Jay Fergusonjay@deepcreekvacations.com301-501-0420

Arrowhead Cove Dredging Report

Deep Creek Lake has witnessed decades of sediment buildup, with over one million cubic yards of sediment accumulating over time. While this accumulation hasn’t compromised the lake’s primary functions, it has impacted recreational access and enjoyment, particularly in its southern coves.

Recognizing the need to address this issue, Garrett County initiated an investigation supported by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Waterway Improvement Fund (WIF) Grant. The goal was to identify coves that would benefit from sediment removal through dredging, focusing on enhancing public access and recreational opportunities.

After thorough evaluation, Arrowhead Cove emerged as the prime candidate for dredging. Situated northwest of the Glendale Road Bridge within Deep Creek Lake, this cove covers 23.5 acres, with nearly half of it affected by sediment accumulation.

Several factors contributed to Arrowhead Cove’s selection, including its potential for significant public boating access improvements, minimal impact on sensitive environmental areas, and favorable engineering logistics.

With the support of a $2.47M appropriation from the State of Maryland, the Arrowhead Cove Dredging Project transitioned from planning to execution. Managed by Maryland Environmental Service and designed by Anchor QEA, the project aimed to remove up to 11,000 cubic yards of sediment from approximately three acres of Arrowhead Cove.

Through a competitive bidding process, Byco Enterprises, Inc. secured the contract for mechanical sediment removal. The dredging operation commenced in November 2023, culminating in the successful removal of the targeted sediment volume by January 2024.

The dredged sediment wasn’t simply discarded; instead, it was transported to the Garrett Landfill for responsible disposal. Here, it will serve as landfill cover, contributing to sustainable waste management practices.

Looking ahead, the restoration of the staging area will commence in spring 2024, accompanied by the in-water planting of native submerged aquatic vegetation during early summer. These efforts aim to not only restore Arrowhead Cove but also enhance its ecological resilience and recreational appeal.

As the Arrowhead Cove Dredging Project nears completion, it stands as a testament to collaborative efforts aimed at preserving and enhancing cherished natural resources. By addressing sediment accumulation, this initiative not only restores access and enjoyment but also underscores the commitment to environmental stewardship.

In the wake of this successful endeavor, a comprehensive report will document the project’s outcomes, providing valuable insights into the efficacy and benefits of cove dredging in Deep Creek Lake. As communities continue to prioritize the preservation of their natural treasures, initiatives like these serve as beacons of hope for a sustainable and enjoyable future.

Celebrating Garrett County’s Newest Park Rangers

Garrett County, Maryland, welcomed two new protectors of its natural treasures as part of the latest cohort of Maryland Park Rangers. Among the 21 graduates honored at Elk Neck State Park and NorthBay Adventure Camp, Richard Caputo and Kaitlyn Mitchell now stand ready to serve at Wolf Den Run State Park in Kitzmiller and Deep Creek Lake State Park, respectively. Their dedication and training mark another milestone in the ongoing commitment to safeguarding Maryland’s diverse landscapes and historical legacies.

The ceremony, attended by distinguished guests including Park Service Director Angela Crenshaw and Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Josh Kurtz, underscored the significance of the occasion. Secretary Kurtz praised the preparedness and dedication exhibited by Maryland State Park Rangers, emphasizing the vital role they play in preserving the state’s natural heritage for future generations.

The establishment of the Maryland Park Service’s modern Ranger School program in 2009 marked a significant step in enhancing the capabilities of park rangers. The recent graduation represents the 14th class to emerge from this rigorous training regimen. Director Angela Crenshaw expressed pride in the dedication and passion displayed by each graduate, highlighting their role as guardians entrusted with the preservation and enjoyment of Maryland’s parks.

Celebrate Wellness and Fun at the 2024 Garrett County Family Fun Festival and Health Fair

The Garrett County Steps to Better Health Committee is thrilled to announce the much-anticipated return of the Family Fun Festival and Health Fair, scheduled for Saturday, April 6, 2024. Held at the Community Aquatic & Recreation Complex (CARC) at Garrett College in McHenry, this event promises a morning filled with excitement, education, and engagement for the whole family.

Marking the occasion in conjunction with the nationwide “Week of the Young Child” from April 6 to April 12, the Family Fun Festival underscores the importance of early childhood development. Recognizing the pivotal role of these formative years in shaping future success, the festival aims to provide positive learning experiences while promoting overall health awareness for attendees of all ages.

From 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., families can immerse themselves in a diverse array of activities and attractions, all offered free of charge. Children can enjoy an assortment of games, a delightful photo booth experience, and the chance to win one of eight bikes with helmets in an exciting drawing. Meanwhile, adults can explore informational booths hosted by community providers, offering valuable resources and insights on health and wellness topics.

“The Fun Fest and Health Fair is an opportunity for our community to come together in celebration of health and happiness,” remarks Amy Ritchie, Steps Committee member and dietitian at the Garrett County Health Department. “It’s a chance to learn, play, and connect with one another in a positive and supportive environment.”

Stay updated on event details and announcements by following the Garrett County Health Fair on Facebook or visiting garretthealth.org/health-fair. For additional information, reach out to The Garrett County Judy Center at 240-321-1834 or the Garrett County Health Department Early Care Programs at 301-334-7720.

Don’t miss out on this enriching and enjoyable community event! Gather your family and friends and head to the CARC at Garrett College on April 6 for a morning of laughter, learning, and lasting memories. Together, let’s celebrate wellness and fun at the Garrett County Family Fun Festival and Health Fair.

County Commissioners Announce Public Meeting Agenda

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       Recognition:  Rush Services – 40th Anniversary

4:10        Resolution and Contract of Sale – Lot 3 in the McHenry Business Park to Hannick                  

               Construction, LLC

4:15        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, March 19, 2024 at the Garrett County Courthouse beginning at 4:00 PM.

Embracing Community: Garrett County’s First-Ever Community Dunk

Organized by the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce and generously sponsored by the Oak-Mar Motel & 3rd Street Diner and Casselman Creamery, the Community Dunk stands out for its emphasis on fostering local community engagement. Unlike the bustling Saturday Dunks, this event offers a more intimate setting, echoing the tight-knit spirit of Garrett County’s communities.

“This first annual event is a testament to our commitment to celebrating our local talent and supporting our athletes and Unified® teammates of Special Olympics Maryland – Garrett County,” expressed a spokesperson for the Chamber of Commerce.

What makes this event even more special is its timing. By taking place on a Thursday, it provides residents with a welcomed opportunity to participate without the weekend rush or scheduling conflicts. It’s a chance for neighbors to come together, rally around a worthy cause, and enjoy each other’s company.

Proceeds from the Dunk week will go towards supporting Special Olympics Maryland – Garrett County programming, including recent initiatives like participation in the 2023 Bowling State Championships and the Interscholastic Unified Elementary Bocce County Championships hosted by Garrett County Public Schools.

Andrew Fike, President of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to merge the Community Dunk with the February Business After Hours event. By doing so, they’ve created a synergy between networking, team-building, and community support.

“On behalf of many community members who, like myself, try to avoid large crowds or work weekends, I would like to thank Special Olympics Maryland for organizing this special weekday event. This is a great opportunity to involve more locals, and we hope to make it a new tradition!” Fike exclaimed enthusiastically.

More than just a fundraising event, the Community Dunk embodies the enduring spirit of Garrett County – a celebration of inclusivity, support, and local pride. As residents eagerly anticipate this inaugural affair, the stage is set for a heartwarming gathering where the bonds of community are strengthened, and the spirit of giving shines brightly in the snow-capped hills.

If you’re interested in participating or contributing to this meaningful cause, visit the event page at [link] for more details. Let’s come together and make a difference in our community. See you there!

Garrett Regional Medical Center Earns Prestigious ACR Accreditation in Multiple Imaging Modalities

Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) proudly announces its recent achievement of accreditation in multiple imaging modalities by the American College of Radiology (ACR). This esteemed recognition, awarded for a three-year term, encompasses ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), and nuclear medicine, underscoring GRMC’s commitment to excellence in patient care and safety.

The ACR accreditation is a testament to GRMC’s adherence to stringent standards set forth by the American College of Radiology. Each modality – ultrasound, CT, and nuclear medicine – plays a crucial role in diagnosing and treating a wide array of medical conditions. Ultrasound imaging employs high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed images of internal organs and tissues, aiding in the accurate diagnosis of illnesses and injuries. CT scanning, a noninvasive procedure, provides invaluable insights for healthcare professionals in diagnosing patients and tailoring treatment plans. Meanwhile, nuclear medicine utilizes trace amounts of radioactive material to diagnose and manage various diseases, including cancers, heart conditions, and endocrine disorders.

The accreditation process involves a comprehensive evaluation of several factors, including image quality, personnel qualifications, equipment standards, quality control procedures, and assurance programs. This meticulous assessment is conducted by board-certified physicians and medical physicists with expertise in the respective fields, ensuring that accredited facilities adhere to the highest standards of care and safety.

Mark Boucot, President and CEO of GRMC and Potomac Valley Hospital, expressed his pride in achieving this esteemed accreditation, emphasizing its significance in recognizing the dedication and compassion of GRMC’s radiology team. He remarked, “This is a tremendous honor for Garrett Regional Medical Center and our radiology department team. Achieving this level of national recognition for imaging and patient safety is a direct reflection of our radiology team and their dedication and compassion to our patients.”

Founded in 1924, the American College of Radiology (ACR) is a distinguished professional medical society dedicated to advancing the practice, science, and professions of radiological care. With a mission to serve patients and society, the ACR empowers radiology professionals to uphold the highest standards of excellence in medical imaging and radiation oncology.

As a full partner in the West Virginia University Health System, Garrett Regional Medical Center serves as a vital healthcare hub for the tri-state region, providing a comprehensive range of specialty services to a diverse patient population. With a commitment to innovation, compassion, and patient-centered care, GRMC continues to uphold its mission of enhancing the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

In achieving ACR accreditation in multiple imaging modalities, Garrett Regional Medical Center reaffirms its dedication to delivering exceptional healthcare services and upholding the highest standards of quality and safety for patients across the region. This milestone not only highlights GRMC’s commitment to excellence but also underscores its position as a leader in healthcare innovation and patient-centered care.

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)