Wednesday February 17

The weather for today will be partly sunny, with a high near 25 degrees with wind chill values as low as zero. Light and variable wind.Tonight expect snow, mainly after 2:00 am. Low around 21. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible. Dress for very cold conditions!

With the cold, icy weather yesterday, we were placed under a snow emergency plan, which is now to be lifted. The snow emergency plan requires motorists to operate vehicles that are equipped with snow tires as designated by the manufacturer or equipped with chains. Studded tires are allowed from November 1st through March 31st.

Oakland mayor Jay Moyer administered the oath of office to Police Academy Graduate, Patrolman Bryson Bittinger at a special ceremony at Oakland City Hall on Friday, February 12th. Bittinger, the son of Bill and Nichole Bittinger, grew up in Oakland and graduated from Southern Garrett High School in 2017 before earning an associate’s degree from Garrett College.  Congratulations Bryson.

Here’s a simple, nice shot of a deer in the snow, as submitted by Dot Sissler.  I guess deer like cleared roads/paths just like we do.  Thanks for sharing Dot.

deer dotsissler 2-15-21

Deer on the Path

The Property Owners Association of Deep Creek Lake has announced a donation of about $15,000 to the Deep Creek Watershed Foundation for the purchase of an additional Water Quality Meter. The Foundation is funding the purchase of four meters which will bring the number of permanent meters in the lake to eight. The ultimate goal of DNR is to have a meter in every cove. The meters measure water temperature, salinity, conductivity, pH, depth, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and chlorophyll (which is a measure of algal biomass). The permanent placement of the meters will allow continuous rather than “snapshot” monitoring of water quality. That is great news on many fronts and we thank the POA and the Watershed Foundation for their great work on this.

More detailed information on the lake and water quality can be found at the DNR website “Eyes on Deep Creek Lake” – http://eyesonthebay.dnr.maryland.gov/dcl/deepcreeklake.cfm. There is also detail available on the Deep Creek Watershed Foundation site which includes a PowerPoint presentation to the Foundation Board in April of 2020 entitled “DNR’s Continuous Water Quality Monitoring Project at Deep Creek Lake” by DNR Biologists Julie Bortz and Christine King, see – https://www.deepcreekwatershedfoundation.org/water-quality-testing

And, in case anyone is wondering why the lake’s water quality is so important, here’s just a few of the reasons. High quality clean water provides:​

  • Protection of property values and investments for you and your family for many years to come.
  • Carefree swimming, boating, water-skiing, and more.
  • Healthy habitats for a wide variety of fish and other aquatic creatures.
  • A clean lake for residents and visitors alike to enjoy which, in turn, supports Garrett County’s reputation as a great place to visit and live.
  • A strong foundation for continued community small businesses and economic stability, including a strong tax base.

The importance of the lake to our quality of life and to Garrett County’s success cannot be underestimated!

With many students continuing their education remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic and BLS data showing a correlation between higher education levels, higher income and lower unemployment rates, the personal-finance website WalletHub yesterday released its report on 2021’s Most & Least Educated States in America, as well as accompanying videos. In order to determine the most educated states, WalletHub compared all 50 states across 18 metrics that examined the key factors of a well-educated population: educational attainment, school quality and achievement gaps between genders and races. Maryland performed very well.

How educated is Maryland? (1=Most; 25=Avg.):

  • 25th – % of High-School Diploma Holders
  • 10th – % of Associate’s Degree Holders or College-Experienced Adults
  • 3rd – % of Bachelor’s Degree Holders
  • 2nd – % of Graduate- or Professional-Degree Holders
  • 6th – Avg. University Quality
  • 18th – Racial Gap in Educational Attainment
  • 1st – Gender Gap in Educational Attainment

For those of you who like to get into the details, you can see the full report here: https://wallethub.com/edu/e/most-educated-states/31075

Finally today, a plug for a friend, executive chef Larry Roby. Larry has been accepted into a national Favorite Chef competition. The winner will be featured in Bon Appetit magazine, and will also win a cash prize. The event will be helping feed the hungry, so if you know or wish to support our local chef, please vote and pass this along to as many as you can.  Voting starts today.  Here’s the link: https://favchef.com/2021/larry-roby

 

Tuesday February 16

For today, snow is likely, mainly after 1:00 pm. Mostly cloudy, with a temperature falling to around 21 by 5:00 pm. West wind 14 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph.Total daytime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible. Tonight, we have a chance of snow before 1:00 am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 9. Wind chill values as low as -1. West wind 7 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

As if the pandemic has not confined us enough, now some of us are experiencing an ice jail!  Thanks to Russ Dijak for submitting this photo of icicles that resemble the bars on a jail.  Nice photo Russ. Let me out…

ice jail russ dijak 2-14-21

Ice Jail

With all the snow, Wisp is really booming and busy.  We continue to hear reports of visitors arriving at Deep Creek Lake planning to ski, snowboard or tube and being disappointed due to all of the slots already being reserved. If you are coming out to the area and wish to partake of Wisp’s great amenities, plan in advance and reserve your spots.  Just a tip. Here’s the link to their site.

After many years of advocacy, last week Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development released a statewide housing plan with maps for every are of the state prepared by the National Center for Smart Growth and Enterprise Community Partners. Here’s the Link to the Full Report.

Virtual Community Development Day will be held in Annapolis on Wednesday starting at 11:30. They want to hear from folks in all counties to ensure an equitable recovery across the state of Maryland at all levels and to help partners secure the resources to provide badly needed services throughout Maryland. Join them for a short virtual program with representatives across the state! Last chance to register here and note that only registered participants will receive program link.

The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller. That’s a quote sent over from our friends at Garrett Lakes Arts Festival (GLAF).  Even in the pandemic, they have been offering virtual experiences for the community and our school children. If you have room in your heart and wallet, please consider a donation to GLAF this winter season, as our Deep Creek Lake area non-profits certainly need our support during the pandemic. Here’s the link for a donation. 

A good friend of mine, Patrick O’Brien, mentioned this to me and I said I would include in Notes.  I am definitely NOT preaching here as we at Deep Creek Times celebrate and support ALL religions.  This looks interesting and informative as it will include inspired testimonies from three men imprisoned overseas for their religious beliefs. It is a virtual and free event to be held on March 5th at 6:30 pm. You can find more information and register at VOM.org/event.

Here’s a great photo form another friend, Clint Bradley, which does a great job showing the winter wonderland we are living in these days.  He took this shot from his bedroom window on Saturday.  If you are not in town this week, this gives you a great idea of what you are missing.  Thanks Clint for the great photo.

clint bradley 2-13-21

Winter Wonderland

I will add that if any of our readers have special non-profit events, religious or otherwise, please send to us at info@deepcreektimes.com and we will do our best to mention it in Notes and elsewhere on the site as space and time allow.

On a more secular note, my wife and I just finished watching the six seasons of Longmire on Netflix.  It is a “PG-rated” series with beautiful mountain scenery (sound familiar, only in Wyoming) about a small town sheriff and his team and community.  It also includes a fair amount of insight into native American culture and life.  Just a suggestion if you are looking for something…

 

Monday February 15

I hope you all had a very nice Valentine’s Day.  I sure did.  My wife Jean and I went for a nice swim at the CARC, then got some take-out sandwiches at Brenda’s Pizzeria.  Happy belated Valentine’s Day to all of our readers.

The weekend had some minor precipitation, which included more localized freezing rain and/or freezing fog.  With all that and the snow, it is truly a winter wonderland out here now. I have seen lots of folks pulling over off the road to photograph the trees, fields and the frozen lake. Here’s a photo of a small evergreen showing the snow, ice and frozen fog on its branches.

ice storm mike 2-13-21

Everything is Coated and Beautiful

Today we can expect patchy fog, snow, freezing rain, and sleet likely before 1:00 pm, then a chance of freezing rain between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm, then a chance of freezing rain and sleet after 5:00 pm. Patchy freezing fog between 9:00 am and 11:00 am. Otherwise, cloudy, with a high near 32 degrees. Limited accumulations expected during the day. This evening we expect freezing rain and sleet before 3:00 am, then freezing rain, possibly mixed with snow and sleet. Low around 28.

Please be careful on the roads and when you first walk outside your house today, especially on steps.  There is a high likelihood of a thin coat of ice on things. This appears to be shaping up to be an active week throughout the country.  Check this AccuWeather link to see some of the potential events and which ones will impact us here on the mountain.
Happy Presidents’ Day to you all.  Here’s a link to some interesting facts and figures related to President’s Day as developed by the US Census Bureau.
Last Wednesday I mentioned I was scheduled to receive my COVID vaccine up at the business park on Bumble Bee Road in McHenry.  Well, I went and I got the shot.  In addition to feeling safer due to the shot (my second one is scheduled for March), the process was really simple, fast and easy.  The health care workers and all involved were friendly, professional and engaged, making the experience about perfect.  So, a BIG shout-out to all involved at the McHenry site and throughout the County, especially Ms. Dee Kennell, RN, who gave me my vaccine.  Here’s her photo after giving me my shot. And, for the record, I didn’t even cry! Get yours scheduled as soon as you can…
dee kennel mike got vaccing 2-10-21

Dee Kennell, RN

Governor Larry Hogan provided an update on Maryland’s vaccination initiatives as well as other COVID-19 items during a press conference Thursday.  In Garrett County, COVID-19 vaccination appointments with the Garrett County Health Department are already fully booked for February. Allotments for March are currently being reviewed and vaccination clinics are being planned for March. Registration links will be available on garretthealth.org beginning in late February. At that time, appointments will be open for March clinics for Garrett County residents not yet vaccinated from Phase 1A and 1B, as well as Garrett County residents who are at least age 65. Here’s the whole press release with some good information in it.

Here’s the schedule for remaining winter Mountain Fresh Farmers Markets that are held at Simon Pearce.

Have a great Monday dear readers…

 

State and Local Update on Vaccination Rollout

State and Local Update on Vaccination Rollout

By Garrett County Joint Information Center Team

Governor Larry Hogan provided an update on Maryland’s vaccination initiatives as well as other COVID-19 items during a press conference Thursday. His update included information about visitation policies for hospitals and nursing homes, vaccine administration, and plans for additional mass vaccination sites across the state.

Limited visitation is to resume at Maryland hospitals and nursing homes per Maryland Department of Health (MDH) orders. Each hospital will set its own visitation policy, which must comply with CDC guidelines. Indoor visitation at nursing homes may resume as early as March 1, 2021, as long as facilities do not have active cases and follow proper testing protocols.

The Governor announced that Maryland has created the infrastructure to administer between 50,000 and 100,000 doses of vaccine per day as more vaccines become available. The current record number of vaccines administered in one day in Maryland is 26,179.

A mass vaccination site will open at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday, February 25, making it the third mass vaccination site in Maryland.  Hogan reported that additional sites are planned to open in March in the Western, Southern, and the Eastern Shore regions of the state. The exact locations of these sites have not yet been released.

In order to facilitate better planning, Governor Hogan directed state health officials to provide county leaders with four-week projections for vaccine allotments for their local health department clinics.

In Garrett County, COVID-19 vaccination appointments with the Garrett County Health Department are already fully booked for February. Allotments for March are currently being reviewed and vaccination clinics are being planned for March. Registration links will be available on garretthealth.org beginning in late February. At that time, appointments will be open for March clinics for Garrett County residents not yet vaccinated from Phase 1A and 1B, as well as Garrett County residents who are at least age 65.

It was also announced during the Governor’s press conference that MDH and Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) have launched a program to provide up to 1 million COVID-19 tests for both public and non-public schools. Testing supplies will be provided in proportion to the number of students and staff returning for in-person learning this school year. Schools will be able to opt-in to this voluntary program.

Each Maryland county was asked to appoint an equity officer to serve as a liaison to the Maryland Vaccine Equity Task Force in order to closely coordinate equity initiatives, including working with local partners to stand up mobile clinics to reach critical populations.

Additional COVID-19 resources:

  • If you have COVID-19 like symptoms, schedule a testing appointment at the Health Department by calling 301-334-7697.
  • Free COVID-19 testing is available (with or without symptoms) on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the MEDCO Building in the McHenry Business Park. Pre-registration is recommended. Visit garretthealth.org for more information.
  • For all other COVID-19 related questions, or to report a COVID-19 compliance issue, call the local COVID-19 Hotline number at 301-334-7698.

 

 

Wednesday February 10

Today we have a slight chance of snow before 9:00 am, then a slight chance of snow and freezing rain between 9:00 am and 10:00 am, then snow likely after 10:00 am. Patchy fog late morning and then after 2:00 pm. Otherwise, cloudy, with a high near 32 degrees. Little or no ice accumulation expected. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.Tonight we expect snow with patchy fog around 25.  Chance of precipitation is 80% with new snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.

You can check out the bigger picture of the next storm from AccuWeather here. If you scroll down you can see the Deep Creek Lake area in the purple shading.

Herrington Manor State Park yesterday reported a nice base of 8″ -10″ on their cross country trails, with one inch of “fresh fluff” as of yesterday morning.  Their Red, Blue and Green trails are open and were last groomed on February 3rd.  Due to the pandemic, they are still not offering ski and snowshoe rentals.  You can call them at 301.334.9180 for more information.

Maryland providers have now administered 727,828 COVID-19 vaccines, and 85% of all first doses received from the federal government have been given. The daily average for shots administered increased today to 24,871. I finally found a benefit to being over the age of 65.  I am scheduled to get my COVID vaccine today.  I have never been this excited to get a shot before!

Michele Liston, branch manager of the Friendsville branch of the Ruth Enlow Library, has announced her retirement effective at the end of February.  A 32-year veteran of the Library and fixture of the Friendsville community, she will be greatly missed by many. We wish her the best and thank her for all her years of service to the community.

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) announced yestereday that effective February 16th, all licensing and registration forms will be available on the statewide licensing portal Maryland OneStop (onestop.md.gov), including patient and caregiver applications, provider registrations and certifications, clinical director applications, business license and registration applications, and cannabis agent registrations. Please contact onestop.mmcc@maryland.gov with any questions.

The Garrett County Public Schools announced that the annual comprehensive kindergarten registration program will begin on February 16, 2021. This program is for all children entering kindergarten for the first time in August 2021. Children who will be five years old by September 1, 2021, are required to register for kindergartenHere’s some feel-good environmental stories for you, from both fresh and marine environments.

The Garrett County Public Schools also announced that they will be accepting applications for Pre-Kindergarten starting February 16th. To be eligible for this program, a child must be 4 years old by September 1, 2021. Interested persons need to complete a pre-kindergarten application online or at the school within their district.

Despite a challenging 2020, NOAA Habitat continued protecting, restoring, and telling stories about habitat and its value to fisheries and communities. Here are the stories, videos and topics that surfaced as some of their most popular content throughout the year. Some inspirations for us within the Deep Creek Lake watershed I think.

Finally today, the Garrett County Health Department is sponsoring the distribution of Narcan at community sites around the county. Individuals can pick up Narcan and receive education on how to administer it. Narcan is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. It can quickly restore normal breathing to someone who has experienced an opioid overdose. Pickup events will take place from 6:00 – 7:00 pm at the following dates and locations:

  • 02/16 – Mountain Lake Park Town Hall
  • 02/23 – Deer Park Community Building
  • 03/02 – Grantsville Park, Volleyball Court Pavilion #3
  • 03/09 – Bloomington Fire Department
  • 03/16 – Loch Lynn Town Hall
  • 03/23 – Accident Town Hall

Tuesday February 9

Crisp and clear day yesterday.  Today a little snow is likely, mainly before 1:00 pm. Cloudy, with a high near 36 degrees and a west wind around 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible. Tonight will be cloudy, with a low around 22.

Don’t forget to vote today if you live in Friendsville.  The Friendsville town elections will be held in their town hall on Chestnut street.  Here’s more information.

I beleive that things are picking up and looking better relative to COVID vaccinations and incidence.  As of yesterday, Maryland providers had administered 699,733 COVID-19 vaccines, and 84.3% of all first doses received from the federal government have been given. Further, 12.30% of the Garrett County population has been vaccinated (first doses). To-date, the County has 1,821 confirmed positives and 57 deaths.

Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) has again been awarded an ‘A’ by the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade a national distinction recognizing Garrett Regional Medical Center’s achievements in protecting patients from harm and providing safe health care. GRMC continues to “rock it” on many levels and we are all very fortunate to have them in our rural community.  Here’s more details on their latest recognition. Way to go Mark and team!

Just heard that State Farm Agent Andy Nelson has opened an office right beside Shentel opposite of the Walmart intersection in Dr. Wolfes old office. Andy is taking over a part of Rob Michael’s previous book of business since Rob has recently retired. Andy plans to work hard to fill the shoes of Rob and continue his legacy of providing excellent customer support and integrity to the community.  Feel free to call Andy at 301.859.4040. We wish Andy and his new team the best.

Join the Ruth Enlow Library today for a 30-minute lesson from the kitchen for healthy ideas on what to do with canned tomatoes with Howard County’s SNAP Ed’s educator, Razan Sahuri. The event starts at 2:00 pm with registration required.  Here’s the scoop

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on the proposed fiscal year 2022 annual work plans for the following state forests: Chesapeake/PocomokeGreen RidgePotomac-Garrett, and Savage River. The comment period concludes March 5th. Annual work plans help the department identify priorities within the scope of the forests’ long-range management.

And, speaking of the DNR, they have posted the proposed 2021-2022 Migratory Game Bird Seasons for public review and comment through Feb. 26. The department’s website also features a short presentation detailing the remaining steps in the regulatory process, data updates, and the status of the Atlantic Population (migratory) Canada goose population. Citizens can provide input online, by phone at 410.260.8540.

February is National Pet Dental Health Month! Schedule your pet’s appointment for a free oral screening and assessment at the Bredel Clinic at HART on Bumble Bee Road, and receive 15% off any dental work when you schedule your appointment within 30 days after your pet’s dental assessment. Call them at 301.387.7729 for details nd to schedule. Gee, I wonder if this applies to my pet guppy, aka “JAWS?”

Garrett Regional Medical Center Nationally Recognized with an ‘A’ in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade

Garrett Regional Medical Center Nationally Recognized with an ‘A’ in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade

Oakland, MD – Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) has again been awarded an ‘A’ by the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Gradea national distinction recognizing Garrett Regional Medical Center’s achievements in protecting patients from harm and providing safe health care. This marks the second consecutive A that the regional medical center has received from The Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization committed to health care quality and safety. Leapfrog assigns an ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’ or ‘F’ to all general hospitals throughout the United States based on the hospital’s performance in preventing medical errors, injuries, accidents, infections and other harms to patients.

“We are extremely grateful to hospital leadership and health care workers who have remained steadfast in prioritizing patient safety as our nation battles COVID-19,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “This ‘A’ is a testament to the care and commitment of those who work for Garrett Regional Medical Center. With the current pandemic exposing existing flaws within the U.S. health care system, we appreciate GRMC putting patient safety first. Lives depend on it.”

Developed under the guidance of a National Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses up to 27 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. acute-care hospitals twice per year. The Hospital Safety Grade’s methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public.

“This recognition of excellence in hospital safety stems from the hard work and dedication of our incredible staff,” noted Mark Boucot, GRMC’s President and CEO. “I am honored and proud to be part of a team that makes excellent patient care the focal point of everything we do. We have established certain standards and quality measures that have become a way of life at GRMC. It shows in the recent distinctions we have been awarded and in our exceptional patient care statistics.”

The A grade from Leapfrog marks the third top level achievement in quality care awarded Garrett Regional Medical Center in recent months. GRMC was given a coveted 5-star rating by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and was named a Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital by the Chartis Group last spring. The Chartis Group rates acute care rural hospitals throughout the United States on a variety of patient-related data points.

“The staff at GRMC, in every department, is very much involved in helping us cope with the current health crisis. Each day they demonstrate their courage and dedication by coming to work and caring for those in our community,” Boucot continued. “It is an inspiration and we are so grateful for their commitment to treat every patient like a member of their own family.”

Garrett Regional Medical Center is among the top-rated hospitals in Maryland. GRMC is the top-rated hospital in the state for reducing hospital-acquired conditions, and has had the lowest readmission rate in the state for the past four years. GRMC’s surgical site infection rate of 0% is far below the national average of 1.57%. In addition, it is ranked in the top 50 hospitals in the United States for its low readmission rates for both COPD patients and for patients diagnosed with sepsis.

The Leapfrog Group was founded in 2000 and is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for improved quality and safety in American health care. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey and new Leapfrog Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) Survey collect and transparently report hospital and ASC performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. Leapfrog assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety and helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents and infections.

Garrett Regional Medical Center is an award winning, progressive, Joint Commission accredited acute care facility with 55 inpatient beds in Oakland, Maryland. The hospital serves a population of 46,000 within Garrett County and surrounding communities in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Originally established in 1950, the hospital has continuously evolved to advance the health and wellness needs of the region. Through its clinical affiliation with WVU Medicine, GRMC offers comprehensive health care services unique to a rural location. GRMC is one of the county’s largest employers with more than 450 team members, who are each dedicated to our mission of striving to treat every patient like family.  Learn more at https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org/

 

 

Monday February 8

We had a nice weekend weather-wise, with lots of skiers in town.  The weather for today will be mostly sunny, with a high near 33 degrees. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming light and variable. We have a slight chance of snow showers after 1:00 am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 22. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Don’t forget that the Kitzmiller Lions Club is currently holding a Soup Sale! Order your soup by the quart or by the gallon. Chili, Vegetable Beef, and Chicken Noodle available.  Why not combine your soup pick-up with a trip to the history-rich Kitzmiller area of Garrett County.

And, speaking of local Lions Clubs, the Deep Creek Lake Lions Club is still looking for experienced skiers to serve as sighted guides at Wisp this week and February 16 and 17th.  Contact Joey Simson at 301.616.4586 or at jsimson14@gmail.com for more information.

Garrett County will be famous! Well, it is already pretty famous, but Maryland Public Television (MPT) will be featuring a farm in Garrett County on the next Maryland Farm and Harvest show.  It is scheduled to run this Tuesday at 7:00 pm.  Tune in.

The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center recently had two electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging stations installed by Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. The stations are among the first such units the company has installed in its Maryland service area. Now, I just need a new Tesla!

The Deep Creek Lake Policy Review Board will hold its first meeting for 2021 at 4:00 pm this afternoon. Public Attendance is virtual only. Join on Google Meet: meet.google.com/ebd-cxyi-bte Or by phone: 978-484-0550 (PIN : 465087870).

Here’s a quick factoid for you folks: When Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine recently asked readers if the pandemic had taken a toll on their retirement nest egg, 84% said “no” and that they were on track, and 16% said “yes,” due to lower earnings, dialing back contributions and/or having to take a loan or withdrawal from their retirement account.

GLAF’s Barron Ryan concert is today at 6:00 pm. This performance is a LIVE interactive concert, so you must get a link from the GLAF office and you need to be online at 6:00 on February 8th to view the performance. Email GLAF for more information and the link at glaf@artsandentertainment.org.

Don’t forget that MoonShadow Restaurant is offering an outdoor firepit complete with free s’mores (with the presentation of a Wisp ski pass). Call ahead because seating may be limited! 240.442.5542.

Have a wonderful Monday dear readers…

Wednesday February 3

We are in a winter wonderland for sure after the past few days of snow.  The weather for today includes a chance of snow showers before 1:00 pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 24 degrees, with a west wind around 17 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Tonight will be partly cloudy, with a low around 13. West wind 10 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Glenda at Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) just sent us their measurements for temperature and precipitation for the month of January.  The average high temperature for the month was 35.2 and the average low was 20.1 degrees.  They measured rain for January at 1.04 inches and frozen precipitation at 7.2 inches. Thanks for sharing Glenda. I should note that we are looking for some addional measurement sources for these winter months.  More information to follow in the future as we try to provide a broader view of area  conditions.

The MD DNR Forest Service is now accepting reservations for the 2021 Backyard Buffer Program in Garrett and Allegany Counties! Landowners in these counties with a stream, drainage ditch, or other waterway on their property are eligible to receive a packet of 25 tree seedlings for planting on their property. Seedlings will be available for pickup sometime in April. More information will be sent to program applicants once pickup details are finalized. Requests to participate must be received by March 19th (or when the program reaches capacity). Sign up using the Google form here.

The winter months are the time of year that people spend the least amount of time outdoors. This mean that children whose parents or caregivers smoke are most at risk for experiencing the health effects of secondhand smoke. So, the Garrett County Health Department is promoting a campaign to “Go Out for Your Kids.” The “Go Out for Your Kids” campaign recommends that smokers never smoke in their homes or their cars, instead opting to smoke only outdoors. Another option is to quit smoking. The Garrett County Health Department provides ongoing Quit Now classes or phone support at no cost. Nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges are available, as well as Chantix or Zyban. For more information or to register for support, call the health department at 301-501-8574 or the Maryland Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or www.kickingtobacco.com.

While housing and tourism seems to be booming around the lake, I know many businesses, especially in the service sector and to varying degrees, have been seriously hurt by the pandemic. Some recently released national statistics support that.  Measured year-over-year, the economy contracted 3.5% in 2020, the largest decline since just after WWII.  The good news is that the national economy grew at a seasonably adjusted 2.5% in the fourth quarter, on top of a strong third quarter.  The bottom line is we are possibly seeing the clouds part and maybe some sunshine of late.  Let’s hope it continues.

GLAF, in partnership with Maryland Symphony Orchestra (MSO), put on a successful virtual show in January.  There are other virtual, re-imagined  shows planned that you can subscribe to through GLAF, along with their other offerings this winter.  Here’s a link to the MSO site to see their upcoming concerts. If you have questions you can contact Mary Callis at GLAF at mary@artsandentertainment.org.

First United Bank & Trust appears to always be on the forefront of embracing banking innovation.  Click here for some information on their latest digital banking efforts.

Tuesday February 2

Well, it snowed just about all day yesterday.  I am guessing we received about 12 inches total the past few days and we are still under a winter storm warning.

Today we have a  chance of snow showers before 10:00 am, then a chance of snow showers, freezing rain, and sleet between 10:00 am and noon, then snow showers likely after noon. Cloudy, with a high near 22 degrees. Northwest wind 9 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Little or no ice accumulation expected. New snow and sleet accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible. Tonight, snow showers likely, mainly before 1:00 am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 13. Northwest wind around 14 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

The Kitzmiller Lions Club is currently holding a Soup Sale! Order your soup by the quart or by the gallon. Chili, Vegetable Beef, and Chicken Noodle available. Quarts are $9, Gallons are $36.  Orders and money due by February 12th. Soup pick up will be at the Coal Bucket Restaurant on February 16th. You can contact the Kitzmiller Club through their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Kitzmiller-Lions-Club-267611003276677 or email Stephanie at schoch705@gmail.com to order.

The Garrett County Health Department will allow persons age 65 through 74 to begin scheduling appointments as soon as the vaccine is available . These are the only groups that will be eligible to schedule appointments from the Phase 1C group at this time. Links will be available on Garrett County Health Department’s website, garretthealth.org, for COVID-19 vaccine appointments whenever slots are available, and removed whenever the appointments are filled. Announcements will be made on the Health Department’s website, Facebook page, and local news media when a new link is available for registration.

The Maryland Municipal League (MML) invites all eligible Maryland 4th graders to participate in the “If I were Mayor” essay contest. This year’s theme is Teamwork through flexibility, respect, leadership, and civility. This year, the contest prompts students to answer the following questions: If you were Mayor…1-List an issue you think is a problem in your city/town/community.  2- What would you change to help solve the problem? And 3- While everyone is virtual, how would you bring people together to help. All essay submissions are due by March 30th by midnight. However, digital entry forms must be turned in by noon on March 30 in order to receive the Dropbox link necessary to submit the student’s essays. See the link above for more information and complete contest rules.

Here’s a link to some interesting state statistics relative to the pandemic, COVID cases and vaccinations.  It seems like we are gaining momentum statewide and locally.  I keep hoping that more vaccinations become available locally so we can take care of our community, as the state and nation also recovers.

Governor Hogan’s office reports that hundreds of volunteers from the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps are supporting vaccination clinics across the state. Sign up to volunteer at a vaccination clinic. The State of Maryland has launched a grassroots public outreach and equity campaign to promote vaccine confidence. These vaccines are safe, effective, and authorized for use by our country’s leading medical experts. Join the GoVAX campaign. To receive additional updates, text ‘MdReady’ to 898-211. Marylanders are also encouraged to visit covidlink.maryland.gov to review vaccine safety and efficacy information.

Garrett Regional Medical Center’s recently opened new primary care facility on Wolf Acres Drive, located at the site of Dr. Daniel Miller’s former practice, continues to accept new patients. Garrett Family Medicine provides comprehensive primary care services for people of all ages, from infants and children through those in need of geriatric care. The clinic’s primary care provider, Brooklyn Ayersman, a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), provides services that include diagnosing conditions, prescribing medication, and dictating patient care.

This is an interesting opportunity for the right entity: The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is seeking public and private nonprofit organizations to serve free, nutritious meals to children and teens this summer thorough the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program. The deadline for applications is May 31st. For more information about the SFSP, please visit www.eatsmartmaryland.org. Interested organizations should contact the Office of School and Community Nutrition Programs at 410.767.0199.

When Vaccine is Available, Garrett County Will Offer Appointments to Persons Age 65+

When Vaccine is Available, Garrett County Will Offer Appointments to Persons Age 65+

By Garrett County Joint Information Center Team

As soon as vaccine is available to open up more COVID-19 vaccine appointments, Garrett County Health Department will allow person age 65 through 74 to begin scheduling appointments. These are the only groups that will be eligible to schedule appointments from the Phase 1C group at this time.

Statistics show that the county has currently vaccinated 51% of residents who are age 75 and older, compared to the state rate of 24%.  Anyone in Phase 1A and 1B who has not yet be vaccinated will remain eligible when additional appointments are opened up. Phase 1B includes all individuals with developmental disabilities, with priority for those in congregate living situations.

The links will be available on Garrett County Health Department’s website, garretthealth.org, for COVID-19 vaccine appointments whenever slots are available, and removed whenever the appointments are filled. Announcements will be made on the Health Department’s website, Facebook page, and local news media when a new link is available for registration. The website is the best way to schedule an appointment. However, when appointments are made available, persons who need assistance to register online may call the COVID-19 Hotline at 301-334-7698 for help.

Currently, many Phase 1A personnel are receiving second doses, and most Garrett County Public School and non-public school personnel who want to be vaccinated have received their first dose and are scheduled for their second one. “Please remember to review the information that tells you which priority groups are eligible for appointments in Garrett County at that specific time,” Stephens said. “Signing up for a clinic you do not qualify for creates issues for everyone. Your appointment will be canceled, you won’t receive your vaccine, and we will need to schedule someone else in that slot who meets the qualifications.”

The vaccine timeline released by the Health Department last week is available at garretthealth.org and on their Facebook Page. The timeline will be updated as the county progresses through the priority groups. The Health Department is not keeping a pre-registration list.

Additional information for Garrett County today includes:

  • A vaccination rate of 11.2% of county residents for first doses of COVID-19 vaccine
  • A 7-day case rate of 18.71 per 100,000 Garrett County residents, compared to Maryland’s case rate of 29.53
  • A 7-day positivity rate of 6.89%, compared to Maryland’s rate of 61%
  • A total of 1,798 COVID-19 cases
  • A total of 57 deaths due to COVID-19 or its complications

Additional COVID-19 resources:

  • If you have COVID-19 like symptoms, schedule a testing appointment at the Health Department by calling 301-334-7697.
  • Free COVID-19 testing is available (with or without symptoms) on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the MEDCO Building in the McHenry Business Park. Pre-registration is recommended. Visit garretthealth.org for more information.
  • For all other COVID-19 related questions, or to report a COVID-19 compliance issue, call the local COVID-19 Hotline number at 301-334-7698.

2021 Mayor’s Essay Contest Announced

2021 Mayor’s Essay Contest Announced

The Maryland Municipal League (MML) invites all eligible Maryland 4th graders to participate in the “If I were Mayor” essay contest. This year’s theme is Teamwork through flexibility, respect, leadership, and civility.

Maryland Municipal League (MML) works both with member cities and towns and on their behalf to educate citizens and students about Maryland municipal government. They have developed a variety of programs designed to allow their partners to serve as ambassadors and shine the light on municipal government and increase the public’s knowledge about what municipalities bring to their community.

Each year, MML and the Maryland Mayors’ Association invite 4th-grade students to participate in a statewide essay contest. The essay has a specific theme, annually, to help students think about ways to make their community a better place to live and work. Winning essays will be chosen from each district and will be awarded cash prizes. The contest has educated over 22,000 students and their teachers about Maryland municipal government. The essay challenges students to address three issues if they were mayor.

This year, the contest prompts students to answer the following questions: If you were Mayor…1-List an issue you think is a problem in your city/town/community.  2- What would you change to help solve the problem? And 3- While everyone is virtual, how would you bring people together to help.

All essay submissions are due by March 30, 2020 by midnight. However, digital entry forms must be turned in by noon on March 30 in order to receive the Dropbox link necessary to submit the student’s essays. More information and complete contest rules can be found at http://mdmunicipal.org/920/2021-Mayors-Essay-Contest.

Please feel free to make a copy and send to Oakland City Hall if you would like to share your essays with Oakland Mayor, Jay Moyer at: Oakland City Hall, 15 S. Third Street, Oakland, MD 21550.

New primary care clinic in Oakland, Garrett Family Medicine, continues to welcome new patients

New primary care clinic in Oakland, Garrett Family Medicine, continues to welcome new patients

OAKLAND, MD – Garrett Regional Medical Center’s recently opened new primary care facility on Wolf Acres Drive, located at the site of Dr. Daniel Miller’s former practice, continues to accept new patients. Garrett Family Medicine provides comprehensive primary care services for people of all ages, from infants and children through those in need of geriatric care. The clinic’s primary care provider, Brooklyn Ayersman, a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), provides services that include diagnosing conditions, prescribing medication, and dictating patient care.

“As a family nurse practitioner, I have the versatility to provide comprehensive care to patients throughout their lives, and I look forward to caring for patient in our Garrett County community,” said Ayersman.

The new practice is located in the same building that previously housed the primary care practice of Dr. Daniel Miller, who recently retired. Garrett Family Medicine is happy to welcome all of Dr. Miller’s former patients, as well as new patients in need of a primary care provider. As a new clinic, former patients of Dr. Miller’s office will need to be registered as a new patient and schedule an initial appointment. Medical records from Dr. Millers practice did not transfer to Garrett Family Medicine but can be obtained upon request.

Garrett Family Medicine is located at 69 Wolf Acres Dr, Oakland, and will be open Monday through Friday with evening hours on Thursdays. For more information or to set up an appointment, call 301-533-2929.

 

Monday February 1

Welcome to February folks!  Hopefully we will continue to build momentum for a great 2021, a year that will be much better than 2020.

The weekend was very cold, with yesterday quite snowy here on the mountain, with significant accumulations.  Today we remain under a winter storm warning, with snow, possibly mixed with freezing rain, becoming all snow after 7:00 am. High near 28 degrees and an east wind around 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Tonight additional light snow, with a low around 20.

Here’s a great photo taken by Hanna Clodfelter Saturday morning.  Yes, that’s the moon still out in the morning.  Note the crisp, clear skies before all the fluffy stuff started coming down on Sunday.  Thanks very much for sharing Hanna.

morning moon hana glodfelter

Moon in the Morning

I have been hearing that some visitors have booked visits to Deep Creek Lake area lodgings only to find out that all of the reservation slots for skiing and tubing at Wisp have been taken by the time they arrive.  To avoid dissapointment, I urge all to plan their vacation in advance during the pandemic and to make needed bookings in advance if they plan to ski or tube. And remember, if you come and should be “locked out” of some local attractions, there are plenty of things to do around the area to keep you and your friends and family busy.

While the natural beauty and the people of the Deep Creek Lake area anchor the foundation of our community’s success, our small businesses are the life blood of the area. The U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey (SBPS) started asking businesses in April of last year when they expect to return to normal levels of operations, a crucial indication of how they are adapting to the pandemic, social distancing, and other public health strategies. The latest release shows 16.5% of businesses experienced little or no effect from the pandemic, while 55.3% expect long term challenges.

Don’t forget to check out the February Cover Story. I wrote it with the intent of highlighting some of the activities still available to us here on the mountain during the winter months.  I hope you enjoy and that it gives you some ideas or maybe even a gentle push to get out and about safely during the pandemic.

Here’s a nice photo taken a few days ago by Dot Sissler.  The photo really captures the crisp weather, the winter fields and also shows an interesting sky.  Thanks for sharing Dot!

dot sissler 1-31-21

Winter Fields

 

Here’s a reminder that the Deep Creek Lake Policy Review Board will hold its first meeting for 2021 at 4:00 pm on February 8th. The meeting was rescehduled from an earlier date due to inclement weather. Note that public Attendance is virtual only.  You can join on Google Meet by going to meet.google.com/ebd-cxyi-bte, or by phone: 978-484-0550 (PIN : 465087870)

The Garrett County Health Department reminds everyone that our county is currently only vaccinating members of Phase 1A and 1B due to the limited number of COVID-19 vaccine doses distributed to the county. I have heard some mixed rumors and stories about the best way to get on a list for the vaccine. The vaccine timeline released by the Health Department is available at garretthealth.org and on their Facebook Page. The timeline will be updated as the county progresses through the priority groups. The Health Department is not keeping a pre-registration list.

Additional information for Garrett County as of friday includes: A vaccination rate of 9.6% of county residents for first doses of COVID-19 vaccine; A 7-day case rate of 19.20 per 100,000 Garrett County residents;  A 7-day positivity rate of 7.10%; A total of 1,789 COVID-19 cases; A total of 57 deaths due to COVID-19 or its complications.  Things are looking better, especially with the vaccines becoming available.

Have a wonderful Monday dear readers…

February 2021 Cover Story

February 2021 Deep Creek Times Cover Story

Things to Do Right Now!

By Mike Tumbarello

Well, we have all been pretty much sequestered for almost a year and many of us, including this author, are tired of spending most of our time indoors and away from people.  Plus, many of us, including this author, need to get out and exercise a bit more to work-off some of those “pandemic pounds.” And, many of us, yes, including this author, need to make sure we stay sharp mentally as well as physically.

My Deep Creek Times partner, Sarah, has worked hard to prepare our newest Deep Creek Lake Area Guide over the past month and that has inspired me to put together this cover story on things you can do right now – during the pandemic this February 2021 – in the Deep Creek Lake area. Some of my suggestions are indoor, some are outdoor.  Some are inexpensive or even free and some require some spending, but all can go toward making life a bit more interesting and active this February and beyond.

So, here’s my list of eight things you can do right now in the Deep Creek Lake area.  They are not in any particular order and the degree of participation is up to the individual.  Here’s my list:

  1. Visit one or more of the area’s great state parks – From waterfalls to hiking and cross-country ski trails, our local state parks have it all. And, there are a variety of options to meet the needs of the beginner through fitness fanatic. Perhaps the best amenity is simply the serenity and natural beauty available for all to experience. So, whether you are a local, second homeowner or visitor, give some thought to this great option.
  2. Go skiing, snowboarding or tubing at Wisp – So far this season we have been fortunate to have some nice, regular snowfalls, especially on or during holiday weekends. Plus, Wisp often makes snow to supplement their current snow base.  Wisp has a variety of slopes from beginner to expert and the tube park is a great resource for couples and families that may wish to enjoy winter activities but that do not ski or board.
  3. Go sledding – This is a great, fun and family-oriented activity that is basically free and that can be accomplished with minimal equipment. Sometimes, I think we forget the simple, traditional options and there are numerous advantages to being in the mountainous part of Maryland, as there are great ski hills all over, on public or private lands.
  4. Go for a swim – I am not talking about the lake here. There are two great locations for indoor swimming enthusiasts around the lake.  The Community Aquatic Recreation Center (CARC) at Garrett College has both a competition (lap) pool and a therapy pool (basically a giant hot tub) for fun and exercise.  The Wisp also has a pool that is nearby and easily accessible.
  5. Take in a little history – There is a lot of history in the area and one way to experience it is to visit one of the area’s free or low-cost museums or sites. The Garrett County Historic Society Museum, the Transportation museum and the B&O Railroad Museum are all close to one another in downtown Oakland.  You can take a break from the outdoors, learn something about the local and regional history and combine it with a nice meal or shopping in downtown Oakland.
  6. Go shopping – While many folks come to the Deep Creek Lake area to experience the outdoor beauty and participate in adventure sports, some come to just get away for a while. There are a number small businesses that offer a variety of local, regional and traditional products for all tastes.  See our shopping guide for more information.
  7. Have a nice meal – We are fortunate to have a nice variety of restaurants in the area, from family fare to casual meals and also some really nice higher-end restaurants. You would also be rewarded with some good food and a different experience if you ventured away from the immediate lake area and partook of the offerings in some of the surrounding towns such as Grantsville.
  8. Take a break – Research shows that many visitors come to the area to relax, take a break from the day-to-day hustle and bustle and just relax. And, that is fine and a good option.  For that day and/or evening in, consider a good book, or game for the family and supplement that with some nice local spirits and take out.

So that’s my list.  It is designed to plant the seeds for lake-area “options for all” that can be mixed and/or tailored to individual, couple or family tastes. The key is to consider all of your options and to do exactly what you want, when you want.  Even in winter and even during a pandemic.  Enjoy and please stay safe, happy and healthy and check our area guide from time-to-time for ideas and links.

 

Mike Tumbarello