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

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

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

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

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

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

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