Jay Fergusonjay@deepcreekvacations.com301-501-0420

Garrett College Launches Five Tailored Programs to Meet Diverse Student Needs

Garrett College is proud to announce the approval of five innovative programs, each meticulously crafted to cater to specific segments of the student population. With a focus on flexibility, career readiness, and addressing industry demands, these programs promise to redefine educational opportunities for learners of all backgrounds.

Starting from the upcoming fall semester, Garrett College will roll out an array of offerings, ranging from retooled degrees to specialized certificates, ensuring that every student finds their path to success.

1. Professional & Technical Studies Degree:

  • The revamped Professional & Technical Studies degree, now more flexible and inclusive, targets individuals with existing licensure or certifications, as well as working professionals keen on advancing their careers.
  • Julie Yoder, the dean of continuing education and workforce development at Garrett College, highlights the program’s adaptability, allowing students to tailor their technical coursework to align with their career aspirations.

2. Health & Exercise Science Degree:

  • The Health & Exercise Science degree equips students with a comprehensive understanding of health and fitness principles, preparing them for a variety of careers in the thriving health industry.
  • Christa Bowser, GC’s chief academic officer, emphasizes the program’s relevance in today’s competitive market, offering students a solid foundation in anatomy, physiology, and exercise science.

3. Addictions Counseling Certificate:

  • Tailored for credentialled professionals seeking specialization, the Addictions Counseling Certificate addresses the specific requirements for Certified Supervised Counselor-Alcohol and Drug (CSC-AD) certification.
  • Christa Bowser underscores the certificate’s significance, particularly for individuals aiming to pursue licensure and certification with the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists.

4. Health Science Certificate:

  • The Health Science Certificate provides students with an academic groundwork essential for further studies or a career transition into specialized health programs.
  • Christa Bowser highlights the certificate’s role in facilitating seamless transitions for students pursuing advanced studies in health-related fields.

5. Engineering, Robotics & Technology Certificate:

  • Exclusive to Garrett County Public Schools (GCPS) students, the Engineering, Robotics & Technology Certificate offers a hands-on learning experience, preparing students for the dynamic field of engineering and technology.
  • This initiative demonstrates Garrett College’s commitment to fostering partnerships with local institutions and nurturing the next generation of engineering talent.

As Garrett College embraces this exciting chapter of expansion and innovation, prospective students are encouraged to explore these diverse offerings and embark on a journey of academic and professional growth. For more information on these programs and how to enroll, visit the Garrett College website.

Garrett College continues to be a beacon of educational excellence, dedicated to empowering students and serving the evolving needs of the community.

Visit Garrett College Website

Taylor-Made Deep Creek Sales Celebrates 10th Anniversary

In 2014, Jodi Taylor Refosco, her husband, Joe Refosco, and her brother, Chad Taylor, were the owners of Deep Creek Lake’s most successful vacation rental management company. Their knowledge of the resort market and desire to expand made real estate the logical next step. In April of that year, that vision came to fruition through a partnership with Jay Ferguson, a local, top-producing sales agent. With his leadership, they were able to attract experienced agents from around the area. Soon after, Betsy Spiker Holcomb, also a leading sales agent, signed on as a co-owner of the real estate company. The team quickly expanded when Taylor-Made bought a local brokerage in 2016. Many of the agents were happy to make the transition to this reputable company.

The Taylor-Made team includes more than two dozen sales agents led by Broker and Sales Manager, Terah Crawford, along with in-house marketing, media, and administrative staff. The experienced group of agents has spent decades serving the Deep Creek Lake area. Innovation, technology, and expertise have made them stand out as the hometown real estate team you can trust.

“Not only are we proud of how our company has grown, but we are also honored to serve our clients and the community,” said Chad Taylor, Owner.

Recently, Taylor-Made expanded into neighboring Pennsylvania counties and West Virginia where they focus on areas including Morgantown, Canaan Valley, and Snowshoe.

Commitment to community is at the core of the company’s culture. Individuals volunteer with a variety of originations, and the company supports numerous non-profits and local events.

The entire team looks forward to another decade as a valued real estate partner for buyers and sellers in Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

About Taylor-Made Deep Creek Sales

Taylor-Made Deep Creek Sales is a leader in Deep Creek Lake and Garrett County real estate services. The area is a popular vacation destination conveniently located within a few hours drive from Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.

Navigating Data Discrepancies: Understanding the Deep Creek Lake Bill Debate

In the tranquil expanse of Garrett County’s Deep Creek Lake, a bill aimed at regulating water levels has sparked a contentious debate, highlighting discrepancies in data measurements and raising concerns among stakeholders. Senate Bill 837, proposed by Sen. Mike McKay, seeks to periodically lower the lake’s water levels to facilitate environmental studies and enhance recreational opportunities. However, the bill’s reliance on different data than that used by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has ignited opposition and calls for clarification.

Understanding the Discrepancies: At the heart of the issue lies the utilization of distinct vertical datums – the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD88) referenced in SB 837 and the Historical Spillway Datum 2462 employed by MDE for permitting purposes. This discrepancy, amounting to approximately 1.82 feet, has significant implications for water level management and regulatory compliance.

The Implications for Stakeholders: For Brookfield Renewable US, the company responsible for operating the lake’s dam to generate electricity, SB 837 poses operational challenges that could disrupt regular dam releases and impact summer whitewater rafting businesses. Furthermore, the bill’s potential to lower lake levels significantly raises concerns among local officials and residents in nearby Friendsville. Jess Whittemore, a resident and former councilman, emphasizes the adverse effects such a reduction could have on the town’s economy and recreational activities.

Addressing Concerns and Seeking Solutions: As the debate intensifies, stakeholders advocate for inclusive dialogue and comprehensive assessments of the bill’s impact. John Bambacus, a former state senator, underscores the need for alignment between legislative proposals and regulatory standards set by MDE. He highlights the importance of public engagement in the legislative process to prevent oversights and ensure informed decision-making.

In response to concerns raised, Sen. McKay has introduced amendments to SB 837, adjusting the proposed water level requirements to align more closely with MDE’s standards. The amended bill aims to strike a balance between environmental stewardship and economic considerations, acknowledging the diverse interests at play.

As SB 837 navigates through the legislative process, stakeholders await further deliberations and seek clarity on the bill’s implications. Delegate Marc Korman’s acknowledgment of the significant public interest underscores the importance of transparent governance and robust public engagement in shaping policies that impact local communities.

Local Farmers Markets around Garrett County to visit this summer

  1. Oakland Farmers Market: Located in the heart of downtown Oakland, the Oakland Farmers Market is a beloved community gathering spot. Open seasonally from May to October, this market features a variety of vendors offering fresh fruits and vegetables, artisanal cheeses, baked goods, crafts, and more. Live music and special events add to the festive atmosphere.
  2. Mountain Fresh Farmers Market: The Mountain Fresh Farmers Market operates at multiple locations throughout Garrett County, including Oakland, Grantsville, and Accident. This expansive market showcases the bounty of the region, with a wide selection of locally grown produce, meats, dairy products, honey, flowers, and handmade crafts. Visitors can interact with farmers and artisans, learn about sustainable agriculture, and enjoy a true farm-to-table experience.
  3. Grantsville Farmers Market: Located in the charming town of Grantsville, the Grantsville Farmers Market offers a quaint and cozy setting for shopping for fresh, locally sourced goods. Open on Saturdays during the summer months, this market features a variety of vendors selling fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, homemade jams, baked goods, and more. Visitors can also enjoy food trucks, live music, and other entertainment.
  4. Friendsville Farmers Market: Situated along the scenic Youghiogheny River, the Friendsville Farmers Market offers a picturesque setting for shopping for farm-fresh produce and locally made products. Open on Fridays during the summer season, this market boasts a friendly and laid-back atmosphere, with vendors selling a diverse array of goods, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, meats, cheeses, baked goods, and artisan crafts.
  5. Accident Farmers Market: The Accident Farmers Market provides a charming and welcoming environment for visitors to browse a wide selection of locally grown and produced goods. Open on Fridays during the summer months, this market features vendors selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to handmade crafts and baked goods. Visitors can also enjoy live music, special events, and demonstrations showcasing the talents of local artisans and farmers.

Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor exploring Garrett County’s scenic countryside, the farmers markets offer a delightful opportunity to connect with the community, support local businesses, and savor the flavors of the region’s rich agricultural heritage. Don’t miss the chance to experience the abundance of fresh, seasonal produce and artisanal goods that Garrett County has to offer at these wonderful markets.

A Perfect Day Trip to Deep Creek Lake, Maryland: Your Ultimate Summer Adventure

With summer on the horizon, there’s no better time to plan an unforgettable day trip to Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Nestled amid the Allegheny Mountains, this charming destination offers a plethora of outdoor activities and scenic vistas that promise to delight visitors of all ages. Whether you’re craving adventure on the water or seeking tranquility in nature, Deep Creek Lake has something for everyone. Join us as we embark on a journey through the perfect day trip itinerary, ensuring you make the most of your summer escapade.

Morning: Embrace the Great Outdoors Kickstart your day with a breath of fresh mountain air and an array of outdoor adventures.

  1. Explore the natural beauty of Deep Creek Lake by hitting the trails. Deep Creek Lake State Park boasts several picturesque hiking routes, catering to all skill levels. From leisurely strolls along the lake shore to challenging uphill treks, there’s a trail for every preference.
  2. After working up an appetite, indulge in a hearty breakfast at one of the lakefront cafes or diners like Perkins or Canoe on the Run. Savor freshly brewed coffee and mouthwatering pancakes as you soak in panoramic views of the glistening lake.

Midday: Dive into Water Sports As the sun climbs higher in the sky, it’s time to cool off with a variety of water-based activities.

  1. Rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard and set out to explore the tranquil waters of Deep Creek Lake. Glide along the shoreline, admiring the lush greenery and majestic mountains that frame the lake’s azure waters.
  2. Thrill-seekers can take to the water for an adrenaline-pumping session of waterskiing or wakeboarding. With expert instructors available, even beginners can master the art of gliding across the lake’s surface with ease.

Afternoon: Picnic by the Shore As lunchtime approaches, find a scenic spot along the lake shore to enjoy a leisurely picnic amidst nature’s splendor.

  1. Pack a picnic basket filled with delicious treats from local markets and bakeries such as Casselman’s bakery. Freshly baked bread, artisanal cheeses, and seasonal fruits make for the perfect lakeside feast.
  2. After lunch, unwind with some leisurely activities by the water. Lounge on a blanket, soak up the sun’s rays, or dip your toes in the refreshing waters of Deep Creek Lake.

Evening: Sunset Serenity As the day draws to a close, bask in the golden glow of a Deep Creek Lake sunset, a truly magical sight to behold.

  1. Embark on a sunset cruise aboard a pontoon boat and cruise along the lake as the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant hues. Sip on your favorite beverage and savor the serenity of the moment.
  2. Conclude your day trip with a delicious dinner at one of the lakefront restaurants, whether it’s Aces Run, UNOs or Firewater Kitchen & Bar, where you can feast on fresh seafood and regional specialties while enjoying panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Bill to lower Deep Creek Lake heads to House

Deep Creek Lake, nestled in the heart of Maryland, has long been a focal point for recreation, tourism, and environmental stewardship. However, a recent proposal has stirred up significant debate and concern among stakeholders. Senate Bill 837, slated for a hearing in the Maryland House, seeks to lower Deep Creek Lake periodically over a four-year period during winter months. The aim? To study the impacts of reduced water levels on aquatic vegetation and sedimentation.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mike McKay, emphasizes the importance of managing nuisance aquatic vegetation and excess sediment, citing them as key goals outlined in the 2016 Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan. Proponents of the bill argue that lowering the lake levels during colder months could naturally “burn out” problem vegetation without resorting to chemical treatments. They also suggest potential benefits such as improved recreational activities like swimming and easier boat access to the lake’s coves.

However, opposition to the bill is robust, particularly from stakeholders like Brookfield Renewable US, which operates the dam at Deep Creek Lake. Prusha Hasan, the manager of state policy at Brookfield, raises concerns about the potential negative impacts on their operations, including carbon-free power generation, local tax revenues, and recreational opportunities. Dustin Droege, Brookfield’s Director of Operations, further warns that the bill could disrupt downstream uses of the water with little positive impact on the lake itself.

Local voices also weigh in on the matter. Friendsville Mayor Spencer Schlosnagle highlights the importance of whitewater releases for his town’s economy, urging legislators to vote against the bill. Jess Whittemore, a resident and former councilman of Friendsville, expresses skepticism about the bill’s motivations, suggesting that it circumvents proper channels of oversight.

The debate surrounding Senate Bill 837 underscores the complex interplay between environmental conservation, economic interests, and community well-being. As Maryland lawmakers prepare to weigh the merits and drawbacks of the proposed legislation, the future of Deep Creek Lake hangs in the balance.

In conclusion, the fate of Deep Creek Lake rests on the outcome of this legislative battle. Whether the bill passes or not, one thing remains clear: finding a balance between environmental preservation and economic vitality is no easy task, but it’s one that must be tackled with careful consideration and collaboration among all stakeholders involved.

State Parks to Visit in Maryland and Pennsylvania this Spring

As spring ushers in warmer weather and sunnier days, outdoor enthusiasts are gearing up for adventures in nature. Whether you’re an avid hiker, cyclist, or kayaker, there’s no shortage of breathtaking landscapes to explore. If you’re looking for the perfect day trip destination, consider visiting some of the stunning state parks in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Here are a few gems worth adding to your outdoor itinerary:

1. Swallow Falls State Park, MD

Located in Garrett County, Maryland, Swallow Falls State Park offers a picturesque escape into nature. As you make your way through the scenic Allegheny Mountains, you’ll be greeted by towering windmills and the pristine waters of Deep Creek Lake. The park entrance may require a nominal fee, but the experience is well worth it.

The highlight of Swallow Falls is undoubtedly Muddy Creek Falls, a majestic 60-foot waterfall that cascades into a tranquil pool below. While Swallow Falls itself is a charming 16-foot cascade, both waterfalls are awe-inspiring sights that shouldn’t be missed. Be sure to hike the Canyon Loop Trail, which winds its way through the park, offering stunning views of the waterfalls and ancient boulders.

After exploring Swallow Falls, consider extending your adventure by visiting nearby attractions like Deep Creek Lake or New Germany State Park. With its abundance of hiking trails and natural beauty, Garrett County is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

2. Cunningham Falls State Park, MD

Cunningham Falls State Park beckons with its towering cascades and scenic trails. The crown jewel of the park is Cunningham Falls, the tallest cascading waterfall in Maryland, standing at an impressive 78 feet. The best time to visit is after a heavy rain shower when the falls are at their most majestic.

For a memorable hike, trek along the lower trail to Cunningham Falls, which offers stunning views of the waterfall up close. You can also explore the cliff trail for a different perspective before looping back. With trails suitable for all skill levels, Cunningham Falls State Park is the perfect destination for a day of outdoor exploration.

3. Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA

Pine Grove Furnace State Park offers a blend of history and natural beauty. Take a leisurely stroll along the Koppenhaver Trail, which meanders through the tranquil Pennsylvania woods, offering glimpses of a babbling stream along the way. This moderate loop trail spans approximately 1.6 miles and is perfect for a relaxing hike.

For those seeking a more challenging adventure, tackle the Pole Steeple Trail, which rewards hikers with sweeping views at the summit. Alternatively, explore Camp Michaux, an abandoned World War II POW camp that offers a fascinating glimpse into history.

Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned hiker, Pine Grove Furnace State Park has something for everyone. With its diverse trails and rich history, it’s the perfect destination for a day of exploration.

Plan Your Outdoor Adventure Today

With spring in full swing, now is the perfect time to embark on an outdoor adventure. Whether you’re chasing waterfalls, exploring historic sites, or simply soaking in the natural beauty, the state parks of Maryland and Pennsylvania offer endless opportunities for exploration. So lace up your hiking boots, pack a picnic, and get ready to experience the great outdoors like never before. Happy exploring!

Garrett Regional Medical Center Honored as Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital for Sixth Consecutive Year

In a testament to its unwavering commitment to exceptional healthcare, Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) has once again been recognized as a Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital by The Chartis Center for Rural Health. This prestigious acknowledgment marks the sixth consecutive year that GRMC has received this esteemed award, solidifying its status as a beacon of excellence in the healthcare landscape.

The Chartis Center for Rural Health’s annual Top 100 award program distinguishes outstanding performance among rural hospitals across the nation, with selection criteria based on the results of the Chartis Rural Hospital Performance INDEX®. Amidst a backdrop of evolving challenges in rural healthcare, this recognition underscores GRMC’s steadfast dedication to delivering high-quality care to its community.

Out of the myriad of rural hospitals evaluated nationwide, GRMC stands out as one of only two hospitals in Maryland to clinch a spot on the Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital list this year. Mark Boucot, President and CEO of GRMC and Potomac Valley Hospital, attributes this remarkable achievement to the relentless commitment and compassion exhibited by the hospital’s staff on a daily basis.

Boucot remarked, “Being nationally recognized for the sixth consecutive year as a Top 100 Rural and Community Hospital is quite a tremendous accomplishment for GRMC. This achievement would not be possible without our compassionate and caring staff. Each day, they make a commitment to provide our patients with exceptional care while treating them like family.”

Michael Topchik, National Leader at The Chartis Center for Rural Health, emphasized the significance of the Top 100 rural hospitals in driving innovation and inspiration in delivering quality care to vulnerable populations. He expressed delight in recognizing this year’s Top 100 honorees and highlighted the inclusion of over 40 first-time recipients, signaling a promising trend in elevating rural healthcare standards.

At the core of GRMC’s success lies its unwavering dedication to excellent patient outcomes. The hospital’s track record speaks volumes, with achievements such as seven consecutive years without inpatient catheter-associated urinary tract infections and one of the lowest case-mix adjusted readmission rates in the state. Additionally, GRMC garnered the highest ranked HCAHPS scores (patient satisfaction) for 2023 among Maryland hospitals, further validating its commitment to exceptional care delivery.

As a full member of the WVU Health System, GRMC continues to expand its range of specialty services to serve the diverse needs of its 46,000-strong service area spanning parts of eight counties across Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. From behavioral health to women’s healthcare services and beyond, GRMC remains steadfast in its mission to provide comprehensive, patient-centered care to its community.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center and its commitment to excellence in healthcare, visit www.wvumedicine.org/Garrett. With each accolade and recognition, GRMC reaffirms its position as a beacon of excellence and a pillar of healthcare innovation in the rural landscape.

Deep Creek Lake Lions Club Pioneers Inclusive Playground Initiative: A Community Collaboration

The journey towards inclusivity began with the formation of a special advisory committee by the Deep Creek Lake Lions Club. This committee, comprised of members from various county groups, aimed to lay the groundwork for an inclusive playground that would welcome children and adults of all abilities. Spearheaded by local student Landon Georg and his family’s fundraising efforts, the initiative gained momentum and drew in a diverse array of stakeholders, including members of the disability community, county officials, and experts in accessible design.

Community Engagement: A Key Ingredient

Central to the initiative was community engagement, facilitated through the development of an Inclusive Playground Survey. This survey, launched in January 2024, sought input from residents, renters, and visitors, with a focus on understanding usage patterns, identifying challenges, and gathering recommendations for the playground’s design. The response was overwhelming, with 524 individuals contributing their perspectives and aspirations for the project.

Insights from the Survey

The survey yielded invaluable insights that will shape the future of the inclusive playground. Among the key findings were:

  • Demographics and Usage Patterns: A significant majority of respondents were full-time residents of Garrett County, demonstrating local support for the project. Moreover, nearly half of the respondents had a personal connection to disabilities, highlighting the importance of creating an inclusive space within the community.
  • Challenges and Needs: Mobility, behavioral, and sensory challenges emerged as primary concerns, underscoring the importance of addressing diverse needs in the playground’s design. Participants emphasized the significance of accessibility features and sensory elements to facilitate inclusive play experiences.
  • Recommendations for Accessibility: Respondents stressed the importance of physical accessibility, safety, and universal design principles. They advocated for a blend of physical, imaginative, and nature-based play elements to cater to a wide range of preferences and abilities.
  • Community Support: The overwhelming willingness of respondents to contribute to fundraising efforts underscores the strong community backing for the project. This outpouring of support serves as a testament to the shared commitment to inclusivity within the Deep Creek Lake community.

Moving Forward with Purpose

Armed with the insights gleaned from the survey, the Deep Creek Lake Lions Club is poised to translate vision into reality. The next steps involve fundraising, program management, and site allocation, with a steadfast commitment to ensuring that every aspect of the playground reflects the principles of inclusivity and accessibility.

A Call to Action

As the journey towards inclusivity unfolds, the Deep Creek Lake Lions Club invites all members of the community to join hands in this transformative endeavor. Whether through participation in fundraising efforts, sharing feedback, or simply spreading awareness, every contribution makes a difference. Together, we can create a playground where every child can laugh, play, and thrive, regardless of ability.

Get Involved

For those eager to lend their support or learn more about the project, the Deep Creek Lake Lions Club encourages reaching out via email at DCLLIONS@gmail.com or by phone at 323-325-5466. Additionally, detailed information, including the executive summary and full survey report, can be found on the club’s website at https://deepcreeklions.org/park-projects/handicap-accessible-playground.