By: Mike Tumbarello

Happy January 2020 dear readers and welcome to the new decade – the 20s!  As our cover story for this month, I thought I would look back at the past decade and some of the big stories at the global, national and local (Deep Creek Lake area) levels.

This is certainly NOT meant as an all-inclusive look back and is provided more in the spirit of aiding all to take a deep breath and consider the past decade and what has transpired in our community, our nation and even globally and to perhaps introspect a bit as we consider the next decade. Certainly, influenced by my own experiences, geographic location and world-view, this is NOT meant to provide a political perspective or position in any way.  Deep Creek Times continues to provide completely apolitical content and this piece is no exception.

I am sure you can add more and we welcome your suggestions and nominations and will try to publish them as part of the February cover story.   Send any comments and suggestions to us by January 20th at info@deepcreektimes.com with the subject line of January Cover Story Comments. Thanks in advance and here goes.

Globally Speaking…

Well, globally it appears that ‘the only constant was change’ and on so many levels and in so many ways over the course of the past decade. We certainly live in changing, and in many ways, challenging times. Here’s my shortlist of the “biggest” stories globally over the last decade:

  • The (re)emergence of China as a global political, military and economic force, with all of the ramifications for global trade, harmony and the balance of power. China will likely continue to influence the world in many ways – positive and negative – in this decade.
  • The continued challenges in, and due to, various factors in the Middle East. While the cradle of civilization, the Middle East continues to be a geopolitical (and military) hot spot. From Syria, Iraq, and Iran to the less publicized challenges in Israel, Saudi Arabia and the general divisiveness and Petro-driven issues, this was a big influencer on the global scene.
  • A bit closer to home, the European Union has had some significant issues, the most visible being the on-again, off-again Brexit decision, the influx of refugees and the economic malaise of the area. Russia also continued to flex its muscles on the global stage.
  • On a positive note, the influence of technology, civil rights improvements, environmental policy changes, and many other outcomes continued to gain momentum, even if not uniformly across the globe.

Nationally speaking…

There’s lots to talk about here, but I will limit to a few of the big stories as I see them.

  • The county is divided, on many issues, and it does not seem to be getting better. There I said it.  Through the Obama years and during the Trump presidency, there are significant, painful divides that don’t show signs of letting-up. And, yes, this does impact us here on the mountain, as all of the global, national and local factors identified do.
  • The recovery from the great recession. Wow, the stock market has gone bonkers in the past decade and that has helped many feel more positive, spend more on consumer goods and real estate and feel more secure.  Hopefully, things will continue, but of course, there are no guarantees, and only time will tell.
  • The emergence of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple and a few other tech giants as social “influencers” as well as tech behemoths. Along with social media, artificial intelligence, big data and a number of biotech developments, technology has become a huge part of our lives.

Around the lake…

It can certainly be argued that the many small experiences and interactions “in” and around the lake are what make the Deep Creek Lake area a special place to live, work and visit.  With that said, I offer the following list of “events” of the last decade as especially noteworthy:

  • The fracking debate and ban. After a contentious period that was certainly passionately debated and discussed, the state fracking ban was passed, putting the issue to rest.
  • The recovery of the local economy from the great-recession. While perhaps not “booming” like some areas of the state or country, Garrett County home values, sales, and tourism have recovered well.
  • Hurricane Sandy and the related closings and power outages. If anyone wonders what would happen if two feet of snow were to fall in October, before the leaves were off the trees, please ask someone about Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath around the lake.
  • The International Canoe and Kayak Championships came to the Adventure Sports Center on the mountain. This event, traditionally held in areas such as Prague, London and other “global meccas” helped reinforce the lake area’s reputation as a definite go-to destination for experiential and adventure sports.
  • The lake had a birthday and turned 90. One only has to look at vintage photos to see how the lake area has changed over the past decade and since its “birth.” This fact was complemented by the work of a number of local non-profits and citizens and also local, regional and state funding to better understand and improve the ecosystem.
  • A whole new set of commissioners. Elections came and went and the community and its various political components really “showed-up” and participated on a number of levels.  And, for the most part, this process went smoothly and with understanding and cordial relations from all involved, from candidates to voters.
  • The closing in the past year of the Verso Plant. While not “at the lake,” many Garrett County residents depended on the plant for employment and sales.  The greater community came through and has really rallied to help any displaced workers with training and other benefits.
  • A number of new entities, both for-profit and non-profit, have opened, including The Greene Turtle, Ace’s Run, Cashmere Clothing Co., Deep Creek Donuts, Deep Creek Lake Watershed Foundation, The Manor Steakhouse, Discount Duo, Glazed and Confused Donuts, Roots Yoga, the Cornucopia Cafe and others. And don’t forget the resurgence in Downtown Oakland, as perhaps best exemplified by the “new” locomotive at the Oakland B&O Museum.
  • At the risk of sounding a bit self-serving, I believe the Deep Creek Times People’s Choice Challenge is deserving of note here, as it was a celebration of all the people and institutions that make the Deep Creek Lake area a great place. Likewise, The Power of Possibilities continues to help entrepreneurs and want-to-be entrepreneurs succeed and contribute to the local community and economy.

So, there you have it.  A look back at the last decade at the lake and also a quick glance back nationally and globally, all from your little Deep Creek Times online e-zine! If you think I left something out, please don’t take it personally, and do send us any and all thoughts for us to include in next month’s Cover Story.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy 2020!

Mike