Jay Fergusonjay@deepcreekvacations.com301-501-0420

Garrett County Included in States Hand Out of $111M in Behavioral Health Care Grants

In a significant move towards bolstering the healthcare services available to families and children in Maryland, approximately $111 million has been earmarked for disbursement this year. This allocation is part of the larger Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reform plan and represents a crucial step in enhancing access to essential healthcare services across the state.

The allocation is based on 129 grants submitted to the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission, following recommendations by the Consortium on Coordinated Community Supports. This consortium, established by the General Assembly in 2021, plays a pivotal role in developing a statewide framework to expand access to behavioral health services for Maryland students. The $111 million fund is drawn from the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, underlining the interconnectedness of education and healthcare in fostering holistic development among children and families.

A diverse range of organizations has been selected to receive grants, reflecting the multifaceted approach to addressing healthcare needs across different communities. Major recipients include Sheppard Pratt Health System Inc., which has been awarded $4 million to provide a suite of services in Frederick County. Additional funding of $6.5 million will extend similar services to Howard, Prince George’s, and Washington counties. Thrive Behavioral Health, among others, has received $6.7 million to offer substance abuse prevention and early childhood intervention services in Anne Arundel County.

The grants are expected to have a transformative impact on various communities across Maryland. Notably, Prince George’s County, a majority-Black jurisdiction, will receive approximately $25 million distributed across 19 grants to community health agencies and nonprofit organizations. Similarly, Baltimore City will benefit from 11 grants totaling $12 million, aimed at bolstering healthcare services for residents. Frederick County emerges as another significant beneficiary, with 12 grants totaling $7.6 million, highlighting the statewide reach and equitable distribution of resources.

The allocation of $111 million for healthcare services marks a significant milestone in Maryland’s ongoing efforts to improve access to essential services for families and children. By aligning with the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reform plan, this initiative recognizes the integral relationship between healthcare and education in nurturing thriving communities. As these programs roll out, they hold the promise of fostering healthier, more resilient communities across the state, laying a foundation for long-term success and well-being.

Bill to lower Deep Creek Lake faces opposition

“Sometimes people forget Deep Creek Lake was built to produce electricity,” remarked Dustin Droege, the director of operations at Brookfield Renewable US, the entity responsible for overseeing the dam that powers the region.

Indeed, Deep Creek Lake’s hydroelectric generation station, constructed nearly a century ago, stands as a testament to a bygone era of energy innovation. Permitted by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), the dam has been a vital source of power for the area.

However, a recent development threatens to alter the dam’s operational landscape. Senate Bill 837, spearheaded by Sen. Mike McKay and Del. Jim Hinebaugh, aims to impose restrictions on the dam’s functioning. The legislation proposes periodic lowering of the lake’s water levels to facilitate studies on invasive plant species and sedimentation between November 30 and February 28.

“If we can’t operate, then we don’t have a business,” Droege emphasized, underscoring the potential ramifications of the proposed bill.

At the heart of the matter lies a clash between environmental stewardship and economic interests. Proponents argue that the proposed studies are essential for safeguarding the lake’s ecosystem, while opponents, including Brookfield Renewable US, contend that the bill jeopardizes their ability to meet consumer demand and fulfill public obligations.

Central to the debate is the contention that the proposed legislation circumvents established regulatory processes. Brookfield Renewable US points to the rigorous permitting procedure overseen by the MDE, which involves stakeholder engagement and public input. The company insists that existing frameworks are sufficient for addressing environmental concerns without resorting to legislative mandates.

Jess Whittemore, a longtime resident and advocate for the Youghiogheny River, expressed surprise and dismay at the lack of consultation with stakeholders impacted by the proposed bill. As a liaison for Friendsville, a town that thrives on tourism generated by whitewater rafting enthusiasts, Whittemore voiced concerns about the potential economic repercussions of altering the lake’s water levels.

Indeed, the economic ripple effects extend beyond Deep Creek Lake, permeating local businesses and communities that rely on tourism revenue. Kim Spear, who has witnessed the influx of visitors to Friendsville’s liquor store during whitewater season, echoed sentiments of apprehension regarding the bill’s potential impact on the town’s prosperity.

Roger Zbel, representing commercial outfitters on the Upper Youghiogheny River, penned a letter to Sen. McKay highlighting the adverse effects of prolonged lake drawdowns on rafting, whitewater activities, and fisheries. His concerns mirror those of many stakeholders who fear the unintended consequences of hasty legislative action.

As the legislative debate unfolds, voices of dissent grow louder, questioning the origin and implications of SB 837. John Bambacus, a former state senator and advocate for transparent governance, underscored the need for inclusivity in policy discussions, lamenting the exclusion of affected parties from the decision-making process.

Ultimately, the fate of Deep Creek Lake hangs in the balance as policymakers grapple with competing interests. In a landscape where environmental preservation collides with economic imperatives, finding common ground remains elusive. As the legislative process unfolds, one thing remains certain: the future of Deep Creek Lake hinges on the delicate balance between progress and preservation.

for more information Bill to lower Deep Creek Lake faces opposition | Local News | times-news.com

Maryland Hunters Bag 72,642 Deer for the 2023-2024 Season

Maryland’s hunting season for 2023-2024 has drawn to a close, leaving behind a tale of successful hunts and conservation efforts. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently released its report, revealing that hunters across the state harvested a total of 72,642 deer during the combined archery, firearms, and muzzleloader seasons, spanning from September 8, 2023, through February 3, 2024.

Breaking down the numbers, the harvest comprised 30,025 antlered and 38,511 antlerless white-tailed deer, along with 1,912 antlered and 2,194 antlerless sika deer. While these figures depict a robust harvest, they also mark a slight decrease of 5% compared to the previous season’s total of 76,687 deer.

Karina Stonesifer, the Director of Wildlife and Heritage Service, highlighted the significance of deer hunting in Maryland, not just as a recreational pursuit but as a crucial tool for wildlife management. She emphasized, “Deer hunting is essential for managing the state’s deer population and assists with reducing agricultural damage and deer-vehicle collisions.”

One noteworthy aspect of this season’s hunt was the inclusion of Sundays for deer hunting, permitted during certain weeks in 20 out of Maryland’s 23 counties. Hunters took advantage of this opportunity, accounting for 10% of the total harvest with 7,074 deer harvested on Sundays.

Regionally, the harvest in deer management Region A, covering Western Maryland, decreased by 4%, from 9,552 deer last year to 9,169 this year. Meanwhile, hunters in Region B, encompassing the rest of the state, harvested 63,473 deer, marking a 6% decrease from the previous season’s tally of 67,135 deer.

Frederick County retained its title as the county with the highest reported harvest, boasting 6,549 deer. Carroll County followed closely with 5,729 deer, and Garrett County secured the third spot with 5,108 deer. Rounding out the top five were Baltimore and Washington counties, with 4,550 and 4,418 deer harvested, respectively.

The hunt not only provides recreational opportunities for hunters but also plays a vital role in wildlife management and conservation efforts. By controlling deer populations, hunters contribute to mitigating agricultural damage and minimizing deer-vehicle collisions, thus fostering a healthier ecosystem for both wildlife and humans alike.

As one season ends, anticipation builds for the next, with hunters already preparing for future endeavors in the ongoing cycle of conservation and tradition that defines Maryland’s hunting legacy. For more information Maryland Hunters Harvest 72,642 Deer for 2023-2024 Season

Enhancing Resilience: Smart Grid Upgrades Bolster Western Maryland’s Electric Infrastructure

In a bid to fortify the electric grid and enhance service reliability, Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., has recently concluded significant service reliability projects spanning across Allegany, Frederick, and Garrett counties in Western Maryland. These initiatives mark a proactive step towards minimizing the impact of power outages for nearly 5,000 customers in the region.

The culmination of two pivotal projects signifies a substantial leap forward in grid resilience. These initiatives empower Potomac Edison to swiftly respond to disruptions by automatically rerouting power through adjacent lines in the event of damages or maintenance requirements on primary lines. Particularly, customers in the West Frederick, Frostburg, and Finzel areas stand to benefit from this adaptive measure, which promises fewer and shorter service interruptions.

Moreover, the installation of 14 automated reclosing devices in substations and along neighborhood power lines underscores a strategic approach to outage management. These devices act as advanced circuit breakers, promptly isolating faults and swiftly restoring power within seconds. By leveraging smart technology, Potomac Edison aims to limit the frequency, duration, and scope of service disruptions, thereby enhancing customer experience and satisfaction.

The implementation of these smart grid technologies offers multifaceted benefits-

  1. Improved Safety and Efficiency: Automated reclosers enhance safety and efficiency by autonomously restoring service without the need for manual intervention, thereby minimizing risks associated with outage response.
  2. Enhanced Fault Localization: By swiftly pinpointing fault locations, utility personnel can expedite restoration efforts, ensuring minimal downtime for affected customers.
  3. Isolation of Outages: In the event of more severe issues, such as fallen trees on electrical equipment, these devices isolate outages, limiting the total number of affected customers and streamlining restoration processes.

Infrastructure Reinforcement: In addition to these technological advancements, Potomac Edison has proactively replaced approximately 50 miles of aging underground cable with a more resilient alternative. Engineered to withstand various environmental challenges, including dirt, rocks, lightning, and water, this upgraded cable infrastructure promises enhanced durability and longevity, further bolstering the region’s electric infrastructure.

The successful completion of these service reliability projects underscores Potomac Edison’s commitment to delivering robust and dependable electric service to its customers in Western Maryland. By embracing smart grid technologies and investing in infrastructure upgrades, the utility is not only enhancing resilience but also laying the foundation for a more sustainable and efficient electric grid. As the region prepares to face future challenges, these initiatives position Western Maryland to navigate disruptions with greater agility and resilience, ensuring uninterrupted access to essential electric services for residents and businesses alike.

for more information Western Maryland Electric Grid Stronger and More Resilient Following Smart Enhancements (prnewswire.com)

JUST LISTED- 128 Big Bass Way

Elegant 4/5BR, 3.5BA custom build on 8.67 acres of riverfront property! Not quite a year old, this 4300sf+ new home is perfectly placed on a waterfront lot, fronting on the Youghiogheny River and offering riverfront walking paths that tie in to existing state trails. Well-planned design offers plenty of natural light and the open concept really brings the outdoors inside. Features include a gourmet kitchen, multiple master suites, a 900sq ft flex space to finish to your desired use with a loft space that fits a queen bed, large windows and sliders throughout every room/space in the house, high windows in the master allow views of the moon and stars from your bed, spacious walk through master closet and open concept master bedroom suite, beverage + wine cooler and overall the perfect space for entertaining indoors and outdoors. Enjoy a private end of road access, peaceful surroundings day & night, a beautiful shaded camp area down the pathway towards the river , and large fire pit with stone at the front entrance. Transfer switch for future genrator & 30 AMP RV hookup are a plus. All of this on an oversized 8+ acre lot, it really feels like you own private state park! 1420+ feet adjoining the state Wild & Scenic Youghiogheny River. 10 minutes to Deep Creek Lake, Swallow Falls, shopping & ski slopes. MUST SEE to appreciate, schedule a private tour of this one-of-a-kind property today!

Vintage Train Ride Voted 6th Most Romantic Date in Maryland

originally posted by Dating Differently: A Ranking of America’s Top 150 First Date Destinations (datingnews.com)

In the realm of modern dating, the conventional coffee shop rendezvous or bar meet-up are losing their luster. According to a recent poll commissioned by DatingNews.com, 1 in 5 singles find these traditional first date ideas boring and outdated. Instead, today’s singles are seeking experiences that are not only unique but also create lasting memories from the moment they say ‘hello.’

The poll, which surveyed 3,000 singles across the United States, aimed to uncover the most thrilling first date options that set hearts racing and sparks flying. From romantic carriage rides to adrenaline-pumping adventures, here are the top picks that promise to make any first date unforgettable:

  1. Charleston Carriage Ride & Historic Stroll, South Carolina: Couples can indulge in the elegance of a horse-drawn carriage ride through Charleston’s cobblestone streets, followed by a romantic stroll through landscaped gardens and charming alleys.
  2. San Antonio River Walk Cruise, Texas: A leisurely cruise along the San Antonio River Walk offers couples the chance to take in the city’s landmarks and vibrant atmosphere, followed by a hand-in-hand stroll amidst twinkling lights and street performers.
  3. Romantic Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad Dinner Train Ride, Iowa: This unique dining experience aboard a scenic train ride through Iowa’s landscapes sets the stage for romance and enchantment.
  4. Dolphin Watching Cruise from Hilton Head, South Carolina: Couples can bond over the excitement of spotting playful dolphins in coastal waters while capturing stunning ocean panoramas together.
  5. Stargazing on Mauna Kea, Hawaii: Sharing awe-inspiring moments under the starry sky atop Mauna Kea creates a magical setting for a first date.
  6. Vintage Train Ride on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, Maryland: Travel back in time on a romantic train ride through Maryland’s scenic hills, complete with breathtaking landscapes and gourmet meals.
  7. Sunset Cruise on the Outer Banks, North Carolina: Watching the sun dip below the horizon on a cruise along the Outer Banks offers couples breathtaking views and moments of tranquility.
  8. Key West Butterfly Conservatory, Florida: Immerse yourselves in a vibrant wonderland of butterflies, strolling through lush gardens and learning about their vital role in the ecosystem.
  9. Luxury Car Experience Down Ocean Drive, Miami: Cruise along Miami’s Ocean Drive in style, surrounded by luxury cars and the vibrant energy of the city’s famous Art Deco district.
  10. Grand Ole Opry & Honky Tonk Crawl, Tennessee: Experience the heart of Nashville’s music scene with a show at the legendary Grand Ole Opry followed by hopping around lively honky tonks on Broadway.

Maryland also boasts some unique first date destinations, including a scenic boat ride in Baltimore’s harbor, a craft brewing tour and tasting in Frederick, and a romantic wine tasting experience in Frederick County’s rolling hills.

Garrett County Drug-Free Communities Coalition Receives Grant to Combat Youth Substance Use

The Garrett County Health Department is making significant strides in its ongoing efforts to prevent youth substance use, thanks to a grant awarded to the Garrett County Drug-Free Communities Coalition. Now in its third year, this grant supports initiatives aimed at curbing opioid, methamphetamine, and prescription drug misuse among youth aged 12-18 in Garrett County and beyond.

Funded by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) through the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Local Drug Crises grant program, this five-year grant provides $50,000 annually. The funding is instrumental in empowering local communities to tackle substance abuse issues head-on and promote healthier lifestyles among young people.

Sandy Miller, Director of the Substance Abuse Prevention Unit at the Garrett County Health Department and Project Director for the grant, emphasized the importance of reaching out to individuals in need of substance use treatment services. The grant supports a campaign titled “Reach Out Now,” which aims to raise awareness about available treatment and recovery services and encourage individuals to seek help.

Highlighting the theme for the February campaign, “The Path from Addiction to Recovery is a Journey,” Miller underscored the significance of community-wide messaging in facilitating individuals’ first steps towards recovery. Throughout the month, the Garrett County Community Health Outreach Team will be actively engaged in promoting treatment and recovery services across various communities in the county.

Individuals and organizations interested in accessing information or resources to share within their communities are encouraged to reach out to the Garrett County Health Department. Whether it’s for a worksite, church, business, or organization, the department is committed to providing assistance and support in combating youth substance use.

The grant program, a collaborative effort between ONDCP and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seeks to address the evolving challenges of youth substance use by empowering local coalitions. By applying evidence-based prevention strategies tailored to their communities’ needs, these coalitions play a pivotal role in reducing substance abuse among youth.

In conclusion, the ongoing efforts of the Garrett County Drug-Free Communities Coalition, supported by the ONDCP grant, underscore the community’s commitment to safeguarding the well-being of its youth. Through targeted initiatives and community-wide engagement, Garrett County continues to make strides in creating a healthier, drug-free environment for its residents. For more information about the grant or to get involved in prevention efforts, interested parties can contact the Garrett County Health Department.

Maryland Forest Service Now Accepting Applications for the Community Forestry Catalyst Fund

The Maryland Forest Service is offering a new grant program to distribute $4.8 million in federal Inflation Reduction Act funds towards urban and community forestry projects during the next four years. 

The Community Forestry Catalyst Fund expands resources for Maryland’s ambitious commitment to enhance its forest cover and tree canopy through the state’s 5 Million Trees for Maryland initiative and existing programs, like the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s Urban Trees Grant Program. These programs prioritize tree plantings where they can provide the greatest benefits to people, such as heat island abatement, air quality regulation, and flooding reduction. 

“We’ve seen strong evidence in the past 30 years that the forest conservation laws we have in Maryland are effective at curbing the amount of forest lost during development,” said Maryland Forest Service Director Anne Hairston-Strang. “But what the science is telling us today is that we have to look beyond the high-level metrics and start contending with how the location and health of those trees influence things like quality of life, public health, and climate resilience.”

2022 study commissioned by the Maryland General Assembly and carried out by the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agroecology found that while statewide tree canopy coverage remains relatively stable at 40%, this statistic masks a worrying trend of forest loss in counties where development pressure is high. 

Additionally, an established body of research shows that trees and forests in urban and suburban areas provide taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits annually through direct services like air and water quality regulation, flood and erosion control, and a reduction of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay. 

The  first application window is open now through March 15. Proposals will be considered under three tracks: Site Readiness, Implementation, and Capacity Building, with the multi-year awards ranging from $5,000 to $200,000 each. A second application window will open in the summer to give prospective applicants flexibility to align their award period with other available resources. 

Local governments, nonprofits, educational institutions, and other qualified applicants should visit the Catalyst Fund page on the Catalyst Fund page on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website for more information on applying. Interest applicants can also contact J.T. Bowers, associate director of the Maryland Forest Service, at justin.bowers@maryland.gov. The Maryland Forest Service has a statewide staff of foresters, technicians, and specialists available to provide technical assistance to applicants as needed. 

for more information Maryland Forest Service Now Accepting Applications for the Community Forestry Catalyst Fund

Regional ‘Make It in the Mountains’ Campaign Launches to Boost Outdoor Industry Growth

Allegany and Garrett counties in Western Maryland have unveiled an ambitious regional business and workforce attraction initiative called Make it! In the Mountains. This innovative marketing campaign aims to draw lifestyle manufacturing companies to the region, leveraging its natural assets and outdoor recreation opportunities. The initiative, which includes a newly launched website – MakeItInTheMountains.com, is a strategic move towards fostering economic development and growth within the outdoor industry.

Backed by a $75,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), awarded in January 2022, Allegany County Government, Garrett County Government, and the Maryland Department of Commerce have collaborated on this joint venture titled ‘Elevating the Outdoors: A Regional Approach to Growing Western Maryland’s Outdoor Economy’. The grant supported the development of a comprehensive recruitment and strategic plan aimed at attracting outdoor recreation/lifestyle manufacturing companies to establish and expand their operations in Western Maryland.

Maryland Commerce Secretary Kevin Anderson expressed enthusiasm for the initiative, highlighting its potential to drive business investment and tourism spending in the region. The project aligns with recommendations outlined in the State of Maryland’s Maryland Outdoor Recreation Economic (MORE) Commission report, released in December 2019, which emphasized the importance of attracting outdoor lifestyle manufacturers to the state.

The initiative has received strong support from local authorities, with Paul C. Edwards, Chairman of Garrett County Commissioners, emphasizing the region’s suitability for businesses in the outdoor recreational space. Allegany and Garrett counties boast a wealth of natural resources, including over 150,000 acres of public land, extensive trail systems, and multiple state parks, positioning Western Maryland as an ideal destination for outdoor-focused businesses.

The project has resulted in the development of a detailed manufacturing analysis, tourism analysis, and a strategic recruitment plan. Key deliverables include the launch of the MakeItInTheMountains.com website, which serves as a central platform for promoting the region’s assets to potential investors and businesses.

Ashli Workman, Director of Tourism for Allegany County, highlighted the collaborative efforts between the two counties in leveraging their natural resources for economic development. The initiative reflects a concerted regional approach towards attracting business and fostering workforce development, leveraging the shared strength of the region’s outdoor amenities.

Funding for the project was provided by Allegany County Government, Garrett County Government, and the Maryland Department of Commerce. A dedicated workgroup comprising representatives from the funding agencies, including Jeffrey Barclay, Kim Durst, Marci Ross, Andrew Sargent, Siera Wigfield, and Ashli Workman, played a pivotal role in driving the initiative forward. Additional support from Steve Kelly, Director of Community Development, and Sarah Duck, Vice President of Tourism & Marketing at the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, along with consultancy services from Downstream Strategies and InnerAction Media, further contributed to the success of the project.

Copies of the manufacturing analysis, tourism analysis, and strategic/recruitment plan are available for reference on the MakeItInTheMountains.com website, offering valuable insights into the region’s potential for outdoor industry growth.

In conclusion, the launch of the ‘Make It in the Mountains’ campaign represents a significant milestone in Western Maryland’s pursuit of economic development through the outdoor industry. By capitalizing on its natural assets and collaborative spirit, the region is poised to attract businesses, create jobs, and enhance its position as a premier destination for outdoor enthusiasts and entrepreneurs alike.

GCPS Readies for Southern Area Grade-Band Alignment: Introducing the Broad Ford Elementary 6th Grade Academy

changes are on the horizon for sixth-grade students in the southern area of Garrett County Public Schools (GCPS). On January 26, 2024, GCPS administrators convened to further refine plans for the grade-band alignment, particularly focusing on 6th grade and Broad Ford Elementary. Set to commence in the 2024-2025 school year, this transition marks a significant milestone in the educational landscape of the region.

In preparation for this transformational shift, GCPS is gearing up to unveil comprehensive details in the upcoming weeks. Among the key areas of focus are program overviews, daily schedules, and logistical specifics tailored to the unique setting of the Broad Ford Elementary School. Let’s take a closer look at what awaits students at the Broad Ford Elementary 6th Grade Academy.

The academic framework at the Broad Ford Elementary 6th Grade Academy is designed to optimize learning outcomes and cater to the diverse needs of students. Here’s a glimpse into what students can expect.

One of the hallmark features of the academy is its departmentalized instructional model. Students will rotate between core English, Math, Science, and Social Studies classes, each taught by specialized teachers. This approach allows educators to delve deeper into their respective content areas and deliver targeted instruction.

Recognizing the importance of catering to individual learning styles and abilities, the academy offers varying academic levels, including honors, general, and merit tracks. This ensures that every student receives instruction tailored to their specific needs, fostering academic growth and success.

To provide additional support and address learning gaps, students will participate in a dedicated intervention block. This focused time allows educators to provide targeted assistance and remediation, ensuring that all students have the opportunity to thrive academically.

Aligned with Maryland regulations, the curriculum encompasses all core subject areas, including English Language Arts (ELA), Math, Science, and Social Studies. Additionally, students will engage in a fine arts class and Physical Education/Health, ensuring a well-rounded educational experience.

The academy places a strong emphasis on student choice and enrichment. With eight blocks of time available, students are encouraged to explore a diverse range of elective courses, including Computer Science, Technology Education, General Music, Band, Chorus, Theatre, and Visual Art. Most electives will follow a quarterly rotation, allowing students to sample various subjects throughout the year.

Electives will follow an A day/B day rotation, providing students with the flexibility to pursue their interests while maintaining a balanced schedule. Whether participating in band rehearsals, honing their artistic skills, or exploring the world of technology, students have ample opportunities for personal and academic growth.