“Wildfulness” Podcast Brings New “Edutainment” Channel to Western Maryland

For our March cover story, we wanted to highlight Western Maryland’s first and only podcast dedicated to exploring the life, history, and culture of our region. It’s called “Wildfulness,” and while the name may not be one that is easily remembered, or rolls right off the tongue, it expresses what it’s producer/creator calls “the essence of the magic of being in the mountains of Garrett and Allegany counties – the wilderness and natural beauty, the connection to an important part of our nation’s history and heritage, and the state of ‘mindfulness’ that seems to come more easily here than in a lot of other places.”

Lisa Cole began the podcast in July of 2017, and now with 46 episodes on a wide variety of topics, and two mini-grants from the Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area, the effort is really coming into its own. Each episode is painstakingly researched (often with the help of her history-major son), and the sound design features bits of songs, music clips, sounds, and audio clues and cues that help make it an immersive experience. Her favorite episodes include a two-part feature on The Legacy of Coal, a feature-length episode on the B&O Train Station in Oakland, the photography of Leo Beachy, the history of barn quilts, and most recently, the fascination and magic of the Cranesville Swamp, featuring an extensive interview with an environmental ecologist from the Nature Conservancy. She also produces episodes on new businesses in the area, such as the one on the Monkey Business Aerial Adventure Park. Upcoming episodes will feature maple sugaring in Western MD, springtime birding tips and tricks, and the 3-day Chautauqua event in Mountain Lake Park this July.

The recording process is the final step in a long process of planning, info gathering & researching, interviewing, scripting, sound design, etc., followed by extensive post production.

It all started when Lisa purchased a vintage, 1955, 900 sq ft cabin in Deep Creek in October of 2012, one week before Hurricane Sandy hit, and while that was not an experience she says she would like to repeat, the six and one-half year journey since then has been an amazing adventure that has brought a lot of learning, joy, and new relationships. In addition to beefing up her audio engineering skills (she was a music major in college but had some “upgrading” to do), she has become familiar with many of the local sights, sounds, and must-see features of Western Maryland, as she continuously works to share the magic of these mountains with others, through the Wildfulness podcast, “a one-stop vacation station that will connect you to these mountains and their treasures.” Listeners say they enjoy the podcast because they can listen on their earbuds while doing other activities, such as walking, working out, driving, or even house cleaning. (If you haven’t yet caught the podcast bug, here’s a great article from the Huffington Post on why you should!)

To listen to the Wildfulness podcast, subscribe through iTunes, Google Play, or any of the major podcast or music streaming platforms, like Spotify and Alexa. Detailed web-based shownotes include videos, photos and transcriptions of the audio.  Lisa welcomes suggestions for episodes (you can leave a voicemail on the shownotes website) and is currently seeking sponsors as well. Currently publishing bi-weekly. Contact her via email at lisamaureencole@gmail.com.

And it all started with a humble, 1955 cabin.

Deep Creek Lake Watershed Unveils Inaugural Actions

“The Deep Creek Watershed Foundation has just completed its inaugural projects,” announced Foundation president David Myerberg this week. “And we have our website at www.deepcreekwatershedfoundation.org.”

“The Deep Creek Watershed covers a huge area,” Myerberg said. “It has farms, single-family homes, roads, woods, hotels, retail businesses, creeks and a lake. All of it has to work well together, and that’s what the Watershed Foundation has set out to do.”

Working in public-private partnerships, the non-profit Watershed Foundation is joining with the Maryland Departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Environment (MDE), Garrett County, and Brookfield Renewable Power (which owns and operates the dam on Deep Creek Lake), to preserve and protect the watershed now and for generations to come.

The Watershed Foundation was created by a group of concerned Garrett County residents and homeowners to help realize the unfunded needs set out in the Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan. The plan, developed by DNR and Garrett County in 2014, was approved in 2016 after months of meetings, fact-gathering and open discussions.

“The generous financial support we were given from the very start has let us hit the ground running,” Myerberg said.

Begun in 2016 with a $100,000 grant from Ted Giovanis in memory of his wife, Jayne Koskinas, and managed by an all-volunteer board of directors, the Watershed Foundation has received donations ranging from $100 through $2,500, and recently received $10,000 contributions from two other generous donors. These donations have allowed the Foundation:

• To give $10,000 a year to help maintain MDE’s doser that remediates acid mine drainage from abandoned mines into Cherry Creek, a major tributary into Deep Creek Lake.
• Along with Brookfield Renewable Power, to pay for DNR’s study of the suitability of DCL as a habitat for zebra mussels
• In cooperation with the University of Maryland Extension programs on to how property owners in the watershed how they can manage stormwater runoff; and
• To hire a private engineering firm to develop a technological approach to allow MDE, DNR and Brookfield Renewable Power to anticipate, and equitably allocate water that comes into Deep Creek Lake from the watershed and other sources.

About the doser, Myerberg said, “This partnership supports MDE in the work that’s needed to keep the water running without the devastating acidity that flows out of those old mines.” Describing the water allocation effort he said, “having an independent, experienced business assemble all the available information about environmental factors on the watershed, and data on water-flow was important to us.” The goal,” he continued, “was to be sure they would have a reliable tool for giving the state agencies and the power company real-time information on how much water the lake will have, and allow them to confidently provide for its use.”

The Watershed Foundation was led by Pat Franc as president for most of its existence. “Pat did a yeoman’s job guiding the Foundation through our developmental phase,” said Myerberg. Other members of the Board of Directors are Monty Pagenhardt, Bob Hoffman, Marie Dray, Paul Weiler, Ian Smith, Doug Mohler, Nina Beitzel, and Elizabeth Georg. Advisors to the board are Susie Crawford, Pat Franc, Lulu Gonnella, Nicole Christian, Morgan France, Ashley Bodkins, Steve Green, Kristen Skeweris, Barbara Hafer, Lee Ann Knapp and Barry Weinberg.

On the horizon for the Watershed Foundation are ventures suggested by the combined state and county Administrative Council, DNR, MDE and projects highlighted by the Watershed Management Plan. “Giving to the Watershed Foundation is a terrific way for people who care about our wonderful watershed to make a difference in keeping it marvelous for years and years to come,” Myerberg said. He noted that donations can be made at the Foundation’s website, www.deepcreekwatershedfoundation.org.

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.

The Deep Creek Short Synopsis Of 2019 Tax Changes

The following article was written by two members of the Quantum Financial Advisors (QFA) team especially for our Deep Creek Times readers. QFA is an advertiser on Deep Creek Times, with offices in the DC and Pittsburgh areas. We thought our readers might benefit from some of the insight and wisdom shared in this article as a way to help wrap up a successful 2018 and prepare for the coming new year. Happy holidays.

The Deep Creek Short Synopsis Of 2019 Tax Changes
By Andre Weisbrod and Michael Huber, QFA

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law on December 22, 2017 represents the most comprehensive piece of tax reform in thirty years. Most of its statutes took effect in January of 2018, meaning you’ll get your first look at how it affects your bottom line when you file your 2018 taxes next year. As friends of and contributors to the Deep Creek Times, we know that certain tax issues are of particular importance for the Deep Creek Lake community. With that, here are five key tax changes every Deep Creek resident ought to know.

1. Big Changes to State and Local Tax Deductions (SALT)
The standard deduction has been doubled to $12,000 (for individuals) and to $24,000 (for married couples filing jointly). Great news, right? Maybe not. The hike to the standard deduction is counterbalanced by a new $10,000 (for married couples filing jointly) cap on state and local income, sales and property tax deductions.

2. Mortgage Interest Deductions Get a Downsizing
Previous law dictated that homeowners who itemize their taxes could deduct mortgage interest payments on mortgages up to $1 million. Not so anymore, as the maximum deductible interest has been trimmed to mortgages up to $750,000. Importantly, this change is not retroactive so current homeowners will not be affected.

3. New Deductions for Pass-Thru Income on K-1
People who receive pass-thru income on K-1’s from businesses, investments, estates and trusts now get a 20% deduction (some limits apply) under new Section 199a.

4. Estate Tax Exclusion Soars
Under previous law, the estate tax of 40% applies when a multimillionaire transfers property to heirs. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubles the exclusion limit from $5.49 million (for individuals) and $11.2 million (for married couples) to $11.2 million and $22.4 million respectively.

5. Large Families Get a Break
The child tax credit is doubled to $2,000 with the refundable amount increased to $1,400.

6. Tax Bracket Shakeup
There are still seven tax brackets but the rates and bracket amounts have changed across the board. We’ve mapped out the changes below. Generically, tax rates have decreased for all.

Tax Bracket Changes

So, what does all this mean for our financial and investment plans? For some, it will mean tax deductions are less of a concern. For instance, those in lower tax brackets might favor Roth IRAs over traditional IRAs, and contributions to 401k plans might be adjusted downward to be no more than the maximum to get a matching contribution. The difference can be put into other kinds of investment accounts. The types of investments in taxable accounts should also be re-evaluated. Furthermore, there is cause to simplify existing estate plans. Frankly, a law of this breadth is cause to review all tax and financial plans.

One thing does not change. We want our financial decisions and investments to be as productive as possible. In this case, that means methodically adapting to the new laws without discarding still suitable long-term financial strategies and goals. Years as a Registered Investment Advisor have taught me to avoid letting the tax tail wag the investment dog.

Final thoughts: When filing your 2018 taxes this coming year it will likely be of added value to consult with a tax professional and investment representative to adjust how you take income and file taxes. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a broad bill that goes well beyond the six points detailed here. Preparation and understanding of these changes on a holistic level is key to an efficient filing.

For any questions about investment planning and the tax act, contact QFA at customerservice@qfainc.com or by phone at 301.296.6203.

2018 Tax Year Reform Highlights

Submitted by Boal & Associates

The 2018 tax year is quickly coming to an end and we would encourage all taxpayers to use the next few months to reach out to their tax preparer to review your situation to ensure that you are taking advantage of all of the opportunities that exist for 2018 and to further ensure that your withholding and estimated tax payments have been properly adjusted to account for the new 2018 tax reform.   The most recent tax reform act has been one of the largest in history, so it is important to be sure that your tax posture is in proper order going in to the end of the year.

On of the first items to address is that there is a lot of fraud going on right now with phone calls and emails from folks acting as if they are the IRS.  Please be aware that the IRS will NOT call or email you, they will contact you by way of mail, but they will never contact you by phone or email. 

We have summarized below a few of the major highlights of the new reform:

New Tax Rates and Brackets

There are seven new tax rate brackets for individuals 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%, all of which have been expanded to include more income at lower rates.  Most everyone will see a reduction in their overall income tax rate.  The favorable capital gain rates remain unchanged – 15% AND 20%.   The 3.8% Medicare Surtax on net investment income continues to exist.

Standard Deduction Increase

The standard deduction has been increased to $24,000 for Married Filing Joint, $18,000 for Head of Household and $12,000 for Single taxpayers.  Many folks that have been traditionally itemizing their deductions will be able to utilize this enhanced standard deduction.

Qualified Residential Mortgage Interest

Interest is now deductible on new acquisition debt on a primary or second residence on mortgages up to $750,000, down from $1,000,000.  The new limit generally applies to mortgage debt incurred after December 14, 2017. There is no longer a write-off for interest on home equity indebtedness after 2017 with certain exceptions.  Also, margin interest remains deductible as investment interest expense.

State and Local Income Taxes and Property Taxes

The deduction for state and local income taxes and property taxes is now capped at an aggregate amount of $10,000.  This will affect a lot of people in high income tax states and those with higher property taxes.

Sale of Principal Residence

The rule still applies that in order to exclude a gain on the sale of your principal residence you must have lived in the home at least 2 of the last 5 years.

Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions

The following deductions have been eliminated:  Moving expenses (except military), employee business expenses, brokerage and IRA fees, hobby expenses, tax preparation costs, theft losses, alimony for post-2018 divorce decrees, and personal casualty losses (unless in a presidentially declared disaster area).

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses remain deductible and are now subject to a 7.5% threshold instead of 10% for 2018.

Child Tax Credit Increased

The child tax credit is increased to $2,000 and the income phase-out limits have been increased to $400,000 for a married filing joint couple and $200,000 for all other taxpayers.  More folks will now be able to utilize the favorable child tax credit.

Health Insurance Mandate

The mandate for paying a fine if you don’t have qualified health insurance is repealed for years after 2018.  The mandate continues to apply for 2018.

BUSINESS TAX REFORM

Corporate Income Tax Rates 

Regular (“C Corporations”) will now pay a flat tax rate of 21%, much lower than the previous highest rate of 35%.  There is no longer a corporate AMT.

Pass-through Deduction

Sole proprietors, S Corporation shareholders and LLC members will now receive a 20% qualified business income deduction.  The break does phase-out for folks in professional service fields such as law, consulting, accounting and healthcare on income in excess of $315,000 for joint returns and $157,500 for single returns.  – realtors/brokers may be considered part of the professional service field -service is based on reputation.

Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 Expense

Bonus depreciation has been increased to 100% of the cost of the asset (in place of the previous 50%).  The final bill increases the amount of qualified property eligible for immediate expensing from $500K to $1 million per year under Section 179.  The bill also added the following items as eligible for this election:  Roofs, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning property and security systems.  This will allow for many assets to be written off immediately – keep in mind that Maryland has decoupled with this law.

Business Deductions Eliminated

The bill eliminated or reduced deductions for business entertainment, country club dues, the domestic production deduction and personal property like-kind exchanges.

This is just a broad-brush of the recent changes, we again encourage you to reach out sooner rather than later to your tax preparer to understand your tax posture for 2018.  Remember, January is usually too late to make changes.   If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to us at (301) 334-4007 – we are glad to assist you.

Utilizing Covered Calls to Boost Your Retirement Income

A guest piece written by Quantum Financial Advisor‘s Joseph Rinaldi and Michael Huber:

Are you concerned that your portfolio income won’t cover your lifestyle? Retirement is supposed to be the time of enjoying new freedoms. That blissful period when worries about bills and the daily grind are traded out for time spent enjoying the beauty of the natural world in the company of friends and loved ones. However, the undulations of unsteady stock markets can seriously undermine this ideal. Inflation is once again rearing its ugly head and interest rates are ticking higher with it. Escalating global trade wars have not made the situation any easier. Against this backdrop, investors are being corralled into taking abnormal risk to achieve normal returns.

We find that these challenges are particularly relevant for retirees, given their greater demand for regular and reliable income. In light of this, our investment committee structures our Retirement Plus Accounts to utilize a financial instrument many outside the finance world are unfamiliar with. Writing covered calls against underlying stock positions allows us to utilize “volatility” and generate extra income on current assets held in a retirement account.

Here’s how it works in simple terms. If your stocks do well or trade flat (neither going up or down), you profit the amount you received from selling the call options (your synthetic dividend). If your stocks go down, you keep your synthetic dividend and don’t lose money unless the stock decreases by more than the amount of the synthetic dividend. In other words, selling the covered call options gives you a buffer. How big you want that buffer to be is entirely up to you. This strategy can become especially effective when it is applied to stocks that already pay a dividend. When structured correctly, selling covered calls on a dividend stock can leave you collecting two dividends on a single stock.

While this basic strategy can be applied by anyone, we employ a more sophisticated variance with our Retirement Plus Accounts. In technical terms, we use algorithmic analysis to execute “covered call writing” trades on well suited underlying assets. We then layer in a targeted short covered puts to boost income further. This structure is set up to generate income on a monthly basis, or at a minimum a quarterly basis.

Market Outlook 

We expect volatility to pick up in the short and mid term. Further, we expect both U.S. and global interest rates to rise. Both of these bellwethers support our expectation of significant disruptors to occur not only in the tech market but globally among our trading partners.

If you are interested in participating in our self-directed retirement account that works to transform your existing retirement portfolio into an income generator, email us at customerservice@qfainc.com or reach us by phone at 301-296-6203.

A Gran(d) Bike Ride

By Sarah Myers

From recreational cyclist to professional racers, we truly have some epic road and mountain biking here in Garrett County. Just a few weeks ago, I participated in the “Garrett’s Greatest 25” bike ride in the Garrett County Gran Fondo.

Gran Fondo is a type of bicycle ride that basically translates basically into “Big Ride”: A number of cyclists ride, not race, a marked route.

Have you been biking here in Garrett County? Have you seen these hills!?

Here is an excerpt from the Garrett County Gran Fondo website:

“Garrett County and the Deep Creek Lake area boast some of the finest and most challenging cycling in North America, and the Garrett County Gran Fondo has established itself as a premier North American Gran Fondo unsurpassed in challenge, scenery, and riding quality.

With seven Timed KOM Climbs covering 14.8 miles and 5400′ of elevation gain, the Garrett County Gran Fondo is the King of all Climbing Gran Fondos. No other Gran Fondo has more timed climbing!”

KOM is known as “king of the mountain” in cycling terminology where a rider is timed from the bottom of a climb to the top. There are various methods to calculating averages and awards for KOM but seven different timing mats were laid out in a methodical way across the course. It’s important to note that the timed climbs do not necessarily represent the hardest, steepest or longest climbs.

In my “25” ride, there was only one chance to be timed for KOM that was from the bottom of a climb to right before the finish line.

Here is the breakdown of the Gran Fondo rides from the website:

The “Diabolical Double” –  …on par with European climbing classics such as Etape du Tour, la Marmotte, and the classic Italian Gran Fondos. At 203K (126.2 miles) and over 16,500 feet of climbing, the Diabolical Double is an extreme challenge for even the most fit rider. Virtually all who have completed the Diabolical Double have considered it the hardest single day ride they have ever experienced.

The “Savage Century” – the Savage Century is an extremely challenging century ride, and with 105.8 miles and over 12,500 feet of climbing likely the hardest century ride in North America.

The “Masochistic Metric” – the Masochistic Metric is one-half the distance with one-half the climbing of the Diabolical Double at 64.8 miles and over 8000 feet of climbing. An extraordinary challenging ride itself, if you want to experience a true climbing epic, but 105 miles or 203K of it seems a bit excessive, then the Masochistic Metric is the ride for you.

The “Fabulous 44” – The Fabulous 44 is an excellent option for anyone looking for a longer, more challenging ride than the “Garrett’s Greatest 25” and wants a taste of the extremity of the three longer rides, but does not want to undertake the extreme challenge of the 100K, 100 miles, or 200K distances. The Fabulous 44 includes 42.6 miles and over 4500 feet of climbing.

The “Garrett’s Greatest 25” – A beautiful 25-mile ride along Deep Creek Lake and through the rolling Garrett County farmland, the Garrett’s Greatest 25 includes no major hills and just one of the seven Timed KOM Climbs.

Even though I didn’t sign up for a challenging ride by others’ standards, I signed up for the ride I thought I would enjoy – and enjoy I did.

Two years ago, I did the 44 ride and I remember the start gate much more vividly. The announcer says, “this ride is hard. If you are doing it because you think it will be easier than the other rides like the 63 and 100, you are wrong. It is not easier…. just shorter. If you want easier, there is no problem in waiting for the 25 ride.” Whoa.

It WAS a hard ride but I made it through… barely. Anyway, that’s the reason I was in the 25 this year.

The much harder rides began early in the morning on this Saturday, so the riders left informally gathering around the porta-potties and picnic tables late morning were ready for the 25 ride. The group of about 40 of us didn’t seem to have many nervous jitters; just ready for a nice Garrett County bike ride.

We began from Garrett College with the threat of some rain in big dark clouds behind us but it made for an awesome scene in the morning light. The first few miles, we sorted ourselves out and were able to ride single-file down Deep Creek Drive. Then, we crossed Route 219 and enjoyed the length of Rock Lodge Road.

I was taking my time and thoroughly enjoyed the Lakeside view. One of my favorite Deep Creek Lake spots! The first incline that can be considered a hill came into view… ahh, I pushed through and took some of my stress out on those pedals.

At this point, I was near a few others but most of the pack had separated. No competition; just a ride. Cruising down a large descent, I was able to join up with a fellow rider – it was pretty neat, and maybe a little scary, cruising at about 35mph side by side.

There is an aid station just a bit after getting onto Route 495; I believe it is about halfway on the 25 ride but only one of several aid stations along the other ride routes. Standing there enjoying a baggie of trail mix, it was truly inspiring to see athletes coming in off of the much longer rides utilizing the aid station and sharing their stories.

There were several young volunteers chanting “100+ to the right, 25 to the left” for the riders exiting the station.

After stretching my legs and having my snack, I was back on my way. On the back-half is where the rain began but I can’t say I was complaining. The temperature had warmed up over the last hour and there were a few more climbs to take care of; the rain was a refreshing shower.

I wasn’t really around many others at this point but I did play “leapfrog” with a few where I would pass them, then they would pass me, then I would pass them again. I think it’s a lot of fun to ride with others like this; I am sure I keep my pace this way.

Now for the last few miles, the 25 joins up with at least one the longer rides near Accident-Bittinger Road. I’m not sure but I think it is at least the 125 ride that comes through that way. I enjoy it but I’m sure it’s annoying to see those of us with relatively fresh legs going to town while others have been riding for hours by this point!

A little after the rides join, the only KOM on the 25 is on a tough climb at the bottom of Negro Mountain Road to Bumble Bee Road to near the finish line. On this climb (that seemed to take forever) the sun came back out, my jersey and shorts dried out for the most part and I was ready to finish strong!

I pulled back into the College with my best hey-that-was-easy smile and pretended to look like I had just done 125 miles!

Part of the ride price includes an awesome lunch so I sat with a few other finishers to swap stories and enjoy our pulled pork or chicken sandwiches. Of course, the topic at the table turned to how fortunate I am to live near some of the greatest biking climbs in the country!

It is true; we have excellent biking here! Come ride with me!

The Art and Science of Tipping

I am writing this month’s cover story on the art and science of “tipping.”  As the tourist season heats-up at the lake, it seems like an opportune time to bring up tipping, its history and even its nuances. As many of us locals, second homeowners and visitors alike experience and enjoy our beautiful area, we may be too caught-up in the fun to think much about this facet of our stay.  That’s where this article comes in.  I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on tipping, if there is such a person, but again, it seems an appropriate topic as we enter the busy season at the lake. So, here goes.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines tipping as “the act of giving an amount of money to someone who has provided a service, especially in a hotel or restaurant.” Simple enough.  But to me, tipping, at least in the United States, is the result of an implicit “contract” between customer and server.  The server provides a service, hopefully well, and in return the customer is expected to provide a gratuity, or monetary tip, to reward that service.

Tipping started in 17th century England, where customers in taverns slipped some money to servers “to insure promptitude” (T.I.P.).  Wealthy Americans brought the custom back to the Unites States in the 1800s, though there was a backlash against tipping in the late 18th century for a number of reasons. In present day America, tipping is an accepted and expected part of dining and other service experiences.  Yet, to this day, in other parts of the world, tipping is not expected, and that is dependent on the service delivered.  For example, both here and abroad, service providers from hair stylists, to massage therapists, to bar tenders, chamber maids, taxi drivers, delivery persons and luggage handlers often receive (and expect) a tip. This short cover story cannot cover all of these situations so I recommend you follow the links below, do some additional research and perhaps most effectively, observe and ask other patrons of establishments you patronize.

While it is important to note that many (most) service providers depend on tips to make a living, it is ultimately up to you, the customer to determine how much of a tip you wish to give.  Note that I did not say if to tip, as I believe service or wait staff and bartenders deserve something for their efforts. I use a simple rule: I generally give 20 percent of the pretax bill at a restaurant, I will lower it to 15 percent for sub-par service, and very rarely lower the tip further if there is a real attitude-related problem.  I am careful to make sure any problems are truly tied to a failure on the part of the server and not the “house” or kitchen.  I have also given tips of 35% on occasion if I receive great, friendly service and I sense a special need on the part of the server.

For other service providers I try to meet or exceed standard practices, whether it be a few dollars for a bell-hop or valet, 15 percent for a taxi driver, or homemade cookies for the mail delivery person.

Financial adviser Dave Ramsay has some good, simple advice, including, “when in doubt, be generous.” His “How to Tip in all Situations” web page is an easy read and recommended to any reader. I also find TripAdvisor’s “Tipping and Etiquette” web page to be helpful, as it also contains links to some other notable sites, including AARP and Emily Post.

We have covered a little tipping history, my personal observations and insight from the “pros” here, hopefully enough to get you thinking about tipping in a variety of situations and for a variety of services.  Ultimately, tipping is situational and a somewhat personal decision as to the level of monetary value given to servers.  Knowing how hard many of our local service providers work, I do hope readers will as generous as possible. What may be an insignificant amount to some may help a deserving service provider “make the rent” or provide for themselves and their family in another way.  Happy tipping and I hope you all receive the great service you deserve.  Happy June!

Mike Tumbarello
June, 2018

 

 

 

State Park Highlights

I write this Cover Story for the May issue of Deep Creek Times one day after attending a very nice event at Fort Frederick State Park near Hancock.  While over an hour away from Deep Creek, I think the value and character of that event and of Fort Frederick State Park in general, extend to our “local” state parks here in Garrett County and to all of the parks in the state. Hence this simple attempt here to highlight these great resources so close to us here at Deep Creek Lake.

As posted on the State Parks website, there are nine state parks in Garrett County. All offer picnic, and fishing areas, while all but Casselman River State Park have hiking paths. Mountain bike paths, swimming areas, and boat launches and rentals are available at Deep Creek, Herrington Manor and New Germany State Parks, and the last two have rental cabins available. Big Run, Deep Creek, Herrington Manor and New Germany State Parks offer canoeing, while campsites may be found at Big Run, Deep Creek, New Germany, and Swallow Falls State Parks. If you wish to camp, it pays to get a reservation in advance.  The parks are now taking reservations for Summer, so act quickly. Here’s a listing of all nine with links and phone numbers:

In addition to the natural beauty found in each of our state parks, there is the “beauty” of low-cost accessibility to the diverse flora, fauna, education and experiential resources they provide.  Plus, the experiences available all vary by the season, thereby providing a wealth of options for the “local” or visitor.  For example, I can attest that each time I hike Swallow Falls I see things I didn’t see before and I also see the trail, park and fellow visitors in a different light.  Whether rushing water going over Muddy Falls or the serene quite of the simple hike in Winter, there is something new to experience and enjoy. Our state parks are the gifts that keep on giving!

This constantly evolving view of nature is what keeps me coming back.  I say this to encourage all of our readers that have been to a given park to revisit the park to gain a different experience, whether by varying in-park location, time-of-day or season.  I also urge all to look in our Daily Notes and Events sections of Deep Creek Times for updates on local events at each of the parks. Whether an educational lecture in the lake house at New Germany State Park, or a guided walk (or talk) by the team at Deep Creek Lake State Park’s Discovery Center, or a leisurely stroll to admire the innovative design at Casselman River Bridge State Park, there is always something to do at one of our local State Parks.

So, visit the parks and this great state resource often and in every season.  Whether hiking, biking, learning, swimming, fishing, hunting or skiing, there is likely something you and your family will enjoy.  Have fun!

Mike Tumbarello
Deep Creek Times

Garrett County Open for Outdoor Enthusiasts in April

The Romans gave this month the Latin name Aprilis. The name aperire means “to open” and appears to reference the Spring season when trees and flowers begin to “open” at the start of the growing season. Even with our cool winter and early Spring here in Garrett County, plants are growing as evidenced by the daffodils pushing through the hard earth throughout the County.

While the county has a rich, active Winter season, April is the true beginning of things to come for local and visiting outdoor enthusiasts seeking warm-weather activities.  April is called “the mud season” by some due to snow melt and rain, even as it “presents” the myriad outdoor (and indoor) warm weather activities available to all.  Whatever one’s interests, there is something to do in Garrett County in the warmer months of the year.

Garrett County, upon its charter in 1872, was named after John W. Garrett, the former president of the B&O railroad.  But the County’s history goes far beyond that period and was truly part of America’s frontier, with a number of native American tribes calling the county home before John Friend founded what is now Friendsville in Northern Garrett County in 1765.

Speaking of Friendsville, it offers a great example of a place to explore that may seem a bit off the beaten track to many visitors and locals alike.  Located up route 42 right before you reach I-68, it provides everything from local indoor entertainment at Ken’s Irish Pub to great whitewater rafting on the Youghiogheny River.  Friendsville also offers great hiking opportunities, including access to the Kendall Trail.  The town also holds a number of events throughout the year including Friendsville Days, maker markets and an annual banjo and fiddle competition. On the way there, you can stop at Schoolhouse Earth for eclectic shopping finds and even Working H farms for some wonderful locally sourced meats.

Friendsville is just one example of what is available here in the County.  There are many other great villages and towns throughout the County that provide great day trips or access to great outdoor adventures.  To help give you a sense of what is out there and to get you in the “outdoor spirit” I have prepared the following “list” for your consideration when looking for things to do:

Deep Creek Lake – While this is an obvious attraction, there are a number of options available on or near the lake that should be considered.  One of the best is Deep Creek State Park located just off Glendale Road.  The park offers camping (after April 15th), swimming, hunting, fishing, hiking, guided programs and also contains the wonderful Discovery Center.

Hiking Trails – There are many trails encompassing many miles for all levels of expertise in Garrett County. The best place to look for information and maps is the Garrett trails website.  Garrett Trails is a non-profit organization that plans, manages, maintain our trails and that also hosts some great events, including the Gran Fondo and other competitions.

State Parks – While Deep Creek Lake is an epicenter of activity and adventure sports, it is by no means the only place to experience those activities.  In addition to Deep Creek Lake State Park there is also New Germany State Park, Swallow Falls State Park, Herrington Manor State Park and others in the County.  These parks include hiking, swimming, boating, hunting, fishing and other activities and are often overlooked by visitors and even second home owners and locals. One favorite of mine for your consideration is Swallow Falls with its great Hemlock forests, hiking trails and water falls.

A Great Small Town – Oakland, the county seat located a few miles south of the lake bills itself as a Great Small Town, and I agree.  There are lots of activities there in the Spring and Summer months, ranging from art shows, outdoor concerts, festivals, historic museums and other activities including antiquing and some good local places to eat.  It’s worth the drive.

Indoors – If you need some time out of the sun, or if it is raining, consider one of our great restaurants or shopping venues.  One of the best qualities of Garrett County eateries and retailers is that almost 100% are locally owned and operated and they offer a variety of choices.  Check out our Dining Guide for some more information and our Shopping Guide as well.

Gardening – I would be remiss if I did not put this “public Service announcement” in this article.  While many homeowners (both primary and second) look forward to the Spring to plant some new annuals, perennials, etc. I want to suggest that you wait until the chances of frost are extremely low or approach zero.  That would mean waiting until at least Memorial Day here on the mountain to plant anything outside.  The University of Maryland Extension is a great resource with some great people dedicated to helping us all get the most out of our planting efforts.

So, those are my thoughts to get you all aware of and thinking about all Garrett County has to offer in the warmer-weather months. There are so many options available that I just scratched the surface here.  But, remember that April is truly the “opening” of the warm weather outdoor season in the county.  Have fun and be safe.

Mike Tumbarello
Co-owner, Publisher

 

Women’s History Month

By: Mike Tumbarello

As the snow falls in Garrett County on this first day of Spring, I thought I would talk a little about Women’s History Month. I have seen a lot of stories, events and articles covering, celebrating and even “dissecting” this annual March fixture and wanted to add some thoughts. I have included the piece on the “Dinner Party” art exhibit currently at Garrett College because I think it sums up where we are as a society relative to celebrating women and their contributions, challenges and opportunities.

I think it is great that students of all backgrounds came together to make this Dinner Party exhibition a reality.  I think it even more important to recognize that while events, lectures and articles have occurred throughout the month in support of women, there is still a long way to go, and that working together we, as a global society, can continue to benefit from inclusiveness and understanding of all on this giant ball we call earth.

I recently read a New York Times piece that printed obituaries from the past of important, courageous and even famous women that never “qualified” to get their obituary in the Times when they passed. The Times hopes to rectify that by now printing “missed” obits in its future editions. A great idea.

Yet, even as we celebrate women this month, Money Magazine ran a great article on the female investment gap, estimating that it could reach one million dollars by age 65 for high earners. That estimate resulted from a complex analysis based on some serious assumptions, but to me it indicates there is obviously a significant problem that goes beyond mere salary parity. It will also have an impact on the economy and society with implications far beyond that of individual women and their families. So, think about March as being about women and all they have done and continue to do and perhaps, based on some past exclusions, consider March being about March Sadness and not just about March Madness on the basketball court. Below is the piece on the Dinner Party…

GC Students Recreate ‘Dinner Party’ Art Exhibit, Open to the Public

Garrett College’s Psychology of Women and American Association of University Women (AAUW) students recreated the Dinner Party, an iconic work by feminist artist Judy Chicago. Students created their own place settings featuring women and men who worked toward gender equality during each wave of the women’s movement.

The art exhibit opened on Monday, March 5 and will be open to the public through Friday, March 9th from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., March 8-16 and March 26-29 in Room 620A on the McHenry campus of the College. For more information on the exhibit that is open to the general public, persons may contact Dr. Terry Kasecamp, Professor of Psychology, at 301-387-3005 or terry.kasecamp@garrettcollege.edu.

Women's Dinner Party Exhibit at Garrett College - March 2018

Pictured in the first row, from left to right, are: Shermani “Jordan” Jones, Mariah Long, Lillian Tasker, Gabirella Wildensen, Angela Lowry, and Kayleah Ferguson. In the second row (left to right) are: Jordyn Thomas, Gavin McConnell, Kalynn Eyler, Liutaurus Repsys, April McKinley, Tiffany Hutzel, Robert Lawson, Jonathan Caughman, Dr. Terry Lynn Kasecamp, and Dr. Richard Midcap.

Maryland Farm and Harvest

 

Crellin Elementary School leads the way with innovation in studying math, reading and farming. They have a greenhouse, a garden, goats, sheep and hens.

Learn more in this PBS special at 11:10 below:

 

2018 Tax Reform Details

With all of the often-confusing coverage given to the new tax reform legislation, we thought we would share a share a summary of some of the new law’s key points. For insight we went to Brian Boal of Boal & Associates Certified Public Accountants in Oakland. Brian graciously agreed to share his firm’s New Year’s newsletter supplement that they provide to all of their clients.

We opened the new year with our Cover Story on New Year Resolutions which we now replace with this piece, as we believe that understanding and optimizing one’s financial situation is key to success and well-being. We at Deep Creek Times don’t claim to be tax “gurus,” but we do think Brian and his team are, so check this information out and I think you could feel comfortable contacting them with questions or to engage their services.

–Mike Tumbarello

Boal and Associates CPA from Deep Creek Lake, MD

Greetings and Happy New Year! As you have likely heard by now, Congress recently passed one of the largest tax reform bills in recent history. Through this newsletter supplement, we have summarized most of the major provisions of the recently passed bill below. Please call or email with specific questions as almost everyone’s taxes were impacted by this tax bill in one way or another.

(NOTE – THE MAJORITY OF THESE CHANGES WILL IMPACT 2018 TAX RETURNS AND NOT 2017 TAX RETURNS)

 INDIVIDUAL AND ESTATE TAX REFORM

 New Tax Rates and Brackets
There are seven new tax rate brackets for individuals 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%, all of which have been expanded to include more income at lower rates.

 The favorable capital gain rates remain unchanged.

Standard Deduction Increase
The standard deduction has been increased to $24,000 for Married Filing Joint, $18,000 for Head of Household and $12,000 for Single taxpayers. Folks age 65 and up get $1,250 more per person ($1,550 if unmarried).

 Personal Exemptions Suspended
The personal exemption deduction has been reduced to zero. However, there is a new $500 credit for each dependent who is not a qualifying child (example: elderly parent). It’s nonrefundable and phases out under the same thresholds as the child tax credit.

Qualified Residential Mortgage Interest
Interest is now deductible on new acquisition debt on a primary or second residence on mortgages up to $750,000, down from $1,000,000. The new limit generally applies to mortgage debt incurred after December 14, 2017. There is no longer a write-off for interest on home equity indebtedness after 2017.

Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions
The following deductions have been eliminated: Moving expenses (except military), employee business expenses, brokerage and IRA fees, hobby expenses, tax preparation costs, theft losses, alimony for post-2018 divorce decrees, and personal casualty losses (unless in a presidentially declared disaster area).

Medical Expenses
Medical expenses remain deductible and are now subject to a 7.5% threshold instead of 10% for 2018.

Child Tax Credit Increased
The child tax credit is increased to $2,000 and the income phase-out limits have been increased to $400,000 for a married filing joint couple and $200,000 for all other taxpayers.

 Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
The individual AMT survived but with higher exemption limits.

 Health Insurance Mandate
The mandate for paying a fine if you don’t have qualified health insurance is repealed for years after 2018. The mandate continues to apply for 2018.

 Estate Tax
The lifetime estate and gift tax exemption has increased to $11million. The annual gift exclusion for 2018 is up to $15,000 per donee.

Section 529 College Savings Plans
College savings plans have been enhanced to allow $10,000 distribution per year to pay for elementary and secondary education.

 BUSINESS TAX REFORM

Corporate Income Tax Rates
Regular (“C Corporations”) will now pay a flat tax rate of 21%, much lower than the previous highest rate of 35%. There is no longer a corporate AMT.

Pass-through Deduction
Sole proprietors, S Corporation shareholders and LLC members will now receive a 20% qualified business income deduction. The break does phase-out for folks in professional service fields such as law, consulting, accounting and healthcare on income in excess of $315,000 for joint returns and $157,500 for single returns.

Bonus Depreciation
Bonus depreciation has been increased to 100% of the cost of the asset (in place of the previous 50%). This applies to assets purchased after 9/27/17 (impacts 2017 returns).

 Section 179 Expense
The final bill increases the amount of qualified property eligible for immediate expensing from $500K to $1 million per year. The bill also added the following items as eligible for this election: Roofs, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning property and security systems.

Business Deductions Eliminated
The bill eliminated or reduced deductions for business entertainment, country club dues, the domestic production deduction and personal property like-kind exchanges.

 This is simply a broad-brush summary of the recent changes – please call or email with any questions in regards to the impact on your individual or business circumstances. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Yours very truly,

All of us at Boal and Associates CPA’s

WE INFORM YOU THAT ANY U.S. FEDERAL TAX ADVICE CONTAINED IN THIS COMMUNICATION (INCLUDING ANY ATTACHMENTS) IS NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN TO BE USED, AND CANNOT BE USED, FOR THE PURPOSE OF (I) AVOIDING PENALTIES UNDER THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OR (II) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY TRANSACTION OR MATTER ADDRESSED HEREIN.  THIS ADVICE MAY NOT BE FORWARDED (OTHER THAN WITHIN THE TAXPAYER TO WHICH IT HAS BEEN SENT) WITHOUT OUR EXPRESS WRITTEN CONSENT.

2018 New Year’s Resolutions

 

The ancient Babylonians were apparently the first society to make resolutions for a new year. Their practice of making resolutions started about 4,000 years ago. They apparently also held celebrations to bring in the new year, which they celebrated in the Spring when they planted their crops. While the Babylonians reportedly resolved to return borrowed equipment or repay debts owed, resolutions in modern times have grown in scope to accommodate our current ways of life.

According to a number of sources, most new year resolutions revolve around self-improvement in the form of losing weight, getting more exercise, eating better or attaining a self-development goal. Many people never accomplish their resolutions. In the spirit of getting our readers thinking about what they can and should resolve, and after reading a number of articles/lists/blogs and doing a lot of thinking, I offer the following “menu” for you to consider and select from, should you be inclined. These are not in any particular order…

  • Lose weight
  • Enhance physical fitness
  • Eat healthier
  • Gain more life-work balance
  • Get a promotion and/or raise at work
  • Finish your education/degree/certification

So, those are some of the more traditional ones. Here’s some that also reflect our current crazy-busy, tech-driven lives. Some of these take only a minute, so you will be sure to accomplish them!

  • Call your mother
  • Play with the dog or cat
  • Call or go in-person instead of sending an email
  • Spend less time on social media
  • Ask your friends about their family
  • Write a hand-written thank you note
  • Write a hand-written “thinking of you” note
  • Say hello to the neighbor you don’t really ever talk to
  • Make an effort to meet the person in the next cubicle
  • Learn a new computer application and use it
  • Give to a local charity
  • Say thank you more often
  • Think more about the future
  • Take the dog for a long walk even if it is cold outside
  • Leave the dog home and take a long walk with your significant other
  • Stop and take in a great sunrise or sunset
  • Stop by the local animal shelter and play with the dogs and cats
  • Maybe even rescue one of them and give them a forever home
  • Converse with a service provider and let them know you notice them
  • Read a real book
  • Listen to others even when you disagree with them
  • Give blood
  • Give your time to a local non-profit
  • Be a mentor to a young person that needs one
  • Read to a blind person
  • Visit a nursing home
  • Call an old friend you have not talked to in a while
  • Tell your children about the “old days”
  • Thank a veteran
  • Forgive, and forget
  • Make peace with a person you are on “the outs” with
  • Drive the speed limit
  • Don’t tailgate
  • Hold the door open for someone of either sex
  • Smile, you probably have it better than 99% of those in the world
  • Tell your family you love them
  • Clean the snow off someone else’s car
  • Be honest as to your accomplishments, and your limitations
  • Don’t be a pompous jerk
  • Read a classic (again)
  • Go bowling with the family
  • Snuggle with your significant other
  • Dust (you know it has been a while)
  • Ask a fast food server how their day is going
  • Show interest even when you are not that interested
  • Root for the underdog
  • Go back to your old school and strike up a conversation with a current student
  • Carry someone’s groceries out to their car
  • Surprise them by first paying for their groceries
  • Learn who your elected representatives are
  • Don’t preach. Share, and then listen
  • Dance at the next wedding you go to
  • Make a budget
  • Stick to your budget
  • Recycle
  • Donate unused clothes to a charity of your choosing
  • Watch the birds at the feeder
  • Wonder at the miracle of life
  • Stop at a yard sale
  • Write a letter-to-the-editor because you know you have something to say
  • Tell your significant other you love them
  • Live life to the fullest and be the success that you define
  • Be humble
  • Save your loose change in a jar
  • Be the positive one
  • Tip generously
  • Tell a joke
  • Smile more (yes, a repeat)
  • Take the stairs, not the elevator

Well, there you have it. Some suggested resolutions for you (and for me) to consider. Please feel free to send us your thoughts and any of your resolutions for a follow-up on this cover story. You can send comments to info@deepdreektimes.com. Happy New Year!

-Mike Tumbarello

GC Paramedic Graduate: ‘There will always be a need for those with a trade”

Growing up, Nathan Householder spent his days flipping through the pages of a Gray’s Anatomy book while other kids his age were reading R.L. Stine books. His grandmother was a nurse for more than 50 years; his father was a medic for 30 years and remains active in the fire service with Potomac Fire Company in nearby Westernport. To no surprise, he had access to all kinds of reading materials.

Fast forward to the present: Householder is a graduate of the Garrett College paramedic training program working as a flight paramedic for Valley Med Flight out of Dickinson, North Dakota. A typical day consists of briefings with the medical crew and pilot, in addition to case reviews, case study reports and continuing education sessions. As a flight paramedic, one has to apply the skills and knowledge to assist critical care patients.

Back in August 2017, Householder’s base in Dickinson received the call and was activated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for deployment to the FEMA Operational Command Center (OCC) in San Antonio for air evacuations, as a result of the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

“Our crew, consisting of a nurse, paramedic, and two pilots, gathered medical and other equipment in preparation for the deployment. The crew’s deployment was estimated to be seven days. We were transported to San Antonio via one of the company’s fixed wing assets, A Pilatus PC-12,” Householder stated.

“Upon arrival in San Antonio, our crew reported to the OCC for assignments (aircraft and crew). Our crew was among many crews staffing 25 rotor wing aircraft,” Householder explained. “We were assigned to an A-Star 350 N859MB, identical to the aircraft we use on a normal basis. We inspected and stocked aircraft with medical equipment brought from home base.”

Householder reported that although he and his crew did not complete any missions during the time they were in San Antonio, they were utilized as a back-up crew on-site. He reflected on the overall experience he was able to observe, from his perspective, as a flight paramedic, based on the many activities and efforts that were taking place around them.

“Crews were utilized for the transport of patients from intensive care units (ICUs) of affected facilities to those unaffected. Mobile Medical Units (MMUs) were set up in the Beaumont, Dallas and Houston areas,” Householder said. “Crews would assist in the MMU’s with patient care until a transport was necessary for a patient presenting to the MMU.”

Householder said aircraft were used to get patients to the facilities that could offer the most appropriate care.

“Patients were transported from the MMU’s to an airfield nearby where fixed wing aircraft were stationed. The aircraft were utilized for most expedited transport of patients to appropriate facilities as several facilities were affected by Hurricane Harvey,” he explained.

Now, having more than 20 years of experience, being on the receiving end of more bad calls than good, while witnessing some very interesting situations that included both moral and ethical dilemmas, Householder said the philosophy is simple: this is the patient’s emergency, not yours.

Flip back the pages, and one will find that Householder’s passion for EMS and fire service, coupled with his rich family history and the paramedic training program at Garrett College, allowed him to get to where he is today.

He began with Tri-Towns EMS once he completed his EMT basic in 1997; Householder finished Firefighter I the fall of the same year. In 1999, he joined his father and became a member of Potomac Fire Co. In July 2014, he completed the paramedic training program at GC and received national registry certification.

“Jim (Koon) and Jean (Tressler) were there from the beginning of my journey to become a paramedic,” Householder said of his time at GC. “They were supportive and understanding through several setbacks that prevented me from completing this program. I’d also like to thank Doug (Beitzel) for the role he played, later on in my educational journey. My family were big supporters, be it immediate family or my new extended family in fire/EMS. My father and mother were my live-in study buddies.”

In addition to the supportive learning environment, he also credited the program for providing him with the rudimentary assessment skills, anatomy, and basic algorithms, all of which equipped him for his experience in the real world. To those considering the program, he offers the following advice:

“All the practices, procedures and treatments provided by Advanced Life Support (ALS) providers, such as paramedic, are based on an assessment. If you do not have a strong set of assessment skills, the care you provide could be amiss,” Householder said. “Any experienced advanced care provider will tell you, assessment comes first.

“Couple this with the paramedic program and a working knowledge of anatomy and physiology, you will be able to provide strong pre-hospital care,” continued Householder, adding, “This is no easy course. You will have to dedicate many hours, to the tune of 1,000- plus hours with classroom time, in the hospital through their various departments, field time, and studying.”

In terms of the value of his certificate and today’s paramedic job market, he spoke very highly of the education he received at GC.

“Many jobs today, and I’m talking in the millions, are available to those with skill or trade experience. The certificate I obtained upon completion of the paramedic program along with the National Registry Certification, has allowed me to gain licenses in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Dakota, all without attending another paramedic program,” Householder stated.

“Attending a four-year school or obtaining an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is not for everyone. There is no shame in trade work,” he said. “This country was built by tradesmen and tradeswomen – there will always be a need for those with a trade.”

Garrett County Trained Paramedic

Pictured is Nathan Householder, graduate of Garrett College’s paramedic program and flight paramedic for Valley Med Flight out of Dickinson, Colorado.