Jay Fergusonjay@deepcreekvacations.com301-501-0420

Oakland Embraces the Festive Spirit with Small Town Christmas Delight

Mark your calendars for the enchanting Small Town Christmas celebration in Oakland on December 8th, 9th, and 16th, 2023. Downtown Oakland is set to host an array of delightful, family-friendly activities that capture the essence of the holiday season.

The festivities kick off with a mesmerizing Light Up Night on Friday, December 8th, at the Oakland B&O Museum. The highlight of the evening is a charming Walking Holiday Light Parade, led by none other than Santa Claus himself, commencing from the Town Parking Lot at 5:30 PM. Everyone is welcome to join this festive stroll, culminating at the B&O Museum for the official tree lighting. This year, there’s a delightful new addition – Santa Paws! Dress up your furry companions in holiday-themed attire and let them be part of the parade. Indulge in complimentary cookies and cocoa courtesy of the Order of the Eastern Star, and treat yourself to a special surprise from Santa. The merriment extends to free sleigh rides for all attendees.

Continuing the jubilation on Saturday, December 9th, is Soup N’ Santa from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Numerous nonprofits will be serving up heartwarming soups (donations appreciated), providing an opportunity to mingle with Santa, engage in kids’ activities, enjoy live music, take sleigh rides, explore local shops with exclusive discounts, and much more. Once again, your furry friends are invited to join in the festive atmosphere and have a memorable encounter with Santa.

In tandem with Oakland’s Great Small Town Christmas Event, the House of Hope presents the Bucks for Hope Drive on Saturday, December 9th, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 NN. Show your support for this noble cause by making cash donations on Second Street in downtown Oakland. While cash donations are preferred, non-perishable food items are also accepted. Originating in 1978 by Chuck Nolan, this food drive has garnered over $65,000 in donations and more than 80 pickup loads of food.

On Saturday, December 16th, immerse yourself in the sweetness of the Cocoa Crawl from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, featuring delectable treats as you wrap up your holiday shopping at select downtown businesses.

And don’t miss out on the Lucky Elf promotion, running through Monday, December 19th. With every $25 spent at participating stores in Oakland, you stand a chance to win a variety of enticing local gifts.

For a comprehensive list of Christmas activities and further details, check out the Town of Oakland, MD Facebook page or visit www.oaklandmd.com. Join us in creating lasting memories and spreading holiday cheer throughout Oakland!

County Commissioners Announce December 4, 2023 Public Meeting Agenda

Monday, December 4, 2023
Agenda Session Times are Approximate

Meeting will also be Live Streamed at https://www.facebook.com/garrettcountygovernment/

Agenda Session Times are Approximate

The Board of County Commissioners may close a portion of this public meeting and move into Executive Session to comply with a specific constitutional, statutory, or judicial requirement that may prevent public disclosure about a particular proceeding or matter.

 *To comment on agenda items – please send to comments@garrettcounty.org

3:00        Administrative Session

  • Mr. Null will review a number of administrative and managerial matters under his authority and jurisdiction with the Board of County Commissioners

4:00       Call to Order of Public Session, Invocation, and Pledge of Allegiance

              County Administrator – Additions/Deletions to Public Meeting Agenda

              Approval of Public, Administrative, and Executive Meeting Minutes

4:05       Resolution – USDA – ReConnect Program Grant and Security Agreement – Rt. 135 Broadband


4:10       PUBLIC HEARING – 2014 Garrett County Water and Sewer Plan Amendment

4:20       Public Commentary


Public issues or concerns that are to be presented to the Board of Garrett County Commissioners during any Public Meeting should be scheduled with Carol A. Riley–Alexander, Executive Assistant to the Board of County Commissioners/County Administrator.     

The Board of Garrett County Commissioners next scheduled Public Meeting will be Tuesday, December 19, 2023 at the Garrett County Courthouse beginning at 4:00 PM.

FishMaryland Master Angler Award Presented to Jason Paugh of Garrett County

Jason Paugh, of Red House, officially became the fourth Master Angler awarded under the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ FishMaryland program this month. The highest award in the program recognizes the skill and determination required to catch ten trophy-size fish species in Maryland that all meet the minimum award sizes. 

Paugh reached this milestone award by catching a largemouth bass (21.25 inches), smallmouth bass (20 inches), crappie (16.75 inches), northern pike (47.25 inches), chain pickerel (25.25 inches), rock bass (10.75 inches), yellow perch (14.25 inches), carp (38 inches), bluegill (11 inches), and wild brook trout (12.25 inches). 

“Angler participation in the FishMaryland program has been tremendous since its launch in January 2019,” Maryland DNR Recreational Fishing Outreach Coordinator Erik Zlokovitz said. “FishMaryland showcases the array of freshwater and saltwater species available in Maryland, and we are thrilled for Mr. Paugh to be the fourth angler to receive the program’s highest award. It takes a great deal of talent, drive, and perseverance to earn Master Angler status.”

All but one of these fish were caught in Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County, Maryland. Paugh caught the fish on artificial lures. The brook trout was caught in a small tributary of the Savage River system. Paugh is an avid freshwater bass angler, and in 2023, he caught 39 largemouth bass in Deep Creek Lake that met the minimum award size. He fishes primarily with jerkbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms, and small jigs that he designs to use around shoreline structures such as boat docks. The biggest and most surprising catch was the 47.25-inch northern pike, which hit a small jerk bait intended for largemouth bass. 

“I am extremely surprised and excited to learn that this is only the fourth Master Angler award granted in Maryland,” Paugh said.

Paugh has coached high school competitive bass fishing for five years, including four years with his son. The team he coached this year, from Northern Garrett County High School, is one of two teams from Maryland competing in the National High School Bass Fishing Finals Tournament next summer. Paugh has worked as a master electrician for a private company the past eight years, and previously was an electrician in Western Maryland’s coal mining industry for 18 years. 

More information on the award program and how to submit catches is available on the DNR FishMaryland webpage.

Looking Back: President Harding becomes a Vagabond

Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs were friends who enjoyed traveling and camping together in the early 1900s. They called themselves the Vagabonds. However, in 1921 Burroughs died, leaving an empty spot among the group.

Firestone and President Warren G. Harding were longtime friends. Firestone invited the president to join the Vagabonds on their trip. Harding accepted, but he wasn’t able to accompany them on their entire trip. Instead, he said he could join them on July 23 at their campsite near Licking Creek.

“Selection of Harding to take the vacant place in this camping club of distinguished men is considered one of the most unique honors conferred since he became President,” the Frederick News reported.

Harding wouldn’t be able to accompany them on the entire trip, but he would camp with them on July 23, 1921, near Licking Creek. The area in Washington County is now called Camp Harding County Park.

The president left Washington, D.C., at 9:30 a.m. He must have been eager to get away overnight because he averaged 50 mph on the trip there.

“The Secret Service and the many journalists and photographers had difficulty keeping up with the President’s car as it journeyed toward Funkstown,” according to The Model T Times. “He arrived shortly after Ford, Firestone, Edison, and company arrived.”

They arrived at the campsite on Licking Creek around 1 p.m. The group ate lunch in a dining room with a table that had a Lazy Susan and a nine-foot diameter.

After lunch, they spent a casual afternoon. The president took a nap in his tent. Ford and Firestone competed in wood-chopping. Edison lay down under an elm tree and took a nap.

When Harding woke up, he, Ford and Firestone went horseback riding. Harding’s personal secretary, George Christian, and Secret Service agent, Col. Edmund Starling, accompanied them.

“The President then visited a local general store and made a phone call back to the White House to check on the health of his wife,” The Model T Times reported. “While there, he bought candy for several local children gathered at the store.”

Back at camp, they enjoyed a hearty dinner. Music was provided by a player piano powered by a portable electric generator. The Vagabonds stayed up until 2 a.m., talking and telling stories around a campfire.

The following day, the group went horseback riding after breakfast.

After the ride, Bishop Anderson held a Sunday morning worship and memorial service in memory of Burroughs, one of the original Vagabonds.

“Mrs. Firestone played the piano and the congregation sang hymns,” The Model T Times reported. “There were several hundred in attendance, as many local farmers and visitors joined the service. The service concluded with the audience joining President Harding in singing ‘Rock of Ages’ and ‘Nearer My God to Thee.’”

They lunched at the campsite, and Harding and his entourage left around 4 p.m. to return to Washington. It had been a quick getaway for Harding, but the trip was only beginning for the remaining Vagabonds.

for full story Looking Back: President Harding becomes a Vagabond | Local News | times-news.com

Arrowhead Cove Project Updates

What looks like a bridge here is actually a temporary road that allows the heavy equipment to get access to the lake.

▪️The pipes in the photo will pump the remaining water from the cove and the water from the stream around the cofferdam that will be installed soon.

▪️A cofferdam is used to hold water back and allow a dry working area for the duration of the project. It is only temporary and be removed.

▪️The contractor will also use water to fill the cofferdam which is actually a large tube.

Administrative Charging Committee Meeting – Cancellation Notice

The Garrett County Administrative Charging Committee meeting scheduled for Monday, November 27, 2023 has been cancelled due to no cases to be presented.
The next Garrett County Administrative Charging Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 18, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.

Maryland’s Biggest Solar Farm Shows Amazon’s Clean Energy Reach

Amazon will source energy from Maryland’s largest solar farm planned at a former coal mine, the company announced Monday, highlighting appetite for developing former industrial lands for clean energy projects.

The tech giant, the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy, signed a power purchase agreement for the output of the CPV Backbone Solar project, a 170-megawatt of direct current project in Garrett County, Md. The project is expected to be fully operational by the second quarter of 2025, according to the Silver Spring, Md.-based developer, Competitive Power Ventures (CPV).

Reclaimed former coal mine lands and brownfield sites are increasingly attractive for developers as they hunt for places that are optimal to connect to the power grid. Federal incentives to develop clean energy on such sites could spur more development.

Competitive Power Ventures sought out the Garrett County site, the company’s third site on former coal lands, said Sean Finnerty, executive vice president of renewable energy for CPV.

While there are challenges building on reclaimed land and sculpting the site for a solar project, an existing transmission line had available capacity for the farm, Finnerty said. Plus, the site’s history of development also made the interconnection and permitting process relatively quick, he said.

“Because a lot of that due diligence work was already done there because of legacy assets, those projects are much more likely” to be completed, Finnerty said. “It presented us with an opportunity on land that really couldn’t be developed for anything.”

More Viable Projects

Developers have access to federal funds to build certain projects on abandoned mine lands under the 2021 infrastructure law. They can also receive a 10% tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act to build in energy communities, defined as brownfields, sites near closed coal plants or mines, or sites in areas with a higher proportion of fossil fuel workers.

It can take many years to build new transmission lines and for power plant projects to be studied by grid operators, which have been overwhelmed by a dramatic increase of grid-connection requests from proposed renewable energy projects.

Some 2,700 power projects are currently being studied by PJM Interconnection, the country’s largest grid operator that coordinates the flow of power through 13 Eastern states and the District of Columbia. The vast majority of those proposed projects never get built, according to Energy Department studies.

Partnering with Amazon made sense because the CPV project was viable in the short-term, Finnerty said.

“We’re seeing a flight to quality, if you will,” Finnerty said. “Those companies are contracting with a smaller group of project developers and project owners who give them a higher level of assurance that projects will get done and get done on time.”

Tremendous Growth

CPV Backbone marks one of Amazon’s first two utility-scale solar farms in Maryland. The company also announced an agreement with a 400-acre solar farm in Kent County, Md., that will use sheep to graze around the panels and help control vegetation, demonstrating the growing interest in projects that allow agriculture and solar energy to coexist on the same site.

Amazon, on track to power its operations with renewable energy by 2025, said it plans to use two farms to match consumption at some of its substantial operations in Maryland, including 11 fulfillment and sortation centers, 16 delivery stations, and an air hub.

Globally, Amazon’s renewables portfolio grew to 479 projects so far in 2023, up 78 projects from its 401 project total in 2022, the company said Monday.

“Our growth rate in this space has been tremendous, and I don’t see that slowing down,” said Nat Sahlstrom, head of energy, water and sustainability for Amazon Web Services.

CPV Backbone will include more than 300,000 solar panels on the site of a former Arch Coal mine. The more than $200 million project is expected to employ more than 200 construction workers. Once operational, the project will help the region avoid more than 133,000 tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of taking more than 26,000 cars off the road each year, CPV said.

Brownfield Opportunities

Amazon and other big corporate buyers help solve some of the grid constraints by providing steadily growing demand, well-defined climate goals, and a proof of executing agreements with large-scale projects, Sahlstrom said. Big consumers of energy have increasingly beefed up lobbying operations in Washington and at regional transmission organizations (RTOs) to press for a quicker power grid buildout.

“Regulators and RTOs understand that we’re serious,” said Sahlstrom, who joined Amazon 12 years ago to set up its renewable energy procurement business. “We’re not out here just speculating about renewable energy investments. We want to go bring predictable loads onto grids, and we want to make them green.”

Brownfield sites with access to transmission are “not just wildcatter ideas,” he said. “They’re well understood. It’s really about bringing an off-taker, like Amazon, financing a developer who’s got the technical expertise to go develop one of these things and make these things happen fast.”

More than 450,000 US brownfields represent an “emerging opportunity for solar projects, as they are often located near power lines and public roads, making it easier to connect to the grid, and present an opportunity to turn unused property into an economic opportunity,” Amazon said in a press release.

While the Maryland project, conceived in 2020, predated those incentives, the company is excited about further development, Finnerty said.

“We do think that bringing investment to brownfield sites like this is a good thing the IRA certainly helped,” Finnerty said.

The project provides “an array of economic and environmental benefits to the region and we are excited to learn that Amazon is supporting this project,” said Jennifer Walsh, executive director of The Greater Cumberland Committee, an economic development organization, in a statement. “TGCC looks forward to working with CPV over the coming year as the construction ramps up.”

for more information Maryland’s Biggest Solar Farm Shows Amazon’s Clean Energy Reach (bloomberglaw.com)

The Vagabonds prepare for a camping trip

Sometimes you just need to get away from work. It doesn’t matter if you are a leader of industry or someone who works for such a leader. In 1914, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs discovered they got along well together and enjoyed each other’s company. They started making plans for summer vacations where they would travel around the country in cars built by Ford on tires manufactured by Firestone.

They called themselves the Vagabonds.

Over the following years, they got together to travel along the East Coast and into the Midwest. These included New England, West Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia, Massachusetts and Maryland. They seemed to favor mountain setting like the Catskills and Adirondacks.

They weren’t roughing it on these trips by any stretch of the imagination.

According to The Henry Ford Foundation, “The 1919 trip involved fifty vehicles, including two designed by Ford: a kitchen camping car with a gasoline stove and built-in icebox presided over by a cook and a heavy touring car mounted on a truck chassis with compartments for tents, cots, chairs, electric lights, etc. On later trips, there was a huge, folding round table equipped with a lazy susan that seated twenty.” for full story The Vagabonds prepare for a camping trip | Local News | times-news.com