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Sing in to Spring! Garrett Choral Society Announces Spring Rehearsals

Posted 1/31/23

Garrett Choral Society will begin the spring rehearsal season on Sunday, February 12 from 2-4pm at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Oakland. Bass, Tenor, Alto & Soprano voices are all needed. If you love to sing & have a great work ethic, please join us! The concert will be held at 3pm on Sunday, May 21 at the Performing Arts Center at Garrett College. For more information, email garrettchoralsociety@gmail.com or see our Facebook page.

GRMC Foundation to host behavioral health benefit on March 2

Posted 1/31/23

Benefit to kick off fundraising campaign for Garrett County and surrounding region

OAKLAND, Md. – The Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) Foundation will host ‘Making a Difference Together,’ a behavioral health benefit, on Thursday, March 2nd from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center at Garrett College.

This event is open to the public and will feature a special menu from Huckleberry Catering as well as hosted beer and wine. Guests must be 21 years of age to attend. The benefit serves as the kickoff event for the Foundation’s behavioral health fundraising campaign, which is designed to increase the availability of mental and behavioral health services for Garrett County and the surrounding region.

Since opening in 2019, the demand for mental and behavioral health care and treatment at GRMC’s regional behavioral health center – called Family Health & Wellness and located at 69 Wolf Acres Drive in Oakland - continues to climb.

Providing office based comprehensive mental health and substance abuse services to Garrett County and the surrounding region, GRMC’s Family Health & Wellness is currently staffed with a licensed clinical psychologist, a mental health nurse practitioner, and licensed social workers. The clinic serves the behavioral health needs of patients of all ages, from children to senior adults.

Family Health & Wellness also provides tele-psychiatric medication management with a Sheppard Pratt board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist (computer based with practitioners at Baltimore campus) in addition to tele-consultation evaluations through Kennedy Krieger for children, adolescents, and young adults ages 12-21.
Growing the number of behavioral health professionals in the area to reduce patient wait times is one of the primary goals of the campaign.

According to recent data, the national average wait time for a new patient to receive a mental health appointment is approximately five to six weeks. Furthermore, the national physician average is 16 psychiatrists per 100,000 people, or one per 6,250 people.

“Our goal is to bring mental and behavioral health resources to the forefront of our community and region,” said Mark Boucot, president & CEO of GRMC and Potomac Valley Hospital. “We plan to improve the available services, increase our providers, and reduce current wait times to better serve Garrett County and the surrounding area.”

The campaign will look to enhance the existing facility space through renovation and/or expansion to better serve the needs of patients and the community.

“Over the years, the support from our community has allowed GRMC to bring much needed services and enhancements to our region,” said Emily Tobin, GRMC Foundation executive director. “Our campaign goal is to shed light on the importance of behavioral health while raising funds to support the continued growth of these services in our community.”

Tickets are now available and can be purchased online by visiting www.wvumedicine.org/grmcdonate or contact Emily Tobin, GRMC Foundation Executive Director at 301-533-4178 or emily.tobin@wvumedicine.org.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

GRMC participating in statewide Dare to C.A.R.E. cardiovascular screening day

Posted 1/24/23

Free screening to individuals 60+ and 50+ with risk factors

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center is one of many hospitals across the state participating in the Dare to C.A.R.E. about Maryland Heart Health Screening Day on February 4 during American Heart Month.

Free cardiovascular screenings will be provided from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. with screening appointments every 15 minutes. Screening includes a cardiovascular risk questionnaire, blood pressure, and an ultrasound of the carotid arteries, abdominal aorta, and peripheral arteries.

To be eligible for the screening, participants must be at least 60 years old or at least 50 years old and have certain risk factors for vascular disease. A referral is not required, and results will be shared with the participant’s primary care provider.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death across the globe and more importantly in the state of Maryland.

“We are so thrilled to be able to take part in this year’s free screening event across Maryland,” remarked Marjorie Fridkin MD, FACS and Chief Medical Officer at GRMC. “This is a great opportunity for eligible members of our community to receive a comprehensive heart and vascular screening for free. Through this program, these screenings will help identify any potential cardiovascular issues and individuals can receive treatment to address any concerns.”

More than two decades ago the Dare to C.A.R.E. community-based free vascular screening program was created by the Heart Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by John D. Martin, MD and Louise O. Hanson, CRNP of Cardiology Associates, PC in Annapolis. Dr. Martin established Dare to C.A.R.E. to extend his passion for the prevention and early detection of heart disease, the number one killer in the U.S.

To date, the program has had a dramatic impact on the detection of asymptomatic vascular disease with almost fifty percent of the screened population having silent disease detected. Two-thirds of that group had an opportunity to change medical therapy to potentially reduce future events and progression and more importantly it brought awareness of cardiovascular disease to the forefront of health discussions within the community.

According to the Heart Health Foundation, there is greater urgency than ever to increase efforts through broad community engagement. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in cardiovascular mortality across the globe reversing decades of improvements in outcomes.

To make an appointment, contact 410-573-9483. No walk-ins will be accepted. On the day of the appointment, participants should arrive at the Radiology department.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

Edwards Named to MACo Board of Directors

Posted 1/10/23

Garrett County Commissioner Paul Edwards was recently installed as a 2023 member of the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) Board of Directors by Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford.

Edwards is beginning his first one-year term on the MACo Board.

“I am pleased to serve on the MACo Board of Directors. The policy-update and relationship-building work that MACo performs is integral for Garrett County’s connections and collaborations on the statewide legislative front,” said Commissioner Edwards.

The MACo Board of Directors is made up of 16 county elected officials. These county leaders are selected by the MACo membership to serve the interests of the Association, oversee its management and strategic direction, and maintain and develop relationships with other parties with whom MACo and counties regularly interact. The Board works collaboratively with the MACo Legislative Committee, which sets policy positions for the Association and directs its legislative advocacy priorities.

The following individuals were elected (by the assembled membership) at the Association’s Winter Conference Business Meeting:

Officers:
· Calvin Ball, Howard County – President
· John Olszewski, Jr., Baltimore County – 1st Vice President
· Jack Wilson, Queen Anne’s County – 2nd Vice President
· MC Keegan-Ayer, Frederick County – Secretary
· Lenny Pfeffer, Dorchester County – Treasurer
· Sharon Green Middleton, Baltimore City – Past President

Members:
· Steuart Pittman, Anne Arundel County
· Ed Rothstein, Carroll County
· Danielle Hornberger, Cecil County
· Reuben Collins, Charles County
· Paul Edwards, Garrett County
· Bob Cassilly, Harford County
· Marc Elrich, Montgomery County
· Angela Alsobrooks, Prince George’s County
· Craig Mathies, Somerset County
· Randy Guy, St. Mary’s County

GRMC’s subacute unit recognized as one of the Best Nursing Homes by U.S. News & World Report

Posted 1/9/23

Noted as a high performing facility for short-term rehabilitation

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center’s subacute unit has been recognized as one of the 2022-2023 Best Nursing Homes by U.S. News & World Report. This marks the ninth year that GRMC’s subacute unit has received national recognition.

To be recognized as one of the 2022-2023 U.S. News Best Nursing Homes, a home must have received a ‘high performing’ or five out of five-performance rating for short-term rehabilitation, long-term care, or both. Of the 15,178 facilities evaluated by U.S. News, GRMC is one of 1,658 facilities awarded this distinction.

“This incredible recognition is due to our amazing staff, who strive each day to treat our patients like family,” said Mark Boucot, CEO and president of Garrett Regional Medical Center and Potomac Valley Hospital. “For the ninth year in a row, our subacute team’s ongoing commitment and hard work makes them very deserving of this award.”

GRMC’s subacute unit received a high performing rating in short-term rehabilitation. This rating evaluates quality of post-acute care for patients recovering from a hospital stay such as after stroke, heart attack, infection, or accidental injury. The short-term rehabilitation rating is based on U.S. News’ assessment of ten quality measures focusing on staffing, medical outcomes, resident complaints, and processes of care.

“We provide complex care and rehabilitation education during a patient’s stay, which may be a few days or several weeks,” said Lori Davis, RN and director of subacute. “As a department, we strive to provide our subacute patients with positive experiences in a welcoming atmosphere that feels like home. Our staff are very compassionate and dedicated to helping each patient reach his or her goals.”

Since their inception in 2009, the U.S. News Best Nursing Home ratings have relied on data from Nursing Home Compare, a program run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that sets and enforces standards for nursing homes.
GRMC’s subacute care department is a ten-bed unit designed for patients who require complex care or rehabilitation. Serving between 350 to 400 patients annually, the unit offers a home-like atmosphere with its own dining area, activity room and laundry facility to provide patients with the care and education needed to function when they return home.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

Kelley Hired as Director of Planning and Community Development

Posted 1/5/23

January 5, 2023, Oakland, MD – Garrett County Government is pleased to announce that Steve Kelley has accepted the position of Director of Planning and Community Development. This newly created position joins the administration and implementation of Economic Development, Planning, Land Development, and Permit functions.

Kelley will oversee zoning administration, licensing, land preservation, comprehensive planning, mapping, workforce development, business attraction, business retention, and grant awards services.

A rural Kentucky native, Kelley has a background in operations and management most recently responsible for a staff of 150 employees and a budget of over $43 million. Kelley earned national recognition for his role in revamping the structure and goals of the Somerset Pulaski Economic Development Authority.

“We are thrilled to have Steve leading our Community Development and Planning team,” said Kevin Null, Garrett County Administrator. “His passion for community development and his ability to see a long-term vision for the betterment of our residents and business community is a great fit for us.”

Kelley’s background encompasses city and county elected offices as well as small business ownership. After owning his own landscaping business from 1999 to 2014 and a Honey Baked Ham franchise from 2004-2020, Kelly served as City Councilor for the City of Somerset, Kentucky for four years and as County Judge Executive for Pulaski Fiscal Court since 2015.

“I’m excited to be here in Garrett County and to continue the good work that the team has already started,” said Mr. Kelley. “Garrett County is very similar to where I’m from. It’s beautiful, friendly, and full of opportunities for growth. I hope to build consensus and collaboration among our various agencies and community stakeholders to move Garrett County forward, and to secure prosperity and quality of life for all our families.”

Kelley has taken credits toward an Economic Developer certification with the International Economic Development Council and earned an MBA from The University of South Carolina. Currently, he resides in Mountain Lake Park with his wife, Tracy. The pair share five daughters and two grandchildren.

Feel free to contact Steve at 301-334-1921 or skelley@garrettcounty.org

Garrett County Lighthouse seeks Donations for Safe Harbor Crisis House

Posted 1/4/23

Have you heard of Garrett County Lighthouse, Inc.? We are a non-profit (503c) Behavioral health organization in Oakland, MD and have been serving one of the most vulnerable populations of our great county for over 30 years , by providing personalized psychiatric rehabilitation services to those with serious and persistent mental illness.

Our vision is to ensure a future where individuals with mental illness can engage in informed choices and shared decision making by receiving necessary community supports and quality psychiatric rehabilitation services without fear of judgement or mental health stigma.

Garrett County Lighthouse, Inc. owns a crisis house located in Oakland, MD that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is known as Safe Harbor. Safe Harbor is the only crisis center located in Garrett County, making it a crucial facility within our county for which many clients are in dire need.

However, Safe Harbor is currently closed due to unforeseen structural issues caused by major water damage. We need major financial help to cover the expense of the project, as our insurance will not cover any of the costs. The entire project is going to cost over $150,000 to complete. We at GCLH, Inc. are asking for your support in the form of monetary donations, so we can reopen Safe Harbor and continue to provide Residential Crisis Services in Garrett County.

Donations can be made by check and mailed to:
GCLH, Inc.
PO Box 116
Oakland, Md. 2155

Questions or Comments can be directed to Cody Kroll @ 301-334-9126

First United Bank & Trust’s Carissa L. Rodeheaver Elected ABA Treasurer

Posted 1/4/23

Members of the American Banking Association attending the annual convention in Austin, Texas, elected new officers and directors to serve on the ABA board for 2022-2023. Carissa Rodeheaver, president and CEO of First United Bank and Trust, was elected as Treasurer for a two-year term. Ms. Rodeheaver has served on the ABA board of directors for three years and has served on various ABA banking committees over her tenure in banking. She is thrilled to take on this leadership role. “I look forward to working with my fellow officers, directors, and bankers from across the country to continue advocating for the banking industry. I am proud to be a banker and value this opportunity to give back to the industry.”

About the American Bankers Association
The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $23.7 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard $19.6 trillion in deposits and extend $11.8 trillion in loans.

About First United Corporation
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 9/31/22, the Corporation posted assets of $1.8 billion. First United’s website can be located at MyBank.com.

A Mountain Fix in Deep Creek Lake Wins Garrett County's Greatest Gift Shop for 2022

Posted 1/3/23

MCHENRY, Md. - Jan. 3, 2023 - PRLog -- In two short years, A Mountain Fix has gone from just an idea to the top gift shop in Deep Creek Lake and Garrett County. Her sister store, Marsh Hill Mercantile won 1st runner up for the Arts and Crafts category after just one year in business.

We've worked very hard to build a unique collection of the coolest gifts, apparel, gourmet treats and home décor, and the readers of Garrett County's newspaper voted us the top gift shop in their third year of the annual "Garrett County's Greatest" contest. Readers have responded to our focus on showcasing local products, artisans and crafters both in our gift shop and in our Gallery at Marsh Hill Mercantile.

A Mountain Fix has also partnered with many other local businesses as well as helping fundraise for local charities like Hart for Animals, and Habitat for Humanity.

Marsh Hill Mercantile is an art gallery and artisan market featuring local artists and upscale lake and mountain-themed home decor. You will find acrylic, oil, watercolor, mixed media, and paper collage art on our walls as well as the work of local craft artisans including wood crafts, soy candles, live edge wood furniture, wood wall art and much more! Shoppers make their selections from many different artisans and then check out with a single payment.

The Studio at Marsh Hill offers a wide variety of classes, including making a wood wick dough bowl candle, acrylic painting on canvas, felting figures, charcuterie boards, and much more! Private classes are available with prior arrangement. Opening in October 2021, Marsh Hill Mercantile won first runner up in the Garrett County's Greatest contest for Arts and Crafts in just one year in a crowded field!

We are proud to provide a first-rate shopping experience and a gift for even the hardest to shop for, including the world's finest sterling silver jewelry from our sister company, Silvergirl Sterling. Our class schedule for The Studio at Marsh Hill Mercantile is being updated - classes are offered year-round. We await your visit in The Fort Shopping Center in McHenry, MD.

GRMC’s Tina Harsh completes internal pharmacy technician certification program

Posted 1/3/23

GRMC focuses on educational growth, advancement for staff

OAKLAND, Md. – Educational growth opportunities and employee advancement remain a top priority for Garrett Regional Medical Center.

Tina Harsh, a resident of Aurora, W.Va., recently completed GRMC’s internal pharmacy certification program. Harsh began her career at GRMC by working in the hospital’s environmental services department and is now a member of the pharmacy department team.
Harsh credits the support and encouragement of her coworkers for helping her achieve this new milestone in her career.
“I have an awesome group of coworkers and they have helped me so much with studying and learning to work in the pharmacy,” said Harsh. “I appreciate all they have done to help me better myself at GRMC.”

According to Lance Rhodes, pharmacy manager/medication safety officer at GRMC, Tina was the perfect candidate for the internal pharmacy certification program.

“Tina has done a tremendous job in achieving the level of certified pharmacy technician; she is a highly motivated person who desires to learn new things and provide high-quality care to our patients,” Rhodes stated. “These qualities helped her to complete the program and prove valuable as she continues to learn the job role with the help of the pharmacy staff team. It is a pleasure to have Tina as a member of the pharmacy team.”

The goal of GRMC’s pharmacy technician program is to prepare employees for working in a hospital pharmacy environment while providing high quality pharmaceutical services to patients. The program may be completed as quickly as the material is mastered but must be completed within six months of enrollment.

Students are responsible for completing the study materials provided, completing at least 160 hours of onsite work experience with a certified pharmacy technician, and passing the examination with a score of 75 percent or higher.

GRMC’s program curriculum follows the most recent editions of The American Pharmacists’ Association’s (APha) The Pharmacy Technician, Complete Review for the Pharmacy Technician, and the Complete Math Review for the Pharmacy Technician.
“I am so glad the hospital offers training programs to allow people to learn new skills and open up new doors for endless opportunities,” said Harsh.
The pharmacy technician program, along with the surgical technician program, are just two of several programs available for GRMC employees.
“We have a few internal programs that we manage to advance the knowledge, skills, and abilities of our staff,” stated Laura Waters, regional director of human resources at GRMC and Potomac Valley Hospital. “These programs allow employees to train in the role as they are working towards certification.”
GRMC’s internal certification programs are mutually beneficial for both the hospital and the employee.
Waters added,” advancing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of employees generally provides greater job satisfaction and allows us the opportunity to support the employee’s professional goals and attributions as we connect them with roles in the organization to grow themselves in the healthcare industry.”
For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

Garrett County Community Action Receives Food Donations to Help with Growing Local Need for Food Assistance

Posted 12/20/22

OAKLAND, Md.—December 19, 2022—Garrett County Community Action Committee Inc. recently received more than 2,000 pounds of food donations from Walmart Supercenter in Oakland, Maryland.

Throughout November, generous shoppers were encouraged to donate food and funds to support Garrett County Community Action's emergency and supplemental food programs. Thanks to Walmart Supercenter, 70 turkeys and 28 boxes of food were donated on November 21 and distributed ahead of the holiday season.

"From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Walmart, their cashiers, and staff for choosing to support the community through Garrett County Community Action this holiday season," said Donna Cumerlato, Rose Terrace site manager. "The donation drive was so successful that Walmart asked to extend the effort through the Christmas holiday."

Community Action operates an emergency food pantry and Meals on Wheels, addressing food insecurity among children, families, and seniors in Garrett County. Additionally, the overwhelming support allowed Community Action to disperse food to local churches, food banks, the Dove Center, and individuals and families in great need.

Community Action's emergency and supplemental food programs rely on donations from the community. Non-perishable food items in unopened boxes, cans, jars, and sealed packets stock the shelves of the emergency food pantry and support Meals on Wheels food preparation. The following items are always needed for our clients.

• Boxed Cereal
• Canned Fruits, Meat, Soups, and Vegetables
• Dry Milk
• Shelf-stable Heat & Serve Meals
• Instant Oatmeal
• Instant Potatoes, Pasta, and Rice
• Jelly
• Juice Boxes
• Mac & Cheese Boxes
• Peanut Butter
• Spaghetti Noodles & Sauce
• Tuna Helper

Those interested in supporting the food drive are invited to donate during their next shopping trip. Donations are also accepted at the Garrett County Community Action main office, 104 East Center Street, Oakland, during regular business hours.

About Garrett County Community Action Committee Inc.
Garrett County Community Action Committee, Inc. is a member of the National Community Action Partnership and the Community Action Network, born out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. GCCAC, 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 focus on strategies that empower people by removing barriers and offering pathway opportunities to achieve aspirational goals. More information regarding programs and services provided by GCCAC can be found at garrettcac.org/ or by dialing (301) 334.9431.

Boucot receives 2022 Regent Award for Rural and Population Health Leadership

Posted 12/19/22

Recognized by the American College of Healthcare Executives®

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center’s Mark Boucot was recently recognized with the 2022 Regent Award for Rural and Population Health Leadership by the American College of Healthcare Executives®, a professional society for healthcare leaders committed to improving health.

Boucot, a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives® (FACHE), serves as president and CEO for both Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC), a 55-bed acute care hospital in Oakland, and Potomac Valley Hospital (PVH), a critical access hospital located in Keyser, W.Va. Both GRMC and PVH are member hospitals of the West Virginia University Health System.

A tireless advocate for rural and population health, Boucot has taken that passion and created meaningful systems of care to serve those in need. He attributes the success to being able to work with an amazing medical staff and having a superb and caring hospital staff. Together they all work together to create an encouraging and welcoming environment through frontline councils, and a very strong commitment to patient safety and performance improvement.

He was recently named a “Top Rural Hospital CEO to Know” by Becker’s Hospital Review.

According to Albert L. Wright, Jr., President and CEO of the WVU Health System, “Mark is a champion for the people he serves. He 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.”

Along those lines, GRMC has been named a Top 20 Rural and Community Hospital in the U.S. by the National Rural Health Association and the Chartis Center for Rural Health the past two years in a row, a designated Top 100 Rural and Community Hospital for four consecutive years and awarded six consecutive “A” hospital safety grades by the LeapFrog Group.

GRMC has 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 has the lowest Case Mix Adjustment Readmission Rate in the state of Maryland for the last eight years straight, which currently sits at 5.45%. Further, the hospital has the state’s best Hospital Acquired Condition score in the state, which is an indicator for reducing preventable complications and assuring patient safety.

Under Boucot’s leadership, Potomac Valley Hospital improved emergency room wait times and has added additional specialty services, including the opening of the WVU Cancer Institute of PVH in 2022. Rated a five-star facility by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2020, PVH also received designation as West Virginia’s Community Star for 2021.

PVH was the first critical access hospital in the West Virginia Health System to achieve acute stroke ready hospital certification through the Joint Commission and the American Heart Association, making it the third hospital in the state of WV to achieve this designation. The hospital was also awarded the American College of Radiology gold seal of accreditation in computed tomography.
Boucot also served as president of the Maryland Rural Health Association.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org. To learn more about Potomac Valley Hospital, visit https://wvumedicine.org/potomac-valley-hospital/.

December 7 Board of Garrett County Commissioners
Public Meeting Summary

Posted 12/14/22

December 13, Oakland, MD – The Board of Garrett County Commissioners held its recent public meeting on Wednesday, December 7, 2022. Paul Edwards served as Chairman.

The following items were discussed:

  • A bid was awarded to Green River Group, LLC in the amount of $1,398,720.50 for the project #APL3799E Keysers Ridge Business Park Local Access Road. The budgeted amount was $1,658,475.97 and is an ARC-Funded project.
    • This access road was noted as the last piece of infrastructure to be in place to market a complete package for potential business park clients.
  • A bid was rejected for RFP #2-1011 – Professional Architectural Consulting Services Rehabilitation of the Frederick A. Thayer III Courthouse; the single bid received in the amount of $482,470 was over budget.
    • A recommendation was accepted to defer the courthouse rehabilitation project to next year’s budget.
  • Garrett County’s 150th Celebration was concluded with a proclamation by the Commissioners and a dedication of a complete set of 150th commemorative coins.
    • The Garrett County Arts Council presented the winners of the 150th artwork contest:

First Place - Jessica McClurg
Second Place - Alyssa Rodeheaver
Third Place - Misty Kisner

All three top art pieces are on permanent display in the Garrett County Courthouse public meeting room.

Prints of Jessica McClurg’s artwork are available at the Garrett County Arts Council’s Gallery Shop.

  • A video clip featuring the 150th event, recorded and produced by Mark Stutzman, was shared with the audience.
  • A certificate and a token of appreciation were presented to the 150th Anniversary Planning Committee
  • Stories and accomplishments were shared as Jim Hinebaugh served his last public meeting as a Garrett County Commissioner.

A link to the recorded meeting broadcast can be found at: https://bit.ly/publicmeeting12-7

The Board of Garrett County Commissioners-elect will be sworn in at the next scheduled Public Meeting on Tuesday, December 20, 2022 at 4:00 p.m.

Public issues or concerns that are to be presented to the Board of Garrett County Commissioners during any Public Meeting should be scheduled with Carol A. Riley-Alexander, Executive Assistant to the Board of County Commissioners/County Administrator, by 11:00 p.m. on Monday one week prior to the Public Meeting Day.

Tasker named 2022 Employee of the Year at GRMC

Posted 12/12/22

OAKLAND, Md. – Patty Tasker of Garrett Family Medicine was recently named the 2022 Employee of the Year at Garrett Regional Medical Center.

Tasker was recognized for going above and beyond during a situational crisis this past year. The nomination stated her quick thinking, calming tone, caring personality, and compassion proved to be invaluable.

“The Employee of the Year Award is an incredible honor, and I cannot think of a more deserving employee than Patty,” remarked Mark Boucot, President and CEO of GRMC and Potomac Valley Hospital. “Patty’s character and dedication is a prime example of how we can work together to address behavioral health challenges in our community and region. We are very blessed and fortunate to have Patty as part of our GRMC family.”

GRMC’s Employee Engagement Council, whose membership is comprised of GRMC’s frontline staff, created the Employee of the Year program. Employees can nominate a fellow teammate for Employee of the Month and nominations are voted on at monthly council meetings.

The Employee of the Year is voted upon by GRMC’s administration based on the monthly award recipients.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

Meagher leaves mark on Garrett College

Posted 12/7/22

Departing facilities director oversaw STEM Center and PAC projects

McHenry, MD – Kathy Meagher had to hit the ground running when she was hired as Garrett College’s director of campus facilities in May 2016.

“I started on a Monday and the very first meeting for the STEM Center’s A and E [architecture and engineering] was on Tuesday,” said Meagher, who is leaving Garrett College this week after overseeing construction of both the Daniel E. Offutt III STEM Center and the Performing Arts Center at Garrett College.

Meagher said collaboration was a key component with both projects, offering the STEM Center as an example of successful collaboration.

“Getting the stakeholders involved was critical,” said Meagher. “The STEM faculty played a pivotal role in identifying academic needs, and [project architect] Grimm + Parker did an incredible job transforming our needs into their design for the project.”

While the STEM Center was a fairly straightforward project, Meagher said the recently completed Performing Arts Center proved to be an entirely different animal.

“Every part of building the PAC was challenging – getting the funding, getting the architect within our funding, getting a contractor who would sign on and built it through a pandemic,” noted Meagher. “After that, we had all of the masking and testing protocols, and we lost several crews for weeks at a time with COVID.

“We were ordering equipment earlier than normal to try to get ahead of supply-chain issues and constantly following up with suppliers, “ Meagher added. “We also did a lot of research on additional funding, including two successful Maryland Heritage Areas Authority grants that made a huge difference in this project.”
Meagher said another difference in the two projects was her experience in the two widely different academic disciplines.

“Coming through an engineering school and seeing a college build an engineer building was exciting,” said Meagher, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland College Park. “I’m a patron of the arts, but I didn’t really know the infrastructure of a performing arts center. I really enjoyed touring different centers and learning about everything that goes into a successful facility.”

Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College’s president, said Meagher’s willingness to learn all the intricate details of constructing a performing arts center was critical to the project’s success.

“When we received approval for the PAC, Kathy dove into researching performing arts center construction projects,” said Midcap. “And that included visiting multiple performing arts center and talking to people who ran PACs. She would ask them what worked, what didn’t, and what were the keys to successful performing arts centers.”

Meagher credited state and local officials for their commitment to the PAC as a funding priority. The $21 million facility included $17 million in state funding and $4 million in local funding after several previous efforts to build a performing arts center had failed.

Meagher indicated all the challenges were worth being able to address a long-time community need.

“Being part of the community, I knew how much the community wanted this facility,” said Meagher. “It was a piece of community and culture that was missing. The College, the school system, the arts community – the entire community – and visitors will all benefit from this facility.”

While the Offutt STEM Center and the Performing Arts Center at Garrett College were the two most visible projects completed during Meagher’s tenure, Midcap said Meagher is leaving GC with many other impressive accomplishments.

“The Mosser Road Heritage Trail is another extremely important capital improvement for the College,” said Midcap, referring to the ¾-mile trail along Mosser Road down to Route 219 that was completed in June. “It provides our students with a safe option to walk into town and has proven to be a high-traffic community recreational trail.

“Kathy played a key role in bringing together the County, the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Garrett Trails, the Garrett County Agricultural Fair, and the McHenry United Methodist Church as project partners,” added Midcap. “Those collaborations allowed us to attract the funding and gain the easements necessary to build the trail.”

Meagher said the College’s community mission and the opportunity to manage projects like the STEM, PAC and Mosser Road Heritage Trail played roles in her decision to come to Garrett College.

“I like managing capital projects,” said Meagher. “I had done so before in the utility world, mainly electric substations and distribution systems, and that appealed to me. I also knew a lot of people who had worked here, and they were all people I respected in the community.”

Meagher said “spending time with the family and getting ready for the next adventure” are her immediate post-College goals.

“I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to work not only with faculty and staff but the contractors that work with the college,” said Meagher. “It’s been a wonderful experience.”

Collaborations cited at PAC grand opening

Posted 12/7/22

Speakers stress county/state funding, roles of PAC founding partners

McHenry, MD – It takes a community to create a performing arts center.

That was a persistent theme in Saturday morning’s official grand opening of the Performing Arts Center at Garrett College. The roles played by the facility’s five founding partners, the Garrett College Foundation, the Garrett County Commissioners, and local state legislators were repeatedly cited as pivotal to the planning and construction of the PAC.

The contributions of State Senator George Edwards and Delegate Wendell Beitzel, each retiring from their respective roles next month, and County Commissioners Paul Edwards, Jim Hinebaugh, and Larry Tichnell were highlighted by the opening speaker, Garrett College Board of Trustees Chair Don Morin.

“George, Wendell . . . thank you for all that you did to successfully advocate for the more than $17 million in state funding that was dedicated to this project,” said Morin. “Paul, Jim, and Larry . . . thank you for advocating on behalf of this project in your discussions with state officials, and backing that up with more than $4 million in local funding.”

Both George Edwards and Beitzel spoke on the transformational potential of the PAC project.

“Our young people and the people who are citizens here are going to be able to see a nice show, and hear good music without leaving the area,” said Edwards. “I think we have something to be very proud of here.”

“I trust that the entire Garrett County community will come to appreciate what a wonderful facility this is for those of us that live here, those with vacation homes here, and those who simply come to visit,” said Beitzel.

Paul Edwards said the PAC is an example of the collaborative culture that “makes Garrett County great and separates us a little bit from the rest of the state.”

“This is a state-of-the-art facility to do state-of-the-art things, and for that we should be proud of ourselves,” added Edwards.

Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College’s president, said the ongoing fiscal sustainability of the PAC was secured due to Garrett County Government, the Garrett Lakes Arts Festival (GLAF), Garrett County Public Schools (GCPS), and the Garrett County Arts Council (GCAC) all joining forces with Garrett College as founding PAC partners. Midcap described the partners as “four wonderful groups whose missions align with the PAC mission.”

Midcap also thanked the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce for its efforts on behalf of the PAC project.

“The Chamber has been an enthusiastic supporter of the PAC project, which we feel will support both performing arts and economic development initiatives,” said Midcap.

Midcap also recognized the Garrett College Foundation, represented by Board Chair Carissa Rodeheaver, who reported on the PAC endowment campaign for which the Foundation originally set a $2.5 million goal.

“As we look to the goal that was mentioned, I’m humbled and proud to announce today that we raised just over $3.5 million,” said Rodeheaver. “Now we can look forward to reaping the rewards in enrichment that this facility will provide our community.”

Mary Mateer Cummings, executive director of the PAC, said the opening of a performing arts center in Garrett County was a much-awaited event.

“We did have the dream, I think it was about 40 years ago,” Cummings said of a Garrett County-based performing arts center. “Today is the proclamation of that dream realized.”

Notes: Kathy Meagher, who as director of campus facilities served as project lead for the PAC design and construction, thanked the general contractor (Leonard S. Fiore, Inc.) and architectural firm (DLR Group) for their work on the project.

Maryland State Arts Council Executive Director Steven Skerritt-Davis and regional representatives of Maryland Senator Ben Cardin (Western Maryland Representative Robin Summerfield), Congressman David Trone (Western Maryland Representative Shayna Gutcho), and Governor Larry Hogan (Western Maryland Representative Mark Widmyer) were also in attendance. Communications Director Susan O’Brien represented Comptroller Peter Franchot’s office.

Two piano student recitals, under the direction of Dr. Sean Beachy, followed the official grand opening ceremony.

GEPPERT, MCMULLEN, PAYE & GETTY ANNOUNCES MERGER AND NEW LOCATION HEADING INTO 2023

Posted 12/5/22

Nicholas “Nick” Monteleone and Matthew Lamp will join Geppert, McMullen, Paye & Getty beginning on January 1, 2023. “Hidey, Coyle & Monteleone and Geppert, McMullen, Paye & Getty are two of the longest standing firms in Western Maryland,” stated Monteleone. He added, “Both firms have specialized practice areas that will complement each other, so that joining together will make us better able to serve the region.”

Hidey, Coyle & Monteleone began in the 1940’s as Coby, Carscaden and Getty and over the next 70 years, with a continuous succession of lawyers, became known as Hidey, Coyle & Monteleone.

Geppert, McMullen, Paye & Getty was founded in 1950 as Gunter & Geppert. It evolved into Gunter, Geppert and McMullen and, in the late 1970’s, became Geppert, McMullen, Paye & Getty.

The combined firm will operate under the name “Geppert, McMullen, Paye & Getty” and will include the following members: Jack McMullen, Robert Paye, Gregory Getty, Nicholas Monteleone, J. Matthew Gilmore, Michael Llewellyn, Emily Haworth, Matthew Lamp, Alexander Hayden and Jennifer Walsh.

Geppert, McMullen, Paye & Getty will be opening an additional location at 5000 Thayer Court, Oakland, Maryland starting December 1, 2022. “Combining efforts with Nick Monteleone and Matthew Lamp will allow us to expand our services into Garrett County, which is currently underserved,” stated Mike Llewellyn. “While we already practice in Garrett County, we will be providing a fully staffed office in Oakland beginning December 1,” he added.

5000 Thayer Court has been the location of various law offices for decades and is currently the location of the Gregory Law Firm. Justin Gregory was appointed as the new Judge of the Garrett County Circuit Court and will be closing his practice on November 30, 2022. “It is our honor to take the baton from Justin Gregory and continue the legacy of offering high quality legal services to Garrett County and the region,” stated Matt Gilmore.

For additional details, please contact Mike Llewellyn at 301-777-1515 or mllewellyn@gmpglaw.com

GRMC cardiopulmonary department receives team excellence award for fourth quarter

Posted 11/29/22

ACM students enjoy experience, learning environment at GRMC

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center recently announced the cardiopulmonary department has been named the quarter four team excellence award recipient.

The cardiopulmonary department was recognized for going above and beyond and making such a positive impact on the cardiopulmonary students from Allegany College of Maryland (ACM).

“The ACM students thoroughly enjoy and prefer to do their clinicals at GRMC to complete their rotations,” said Shelba Ringer, clinical nurse educator at GRMC. “The students have shared how the cardiopulmonary team encourages them to ask questions, provides a great atmosphere to learn and work as a team, and always makes them feel welcome. They hope to be employed at GRMC after graduation.”

This award recognizes teams who foster qualities that help to achieve departmental or organizational goals and support the hospital’s overall mission of treating every patient and each other like a member of our own family.

“GRMC welcomes students from ACM and other schools; we take pride in being able to provide clinical opportunities for students as they work towards meeting the expectations and requirements of the program they are enrolled in,” said Amanda Simmons, director of education at GRMC.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

GRMC Awarded ‘A’ Hospital Safety Grade from Leapfrog Group

Posted 11/21/22

GRMC receives fourth consecutive national recognition

OAKLAND, Md. – For the fourth consecutive year, Garrett Regional Medical Center has received an “A” Hospital Safety Grade from The Leapfrog Group. This national distinction celebrates GRMC’s achievements in protecting hospital patients from preventable errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

“This recognition of excellence in hospital safety is a direct reflection of our dedicated providers, clinicians, and staff and the quality of care they provide to our patients as we strive to treat every patient like a member of our own family,” said Mark Boucot, President and CEO of GRMC and Potomac Valley Hospital. “I am very honored and proud to be part of a team that makes excellent patient care the focal point of everything we do.”

The Leapfrog Group is an independent national watchdog organization with a 10-year history of assigning an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” grade to general hospitals throughout the United States, based on a hospital’s ability to prevent medical errors and harm to patients. The grading system is peer-reviewed, fully transparent, and free to the public. Hospital Safety Grade results are based on more than 30 national performance measures and are updated each fall and spring.

“I applaud the hospital leadership and workforce for their strong commitment to safety and transparency,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “An ‘A’ Safety Grade is a sign that hospitals are continuously evaluating their performance, so that they can best protect patients. Your hospital team should be extremely proud of their dedication and achievement.”

Nationally recognized as a Top 20 Rural and Community Hospital by the National Rural Health Association, 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 has the lowest Case Mix Adjustment Readmission Rate in the state at 5.45% currently for 2022 and the lowest Hospital Acquired Condition score in the state of Maryland.

Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps for patient safety. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey and new Leapfrog Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) Survey collect and transparently report hospital and ASC performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog's other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.
To see Garrett Regional Medical Center’s full grade details and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit https://www.hospitalsafetygrade.org/.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

PAC grand opening to require RSVP

Posted 11/16/22

Reservations needed to ensure event doesn’t exceed seating

McHenry, MD – Garrett College officials have announced that people planning to attend the December 3rd grand opening for the Performing Arts Center at Garrett College should RSVP for the space-limited event.

“We’re limited to 314 based upon the way the Offutt Theatre will be set up for the event,” noted Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College’s president. “The best way to assure that limit isn’t exceeded is to require reservations to attend. We will also be using a tally counter to ensure we don’t exceed that limit.”

Individuals who wish to attend the 9 a.m. grand opening should email reservations@garrettcollege.edu or call 301.387.3056. Reservations will close when the 314 cap is reached or November 28th, whichever comes first.

The facility – jointly funded by the State of Maryland and Garrett County Government – opened in October and has been ramping up its schedule.

Senator George Edwards and Delegate Wendel Beitzel – who played key roles in acquiring more than $17 million in state funding – will both be featured speakers at the grand opening. The Garrett County Commissioners – who provided more than $4 million in local funding – will also be recognized at the event.

Garrett College’s PAC partners – Garrett County Government, Garrett County Public Schools, Garrett Lakes Arts Festival, and Garrett County Arts Council – will also be recognized. The Garrett College Foundation, which has raised more than $3.4 million for a PAC endowment, will also be honored during the event.

Due to capacity restrictions, the event will start promptly at 9 a.m. and end by 10:15 a.m. The hard stop at 10:15 is to make way for a pair of piano recitals in the Offutt Theatre by local students under the direction of Dr. Sean Beachy.

The first recital is at 11 a.m. and the second is at 2:30 p.m. The recitals are free and open to the public.

Note: For more information about the Performing Arts Center at Garrett College, please go to www.performingartsgc.com.

Classic Holiday Workshop kicks off holiday season

Posted 11/16/22

GC event draws 70 participants in new Performing Arts Center

McHenry, MD – The holiday season is here. That was clear as 70 people attended the Classic Holiday Workshop event November 5th at the Performing Arts Center at Garrett College.

The Classic Holiday Workshop – sponsored by Garrett College’s Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development – was an outgrowth holdHo9lioutgrowth of Garrett College’s 50th anniversary celebration, which concluded with GC’s 2022 commencement ceremonies.

“I was asked to create about ten 50th anniversary courses, so I started thinking about things that were popular about 50 years ago,” said GC Coordinator of Community Education Matia Vanderbilt, who oversaw the event. “That led me to the Classic Christmas Tree class I ran last year.

“Students from last year’s class enjoyed it so much I thought, ‘Why not create a bigger event and offer more items than just Christmas Trees?’ ” explained Vanderbilt. “The other goal I had in mind when creating the Holiday Workshop was offering a community event that would bring people of all ages together for crafts and fun.”

Participants painted holiday-themed ceramics that could be used in home holiday scenes or as holiday gifts. Vanderbilt said a partnership with Deep Creek Pottery – owned by former Garrett College Professor Ron Skidmore and his wife, Lori – was critical in the event’s success.

“All the ceramics and paint for the event were provided by Deep Creek Pottery,” said Vanderbilt. “Lori also marketed the event on her social media page, and Ron came to help as well.”

Vanderbilt said the event outpaced her expectations.

“I was very pleased with the turnout and hope the event will be bigger next year,” said Vanderbilt. “I received a lot of positive feedback from participants. Everyone I spoke with intends to come again next year, and bring more friends and family to join.”

Vanderbilt also said participants “were very excited to be in the new Performing Arts Center and thought it was the perfect location for the event.”

Three participants each won two tickets – donated by the Garrett Lakes Arts Festival (GLAF) – to see the River City Brass Holiday Concert. That event, which will take place in the PAC’s Offutt Theatre, is scheduled for Sunday, November 20th at 2 p.m. For more information on the concert, go to www.artsandentertainment.org.

 

GRMC’s senior vice president of financial services, CFO retired after 23 years

Posted 11/14/22

Lipscomb proud of hospital’s achievements and financial team

OAKLAND, Md. – Tracy Lipscomb, senior vice president of financial services and chief financial officer at Garrett Regional Medical Center, recently retired with more than 23 years of service.

A native of Garrett County, Lipscomb graduated from Southern Garrett High School before attending Frostburg State University where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. She began her career working in accounting at Bausch and Lomb for 12 years.

In 1999, Lipscomb joined GRMC as the director of accounting before being promoted to chief financial officer in 2007. She served as an active member of both the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants and was also elected to serve on the Maryland Hospital Association’s council on financial policy.

“At the time Tracy was hired, the hospital operated a single entity with gross revenue of $20 million,” stated Mark Boucot, President & CEO at GRMC. “Over the course of her career as CFO, the hospital expanded to four entities totaling over $88 million in gross revenue. Tracy has been an integral part of the GRMC administrative team since I came here over 8 years ago and has played a key role in our growth and success. I cannot speak highly enough of her dedication and professionalism. She will be sorely missed.”

With more than 23 years of work experience, being part of the GRMC leadership team remains a highlight of Lipscomb’s career.

“My favorite thing about working at GRMC is being a part of a leadership team that provided important healthcare services for the community and a good place for our employees to work,” noted Lipscomb.

Lipscomb and her leadership have been at the forefront of many of the hospital’s financial and operational successes and achievements.

Among her successes, Lipscomb was instrumental in navigating the regulatory environment with the Health Services Cost Review Commission and helping secure the financial stability of GRMC.

“As the Chief Financial Officer, I am happy to have been part of a leadership team that successfully achieved significant revenue growth in hospital operations and maintained a solid financial position over the last 15 years,” Lipscomb stated.

While she will miss her coworkers the most, she is very pleased with her team’s accomplishments over the years.

“I am also very proud of my finance team leaders that have worked so collaboratively to ensure good planning and communication in continuously working to make process enhancements and solve challenging issues as they presented,” added Lipscomb.

Once she retires, Lipscomb and her husband are looking forward to traveling and spending more time with family and friends.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

 

Garrett County Receives $435,000 from Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER Initiative

Posted 11/10/22

November 10, 2022 – An Appalachian Regional Commission grant of $435,000 was awarded to the Board of Garrett County Commissioners for the Broadband Customer Connect Program. This project will install, or support the installation of, 7,500 feet of broadband conduit. The conduit will then enable the deployment of fiber broadband services to approximately 300 Garrett County homes.

This project will allow Garrett County to assist Internet Service Providers to reach homes with “long driveways”; when homes sit too far from the road for the ISP to reach within the ISP’s normal budget and customers are expected to cover the added costs. The Customer Connect Program benefits rural residents who struggle to pay the cost to extend broadband services down “long driveways” to their homes. The county will work with all qualifying internet service providers to identify the homes in need and ensure that the appropriate cost reduction approach is applied to connect the unserved.

“This award is another tool we can use to help our internet service providers expand to connect the estimated 6,000 remaining homes without broadband service in the county,” said Cheryl DeBerry, Garrett County Broadband & Energy Manager. “We continue to seek funding and explore innovative solutions to tackle this huge infrastructure problem.”

This award is part of a recently announced nearly $47 million package supporting 52 projects in 181 coal-impacted counties through ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, which directs federal resources to economic diversification projects in Appalachian communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries. This is the largest single POWER awards package to date since the initiative launched in 2015.

“Our coal-impacted communities are a vital part of Appalachia’s 13 states and 423 counties—when our coal communities thrive, our entire region is uplifted,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “This latest round of POWER grant funding will not only help struggling coal communities to once again compete in a global marketplace, but also expand support for the creation of new jobs through growing Appalachia’s food economy.”

On a local level, the county broadband team is continuing to work directly with ISPs to apply for state grant funding to expand their individual networks. Applications for the Connect Maryland: FY 23 Network Infrastructure Grant Program are due in December 2022.

Lastly, the staff continues to collect data on Garrett County locations without service and the status of internet service quality at the website: www.GarrettCounty.org/speedtest. Please consider visiting the website and providing updated information for your location.

First United Bank & Trust Acquires First Mortgage Services Group

Posted 11/10/22

OAKLAND, Md. – First United Bank & Trust, a solely owned subsidiary of First United Corporation (NASDAQ: FUNC) today announced the acquisition of First Mortgage Services Group (FMSG), an independent mortgage company headquartered in Cumberland, MD. Since 1997, FMSG has originated nearly $900 million in consumer mortgages including primary residences, vacation homes and investment properties in Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

“The combination of First Mortgage with our existing mortgage services will enhance our ability to assist our customers and market areas. The acquisition is expected to result in greater access to mortgage financing outlets and to enhance our coverage of the Allegany County market. We are also very excited to welcome the entire FMSG staff as they join our residential lending group. They bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and a high level of customer service that reflects our culture and complements our existing skillsets”, commented Carissa L. Rodeheaver, CEO, President, and Chair of the Board.

“First Mortgage is thrilled to join the First United team!” said Jim Stemple, co-founder and FMSG owner. “Our team is passionate about continuing to provide quality, personalized service that best meets the homeowner’s needs.”

ABOUT FIRST UNITED CORPORATION
First United Corporation is the parent company of First United Bank & Trust, a Maryland trust company with commercial banking powers (the "Bank"), and two statutory trusts that were used as financing vehicles. The Bank has four wholly owned subsidiaries OakFirst Loan Center, Inc., a West Virginia finance company; OakFirst Loan Center, LLC, a Maryland finance company; First OREO Trust, a Maryland statutory trust that holds and services real estate acquired by the Bank through foreclosure or by deed in lieu of foreclosure; and FUBT OREO I, LLC, a Maryland company that likewise holds and services real estate acquired by the Bank through foreclosure or by deed in lieu of foreclosure. The Bank also owns 99.9% of the limited partnership interests in Liberty Mews Limited Partnership; a Maryland limited partnership formed for the purpose of acquiring, developing and operating low-income housing units in Garrett County, Maryland. First United Corporation's website is www.mybank.com.

Artice presented as panelist at International Cancer Education Conference

Posted 11/7/22

Plenary session on Patient Navigation: Multi-Directional Approaches-Same Goals

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center’s Eugenia “Gina” Artice, MSN, CRNP, recently presented at the 2022 International Cancer Education Conference (ICEC) Oct. 12-14 in College Park.

Advancing Cancer Health Equity through Community Engagement and Patient Navigation served as this year’s conference theme. Artice presented in the ‘Patient Navigation: Multi-Directional Approaches – Same Goals’ plenary session.

“It was an honor to be selected to speak as a panelist about patient navigation at the ICEC 2022,” said Artice, who has served as the oncology patient navigator and clinical supervisor for the past seven years at the WVU Cancer Institute, James & Shirley Bailey Regional Cancer Center at GRMC. “I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the experience and education with others across the country and internationally.”

The 2022 ICEC was co-organized by the American Association for Cancer Education (AACE), the Cancer Patient Education Network (CPEN) and the European Association for Cancer Education (EACE).

At GRMC, Artice currently oversees the cancer navigator program, which she was instrumental in creating from the ground up.
“Being part of the inception of our top-quality cancer care team at the WVU Cancer Institute at GRMC required dedication to self-education and networking to be able to design an oncology navigation program that accomplishes the goals of exceptional patient care,” noted Artice, who has been with GRMC for the last 24 years.

Initially funded through a $600,000, three-year federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, GRMC’s cancer navigation program was flagged as a top innovative program for rural health in the United States through Rural Health Models & Innovations, a national collection of successful rural health programs and interventions created by the Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub), a program of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

In addition to coordination of patient care with the goal of timely treatment, Artice offers education, guidance and emotional support to cancer patients and their loved ones, including mitigation of burdens, such as transportation and securing financial assistance for copays on medications and appeals for insurance coverage.

Artice currently serves as a board member for Hospice of Garrett County, Inc., Garrett Regional Medical Center Foundation, and Cindy’s Fund, a very active local cancer foundation in Garrett County.
She is also a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators. Artice co-authored an article for the Journal of Oncology Navigation and Survivorship titled Novice Navigator: Case Study on Survivorship/End of Life - Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship (jons-online.com). She lives with her family near Oakland.

According to the ICEC’s website, the 2022 conference featured more than 250 educators, physicians, nurses, public health professionals, researchers, students, and social workers from around the world.

Since clinically affiliating with WVU Medicine in 2015, GRMC has greatly increased the specialty care services available at its Oakland campus and transformed the hospital into a true regional medical center.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

GRMC to offer wellness blood screenings in November

Posted 10/31/22

Appointments are required in advance

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center will be offering wellness blood screenings for community members on November 9, 16, and 30 from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m. in Oakland by appointment only.

The blood screenings will take place at the hospital’s Pythian Avenue location and will be $65. Accepted payments include cash or check made payable to GRMC.

The multi-phasic blood screening includes iron, glucose, bun, creatinine, sodium, potassium, chloride, C02, uric acid, calcium, phosphorous, cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL, total protein, albumin, total bilirubin, AST, ALT, alkaline, phosphatase, VLDL cholesterol, estimated GFR, TSH, WBC, RBC, hemoglobin, hematocrit, MCV, MCH, MCHC, RDW, platelets, MPV, neutrophils, lymphocyte, monocytes, eosinophil, and basophil.

Optional testing of vitamin D ($25), PSA ($25), HgA1C ($30), and Hepatitis C ($25) will also be available.

To schedule an appointment for the above dates, contact GRMC at 301-533-4371.

Deep Creek Lake Pilot Dredging Update

Posted 10/24/22

October 24, 2022 Oakland, MD – Sediment dredging is a means to remove excess accumulated sediment caused
by stream inputs (primarily during high rain and snow melt events) and shoreline erosion in to a body of water.

At Deep Creek Lake, Arrowhead Cove was identified in multiple studies as an area with relatively high
sediment accumulation. It was also identified as a suitable location for a pilot dredging project.

Planning, design, and project review for such a pilot dredging project located at Arrowhead Cove is now well
underway. By conducting this pilot project, Garrett County, the State of Maryland, property owners, and
stakeholders will evaluate the pros and cons of dredging within Deep Creek Lake. The groups will also learn if
dredging other sediment impacted Deep Creek Lake coves is a viable and cost-effective strategy for improving
water recreation, water quality, and fish habitat.

The State of Maryland has provided $2.7 million funding for the project, design, and implementation. Currently,
environmental reviews are pending by Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Department of
the Environment, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The pilot dredging project is proposed to begin in the fall of 2023, with most of the active dredging occurring in
from late October to early January 2024 during low lake water levels. The project is expected to remove
approximately 15,000 cubic yards of accumulated sediment.

Public meetings will be held in early 2023 to better inform stakeholders of the project activities and solicit input
as the plans are further developed.

For information on the dredging project, please contact Bruce Michael at bmichael@garrettcounty.org.

GRMC offering onsite influenza vaccines for businesses in Garrett County

Posted 10/24/22

HealthWorks provides health care services for area businesses

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center’s HealthWorks program is offering onsite influenza (flu) vaccines to Garrett County businesses in preparation for the 2022-2023 flu season.

“Now is the time to think about the upcoming flu season,” said ‘Amanda Shreve, LPN and occupational health nurse at GRMC. “Our goal is to provide businesses with the necessary tools to have a safe and healthy work staff.”

The purpose of the HealthWorks program is to help businesses control and even reduce costs associated with employee health and wellness.

“HealthWorks benefits allow for on-site health tools, and options to help provide our community with keeping and maintaining a healthy workforce,” added Shreve.

Additional services through the program include drug screens (pre-employment, post-accident, and random); biometric and wellness blood screens; ergonomic assessments, vaccinations (influenza and tetanus booster), and DOT services.
“In addition to onsite screening services, we can also provide educational information at company events, such as employee health fairs,” said Shreve.

The program provides businesses with other customizable services upon request and screenings and presentations on health topics such as stress, men and women’s health, and osteoporosis.

“We are always looking for new businesses to be a part of our program,” Shreve stated. “We can also create customized programs to meet your business needs.”

For more information on the HealthWorks program or to schedule an onsite influenza vaccination clinic, contact Amanda Shreve at 301-533-4371 or ashreve@gcmh.com.

GRMC, Hospice of Garrett County, Inc. partner to provide end-of-life care

Posted 10/17/22

Organizations work together to serve the Garrett County community

OAKLAND, Md. – Providing enhanced end-of-life care and support to the residents of Garrett County is the nature of the collaborative partnership between Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) and Hospice of Garrett County, Inc.

Garrett County residents with terminal conditions who are unable to return to their homes are provided with end-of-life care at Garrett Regional Medical Center.

“When there is no caregiver available or the nature of someone’s illness does not allow the patient to return to their own home, patients are able to stay in GRMC’s subacute unit,” explained Donna Brenneman, executive director of Hospice for Garrett County, Inc. “We work directly with the hospital to get any patient back into their home, with their familiar surroundings, family, and pets, but that’s not always possible.”

The sharing of resources, knowledge, and experience between the two organizations directly support the mission of Garrett Regional Medical Center.

“GRMC is very blessed to be able to collaborate with Hospice of Garrett County, Inc. as we strive to care for our patients like members of our own family,” stated Kendra Thayer, vice president of clinical services and chief nursing officer of Garrett Regional Medical Center and Potomac Valley Hospital. “Their expertise, compassion, and support allow us to better care and support our patients and their families during a very difficult time.”

The knowledge of the Hospice of Garrett County, Inc. staff is a critical component to the partnership’s success.

“The staff at Hospice of Garrett County, Inc, are very experienced. They have a high level of education and training in end-of-life care that supports both the patient and family, and provides support through the grieving process,” said Thayer. “It’s a huge advantage for our staff and our patients to be able to collaborate with Hospice regarding end-of-life care and support.”

Outside of providing end-of-life care, Hospice of Garrett County, Inc. provides numerous support services to patients and families, including loaning medical equipment to Garrett County residents, delivering medicines and wound care, routine hygiene services, offering Chaplain services and spiritual support, and performing light housekeeping and meal preparations.

“Our volunteers are able to sit with patients while caregivers attend appointments and meetings, make a trip to the grocery store, run errands, or just catch their breath,” Brenneman noted. “We also celebrate holidays and special occasions with gifts and food, including caroling at homes at Christmas.”

Hospice of Garrett County, Inc. also goes the extra mile to deliver special requests for their end-of-life patients.

“When a special need is voiced, we fulfill that need through our Dream Come True program,” stated Brenneman. “We have built wheelchair ramps, rented a van that enabled a family to take a beach trip one last time, provided Christmas celebrations for families that were unable to do so, and so much more. We also make FaceTime calls for families who are unable to come home in time to say goodbye to their loved ones.”
GRMC and Hospice of Garrett County, Inc. are already looking to the future for ways to enrich their partnership.

“Hospice of Garrett County, Inc. is currently helping us have discussions with our patients to better explain the many services they can offer,” said Thayer. “We truly work together as a team to support our patients and their loved ones.”

“The relationship between Hospice of Garrett County, Inc. and GRMC comes down to neighbor helping neighbor, family helping family. Our community is so fortunate to have medical personnel that are so caring and compassionate,” Brenneman added. “When we all work together as a team, with patient-centered care leading the way, it provides the experience that we strive for. That is what we are all about.”
For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org. To learn more about Hospice of Garrett County, Inc. and available services, visit https://hospiceofgc.org.

GRMC’s cardiac and pulmonary rehab programs receive reaccreditation by AACVPR

Posted 10/10/22

GRMC’s Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Center joins registry

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center’s cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs recently received reaccreditation status by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR).

The cardiac and pulmonary program certification process is the only peer-reviewed accreditation process designed to review individual facilities for adherence to standards and guidelines developed and published by the AACVPR and other professional societies.

“The AACVPR certification is extremely difficult to achieve,” said Miranda Savage, GRMC’s director of outpatient clinics and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. “Being part of the certified registry helps us identify what is working, what is not working, and continually improve so we can provide the best quality and evidence-based practice care to our patients.”

AACVPR certification reviews 11 different measures, starting with ensuring staff have specific training for cardiac and pulmonary conditions. Patient documentation during rehab (from start to finish), policies for emergencies and preparedness, performance measures for patient improvement, and enrollment and adherence with patients are also thoroughly reviewed during the process.

“Many days were devoted to only working on the gathering of data, making the data HIPAA compliant, and submitting the data,” added Savage. “Staff worked diligently with me through this process. Without the staff doing what they do daily the certification would not be possible.”

GRMC’s cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation team works with patients to lessen their symptoms while also implementing strategies to improve heart and lung health, daily function and quality of life, and overall well-being.

“The staff of the CR/PR department provide excellent care to patients,” said Kendra Thayer, vice president of clinical services and chief nursing officer of GRMC and Potomac Valley Hospital. “This certification reinforces all that they do every day. It helps to ensure that Garrett Regional is providing excellent patient care services to our community.”

Cardiac rehabilitation for patients may include exercise, nutrition education, stress management strategies, and health counseling. Components of pulmonary rehabilitation may include prescription and medical equipment assistance, nutrition counseling, tobacco cessation support, and various exercises to improve breathing, flexibility, strength, and endurance.
“It is rare that a patient comes to our center and does not show improvement,” noted Savage. “A big part of the AACVPR certification is showing how effective we are at helping our patients.”

Founded in 1985, the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) is dedicated to our mission of reducing morbidity, mortality, and disability from cardiovascular and pulmonary disease through education, prevention, rehabilitation, research, and disease management.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

FIRST UNITED BANK & TRUST PROMOTES SEAN R. MCCREERY TO VICE PRESIDENT

Posted 10/7/22

Keith R. Sanders, Senior Vice President and Chief Wealth Officer announces that Sean R. McCreery has been promoted to Vice President and Wealth Investment Officer. As Wealth Investment Officer, Sean has overall responsibility for investment research and asset management of First United’s Wealth Management portfolios.

Sean has nearly 11 years of financial services and investment management experience. He began his financial services career at First United in 2011 as a Portfolio Manager in the Wealth Management Department. From there, he progressed to Assistant Vice President and Wealth Investment Officer. Sean earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from West Virginia University. He also holds the certification as an Accredited Fiduciary Investment Manager® (AFIM®).

“We are excited to announce Sean’s latest promotion. His investment knowledge, customer service and experience with the local community will continue to serve him and our customers well. Congratulations Sean!” commented Keith R. Sanders .

Sean resides in Reedsville, WV with his wife Haley McCreery, RN and their two children. Sean is active with the Oakland Lion’s Club and coaches’ youth sports. Sean’s office is in the Oakland Community Office at 19 South Second Street.

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 06/30/22, the Corporation posted assets of $1.8 billion. First United’s website can be located at MyBank.com.

GRMC, Western Maryland Consortium embrace collaborative partnership

Posted 10/3/22

Garrett County youth complete Summer Youth Program at GRMC

OAKLAND, Md. – Over the last 15 years, Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) and the Western Maryland Consortium have partnered on many workforce initiatives in Garrett County.

Two Garrett County youth recently participated in the Western Maryland Consortium’s summer youth program - Brooklyn Bittinger and Skylar Lim – successfully completing their work experience at GRMC.

Bittinger, worked with the Loar Auxilary Gift Shop and volunteer services within the hospital. Lim was assigned to work with the materials management department at GRMC.

Youth between the ages of 14-24 are eligible to participate in the student work experience program. Students are placed in a job for 6-8 weeks with the summer youth program, or 8-12 weeks for the work experience program. Students are provided with opportunities to gain new skills and work experience.

“The goal of the program is for the youth to find a set of skills to use once they have completed high school and/or provide them with a direction in which they want to take their career,” stated Rebecca Williams, business service representative at the Western Maryland Consortium. “Work experiences really give the youth a hands-on opportunity to explore and/or discover what they really want to do.”

Students are typically placed at offsite locations in which they may potentially consider as a career after school.
Williams explained that the Western Maryland Consortium pays the wages and workers compensation directly to the youth throughout the duration of either program.

“After the program is complete, the employer has the opportunity to hire if the students have met their expectations but are not required to do so,” said Williams.

“Additionally, the program presents an opportunity for the employer to do a hands-on interview with a potential hire at no cost to them.”

The summer youth program continues to be vital to both community partners.

“We really enjoy partnering with GRMC – we work with a great group of staff that are dedicated in assisting their employees in starting and advancing their careers at GRMC,” remarked Williams. “We are incredibly appreciative of the partnership we have and look forward to working with GRMC in years to come.”

At GRMC, students are provided with a first-hand opportunity to discover and explore careers in the ever-evolving healthcare industry.

“The summer youth program affords high school students the ability to advance their work experience and introduces them to career opportunities in the healthcare industry at GRMC,” stated Laura Waters, vice president of human resources at GRMC.
Waters continued, “Our goal is to provide a valuable experience that enhances the students’ knowledge base and skillset while instilling positive work ethic attributes that students can embody as they are introduced to the workforce.”

Throughout the years, GRMC has utilized additional services through the Western Maryland Consortium, including on the job training, the work experience program, and most recently, the incumbent worker training program.

“We have connected with the Western Maryland Consortium to identify qualified candidates for the incumbent worker training program,” Waters said. “This program provides financial assistance to businesses to increase the skill level of employees through advanced education or training programs.”

To deliver additional training and certifications to employees, the Western Maryland Consortium partners with Garrett College.

“The incumbent worker program is for employees who have been with the company for greater than six months and are looking to upscale their current job skills,” Williams stated. “This allows business like GRMC to assist their employees in obtaining different certifications and trainings at very little cost to the employer.”
“It has been a pleasure working with the Western Maryland Consortium over the years,” added Waters. “Our partnership has provided invaluable opportunities to our organization in supporting our existing workforce and planning for future needs.”
For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org. To learn more about the Western Maryland Consortium and available services, visit https://westernmarylandconsortium.org.

Garrett County Sesquicentennial Celebration a Success

Posted 9/27/22

The official community celebration of the sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary, of Garrett County was held on September 17, 2022.

Over 2,000 participants enjoyed local music, a car show, history presentations, food, agriculture demonstrations, entertainment, and non-profit community collaborations.

Also, complete 150th commemorative coin sets comprised of coins representing each the eight Garrett County municipalities were distributed. Sets will be available for purchase at the Ruth Enlow Library and the Garrett County Historical Society at a future date.

“I think the event went fantastic! It was well attended, and the coins became a big hit with the community. The planning committee should be commended for making the sesquicentennial a memorable event for all involved,” said Paul Edwards, Chairman of the Board of Garrett County Commissioners.

Highlights of the day included:

• Mountain Top Cruisers club car show 3rd place - Tony Slovak, 2nd place - George Williams, 1st place - Jonathan Sines and Best of Show - Russell Sines

• A history walk featured Maryland State Parks, our incorporated towns, and businesses with a robust Garrett County history sharing their stories.

• Performers brought important Garrett County moments, characters, and history to the present day stage.

• Interactive exhibits such as genealogy activities, agriculture demonstrations, community conversations, & opportunities to connect with others.

• Portrayals of Garrett County suffragettes Catharine Sweet, Julia Slocum Walker Ruhl, Edna S. Latimer, Dr. Lorilla F. Bullard Tower, and Lillian “Tay” Byrne Sincell by AAUW-Garrett Branch.

• Local historians shared fond memories and stories of growing up in Garrett County.

• Local bands Buffalo Run, the Terah Crawford Band, and Aurora Celtic took the audience through a journey and love for local mountain music.

• The namesake of Garrett County was performed by Albert Feldstein.

• Our Town Theatre performed monologues that showcased generations of life in Garrett County.

• Garrett County Team 1629 Robotics demonstrated historical perspectives with a technology twist.

• The official song of the sesquicentennial, "Garrett County Time" was written in 1979 and performed by the Buiffalo Run band.

• Artwork showcasing our beautiful area as it was “then” (in 1872) and “now” (in 2022 was featured: 3rd place – Misty Kisner, 2nd place – Alyssa Rodeheaver and 1st place – Jessica McClurg

Public Input Requested for Economic Development Strategic Plan

Posted 9/27/22

The Garrett County Department of Business Development is drafting the county’s new Economic Development Strategic Plan. This plan will rework and update the most-recent county plan that was approved in 2013.

Topics to be considered include:

  • Infrastructure and Facilities
  • Workforce Development
  • Business Start-Up and Support
  • Community Planning and Leadership
  • Energy and Natural Resources
  • Promotion and Marketing
    Led by M3 Synergies, a Maryland consultant, the plan in development will create actionable items within a 5-year framework.

Feedback has been solicited from each of the eight municipal governments, local organizations, and the local business community. As M3 continues discussions with county stakeholders, two open, in-person sessions are scheduled for public input.

These public listening session events are scheduled as follows:

October 6, 2022
1 P.M. to 3 P.M.

October 6, 2022
6 P.M. to 8 P.M.

Both sessions will be held in Room 111 in the GIEC at Garrett College.

County staff members and representatives from M3 Synergies will be in attendance. Participant opinions and points will be considered on the following suggested topics: workforce, housing, job creation, population loss, expansion, and other economic initiatives.

A draft of the plan is expected to be completed by November 2022.

M3 Synergies is a full-service business, economic, and real estate development firm led by Meredith Mears.

GRMC Orthopedics ranked a high-performing hospital by U.S. News & World Report

Posted 9/26/22

National recognition for procedures and conditions for hip fractures

OAKLAND, Md. – U.S. News & World Report recently recognized Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) as a high performing hospital in procedures and conditions for hip fractures.

Since 2000, the Garrett County Orthopedics office of Dona Alvarez MD, Todd Feathers MD, and H. John Park MD – three board certified orthopedic surgeons - have been delivering high-quality, personalized medical care to the residents of Garrett County and the surrounding areas.

"This recognition for Garrett Orthopedics is long overdue. I am grateful to Dr. Alvarez for having the vision to work with the hospital to recruit new surgeons to our community and we’re blessed to have world-class orthopedic physicians working at GRMC. They have impressively low infection rates and the lowest readmission rate of any of the hospitals in our region," stated Mark Boucot, President & CEO of GRMC and Potomac Valley Hospital.

Boucot continued, “this recognition would not be possible without the superlative team in the operating room and those who work in the perioperative department as well. I am proud of them for their technical skills and proficiency, and even more so for their empathy and caring for patients."

“This award comes as a surprise to us. We had no idea we were receiving it, because all we were doing is humbly treating each of our patients like a member of our own family,” noted Dona Alvarez MD. “That is why we are here.”

Garrett County Orthopedics provide a wide variety of specialty services to patients, including total joint replacement surgery, sports medicine, arthroscopic surgery, endoscopic carpal tunnel release, and trauma/fracture care.

According to the U.S. News & World Report, a hospital’s hip fracture score is based on multiple data categories, including patient outcomes, prevention of readmission and more. Over 6,000 hospitals were evaluated, and eligible hospitals received one of three ratings – high performing (694 hospitals), average (1,720 hospitals) or below average (575 hospitals) with the balance either not offering the services or performing too few of the procedures to be rated.

GRMC received excellent quality indicator ratings in both readmission prevention and patient experience. In addition, GRMC’s high performing ranking for hip fractures is significantly better than the national average.

Since clinically affiliating with WVU Medicine in 2015, GRMC has greatly increased the specialty care services available at its Oakland campus and transformed the hospital into a true regional medical center. GRMC now provides cancer care, urology and nephrology, dermatology, cardiopulmonary, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, and heart and vascular care services, among others.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

GRMC receives Acute Stroke Ready Hospital recertification by The Joint Commission

Posted 9/19/22

Certification is offered in collaboration with the AHA/ASA

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center has received recertification as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital (ASRH) by The Joint Commission. The Joint Commission Advanced Certification for Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals is offered in collaboration with the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.Garrett Regional Medical Center recently underwent a successful onsite surveyor review by The Joint Commission.

Organizations seeking certification are required to adopt a set of standardized performance measures and collect monthly data for each set of measures. All data is submitted quarterly to The Joint Commission for review.“The excellent care provided by our staff and providers showed once again in the surveyor review of our program and facility,” remarked Kendra Thayer, Vice President of Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Officer for GRMC and Potomac Valley Hospital.

GRMC formed a comprehensive stroke committee - Christy Trembley, RN, Emergency Department Stroke Coordinator; Kim Gordon, Director of Emergency Services; Robert Coughlin, M.D., Charlene Bennett, Nurse Manager, Family-Centered Maternity Suite; and Alma Severe, Quality Assurance Abstractor - to help lead the hospital’s acute stroke program.

“I especially want to thank our stroke committee for all the hard work they do behind the scenes to make this happen,” stated Thayer.

Thayer also recognized GRMC’s patient care staff across many departments for the hospital achieving recertification.

“Our patient care staff in the Emergency Department and inpatient departments as well as our ancillary services including lab, radiology, patient care management, physical therapy, and education did an outstanding job!” noted Thayer. “Thank you to all our staff for all that you do each and every day.”

ASRH certification is designed to strengthen community confidence in the quality and safety of care, treatment, and services in stroke patients. Organizations receiving this designation for excellence in the care also demonstrate commitment to a higher standard of clinical service.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

Congressman David Trone visits GRMC to discuss Community Project Funding

Posted 9/9/22

$650,000 grant to provide GRMC with new electronic health record system

OAKLAND, Md. – U.S. Congressman David Trone (MD-06) met with officials from Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) on Thursday to discuss the approval of a new electronic health record system as part of the Community Project Funding for Garrett County.

The $650,000 community project funding for GRMC will be used toward the purchase IT equipment and infrastructure that will support the installation a new electronic health record system – Epic EHR – which will be purchased by West Virginia University Health System and will replace the hospital’s outdated 20-year-old medical record system.

The new system will enable GRMC to connect more easily and seamlessly with West Virginia University Health System, to improve care coordination for the people of its service area. The new EPIC system will allow patient records from GRMC to be shared more quickly with specialists at WVU Medicine and other larger medical facilities.

“Congressman Trone played a crucial role in getting approval for the electronic health record funding we sought,” said Mark Boucot, President & CEO of GRMC. “Health record systems are very costly, and our existing system is becoming obsolete. Converting to EPIC will allow us to continue to grow services and better connect with the specialty providers our patients need.”

The funding was originally announced this past May by Congressman Trone, who helped secure $32.7 million for projects across Maryland's sixth congressional district. The projects were approved by the House Committee on Appropriations and will be included in the fiscal year 2023 federal funding package.

“Garrett Regional Medical Center is a shining example of what rural health care should look like across the country, and President Mark Boucot has been a tremendous partner in delivering accessible, affordable health care to Western Maryland and West Virginia,” said Congressman Trone. “It was a no-brainer to support their efforts through $650,000 in Community Project Funding to bolster its emergency alert capabilities. With this funding, GRMC can continue serving as a blueprint for health care systems.”

Since clinically affiliating with WVU Medicine in 2015, GRMC has greatly increased the specialty care services available at its Oakland campus and transformed the hospital into a true regional medical center. GRMC now provides cancer care, urology and nephrology, dermatology, cardiopulmonary, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, and heart and vascular care services, among others.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

GCF announces Garrett College scholarships

Posted 9/7/22

Foundation’s scholarship awards are for the 2022-23 academic year

The Garrett College Foundation recently announced the recipients of 2022-23 scholarships to Garrett College. The scholarship recipients can be viewed on www.garrettcollege.edu and are listed below

Alexi Don Fratz-Orr Memorial Nursing Scholarship Catherine Ours, Oakland.

Allegany & Garrett County Chapter Maryland Municipal League Isabel Lucas, Kitzmiller.

Allied Heath Scholarship Aaliyah Rhodes, Oakland; Emma Strosnider, Swanton.

American Association of University Women Scholarship Tabitha Carr, Friendsville.

American Association of University Women Scholarship Cameron Davis, Kitzmiller.

Amy Mildred Sharpless Breckin Hardesty, Oakland; Jaanai Miller, Bowie; Conner Barnes, Singers Glen, VA; Eric Guy, Jr., Keyser, WV; Jonathon Jenkins, Hedgesville, WV; Shayne McQuillis, Newell, PA; Jenna Miller, Rockwood, PA; Joshua Weister, Dawson, PA.

Ann Dilgard Scholarship Elizabeth Bird, Oakland; Taylor Bittinger, Grantsville.

Audrey Naylor Scholarship Ashley Beitzel, Grantsville; Jenny Hesse, Kitzmiller; Matthew Shahan, Oakland; Beverly Rasel and John Compton, both of Swanton; and Marcie Shahan, Terra Alta, WV.

Aza and Louise Stanton Art Scholarship Maura DeBor, Oakdale, PA.

Caroline A. McNiece Scholarship Zachary Schoch, Swanton.

Charles L. Briner Memorial Scholarship Kyle Chaney, McHenry; Hannah Moyer, Oakland.

Civic Club of Oakland – Helen Baumgartner Memorial Scholarship Teresa Wolf, Oakland.

Civic Club of Oakland – Patience W. Grant Memorial Scholarship Keyara Rhodes, Mt. Lake Park.

Clinton Englander Memorial Scholarship Rebecca Younkin, Friendsville.

Colonel J. Haig & Mrs. Ruth Ridder Jackson Scholarship Lucia Dawson, Swanton; Jacob Reichard, Mt. Lake Park.

Cortney & Marie Tasker Scholarship Reillee Beeman, Frostburg; Anna Martin, Lebanon, PA; Grant McKenzie, Union Bridge; Hannah Moore, Cresaptown; Sierra Smith, Upper Marlboro; Zane Snyder, Grantsville; and Valerie Stemac, McHenry.

Daly Computers, Inc. STEM Scholarship Tristen Bemiller, Ciara Heldreth, Jaydason Miller, Whitney Reall, and Leah Wilt, all of Oakland; Nicholas Braxton, Bryans Road; Sterling Cooper, Strafford, VA; Evan May, Rockwood, PA; Ce'de Smith, Bentleyville, PA; Tyler Yoder, Grantsville.

Daniel E. Offutt, III Achievement Award Scholarship Tyre Medlin, Frostburg; Tyler Sweitzer, Swanton.

Daniel E. Offutt, III STEM Scholarship Fund Carlisia Chipps, Masontown, WV; John Clapsaddle, Nakayla May, Nicholas Morfe, Jacob Park, all of Oakland; Jocelyn Darrah, Ridgeley, WV; Kendal Glass, Accident; Conner Hughes, Frederick; Grant Landis and Wesley Landis, both of Rio, WV; Edmond Loney, III, Grantsville; Michael Martin, Shinnston, WV; Carder Stakem, Grantsville; Gabriella Valentinetti, Stephens City, VA; Nathaniel Washington and Paxton Wertz, both of Cumberland.

Deep Creek Lake Lions Club Scholarship Jasmine Beitzel, Grantsville.

Deep Creek Lake Lions Club – Stewart Jackson Memorial Scholarship Alexandria Crayton, Grantsville.

Dorothy Brock Leighton Scholarship Emily Helms, Oakland.

Dr. Bruce Jenkins Memorial Fund Jack Bradley, Friendsville.

Dr. James H. & Mrs. Doris G. Feaster Memorial Scholarship Paige Sisler, Oakland.

Dr. Jeanne H. Neff Scholarship Amy Herbaugh, Grantsville.

Edna Solomon Moran Memorial STEM Scholarship Yareli Crisostomo-Avalos, Friendsville; Tiffany Opel, Grantsville.

Edward & Hazel Hinebaugh Scholarship William Moon, Oakland.

For the Love of Wilderness Scholarship Anna Martin, Lebanon, PA.

Fred Carroll Memorial Scholarship Josie Carroll, Shinnston, WV; Allison Dillsworth, Terra Alta, WV.

Fred VanSickle Memorial Scholarship Dustin Keller, Oakland.

Garrett College Board of Trustees Scholarship Tyler Dellinger, Mt. Jackson, VA; Teresa Wolf, Oakland.

Garrett College Employee Scholarship Tobias Unger, Oakland.

Garrett College Foundation Grant Chance Brown, Capital Heights; Kameron Copeland, Glade Hill, VA; Josiany Canales Esquilin, Mascotte, FL; Dustin Keller, Oakland; Mekhi Price, Upper Marlboro; Jacob Kennell, Morgantown, WV;

Garrett County Business & Professional Women’s Club Scholarship McKenna Holliday, Grantsville.

Garrett County Retired School Personnel Memorial Scholarship Emily Helms, Oakland.

GM Rear Admiral Richard B. Schiff Memorial Scholarship Tiffany Opel, Grantsville.

Hazel Fratz Wright Scholarship Gabriel Alexander, Joshua Richter, Dakota Shaffer, Mikala Spiker, and Tobias Unger, all of Oakland; Emily Durst, Grantsville; Breanna Olinzock, Friendsville;

James H. & Gladys "Happy" Nordeck Memorial Scholarship I Gracie Plessinger and Logan Turner, Oakland.

James H. & Gladys "Happy" Nordeck Memorial Scholarship II Alexis Lyons, Swanton.

Jerry L. Humberson Memorial Scholarship Jennifer Koach, Oakland.

Joan Dixon Memorial Scholarship Kayli Broadwater, Grantsville; Arianna Torrisi, Oakland.

Josh Fike Scholarship Ce'de Smith, Bentleyville, PA.

Junior Women's Civic Club Scholarship Jayden Sisler, Oakland.

Kalie Hostutler Ashby Academic Achievement Fund Makayla Miller, Jayden Sisler, and Arianna Torrisi, all of Oakland.

Lancelotta Family Scholarship Cambria Snyder, Oakland.

Leah Welling Huber Memorial Scholarship Tiffany Opel, Grantsville.

Marilyn Moors AAUW “Second Chances” Memorial Scholarship Ashton Friend, Oakland.

Michael D. Kilgus Scholarship for Excellence Makayla Miller, Oakland.

Michael Vaughn Vitez Memorial Scholarship I Sadie Graves, Grantsville; Austin Hinebaugh, Friendsville; Landon Hook, Accident.

Miles E. Johnson Memorial Scholarship Kaniya Wilks, Baltimore.

Mountain Laurel Garden Club Scholarship Luis Cervantes, Catonsville.

Mr. & Mrs. A. P. Boxley, III Scholarship Tyberious Clayton, Moorefield, WV.

Oakland/Mt. Lake Park Lions ClubRavenscroft Memorial Cambria Bowman, Mt. Lake Park; John King, Oakland.

Paul & Pat Weiler Memorial Scholarship Alexis Meyers, Friendsville.

Ruth I. Filsinger Memorial Scholarship Christian Taylor, Frostburg.

Schoemer Art Scholarship Marlysse Calling, Oakland.

Shentel Foundation Scholarship Mallory Wise, Deer Park.

Springer Family Scholarship Michael Garlitz, Frostburg.

Total Biz Fulfillment, Inc. Ruddell Family Scholarship Riley Palmer, Edgewater; Dylan Reyes, Laurel.

Wayne G. Kelley Memorial Scholarship Carder Stakem, Grantsville.

William E. & Joan B. Crawford Memorial Scholarship Lyle Madigan, Deer Park.

William Henry Schmidt Memorial Scholarship Kalena Corby, Swanton; Chancellor Friend and Amelia Holtschneider, both of Oakland; Richard Johnson, McHenry; Wyatt Orner, Grantsville, Reece Reckart, Kitzmiller; Zachary Wood, Friendsville.

Woodmen of the World Oakland Chapter #11 Scholarship Alexander Spencer, Swanton.

Future nurses complete externship program at GRMC

Posted 9/6/22

Nelson and Brunson received valuable experience, scholarships

OAKLAND, Md. – Gary Nelson and Merrill Brunson recently finished a summer externship program at Garrett Regional Medical Center.

GRMC provides aspiring nurses with an 8-week paid externship program to gain hands-on and valuable experience in the healthcare field. During the 8-week timeframe, both Nelson and Brunson rotated in the following departments/areas: Medical-Surgical Nursing (4 weeks), Surgical (1 week), Emergency Department (1 week), and the Intensive Care Unit (1 week).

In addition, both students spent time in the Wound Care Center, Pulmonology, Dermatology, Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehab, and the Cancer Center at GRMC.

“The nurse externship program is an invaluable experience that allows nursing students to dive deeper into the role of a nurse,” stated Amanda Simmons, MSN, RN and Director of Education at GRMC. “Nurse externs are able to work with a nurse and participate in all aspects of patient care in a variety of settings.”

Nelson, a student at Davis & Elkins College and resident of Dryfork, WV, is expected to graduate May 2023. Swanton resident Brunson is a student at Allegany College of Maryland (Garrett campus) and is on track to graduate this December.

At the completion of the externship program, GRMC awarded both students with a $500 scholarship.For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

MDOT to fully fund two key North/South transportation infrastructure projects - US 219 from I-68 north to the PA state line and the Cresaptown Improvement Project

Posted 9/2/22

TGCC is proud to share the exciting news that today the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced its commitment of $87.7 million to complete the Maryland portion of US 219 and to fully fund the completion of the Cresaptown Improvement Project.

“For over a decade, TGCC has served as the coordinating organization across 3 states and multiple counties with the goal of advancing the North/South corridor as a priority economic impact project. Today’s news highlights the importance of our sustained collective focus on these projects which are both critical to economic development and prosperity in the region,” said Jennifer Walsh, TGCC Executive Director.

US 219 – Corridor N

TGCC’s North/South Appalachian Highway Coalition’s work spans more than a decade and has resulted in an investment of more than $600 million and significant progress toward the completion of US 219 between I-68 in Maryland and the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Somerset, Pennsylvania. In recent months, Pennsylvania has reiterated its commitment to completing its portion of the corridor with a $53 million commitment to fund all remaining pre-construction activities and by adding the construction phase to its long-term funding plan.

“Today’s announcement by MDOT solidifies Maryland’s commitment to fully fund its portion of this project through construction, and along with PA’s recent commitment to finish US 219 by 2031, brings to fruition several decades of work by multiple groups,” said Garrett County Commissioner, Paul Edwards.

Maryland Senator George Edwards added, “This is wonderful news for the whole region. It puts us in a position to have money in the bank to finish our part of the road and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Pennsylvania to complete this critical infrastructure project by 2031.”

US 220 – Cresaptown Improvement Project

The Cresaptown Improvement Project is located in the area that encompasses the intersections of US 220, MD 53, and MD 636 in Cresaptown, MD (see attached bubble map). MDOT’s $10.8 million commitment fully funds this project through construction.

"Completion of this project will be a major benefit to IBM, Northrop Grumman, American Wooodmark and other key employers in our region by relieving congestion and increasing safety for our employees. It represents a significant investment in the economic prosperity of our region, is critical to facilitating future growth in the US 220 corridor, and will have beneficial impacts in Allegany and Mineral Counties and beyond," said Timi Hadra, IBM Partner and Rocket Center Site Executive and Chair of the TGCC Board of Directors. Jake Shade, President of the Allegany County Commissioners shared, “We are very pleased to see this project funded.

This project connects the Barton Business Park to Interstate 68, Cumberland, and LaVale. This commercial property has received substantial investment from the Maryland Economic Development Corporation and Allegany County Government and is located in an Enterprise Zone. It is a key site for future economic development and growth opportunities in the region.

The Student becomes the Teacher: Tichinel, former dual enrollment student, joins Garrett College biology department

Posted 8/31/22

Alyssa Tichinel may be a new full-time faculty member, but she couldn't be any more familiar with Garrett College.

Tichinel is a former adjunct faculty member, science tutor, program specialist, and College & Me instructor for GC. She's also a former Garrett College student, having taken courses as a high school senior through the Dual Enrollment program.

She even lives near the College, just across Mosser Road from the main campus in a house Tichinel and her husband recently built.

“A decade ago, I entered a classroom at Garrett College as an ambitious, eager, albeit nervous student,” recalled Tichinel. “A few years later I entered that same classroom, but this time as an instructor.

“Something that was remarkable to me, both as a student and instructor, was the diversity in experiences and skills in the students at Garrett College,” she added. “When you look around a classroom at Garrett College you might see a student who recently graduated high school and is beginning their education with us before transferring onto a four-year institution, or another who has worked in a career for many years, but is seeking a change.

“This creates a classroom that is richer, as students with varying skills interact and connect their own experiences to our course content,” continued Tichinel, who will be an assistant professor of biology. “It's this type of classroom that made me fall in love with science as a student at Garrett College and then fall in love with teaching years later. “

Tichinel worked two years at West Virginia University as an imaging specialist/research assistant, and taught science in Mineral County Public Schools and Washington County Public Schools. Tichinel said she's eager to transition into a full-time faculty role at GC.

“One of the many benefits of teaching at a Garrett College is the low student-to-teacher ratio,” said Tichinel. “This small class size permits me to build relationships with my students. I'm able to provide students additional support and encouragement during times of struggle and cheer them on during times of achievement.

“I look forward to being a mentor to students pursuing careers in the science field,” she added.

Dr. Ryan Harrod, GC's dean of academic affairs and chief academic officer, said Tichinel's diverse science background will be of huge benefit to the College's students.

“Professor Tichinel has a background in both anatomy and physiology, along with microbiology,” he noted. “She's also taught at the high school and college level and has attended Garrett College as a student. Her experience will be invaluable to our future biology students.”

Tichinel said her experiences help illustrate the College's role in the community, particularly the “close relationship between Garrett College and Garrett County Public Schools.”

“I attended Garrett College as a high school student,” Tichinel noted. “Through this opportunity I was able to transfer into a bachelor's degree program with many credits already completed, and without student loans.

“I'm a huge supporter of the College continuing to foster and expand our relationship with our local high schools, providing students with access they might not otherwise have,” she added.

Tichinel earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Frostburg State University. She obtained a Master of Science degree in microbiology and cell science from the University of Florida, where she is presently completing a graduate certificate in anatomy and physiology.

Accounting department receives GRMC team excellence award for third quarter

Posted 8/30/22

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center recently announced the accounting department has been named the quarter three team excellence award recipient.

The accounting department was recognized for going above and beyond in addressing a patient’s concern and resolving the issue, providing the patient with peace of mind.

This award recognizes teams who foster qualities that help to achieve departmental or organizational goals and support the hospital’s overall mission of treating every patient and each other like a member of our own family.

GRMC recognizes Career Pathways program participants

Posted 8/29/22

Forty-three employees complete final year of program

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center recently recognized 43 employees for completing their final year of the Career Pathways Program.

The goal of the Career Pathways Program is to enhance and promote high quality care and to advance professional practice. This program recognizes and rewards the accomplishments of those willing to improve their skills and expertise in clinical, clerical, and evidence-based practice above their everyday job requirements.

Type 2 diabetes prevention program information session on Sept. 14 at GRMC

Posted 8/15/22

Participants are encouraged to preregister in advance

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center has scheduled an upcoming information session on September 14 from 3-4 p.m. at the Oakland hospital location for participants interested in learning more about the type 2 diabetes prevention program offered at GRMC.
GRMC’s type 2 diabetes prevention program – Make a Change for Life – is ideal for those who have recently been diagnosed with prediabetes, have a history of gestational diabetes, or are high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

“This is a great opportunity for those individuals who want to learn more about our type 2 diabetes prevention program and what they can expect as a participant,” remarked Michelle Wiltison, GRMC’s diabetes education coordinator. “We encourage interested individuals to ask questions so they can make an educated decision if the program is right for them.”

GRMC’s Make a Change for Life Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Program is a National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) that has been shown to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in high-risk patients and improve their overall health.

Participants who sign up for the program this fall will learn how to make achievable and realistic lifestyle changes, including eating healthier, becoming more physically active, managing stress, and solving problems that get in the way of healthy lifestyle choices.

Instructed by trained certified lifestyle coaches, GRMC’s program delivers a comprehensive NDPP education and provides participants with ongoing support throughout the 6-month program.

Preregistration is encouraged to attend the upcoming information session. To register, contact GRMC’s Diabetes Care and Education department at 301-533-4271.

About Garrett Regional Medical Center
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 full partnership 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. For more information, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

Stuff the Bus to Benefit School Students in Garrett County

Posted 8/5/22

County United Way’s Stuff the Bus Returns!

County United Way is proud to announce their annual “Stuff the Bus” school supply drive to benefit students in Garrett County has returned this year. Stuff the Bus will take place on Friday, August 12, from 9 am to 5 pm in the Walmart parking lot in Oakland.

Walmart is helping by allowing a bus to be parked in their parking lot so that volunteers can fill it with school supplies.

“This event has been incredibly well supported in the past,” said Misty Deal, County United Way Director of Finance. “We have been fortunate to hold a mini event for the past two years, but it is very nice to be back in the community, with the Bus.”

Everyone can help by purchasing new supplies and dropping them off to fill the bus in Oakland on August 12 or at the other drop-off sites before the event date. Businesses are encouraged to contact Misty Deal, 240-362-8647 for a collection box.

Items being collected include backpacks, colored pencils, composition books, crayons, disinfecting wipes, erasers, glue sticks/glue, hand sanitizer, highlighters, notebook paper, pencils, pens, pencil cases, post-it notes, reusable water bottles, scissors, thin dry-erase markers, 3-prong folders w/pockets, 3-ring binders, 1-subject spiral notebooks, 3-subject spiral notebooks, washable markers, and zip lock bags.

Supplement distributions will take place throughout the school year. Supplies will be distributed to the Board of Education so that all students are prepared and ready to learn.

Monetary donations are welcome. Checks should be made payable to United Way of Garrett County, 113A South Centre Street, Cumberland, MD 21502, with GC Stuff the Bus noted on the check memo.

First United Announces 2022 FBLA Scholarship Winner

Posted 8/1/22

Oakland – First United Bank & Trust is proud to announce Ava E. Rankin of Northern Garrett High School as the recipient of the 2022 Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Scholarship.

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is the high school division of Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc. FBLA helps high school students prepare for careers in business and to assist them by becoming better employees and citizens. FBLA helps students develop leadership abilities, prepares them for entry into business-related occupations, and offers a setting where members compete at regional, state and national levels in business and technology curriculum.

Carissa L. Rodeheaver, Chairman of the Board, President & CEO, remarked, “Congratulations Ava! On behalf of the entire staff, we would like to take this opportunity to commend you on your achievement. We hope that this scholarship will be the foundation of your future academic success and we wish you luck in all your endeavors.”

First United offers this annual scholarship opportunity to current members of the local chapter. In order to qualify for the $500 scholarship, applicants needed to be a current FBLA member; attend at least two FBLA meetings; attend at least two FBLA events and complete a 500-word essay explaining how participating in the Association has helped develop the skills and experience needed to help in the field of business. Ava met all qualifications and provided a very professional and well, thought-out essay.

Jason E. VanSickle, Vice President and Director of Strategic Growth, spearheads First United’s partnership with the local FBLA chapter. Jason commented, “It is my pleasure to congratulate Ava on being awarded this scholarship. Everyone at First United hopes this achievement is just the beginning of your business success.”

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 3/31/22, the Corporation posted assets of $1.8 billion. First United’s website can be located at MyBank.com.

Garrett Regional Medical Center recognized by U.S. News & World Report

Posted 7/27/22

GRMC named a high performing hospital, receives 4-star rating in patient experience

OAKLAND, Md. – U.S. News & World Report has recognized Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) as a high performing hospital in procedures and conditions for hip fracture in addition to receiving a 4-star rating in patient experience.

GRMC was one of nine member and managed WVU Medicine hospitals recognized as high performing. For the 2022-2023 rankings and ratings, U.S. News evaluated more than 4,500 hospitals across 15 specialties and 20 procedures and conditions.

Eligible hospitals received one of three ratings – high performing (694 hospitals), average (1,720 hospitals), or below average (575 hospitals) with the balance either not offering the service or performing too few of the procedures to be rated. GRMC’s high performing ranking for hip fractures is significantly better than the national average.

According to the U.S. News & World Report, a hospital’s hip fracture score is based on multiple data categories, including patient outcomes, prevention of readmission and more. GRMC received excellent quality indicator ratings in both readmission prevention and patient experience.
The U.S. News & World Report recently awarded GRMC a 4-star rating in patient experience. Scores are based on surveys taken from hospital inpatients after they were discharged inquiring about different aspects of their stay.

In the patient experience category, GRMC received two 5-star ratings in satisfaction with staff responsiveness and satisfaction with hospital room cleanliness.

As of July 1, GRMC became a full partner in the WVU Health System.
As a full partner of WVU Medicine, GRMC will continue to grow the available specialty services to the 46,000 people in GRMC’s service area, which includes parts of eight counties across Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Since clinically affiliating with WVU Medicine in 2015, GRMC has greatly increased the specialty care services available at its Oakland campus and transformed the hospital into a true regional medical center. GRMC now provides cancer care, urology and nephrology, dermatology, cardiopulmonary, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, and heart and vascular care services, among others.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

GCCAC to Host Fair Housing Event

Posted 7/26/22

Oakland, Md.—Garrett County Community Action Committee Inc. (GCCAC), in partnership with Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and Maryland Legal Aid, will host a fair housing event on Monday, August 1, 2022, to

What: In partnership with Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and Maryland Legal Aid, GCCAC will host a fair housing event to educate Garrett County community partners, landlords, property managers, realtors, and tenants on navigating the Fair Housing Act and its obligations.

From home buying and rental assistance programs to landlord tenant-related issues and rental property accessibility and management, attendees will better understand and be better equipped to follow fair housing laws. The Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and Maryland Legal Aid interactive presentation will cover federal/state/local/ fair housing laws, present-day forms and red flags of housing discrimination, and how fair housing laws are enforced.

When: Monday, August 1, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Where: 6500 Thayer Center, Suite 1, Oakland, Md.

Interested individuals can attend in person at the GCCAC Training & Technology Center or virtually. Please register by calling Garrett County Community Action Committee Inc. at (301) 334.9431 ext. 6195.

About Garrett County Community Action Committee Inc.
Garrett County Community Action Committee, Inc. is a member of the National Community Action Partnership and the Community Action Network, born out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. GCCAC, 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 focus on strategies that empower people by removing barriers and offering pathway opportunities to achieve aspirational goals. More information regarding programs and services provided by GCCAC can be found at https://link.edgepilot.com/s/a9508979/3yS0WxOehEKhwULhxySulQ?u=http://www.garrettcac.org/ or by dialing (301) 334.9431.

Hogan Administration Announces $5 Million in Grants to be Awarded to Heritage Projects by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority

Posted 7/14/22

(July 14, 2022) CROWNSVILLE, MD – The Hogan administration announced today that 107 matching grants totaling $5.1 million were awarded to Maryland nonprofits, local jurisdictions, and other heritage tourism organizations by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA). Grant funds support heritage tourism projects and activities that attract visitors and expand economic development and tourism-related job creation throughout Maryland.

“Heritage tourism is an economic development tool that creates jobs and brings visitors to the state while making our communities better places to live and work,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Our administration is proud that this funding will allow for 107 projects to move forward and congratulate Maryland’s Heritage Areas and their tourism partners for their support in changing Maryland for the better.”

Organizations receiving grant awards include museums, parks, educational organizations, and other entities that steward and celebrate the unique cultural and natural resources located within one of Maryland’s Heritage Areas.

MHAA oversees Maryland’s system of 13 locally-administered, certified Heritage Areas. Today, all Maryland counties and Baltimore City have at least part of a state-certified Heritage Area within their boundaries. Heritage Areas foster broad public-private partnerships to preserve and enhance the best of Maryland’s historic sites and towns, unspoiled natural landscapes, and enduring traditions. These tangible links to both place and past remind residents that they have a special piece of the American story to treasure and share with others and that, in doing so, are contributing to the economic well-being of Maryland’s communities.

Maryland’s Heritage Areas contribute to Maryland’s economy by preserving and enhancing the places that attract cultural and heritage tourists - people who focus their travels on historic sites, museums, cultural activities, or the natural beauty of Maryland’s Atlantic and Chesapeake Bay coastal areas and unspoiled scenery of Maryland’s mountains. The Maryland Heritage Areas Program provides $2.4 billion in annual economic impact and MHAA grants generate $319.8 million in state and local taxes and supports 33,815 full- and part-time jobs annually. A full economic impact study can be found here: mht.maryland.gov/heritageareas_impact.shtml.

MHAA is an independent unit of government chaired by the Secretary of Planning and administered by the Maryland Historical Trust, a division of the Maryland Department of Planning. Since its creation in 1996, MHAA has awarded more than $57 million dollars in grants and helped leverage more than $1.63 billion in non-state funding for heritage tourism projects and activities in Maryland’s 13 Certified Heritage Areas.

To learn more about the Maryland Heritage Areas Program and the state’s certified Heritage Areas, please visit mht.maryland.gov/heritageareas.shtml.

Garrett County Office of the Fire Marshal Created

Posted 7/11/22

July 11, 2022, Oakland, MD – Upon the conclusion of a special session held by the Garrett County Commissioners today, July 11, 2022, the ordinance to appoint a Garrett County Fire Marshal has been
approved.

This office seeks to provide a safe working and living environment for residents, workers, and travelers within Garrett County. Also, the office implements and enforces the statewide fire code.

The Garrett County Office of the Fire Marshal will:

• strive to reduce the risk of fires through public education and outreach
• mitigate hazards through the abatement of common fire prevention code violations

The newly created office is led by Chris Cieslarczyk.

“We are happy to be able to spread public education, outreach and emergency preparedness,” said John Frank, Director, Garrett County Emergency Operations Center.”

Cieslarczyk’s background encompasses Haz-Mat teams, Technical Rescue teams, and Engines, Trucks, and Heavy Squads teams. He has also most-recently served as a Fire Inspector with the Washington Airport
Authority and an Assistant Fire Marshal in Charleston, SC.

Cieslarczyk has served as a volunteer firefighter/EMT beginning in 1982 in Sayreville, NJ. In 1992, he was hired as a Haz-Mat Technician/Firefighter with the Middlesex County Hazardous Materials Unit in Middlesex County, NJ. In 1999, Cieslarczyk was hired in Henrico, VA with the County Division of Fire. In 2004, he was promoted to Lieutenant and served in that capacity until his first retirement in 2017.

He has a bachelor’s degree in English from Rutgers University, an Associate’s degree in Fire Science from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, and a Master’s in Emergency Services Management from Columbia Southern University. Currently, he resides in Deer Park with his wife, Renate. They have 4 children.

The Office of the Fire Marshal is housed in the Garrett County Emergency Operations Center at 32 Outfitter Way, McHenry, MD 21541.

Feel free to contact Chris or John at the Emergency Operations office at 301-334-7619.

Next Generation of Humanitarian Response and Disaster Relief Trained in Garrett County, Maryland

Posted 7/8/22

SWANTON, MD (July 8, 2022) – On June 23-26, 10 graduate students participated in the Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education, Inc., (Forage Center) “Coastal Promise” field exercise in Swanton, Maryland, USA.

“Congratulations to the students who completed this intensive and immersive 70-hour program. This experience is unlike any other; it reinforces the principles of humanitarian aid and crisis management in a live-action, and ever-changing, simulation,” said Forage Center President, David J. Smith.

The field training, set in the fictitious country of Costero, asked students to complete a needs assessment for the wildfires affecting the country while accounting for the country’s political atmosphere. Students first interacted with Costero Immigrations and Customs and over the next three days met with additional government officials, non-governmental organizations, and Costeran residents seeking aid and partnerships. Throughout the simulation students met with experienced professionals and educators to discuss strategies, ethics, negotiation techniques, and leadership skills.

“This was such a unique empirical learning experience that exceeded my expectations in many ways; from the first moment on the border entering the imagined country, I felt like I was genuinely deployed to humanitarian aid work,” commented George Mason University graduate student and field exercise participant, Omar Al Mashhadani. “There is no academic book that can ever teach what I have learned about humanitarian work during this experience. I can confidently say that participating in this exercise was the most magnificent experience in my study of conflict analysis and resolution,” Al Mashhadani continued.

“What we do here on this 40-acre site in Swanton, Maryland prepares students for real-world deployments. But we can only do that with the support of our local community” said Smith.

The Forage Center offers sincere thanks to the following people and businesses for their support and participation in the 2022 Coastal Promise field exercise:

● Local businesses who supported the program in a myriad of ways, including: Brenda’s Pizza, Lowe’s, MoonShadow, Shop & Save, and Walmart;

● Promotional support from the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, of which the Forage Center is a member;

● Suresh and Inge Choudhary, who generously allow the Forage Center to use their property;

● St. John’s Lutheran Church Meadow Mountain parishioners for allowing participants use of their facilities;

● Onsite and virtual role players and special guests, including Rick Nidel, Interim Director, Ukraine Crisis Response, International Justice Mission, who joined the graduate students remotely while deployed in Romania; and

● Forage Center staff (themselves often Coastal Promise alumni) who worked tirelessly pre-, during, and post-exercise.

“We are proud of the 10 new Forage Center alumni. They join over 500 U.S. and international undergraduate and graduate students who have participated in Forage Center exercises over the last 22 years,” said Forage Center board member, Sarah Forage-Lough. “Alumni have gone on to join humanitarian organizations around the world; we look forward to following the journeys of these new alumni.”

The graduate students attend George Mason University (Virginia), American University (Washington, DC), and University of Massachusetts/Boston. The Forage Center also thanks these universities for their continued partnership.

Executive Alliance Recognizes First United Corporation as a Gender-diverse Company in Maryland

Posted 6/29/22

BALTIMORE—Executive Alliance recently named First United Corporation to the 20/20 Honor Roll: Gender Diversity in Maryland.

The Executive Alliance celebrates gender diversity in Maryland’s boardrooms and promotes women leader in Maryland by highlighting companies that include at least 20% women in their executive leadership and boards of directors. Honor Roll companies include publicly traded companies headquartered in Maryland, the largest hospitals, colleges and universities and nonprofit organizations.

“It is an honor to be recognized by Executive Alliance for another year,” commented Carissa L. Rodeheaver, First United Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, and President. “Our Board and leadership team take diversity and inclusion seriously. Having an equal split of gender representation on our Board, our leadership team is similarly diverse. This diversity has been essential to our role in executing our corporate strategy and managing risk. Mentorship is a natural component of our culture and provides our associates with opportunities for advancement and leadership.”

For a full list of the 48 companies being honored, visit executivealliance.org/event/20-20-honor-roll-gender-diversity-in-maryland-3.

ABOUT FIRST UNITED CORPORATION
First United Corporation is the parent company of First United Bank & Trust, a Maryland trust company with commercial banking powers (the "Bank"), and two statutory trusts that were used as financing vehicles. The Bank has four wholly-owned subsidiaries: OakFirst Loan Center, Inc., a West Virginia finance company; OakFirst Loan Center, LLC, a Maryland finance company; First OREO Trust, a Maryland statutory trust that holds and services real estate acquired by the Bank through foreclosure or by deed in lieu of foreclosure; and FUBT OREO I, LLC, a Maryland company that likewise holds and services real estate acquired by the Bank through foreclosure or by deed in lieu of foreclosure. The Bank also owns 99.9% of the limited partnership interests in Liberty Mews Limited Partnership; a Maryland limited partnership formed for the purpose of acquiring, developing, and operating low-income housing units in Garrett County, Maryland. First United Corporation's website is www.mybank.com.

About Executive Alliance (executivealliance.org) is a statewide not-for-profit organization in Maryland composed of professional executive women. The organization initiates, supports and engages in activities to promote the advancement of women in professional and executive positions. Executive Alliance promotes the placement of women on corporate boards and educates the public on the benefits of having women in decision-making positions. Members serve as role models and mentors to women seeking to advance their careers.

Celebrating the Garrett County Sesquicentennial

Posted 6/28/22

June 28, 2022, Oakland, MD – Led by the Garrett County Government, the county sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary effort, commemorates the incorporation of Garrett County on December 4, 1872.

A sesquicentennial committee has been planning and organizing several commemorative souvenirs and community participation opportunities based on the theme of the event: “Garrett County: Celebrating 150 Years of Connecting Communities”.

Now, and throughout 2022, the sesquicentennial committee is attending each Garrett County municipality’s festivals or community events to share, distribute information, and offer free giveaways and souvenirs while supplies last.

One of the top memento items of note is a bronze coin to represent each of the municipalities: Accident, Deer Park, Friendsville, Grantsville, Kitzmiller, Loch Lynn, Mountain Lake Park, Oakland. Each of those eight towns participated in designing a custom side of the coin to represent their town paired with the front-side of the coin featuring the county’s namesake John W. Garrett.

So far, local coins have been distributed at WinterFest (Town of Oakland), the National Road Festival (Town of Grantsville), the Celtic Festival (Town of Friendsville), Kick-Off to Summer (Town of Oakland), and Grantsville Days (Town of Grantsville).

Upcoming events that are scheduled for commemorative coin distribution are:

• Accident 4th of July Homecoming (Town of Accident coin)
o July 4, 2022; 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM; at Accident Fire Hall
• Victorian Chautauqua (Town of Mountain Lake Park coin)
o July 9, 2022; 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM; with the Baltimore B&O Museum
• Kitzmiller Homecoming (Town of Kitzmiller coin)
o July 23, 2022; 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM; at the previous Kitzmiller School grounds
• Friendsville Days (Town of Friendsville coin)
o August 20, 2022; 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM; in the Friendsville Town Park
• Loch Lynn Heights Open House (Town of Loch Lynn coin)
o September 10, 2022; 11:00 AM – 1:00a PM; at Loch Lynn Town Hall
• Deer Park Open House (Town of Deer Park coin)
o September 10, 2022; 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM; at the Deer Park Town Hall

Also, the planning group is coordinating a free public celebration event on September 17, 2022 at the Garrett County Fairgrounds in McHenry. The event will be from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM with a history walk, a car show, local storytelling, local music, free food, and more.

Additional information will be updated weekly on the County’s Sesquicentennial website www.Garrett150.com.

If you are interested in one of the town coins already distributed or interested in a complete set of the coins, please reach out to Sarah Myers, County Communications Coordinator at 301-334-7242 or smyers@garrettcounty.org.

First United to Sponsor 34th Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Posted 6/14/22

First United Bank & Trust will be sponsoring the 34th Annual Charity Golf Tournament at the Oakland Golf Club on Friday, July 8, 2022. This is the 25th year that First United Bank & Trust has organized this event. The tournament has become a tradition of the past 33 years and has raised over $551,500 for Garrett County charities. Participants can enjoy a challenging round of golf and at the same time, help raise needed funds for worthy community projects. The 2022 recipient for this year’s tournament is United Way of Garrett County.

“United Way of Garrett County fights for the education, financial stability, and health of every person in every community. Thanks to the support from the First United Charity Golf Tournament, together we fight and together we will win,” stated Michele Walker, Executive Director County United Way.

Golfers will be competing for generous team prizes. 1st place low net and low gross teams will each receive $600 prize. The 2nd place low net and low gross teams will each receive $400 the 3rd place low net team will receive a $200 prize.

First United also invites all professionals, businesses and individuals who wish to support the charity event without participating in the tournament to register as one of the Sponsorships available Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor should call Janet Marsh at First United Bank & Trust at 301-533-2420 or email jmarsh@MyBank.com.

“Coastal Promise” Field Exercise in Garrett County, Maryland

Posted 6/9/22

ROCKVILLE, MD (June 9, 2022) – The Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education, Inc., (Forage Center) will resume its annual field exercise “Coastal Promise” in Swanton, Maryland, USA June 23-26, 2022. The Forage Center last held the exercise in 2018.

Designed for individuals with an interest in conflict resolution, peacebuilding, disaster management, or humanitarian assistance, “Coastal Promise” participants act as members of a non-governmental organization and engage in intensive negotiations, humanitarian need evaluation, peacebuilding assessment, and human rights advocacy as part of a scenario based on a realistic conflict and humanitarian crisis. Over 500 U.S. and international undergraduate and graduate students have participated in the exercise since the first exercise in 2000.

This year’s exercise will include graduate students from George Mason University (Virginia), Arcadia University (Pennsylvania), American University (Washington, DC), and University of Massachusetts. In addition to the graduate students, role players who are often local residents, volunteer their time to represent various displaced persons, community leaders, military and law enforcement, and other individuals experiencing a humanitarian need. Forage Center is appreciative of support from local colleges, schools, businesses, and residents in Garrett County. If you are interested in role playing during this year’s exercise, please contact the Forage Center at admin@foragecenter.org.

Forage Center staff, experienced in international peace studies; conflict analysis and resolution; humanitarian history, issues, and law; and emergency management, create and manage the four-day experiential exercise.

“Our participants solidify their educational and career paths after the intensive, immersive experience,” said David J. Smith, Forage Center President. “With global crises and climate change increasing, individuals with hands-on knowledge are crucial to humanitarian efforts. We are proud of Forage Center alumni, students, volunteers, and staff for their efforts in training future global leaders.”

Garrett County Chamber of Commerce Welcomes New President Will Wrobleski

Posted 6/9/22

McHenry, MD -- The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the selection of the new President of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce. After undergoing a search process that was advertised locally and nationally, William “Will” Wrobleski has been selected to fill the vacant position. Wrobleski was introduced to Chamber members at the Chamber’s annual Membership Meeting & Dinner on June 2 at Wisp Resort and will assume the leadership role on June 20, 2022.

“I look forward to building on the achievements of the Chamber team and Board of Directors in advancing the Chamber’s mission of supporting and representing Garrett County’s business community and promoting the County’s hospitality and recreation industry,” said Will Wrobleski. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead the Chamber to continued success and eager to get to work on behalf of the Chamber’s members.”

The selection of Wrobleski ends a search process facilitated by a committee comprised of business representation from across Garrett County and led by Merlin Beitzel of Beitzel Corporation, who is a member of the Garrett County Chamber Board of Directors.

“Will Wrobleski is a seasoned leader who understands the complexities and opportunities in our community,” said Beitzel. “Having him as the next leader for the Garrett County Chamber will ensure our organization remains relevant and continues to fulfill its mission of enhancing the welfare of business and stimulating the economic vitality in the Garrett County area for the benefit of the entire community. We were very impressed with Will’s background and strong leadership roles and knew he was a great fit for this position. His leadership approach and varied experience is exactly what we need to help us coordinate the efforts of our terrific staff at the Chamber. He is well prepared for this role and will lead the organization with energy and distinction.”

Wrobleski comes to the Chamber leadership role with an extensive background with various leadership roles. He brings over twenty years management experience with various political, non-profit, and community organizations to the role. He holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of New Hampshire and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Vermont.

The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce is the largest professional business association in the region with 500 members representing every industry in the community. The mission of the Chamber is to organize, support and represent Garrett County’s business community in advancing common interests and additionally to promote Garrett County’s hospitality and recreation industry by attracting visitors to the county through comprehensive marketing. The Garrett County Chamber also serves as the Destination Marketing Organization and Heritage Area Management entity for the County.

The 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.

MDOT to fully fund two key North/South transportation infrastructure projects - US 219 from I-68 north to the PA state line and the Cresaptown Improvement Project

Posted 9/2/22

TGCC is proud to share the exciting news that today the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced its commitment of $87.7 million to complete the Maryland portion of US 219 and to fully fund the completion of the Cresaptown Improvement Project.

“For over a decade, TGCC has served as the coordinating organization across 3 states and multiple counties with the goal of advancing the North/South corridor as a priority economic impact project. Today’s news highlights the importance of our sustained collective focus on these projects which are both critical to economic development and prosperity in the region,” said Jennifer Walsh, TGCC Executive Director.

US 219 – Corridor N

TGCC’s North/South Appalachian Highway Coalition’s work spans more than a decade and has resulted in an investment of more than $600 million and significant progress toward the completion of US 219 between I-68 in Maryland and the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Somerset, Pennsylvania. In recent months, Pennsylvania has reiterated its commitment to completing its portion of the corridor with a $53 million commitment to fund all remaining pre-construction activities and by adding the construction phase to its long-term funding plan.

“Today’s announcement by MDOT solidifies Maryland’s commitment to fully fund its portion of this project through construction, and along with PA’s recent commitment to finish US 219 by 2031, brings to fruition several decades of work by multiple groups,” said Garrett County Commissioner, Paul Edwards.

Maryland Senator George Edwards added, “This is wonderful news for the whole region. It puts us in a position to have money in the bank to finish our part of the road and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Pennsylvania to complete this critical infrastructure project by 2031.”

US 220 – Cresaptown Improvement Project

The Cresaptown Improvement Project is located in the area that encompasses the intersections of US 220, MD 53, and MD 636 in Cresaptown, MD (see attached bubble map). MDOT’s $10.8 million commitment fully funds this project through construction.

"Completion of this project will be a major benefit to IBM, Northrop Grumman, American Wooodmark and other key employers in our region by relieving congestion and increasing safety for our employees. It represents a significant investment in the economic prosperity of our region, is critical to facilitating future growth in the US 220 corridor, and will have beneficial impacts in Allegany and Mineral Counties and beyond," said Timi Hadra, IBM Partner and Rocket Center Site Executive and Chair of the TGCC Board of Directors. Jake Shade, President of the Allegany County Commissioners shared, “We are very pleased to see this project funded.

This project connects the Barton Business Park to Interstate 68, Cumberland, and LaVale. This commercial property has received substantial investment from the Maryland Economic Development Corporation and Allegany County Government and is located in an Enterprise Zone. It is a key site for future economic development and growth opportunities in the region.

The Student becomes the Teacher: Tichinel, former dual enrollment student, joins Garrett College biology department

Posted 8/31/22

Alyssa Tichinel may be a new full-time faculty member, but she couldn't be any more familiar with Garrett College.

Tichinel is a former adjunct faculty member, science tutor, program specialist, and College & Me instructor for GC. She's also a former Garrett College student, having taken courses as a high school senior through the Dual Enrollment program.

She even lives near the College, just across Mosser Road from the main campus in a house Tichinel and her husband recently built.

“A decade ago, I entered a classroom at Garrett College as an ambitious, eager, albeit nervous student,” recalled Tichinel. “A few years later I entered that same classroom, but this time as an instructor.

“Something that was remarkable to me, both as a student and instructor, was the diversity in experiences and skills in the students at Garrett College,” she added. “When you look around a classroom at Garrett College you might see a student who recently graduated high school and is beginning their education with us before transferring onto a four-year institution, or another who has worked in a career for many years, but is seeking a change.

“This creates a classroom that is richer, as students with varying skills interact and connect their own experiences to our course content,” continued Tichinel, who will be an assistant professor of biology. “It's this type of classroom that made me fall in love with science as a student at Garrett College and then fall in love with teaching years later. “

Tichinel worked two years at West Virginia University as an imaging specialist/research assistant, and taught science in Mineral County Public Schools and Washington County Public Schools. Tichinel said she's eager to transition into a full-time faculty role at GC.

“One of the many benefits of teaching at a Garrett College is the low student-to-teacher ratio,” said Tichinel. “This small class size permits me to build relationships with my students. I'm able to provide students additional support and encouragement during times of struggle and cheer them on during times of achievement.

“I look forward to being a mentor to students pursuing careers in the science field,” she added.

Dr. Ryan Harrod, GC's dean of academic affairs and chief academic officer, said Tichinel's diverse science background will be of huge benefit to the College's students.

“Professor Tichinel has a background in both anatomy and physiology, along with microbiology,” he noted. “She's also taught at the high school and college level and has attended Garrett College as a student. Her experience will be invaluable to our future biology students.”

Tichinel said her experiences help illustrate the College's role in the community, particularly the “close relationship between Garrett College and Garrett County Public Schools.”

“I attended Garrett College as a high school student,” Tichinel noted. “Through this opportunity I was able to transfer into a bachelor's degree program with many credits already completed, and without student loans.

“I'm a huge supporter of the College continuing to foster and expand our relationship with our local high schools, providing students with access they might not otherwise have,” she added.

Tichinel earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Frostburg State University. She obtained a Master of Science degree in microbiology and cell science from the University of Florida, where she is presently completing a graduate certificate in anatomy and physiology.

Accounting department receives GRMC team excellence award for third quarter

Posted 8/30/22

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center recently announced the accounting department has been named the quarter three team excellence award recipient.

The accounting department was recognized for going above and beyond in addressing a patient’s concern and resolving the issue, providing the patient with peace of mind.

This award recognizes teams who foster qualities that help to achieve departmental or organizational goals and support the hospital’s overall mission of treating every patient and each other like a member of our own family.

GRMC recognizes Career Pathways program participants

Posted 8/29/22

Forty-three employees complete final year of program

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center recently recognized 43 employees for completing their final year of the Career Pathways Program.

The goal of the Career Pathways Program is to enhance and promote high quality care and to advance professional practice. This program recognizes and rewards the accomplishments of those willing to improve their skills and expertise in clinical, clerical, and evidence-based practice above their everyday job requirements.

Type 2 diabetes prevention program information session on Sept. 14 at GRMC

Posted 8/15/22

Participants are encouraged to preregister in advance

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center has scheduled an upcoming information session on September 14 from 3-4 p.m. at the Oakland hospital location for participants interested in learning more about the type 2 diabetes prevention program offered at GRMC.
GRMC’s type 2 diabetes prevention program – Make a Change for Life – is ideal for those who have recently been diagnosed with prediabetes, have a history of gestational diabetes, or are high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

“This is a great opportunity for those individuals who want to learn more about our type 2 diabetes prevention program and what they can expect as a participant,” remarked Michelle Wiltison, GRMC’s diabetes education coordinator. “We encourage interested individuals to ask questions so they can make an educated decision if the program is right for them.”

GRMC’s Make a Change for Life Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Program is a National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) that has been shown to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in high-risk patients and improve their overall health.

Participants who sign up for the program this fall will learn how to make achievable and realistic lifestyle changes, including eating healthier, becoming more physically active, managing stress, and solving problems that get in the way of healthy lifestyle choices.

Instructed by trained certified lifestyle coaches, GRMC’s program delivers a comprehensive NDPP education and provides participants with ongoing support throughout the 6-month program.

Preregistration is encouraged to attend the upcoming information session. To register, contact GRMC’s Diabetes Care and Education department at 301-533-4271.

About Garrett Regional Medical Center
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 full partnership 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. For more information, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

Stuff the Bus to Benefit School Students in Garrett County

Posted 8/5/22

County United Way’s Stuff the Bus Returns!

County United Way is proud to announce their annual “Stuff the Bus” school supply drive to benefit students in Garrett County has returned this year. Stuff the Bus will take place on Friday, August 12, from 9 am to 5 pm in the Walmart parking lot in Oakland.

Walmart is helping by allowing a bus to be parked in their parking lot so that volunteers can fill it with school supplies.

“This event has been incredibly well supported in the past,” said Misty Deal, County United Way Director of Finance. “We have been fortunate to hold a mini event for the past two years, but it is very nice to be back in the community, with the Bus.”

Everyone can help by purchasing new supplies and dropping them off to fill the bus in Oakland on August 12 or at the other drop-off sites before the event date. Businesses are encouraged to contact Misty Deal, 240-362-8647 for a collection box.

Items being collected include backpacks, colored pencils, composition books, crayons, disinfecting wipes, erasers, glue sticks/glue, hand sanitizer, highlighters, notebook paper, pencils, pens, pencil cases, post-it notes, reusable water bottles, scissors, thin dry-erase markers, 3-prong folders w/pockets, 3-ring binders, 1-subject spiral notebooks, 3-subject spiral notebooks, washable markers, and zip lock bags.

Supplement distributions will take place throughout the school year. Supplies will be distributed to the Board of Education so that all students are prepared and ready to learn.

Monetary donations are welcome. Checks should be made payable to United Way of Garrett County, 113A South Centre Street, Cumberland, MD 21502, with GC Stuff the Bus noted on the check memo.

First United Announces 2022 FBLA Scholarship Winner

Posted 8/1/22

Oakland – First United Bank & Trust is proud to announce Ava E. Rankin of Northern Garrett High School as the recipient of the 2022 Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Scholarship.

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is the high school division of Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc. FBLA helps high school students prepare for careers in business and to assist them by becoming better employees and citizens. FBLA helps students develop leadership abilities, prepares them for entry into business-related occupations, and offers a setting where members compete at regional, state and national levels in business and technology curriculum.

Carissa L. Rodeheaver, Chairman of the Board, President & CEO, remarked, “Congratulations Ava! On behalf of the entire staff, we would like to take this opportunity to commend you on your achievement. We hope that this scholarship will be the foundation of your future academic success and we wish you luck in all your endeavors.”

First United offers this annual scholarship opportunity to current members of the local chapter. In order to qualify for the $500 scholarship, applicants needed to be a current FBLA member; attend at least two FBLA meetings; attend at least two FBLA events and complete a 500-word essay explaining how participating in the Association has helped develop the skills and experience needed to help in the field of business. Ava met all qualifications and provided a very professional and well, thought-out essay.

Jason E. VanSickle, Vice President and Director of Strategic Growth, spearheads First United’s partnership with the local FBLA chapter. Jason commented, “It is my pleasure to congratulate Ava on being awarded this scholarship. Everyone at First United hopes this achievement is just the beginning of your business success.”

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 3/31/22, the Corporation posted assets of $1.8 billion. First United’s website can be located at MyBank.com.

Garrett Regional Medical Center recognized by U.S. News & World Report

Posted 7/27/22

GRMC named a high performing hospital, receives 4-star rating in patient experience

OAKLAND, Md. – U.S. News & World Report has recognized Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) as a high performing hospital in procedures and conditions for hip fracture in addition to receiving a 4-star rating in patient experience.

GRMC was one of nine member and managed WVU Medicine hospitals recognized as high performing. For the 2022-2023 rankings and ratings, U.S. News evaluated more than 4,500 hospitals across 15 specialties and 20 procedures and conditions.

Eligible hospitals received one of three ratings – high performing (694 hospitals), average (1,720 hospitals), or below average (575 hospitals) with the balance either not offering the service or performing too few of the procedures to be rated. GRMC’s high performing ranking for hip fractures is significantly better than the national average.

According to the U.S. News & World Report, a hospital’s hip fracture score is based on multiple data categories, including patient outcomes, prevention of readmission and more. GRMC received excellent quality indicator ratings in both readmission prevention and patient experience.
The U.S. News & World Report recently awarded GRMC a 4-star rating in patient experience. Scores are based on surveys taken from hospital inpatients after they were discharged inquiring about different aspects of their stay.

In the patient experience category, GRMC received two 5-star ratings in satisfaction with staff responsiveness and satisfaction with hospital room cleanliness.

As of July 1, GRMC became a full partner in the WVU Health System.
As a full partner of WVU Medicine, GRMC will continue to grow the available specialty services to the 46,000 people in GRMC’s service area, which includes parts of eight counties across Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Since clinically affiliating with WVU Medicine in 2015, GRMC has greatly increased the specialty care services available at its Oakland campus and transformed the hospital into a true regional medical center. GRMC now provides cancer care, urology and nephrology, dermatology, cardiopulmonary, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, and heart and vascular care services, among others.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org.

GCCAC to Host Fair Housing Event

Posted 7/26/22

Oakland, Md.—Garrett County Community Action Committee Inc. (GCCAC), in partnership with Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and Maryland Legal Aid, will host a fair housing event on Monday, August 1, 2022, to

What: In partnership with Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and Maryland Legal Aid, GCCAC will host a fair housing event to educate Garrett County community partners, landlords, property managers, realtors, and tenants on navigating the Fair Housing Act and its obligations.

From home buying and rental assistance programs to landlord tenant-related issues and rental property accessibility and management, attendees will better understand and be better equipped to follow fair housing laws. The Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and Maryland Legal Aid interactive presentation will cover federal/state/local/ fair housing laws, present-day forms and red flags of housing discrimination, and how fair housing laws are enforced.

When: Monday, August 1, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Where: 6500 Thayer Center, Suite 1, Oakland, Md.

Interested individuals can attend in person at the GCCAC Training & Technology Center or virtually. Please register by calling Garrett County Community Action Committee Inc. at (301) 334.9431 ext. 6195.

About Garrett County Community Action Committee Inc.
Garrett County Community Action Committee, Inc. is a member of the National Community Action Partnership and the Community Action Network, born out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. GCCAC, 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 focus on strategies that empower people by removing barriers and offering pathway opportunities to achieve aspirational goals. More information regarding programs and services provided by GCCAC can be found at https://link.edgepilot.com/s/a9508979/3yS0WxOehEKhwULhxySulQ?u=http://www.garrettcac.org/ or by dialing (301) 334.9431.

Hogan Administration Announces $5 Million in Grants to be Awarded to Heritage Projects by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority

Posted 7/14/22

(July 14, 2022) CROWNSVILLE, MD – The Hogan administration announced today that 107 matching grants totaling $5.1 million were awarded to Maryland nonprofits, local jurisdictions, and other heritage tourism organizations by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA). Grant funds support heritage tourism projects and activities that attract visitors and expand economic development and tourism-related job creation throughout Maryland.

“Heritage tourism is an economic development tool that creates jobs and brings visitors to the state while making our communities better places to live and work,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Our administration is proud that this funding will allow for 107 projects to move forward and congratulate Maryland’s Heritage Areas and their tourism partners for their support in changing Maryland for the better.”

Organizations receiving grant awards include museums, parks, educational organizations, and other entities that steward and celebrate the unique cultural and natural resources located within one of Maryland’s Heritage Areas.

MHAA oversees Maryland’s system of 13 locally-administered, certified Heritage Areas. Today, all Maryland counties and Baltimore City have at least part of a state-certified Heritage Area within their boundaries. Heritage Areas foster broad public-private partnerships to preserve and enhance the best of Maryland’s historic sites and towns, unspoiled natural landscapes, and enduring traditions. These tangible links to both place and past remind residents that they have a special piece of the American story to treasure and share with others and that, in doing so, are contributing to the economic well-being of Maryland’s communities.

Maryland’s Heritage Areas contribute to Maryland’s economy by preserving and enhancing the places that attract cultural and heritage tourists - people who focus their travels on historic sites, museums, cultural activities, or the natural beauty of Maryland’s Atlantic and Chesapeake Bay coastal areas and unspoiled scenery of Maryland’s mountains. The Maryland Heritage Areas Program provides $2.4 billion in annual economic impact and MHAA grants generate $319.8 million in state and local taxes and supports 33,815 full- and part-time jobs annually. A full economic impact study can be found here: mht.maryland.gov/heritageareas_impact.shtml.

MHAA is an independent unit of government chaired by the Secretary of Planning and administered by the Maryland Historical Trust, a division of the Maryland Department of Planning. Since its creation in 1996, MHAA has awarded more than $57 million dollars in grants and helped leverage more than $1.63 billion in non-state funding for heritage tourism projects and activities in Maryland’s 13 Certified Heritage Areas.

To learn more about the Maryland Heritage Areas Program and the state’s certified Heritage Areas, please visit mht.maryland.gov/heritageareas.shtml.

Garrett County Office of the Fire Marshal Created

Posted 7/11/22

July 11, 2022, Oakland, MD – Upon the conclusion of a special session held by the Garrett County Commissioners today, July 11, 2022, the ordinance to appoint a Garrett County Fire Marshal has been
approved.

This office seeks to provide a safe working and living environment for residents, workers, and travelers within Garrett County. Also, the office implements and enforces the statewide fire code.

The Garrett County Office of the Fire Marshal will:

• strive to reduce the risk of fires through public education and outreach
• mitigate hazards through the abatement of common fire prevention code violations

The newly created office is led by Chris Cieslarczyk.

“We are happy to be able to spread public education, outreach and emergency preparedness,” said John Frank, Director, Garrett County Emergency Operations Center.”

Cieslarczyk’s background encompasses Haz-Mat teams, Technical Rescue teams, and Engines, Trucks, and Heavy Squads teams. He has also most-recently served as a Fire Inspector with the Washington Airport
Authority and an Assistant Fire Marshal in Charleston, SC.

Cieslarczyk has served as a volunteer firefighter/EMT beginning in 1982 in Sayreville, NJ. In 1992, he was hired as a Haz-Mat Technician/Firefighter with the Middlesex County Hazardous Materials Unit in Middlesex County, NJ. In 1999, Cieslarczyk was hired in Henrico, VA with the County Division of Fire. In 2004, he was promoted to Lieutenant and served in that capacity until his first retirement in 2017.

He has a bachelor’s degree in English from Rutgers University, an Associate’s degree in Fire Science from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, and a Master’s in Emergency Services Management from Columbia Southern University. Currently, he resides in Deer Park with his wife, Renate. They have 4 children.

The Office of the Fire Marshal is housed in the Garrett County Emergency Operations Center at 32 Outfitter Way, McHenry, MD 21541.

Feel free to contact Chris or John at the Emergency Operations office at 301-334-7619.

Next Generation of Humanitarian Response and Disaster Relief Trained in Garrett County, Maryland

Posted 7/8/22

SWANTON, MD (July 8, 2022) – On June 23-26, 10 graduate students participated in the Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education, Inc., (Forage Center) “Coastal Promise” field exercise in Swanton, Maryland, USA.

“Congratulations to the students who completed this intensive and immersive 70-hour program. This experience is unlike any other; it reinforces the principles of humanitarian aid and crisis management in a live-action, and ever-changing, simulation,” said Forage Center President, David J. Smith.

The field training, set in the fictitious country of Costero, asked students to complete a needs assessment for the wildfires affecting the country while accounting for the country’s political atmosphere. Students first interacted with Costero Immigrations and Customs and over the next three days met with additional government officials, non-governmental organizations, and Costeran residents seeking aid and partnerships. Throughout the simulation students met with experienced professionals and educators to discuss strategies, ethics, negotiation techniques, and leadership skills.

“This was such a unique empirical learning experience that exceeded my expectations in many ways; from the first moment on the border entering the imagined country, I felt like I was genuinely deployed to humanitarian aid work,” commented George Mason University graduate student and field exercise participant, Omar Al Mashhadani. “There is no academic book that can ever teach what I have learned about humanitarian work during this experience. I can confidently say that participating in this exercise was the most magnificent experience in my study of conflict analysis and resolution,” Al Mashhadani continued.

“What we do here on this 40-acre site in Swanton, Maryland prepares students for real-world deployments. But we can only do that with the support of our local community” said Smith.

The Forage Center offers sincere thanks to the following people and businesses for their support and participation in the 2022 Coastal Promise field exercise:

● Local businesses who supported the program in a myriad of ways, including: Brenda’s Pizza, Lowe’s, MoonShadow, Shop & Save, and Walmart;

● Promotional support from the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, of which the Forage Center is a member;

● Suresh and Inge Choudhary, who generously allow the Forage Center to use their property;

● St. John’s Lutheran Church Meadow Mountain parishioners for allowing participants use of their facilities;

● Onsite and virtual role players and special guests, including Rick Nidel, Interim Director, Ukraine Crisis Response, International Justice Mission, who joined the graduate students remotely while deployed in Romania; and

● Forage Center staff (themselves often Coastal Promise alumni) who worked tirelessly pre-, during, and post-exercise.

“We are proud of the 10 new Forage Center alumni. They join over 500 U.S. and international undergraduate and graduate students who have participated in Forage Center exercises over the last 22 years,” said Forage Center board member, Sarah Forage-Lough. “Alumni have gone on to join humanitarian organizations around the world; we look forward to following the journeys of these new alumni.”

The graduate students attend George Mason University (Virginia), American University (Washington, DC), and University of Massachusetts/Boston. The Forage Center also thanks these universities for their continued partnership.

Executive Alliance Recognizes First United Corporation as a Gender-diverse Company in Maryland

Posted 6/29/22

BALTIMORE—Executive Alliance recently named First United Corporation to the 20/20 Honor Roll: Gender Diversity in Maryland.

The Executive Alliance celebrates gender diversity in Maryland’s boardrooms and promotes women leader in Maryland by highlighting companies that include at least 20% women in their executive leadership and boards of directors. Honor Roll companies include publicly traded companies headquartered in Maryland, the largest hospitals, colleges and universities and nonprofit organizations.

“It is an honor to be recognized by Executive Alliance for another year,” commented Carissa L. Rodeheaver, First United Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, and President. “Our Board and leadership team take diversity and inclusion seriously. Having an equal split of gender representation on our Board, our leadership team is similarly diverse. This diversity has been essential to our role in executing our corporate strategy and managing risk. Mentorship is a natural component of our culture and provides our associates with opportunities for advancement and leadership.”

For a full list of the 48 companies being honored, visit executivealliance.org/event/20-20-honor-roll-gender-diversity-in-maryland-3.

ABOUT FIRST UNITED CORPORATION
First United Corporation is the parent company of First United Bank & Trust, a Maryland trust company with commercial banking powers (the "Bank"), and two statutory trusts that were used as financing vehicles. The Bank has four wholly-owned subsidiaries: OakFirst Loan Center, Inc., a West Virginia finance company; OakFirst Loan Center, LLC, a Maryland finance company; First OREO Trust, a Maryland statutory trust that holds and services real estate acquired by the Bank through foreclosure or by deed in lieu of foreclosure; and FUBT OREO I, LLC, a Maryland company that likewise holds and services real estate acquired by the Bank through foreclosure or by deed in lieu of foreclosure. The Bank also owns 99.9% of the limited partnership interests in Liberty Mews Limited Partnership; a Maryland limited partnership formed for the purpose of acquiring, developing, and operating low-income housing units in Garrett County, Maryland. First United Corporation's website is www.mybank.com.

About Executive Alliance (executivealliance.org) is a statewide not-for-profit organization in Maryland composed of professional executive women. The organization initiates, supports and engages in activities to promote the advancement of women in professional and executive positions. Executive Alliance promotes the placement of women on corporate boards and educates the public on the benefits of having women in decision-making positions. Members serve as role models and mentors to women seeking to advance their careers.

Celebrating the Garrett County Sesquicentennial

Posted 6/28/22

June 28, 2022, Oakland, MD – Led by the Garrett County Government, the county sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary effort, commemorates the incorporation of Garrett County on December 4, 1872.

A sesquicentennial committee has been planning and organizing several commemorative souvenirs and community participation opportunities based on the theme of the event: “Garrett County: Celebrating 150 Years of Connecting Communities”.

Now, and throughout 2022, the sesquicentennial committee is attending each Garrett County municipality’s festivals or community events to share, distribute information, and offer free giveaways and souvenirs while supplies last.

One of the top memento items of note is a bronze coin to represent each of the municipalities: Accident, Deer Park, Friendsville, Grantsville, Kitzmiller, Loch Lynn, Mountain Lake Park, Oakland. Each of those eight towns participated in designing a custom side of the coin to represent their town paired with the front-side of the coin featuring the county’s namesake John W. Garrett.

So far, local coins have been distributed at WinterFest (Town of Oakland), the National Road Festival (Town of Grantsville), the Celtic Festival (Town of Friendsville), Kick-Off to Summer (Town of Oakland), and Grantsville Days (Town of Grantsville).

Upcoming events that are scheduled for commemorative coin distribution are:

• Accident 4th of July Homecoming (Town of Accident coin)
o July 4, 2022; 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM; at Accident Fire Hall
• Victorian Chautauqua (Town of Mountain Lake Park coin)
o July 9, 2022; 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM; with the Baltimore B&O Museum
• Kitzmiller Homecoming (Town of Kitzmiller coin)
o July 23, 2022; 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM; at the previous Kitzmiller School grounds
• Friendsville Days (Town of Friendsville coin)
o August 20, 2022; 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM; in the Friendsville Town Park
• Loch Lynn Heights Open House (Town of Loch Lynn coin)
o September 10, 2022; 11:00 AM – 1:00a PM; at Loch Lynn Town Hall
• Deer Park Open House (Town of Deer Park coin)
o September 10, 2022; 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM; at the Deer Park Town Hall

Also, the planning group is coordinating a free public celebration event on September 17, 2022 at the Garrett County Fairgrounds in McHenry. The event will be from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM with a history walk, a car show, local storytelling, local music, free food, and more.

Additional information will be updated weekly on the County’s Sesquicentennial website www.Garrett150.com.

If you are interested in one of the town coins already distributed or interested in a complete set of the coins, please reach out to Sarah Myers, County Communications Coordinator at 301-334-7242 or smyers@garrettcounty.org.

First United to Sponsor 34th Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Posted 6/14/22

First United Bank & Trust will be sponsoring the 34th Annual Charity Golf Tournament at the Oakland Golf Club on Friday, July 8, 2022. This is the 25th year that First United Bank & Trust has organized this event. The tournament has become a tradition of the past 33 years and has raised over $551,500 for Garrett County charities. Participants can enjoy a challenging round of golf and at the same time, help raise needed funds for worthy community projects. The 2022 recipient for this year’s tournament is United Way of Garrett County.

“United Way of Garrett County fights for the education, financial stability, and health of every person in every community. Thanks to the support from the First United Charity Golf Tournament, together we fight and together we will win,” stated Michele Walker, Executive Director County United Way.

Golfers will be competing for generous team prizes. 1st place low net and low gross teams will each receive $600 prize. The 2nd place low net and low gross teams will each receive $400 the 3rd place low net team will receive a $200 prize.

First United also invites all professionals, businesses and individuals who wish to support the charity event without participating in the tournament to register as one of the Sponsorships available Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor should call Janet Marsh at First United Bank & Trust at 301-533-2420 or email jmarsh@MyBank.com.

“Coastal Promise” Field Exercise in Garrett County, Maryland

Posted 6/9/22

ROCKVILLE, MD (June 9, 2022) – The Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education, Inc., (Forage Center) will resume its annual field exercise “Coastal Promise” in Swanton, Maryland, USA June 23-26, 2022. The Forage Center last held the exercise in 2018.

Designed for individuals with an interest in conflict resolution, peacebuilding, disaster management, or humanitarian assistance, “Coastal Promise” participants act as members of a non-governmental organization and engage in intensive negotiations, humanitarian need evaluation, peacebuilding assessment, and human rights advocacy as part of a scenario based on a realistic conflict and humanitarian crisis. Over 500 U.S. and international undergraduate and graduate students have participated in the exercise since the first exercise in 2000.

This year’s exercise will include graduate students from George Mason University (Virginia), Arcadia University (Pennsylvania), American University (Washington, DC), and University of Massachusetts. In addition to the graduate students, role players who are often local residents, volunteer their time to represent various displaced persons, community leaders, military and law enforcement, and other individuals experiencing a humanitarian need. Forage Center is appreciative of support from local colleges, schools, businesses, and residents in Garrett County. If you are interested in role playing during this year’s exercise, please contact the Forage Center at admin@foragecenter.org.

Forage Center staff, experienced in international peace studies; conflict analysis and resolution; humanitarian history, issues, and law; and emergency management, create and manage the four-day experiential exercise.

“Our participants solidify their educational and career paths after the intensive, immersive experience,” said David J. Smith, Forage Center President. “With global crises and climate change increasing, individuals with hands-on knowledge are crucial to humanitarian efforts. We are proud of Forage Center alumni, students, volunteers, and staff for their efforts in training future global leaders.”

Garrett County Chamber of Commerce Welcomes New President Will Wrobleski

Posted 6/9/22

McHenry, MD -- The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the selection of the new President of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce. After undergoing a search process that was advertised locally and nationally, William “Will” Wrobleski has been selected to fill the vacant position. Wrobleski was introduced to Chamber members at the Chamber’s annual Membership Meeting & Dinner on June 2 at Wisp Resort and will assume the leadership role on June 20, 2022.

“I look forward to building on the achievements of the Chamber team and Board of Directors in advancing the Chamber’s mission of supporting and representing Garrett County’s business community and promoting the County’s hospitality and recreation industry,” said Will Wrobleski. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead the Chamber to continued success and eager to get to work on behalf of the Chamber’s members.”

The selection of Wrobleski ends a search process facilitated by a committee comprised of business representation from across Garrett County and led by Merlin Beitzel of Beitzel Corporation, who is a member of the Garrett County Chamber Board of Directors.

“Will Wrobleski is a seasoned leader who understands the complexities and opportunities in our community,” said Beitzel. “Having him as the next leader for the Garrett County Chamber will ensure our organization remains relevant and continues to fulfill its mission of enhancing the welfare of business and stimulating the economic vitality in the Garrett County area for the benefit of the entire community. We were very impressed with Will’s background and strong leadership roles and knew he was a great fit for this position. His leadership approach and varied experience is exactly what we need to help us coordinate the efforts of our terrific staff at the Chamber. He is well prepared for this role and will lead the organization with energy and distinction.”

Wrobleski comes to the Chamber leadership role with an extensive background with various leadership roles. He brings over twenty years management experience with various political, non-profit, and community organizations to the role. He holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of New Hampshire and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Vermont.

The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce is the largest professional business association in the region with 500 members representing every industry in the community. The mission of the Chamber is to organize, support and represent Garrett County’s business community in advancing common interests and additionally to promote Garrett County’s hospitality and recreation industry by attracting visitors to the county through comprehensive marketing. The Garrett County Chamber also serves as the Destination Marketing Organization and Heritage Area Management entity for the County.

The 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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