Oakland volunteer team beautifies town

Last week the Clean and Green team placed lovely mums in the planters around downtown Oakland.  This is the 3rd year the team, composed of volunteers, has kept the planters filled with summer and fall flowers. The mums were purchased by the team using prize money they were awarded at last year’s “Run for It” in Tucker County, WV.

The team also weeded and added new mulch to the Veterans Park and built some pumpkin stacks at the Pocket Park. Seventeen Green Team members and friends took part in the Run for It event which was held virtually last month. Though the Town of Oakland maintains the general maintenance of the Dog Park, this year’s Green Team prize monies will be used to refurbish the landscaping and additional projects.

Any questions regarding volunteer opportunities or the Oakland Dog Park can be directed to Nicole McCullough at Oakland City Hall, 301-334-2691 or she can be reached by email at mainstreetgoba@gmail.com.

GC’s McHenry campus latest to have electric vehicle (EV) charging station installed

Garrett College’s McHenry campus is one of the latest locations in Garrett County and western Maryland to have an Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station installed by Potomac Edison, as part of a pilot program to benefit the environment by reducing auto emissions.

“We met with Potomac Edison representatives and it was determined that the College was an excellent candidate and location for a double EV charging station,” stated Kathy Meagher, GC’s director of campus facilities and security.  “The EV charging stations were completely funded through rebates by Potomac Edison as part of their pilot program.”

Over the course of the five-year pilot program – approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission – Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., will install more than 50 charging stations at various locations throughout its Maryland service territory, according to the company’s website (www.firstenergycorp.com).

The state-wide initiative has a goal of reaching 300,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.

Meagher also stated the EV charging stations will assist the College with meeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) requirements for the Community Education and Performing Arts Center (CEPAC), scheduled to open in the spring of 2022.

“As a state-funded project, the CEPAC is required to strive for LEED silver designation, and the installation of the EV charging stations on Garrett College’s McHenry campus will help us to achieve this goal,” noted Meagher.

LEED certification and designation are awarded based on green building design and construction that promote energy efficiency and minimalize environmental impact.

Friday October 16, Saturday October 17, Sunday October 18

The weather today will be cloudy then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 45 and a low around 32. Widespread frost overnight, mainly after 5am. Saturday will start with the frost mainly before 9 am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 50 and a low around 36. Sunday will be mostly sunny with a high near 58 and a low around 42.

We found this write-up and thought the advice was solid; in light of COVID-19, parks throughout Maryland have been overwhelmed this year. Try visiting Casselman River Bridge State Park and Sang Run State Park. Both lovely options that are a bit off of the beaten path.

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Office of the Secretary and representatives from MDOT’s business units met virtually last Friday with Garrett County officials. This was just one meeting of 24 around the state to update local officials and the public on the Hogan administration’s Draft FY 2021-2026 Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP), which details MDOT’s $13.4 billion six-year capital budget and transportation investments.

MDOT Administrator Tim Smith said MDOT has focused on construction this year: “We’re in the homestretch of the $63 million U.S. 219 realignment between (Interstate) 68 and Old Salisbury Road, so we’re planning on having that open to traffic by the end of the year,” he said. The $4.2 million intersection improvement at U.S. 219 and Mosser Road and the $1.7 million Wilson Run structure on Route 219 at Center Street projects were recently completed locally.

The Deep Creek Winter Sports Team has opened registration for the upcoming winter season!

The month of October is recognized as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Local businesses have played a vital role in allowing Garrett County Public Schools (GCPS) students with disabilities to engage in work-based learning experiences.

The Garrett County Health Department offers the “Play Hard, Live Clean” campaign to every student in the Garrett County school system to promote a clean lifestyle.

Try to make it out to the Blood Drive, today, at Garrett County Health Dept. It will be held 9am – 5pm.

You should still plan to come to visit this weekend (if you’re not already here!!) — we are past “peak” on the foliage report because some wind and rain took down leaves but there are still pockets of great color!

I took this photo yesterday at Swallow Falls State Park. Not quite as vibrant as a few days ago but still really spectacular!

Cooling water temperatures have several species of fish active at Deep Creek Lake: Northern pike, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, yellow perch and walleye are biting. “Spinnerbaits and spoons are popular baits for northern pike; tubes, jigs and small crankbaits for smallmouth bass; and crankbaits and soft plastic craw baits for largemouth bass. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass are feeding heavily on crayfish and will often have a reddened snout this time of the year from nailing crayfish on the rocky bottom. Drifting live minnows is working well for catching yellow perch and walleye.”

More trout were stocked this week:

  • North Branch Potomac River (Delayed Harvest): 600 rainbow trout
  • North Branch Potomac River, Gorman (Delayed Harvest): 600 rainbow trout
  • North Branch Potomac River, Kitzmiller (Catch and Release): 1,000 rainbow trout

The movie theater is open today through Sunday. Check out the schedule.

Have a great weekend!

DCWST Announces Opening of Registration for the 2020-21 Winter Season

Deep Creek Winter Sports Team has opened registration for its 2020-2021 season; details are available on the team website at dcwst.org. DCWST is a US Ski and Snowboard (USSS) member club for athletes aged 7 to 18 competing in Alpine ski-racing and Snow-boarding.

DCWST Alpine-racers compete within the USSS regional organizing body – Pennsylvania Alpine Racing Association (PARA) in Slalom and Giant Slalom races. The races take place primarily at Wisp Resort and Seven Springs Resort, PA. The Alpine team practices weeknights (Tuesdays and Fridays) and weekends at the Wisp.
The Snowboarders participate in competitions organized by USA Snowboard and Freeski Association (USASA) as part of their regional Appalachian Series. The event disciplines include Slopestyle, Halfpipe, Boardercross and Rail Jam. The Snowboard team practices on weekends at Wisp Resort.

Instructions and appropriate links for completing the registration process for USSS, USASA and DCWST, are provided on the DCWST Membership page of the team website: http://www.dcwst.org/membership.html The team’s registration site can be accessed directly at http://www.dcwst.org.leag1.com/

The team is asking that returning members register on or before November 1, 2020 so that staff planning for the season can be completed and to avoid late fees; Nov 1st is also the USSS early bird registration deadline. New members may register without a late fee through January 4, 2021.

As in past years, DCWST is also offering scholarships to interested skiers and snowboarders from the local and regional community. The scholarship covers the cost of team dues for the season while the USSS and USASA fees remain individual responsibility. For more information on scholarship opportunities visit the DCWST website and click on the Scholarships tab at the top. The scholarship application deadline is November 22, 2020.

Any questions about the registration process or the team in general can be emailed to information@dcwst.org.

GCPS Recognizes National Disability Employment Awareness Month

The month of October is recognized as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Over the past few years, local businesses have played a vital role in allowing Garrett County Public Schools (GCPS) students with disabilities to engage in work-based learning experiences. On behalf of the Department of Special Education’s Secondary Transition Team, we would like to thank these local businesses for their partnership.
Through their partnership, GCPS students with disabilities are given a unique opportunity to explore their career interests and practice the necessary skills for successful employment. Together, we are able to prepare our students with the experience, skills, and knowledge to succeed in their post-secondary employment goals. Since we initiated the work-based learning program in 2017, we have been able to provide 38 students with disabilities with employment experiences.
GCPS would like to thank the following businesses for their commitment to promote students with disabilities in the workforce.
* Appalachian Crossroads, Oakland
* Auto Land, Accident
* The Cornish Cafe, Oakland
* FireFly Farms Market, Accident
* Fratz True Value Hardware, Accident
* Garrett Container System Inc, Accident
* Garrett County Community Action, Oakland
* Greater Oakland Business Association, Oakland
* Gregg’s Pharmacy, Oakland
* HART for Animals Inc, Accident
* Chamber of Commerce, McHenry
* Naylors Hardware, Oakland
* Patriot Automotive Group Inc, Oakland
* Pick of the Litter, Oakland
* Shear Fantasy, Oakland
* Simon Pearce, Oakland
* 3rd Street Diner, Oakland

Thursday October 15

The weather today will be mostly sunny with a high near 67 and a low around 40. Southwest wind 15 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. A slight chance of showers before 11pm.

The Garrett County Health Department has announced a fourth rabies case in the county.

Secret shoppers will be shopping Garrett County businesses to reduce alchohol use for those under 21.

Garrett Regional Medical Center celebrates 70 years!

Keep the Ruth Enlow Library in mind for resources to help the kids through school.

The Garrett County Health Department is collecting feedback to learn about how Garrett County residents, stakeholders, and partners think they’re doing. This short survey takes 2 minutes!

Another survey, the 2020 Maryland Young Adult Survey on Alcohol, is now open. Pass this 10-minute survey on to any  Marylanders between the ages of 18- 25 years old and they have a chance to win a $50 gift card or a grand prize $95 gift card. The survey is being conducted by the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy,

Kylie Mark, a senior at Northern Garrett High School, was recognized by Yumi Hogan and awarded the 1st place High School award for her artwork entitled Silence Speaks Loud at Maryland’s First Lady’s Art Gallery Exhibition on Friday, October 9, 2020.

I took this drone photo of the Upper Yough. Can you spot me in the yellow jacket?

Terry Helbig Named the 2020 Autumn Glory Honorary Golden Ambassador

The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce has named Terry Helbig as the 2020 Honorary Golden Ambassador of the 53rd Annual Autumn Glory Festival. The announcement was made at the Chamber’s Virtual Autumn Glory Kick-Off Event on October 7, 2020. The Golden Ambassador sponsor is Mlend and the Platinum Sponsors of the Kick-Off Event were First United Bank & Trust and Premier Power Solutions, LLC. Patriot Automotive Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram: King of the 4WD is the title sponsor of the 53rd Annual Autumn Glory Festival.

The Golden Ambassador is awarded by the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce to a person who has contributed to and supported tourism in Garrett County. The Golden Ambassador is selected by a committee of former Golden Ambassador winners.

“On behalf of the Chamber and the tourism community, I offer sincere congratulations to Terry on being named the 2020 Honorary Golden Ambassador,” said Nicole Christian, Chamber President and CEO. “Terry is so deserving of this recognition. His passion and commitment for turning the Oakland train station into the B&O museum has created a wonderful experience for visitors and residents. He is a humble servant of this community and I am pleased that we are able to show appreciation for his tireless efforts.”

Terry was born and raised in Garrett County and learned the insurance industry from his father, James Helbig, who worked at an insurance agency in downtown Oakland. Terry founded his own insurance company, Helbig Insurance Agency, in downtown Oakland in 2006 with his late wife, Kathy. With a keen interest in local history and a desire to share that history with residents and visitors, Terry worked with the town of Oakland over the course of several years to turn the town’s 1884 railroad station into a museum. Since the creation of the Oakland B&O Museum, Terry has directed its remodeling and helped to create its exhibits. The Oakland B&O Museum and Train station now features local artifacts celebrating Garrett County’s history, hosts rotating exhibits and showcases artifacts from the B&O Museum in Baltimore. Since the museum’s opening, Terry has hosted a wide variety of groups to the museum and given tours to residents and guests. In addition to hosting visitors to the museum, Terry has also recently worked to obtain funding for the purchasing, and restoration, of a steam locomotive for display on the grounds of the Museum; that steam locomotive is now a popular addition to the B&O Train Station and Museum.

A staunch supporter of Oakland, Terry currently serves as a Board Member of the Garrett County Historical Society, where he has been an active member for over 25 years. The Historical Society Museum houses a treasure trove of exhibits related to the founding of Garrett County, the history of the area and the way of life for Garrett County citizens from years past. The Historical Society Museum features 9 rooms dedicated to Garrett County history including Arts & Recreation, Schools, Hotels, Military, Cabin, B&O Railroad, Garrett, Industrial, and Victorian. Most recently, Terry worked to obtain a state legislative grant to correct issues from the Wilson Creek Channel that runs under the Historical Society’s Museum building, ensuring this popular historical site remains open for years to come.

Terry is a current member of the Oakland-Mountain Lake Park Lions Club, where he previously served as President; a charter member of the BPO Elks and currently serves as the Chairman of the Oakland B&O Museum, the committee operating the 1884 station for Oakland. Terry has served as a council member on the Oakland Town Council since 2018, after previous stints in the 1980s and from 2006 – 2009. Terry is also a member of the newly formed Oakland Cemetery Committee with a mission to help preserve local monuments.

Play Hard, Live Clean Campaign Promotes Clean Lifestyle

During the 2019-2020 school year, each public school in Garrett County participated in the Garrett County Health Department’s Play Hard, Live Clean (PHLC) campaign, a healthy lifestyle campaign designed to encourages youth to make good choices by recognizing and rewarding them for certain positive lifestyle accomplishments from kindergarten through graduation.

“Every student in the Garrett County Public School System has the opportunity to participate in the PHLC challenges and that makes me so excited,” said James Michaels, Program Coordinator. “The Play Hard, Live Clean lifestyle is something I love to model for our students and community.”

“Although the onset of COVID-19 and the changes it brought to the school systems in the spring interrupted some parts of the PHLC process, the campaign still had a positive effect on almost 1,000 Garrett County students who were able to participate,” Michaels said.

Elementary and middle school students could participate in the following challenges lasting a month each:

  • Physical Activity – 60 minutes per day for 10 days
  • Nutrition Challenge – Milk/Water instead of soda or sugared drinks for 10 days
  • Wellness Challenge – Elementary School Screen/Mindfulness Challenge; Middle School Adequate Sleep Challenge


Participating students received a bronze, silver, or gold medal for completing one, two, or three challenges. At the elementary level, the highest participation rate occurred at Crellin Elementary with 51% of students earning a medal. Between the middle schools, 31% of Southern Middle School students participated and 17% of Northern Middle School students.

“Most of the challenges were done through virtual education, so participation was lower than the previous years, but still noteworthy, nonetheless,” reported Michaels.

The campaign at the high school is primarily online, consisting of a pledge to not use alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana, and to not misuse prescription drugs, as well as monthly surveys about health topics. Thirty-two percent (32%) of high school students participated in the campaign with one in five of them being twelfth graders.

The culmination of the PHLC campaign for seniors is the awarding of a scholarship to one Northern High student and one Southern High student who earned points for participation in PHLC. The scholarship can be used for work expenses, health expenses, or further education of any kind. The winners for 2019-2020 were Alexis House from NHS and Jacob Nazelrod from SHS.

Play Hard, Live Clean for the 2020-2021 school year may look a little different, but staff expect it to be even bigger and better.

“The campaign is entering its fourth year,” Michaels remarked, “and we’re trying to build consistency with healthy lifestyle choices among all of our Garrett County youth. We have some exciting changes this school year and can’t wait to share them with all the students!”

For more information about the Play Hard, Live Clean campaign, visit the website at PlayHardLiveClean.com or contact the health department at 301-334-7730.

Blood Drive Scheduled for October 16th

The American Red Cross and the Garrett County Health Department will host a blood drive on Friday, October 16, from 12 to 5 p.m. at the Southern Garrett County Rescue Squad at 200 Baltimore Avenue, Oakland, MD.

All donors at this blood drive with a valid email address on file will automatically be entered to win a $1,000 Amazon.com Gift Card (Restrictions apply, see amazon.com/gc-legal). The Red Cross will be giving away five gift cards! (See Official Rules and terms and conditions of this Giveaway.)

“The need for blood is constant, and only volunteer donors can fulfill that need for patients in our community,” said Landon Custer, AmeriCorps Member at the Garrett County Health Department. “Nationwide, someone needs a unit of blood every 2 to 3 seconds and most of us will need blood in our lifetime.”

The Red Cross is currently performing antibody tests on all donations. This test screens for antibodies in the blood, which are formed when fighting an infection, like COVID-19. An antibody test assesses whether the immune system has responded to the infection, not if the virus is currently present. The results of the antibody test will be available to donors by logging in to their Blood Donor account on the Blood Donor App or online within one to two weeks after the donation.

Important: The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, including COVID-19. Anyone feeling unwell for any reason, should postpone their donation. Individuals who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should not present to donate until they are symptom free for 14 days and feeling well and healthy.

To donate blood, a person must be healthy, weigh at least 110 pounds, be at least 17 years old, (or 16 years old with parental consent form), and have not donated blood in the last 56 days.

Remember that using RAPIDPASS can save you up to 15 minutes.

Using RAPIDPASS is simple. On the day of the blood drive just:

  1. Visit www.redcrossblood.org/RapidPass
  2. Read the information
  3. Answer the questions
  4. Print the pass and bring along or email the pass to yourself and show on your smart phone

To schedule an appointment call Venessa at 301-334-7730 or 301-895-3111, or visit redcrossblood.org.

The Library is Open with Resources

For students and parents looking for resources this school year, the Ruth Enlow Library is your place to visit! The library has been open for a while and they want to help you find what you need – whether it’s online or in person (with a mask).

Offering online resources, online tutoring, online databases, “Activity of the Day” lists, Literacy Kits, photocopying, lamination, printing, use of 3D printers, binding tool, Internet access (including drive-up WiFi), and more! Explore our website at www.relib.net/learningathome for more links and options that are available for students learning at home and homeschoolers.

Garrett Regional Medical Center Nationally Recognized with an ‘A’ for the Spring 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade

Garrett Regional Medical Center was awarded an ‘A’ this spring by Leapfrog Hospital Safety Gradea national distinction awarded by the Leapfrog Group recognizing GRMC’s achievements in providing safe, high quality health care. The Leapfrog Group is an independent national watchdog organization committed to helping improve health care in the United States. The Safety Grade is a letter grade assigned to all general hospitals across the country and is updated every six months, assessing how well the hospital prevents medical errors and other harms to patients.

“As the nation copes with a challenging pandemic, our gratitude extends to hospital leadership and health care workers everywhere for their tremendous dedication,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “We hope this ‘A’ helps thank the people who work and volunteer for GRMC. They are role models in putting patients first, and their service has been extraordinary in our country’s time of need.”

“Receiving an ‘A’ grade from The Leapfrog Group this year is a direct result of our commitment to providing the highest level of care to our patients,” said Kendra Thayer, Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Operating Officer at GRMC. “Safety and quality are at the forefront of everything we do.”

Developed under the guidance of a national expert panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses up to 28 measures of publicly available hospital 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.

GRMC, which is clinically affiliated with WVU Medicine, was awarded an ‘A’ grade in April, when Leapfrog updated grades for spring 2020. To see Garrett Regional Medical Center’s full grade details and access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit www.hospitalsafetygrade.org.

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

“The recent recognitions Garrett Regional Medical Center has received all stem 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. It shows in the distinctions won, and it shows in our exceptional patient care statistics. Our mission of striving to treat every patient like family means we work to provide the best care possible.”

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 0.08% is far below the national average of 1.9%. 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/

Garrett Regional Medical Center celebrates 70th anniversary

As Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) celebrates its 70th anniversary this month amidst a national pandemic, the small community hospital originally established in 1950 continues to evolve to meet the needs of the community to which it is dedicated. From its start as a community hospital serving Garrett County, GRMC has grown into a true regional medical center serving a population of 46,000 people living in eight counties across three states. It has also become one of Garrett County’s largest employers with more than 500 team members.

The history of the hospital dates back to 1946, when George W. Loar, a resident of Oakland, left the town $135,000 in his will to be used for the construction of a county hospital. On May 15, 1950, Garrett County Memorial Hospital officially opened its doors. Today, GRMC has grown into an award winning, progressive, Joint Commission accredited acute care facility with 55 inpatient beds and a plethora of outpatient services.

“From our modest beginning as a small county hospital, our commitment to patient care and the community has never changed,” said GRMC President and CEO Mark Boucot. “We’ve worked to create a hospital able to provide the services people need, and the services we’ve provided over the years have reflected the changes and growth in the health care industry. That is certainly the case today.  One of the best things that I was able to do when I came to GRMC was to develop the History Hall.  Through creating the memorial to the hospital’s history, I learned about the hospital and the people who formed it.  I’m grateful to be here and to cherish the unique history we have and the hospital it’s become.”

In 2015, the hospital became clinically affiliated with West Virginia University Medicine, and Garrett County Memorial Hospital officially became Garrett Regional Medical Center. The new affiliation allowed GRMC to greatly expand services, which now include cardiopulmonary, heart and vascular, cancer care, infusion therapy, nephrology, orthopedics, wound care, behavioral health, dermatology, and a host of other outpatient services not typically found in a rural hospital setting.

GRMC has received numerous national recognitions for quality of care, patient outcomes, and patient safety. This year the hospital was awarded a coveted 5-star rating by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, named a Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital by the Chartis Group, and received an ‘A’ grade by the Leapfrog Group for their achievements in providing safe, high-quality health care.

“As GRMC reaches the significant milestone of its 70th anniversary, I want to recognize our incredible physicians, providers, and staff for their dedication to our mission to treat every patient like family,” said Boucot. “They live that mission, every day.  It’s so humbling to think of all the talented and dedicated people that worked here over the years and those who work here today.  I’m honored to be in a leadership role here.”

GRMC is the top-rated hospital in the state of Maryland for reducing hospital-acquired conditions, and has had the lowest readmission rate in the state for the past five years. GRMC’s surgical site infection rate of 0.08% is far below the national average of 1.9%. It is ranked among the top 50 hospitals in the United States for its low readmission rates for both COPD patients and for patients diagnosed with sepsis.

This year the hospital has faced unique challenges as healthcare facilities across the country adapt to a global pandemic.

“We are experiencing a watershed moment in healthcare,” said Boucot. “As we face new challenges, the efforts of our staff will be remembered as an important part of our history for years to come. I am very grateful for those who make our hospital a special place. What we have accomplished over the years, even during these challenging times, is truly amazing.”

For more information visit www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

Garrett County Economic Development Update

Michael Hough, Garrett County Director of Economic Development, has announced his resignation effective November 10, 2020.

Mr. Hough joined Garrett County Economic Development after his retirement as the Western Maryland and Pennsylvania Regional President of BB&T Corporation.

During his tenure, Mr. Hough was instrumental in the management and advancement of several economic development department initiatives to include:

  • Keyser’s Ridge Industrial Park
    • Infrastructure development
  • Broadband
    • Leadership on broadband expansion projects
  • New construction spec building the McHenry Business Park
    • Partnership with MEDCO (Maryland Economic Development Corporation) for 20,000 square feet of leasable space with direct connection to the Garrett County Airport
  • Business Development
    • Hired a Business Development Specialist to work with the municipalities and attract development opportunities in our communities
  • Workforce Housing Project in Grantsville
    • Acquisition and development of a housing project in Grantsville with County contribution less than 15% of total project costs
  • Business Assistance Loan Programs
    • In response to COVID-19, PPE (personal protective equipment) and Operating Cost grant opportunities for local businesses

“Mike’s perspective was valuable in making headway on several Economic Development Department initiatives,” said Board of Garrett County Commissioners Chair Paul Edwards. “We look forward to seeing these projects to fruition.”

In the interim, Kim Durst, Manager of Business Development will oversee the day to day operations of the Department.  Kim may be reached at 301-334-1992 or kdurst@garrettcounty.org.

Missing Juvenile from Grantsville, MD

The Maryland State Police is currently looking for a missing runaway juvenile.  The missing child is Danelle Ruth Miller, 14 years of age.

She was last seen on Wednesday, 10/7/20, at approximately 1230 hours when she left her residence in the Grantsville area of Garrett County, Maryland.  She was wearing a black zip up jacket, blue jeans, green tennis shoes and a blue and gold Northern Huskies backpack.

She is around 5’7″ tall and weighs 135 lbs., has a medium build with brown eyes and black shoulder length hair.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the Maryland State Police McHenry Barrack at 301-387-1101 or 301-895-1101

Secret Shopper Campaign to Reduce Under 21 Alcohol Sales

In the upcoming weeks, Secret Shoppers will be visiting local alcohol retail establishments to assess ID checking practices.  Secret Shoppers, all of whom are of legal age to purchase alcohol but young enough to trigger an ID check, will hand a green card complimenting the clerk or server who correctly checks an ID, or a red card if the clerk or server fails to verify the purchaser’s age.

Unlike law enforcement inspections, licensees and staff will face no legal penalties for failing to check the ID with this program.  It will be conducted for the sole purpose of providing feedback to licensees on actual staff age-verification performance.

“We hope to increase the number of alcohol ID checks being performed in Garrett County with our Secret Shoppers and this new program that we are calling “Green Thumbs UP, Red Thumbs DOWN,” said project coordinator, Lori Peck.  “A focal point of this program will be incentivizing the staff at alcohol retail establishments for conducting proper ID checks.”

Fake ID’s have become very sophisticated, and to recognize those staff who inspect ID’s carefully, each will be rewarded with an incentive. Prior to the Green Thumbs UP, Red Thumbs DOWN visits, the name of the Secret Shopper will be sent to all alcohol retailers. The checks will be repeated again in six months.

Green Thumbs UP, Red Thumbs DOWN is funded by Garrett County Health Department’s Substance Abuse Block Grant. One of the goals of the program is to evaluate current retail practices and educate about best practices to prevent underage sales of alcohol.  Through the years, the Health Department and the Liquor Control Board have funded alcohol compliance checks and vendor education about underage drinking laws, proper ID checking, and the protocol for compliance checks.

This Green Thumbs UP, Red Thumbs DOWN initiative is supported and endorsed by the Garrett County Liquor Control Board, and also the Maryland State Police.

The program is partially funded by the Maryland Department of Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. For more information, contact Lori Peck at 301-334-7730 or 301-895-3111.