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The Daily Record Names Carissa Rodeheaver of First United to “Maryland’s Top 100 Women”

Posted 5/11/22

OAKLAND, Md. -- Carissa Rodeheaver, Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of First United Corporation, has been named for the second time as one of "Maryland's Top 100 Women" by The Daily Record.

Maryland’s Top 100 Women was founded in 1996 to recognize outstanding achievements by women demonstrated through professional accomplishments, community leadership and mentoring. More than 1,700 women have been presented with the honor over the years.

"Being recognized by The Daily Record is an honor," said Ms. Rodeheaver. "I am humbled to be included among the many accomplished women in our state and am gratified to serve my community and to mentor the next generation of leaders."

"This year's Maryland's Top 100 Women work hard, play hard and create better lives for their teams, their networks and their families. They are inclusive change agents who are not afraid to face adversity and stand up for what they believe," said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, senior group publisher of The Daily Record. "Their community impact and commitment to mentoring are outstanding. We at The Daily Record are proud to honor them."

Award recipients were honored at a reception and awards celebration event on May 9 in Baltimore. Winners will also be profiled in a special magazine that will be inserted into the May 10 issue of The Daily Record and will be available online at TheDailyRecord.com.

2023 Proposed Constant Yield Tax Rate

Posted 5/10/22

May 6, 2022, Oakland, MD – The Constant Yield Tax Rate is a property tax rate that, when applied to new assessments, will result in the taxing authority receiving the same revenue in the coming taxable year that was produced in the prior taxable year.

The advertisement for the public hearing is titled Notice of a Proposed Property Tax Increase and is required by state law.

Despite announcing the verbiage above, the County may adjust the property tax rate or make no change. The Constant Yield Tax Rate is NOT an increase in the property tax rate. The current Garrett County Property Tax rate of $1.056 will remain the same.

In 2022, the assessable base in Garrett County has increased by 2.2% which will generate just over $1 million in new property tax revenue.

“The State Department of Assessments and Taxation administers the constant yield tax rate program and hands the requirements down to the local governments,” said Scott Weeks, Director of Finance for the Garrett County Government.

“We must comply with the public notice piece, but the current Board of Garrett County Commissioners is recommending no change to the tax rate for the 2023 budget.”

If you have questions on constant tax yield, please consider attending the public hearing at 4:00 PM on May 17, 2022. The hearing will also be streamed live on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/GarrettCountyGovernment. You may also email
comments, until June 6, 2022, to gccomments@garrettcounty.org.

Business Spotlight Program Announced

Posted 5/5/22

May 5, 2022, Oakland, MD – The Garrett County Department of Business Development has announced the launch of a new Business Spotlight Program to showcase Garrett County businesses and nonprofit organizations and the services and/or products they each provide.
Each participating business or organization will be randomly featured with a colorful ad and blurb across Garrett County Business Development’s marketing and social media platforms. Generated by Business Development staff, the featured spotlight will include links to the business’s or organization’s website, address, phone number, and social media platforms to help drive attention and traffic to their services and/or products.

Once posted, the featured business or organization will be able to share it on their own social media and marketing platforms.
“We have recently brought Mr. Connor Norman on board as our Business Development specialist and we are eager to continue to assist our local businesses,” said Board of County Commissioners Chairman Paul Edwards.

“This Spotlight initiative will be a great way to highlight our local resources.”

The Business Spotlight Program will be an ongoing economic and business development initiative offered to all Garrett County businesses and nonprofit organizations and is expected to kickoff sometime in May. There is no charge to participate in the program.

If you are interested in being featured or want to learn more about the program, please contact Connor Norman, Business Development Specialist, at 301-334-7281 or cnorman@garrettcounty.org

First Peoples Community FCU Announces Randy Olsen As Interim CEO

Posted 5/5/22

CUMBERLAND, MD- First Peoples Community Federal Credit Union Board of Directors announces that Chief Financial Officer, Randy Olsen, has been appointed Interim CEO. Mr. Olsen will be replacing previous CEO, Stacey Bingaman.

“First Peoples is exceptionally well positioned strategically and has an extremely talented executive team. They are supported by a dedicated and customer focused work force and I expect that the Credit Union will continue to be successful in the future," says Board Chairman, Stephen Nelson. He continues, “the Board recognizes the considerable value that Stacey has contributed to First Peoples over the past eighteen years in establishing us as a leader in the industry. He has contributed significantly to improving the value of First Peoples, and we greatly
appreciate his efforts. He is leaving this Credit Union in the hands of a very talented team of executives. This departure was not related in any way to First Peoples operational performance or financial condition, both of which remain strong. We recognize that this change in leadership is unexpected news for some, but we have strong leaders driving the Credit Union, and strong teams of employees driving performance."

To maintain continuity, an executive search will commence for a permanent Chief Executive Officer soon.

There’s a Business App for That!

Posted 5/2/22

National Small Business Week Can be a Good Time to Consider if an App is Right for Small Businesses In today’s high-tech world, people can do business on their mobile devices from anywhere. National Small Business Week is May 1-7 and a good time for small business owners to consider creating an app to have another way for customers to do business with them. Mobile apps have become essential marketing and sales tools and are being used more frequently by small businesses across multiple industries.

In addition to having a mobile-friendly website, a mobile app will make your small business look professional, innovative, and tech savvy, allowing you to compete with companies of all sizes. Having an app helps communicate key information about your company (including location, hours, directions, product/service offerings), provides customers a dedicated resource on their device and can help drive new prospects to your business.

“While business owners may worry that developing and maintaining an app may be overwhelming or expensive, having an app is a smart business decision to stay competitive and visible,” said Nakeita Stewart, director of sales for UScellular in the Mid-Atlantic. “Apps provide significant benefits, helping small businesses better engage with customers and prospects, boost sales, attract new audiences, gather feedback, and build brand loyalty.”

UScellular experts offer advice on where to start when building and maintaining an app: Define your goals. Before you attempt to design or build your app, decide on its purpose and mission. What do you want it to do? How will it attract and engage key audiences? How will it make users’ lives easier or better? How will it be different – and better – than other apps in the marketplace? Strategize your approach. App builders like iGenApps and Jotforms are great resources that are intuitive and user-friendly, but the effort can still be time-consuming. Decide whether you have the bandwidth to take this on, especially if you’re responsible for all other aspects of your business. It may be wise to hire a professional to build the app so you can focus your time and energy elsewhere. Conceptualize the look and features. The app should be an extension of your brand, with a similar look and feel to your other marketing materials, such as your website. Use the same color palette and visual elements (e.g., your logo and fonts). Determine what features you’d like to include, such as e-commerce, a messaging section, etc. Look at other companies’ apps and decide what you like (or dislike) about their approach, design, and features. Scroll through sites like Dribble, which showcase creative work, for design inspiration.

Keep it fresh. Don’t let your app get stagnant. Update content and offerings regularly by adding new products or services, spotlighting upcoming sales, promotions or events, and offer loyalty programs. Digitize your loyalty program so your customers can collect their rewards via the app to increase downloads and return customers. Get valuable data. Your app will allow you to track downloads and user engagement. You’ll also be able to measure other key metrics, such as your most (and least) popular offerings, allowing you to make more informed, data-based business decisions (e.g., which products to carry or discontinue) moving forward.

About UScellular UScellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier provides a strong, reliable network supported by the latest technology and offers a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses, and improve the efficiency of government operations. To learn more about UScellular, visit one of its retail stores or https://link.edgepilot.com/s/a797f450/Wq1qBmRGV0qcHbE4_NIwFg?u=http://www.uscellular.com/. To get the latest news, visit newsroom.uscellular.com. Connect with UScellular on social media at facebook.com/uscellular, twitter.com/uscellular, instagram.com/uscellular, YouTube.com/uscellularcorp and linkedin.com/company/uscellular.

Meet Connor Norman, Garrett County Government's New Business Development Specialist

Posted 4/27/22

OAKLAND, Md.—Connor Norman is the new Business Development Specialist for the Garrett County, Maryland - Department of Business Development.

Connor's responsibilities include assisting county businesses with development, expansion, assistance, retention, and growth, working with Garrett County's municipalities on local development initiatives, and assisting with the promotion of local businesses and nonprofit organizations.

A former student of Southern High School, Garrett College, and Point Park University, Connor holds a degree in Business Administration, Public Relations, and Marketing.

As a dedicated businessman, volunteer, entertainer, and advocate for Garrett County, Connor has worked in audio promotions and marketing for the past 15 years, marking himself as one of Western Maryland’s utmost business professionals in audio production services ranging from weddings, parties and events, live game show entertainment as well as professional radio, commercial and voice advertising.

Connor has spent his working career contributing to the welfare and continued prosperity of Garrett County. In addition to serving as Garrett County's Business Development Specialist, Connor has spent the last 6 years as a member of the Garrett County Diplomat Committee with the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce. In that time, he has spent 5 years as the committee’s chair; having won two Diplomat of the Year Awards and a Garrett County Volunteer of the Year Award. He has helped to facilitate the ribbon cuttings, business growth initiatives, ground breakings, and milestone celebrations for dozens of fellow businesses in the community.

Outside of work you’ll find him socializing, volunteering, or hiking the local trails.

Contact Connor at (301) 334-7281 or cnorman@garrettcounty.org.

Garrett Transit Service Driver Wins Statewide Competition, Preparing for Nationals

Posted 4/19/22

OAKLAND, Md.—April 19, 2022—Garrett County Community Action Committee, Inc. (GCCAC) is proud to celebrate the hard work and dedication of a driver from Garrett Transit Service (GTS). GTS Head Start & Transit Driver Matt Paugh earned his third first-place win after participating in the 2022 Transportation Association of Maryland (TAM) Statewide Roadeo. Following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, TAM's Statewide Rodeo hosted many of the best transit drivers in Maryland, ready to display their professional skills and commitment to safety and improving Marylanders' lives.

Paugh has competed in the Statewide Roadeo nine times. Having won in 2017 and 2019, he was happy to break his personal best this year after receiving an overall score of 734. With 13 years of professional driving experience with GTS, Paugh won the title by demonstrating driving skills and knowledge of transportation and transit safety information. Transit drivers are scored on obstacle course maneuvering, successful passenger stops, pre-trip inspections, and wheelchair securement.

"I love driving," Paugh said of his dedication to GTS and Garrett County. "I followed in my grandfather's footsteps to Garrett Transit Service and got the opportunity to work with the kids in Garrett County Community Action's Head Start program. Working for GTS has changed me greatly; I'm happy and grateful to continue progressing as a driver to serve Garrett County families and individuals better."

This year's event was hosted on April 2, 2022, at the Dorsey MARC Station in Elkridge, Maryland. Along with three additional 2022 top scorers, Paugh will be competing on May 13-14 at the National Roadeo in Louisville, Kentucky. Paugh has his sights on placing in the top-ten scorers during the National Roadeo in May and will have his wife and two children there to cheer him on.

An initiative of GCCAC, GTS has been the public transportation provider for Garrett County since 1983, driving individuals and families more than 500,000 miles annually. GTS provides safe, reliable, and affordable transportation to all residents of Garrett County. Anyone interested in ridership can call GTS at (301) 533.9010.

About Transportation Association of Maryland (TAM)

The Transportation Association of Maryland (TAM) continues our commitment to improving mobility and economic opportunity for all Maryland citizens. Members include public, private, and nonprofit organizations. The transportation services provided by TAM members sustain an independent and productive living and increase access to community resources. Additionally, TMA helps promote business, tourism, and economic development across the State of Maryland.

About Garrett County Community Action Committee (GCCAC)

Garrett County Community Action Committee, founded in 1965, is a private, nonprofit corporation operating in Garrett County, Maryland. GCCAC works with partners to build a stronger community and provide services that improve the quality of life for residents in Garrett County. The agency offers various services for individuals, families, and seniors. Activities and projects are focused on strategies that assist low-income persons in becoming more self-sufficient. More information regarding programs and services offered by GCCAC can be found at https://link.edgepilot.com/s/30cdc204/8l8Q1LzHgEWMoo1vMJdU_g?u=http://www.garrettcac.org/ or by dialing (301) 334.9431.

Tips to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle from your Phone

UScellular offers device trade-in program, suggests ways to be more eco-friendly

Posted 4/18/22

COVINGTON, Va. (April 16, 2022) – Earth Day is usually associated with planting trees, cleaning the neighborhood or emptying out that forgotten closet. However, through its device trade-in program, UScellular is offering another way to mark the holiday. When customers trade in qualified smartphones online or in-store, they can get up to a $600 credit off their bill.

In 2021, UScellular customers traded in more than 186,000 devices through its Trade-In program, which diverted nearly 84,000 pounds of e-waste from landfills, and avoided almost 240,000,000 gallons of water pollution. Additionally, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, for every one million cellphones recycled 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.

“Our lives have become easier and more enjoyable because of smartphones and mobile technology, but they’ve also allowed us to take steps to help protect the environment,” said Nakeita Stewart, director of sales for UScellular in the Mid-Atlantic. “Through our device trade-in program, we can ensure old or unwanted devices are reused or responsibly recycled, keeping our environment clean while also giving customers a chance to earn trade-in credit.”

While recycling or trading in devices is one way to honor Earth Day, UScellular suggests other ways to technology can help people reduce, reuse, and recycle:

• Wherever, whenever - iRecycle is a recycling app that’s useful for finding local recycling facilities whether you’re at home or out exploring. The app also provides access to more than 1.6 million ways to recycle over 350 materials.

• Give back - The Freecycle app allows users to give away unwanted but reusable items to others in their local community. You can post your offerings for donation or make requests for items that you’ve had your eye on.
• Get started early - Gro Recycling is designed to show kids that recycling is fun, while also helping teach them how to take care of the environment. Players can feed virtual garbage to recycling bins to find out which items are recyclable. The trash is then converted into new products, which are then sorted for reuse.
• Go green, get the goods – If you’re looking for tips and advice about recycling, head over to Recyclebank.com. By signing up, users accrue points that can apply to discounts on magazines (that can then be recycled), restaurants and other retailers.
• Go paperless – Why continue to receive unnecessary mail when digital is just as good? Many companies, including UScellular, offer online bill management that provide customers access to past statements and other documents, saving time while eliminating waste.

About UScellular
UScellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier provides a strong, reliable network supported by the latest technology and offers a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations. To learn more about UScellular, visit one of its retail stores or https://link.edgepilot.com/s/62e4c1d3/FedqxnYzSUWZzzRzmuVBag?u=http://www.uscellular.com/. To get the latest news, visit newsroom.uscellular.com. Connect with UScellular on social media at facebook.com/uscellular, twitter.com/uscellular, instagram.com/uscellular, YouTube.com/uscellularcorp and linkedin.com/company/uscellular.

MCHENRY-THAYERVILLE WATER SYSTEM CONNECTION TO BEGIN APRIL 13, 2022 ON DEEP CREEK DRIVE

Posted 4/13/22

The public is advised that beginning Wednesday, April 13 through Friday, April 15, 2022 the Garrett County Department of Public Works- Utilities Division’s contractor will begin installing the McHenry-Thayerville Water system connection line on Deep Creek Drive.
Public Utilities requests that the public refrain from utilizing Deep Creek Drive for through traffic from The Boardwalk Bar to Rock Lodge Road from 7am to 5pm. Provisions will be made for local traffic to access businesses and residences.
Questions or concerns can be directed to the Utilities Division Administrative Office at 301-334-6976.

Garrett Regional Medical Center Health & Wellness Provides Medication Assisted Treatment

Posted 4/13/22

Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) offers Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for people struggling with opioid addiction throughout its 8-county service area. The program, provided through the hospital’s behavioral health clinic at Family Health & Wellness in Oakland, is managed by Kelly Rock, DNP, PMHNP-BC, a psychiatric nurse practitioner with extensive experience in the behavioral health field.

The MAT program combines prescribing buprenorphine with counseling and behavioral therapies to provide an effective mode of treatment for Opioid Use Disorder, which can be particularly difficult to treat without medical intervention. Patients wishing to join the program are initially screened by staff, who provide information about the program and what patients can expect. After the screening process, patients sign an agreement for treatment that outlines the provider’s and the patient’s responsibilities. Enrolled patients see the clinic’s psychiatric nurse practitioner on a regular basis while also receiving therapy with a certified addictions counselor.

“We are very proud of the MAT program here at GRMC’s Health & Wellness, and we are happy to provide our patients a holistic approach to support each patient’s unique recovery journey,” says Kelly Rock, DNP PMHNP-BC. “Our program uses evidenced based treatment guidelines that are patient-centered, which can make a significant difference in patient outcomes.”

The program’s integrated approach to care also provides patients with access to acupuncture, massage therapy, and reflexology services through GRMC’s Integrative Pain Management Center. These services are provided at no cost to the patient, thanks to a grant from the Rural Maryland Council.

Receiving MAT can make a significant difference to those who struggle with opioid addiction.

“The MAT program has changed a lot of things for me,” says a patient in the program. “I have a counselor that cares about how I am doing. Kelly Rock is awesome. She is so nice and always tries to be understanding. I’m also happy that they do random counts and drug testing. You cannot lie about being clean here. We are now working on my tapering process and are taking our time so that I can stay clean and mentally stable. They truly care about their patients.”

To receive more information about the program, call 301-533-2190.

Notice of Line striping work on County roadways

Posted 4/7/22

Please be advised that Alpha Space Control Contracting has initiated line stripe work this season on various County roadways. Line stripe work will begin on Monday, April 11, 2022 and is expected to continue into June.

The public is advised to be aware of the line stripe work crews and be cautious when approaching line stripe machinery and wet paint areas on County roadways. The public isurged to adhere to line stripe crews’ warning signs and flashing signals

First United Promotes Jason VanSickle to Vice President and Managing Director of Consumer Services

Posted 4/1/22

Carissa L. Rodeheaver, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer at First United, is proud to announce the promotion of Jason VanSickle to Vice President and Managing Director of Consumer Services, overseeing the bank’s strategic consumer sales and growth initiatives along with all retail banking services in our 26 community offices.

“We’re proud to announce Jason’s recent promotion and it is well-deserved. It recognizes the important contributions Jason has made to the performance of the bank. We have a vision for growth and expansion within the communities we serve and Jason’s broad background, knowledge of the community and leadership qualities will assist us in building relationships and customizing our financial services throughout our retail network and through our technology offerings,” according to Rodeheaver.

Mr. VanSickle has 23 years of banking and customer service experience with 5 years at First United. Most recently, Jason was Vice President and Director of Automated Lending. Prior to his time at First United, Jason held positions ranging from Vice President and National Sales Manager at a regional bank to Education Finance Coordinator at the University of Maryland.

Jason attended Frostburg State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree. He received his Master of Science in Management with a concentration in Marketing from the University of Maryland, Global Campus.

Aligning with the First United mission of supporting local communities, Jason has been investing in his local community his entire career. He has served on many local boards and non-profit committees, which includes Central Garrett Baseball, assisting local 4-H and FAA students and Frostburg State University Foundation. Jason is currently on the Board of Directors of the Garrett County Fair, Garrett County School Board, Frostburg State University Alumni Board of Directors, FSU School of Business Advisory Board, Maryland Business Round Table, Northern Garrett Youth Basketball, and Mountain Top Youth Soccer Association. He also volunteers as a trainer for first-time student speakers on the Maryland Scholars Program and course curriculum as a part of the Maryland Speakers Bureau in McHenry, MD.

Jason resides in McHenry, MD with his wife Kym Newman and two children, Cash and Madi. His hobbies include horseback riding and spending time on the family farm.

First United Corporation operates one full-service commercial bank, First United Bank & Trust. The Bank has a network of community offices in Garrett, Allegany, Washington, and Frederick Counties in Maryland, as well as Mineral, Berkeley, Harrison, and Monongalia Counties in West Virginia. As of 12/31/21, the Corporation posted assets of $1.8 billion. First United’s website can be located at MyBank.com.

Garrett Regional Medical Center named two time Top 20 Rural and Community Hospital

Posted 3/23/22

Oakland, MD- Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) has been named a Top 20 Rural and Community Hospital in the country for the second year in a row. The annual rankings, released by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), are based on a rigorous assessment of patient data from hospitals across the country using the Hospital Strength Index.

“It is a tremendous honor to achieve this prestigious award two years in a row,” said Mark Boucot, GRMC President and CEO. “It is our staff’s commitment to the incredible work they do that has led us to receive this national recognition. The standard of excellence that we’ve been able to maintain through the pandemic is a testament to our dedicated and talented team. I’m sincerely grateful to serve this community and for the amazing team of physicians and staff who provide world-class healthcare right here in Oakland MD.”

Top ranking hospitals are identified using the Chartis Rural Hospital Performance INDEX, the most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural PPS hospital performance. The determining factors for the Top 20 Rural and Community Hospital designation are based on eight indicators: inpatient market share, outpatient market share, quality, outcomes, patient perspective, cost, charge, and financial efficiency.

In addition to being named a Top 20 Rural and Community Hospital, GRMC has been listed as a Top 100 Rural and Community Hospital for the past four years and in February, GRMC President and CEO Mark Boucot was named a Top Rural Health CEO to Know by Becker’s Hospital Review. GRMC has also been recognized by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health with a Performance Leadership Award in Outcomes and received six consecutive safety grades of A from the Leapfrog Group, an organization that grades hospitals across the country on issues impacting patient safety and quality care.

“It has been a challenging couple of years for healthcare, and despite the intense pressure placed on our providers, nurses and the entire staff, we have continued to do what we do best - provide our community with the highest level of quality care,” said Marjorie Fridkin, MD, GRMC Chief Medical Officer.

GRMC’s excellent patient outcomes play a key role in the recognition the hospital achieves. GRMC had no inpatient central line-associated blood stream infections in 2021, marking eight years since a patient experienced such an infection in the facility. The hospital also ended the past year with no inpatient catheter associated urinary tract infections, the fifth consecutive year without this type of infection. GRMC also had the lowest Case Mix Adjustment Readmission Rate in the state at 5.15% in 2021, and since January 2020 has maintained its stance as having one of the best statistics in Maryland on hospital acquired conditions

NRHA is a nonprofit organization working to improve the health and well-being of rural Americans and provide leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education, and research.

For more information about the hospital, visit www.grmc-wvumedicine.org

Mark Boucot named a “Top Rural Health CEO to Know” in 2022

Posted 3/17/22

Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) and Potomac Valley Hospital (PVH) President and CEO Mark Boucot has been named a “Top Rural Hospital CEO to Know” by Becker’s Hospital Review, a leading healthcare publication.

The annual list recognized 67 rural hospital CEOs who have worked to ensure their communities have access to the best healthcare services possible, developing models that allow rural hospitals to thrive and succeed in an environment where many rural healthcare facilities face closure, the Becker’s Hospital Review stated.

Boucot serves as president and CEO for both GRMC, a 55-bed acute care hospital in Oakland, MD, and PVH, a critical access hospital located in Keyser, WV. GRMC is clinically affiliated with the West Virginia University Health System, and PVH is a member hospital of the West Virginia University Health System.

“Mark has a passion for the people of Western Maryland and the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia, and it is his ultimate goal to ensure they have local access to the primary and specialty care they need,” Albert L. Wright, Jr., President and CEO of the WVU Health System, said. “He is a champion for the people he serves, and this recognition is well deserved.”

Both GRMC and PVH have seen significant growth and change during Boucot’s tenure. At GRMC, he has overseen facility construction and modernization; a clinical affiliation with the West Virginia University Health System; and the addition of specialty services including oncology, cardiology, vascular care, urology and nephrology, pediatrics, gynecology, and dermatology.

GRMC has also received national recognition in safety and quality care under Boucot’s direction. For the past two years, GRMC has been named a Top 20 Rural and Community Hospital in the United States by the National Rural Health Association and the Chartis Center for Rural Health. GRMC has also been designated a Top 100 Rural and Community Hospital for four consecutive years and has been awarded six consecutive “A” hospital safety grades by the LeapFrog Group.

PVH has also seen exponential growth over the last four years, attributed to Mr. Boucot’s efforts. Under his direction, the hospital has been able to bring new physicians and services to Mineral County. Recently, PVH has seen the addition of a new Cancer and Infusion Center, expanded surgical operations, and introduced innovative services including a non-narcotic pain management clinic, integrated behavioral health services, and a virtual ICU. This year the hospital plans to open a new urgent care along with expanding many outpatient services.

PVH was recently awarded an Economic Development Administration grant of $3.2 million. These funds will be used to build a workforce center to address economic factors within the community.
Boucot attributes the success at his two hospitals to the trust he puts in the staff members at each facility, encouraging and welcoming staff input on a range of issues through frontline councils geared to improving patient care through an ongoing assessment of procedures and practices. Empowering the staff to discuss improvements to care has enabled both GRMC and PVH to provide the highest quality care possible.

Boucot holds a master’s degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Management from Cabrini College, and the Fellow Certification from the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is also a Certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt with the Juran Institute.

MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AWARDS 2022 SPAY/NEUTER GRANT TO HART FOR ANIMALS

Posted 3/14/22

HART for Animals was awarded a 2022 grant by the Maryland Department of Agriculture as part of their Spay and Neuter Program designed to reduce the number of unwanted cats and dogs euthanized in shelters across the state. This is the seventh year in which HART has been awarded the grant and, to date has provided 2,978 no-cost spay/neuter surgeries to low-income Maryland residents in Garrett and Allegany Counties. This year’s grant will enable HART’s Lifesaver program to perform 49 dog spays, 105 cat spays, 49 dog neuters, and 105 cat neuters. Residents who meet the income-eligibility requirements for Lifesaver are now scheduling their appointments for this year. Dog and cat owners may call 301.387.7729 to schedule.

The Maryland Spay/Neuter Program was conceived and initiated by Maryland Votes for Animals (MVFA) and implemented in accordance with the recommendations of a task force created by an act of the Maryland General Assembly in 2011. The task force’s report detailed that 50% of the cats and 33% of the dogs in Maryland’s shelter populations were being euthanized at a tremendous cost to Maryland taxpayers.

The bill to develop the state Spay and Neuter Grants Program became law in 2013. The objective of the program was to provide affordable spay and neuter services throughout the state in order to reduce shelter intake and euthanasia rates. Funding for the program is provided from fees paid by the pet food industry.

“Spaying and neutering your pet does matter,” says Caroline Robison, HART’s Program Manager. “We all want to reduce the shelter intake and euthanasia rates. But also, 18% of neutered dogs live longer than unneutered dogs, and spayed females live 23% longer than unspayed female dogs, and have less health-related issues” she adds. “Another reason for the reduced lifespan of unaltered pets can be attributed to their increased urge to roam, which exposes them to fights with other animals, getting struck by cars, and other life-threatening situations.”

HART’s veterinarian, Dr. Jessy Vandevender, notes that altered pets also have a reduced risk of certain types of cancers. “An unspayed female dog or cat has a greater chance of developing pyometra (a potentially fatal uterine infection), mammary cancer, and other cancers of the reproductive system.” Male dogs have health issues as well. The doctor adds, “Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your dog helps prevent cancer of the reproductive organs.”

The effectiveness of HART’s Lifesaver program and its low-cost HARTHelp program has been very positive, says Paula Yudelevit, Executive Director of HART. “HART has been keeping rescue and intake statistics from the Garrett County Animal Shelter since 2003. In 2011, the shelter took in 1,684 animals – the highest number ever – but in 2021, that number dropped to 1,200. The difference lies in the 12,155 animals HART has spayed or neutered through our programs since 2009.”

HART for Animals, Inc. is a charitable animal welfare organization founded in 2003 to improve the condition of homeless animals in the Western Maryland region. HART is a 501 (c) (3) corporation and all donations are tax-deductible. HART uses 84% of all revenue to pay for its programs, including rescue, transport, spay/neuter, sheltering, and adoption. For additional information on HART, the HART Animal Center, or any of its programs, or to donate, visit the HART website at www.hartforanimals.org

Local cartographer donates new maps of Garrett County to Southern High School

Posted 3/8/22

Chris Nichols, Chief Cartography Officer of Narrows Hill LLC, donated three of the company’s new maps to Southern High School’s media center. Two of the maps are poster-sized wall maps, one showing all of Garrett County, and one which provides detailed maps of Deep Creek Lake and the county’s 8 incorporated towns. The third map is a fold up map themed around outdoor recreational features in the County. “We’re calling these maps the ‘Ultimate’ maps of the area and we really do believe that these are the best cartographic views of the county ever produced,” said Nichols, “it’s our pleasure to share these new views of the area with Southern’s students.”

The maps were published over the past few months as the culmination of online crowd-funding campaigns. “Since you have to do large print runs to get the per-unit cost down to reasonable levels, I used crowd funding to help raise enough money to pay for the printing,” said Nichols, “that way I can gauge if there are enough people interested in having these maps before I end up with hundreds of extras.

The company is offering free donations of the map set to any Garrett County educational organization, public or private. “It’s just as important as ever for our future citizens to be geographically literate,” said Nichols, “and the ability to read and appreciate maps often starts with an area you are familiar with, so I’m hoping that having these maps in local schools will generate some lifetime appreciation of cartography.”

Organizations interested in receiving a donation are encouraged to contact Nichols directly at chris.nichols@dimesy.com or 301 616-7881. More information on Narrows Hill and the maps it produces can be found at narrowshill.com

Garrett Regional Medical Center named Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital for Fourth Consecutive Year

Posted 3/3/22

Oakland MD – Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) has been recognized for the fourth consecutive year as a Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital by the National Rural Health Association and the The Chartis Center for Rural Health. The annual recognition program honors outstanding performance among the nation’s rural hospitals based on the results of the Chartis Rural Hospital Performance INDEX™.

“It is an honor for our hospital to receive this prestigious recognition for the fourth consecutive year. This accomplishment is a testament to our dedicated employees who have worked tirelessly through these challenging times to provide our patients with the most compassionate patient care possible,” said Mark Boucot, President, and CEO of Garrett Regional Medical Center. “It is a testament to our team here that our hospital has kept this recognition throughout the pandemic; I cannot thank our staff enough for their hard work and the great care they have given during these trying times.”

A clinical affiliate of WVU Medicine, GRMC was one of only three Maryland hospitals to make the Top 100 Rural and Community Hospital list this year. In 2021 they were distinguished as a Top 100 hospital and a Top 20 hospital; the Top 20 hospitals of 2022 will be announced in early May.

GRMC’s excellent patient outcomes play a key role in the recognition the hospital achieves. GRMC had no inpatient central line-associated blood stream infections in 2021, marking eight years since a patient experienced such an infection in the facility. The hospital also ended the past year with no inpatient catheter associated urinary tract infections, the fifth consecutive year without this type of infection. GRMC also had the lowest Case Mix Adjustment Readmission Rate in the state at 5.15% in 2021, and since January 2020 has maintained its stance as having one of the best statistics in Maryland on hospital acquired conditions.

“Despite unprecedented adversity rural providers continue to display resiliency and a steadfast commitment to their communities,” said Michael Topchik, National Leader, The Chartis Center for Rural Health. “Honoring the Top 100 is one of the highpoints of our year. We are delighted to recognize the exceptional performance and innovation of this year’s recipients, particularly in light of the extraordinary challenges facing America’s rural health safety net.”

Over the course of the last 12 years, the INDEX has established itself as the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance. Leveraging publicly available data, the INDEX is trusted by rural hospitals, health systems with rural footprints, hospital associations and state offices of rural health across the country to measure and monitor performance across a variety of areas impacting hospital operations and finance.

Garrett Regional Medical Center is an award-winning, progressive and Joint Commission accredited acute care facility with 55 inpatient beds in Oakland, Maryland. The hospital serves a population of 46,000 within Garrett County and surrounding communities in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Established in 1950, the hospital has continuously evolved to advance the health and wellness needs of the region. Through its clinical affiliation with WVU Medicine, GRMC offers comprehensive health care services unique to a rural location. GRMC is one of the county’s largest employers with more than 500 team members, who are each dedicated to our mission of striving to treat every patient like family. Learn more at https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org/.

Sesquicentennial Commemorative Coins Distributed

Posted 2/23/22

February 23, 2022, Oakland, MD – Garrett County is continuing the celebration of its sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary, throughout 2022 with a commemorative coin for each of eight Garrett County municipalities.

The first in the series of the eight coins to mark this special year was given out on Saturday as part of the Town of Oakland’s Winterfest event. Over 250 Town of Oakland 150th coins were distributed.

Individual coins, complete sets and commemorative holders will also be available for purchase in the fall of 2022.

The County will continue celebrating throughout the 2022 calendar year with events, displays, additional commemorative coin souvenirs, and community participation opportunities based on the theme of the event: “Garrett County: Celebrating 150 Years of Connecting Communities”.

The 150th outreach will be giving out each town’s coin at an event scheduled in each respective incorporated town: Accident, Deer Park, Friendsville, Grantsville, Kitzmiller, Loch Lynn, Mountain Lake Park, and Oakland. A tentative schedule is below:

MAY – 2022
Grantsville National Road Festival (Grantsville Coin)

JUNE – 2022
Celtic Festival (Friendsville Coin)
Grantsville Days (Grantsville Coin)

JULY – 2022
Town of Accident’s 4th of July Celebration (Accident’s Coin)
Kitzmiller Homecoming (Kitzmiller Coin)
Victorian Chautauqua in Mountain Lake Park (Mountain Lake Park Coin)

AUGUST – 2022
Friendsville Days (Friendsville Coin)
Garrett County Fair
SEPTEMBER – 2022
Loch Lynn Heights Open House (Loch Lynn Coin)

OCTOBER – 2022
Autumn Glory (Oakland Coin)
NOVEMBER – 2022
Festival of Trees

DECEMBER – 2022
12.04.2022- 150th Anniversary Date
Deer Park Coin event TBD

The festivities will culminate with a large, free community celebration event scheduled for September 17, 2022 at the Garrett County Fairgrounds. This event will be a tribute to Garrett County and include a walking history tour, a tractor show, performances by local bands, local food and drink, and more.

For a complete schedule of events and additional information, please visit www.Garrett150.com.

Please reach out to Sarah Myers, County Communications Coordinator, if you have any questions. Mrs. Myers can be reached at 301-334-7242 or smyers@garrettcounty.org.

Garrett Regional Medical Center Chief Operating officer, Kendra Thayer, speaks at national conference

Posted 2/21/22

Oakland, MD– Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) Chief Operating Officer Kendra Thayer recently spoke at the American Hospital Association (AHA) Rural Health Care Leadership Conference in Arizona on the use of telemedicine to bring behavioral health services to rural communities through partnerships with larger behavioral health providers.

Thayer worked with Dr. Deepak Prabhakar, Chief of Medical Staff Outpatient Services at Sheppard Pratt Health System, and Jennifer Weiss Wilkerson, Sheppard Pratt’s Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, in creating a presentation focused on the partnership GRMC has with Sheppard Pratt to help provide robust behavioral health services to the people of its very rural service area. The presentation focused on using telemedicine to enable practitioners from larger health centers to assist rural providers in assessing and evaluating patients, developing patient treatment plans, and assisting with medication therapy and follow-up recommendations.

Sheppard Pratt and GRMC have been working together to provide comprehensive behavioral health services to the people Maryland’s most rural county for the past several years. The ongoing collaboration between GRMC and Sheppard Pratt, one of the country’s most highly regarded behavioral health systems, has elevated the care provided at GRMC’s behavioral health clinic and given the patients in GRMC’s service area access to specialty care rarely found in rural areas.

The AHA presentation focused on the hospital-based partnership and the subsequent return on investment realized through improved patient experience, improved provider experience, and improved outcomes with alternatives to emergency room visits. The presentation also discussed how these partnerships can help with staffing shortages in mental health fields by having more band width with telemedicine.

GRMC partnered with Sheppard Pratt in 2019 to expand mental health care in the Garrett County region through telepsychiatry services. Telepsychiatry is a form of telehealth that provides a convenient alternative to waiting months for an appointment or having to travel to receive psychiatric care. Sheppard Pratt uses secure video conferencing to connect patients throughout Maryland with psychiatrists in their medical center.

“Our affiliation with Sheppard Pratt has had a significant impact on our community in general and more specifically the patients we serve,” said Thayer. “Telemedicine has enabled us to bring a level of behavioral health care to our area that was unheard of prior to our collaboration with Sheppard Pratt. Many behavioral health patients were forced to travel to receive the care they needed. Many also went without care, because travelling was not possible. Sheppard Pratt works seamlessly with our staff to ensure the best patient care, and the impact has been and continues to be significant.”

GRMC’s regional behavioral health center, Family Health & Wellness Services, provides comprehensive behavioral health counseling. Staff at the center includes a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Masters Level Social Worker, and a Licensed Practical Nurse.

For more information about services or to schedule an appointment contact GRMC’s Family Health & Wellness Services at 301-533-2190.

UPMC Western Maryland Heart Webinar - February 23

Posted 2/18/22

In recognition of February's designation as "heart month", UPMC Western Maryland will be hosting a live webinar entitled: "Understanding TAVR: A Medical Revolution in Heart Valve Surgery" on Wednesday, February 23, at 12 noon. Attached is a flyer about the event for sharing within your organization or with family and friends.

Join Hani Alkhatib, MD, of the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute at UPMC Western Maryland, for a conversation about innovative treatment options for patients who undergo heart valve repair. The webinar will last approximately 30 minutes and is a free virtual program that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home! Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions privately anytime during the live presentation using the "Q&A" feature.

To register online, visit https://link.edgepilot.com/s/8e315de6/_hp7ygmQtkC1drTqg3HHag?u=http://upmc.com/CheckYourHeart, or click on the link below:

• Understanding TAVR: A Medical Revolution in Heart Valve Surgery
https://link.edgepilot.com/s/2b124a1f/UwUyt9SoFUKsFD0g5Y6TzQ?u=https://services.choruscall.com/mediaframe/webcast.html?webcastid=VMHIyTvn

Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with access to view the live, virtual presentation on your computer, tablet, or smart phone.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program Underway at Garrett County CAC

Posted 2/16/22

OAKLAND, Md.—February 16, 2022—Garrett County Community Action Committee, Inc. started its annual free federal and state tax preparation services with a bang. Garrett County CAC’s drop-off-only tax service has received more than 250 returns in two short weeks.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is a reliable and trusted source for preparing tax returns. VITA volunteers completed and filed nearly 500 tax returns last year, totaling more than $635,000. Alongside community partners and volunteers, Garrett County CAC VITA Site Coordinator Rebecca Williams is eager to reach a goal of 600 tax returns before the end of the season.

“VITA is a great opportunity for people who need assistance in preparing their tax returns,” explained Williams. “The program saves families money and helps to avoid filing errors, returning hard-earned dollars where they are needed most.”

As a requirement to participate in the tax assistance program, eligible individuals must provide:

• All tax and income-related documents as well as a photo ID.
• A copy of last year’s tax return.
• Social security cards for each taxpayer and dependent listed on the tax return.

GCCAC’s VITA program began February 1 and will extend through April 6. For more information, questions about eligibility, or to schedule an appointment, call Garrett County Community Action at (301) 334-9431.

About Garrett County Community Action Committee
Garrett County Community Action Committee, founded in 1965, is a private, nonprofit corporation operating in Garrett County, Maryland. GCCAC works with partners to build a stronger community and provide services that improve the quality of life for residents in Garrett County. The agency offers various services for individuals, families, and seniors. Activities and projects are focused on strategies that assist low-income persons in becoming more self-sufficient.

Dee Hetrick, RN, recipient of GRMC’s DAISY Extraordinary Nurse Award

Posted 2/10/22

(Oakland, MD) – Dee Hetrick, RN, was recently named Garrett Regional Medical Center’s (GRMC) quarterly recipient of the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses®. Hetrick was nominated for the award by a former patient who was in the GRMC Family Centered Maternity Suite. The patient commended Hetrick for her ability to help through every step of a patient’s stay and answer any questions that the patient may have.

“Dee is being recognized for her continued effort to go above and beyond when caring for our patients,” said Kendra Thayer, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at GRMC. “The heartfelt nomination submitted by a patient she recently cared for is a reflection of how she treats everyone she meets. She is an asset to GRMC and everyone she works with.”

According to the nomination, Dee’s care and support helped the patient through the labor and delivery process.  Hetrick made the patient feel welcome and as comfortable as possible.  She consistently checked on the patient during the visit and was there whenever the patient needed assistance.

The DAISY Award program at GRMC launched in 2018 and was created by the Daisy Foundation with the mission of recognizing the extraordinary, compassionate care that nurses provide patients and families every day. More than 2,000 health care organizations nationally participate in the award program. A selection committee comprised of GRMC nurses reviews the nominees through a blind selection process and scores each nominee based upon a scoring rubric sanctioned by the Daisy Foundation. GRMC recognizes a DAISY recipient on a quarterly basis. Nurses may be nominated by patients, patient families, or colleagues. Forms are available on GRMC’s website at  https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

Garrett Regional Medical Center is an award winning, progressive, Joint Commission accredited acute care facility with 55 inpatient beds in Oakland, Maryland. The hospital serves a population of 46,000 within Garrett County and surrounding communities in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Originally established in 1950, the hospital has continuously evolved to advance the health and wellness needs of the region. Through its clinical affiliation with WVU Medicine, GRMC offers comprehensive health care services unique to a rural location. GRMC is one of the county’s largest employers with more than 500 team members, who are each dedicated to our mission of striving to treat every patient like family.  Learn more at https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org/

First Fat Tire Bike Ride a Success

-7 Degrees at Start

Posted 2/9/22

February 9, 2022, Oakland, MD – The Deep Creek Adventure Bureau (DCAB), a newly formed race, ride, run and (fund)raiser event production and promotion company, held its first-ever fat tire bike ride event.
On January 22, riders from around the region gathered to kick-off the first-ever Garrett County Fat Bike Ride Series at the McHenry Lion’s Club Park.
The weather was cold (a low of -7 degrees Fahrenheit) but that set us up for a base of over 8” of snow on the groomed course. This intermediate ride had some hills, some climbs, some roots, some quick descents, some rocks, and a lot of fun!
The results are below:
• “SHORT” course (3 miles)
o Top Male: David Weaver - 35:41:01
o Top Female: Carol Everhart - 1:13:05
• “LONG” course (9 miles)
o Top Male: Joseph Fraas - 1:08:08
o Top Female: Sharon Seling - 1:49:20
• “THREE x THREE” (as many three-mile laps as possible in three hour time limit)
o Top Male: Shawn Romano - 5 laps
The success of the race can be summed up by biker Shawn Romano: “That was fun!”
DCAB is working to make outdoor recreation attainable for everyone through local business and agency partnerships. Pooling local and regional resources will create more inclusive opportunities for those interested in trying a new sport or activity. Whether a person is interested in competition, training, just-for-fun, or camaraderie, everyone is invited to join the DCAB community.
There are also several ways to participate with DCAB such as free group gatherings, low-cost organized rides, becoming a member supporter, and/or as an event volunteer.
“The participants in our first-ever ride were great,” said Sarah Myers, Founder. “We cannot wait for the next events!”
The second organized bike ride event in the GC Fat Bike Ride Series is scheduled for Saturday, February 26 2022 at Herrington Manor State Park.
This ride is designed for fat bikes (bikes with oversized tires, typically 3.8in or larger) but mountain bikes and “plus” size bikes may work depending on the accumulated snowfall levels at the time of the ride.
• CHECK-IN: 9:30am
• RIDE START: 11:00am
• AWARDS: 2:30pm
• BONFIRE: 11:00am – 3:00pm
For the first 90 days of 2022, DCAB is running a founding membership fundraising campaign. A limited number of founding spots are available, and members receive “swag” items such as custom engraved steel bottles, custom hoodies, neck gaiters, socks, patches, stickers and up to 20%-off each DCAB 2022 organized event. Learn more at www.dcabfun.com/become-a-member/
For more information on joining DCAB or for assistance in organizing a fundraising event, please visit www.DCABfun.com or call 240-321-9925.

Oakland gears up for Winter Fest

Posted 2/9/22

[Oakland, MD] — The town of Oakland is gearing up for its annual Winter Fest, slated for February 19, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year’s event will feature live music and performances, kids’ activities, and the return of the highly successful Winter Fest Wine Walk.

The Wine Walk will begin at 11 a.m., and tickets will be sold at the gazebo in Oakland on the day of the event. They can also be bought online in advance by going to http://www.oaklandmd.com/winter-fest.html. The $15 ticket will provide the holder to taste 14 different wines, which will be available at a number of locations throughout the town. Maps will be provided.

Although, this year’s event will not feature the popular ice sculptures, the events teams is working on numerous family activities to keep everyone entertained, including the new Toboggan Tunnel. The Toboggan Tunnel combines speed, adrenaline and mystery into one amazing attraction. Additionally, there will be featured local artists, kids crafts, a face painting station,  and a s’more station provided by a local boy scout troop.

The Oakland Historical Society Museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the day of the event, offering festival-goers a unique look at Oakland’s history with information and tour opportunities.

Be sure to visit the 1884 Oakland B&O Museum where the Garrett County 150th Anniversary Committee will be set up with a display sharing information about the county’s sesquicentennial and representatives will be on site to give out Oakland’s commemorative coin (while supplies last).

“This is a fantastic family fun, free event,” said Oakland Business Coordinator Nicole McCullough. “There will be plenty to do for adults and children. We have several new shops and restaurants in downtown Oakland,” McCullough said, “as well as several museums and events specific to Winter Fest. Come on out for a great day in our great small town!”

The day’s events are being presented by the Greater Oakland Business Association and the Town of Oakland. Organizations supporting Winter Fest include all participating businesses, the Garrett County Arts Council, the A&E District of Oakland, the Oakland-Mtn. Lake Park Lions Club, and more.

For further information, persons may call GOBA/Main Street at 301-334-2691 or visit www.oaklandmd.com/winter-fest.html.

Melissa Wolfe named GRMC Employee of the Year

Posted 1/28/22

January 19, 2022 (Oakland, MD) – During Garrett Regional Medical Center’s (GRMC) annual employee recognition ceremony, Melissa Wolfe was named the hospital’s “Employee of the Year.”

“Melissa Wolfe is truly deserving of this award, she embodies our mission to treat each patient, and each other, like family,” said Mark Boucot, GRMC President and CEO.  “Melissa has done a fantastic job in assisting new employees and making them feel welcome at GRMC. She also does an incredible job everyday helping our patients have a positive experience when coming to our hospital.”

Melissa Wolfe was nominated for “Employee of the Year” by a peer who stated that Wolfe’s behavior is welcoming for new employees as well as patients. It was also noted that she always helps everyone around her.  On one occasion, Wolfe had recently left her shift at 7:00 PM and received a call from a newly trained employee regarding a question.  After attempting to resolve the issue over the phone, Wolfe came back into the facility at 10:30 PM to assist.

The “Employee of the Year” program was created by the Employee Engagement Council, whose membership is comprised of GRMC’s frontline staff.  Each month, any employee can nominate a fellow teammate for employee of the month and the nominations are voted on at the monthly council meetings.  The Employee Engagement Council is part of GRMC’s shared governance management model, where staff members provide ideas, expertise and feedback for various hospital programs, policies and procedures.

Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) Garrett Regional Medical Center is an award winning, progressive, Joint Commission accredited acute care facility with 55 inpatient beds in Oakland, Maryland.  The hospital serves a population of 46,000 residents within Garrett County and surrounding communities in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  Originally established in 1950, the hospital has continuously evolved to advance the health and wellness needs of the region. Through its clinical affiliation with WVU Medicine, GRMC offers comprehensive health care services unique to a rural location. GRMC is one of the county’s largest employers with more than 450 team members, who are each dedicated to our mission of striving to treat every patient like family.  Learn more at https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org/

Franchot Announces Three-Month Filing and Payment Extension for 2021 State Individual Income Taxes

Maryland taxpayers have until July 15 to file and pay with no penalty or interest; Federal income tax deadline is April 18

Posted 1/20/22

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (January 19, 2022) — Comptroller Peter Franchot announced today the filing and payment deadline for 2021 Maryland state individual income taxes has been extended by three months – to Friday, July 15, 2022 – to assist taxpayers facing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extension announcement came during a virtual news conference with agency officials to discuss the January 24 start date of the 2022 tax season, which is when federal and state individual income tax returns will be accepted. Federal and state corporate income tax returns are already being processed.

Comptroller Franchot’s decision to extend the filing and payment deadlines – essentially a waiver of penalties and interest on outstanding liabilities – from Monday, April 18, 2022 to Friday, July 15, 2022 reflects the pandemic’s continued impact on Maryland individuals and families.

“Many people are still struggling to stay above water, so giving taxpayers more time to file and pay will hopefully ease their financial pressure,” Comptroller Franchot said. “As we approach the two-year mark of the onset of COVID-19, my agency remains as committed as ever to helping Marylanders who still are feeling the pandemic’s impact.”

The Internal Revenue Service, which already has warned of processing delays for the 2022 tax season due to COVID, has not indicated any plans to extend the federal income tax filing and payment deadline beyond April 18.

This is the third consecutive year that Comptroller Franchot has extended filing and payment deadlines to July 15. Those extensions have benefitted roughly 600,000 taxpayers each of the past two years, enabling them to hold on to a combined $1.8 billion as an interest-free loan, which may have allowed them to take care of more pressing issues like paying rent or keeping their businesses open.

Maryland taxpayers do not need to request an extension to receive the three-month grace period; it will be automatically granted to all resident and nonresident filers. Taxpayers who expect to receive a refund should file their return as soon as possible and not wait until July 15 to submit.

Comptroller Franchot reminded taxpayers that changes made last year to both the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the state Earned Income Credit (EIC) may benefit them, particularly Marylanders who file using an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN).

“These important credits are a proven tool to help lift low-to-moderate income earners out of poverty,” Comptroller Franchot said. “All taxpayers should check whether they’re eligible for the programs, which can substantially reduce or even eliminate your federal and state tax liabilities.”

With the Omicron variant spreading in communities across the state, Comptroller Franchot has instituted several operational protocols to keep employees and the public safe.

Appointments at any of the agency’s 12 branch offices must be scheduled online in advance. Virtual appointments also are available. No walk-ins will be accepted. Masks are required in all branch offices, regardless of vaccination status.

Taxpayers can call 1-800-MD-TAXES or email taxhelp@marylandtaxes.gov. The agency’s branch offices and call centers are both open 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Beginning February 1, the call center will remain open until 7 p.m., only for personal income tax assistance.

For questions related to federal taxes, visit https://link.edgepilot.com/s/fe958bef/tUv84BLkAEijTuM_dLUhTA?u=http://www.irs.gov/ or call Taxpayer Advocate Service at 443-853-6000 or 877-777-4778 (outside the Baltimore area). You can also get federal tax help at seven Maryland Taxpayer Assistance Centers.

As always, taxpayers are encouraged to file their returns electronically and use direct deposit for the fastest possible processing and to ensure they receive all possible refunds and to avoid continued delays with the United States Postal Service. A list of approved vendors for use in filing your electronic return can be found on the Comptroller’s website.

Maryland taxpayers also can use the agency’s free I-File system.

Last year, the agency processed 3.29 million tax returns, distributed 2.61 million refunds with a dollar value of $3.2 billion. Comptroller employees answered nearly 700,000 phone calls, responded to almost 160,000 emails and assisted roughly 22,000 taxpayers through virtual or in-person appointments.

New Event Production Company Takes the Fun Outside

Deep Creek Adventure Bureau Coordinates Outdoor Races, Rides, Runs and Fundraisers

Posted 1/29/22

January 19, 2022, Oakland, MD – The Deep Creek Adventure Bureau (DCAB) is newly formed race, ride, run and (fund)raiser event production and promotion company located in Western Maryland.
After years of planning various events and offering marketing services to small businesses, local resident Sarah Myers has launched DCAB to help showcase local and regional natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities. Also, DCAB is a resource for non-profit organizations interested in holding fundraisers such as a 5k runs, bike rides, or festivals.
DCAB is working to make outdoor recreation attainable for everyone through local business and agency partnerships. Pooling local and regional resources will create more inclusive opportunities for those interested in trying a new sport or activity.
There are also several ways to participate with DCAB such as free group gatherings, low-cost organized rides, becoming a member supporter, and/or as an event volunteer.
The goal is to create opportunities for residents and visitors to explore more of our regional mountains, valleys, rivers, and trails in all seasons! Yes, even in the snow. Whether a person is interested in competition, training, just-for-fun, or camaraderie, everyone is invited to join the DCAB community.
“I’m excited to share my love of the outdoors with others,” said Sarah Myers, Founder. “Join us sometime! You definitely don’t have to be an athlete nor have “all the gear” to test the waters and try a group outing with us.”
The first organized bike ride event is this Saturday, January 22, 2022 at the Meshach Browning Trails at the Deep Creek Lion’s Club Park in McHenry (next to HART for Animals).
This intermediate ride has some hills, some climbs, some roots, some quick descents, some rocks, and a lot of fun! The “SHORT” course is one lap — about 3 miles — and the “LONG” course is three laps — about 9 miles — preferably done on fat bikes or plus mountain bikes. There also is a “THREE x THREE” which is as many 3-mile laps as you can get in in 3 hours. There is no separate admission cost for the park (or bonfire) on the day of the ride.
NOTE: Fat bikes are bikes with oversized tires, typically 3.8in or larger. DCAB has been grooming the trails and we’re expecting snow on the ground Saturday.
• CHECK-IN: 9:30am
• RIDE START: 11:00am
• AWARDS: 2:30pm
• BONFIRE: 11:00am – 3:00pm
“DCAB is all about celebrating the great Appalachian outdoors and getting more people outside and having fun biking, hiking, running, skiing, paddling, or “just” adventuring outside!”
For the first 90 days of 2022, DCAB is running a founding membership fundraising campaign. A limited number of founding spots are available, and members receive “swag” items such as custom engraved steel bottles, custom hoodies, neck gaiters, socks, patches, stickers and up to 20%-off each DCAB 2022 organized event. Learn more at www.dcabfun.com/become-a-member/
For more information on joining DCAB or for assistance in organizing a fundraising event, please visit www.DCABfun.com or call 240-321-9925.

Alpine Lake Resort Resident Works with Area Homeschool Students

Posted 1/19/22

What do Terra Alta, science education and Alpine Lake Resort have in common?  Cows’ eyes of course!  Recently, Alpine Lake Resort resident Sheila Amato conducted a hands-on cow eye dissection program for 10 Preston County Homeschool Co-op students.  The students in attendance, ranging in age from 5-18 years of age, got to experience a hands-on science lab with their peers, and in some cases, their parents, led by a seasoned local resource.

Amato has been a teacher of children who are Deaf and/or Blind for over 50 years, and has also taught future teachers (of children who are blind) in graduate classes and university programs throughout the country for 20 years. Her areas of specialty are in teaching Braille and a course typically called Anatomy and Physiology of the Eye. With an Ed.D. in Blindness and Visual Impairment from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, in New York, she loves sharing her knowledge and passion with children and providing them with unique experiences that enhance their education. “Explaining how an eye works and teaching children Braille, helps to give them a level of comfort when they meet a classmate or adult with a disability. This is the second time I’ve conducted this hands-on lab class for the Preston County Homeschool Co-op at Alpine Lake. It’s a unique opportunity for the students to get together and expand their science knowledge.  Many of these students live on a farm and have first-hand experience in caring for animals, including cows. The experience of learning about the anatomical structure of a cow eye and how it is similar to – and how it differs – from their own eye raises their level of understanding in a unique manner,” stated Amato.

When some of the students enter the room, they may stay back with their parents… saying that they weren’t going to do this. The “yuck” factor of the unknown is present.  Once the program starts, by viewing a flip chart where the instructor draws a picture of the eye, and labels the parts and explains what they do, students’ interest is peeked. Students also get some surprises such as the fact that the pupil doesn’t really exist; it’s a hole in your eye! After students receive the medical terminology for the parts the group discusses their function and questions are posed and answered.

Once students go to their respective work stations, the cow eyes are taken out of the bucket in which they were contained, and the first thing students see is a heavy layer of fat – developed by mother nature to protect the eye. Amato then dissects the first cow eye while students watch, and tries to pique their interest and get them to try to touch it by starting off by quickly cutting away the fat and exposing the optic nerve, a hard, easily seen structure outside the eye.  Students then get to touch the optic nerve and receive a quick explanation of how the muscles move the eyes.  Now that the students are more comfortable, Amato cuts the eye in half and shows them the Jell-O-like fluid in the eye. Likewise, the students get to see and touch the other parts of the eye, along with learning the associated medical terminology and function.
After the initial exercise, everyone dons gloves, including the parents, who are ready to help their children if necessary. Each student (some with help) follows the instructions given, and to locate and identify each part of the external and internal cow eye, and explain what it does.

After completing the two-hour program, students have participated in a whole new level of experiential science education, not unlike that given to undergraduate and graduate university students.  Students also have a greater awareness of the complexity of the science around that of all living creatures.  And, as Amato says, “these students - and their parents - will never look at a cow – or a bowl of Jell-O - again without remembering this experience.”

Alpine Lake Resort is a four-season, multi-amenity resort in Terra Alta, in the beautiful mountains of Preston County, West Virginia.

Garrett Regional Medical Center postpones opening new COVID testing site

Posted 1/18/22

Garrett Regional Medical Center’s new National Guard assisted testing site, scheduled to open January 20th at 69 Wolf Acres Drive in Oakland, has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. GRMC will update the community when more information is available.

Garrett Regional Medical Center opens new COVID testing site with support from the National Guard

Posted 1/14/22

OAKLAND, MD – In response to the latest COVID-19 surge, Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) has opened a new drive-through testing site located at 69 Wolf Acres Drive in Oakland. The clinic has been established to provide coronavirus testing for people throughout the region who may have been exposed to the virus or who are showing symptoms. The site will be managed by the hospital and staffed by recently deployed members of the Maryland National Guard.

On Jan. 4, Gov. Larry Hogan declared a 30-day state of emergency due to the current surge in COVID-19 cases. Under the new orders, Hogan mobilized 1,000 members of the Maryland National Guard to help state and local health officials. GRMC has been allocated assistance to operate the new testing site, which will expand the community’s access to testing and help alleviate some of the strain the hospital and its emergency room have experienced over the past several weeks.

People with a physician’s order for testing should continue to come to the hospital lab for their test. People who do not have a physician’s order but think they may have been exposed to COVID or are having symptoms, should use the drive-through clinic. Patients using the drive-through clinic are asked to stay in their vehicle and wait for those performing the test to come to them.

Maryland has seen a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases due to the new Omicron variant and the number of people hospitalized in the state has more than tripled over the last month.

“Anyone who has been exposed to the virus, or is experiencing symptoms, should get tested,” Kendra Thayer, the hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Operating Officer, stated. “Early detection is an important step to help slow the spread in our community. If you are positive for the virus and your symptoms are mild, or if you are not experiencing any symptoms, you should isolate at home unless you need to seek medical attention.”

The drive-through testing site, located at 69 Wolf Acres Drive in Oakland, will be open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. -12 p.m. starting January 20th.

First United Bank & Trust Names Kimberly R. Moyers Director of Strategic Initiatives

Posted 1/11/22

Carissa L. Rodeheaver, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President of First United Bank & Trust is proud to announce Kimberly R. Moyers as Vice President and Director of Strategic Initiatives.  As such, Kimberly will facilitate the alignment of marketing, communication and investor relations with the company’s strategic objectives and long-term goals.

“Communication is a key component of every strategic plan and the foundation for a successful business.  It is our opportunity to personalize our vision, share our values and to educate and inform our associates, clients, communities and shareholders about the innovative financial services and solutions we offer at First United.  Kimberly’s passion, expertise, education and understanding of our bank made her the perfect person to fill the role of Director of Strategic Initiatives” stated Rodeheaver.

Kimberly has over 16 years of banking expertise and experience at the bank.  Most recently, she served as the Managing Director of Client Relationships overseeing the company’s north central West Virginia market area and helping both existing and perspective clients of the bank by providing financial guidance and advice.

Kimberly is a graduate of West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and minor in Communications.  She continued her education as a graduate of all American Bankers Association Commercial Lending Schools as well as the Maryland Bankers School where she was awarded the Lillian Moffett Award, one of the highest awards from MBA Bankers School.  Kimberly also served as a founding member of the American Bankers Association’s Emerging Leader Council and chaired the American Bankers Association’s Commercial Lending School advisory board.

Kimberly remains active in the community and supports many non-profits.  Currently, she is a board member and finance chair of Mon Health Medical Center, finance committee member of Mon Health System as well as board member and treasurer of the Monongalia County Development Authority.  She is also past chairman of the Morgantown Area Partnership, former board member for United Way of Monongalia & Preston Counties and the Special Olympics West Virginia Polar Plunge Committee.

First United Corporation operates one full-service commercial bank, First United Bank & Trust.  The Bank has a network of community offices in Garrett, Allegany, Washington, and Frederick Counties in Maryland, as well as Mineral, Berkeley, Harrison, and Monongalia Counties in West Virginia.  First United’s website can be located at MyBank.com.  As of 9/30/2021, the corporation posted assets of $1.8 billion.

Narrows Hill, LLC launches Its Crowdfunding Campaign for the Ultimate Garrett County Adventure Map

Posted 1/5/22

Pre-ordering for the Ultimate Garrett County Adventure map is open through Jan 28th through the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform.  The Adventure map, developed by Narrows Hill LLC,  contains a variety of recreational features such as trails, camping, fishing, overlooks, historic spots, and more. It will be available as a fold up map printed on water/tear resistant paper for as low as $10 shipped for consumers or $5 per copy for retailers, but only if orders are placed in the funding campaign through the end of January.  “This map will allow you to explore and discover Garrett County as you never have before,” said the owner of Narrows Hill LLC Chris Nichols, “Online maps are good for navigating from place to place, but they are often filled with lots of non-curated and inaccurate information, too.  And nothing beats the feel and experience of poring over a paper map.”

The funding campaign will allow for a large-volume print run which provides for lower per-unit costs.  If the campaign is successful, Narrows Hill anticipates delivery of the maps by the end of February.

Interested persons are encouraged to contact Chris Nichols at chris.nichols@dimesy.com or 301 616-7881 or through narrowshill.com. The link for the Kickstarter campaign is: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/narrowshill/the-ultimate-garrett-county-adventure-map

Garrett County Commissioners Collaborate Amid Continuing COVID-19 Response

Posted 1/4/22

January 4, 2021, Oakland, MD – Garrett Regional Medical Center, Garrett County Emergency Services, the Garrett County Health Department, and other local health care organizations continue to work with each other to organize response efforts amid the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

Garrett County continues to see high COVID positivity testing rates, with 13.1% of those tested receiving a positive result as of January 3rd. The county’s rate of fully vaccinated citizens continues to slowly increase, but only 53.4% of the population over age 12 is fully vaccinated at this point, according to statistics compiled by the Garrett County Health Department. While vaccines do not completely prevent COVID, they do lessen the severity of the illness in breakthrough cases and greatly reduce the need for hospitalization.

Garrett Regional Medical Center continues to see a large demand for monoclonal antibody infusions for patients testing positive for COVID. The hospital’s Emergency Department is seeing higher volumes of patients for these treatments as well as patients suffering COVID symptoms and illness. In addition, the hospital continues to see higher than normal admission rates due to both COVID and seasonal illnesses and conditions.

Hospitals throughout the region are also experiencing higher volumes in both the ED and admissions, including larger medical facilities that offer more specialty services. This situation has created delays in the transfer of patients in need of higher levels of care, because the larger facilities have few available beds.

“Most of us will agree that we’re tired of talking about COVID but local organizations have been working tirelessly to assemble the most local, state, and federal resources possible to combat this concern,” said Paul Edwards, Chair, Board of Garrett County Commissioners. “As a result of these efforts, COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are readily available in Garrett County."
The County Commissioners have been and continue to advocate personal responsibility during this unique public health emergency. Also, the County and the County Health Officer continue to communicate the Governor’s Executive Orders and personal responsibility actions to the public.

“I’d like to remind you that COVID is prevalent in our county and local health organizations continue to share the precautions you can take to prevent sickness,” said Edwards. “Garrett Regional Medical Center continues a fantastic job in meeting our community needs.”

There also is no anticipated lapse in emergency response capabilities from local rescue squads or fire departments or longer than normal response times to calls for service.

For community members with medical questions regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), please utilize the Garrett County Health Department website https://garretthealth.org/coronavirus or telephone hotline at 301-334-7698.

Garrett Regional Medical Center Welcomes First Baby of 2022, Kreed Nathaniel Linton

Posted 1/4/22

OAKLAND, MD -Garrett Regional Medical Center welcomed Kreed Nathaniel Linton as the first baby of 2022. Kreed was born at 12:59 p.m. on Sunday, January 2nd and was delivered by Jason Van Antwerp, MD of Wellspring Family Medicine. Kreed weighed 7 pounds, 8.3 ounces and measured 20 inches long. He is the son of Tiffany and Chris Linton of Oakland, MD.

“We are very appreciative of all the support we have received from the nurses and doctors, as well as the donations from local businesses,” said the mother, Tiffany Linton.

The nurses and staff of GRMC’s maternity suite celebrate 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 Shelia Amato, Book Market, Broken Road Associates, Deep Creek Cinema 8, Deep Creek Pharmacy, Denny’s Restaurant, GRMC and the Family-Centered Maternity Suite, Lohr Auxiliary Gift Shop, Green Acres, Gregg’s Pharmacy, Madalyn Hoffeditz, Shop N Save, Simon Pearce, Smart Style and Uno’s Restaurant.

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

Christmas Tree Recycling Program

Posted 1/3/22

December 27, 2021, Oakland, MD – The Garrett County Department of Solid Waste & Recycling would like to invite Garrett County residents to participate in Christmas tree recycling at the Garrett County landfill location during the months of January and February.

Trees will be accepted for recycling during the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Monday – Friday, at the landfill location at 3118 Oakland Sang Run Road, Oakland, Maryland.

Christmas tree recycling is available to Garrett County residents free of charge and a residential disposal permit is not required to participate in this program or any other recycling program in Garrett County.

Christmas trees may also be recycled at home by placing cut branches and needles under trees and shrubs as a temporary winter mulch -- or by chopping them up and adding them to your compost pile.

Note, all tinsel, garland and ornaments should be removed before recycling Christmas trees.

A refuse permit is not required to recycle at any of the seven refuse & recycling sites, including the landfill. Additionally, Garrett County businesses are encouraged to recycle and use the refuse & recycling sites for the recyclable materials collected.

If you have any questions, please contact the office at 301 334 7492 or email the recycling coordinator, Kimberly Madigan at kmadigan@garrettcounty.org.

Garrett County Commissioners Collaborate Amid Continuing COVID-19 Response

Posted 1/3/22

December 30, 2021, Oakland, MD – Garrett Regional Medical Center, Garrett County Emergency Services, the Garrett County Health Department, and other local health care organizations continue to work with each other to organize response efforts amid the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

The Garrett County COVID positivity rate is 8.7% (of those tested receiving a positive result) as of December 28th. In addition, only 53.6% of the population over age 12 is fully vaccinated, according to statistics compiled by the Garrett County Health Department.

While vaccines do not completely prevent COVID, they do lessen the severity of the illness in breakthrough cases and greatly reduce the need for hospitalization.
“Most of us will agree that we’re tired of talking about COVID but local organizations have been working tirelessly to assemble the most local, state, and federal resources possible to combat this concern,” said Paul Edwards, Chair, Board of Garrett County Commissioners. “As a result of these efforts, COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are readily available in Garrett County."

The Garrett County Commissioners and the Garrett County Health Officer have been and continue to advocate personal responsibility during this unique public health emergency.

“I’d like to remind you to follow the recommendations of the CDC and the Garrett County Health Department said Edwards. “The Health Department and Garrett Regional Medical Center continue to do a fantastic job in meeting our community needs and the residents of Garrett County prove to me time and time again how great we are at working together.”

For community members with medical questions regarding COVID-19, please utilize the Garrett County Health Department website https://garretthealth.org/coronavirus or the telephone hotline at 301-334-7698.

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