Monday December 9

Yesterday was quite cool but was a nice day. Today’s weather will be sunny, with a high near 32 and a low around 18.

Every once-in-a-while something unexpected and truly wonderful happens.  Saturday, I had the honor of attending the wedding of my former student Josiah Hannah and Lily Rembold. I witnessed a truly amazing and unbelievably moving ceremony and offer my public congratulations here to this very special couple!

The Ruth Enlow Library experienced a good number of visitors at their open house Thursday and received lots of input on possible styles for the new Friendsville library. People who missed it can drop by the library any time between now and next Thursday to see proposed designs and comment, or they can take a 3-minute picture survey online.

Congratulations are in order for Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Flintstone. Many of our visitors pass Rocky Gap on the way out to the lake, so I wanted to let you know that Rocky Gap received 25 awards from Casino Player magazine’s “Best of Gaming Awards” for 2018.

Speaking of congratulations. Second-grade students at Broad Ford Elementary School recently participated in a poster contest in conjunction with Red Ribbon Week to educate others about the risks of tobacco use.  The contest was sponsored by the Drug-Free Communities Coalition (DFCC) Action Teams and coordinated by Suzanne Wilburn who is a member of the DFCC Action Teams and also a Classroom Intervention Teacher at Broad Ford.  Here’s a photo of the student winners.  Great work kids!

Broad Ford Students

The State of Maryland has a nice program going called TREE-MENDOUS Maryland where you can order a tree to be planted in honor of a loved one.  Not only a creative gift but helps the environment.  You can even purchase a small grove of trees.

Here’s the updated agenda for the December 19th Board of Public Works meeting to be held in Annapolis.  Readers may remember that the meeting scheduled for last week was canceled and “merged” into this one, so if public works are your thing, we have the latest agenda for you here.

Get your hiking shoes ready. The State of Maryland has announced the statewide schedule of First Day Hikes for January 1st. Of course, our own state parks are on the list and hosting hikes, so check it out.

Friday December 7, Saturday December 8, Sunday December 9

We have some sun in store! Today’s weather will be mostly sunny, with a high near 24 and a low around 17. Saturday will be mostly sunny, with a high near 24 and a low around 18. And, Sunday will be partly sunny, with a high near 28 and a low around 22.

Spruce Forest Artisan Village is hosting the 34th annual Christmas in the Village this Friday and Saturday. The event runs Friday from 4:00 – 8:00 pm and Saturday from noon to 8:00 pm.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is being presented by the Cumberland Theater through December 23rd.  I’ll bet the drive to Cumberland is worth it, as White Christmas is a true classic and they do great work.  

The Mountain Fresh Farmers Winter Market is headed inside for the season and will be at Community Action in Oakland this Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Check out their newsletter for offerings, pointers and a schedule for all the winter dates.  Enjoy!

Every year the Garrett College Wildlife Club puts out a neat calendar with photos from the students’ field experiences. The calendars are for sale ($10) at the college and select area retailers and the earnings go towards helping Natural Resources & Wildlife Technology program students in the club take their winter and spring field trips. Here’s the photo of a family of northern raccoon’s taken by Mike Mosser that will be on the cover of this year’s edition. Please consider purchasing to help this worthy cause.

Family of Northern Raccoons NRWT calendar

First United Bank & Trust is proud to sponsor the 3rd Annual Christmas Charity Tour of Homes to benefit The “I Can Swim!” Program for Garrett County youth. This is the 3rd annual event and the homes are always magnificent! The tour runs on Friday, December 7th, from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm and on Saturday, December 8th, it runs from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

There’s lots of holiday-related events going on in the area this weekend.  Please check our Events section to see all of the good things going on.  Have fun.

The Frostburg Holiday Lamppost Committee is hosting the annual Frostburg Candlelight Tour of Homes, on Sunday, December 9th from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Call 240.529.8312 or Click Here for more information!

I bet you didn’t know that December is Small Business Administration Write a Business Plan month? Well, it is and if you have been considering a new business as a career move or as a “side hustle,” or just to pursue a dream, this may be a good time to get started. There are almost 1,000 small businesses in Garrett County and we are adding new ones all the time. The next one could be yours! Here’s a link to get you started.

Thursday December 6

Well, it snowed most of the day yesterday, but with limited accumulations. Also noticed the lake is starting to freeze in places. Today’s weather will be mostly cloudy and a chance of snow showers. High near 31 and a low around 20. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch and nighttime accumulation of around an inch possible.

I almost forgot to wish everyone a Happy Hanukkah. Lucky for me these two fur balls from HART for Animals reminded me as they send their own well wishes. Note their collars!

Don’t forget today’s Women’s Networking Lunch at Ace’s Run starting at Noon.  There are two local featured speakers (Leigh Clarke and Elizabeth Williams) as well as good food and relationship building.

Microsoft on Monday announced its intent to expand the Airband Initiative and bring broadband to three million unserved people in rural communities by mid-2022. Declaration Networks Group (including their brand Neubeam, which serves Garrett County) is a Microsoft partner in this endeavor. This is good news for all in need of rural broadband and the county as a whole.

There’s an Input Session for the new Friendsville Library today from 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm to allow patrons to share their opinions and provide input on the proposed new library’s design and style.  Share your input and shape your library!

There are still holiday events going on this evening (and into the weekend) at the Oakland Community Center: The LED Community Christmas Tree and the Joy of Christ.  Check them out if you need to get a “dose” of Christmas spirit.

The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce just announced its 2019 Legislative Agenda. The issues included in the Chamber’s agenda are those items that the Garrett County Chamber believes could have the biggest impact through legislative action. Their top legislative priorities are as follows:

  1. Oppose Increasing the Minimum Wage
  2. Amend Maryland Healthcare Access Act of 2018 to Allow Maryland Small Businesses to Participate in Association Health Plans
  3. Support Additional $2 Million Annual Allocation for State Lakes Protection and Restoration Fund
  4. Support Improvements to and Oppose Expansion of Mandated Paid Leave
  5. Support Reduced Fees & Recommended Methods for Shoreline Erosion Prevention

Local Crisis Manager for Maryland State Police Special Ops, Erica Carlson, had her photo (taken during a training) published on the cover of Police magazine.

Wednesday December 5

Yesterday brought us some snow, but with limited accumulations.  Today’s weather will be snow with a high near 27 and a low around 20. Light west wind increasing to 8 to 13 mph in the morning. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible and nighttime accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

The Garrett County Commissioners held their latest public meeting on December 3rd at the Courthouse in Oakland.  The commissioners made the county’s 2019 legislative requests to Senator Edwards and Delegate Beitzel. Here’s a link to the summary of the meeting, including details on the legislative requests.

Lots of activities for children and adults at the various branches of the Ruth Enlow Library today and this evening.  Check them all out on their website.

This one makes me happy to report: After years of stream restoration efforts, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently discovered native brook trout returning to once uninhabitable streams in the Casselman River watershed.  The 66-square mile watershed now has reproducing stock due to some special efforts by area experts and citizens.

If you and the family were dreaming of a… LED Christmas, there is a LED Christmas Tree “playing” to the music on 87.9 radio this evening at the Downtown Community Center (Old Armory) from 5:00 pm –  11:30 pm. Just pull up and tune your car to 89.7.  Really.  It’s magic I think and it will continue for additional days.

I just heard that the Dairy Queen in Oakland will be closing for a few days for renovations.  It looks like they will be closing this Sunday at 6:00 pm and reopening on the 14th of December. Better get your Blizzard “fix” before they start their renovations!

There’s a Women’s Networking Lunch at Ace’s Run on Thursday at Noon. Bring lots of business cards and meet other area business and non-profit executives.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced yesterday that the second segment of the muzzleoader deer hunting season opens December 15th and runs through December 29th. Hunters may use muzzleloading firearms to harvest sika and white-tailed deer during this season.

Read this short, touching story by Bridget Nolan Manley:

Every year growing up it was the same thing. Dad left super early in the morning. When we got up mom would tell us to go pick food out of the cupboard. We would pick the stuff we hated. Mom would tell us to try again.

We would load up and head to Oakland. We would be listening to my dad on the radio the whole way in. We would get there and start loading food into trucks. We would hand out candy canes to kids. We would sneak into Proudfoots for hot chocolate. My dad passed out hand warmers and Santa hats like they were candy.

It was a real coincidence that my dad would disappear during the food drive and Santa would show up. One year we got wise to who that strangely familiar Santa really was. To this day, though, he denies it and we are all made to promise we believe.

One year my dad asked if I wanted to be “Vanna White” – aka read the list of donations on the radio.
Modestly I said “GIVE ME THAT MIC AND LET’S DO THIS.” Later when I was at college and heard Sheila (my sister) got to be Vanna I was hot with jealous rage.

We grew up, and we could make it home some years. Other years we couldn’t. On the years we weren’t there my dad would send pictures of friends who stopped by, we would get texts saying “I just saw your dad in the street!”

Every year. For forty years.

The money and the food helped people who couldn’t afford a Christmas meal. But it also helped parents feed their kids after they lost a job in January. It helped someone pay a light bill in February. It helped another family not get evicted in March. It helped a traveler reach family in Chicago after getting stranded. It helped a family buy school supplies in September.

It helped, and helps, the people in Garrett County who need emergency assistance all year long.
Every year.
For forty years.
It’s just one morning when the people of Garrett County go through their cupboards or make a run to the grocery store or drive by and slow down with a five dollar bill.

For us it’s always been a family affair. For my dad and Sister Mary Ann and Sister Joanna, the family was Garrett County.

The Fortieth Annual House Of Hope Food Drive is this Saturday in downtown Oakland from 9 AM-12 PM.
You are guaranteed to see every single Nolan in attendance.
Come make a donation. I’ll give you a candy cane.

Tuesday December 4

Today’s weather will be mostly cloudy, scattered snow and flurries until about noon. A high near 29 and low around 22. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

As I write these Daily Notes Monday evening I am in a thoughtful state of mind, as it is my 63rd birthday today.  I am reflective, thankful and even a little anxious over what the future holds, or specifically, how long my future will be. I went to a memorial service for a friend, Millie Shilke, this weekend who lived to the ripe old age of 95 and it reminded me of how fortunate I am to be alive and well in this great country of ours and in this beautiful county we live in. Life is good here in the mountains!

I know a number of our readers work, live or visit Allegany County and/or have an interest in economic development in Western Maryland, so this one’s for you: Allegany County is holding a Economic Development Visioning Session this evening from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. There will be an open house, workshop, panel discussion and presentation.  The folks in Allegany and Garrett are really trying to find that “magic sauce” to drive organic economic development in the region.

Here’s a link to Generation West Virginia for events for millennials all around West Virginia in December. I am guessing you will flip (and also have a smile on your face) when you see the very short video embedded in the site. Click the link to see why!

Cindy’s Fund Cancer Support Group twice monthly meeting tonight from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm at the Garrett Regional Medical center. This group is informal and open to all that are touched by cancer.

Don’t forget that tonight is the second evening of the Joy of Christ performance at the Oakland Community Center (and the site of the LED Community Christmas Tree light display). Not only is the event free but there is free food and gifts as well. This event is produced by a number of area churches.

It’s never too snowy or cold to ride in Garrett County — we have some of the best roads and trails! Photo by Pat O’Hammy at the Meadow Mountian Overlook.

PatHamlinFatTireBike

What’s new around town? Unfortunately, a local retail store is closing its doors.

Notice: The Maryland State Board of Public Works meeting scheduled for this Wednesday, December 5th has been cancelled due to the closure of state government offices to honor former president George Bush (41).  The agenda that had been planned for the meeting this week will be moved to the next meeting on December 19th. RIP president Bush.

Monday December 3

Sunday was sunny and warm, with the temperature nearly reaching 60 degrees. Today’s weather will be a chance of rain and snow showers before 3pm, then a chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 36 and a low of 25. West wind 16 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible overnight.

The Ruth Enlow Library has some nice programming scheduled for today in Grantsville (Story Tails at 4:30 pm) and Oakland (Needlework at 6:00 pm) and also a number of Open Houses coming up at the various branches, with the first one this Wednesday at the Friendsville branch.

Our congratulations go out to Jodi Taylor Refosco, co-owner of Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales in McHenry. Jodi has been named the new president of the Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA), a national organization of vacation rental professionals and suppliers. Way to go Jodi!

The first quarter of Fiscal Year 2019 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) is off to a good start for tourism in the Deep Creek Lake area and Garrett County in general.  According to the Chamber of Commerce, Garrett County experienced an 8.0% increase in county accommodations sales, a 6.3% increase in Admissions & Amusement collections, a 128% increase in Visitor Guide requests and a 17.13% increase in visitors to the Chamber’s website. I’m not surprised based on all the area has to offer, which is communicated very effectively by our Chamber.

Various local congregations are presenting the 20th annual Joy of Christ celebration which is set to kick off this evening at 6:00 pm and run through December 7th. Each night will feature Christmas music, free dinner, a warm festive atmosphere, crafts for the kids (and kids at heart), and a focus on the birth of Jesus Christ. This event is completely free to all, is casual and open to anyone wanting to join throughout the night. Nothing is sold and gifts will be given away. It is at the Oakland Community Center (old armory).

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Forest Conservancy District Boards invites all Maryland fifth-graders in private and public schools to participate in the annual Arbor Day Poster Contest. The theme for 2019 is: “Trees Are Terrific…and Forests are Too!” Read more.

Unfortunately, the first death in the State attributed to cold weather this winter has been recorded. The death occurred in Garrett County and was an adult male in the 65+ age range. There were 61 cold-related deaths in Maryland during the 2017-2018 winter weather season. From November through March, the Department of Health monitors temperature conditions and incidences of cold-related illnesses and deaths. Weekly reports can be found online at https://goo.gl/UHaaX8. The site also includes the state’s Extreme Cold Emergency Plan and fact sheets about cold weather health issues, carbon monoxide, driving tips for extreme cold weather, and warning signs of a heart attack.

Be sure to review all of the new pages for the new December Edition: We have a new Cover Story article from Quantum Financial Advisors (QFA) with some excellent insight into the current tax situation. We also have another piece on the tax law and its implications from Boal and Associates for our Deep Creek Times readers in the Latest News section. While December is a great month for family and festivities it is also a great month to assess and learn relative to end-of-year and new year financial considerations.