Lieutenant Governor to be PACE Keynote Speaker

Now in its 43rd year, PACE is a signature event in the state capital. PACE Co-Chairs, Allegany’s Jeremy Irons and Garrett’s Shawn Bender, are pleased to announce that Maryland’s Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming PACE Breakfast. All guests will also have the opportunity to hear remarks by Maryland Comptroller Peter V. R. Franchot, United States Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, and David J. Trone, newly elected US Representative from the Sixth Congressional District of Maryland.  THE PACE Committee sincerely appreciates the assistance of the Office of State Senator George C. Edwards in extending invitations to the speakers.

Courtney A. Thomas-Winterberg, Director, Allegany County Department of Social Services, will be the mistress of ceremonies and emcee the PACE Breakfast. The Daily Record named Thomas-Winterberg one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women in 2011 and 2017. The Daily Record also recognized Thomas-Winterberg as one of the Very Important Professionals Successful by 40 in 2012. She was honored as Allegany County, Maryland’s Young Professional under 40 by the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce and Western Maryland Jaycees in 2014.

Thomas -Winterberg holds Master’s degrees in Communication Studies and Community Economic Development and is also a 2014 graduate of Leadership Maryland. In 2018 she completed the prestigious National Institute of Standards and Technology Malcom Baldridge Executive Fellowship Program through the United States Department of Commerce and Maryland Department of Human Services Leadership Development Initiative.


The mission of telling the story of the rural counties of Allegany and Garrett to the legislators, officials and other decision makers in the state capital remains the focus of PACE. Sponsored by the Cumberland  and Allegany County Industrial Foundation (CACIF)and the Garrett County Development Corporation, PACE  offers an extraordinary networking opportunity for Allegany and Garrett County citizens, stakeholders, and entities.

Register today to attend PACE Reception on Thursday, January 24, 2019, and the PACE Breakfast on Friday, January 25, 2019. Both events will be at The Annapolis Hotel, 126 West Street, Annapolis. The general public is warmly invited to register for PACE. An affiliation is not required.

The registration fee is all-inclusive and provides entry to both events for one individual. The fee is $150.00. Advance registration is required and on-line registration is available on the website, Your confirmation e-mail will be your proof of registration. Registration is not available at the door.

Western MD Partners Release Results Of Minimum Wage Survey: $15/Hour Wage Will Hurt Communities

The Allegany and Garrett County Chambers of Commerce along with the Garrett County Development Corporation, and the Cumberland Allegany County Industrial Foundation, Inc. (CACIF) partnered to contract with Frostburg State University (FSU) to conduct a survey of Western Maryland organizations to determine their views of a proposed $15 per hour minimum wage in Maryland.

“Serving a multi-county, multi-state region, FSU has a responsibility to deploy its intellectual capital and expertise to help inform, educate and support the people and institutions of the region on a broad spectrum of issues,” said Al Delia, Vice President for Regional Development and Engagement for FSU. “When businesses and organizations in Allegany and Garrett County had the need for accurate and reliable information about the potential impact to employers of a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour, FSU was pleased to gather and report reliable data.”

Created and conducted in November 2018 by Dr. Amit Shah, Dr. Michael Monahan and Dr. Eyad Youssef of the FSU College of Business, the survey showed a resounding opposition to increasing the Maryland minimum wage to $15 per hour. An overwhelming majority of Western Maryland organizations is opposed to this increase and 77% believed raising the minimum wage would have more negative consequences on rural counties than urban counties in Maryland.

“I am not surprised by the results of the survey,” said Nicole Christian, president & CEO of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce. “We know that our local employers are extremely concerned about a potential $15 per hour minimum wage and how it could impact Western Maryland, and now we have the survey results to share with lawmakers in Annapolis.”

“The survey results from an independent third party confirm what a majority of our members have been saying for some time,” said Stu Czapski, Executive Director of the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce. “It also illustrates the vast differences among Maryland counties and the competitive environment with surrounding states.  One size does not fit all.”

With 282 Western Maryland organizations, including for-profit and non-profit employers, participating in the survey, 69%, felt that it would not improve the standard of living in Western Maryland.

  • 69% agreed that minimum wage is the standard for no/low skill jobs
  • 64% agreed that minimum wage is not intended to be a living wage

Garrett and Allegany Counties have a large percentage of their workforce categorized as unskilled labor. With local organizations relying more on unskilled labor, an increase in the minimum wage would create a financial burden that in the long run could hurt the local and regional economy. It is important to note that, according to the FSU survey, 91% of the respondents pay some of the unskilled workers more than minimum wage already. Their wages are determined by skill level, labor availability, and the local cost of living instead of a mandated increased minimum wage.

Overall, 77% of respondents of the FSU minimum wage survey believed that raising the minimum wage would have more negative consequences on rural counties than urban counties and 78% said it would do more harm than good in Western Maryland. Eighty-three percent (83%) believe it will lead to increased worker lay-offs and 81% say it would lead to a reduction in the start of new businesses.

While 43% or the organizations surveyed said they can survive the minimum wage increase to $15/hour, 44% were unsure and 13% indicated that they could not survive. When prompted to select the type of cost-saving measures the organizations would implement to manage a minimum wage increase, the top five responses were:

  • Reduce the number of employees
  • Reduce or eliminate bonuses
  • Delay employee promotions and raises
  • Cut weekly work hours for employees
  • Discourage overtime work

“The survey results are indicative of the apprehension in Western Maryland with respect to the impact of a potential minimum wage increase on the business community,” said Elizabeth Georg, Chair of the Board of the Garrett County Development Corporation. “It is important for these results to be considered by the lawmakers in Annapolis as the process moves forward.”

Maryland’s minimum wage is currently 39% higher than the federal minimum wage rate and at least 15% higher than our neighboring states of Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania that all are at $8.75 or below. Only D.C has a higher minimum wage at $13.20/hour increasing to $15 by 2020.

The survey was distributed electronically from November 5, 2018 to November 19, 2018 to organizations within Allegany and Garrett Counties.

The survey instrument contained 40 questions and was administered online or via hard copy. The questions for this anonymous and confidential survey instrument were initially generated from a review of previous minimum wage studies and refined by the researchers to fit the needs of the Western Maryland community. A draft of the questionnaire was then reviewed by two independent entities to ensure the readability of the questions and the ease of survey completion. In general, the questions assessed the respondents’ opinions regarding the current Maryland minimum wage as well as the potential of increasing minimum wage to $15 per hour. Survey recipients were given the opportunity to answer open-ended as well as closed-ended questions and express their opinions and beliefs about the impact of increasing the Maryland Minimum Wage.

The Allegany and Garrett County Chambers, Tri-County Council of Western Maryland and other organizations communicated with their members introducing the purpose of the study, along with a web link directing recipients to the survey instrument. While the respondents remained anonymous, the method allowed for only one completed survey per person.

Of the respondents, 26% were LLCs, 24% S-corporations, 16% corporations, 11% sole proprietorships, 10% nonprofits and 13% other. Approximately 40% of the sample comprised of organizations that exceeded $1 million in annual revenues while the other 60% varied evenly amongst the remaining categories. The size of the organizations surveyed ranged from one where the owner was the only employee to a large organization with over 2,200 employees. Sixty-eight percent (68%) had 1-50 employees. The sample included a diverse collection of industries ranging from construction and manufacturing to hospitality and professional services. The mix included government, healthcare and nonprofits. A significant majority of the respondents (80%) had been in operation over 10 years.

There were  no statistically significant differences in the responses based on the annual revenues, number of employees, type of organization, type of structure, or length of time in operation.

“CACIF is committed to fostering economic development in Allegany County and we believed that it was necessary to gather some hard data on a potential minimum wage increase,” said Jeff McKenzie, President of CACIF. “With the help of Frostburg State University and our partners, this in-depth study is providing critical information about the consequences and how economic activity in our community may be effected if minimum wage is increased to $15 per hour. The study is shedding some light and putting hard numbers to what may happen to Western Maryland if the increase passes.”

Frostburg State University, part of the University System of Maryland, is the only public, four-year institution west of the Baltimore-Washington corridor. It serves as the premier educational and cultural center for Western Maryland and surrounding counties in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  Frostburg’s College of Business, with a mission to “prepare students to successfully meet professional opportunities through a dynamic, student-centered educational environment that emphasizes leadership, notable and timely research, application of knowledge, and global experiential learning,” is accredited by AACSB International.

The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce is the largest professional business association in the region with 600 members representing every industry in the community.  The mission of the Chamber is to organize, support and represent Garrett County’s business community in advancing common interests and additionally to promote Garrett County’s hospitality and recreation industry by attracting visitors to the county through comprehensive marketing. The Garrett County Chamber also serves as the Destination Marketing Organization and Heritage Area Management entity for the County.

The Allegany County Chamber of Commerce is a business association of nearly 400 members. Through a full calendar of programs and events, the Chamber supports business and community growth, providing advocacy, educational and marketing opportunities to its members.

The Cumberland/Allegany County Industrial Foundation is a public/private organization that was established to help promote Allegany County economic development. We are comprised of private business, nonprofit, city, and county officials. Our mission is to help/assist the public sector in any area that needs our help in dealing with Economic development.

The Garrett County Development Corporation is a private 501(c)(6), non-profit corporation established in accordance with the laws of the State of Maryland. Comprised of unpaid volunteers from a wide array of backgrounds and affiliations, including members of the local business community and lead county organizations, its mission is to assist in the development and enhancement of the business prosperity and economic well-being of Garrett County.

Minimum Wage Study by FSU FINAL REPORT Nov 2018

Wednesday January 16

The weather for today will be patchy freezing drizzle before noon, then scattered flurries. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 28 and low around 21. West wind 15 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

I attended the Chamber’s Business Before Hours yesterday afternoon that included an economic briefing from an analyst at the Federal Reserve. It was well-done and well attended. My summary interpretation: The national picture is not as bad as some might think, Maryland has, surprisingly, been lagging the rest of the US on some measures and Garrett County has been turning around slowly.

Wow, this one from HART for Animals is great: HART will be holding their Food For Fido dog food giveaway today from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm at their offices on Bumble Bee Road. This is for dog owners in need and is on all week until supplies run out.

We just heard that the Town of Oakland is now able to accept water/sewer/trash payments online using major credit cards.  You will need your 10-digit account number.  Here’s the link to their site that explains more.

Don’t forget that the popular women’s networking lunch has now expanded into a Women’s Networking Happy Hour. The first Happy Hour will be this Thursday, January 17th at Black Bear Tavern from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm. The speaker will be Laura Clapsaddle. Laura is a local entrepreneur that owns Black Bear Tavern and other local enterprises.

Just a heads-up that Oakland’s Downtown Winter Fest will be back again this year on President’s Weekend, February 16th and 17th.  Here’s a link with some additional information including how to make a donation and how to reserve an ice sculpture.

Planning is underway for the annual (and free) Financial Aid Completion event to be held at Garrett College on Sunday, January 27th, from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm in Room 309 (300 building, across from the new STEM building).  This effort is designed to assist students and parents in filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Also note that the Spring Semester at the college starts next week and that there is still room for new full or part-time students.  Contact Admissions ASAP at 301.387.3044 for more information on getting admitted and registered for spring.

Tuesday January 15

Yesterday started with some flurries and finished with a little freezing rain as the temperature cooled. Today’s weather will be patchy freezing fog before 9am. Partly sunny, with a high near 25 and a low around 21. Tonight west wind 11 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph and snow showers after 2am.

When it comes to better heart or lung health, diabetes education and prevention as well as empowering yourself to eat healthier, Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) has multiple outpatient programs to help people make healthier choices and improve their health and lifestyle in 2019.  For more information about these services, please call 301.533.4000 or visit the GRMC website.

For a Tuesday, there’s a lot to do at and around the lake today and this evening. Check our Events Section for a number of programs, including ones at the library, high school basketball and team trivia.

Here’s an interesting site that lists government job openings in the State of Maryland. There’s quite a few and a number in Garrett County.  They even show salary ranges, which is cool to see if you are into that kind of stuff (like me). Check it out and spread the word.

So, what is in the background of Sarah’s video below?

Note that there is a date change to Jan. 23rd at 10:00 am for the ribbon cutting at the regional behavioral health center at Garrett Regional Medical Center.  Congressman Trone will be joining for the opening that day. You can call 301.533.4178 to RSVP or for more information on this important new facility.

The County Commissioners have announced their next Public Meeting to be held on January 22nd at the County Courthouse. The public section of the meeting begins at 4:00 pm (approximate) and will include a discussion of amendments to the County Floodplain Management Ordinance.  You can see the entire agenda here.

Check out this January episode of Maryland Public Television’s Farm and Harvest series. You may see some familiar faces from the FSU Appalachian Lab in this episode.

OK, so we all know that winter has definitely arrived in Garrett County. Which leads me to a piece on snow blowers:  Here’s a list of safety tips provided by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) for you and/or a family member to review to make sure all goes well after the next snowfall. I am going to bet that you didn’t even know that there is an Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. Now you know.

Get healthy in 2019 with GRMC Outpatient Services

Is losing weight or just making healthier choices one of your New Year’s resolutions? Garrett Regional Medical Center urges individuals who want better health in 2019 to utilize their vast array of outpatient programs that aim to improve health, wellness and quality of life. Specifically, GRMC offers outpatient programs in cardiac and pulmonary rehab, diabetes education and nutrition counseling.

GRMC Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehab Center works with individuals who may have experienced heart failure, a cardiac event, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), pulmonary hypertension, lung or heart transplant as well as other lung and heart conditions. The team works with patients to lessen their symptoms, while also implementing strategies to improve heart and cardiac health, ability to perform daily tasks and overall well-being.

“While some of our patients are often reluctant about starting cardiac or pulmonary rehab, they quickly build up confidence, see tangible results and realize we are there to help in all aspects of their lives,” said Miranda Savage, RN, BSN, supervisor of the GRMC Cardiac Pulmonary Rehab Center. “The patients often attribute their success to the fun they have during their session where it doesn’t feel like working out but hanging out with family and having a good time.”

The workout sessions may include walking on the treadmill, cycling, resistance activities and using free weights. Patients also receive education and counseling about their particular cardiac or pulmonary condition, including healthy lifestyle changes, nutritional counseling and access to other resources with the goal of lessening their symptoms and reaching wellness individualized goals.

Type 2 Diabetes is one of the most preventable yet also one of the most prevalent and chronic diseases in the United States. GRMC offers diabetes education programs for Type 1, Type 2, gestational and prediabetes as well as insulin pump training. GRMC’s Diabetes Education Program puts a great emphasis on Type 2 prevention since according to the Centers for Disease Control one out of three adults has prediabetes and nine out of ten do not know they have it.

“We have multiple class offerings throughout the year and we want to continue to elevate the importance of diabetes prevention for people in our community” said Mitzi Wiltison, RN, who is the certified diabetes educator of GRMC’s Outpatient Diabetes Program. “Our class participants will often experience improved blood sugar control, weight loss and overall well-being. I find it really gratifying to help give our patients the tools they need to manage their overall health and quality of life.”

Additionally, GRMC offers Outpatient Nutrition Counseling to help patients understand current eating habits, set realistic goals and follow a personalized nutrition plan. A referral for these services is required by a health care provider. Some private insurances may cover nutrition counseling for conditions such as obesity and heart disease.
According to Ruth Chisholm, GRMC’s registered dietitian and nutritionist, “Medicare and most insurance policies cover nutrition counseling for diabetes and kidney disease and we want folks to take advantage of this benefit to help them better manage their conditions.”

When it comes to better heart or lung health, diabetes education and prevention as well as empowering yourself to eat healthier, GRMC has multiple outpatient programs to help people make healthier choices and improve their lifestyle in 2019. For more information about these services, please call 301-533-4000 (TTY: 301-533-4146) or visit the GRMC website at

Monday January 14

We had a very nice, snowy weekend at the lake. Really beautiful. Today’s weather will be cloudy, with a high near 28 and a low around 19. West wind 6 to 8 mph.

I had the pleasure of attending the regional robotics competition for middle and high school students at the college on Saturday. They had a great turnout and three of the four finalist teams were comprised of Garrett County students. STEM education is alive, well and growing in the mountains of Garrett County.  Well done to all the students, parents, coaches and judges that made the event such a success.

Garrett County Rover Ruckus January 2019 Robotics Competition at Deep Creek Lake, MD

Just heard that the Maryland Park Service is eliminating several dozen park-unique social media accounts, consolidating its messaging on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram into single accounts, much to the chagrin of some park goers who like and want park-specific information. Here’s a link to an article on the Baltimore Sun’s article that explains more.

I just saw this article on rural innovation that talks about the economic diversity between different rural regions and the impact of entrepreneurship and broadband among other topics. Not a long piece and if you are interested in such things, might be of value to you. As always, no political or editorial position intended.  

We are sad to report on the passing of two local area residents: Leon “Shep” Beitzel, 31 year member of the Bittinger Volunteer Fire Department, and 92 year old Abe Kaufman, a local carpenter that resided in the Pleasant Valley area of Garrett County and that worked on many lake-area homes. Rest in peace gentlemen.

Here’s an interesting article on which Maryland counties brought in the most Airbnb guests in 2018 and how much was earned by hosts across the states.  Garrett County looks to have some significant activity, which is not surprising based on all we have to offer.

Tuesday, January 8

Yesterday was cooler, but clear. Today’s weather will be a chance of showers, mainly after 10am. Overall, cloudy, with a high near 48 and low around 25. Southwest wind 14 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 41 mph. Rain showers likely before 1am, then a chance of rain and snow showers between 1am and 2am, then snow showers likely after 2am. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Garrett County Public Safety has announced a Winter Storm Watch: Heavy snow possible. Total snow accumulations of 4 to 8 inches possible from today through Thursday afternoon. Highest amounts on the ridge tops.

There are two programs for children on today at Ruth Enlow Library, both at 10:30 am. One is at the Kitzmiller branch and the other is at the main library in Oakland.  You can find out more on our Events page or the library’s classes/events page. 

The Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance is holding a short webinar this afternoon regarding the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act where you can learn about sick and safe leave – and ask them questions directly. The seminar runs from 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm. Send them an email to if you would like to attend this presentation. You will receive an invitation and instructions on how to sign on.

The Garrett County Behavioral Health Authority is collecting feedback about mental health and substance abuse services and resources in Garrett County. You can find out more here or go directly to the survey here. It only takes three minutes to complete.

Team Trivia is on for tonight at Mountain State Brewing Company from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm and also Trivia Night at MoonShadow this evening from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Check out either one for good food, libations and fun.

Garrett County Public Schools have a planned 3-hour early dismissal tomorrow (Wednesday January 9) for staff development. If there is a delay or if there is no school the staff development will be cancelled and not made up.

There is still time to submit your work for the 2019 Allegany National Photography Competition & Exhibition. This year, you may submit your photography in three categories – black and white, color, and a NEW category, experimental!

The first Business Before Hours of the new year is scheduled for Tuesday, January 15th, at 8:00 am in the Crawford Room at Wisp Resort. The topic will be an Economic Forecast with guest speaker R. Andrew Bauer, Senior Regional Economist and Deputy Regional Executive at the Baltimore Branch of the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank. I have heard Andrew speak and it is always very informative at the local, state and national level.

We just heard from Jamie and Rayetta of Deep Creek Catering; they have recently purchased the Jubilee restaurant in Friendsville.

Grantsville Couple Welcomes GRMC’s First Baby of 2019

Garrett Regional Medical Center welcomed Cailyn Dawn Miller as the first baby of 2019 born at 12:20 a.m. on Tuesday, January 1.

She was delivered by Ken Buczynski, MD of Wellspring Family Medicine.  Cailyn weighed in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces and was 18.5 inches long.  She is the daughter of Craig and Cortney Miller and she is joined by her siblings, Logan, Lexi and Cole.  The Miller family resides in Grantsville, Md.

“We were surprised for her arrival on New Year’s Day as we were expecting her later in the week,” said the mother, Cortney Miller.

The nurses and staff of GRMC’s maternity suite celebrates the tradition of welcoming the first baby each year by preparing handmade items and collecting donations for the New Year’s baby.  The team presented a gift basket that included items from Book Market, Broken Road Associates, Browning’s Shop N Save, Deep Creek Pharmacy, Denny’s Restaurant, GRMC and the Family Centered Maternity Suite, Green Acres, Gregg’s Pharmacy, Loar Auxiliary Gift Shop, Madalyn Hoffedtiz, Mindy Bernard Photography, Simon Pearce, Smart Style, Uno Pizzeria & Grill and Zion Methodist Church.

Garrett Regional Medical Center congratulates the Miller family and extends warm appreciation to the local businesses and community organizations that donated to the gift basket.

GRMC is a 55-bed, acute care facility serving the healthcare needs of Garrett County, Maryland, and the surrounding communities in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It includes a four-bed Intensive Care Unit, a 10-bed Sub-Acute Rehabilitation Unit, family-centered Maternity Suite, and a 13-bed Outpatient Surgical Unit with a four-bed Surgical Suite. With a staff of 400 professionals, GRMC is one of Garrett County’s largest employers.  Additional information about GRMC can be found at its Web site:


Monday, January 7

The weather for today will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 35 and rising to 44 by 5am. Southeast wind 14 to 16 mph gusting as high as 28 mph. Some rain can be expected overnight. The outlook for the week is that we will get several inches of snow possible Tuesday night through Thursday in the higher elevations.

The State Department of Natural Resources announced that approximately 3,700 hikers took part in the state park system’s “First Day Hike” New Year events across the state.  The hikers attended 36 hikes at 32 locations and collectively covered over 8,000 miles.  Check out the link for more information and to see the numbers at Garrett County parks. A great way to start off the year.

After being under the weather for a few days, I went out Saturday afternoon to run some errands and got a haircut at Lake Salon in McHenry (under Black Bear Tavern). It was the first time I was in there and it has a very nice atmosphere and Jennifer the cosmetologist did a nice job on my hair and all were friendly. I’ll be back.

The first Haley Farm Wellness Retreat of the year is scheduled for January 18th and I hear there are only eight spots left! Haley is a very dedicated and talented health expert (nutrition, training, etc.) and I am sure Haley and Kam have a great program planned with much knowledge and good vibes available.

The Lodges at Sunset Village has a “Stay HERE, Ski FREE” promotion underway. Stay one weekend night and receive a ski pass for the following day. Stay one weekday night (Sun-Thurs.) and receive two ski passes for the following day. The Lodges has some really nice, unique facilities and can be reached at 301.387.2227.

The Norther High School girls Basketball team is home this evening and facing Allegany.  If you are looking for something fun, inexpensive and a little different, come on out and cheer on the home team this evening.

If Needlework is more to your liking, the Ruth Enlow Library Oakland Branch is holding their weekly Needlework session starting at 6:00 pm and all are welcome to do any kind of needlework.

If you are interested in attending the inauguration of Governor Hogan and Lieutenant Governor Rutherford in Annapolis on January 16th, you can find information here.  It is free and open to all.  If you go, please give the governor and lieutenant my best regards!

GLAF presents Chautauqua Then and Now coming July 2019

–by Mary Callis, Executive Director, Garrett Lakes Arts Festival

“So said President Theodore Roosevelt of the education movement known as Chautauqua. The origins of Chautauqua (pronounced “Shuh-TAW-Kwa”) can be found in the Chautauqua Lake area of southwestern New York State, where the movement began in 1874. Initially organized by Methodist minister John Heyl Vincent and businessman Lewis Miller as a Methodist summer retreat, Chautauqua quickly grew to be a popular source of adult education as the lectures presented the latest thinking in politics, economics, literature, science, and religion.

Chautauqua by the National Park Service

Courtesy of National Park Service.

By 1900, more than 400 summer communities had developed from the original Chautauqua model, and touring companies presented lectures, debates, and performances at sites throughout the country. However, the growing popularity of radios, movies, and cars in the early twentieth century led to the gradual decline in the Chautauqua movement.

In Maryland, where the tradition dates back to the late nineteenth century when Chautauquas took place at Mountain Lake Park in Garrett County and at Glen Echo Park in Montgomery County, Maryland Humanities launched the modern Chautauqua in 1995 at Garrett College. Since then, this popular program has spread to other parts of the state, educating and entertaining thousands of Marylanders every summer.” (from the Maryland Humanities website).

Chautauqua in Mt. Lake Park, MD

Courtesy of the Maryland State Archives

GLAF (Garrett Lakes Arts Festival), Garrett College, and Maryland Humanities worked together in 1995 to restart Maryland Chautauqua. To celebrate the upcoming 25th modern day Maryland Chautauqua, GLAF, with help from a grant from the Maryland Historical Trust, will be returning to historic Mountain Lake Park July 5-7, 2019, with a three-day re-creation of Maryland’s early Chautauqua events.

This three-day celebration of the original Maryland Chautauqua will include a schedule of daily lectures, historical re-enactments, musical presentations, and more. Re-enactors of notable historical figures from those earlier Chautauqua years will also be on hand to celebrate our return to earlier times. A special addition to this program will be the opportunity for participants to share their own personal stories and connections to the development of Mountain Lake Park and the Chautauqua influence.

While the daytime schedule will focus on re-creating and commemorating some of the earlier Chautauqua programs, the regular program for the 2019 Maryland Humanities Chautauqua presented by GLAF will continue to be scheduled as evening performances, and those will also be held in Mountain Lake Park.  The Chautauquas were restarted in 1976 in North Dakota as a humanities program, incorporating the now-standard format of a monologue by a scholar/re-creator acting as a historical character, then interacting with the audience while still in-character, and then coming out of character to answer audience questions as a modern scholar. The Maryland Humanities Council restarted the Maryland Chautauqua at Garrett College in 1995 through the efforts of Steve Herman, former President of Garrett College, and was the only site in Maryland until 1999, when it began at Montgomery College. Presented through GLAF (Garrett Lakes Arts Festival), the Garrett County Chautauqua remains one of the highest attended venues in the Maryland Humanities Chautauqua line-up.

Garrett County has remained a leader of the Chautauqua Movement in Maryland, both in its nineteenth-century origins and in its modern resurgence.In July 2019, this small town in Garrett County hopes to recapture the magic and history of those first years.

Quit Smoking! It’s a resolution you can live with!

New Year’s resolutions come and go, but quitting smoking is a resolution you can live with. The Garrett County Health Department has scheduled a series of three Tobacco Cessation Classes to be held at their Oakland office in early 2019.

“I see people smoking now, and I think, ‘I was like that,’ ” said Linda Rodeheaver, a class participant who successfully quit 10 months ago. “Now I won’t have to go outside to smoke in a blizzard, and I can use the money I’m saving from not smoking to buy something for myself, or take my grandkids swimming or out for lunch.”

New classes begin on Monday, January 7; Wednesday, February 27; and Monday, March 25. During these ten-week classes, which meet at 5:30 p.m., participants receive resources to help them change their habits, including a notebook, group support from others who are also trying to quit, and free cessation aids such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum, or the prescription drug Zyban.

Research has shown that involvement in a group increases the chances of success in quitting tobacco. “Meeting with others who are going through similar struggles give you the support you need to keep on going,” said Mike Wilburn, health educator at the Garrett County Health Department. “We really should call it a ‘nicotine cessation program’ because it is great for anyone wanting to stop smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, rubbing snuff, or using e-cigarettes.”

For more information about the class or to register, call the Health Department at 301-334 7730 or 301-895-3111. The classes and cessation aids are funded by the Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund Program.

Garrett County Continues Developing Opioid Response

The Garrett County Health Department is the lead agency in a partnership to continue planning for the local response to the opioid crisis gripping the country.

The county received a federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration which is designed to assist with local planning. In addition to Garrett County Health Department, the partnership includes Garrett County Community Action Committee, Inc., Garrett Regional Medical Center, Mountain Laurel Medical Center, and the Area Health Educations Center West.

Money from this one-year-grant, called the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program Planning Grant, will be used to strategically plan the next steps for the county. Focus groups and key informant interviews will be conducted to address the gaps in the opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, and/or recovery services and access to care.

The groundwork was laid for the grant when the Stand Together Garrett County Consortium formed last year. This group is a grassroots effort comprised of concerned citizens and organizations dedicated to addressing drug use and abuse through prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery, and education.

The group sponsored Town Hall Meetings in Oakland, Grantsville, Friendsville, and Bloomington with over the last several months. They also promoted the screenings of the film Recovery Boys as well as the Garrett County Commission for Women’s showing of Heroin(e).

They used the Overdose Awareness Day in August as a way to announce a “Call to Action”, asking community members to get involved by taking a stand against drugs in Garrett County. The faith and business communities were also engaged and asked what kind of tools they needed to allow them to better help combat the opioid problem. Work within these communities is ongoing.

The consortium developed a speaker’s bureau of potential presenters who have life experiences related to or affected by substance abuse and addiction, or who are particularly educated or knowledgeable about substance abuse and addiction in the community. Then they had a training to make sure everyone was conveying the same message about local statistics and overdose information. This speaker’s bureau is available for presentations at community groups on the topics of prevention, treatment, recovery, and law enforcement. For more information about the Stand Together Consortium or the Speaker’s Bureau, contact Sadie Liller at 301-334-7730 or 301-895-3111.

Stand Together Team from Garrett County Health Department

Cutline: The Stand Together Garrett County Consortium is a grassroots effort comprised of concerned citizens and organizations dedicated to addressing drug use and abuse through prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery, and education. Some of the group is pictured above after a recent meeting. Seated in front from left to right are Sadie Liller, Sherry Freeland, Diane Donham, and Chris Duckworth. Standing are Judy Carbone, Barbara Rexroad, Brian Murray, Melissa Yommer, Paul DeKraai, Carrie DiSimone, Bob Stephens, Ruth Beitzel, Rick Perry, Dana Mason, Teresa Friend, and Gregan Crawford.


Dr. Robert W. Smith honored with Dr. Jeanne H. Neff Award for Distinguished Service

The Garrett College Foundation announced Dr. Robert W. Smith has been named a recipient of the Dr. Jeanne H. Neff Award for Distinguished Service.  He was nominated on behalf of the Garrett College Foundation Board for his strong leadership and tireless commitment to the students and future of Garrett College.

The Dr. Jeanne H. Neff Award for Distinguished Service requires that the recipient must demonstrate the following criteria:  sustained and extraordinary commitment, dedication and service to the Garrett College Foundation Board; sustained and extraordinary commitment to the academic and professional success of Garrett College students, faculty, and staff, as well as to Garrett College programming for the benefit of the greater Garrett County community, and exemplification of the mission and values of Garrett College and the Garrett College Foundation.

January CDL training schedule announced

Garrett College is accepting applications for the next series of courses geared toward training individuals to obtain a commercial driver’s license.  Training for both Class A (in 30 days) and Class B (in six days) will be provided. Applicants are encouraged to register early as seating is limited.  Training for Class A, weekday will begin on January 14 and the weekend is slated to start on January 19.  Class B training will be arranged to fit the individual’s schedule.

This skills-oriented program offers a professional truck driving curriculum for the purpose of qualifying students for entry-level positions as drivers in over-the-road or local driving vehicles. The curriculum consists of classroom, range skills, and over-the-road instruction to acquire the fundamentals for operating trucks and tractor trailers. Financial assistance and job opportunities may be available to qualifying individuals.

To assist students in obtaining their learner’s permit, a prep course will be held on a monthly basis (January 26 – 27). This two-day course will prepare students for the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), Class A or B Commercial Driver permit exam. The course includes instruction on the following topics: general knowledge, air brakes, combination vehicles, study and test-taking skills. This course is taught through a combination of lecture, discussion, and hands-on activities.

Training is being held at the Garrett College Mountaintop Truck Driving Institute located in Grantsville.  To register contact Terry Beachy at 301-895-4700 or

Wednesday December 26

We hope you all enjoyed your holiday! We sure did! The weather today will be sunny with a high near 37 and a low around 27.

We have had some snow! Remember to check in with our snowfall page for periodic snowfall reports.

Look at this gorgeous “white Christmas” we had! Photo by Marissa M:

If you have about 20 minutes; Photographer Leo Beachy documented early life here in our area and Southwestern PA— here is the WQED documentary “Leo Beachy: A Legacy Nearly Lost” from writer/producer David Solomon, videographer/editor: Paul Ruggieri.