine Blaisdell

Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — The Garrett County commissioners unanimously approved the board of education’s 2015 Capital Improvement Program during their public meeting Tuesday and gave the board the green light to go ahead with the design phase of the Southern Middle School renovation project, according to Monty Pagenhardt, county administrator.

The $582,400 design funding for the project is included in the county’s fiscal 2014 budget.

“All projects on the CIP will be reviewed and approved as part of the fiscal year budget approval process,” said Pagenhardt.

Last year the commissioners voted to defer the funding of the project for a year and voiced concerns about being able to fund the project without a tax increase. There weren’t any changes to the county’s budget, ac-cording to Pagenhardt.

The project construction date for the renovation is still under consideration and has not been approved yet.

“At this time the county is not certain what actual revenue projections will be for forthcoming budget years although our financial model shows an improvement in expected revenue in the next several years,” said Pagenhardt.

More here.

Garrett reports on 2012 countywide recycling efforts

From Staff Reports

Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — Garrett County’s recycling rate for 2012 was 46.83 percent, the county Department of Solid Waste & Recycling announ-ced. Its source reduction rate was 47.83 percent.

Source reduction, also known as waste prevention or pollution prevention, is the elimination of waste before it is created, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment. It involves the design, manufacture, purchase or use of materials and products to reduce the amount or toxicity of what is thrown away.

The 1988 Maryland Recycling Act authorized the MDE to reduce the disposal of solid waste through management, education and regulation. Each of Maryland’s jurisdictions reports the amount and types of materials recycled annually. Populations of less than 150,000 are required to recycle 20 percent of their waste.

The county requests that each business report its recycling efforts within the county and outside of the county and state. The 2013 recycling report forms are available at garrett-county-recycling-program/2012-recycling-report. Some recycling forms will be mailed or emailed; businesses can expect to see these by early February. Completed recycling forms are due March 21 and may be emailed, faxed, scanned, mailed or hand-delivered.

Recycled materials may include grass clippings, leaves, brush, carpet or cloth remnants, catalogs, pallets, sawdust, oil filters, mixed paper and toner cartridges, aluminum cans, No. 1 and 2 plastic bottles, newspapers, cardboard, magazines, office paper, glass bottles and jars, electronics and mixed metal.

More here.

Garrett commissioners seek liquor law changes

Elaine Blaisdell

Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — The Garrett County Commission on Wed-nesday voted to ask state legislators to approve a referendum for both on- and off-premise liquor sales and to extend enterprise zone tax credits for Strata Safety Products LLC through the state Department of Business and Economic Development, according to Monty Pagenhardt, county administrator.

The commissioners also agreed to support Garrett Cooperative Ministry’s request for a $99,500 bond to go toward a $1.1 million new facility and a legislative request to modify the county code of ordinances to add a member-at-large to the salary study commission.

The commission also approved the Liquor Control Board’s requests to remove obsolete language in the statutes regarding wineries, a refillable container and a beer festival. Chairman Robert Gatto voted in opposition to all the Liquor Control Board’s legislative requests, according to Pagenhardt.

Numerous establishments have on-premise sales for alcoholic beverages and can sell an alcoholic beverage with a meal on Sunday between 1 and 10 p.m., and the vote would allow other establishments to do the same, according to Debbe Owston, administrator to the Garrett County Liquor Control Board.

“There are several precincts or election districts that can’t do that and they compete with the other establishments that can,” said Owston during a public prelegislative meeting in December. “We have had 0 complaints about Sunday sales in a restaurant with a meal. This is the first time the liquor board has proposed a referendum vote.”

The off-premise sales would allow package stores to sell take-out alcoholic beverages from 1 to 10 p.m.

Several owners of service stations voiced their support of Sunday sales during the prelegislative meeting.

More here.

History Associates Commissioned to Develop Strategic Initiative & Interpretive Plan for Garrett County Maryland

ROCKVILLE, MD, January 14, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ — History Associates, the leading U.S. historical services firm, recently completed a comprehensive cultural resource planning study for the Garrett County Maryland Chamber of Commerce, which is the official management entity for the Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area (MMGWHA). History Associates created a Strategic Initiative and Interpretive Plan for the area, which will provide a framework for developing the region as a destination for heritage tourism.

“This Heritage Area has a fascinating and rich history to be explored by visitors,” noted Ms. Halley Fehner, lead historian on the project. She noted that the region has a historic network of trails, roads, and waterways that helped make it a primary route for America’s westward expansion during the 18th and 19th centuries. The abundance of natural resources brought coal mining, logging, and milling industries to the region. Its cultural heritage includes Amish, Mennonite, and Appalachian communities and it also has a long tradition of being a recreational destination for visitors drawn to its ski slopes and Deep Creek Lake.

History Associates conducted preliminary research into the history of the region and identified a number of compelling stories. Historians determined the current level of interpretive offerings in a detailed site survey and identified areas in which interpretation could be further developed. Next, History Associates convened a stakeholders meeting with MMGWHA and heritage area partners to discuss potential initiatives. A follow-up survey was conducted to clarify opinions as well as to collect information regarding specific heritage assets. Using the feedback from the meeting and surveys as a guide, History Associates evaluated the initiatives with particular emphasis on identifying target audiences, associated costs, and potential return on investment.

 The final report provides an overall framework for developing and implementing initiatives that will help the Heritage Area become a destination for heritage tourism. It evaluates the current status of the heritage sites in Garrett County and then itemizes and assesses a range of initiatives that will bring visitors to the region. The report also includes an action plan for short-term and long-term implementation.


Garrett school board looking to expand advocacy committee

Elaine BlaisdellCumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — The Garrett County Board of Education is looking for new members to join the Advocacy Committee, which will include high and middle school students.

“What I would like to do is find out the interest for those people who were originally appointed to the advisories, those who would like to stay on to do some planning on behalf of the school system,” said Superintendent Janet Wilson.

Those wishing to be on the committee will be required to fill out a new application because the scope of the group has changed since the board halted a plan to close three elementary  schools. The board was required to keep the schools open as one of the conditions of the county commissioners’ decision to give the board $2.2 million.

The Advocacy Committee has to have “a manageable number of members” with one from each school, according to Wilson. Board members will also be present at the Advocacy Committee meetings.

Paul Swanson of Facility Engineering Associates, who is the author of the facilities study, and Mike Gehr, of Bushey Feight Morin Architects Inc., met with the Advocacy Committee on Monday and answered 162 questions, about 90 of which pertained to the facilities study, according to William Swift, director of maintenance and operations with Garrett County Public Schools.

Board member Rodney Reckart discussed the renovation of Southern Middle School and said funding for it “has been nightmare” and that the state won’t pay for 20 percent of the construction costs. Reckart asked Gehr if it would be more cost effective to raze part of the building. Gehr said taking off square footage may not be in the best interest and indicated there were other options to explore.

In July, the commissioners voted to defer the $582,400 renovation for one year.

More here.

ProCom Announces New Pricing Models in Garrett County

Bruceton Mills, WV — (SBWIRE) — 01/13/2014 — With the amount of technology and communication services that residents and businesses consume on a monthly basis, their bills can be extremely high. Converting to a triple play package can put all communication solutions on one bill, at a lower monthly price. This January,ProCom is announcing new pricing models on their Prodigi Triple Play package. The new model is developed for customer satisfaction, offering the same great cutting edge services while keeping money in their customer’s pockets. This makes it easy for customers to enjoy all of their entertainment without spending a fortune.

Residential customers can package an unlimited telephone line, super-fast internet, and over 200 channels of cable TV for the low price of $89.99 a month. Customers interested in premium cable TV in Garrett Countyand surrounding areas may also add HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax channels for just $10.00 more. With the cable service from ProCom, customers can enjoy lustrous, all-fiber images on all their sports, news, and entertainment.

Businesses can now purchase unlimited telephone lines for as low as $25.00 per line, per month, and super-fast internet starting at $39.00 per month. ProCom also offers other business telephone solutions such as PRI’s with unlimited DID’s and the ability to port phone numbers within Maryland, West Virginia, and Ohio, all to the same PRI. This is an ideal product for businesses that have multiple locations, possessing the ability to cut telephone bills by as much as 70 percent. As a premier provider of internet near Oakland, MD, ProCom provides quick installations and exceptional service so their customers can get started with affordable, high-speed internet.

More here.

Whitewater Worlds Exhibition set at Wisp

January 9, 2014
The Inter-Mountain

MCHENRY, MD / DEEP CREEK LAKE – The World Championships are coming!

In anticipation of this prestigious World Class event, Deep Creek 2014 has partnered with the Wisp Resort to display the Whitewater Worlds Exhibition in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Worlds on the Savage River and in anticipation of the Deep Creek 2014 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships.

The exhibition, designed by Laura Stutzman of Eloqui, will be featured on the 60 foot by 40 foot wall in the Main Lodge at Wisp Resort throughout the ski season, beginning Martin Luther King weekend.

The vision for the Whitewater Worlds Exhibition Wall is to showcase the triumph of the 1989 U.S. Canoe Slalom Team and to convey the dream of 2014’s U.S Team to surpass the benchmark set by their predecessors. Get an illustrative look at the 1989 World Championships bridge to its legacy, the Deep Creek 2014 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships.

The Commemorative Poster, by Mark Stutzman, is to be unveiled on Jan. 18 at 1 p.m. in the Wisp Lodge. Be a part of history in the making. All are welcome to attend.

Grants provide generators for service stations

For the Cumberland Times-NewsCumberland Times-News

MCHENRY — Some service stations in Garrett and Allegany counties are in the buffer area for the “Fuel Up Maryland” grant program that assures that fuels are available both for evacuation or home energy use during an energy emergency or disaster.

During a legislative meeting last month at Garrett College, Dick Bolt, Swanton resident indicated that he went around to all the gas stations in Garrett County and that none of the people he spoke with people had put in a request for the grant program. During Superstorm Sandy, Bolt wasn’t able to get gas because there wasn’t an emergency generator and county trucks couldn’t get fuel either.

The Maryland Service Station Energy Resiliency Grant Program is a $1.7 million capital investment program administered by the Maryland Energy Administration that provides funding support to prewire for backup power generation from portable generators, fixed generators, and/or batteries for service stations located within a half-mile of a federal/state highway emergency evacuation route, according to the MEA.

MEA is awarding grants of up to $25,000 per grant to Maryland service stations. Based on a recent survey of Maryland service stations conducted by an electrical contractor, the maximum grant amount is more than 60 percent of the total cost of the planning, design, wiring and installation of backup power generation at the majority of the service stations, according to MEA.

More here.

Wisp Resort Opens Ski Lodge At Whitewater Course

MCHENRY, Md. (AP) — The Wisp ski resort in McHenry is opening a second lodge.

The resort says the new White Water Lodge at the top of Marsh Mountain will be open on busy weekends and holidays. It enables guests to bypass the main lodge at the base of the mountain.

The new lodge is in the headquarters building for the Adventure Sports Center International man-made whitewater course.

Garrett County took over the center last year after the nonprofit owner defaulted on more than $3 million in bank loans.

More here.