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Casselman Creamery Awarded Maryland Business Boost Grant

Posted 7/17/24

July 17, 2024, Oakland, MD – The Garrett County Office of Business Development is pleased to announce that High Country Farm Productions, LLC, operating as Casselman Creamery, has been awarded a $50,000 Business Boost Grant from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. This grant is part of the $16.2 million initiative announced by Governor Wes Moore to support small businesses and community revitalization across Maryland.

Casselman Creamery, known for its artisanal dairy products, will utilize the grant award to expand its production capabilities, introduce new product lines, and enhance its distribution network, further solidifying its commitment to providing high-quality, locally-sourced dairy products.

“Casselman Creamery is more than just a local cheese producer; it’s a cornerstone of Garrett County’s agricultural community. Sourcing milk from local Amish dairy farms, the creamery ensures that every product reflects the hard work and dedication of our local farmers,” said Melissa Bolyard, Garrett County Agriculture Business Specialist. “The creamery’s community collaboration and commitment to quality fosters a resilient agricultural network. This award will enrich the lives of both producers and consumers in Garrett County.”
The Business Boost Grant Program prioritizes businesses that contribute to Maryland’s economic growth by supporting minority and women-owned businesses, driving innovation, growing new industries, or leveraging existing regional strengths. Casselman Creamery embodies these attributes through its sustainable farming practices and dedication to producing organic, health-conscious dairy products.

The grant will be used to upgrade Casselman Creamery’s facilities, implement advanced dairy processing technologies, and enhance its marketing efforts to reach a broader audience. These improvements are expected to increase the Creamery’s production capacity and operational efficiency, positioning it for long-term growth and success.

Governor Moore’s announcement highlighted the critical role small businesses play in community development and economic revitalization. "Community growth and business growth are inextricably linked. When we invest in our small businesses, we invest in the neighborhoods they serve and the Marylanders they employ," said Governor Moore.

For more information on local agriculture business development incentive programs, contact Melissa Bolyard at (301) 334-7285 or mbolyard@garrettcountymd.gov. For learn more about Casselman Creamery and its products, please visit www.casselmancreamery.com.

FY2025 Agriculture Marketing Grant Program Announced

Introducing our new Director of HR! Amanda McKenzie takes the helm

Posted 7/17/24

July 17, 2024, Oakland, MD – The Garrett County Government is pleased to announce a new round of funding for the Agriculture Marketing Grant (AMG) Program. This grant program supports and promotes agriculture-based businesses and associations within Garrett County.

Local grant programs, such as the AMG, help sustain the agricultural heritage of the region, promote local products, and enhance the overall economic stability of the community. Such programs also encourage innovation, improve market access, and ensure that local businesses remain competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace.

Each AMG award is up to $1,000, each, to cover up to 90% of the costs of eligible marketing or promotion projects including signage, banners, print, digital, and radio advertising, business cards, brochures, and rack cards, website revamps or updates, farmers market display items (e.g., canopies, tables, tablecloths), and promotional giveaway items.

“In today's competitive market, effective marketing is crucial for the growth and sustainability of our local farms and farm-business community,” said Kim Durst, Manager of Business Development. “We are pleased to continue our commitment to our local businesses through the continuation of this program.”

For all information, eligibility guidelines, and application details, please visit https://bit.ly/ag-marketing-grant.

Applications for the grant open on July 19, 2024.

For additional information and assistance with the application process, please contact Melissa Bolyard at (301) 334-7285 or via email at mbolyard@garrettcountymd.gov, or Kim Durst at (301) 334-1992 or via email at kdurst@garrettcountymd.gov.

Posted 7/15/24

First United Bank & Trust is thrilled to announce the promotion of Amanda McKenzie to the position of Director of Human Resources. With 20 years of experience in both banking and human capital, Amanda brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her new role.

"Amanda is a driven professional who is dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of our associates," expressed Jason Rush. “I am confident that under Amanda's guidance, our human resources department will continue to thrive and contribute to the success of our community banking family.”

Having spent 20 years in banking, she brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her new role. As a graduate of the Maryland Banking School and Mayland Banking Emerging Leaders Program, she has proven herself as a dedicated and driven professional. Amanda also holds a SHRM-CP certification, demonstrating her commitment to staying up to date with the latest trends and best practices in human capital.

Amanda lives in Frostburg, MD with her husband, Matt, and their two daughters, Aubrey and Madison. During her spare time, she enjoys watching her daughters play sports, dedicating herself to volunteering in support of their endeavors and cherishing time with family and friends while enjoying outdoor activities. Amanda volunteers for the United Way of Allegany and Garrett County, Vice Chair of the Maryland Banker’s Benefits Alliance as well as the advisory committees of Pierpont Community and Technical College and the Maryland Bankers Association Women and Allies Conference.

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, and Monongalia Counties in West Virginia. First United’s website can be located at MyBank.com. As of 3/31/2024, the corporation posted assets of $1.9 billion.

GRMC welcomes Aster Berhane, MD, to Garrett Medical Group in LaVale

Posted 7/15/24

Dr. Berhane, specializing in internal and family medicine, is accepting new patients

LAVALE, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) welcomes Aster Berhane, MD, to WVU Medicine Garrett Medical Group in LaVale.

Dr. Berhane received her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, MI. She spent two years in an internal medicine residency program at Wayne, in the Detroit Medical Center. She obtained her undergraduate degree at Andrews University/Adventist University of East Africa, Kenya (affiliate university) in Berrien Springs, MI.

She brings more than 20 years of experience as an internal medicine and family practice physician.

Prior to arriving at GRMC, Dr. Berhane worked for the Department of Health and Human Services at Crow Northern Cheyenne Hospital in Crow Agency, MT as an internal medicine and family practice physician, providing care services to patients. She also worked for the Northern Cheyenne Service Unit/Indian Health Services in Lame Deer, MT as a primary care practitioner and medical officer.

As an internal medicine and primary care physician, Dr. Berhane provides comprehensive care to patients aged 16 and up. She is accepting new patients at the Garrett Medical Group’s LaVale office at 922 National Highway. To make an appointment, contact Garrett Medical Group’s LaVale office at 240-362-7294

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit www.wvumedicine.org/Garrett.

St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Parish Welcomes New Pastor

Posted 7/12/24

The Pastoral Council of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Parish of Garrett County (MD) is pleased to welcome Reverend William L. Keown as its new Pastor. Father Bill was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Baltimore by Archbishop William Lori at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, June 23, 2018.

A native of Kentucky, Father Bill served 20 years in the U.S. Navy as a translator of Russian and Arabic languages. His military career brought him to Maryland in 2007, and it was here that he began discerning the call to priesthood after his retirement from the Navy in 2009.

Father Bill is happy to be closer to home and looks forward to learning more about Garrett County and its people. To learn more about Father Bill and St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Parish visit garrettstpeter.com.

First United Retail Promotions

Posted 7/9/24

Jason Rush, the Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of First United Bank & Trust, is excited to announce the advancements within the retail banking division. Retail banking plays a vital role in our organization, extending far beyond mere transactions and numbers. Our purpose-driven approach empowers our bankers to make a significant difference in customers' lives, helping them achieve their financial objectives and positively impacting the community.

Our retail banking associates play a pivotal role in people's lives by providing them with the right, comprehensive financial solutions. With a strong focus on creating an uncommon customer experience, First United continually adapts to meet the evolving needs of our customers, communities, and shareholders. This commitment paves the way for our associates to grow and advance their careers through various opportunities.

“These promotions in our retail banking division are a cause for celebration. We recognize the hard work our associates have put in to make a meaningful impact on our customers' lives. I commend their passion and commitment to forging strong connections while also advancing their own professional journeys," expressed Rush.

Amy Law-Garner, Director of Branch Administration, is elated to nurture the immense talent in this area. With 30 years of experience at First United, having worked in retail banking and learning and development, Amy is ready to foster First United’s tradition of helping customers achieve their financial goals.

Nakisha Aviles-Broadnax, Regional Retail Manager, is dedicated to her community, guiding and mentoring the Frederick County team, and building strong relationships. With 15+ years in banking, Nakisha loves speaking at local schools to promote financial education for future generations.

Shannon Burker, Regional Retail Manager, is excited to lead and support the Berkeley County and Washington County teams. With over 20 years of banking experience, Shannon is also passionate about fostering music education and growth opportunities for middle and high school students.

Kimberley Harless, Regional Retail Manager, is passionate about collaborating with our Garrett County offices, customers, and helping to make connections throughout all areas of the county. Kimberley looks forward to helping the Garrett County team excel and supporting all Garrett County residents.

Donna Ryan, Regional Retail Manager, brings her 38 years of banking experience to the Allegany County team. She ensures customers enjoy the personalized touch of community banks while promoting the growth of First United associates. Donna is dedicated to supporting the community through volunteerism. Her passion for helping others and supporting local businesses drives her commitment, making a positive impact on both her team and the community.

Amy Clise, Community Office Manager, is actively involved supporting a variety of community organizations in the Allegany County area and is thrilled for the opportunity to foster the growth and learning of the associates in the Center City and Bel Air offices. Passionate about educating others on financial solutions, she remains a trusted advisor, personalizing the financial journey for each customer's unique needs.

Tina Rowe, Community Office Manager, is marking 18 years in retail banking. Tina loves assisting her customers in staying agile and adjusting to the ever-changing economy. Her greatest joy comes from helping her community flourish and meeting the needs of everyone, including pets.

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, and Monongalia Counties in West Virginia. First United’s website can be located at MyBank.com. As of 3/31/2024, the corporation posted assets of $1.9 billion.

GRMC Foundation Summer Soiree set for July 24th

Posted 7/9/24

2024 Summer Soiree to benefit Behavioral Health services in region

OAKLAND, MD – The Garrett Regional Medical Center Foundation is excited to announce the return of the hospital’s bi-annual Summer Soiree. This year’s event will be held on Wednesday, July 24, at Chanteclaire Farm.

The Summer Soiree was created in 2022 to be held on the off years of the hopsital’s Gala. The elegant evening will include a cocktail hour with live music, upscale dinner, and a scilent auction.

Event proceeds will support behavioral health services at GRMC’s Family Health and Wellness Center located at 69 Wolf Acres Drive in Oakland. Since opening in 2019, the demand for mental and behavioral health care and treatment at GRMC’s regional behavioral health center continues to climb. In 2023, the GRMC Foundation launched a campaign dedicated to behavioral health. The campaign seeks to enhance the existing facility space through renovation and/or expansion to better serve the needs of patients and the community.

Tickets are $150 each with tables of 6 avaible for $900 and can be purchased online at www.wvumedicine.org/grmcdonate.

For more information on event tickets, sponosrships or for making a donation to support the behavioral health campaign, contact Emily Tusing, GRMC Foundation Executive Director at 301-533-4178 or emily.tobin@wvumedicine.org.

GCCAC Approved to Provide Secondary Financing Assistance for Homebuyers

Posted 7/8/24

OAKLAND, Md., July 8, 2024 – Garrett County Community Action Committee Inc. (GCCAC) has been approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide secondary financing assistance to homebuyers utilizing FHA insurance on a first mortgage. This approval, effective June 21, 2024, represents a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to support homeownership in Garrett County.

The HUD approval allows GCCAC to offer secondary financing assistance with FHA-insured first mortgages. This initiative will enable us to better serve low- to moderate-income individuals and families in Garrett County, helping them achieve their dream of homeownership.

Kelly Bernard, GCCAC Asset Development Operations Manager, expressed her enthusiasm about this new opportunity: "Being approved to provide secondary financing assistance is a major milestone for our organization. It aligns perfectly with our mission to empower individuals and families in our community by providing essential support and resources. We are committed to addressing the housing needs in Garrett County, and this approval will enhance our ability to make a meaningful impact."

FHA is a low-down payment option for clients who might not have the best credit and/or have higher debt-to-income ratios. FHA requires borrowers to bring 3.5% of their own funds or use an approved Community Second program. GCCAC funds will be accessible to borrowers who aren’t able to meet the 3.5% required amount of their own funds.

The secondary financing program will adhere to several key guidelines to ensure compliance and effectiveness. We encourage anyone interested in learning more about the eligibility requirements and benefits of this program to reach out to our Asset Development team for detailed information and personalized assistance:

Kelly Bernard, Asset Development Operations Manager
Phone: (301) 334-9431 ext. 6012
Email: kbernard@garrettcac.org

GCCAC administers the Homeownership Education & Financing program with support from the Garrett County Board of Commissioners through the Pathway to Homeownership funding. The program covers essential topics such as budgets, credit analysis, debt-to-income ratios, lender underwriting criteria, real estate agent roles, predatory lending, benefits and responsibilities of homeownership, insurance products, mortgage products, inspection tips, purchase agreements, closing costs, and home maintenance.

Through the Pathway to Homeownership program, more than 500 individuals and families have achieved the milestone of homeownership with GCCAC’s support. GCCAC remains dedicated to improving the quality of life for people in need through comprehensive programs and collaborative efforts. We extend our gratitude to HUD for their trust and approval, enabling us to expand our support to homebuyers in our community.

About Garrett County Community Action Committee Inc.

Garrett County Community Action Committee Inc. (GCCAC) is a private, nonprofit corporation in Garrett County, Md., dedicated to improving the quality of life for people in need. The organization empowers individuals to become more self-sufficient and provides essential services in collaboration with community partners. GCCAC's initiatives span affordable housing, economic opportunities, educational programs, and family services to foster a stronger, more resilient community.

Naylor's Hardware Celebrates 140th Anniversary

Posted 7/8/24

In 1884 Alonzo D. Naylor purchased a blacksmith shop on Liberty Street in Oakland, Maryland and turned it into what would inevitably become A.D. Naylor & Co., Inc., dba Naylor's Hardware.

To celebrate its 140 years in business, Naylor's Hardware held an anniversary celebration on Saturday, June 29th, which included equipment demonstrations, food, and giveaways.

Garrett County Business Development, in partnership with the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, was in attendance and held a Milestone Commendation Ceremony, led by Garrett County's Business Development Specialist Connor Norman, during the celebration event.

“What an incredible privilege it is to celebrate 140 years of business in Garrett County,” said Norman. “The generational impact of this business can be felt in the very fabric of the community, and we thank you for your enduring presence and invaluable contributions to our home”

Local dignitaries in attendance included Senator Mike McKay, Delegate Jim Hinebaugh, Western Maryland Regional Engagement Officer Christy Butler from Comptroller Brook Lierman’s office, Business Development Manager Kim Durst, and Garrett County Chamber of Commerce President Andrew Fike.

Several commendations were presented, including a commendation from the Garrett County Commissioners.

“On behalf of the Maryland Senate, thank you so much for the hard work and the legacy you are upholding here,” said Senator McKay. “Here is the important part - many businesses around this state and around the country can’t say that they’ve been serving people for more than a century and still uphold quality values and commitment to service.”

Attendees congratulated Chris Naylor and the management team, expressing personal stories of their experiences at Naylor's over the years.

“I can remember when the store was off Liberty Street back when you had store credit. I can remember as a kid buying my first bike there,” said Delegate Hinebaugh. “When you walk in Naylor's, the staff doesn’t scatter, they walk up to you and greet you. The customer service sets you guys apart and is a testament to the legacy of A. D. Naylor.”

To learn more about Naylor's Hardware, stop by their location at 32 South Third Street, Oakland, or visit the company's website.

Garrett Regional Orthopaedics joins Garrett Regional Medical Center

Posted 7/8/24

GRMC welcomes Dona Alvarez MD and staff

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) is pleased to announce that Dona Alvarez MD and her practice, Garrett Regional Orthopaedics – formerly known as Garrett County Orthopaedics - recently joined WVU Medicine Garrett Regional Medical Center.

Dona Alvarez, MD, Todd Feathers, MD and H. John Park, MD, are now part of the preferred provider network of the WVU Health System.

“Dr. Alvarez has established a lifelong legacy in providing exceptional and personalized orthopaedic care in Garrett County and the surrounding region,” stated Mark Boucot, President and CEO of GRMC and Potomac Valley Hospital. “We are thrilled to have Dr. Alvarez and her team as part of the employed physicians at GRMC. The staff at Garrett Regional Orthopedics are committed to providing compassionate and quality care, making them a perfect fit with our mission of treating our patients like family.”

Dona Alvarez MD is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon who grew up in Oakland. She graduated from West Virginia University and completed her medical training there as well before starting orthopaedic services at GRMC in 1989. She joined her father, Joseph Alvarez MD, the first general surgeon in Garrett County.

Alvarez has diverse experience with the practice of orthopaedics. Her practice involves a wide range of specialized care including joint replacement surgery, joint arthroscopy, rotator cuff repair, carpal tunnel release, and treatment of trauma/fractures.
A Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, she is also a member of the American Medical Association. She volunteers in numerous areas such as the Garrett County Animal Issues Advisory Commission, Garrett Countians for Smart Growth, and Central American Medical Outreach (CAMO).

Patients' primary care physicians can contact Garrett Regional Orthopaedics to refer patients for appointments. Existing patients can contact Garrett Regional Orthopaedics directly for any other patient-related inquires at 301-334-1034.

For more information on Garrett Regional Medical Center, visit www.wvumedicine.org/Garrett.

COMMUNITY TRUST FOUNDATION AWARDS GRANT TO HART FOR ANIMALS

Posted 7/1/24

On June 5, 2024, HART for Animals was awarded a Community Trust Foundation grant for HARTHelp, HART’s low-cost spay/neuter program for pets in low-income households. The $5,100 donation was funded through CTF’s Ray and Brenda Morriss Community Fund, Frank and Linda Lancelotta Animal Welfare Fund, and the Fund for Garrett County.

“We are so grateful to CTF and the Funds that awarded us this grant,” says Paula Yudelevit, Executive Director of HART. “HARTHelp impacts the lives of people in our community by providing low-cost services to pets in households who cannot afford the cost of spaying and neutering. This reduces the number of unwanted dogs and cats in our shelter and decreases the rate of euthanasia of healthy animals.”

HARTHelp pays for a portion of a pet owner's spay/neuter surgeries and, if needed, provides a rabies vaccine. As of May 2024, HART has performed 9,496 low-cost spay/neuters since the program started in 2009.

The Community Trust Foundation was founded in 2006 and has provided over $6 million in scholarships and grants to non-profit organizations in support of education, culture, and wellness in the tri-county area of Allegany, Garrett, and Mineral Counties.

The Foundation works in partnership with donors and community groups to make effective grants to help build better, stronger, more vibrant communities in the region, with a mission to strengthen and improve the quality of life in the three counties.

For additional information on HART, the HART Animal Center, or any of its programs, or to donate, visit the HART website at hartforanimals.org

Grantsville Medical Center to offer walk-in appointments starting July 1

Posted 7/1/24

Oakland, Md. – As of July 1, 2024, Grantsville Medical Center will offer walk-in appointments and services for patients of all ages Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Grantsville’s three providers – Luis R. Colon-Mulero MD, FABFM, Hannah Metz FNP/CRNP, and Amber Sines FNP/CRNP - and staff provide comprehensive and compassionate primary care services and treatment to all members of the family.

The state-of-the-art- 5,500 square foot facility is in the Northern Garrett Industrial Park, next to Total Biz Fulfillment in Grantsville. Grantsville has exam and procedure rooms equipped with radiography and laboratory areas allowing for onsite X-ray and blood draws.
Appointments do not need to be scheduled ahead of time for walk-in services and treatment.

Patients are encouraged to utilize walk-in services for the following common conditions: cold and flu symptoms, strep, pink eye, rashes, sinus and urinary tract infections, injuries, lacerations, and sports and DOT physicals.
For more information on Grantsville Medical Center, contact 301-895-8750.

Jennifer Hare Appointed Interim Health Officer for Garrett County

Posted 6/27/24

May 27, 2024, Oakland, MD – Laura Herrera Scott, MD, MPH, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health, has approved the appointment of Jennifer Hare as the Interim Health Officer for Garrett County, effective June 29, 2024. Ms. Hare's interim role will continue pending the completion of the recruitment process.

Ms. Hare was nominated by the Board of Garrett County Commissioners as Acting Health Officer following the retirement of Robert Stephens. Ms. Hare will direct and administer all aspects of activities and operations of Garrett County Health Department. This role includes establishing and overseeing overall policies and procedures, program goals and plans, as well as personnel and financial resources.

Ms. Hare will also collaborate closely with the Maryland Department of Health and local organizations to safeguard the health and well-being of Garrett County residents. She assumes all powers and responsibilities of a Health Officer as prescribed by law and delegated by the Secretary of Health.

"We were pleased to nominate Jennifer Hare for the position of Interim Health Officer for Garrett County," stated County Commissioner Ryan Savage. "Her expertise and dedication will ensure continuity in our efforts to uphold public health standards here in Garrett County."

Garrett County Health Department remains committed to its mission of promoting and protecting the health of its residents through ongoing partnerships and proactive health initiatives.

For further information or inquiries, please contact Maryland Department of Health Chief of Staff Erin McMullen at 410-767-1036 or Erin.McMullen1@maryland.gov.

Public Notice: Statement of Activities for Housing Preservation Grant (HPG)

Posted 6/27/24

OAKLAND, Md., June 27, 2024 – Garrett County Community Action Committee Inc. (GCCAC) is preparing to apply for the Section 533 Housing Preservation Grant (HPG) from the Rural Housing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture for Fiscal Year 2024. In accordance with the grant application requirements, GCCAC is making its Statement of Activities available for public review and comment.

GCCAC will be applying for a Housing Preservation Grant of $44,852.50 to assist low-income homeowners in Garrett County with essential home repairs. GCCAC operates in strict accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Law, which prohibits discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

We encourage all interested parties to participate in this public comment period to help shape the future of housing preservation efforts in Garrett County.

For more information regarding the submission or activities related to this Housing Preservation Grant, please contact:

Shawnee Reynolds
Director of Service Coordination and Asset Development
Phone: (301) 334-9431 ext. 6113
Email: sreynolds@garrettcac.org

Your feedback and participation are crucial as we continue to strengthen our community through essential housing initiatives.

About Garrett County Community Action Committee

Garrett County Community Action Committee Inc. (GCCAC) is a private, nonprofit corporation in Garrett County, Md., dedicated to improving the quality of life for people in need. The organization empowers individuals to become more self-sufficient and provides essential services in collaboration with community partners. GCCAC's initiatives span affordable housing, economic opportunities, educational programs, and family services to foster a stronger, more resilient community.

Mark Boucot presented national award

Posted 6/26/24

Mark Boucot, President and CEO of Garrett Regional Medical Center and Potomac Valley Hospital, was presented the American Hospital Association Grassroots Champion Award for Maryland at the Maryland Hospital Association’s Annual Reception June 10th.

Each year the American Hospital Association (AHA) recognizes one hospital leader in each state who most effectively educates state and national elected officials on major issues affecting hospitals’ vital role in the community, who have done an exemplary job broadening community support for their hospital, and who are tireless advocates for hospitals and their patients.

In presenting him the esteemed award, the American Hospital Association noted Mr. Boucot’s tireless advocacy for national legislation making it a felony to attack healthcare workers on the job. In February of this year, Mr. Boucot travelled to Washington, DC, to testify at a briefing on Capitol Hill regarding the Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees (SAVE) Act. The American Hospital Association and American College of Emergency Physicians cohosted the briefing.

The briefing was attended by over 100 House and Senate staffers. Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate regarding the bill; those Republicans and Democrats sponsoring the bill hope to achieve passage in both arms of Congress before the end of the year.

During his testimony at the briefing, Mr. Boucot noted that workplace violence occurs in rural hospitals as well as those in more urban areas, and stated that violence has no place in a healthcare setting.

“People who work in our hospitals don’t want to dwell on the potential for violence that they live with everyday," he said. "They would rather focus on the care they’re providing their patients, and the challenge a particular patient’s condition may present. I think the intensity of caring for people who may be seriously ill coupled with the fact that we treat everyone who walks through the door, regardless, has created a sense of acceptance that the potential for violence is just part of the job. It really shouldn't be that way – our health care workers deserve to be safe. The proposed legislation will help accomplish that.”

The American Hospital Association represents nearly 5,000 hospitals and health care systems as well as 43,000 individual members who work in the healthcare industry. AHA is active in addressing national health policy development and legislative and regulatory issues. It also monitors judicial matters that may impact healthcare.
Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends.

First United Bank & Trust appoints Julie Peterson as Chief Credit Officer

Posted 6/25/24

Carissa Rodeheaver, Chief Executive Officer, President, and Chairman of the Board for First United Bank & Trust is pleased to announce that Julie Peterson has been named as Chief Credit Officer. As the Chief Credit Officer, Julie holds direct responsibility for managing and overseeing the asset quality divisions within the bank, including Credit Quality, Lending Risk Monitoring, Commercial Documentation, Special Assets, and Other Real Estate Owned Divisions.

Julie is a highly experienced banking professional with 33 years of dedicated service. Throughout her career, she has consistently provided exceptional customer service, fostering strong relationships. Julie is well-versed in underwriting guidelines, loan structuring, and pricing models. With a proven track record of handling highly confidential personal and financial information with utmost sensitivity, Julie thrives in this fast-paced financial environment.

According to Carissa Rodeheaver, “We are excited to announce that Julie has joined our executive management team. This achievement reflects Julie's dedication and hard work at First United, showcasing our commitment to nurturing talent. Julie's expertise in our Company's asset quality will be invaluable as we navigate the ever-changing financial landscape. Her knowledge and leadership will continue to help guide us through these uncertain times, ensuring our ongoing success and stability."

Julie's educational achievements include attending institutions such as the Advanced School of Bank Management at the University of Maryland, the ABA Schools of Commercial Lending, the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University, Maryland Banking School, and the Dunn & Bradstreet Advanced Credit and Financial Analysis course.

Julie resides in Oakland, MD with her husband Ed and their son Charlie. She actively participates in various community activities, serving as a State Lottery Terminal (SLoT) Fund Committee Board Member, SGAA Parent Representative, member of the Loch Lynn Church of God, member of the Loch Lynn Church of God Worship Team and member of the Elk's Lodge.

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, and Monongalia Counties in West Virginia. First United’s website can be located at MyBank.com. As of 3/31/2024, the corporation posted assets of $1.9 billion.

Garrett County Community Action Committee Hosts LEAD Maryland Class XIII

Posted 6/25/24

OAKLAND, Md., June 24, 2024 – Garrett County Community Action Committee Inc. (GCCAC) hosted the LEAD Maryland Class XIII on Tuesday, June 11, marking their return to our organization after a two-year hiatus. This visit was a continuation of a valued tradition of sharing insights and engaging in discussions about our services and the policies we advocate for in our community.

Our president, Chris Mullett, along with several members of our leadership team, had the privilege of discussing the comprehensive support services we offer to individuals, families, and seniors throughout Garrett County. The day's session began with a warm welcome and a selfie moment with Chris Mullett, capturing the enthusiasm and readiness for the meaningful exchange that followed.

During the visit, the LEAD Maryland class participated in a series of presentations by our leadership team, followed by an engaging panel discussion. These sessions provided an in-depth look into our organization's efforts and achievements in the community. The discussion centered on the diverse services we provide, the policies we support, and the collaborative efforts we undertake to address community needs.

In addition to the presentations and panel discussion, the class visited one of our housing development projects. This tour highlighted the challenges we face in meeting the housing needs of Garrett County and underscored our ongoing partnerships with the county and municipalities to support housing initiatives. The visit provided a firsthand look at our continued work to provide housing solutions for our residents.

Chris Mullett spoke passionately about the organization's commitment to addressing the conditions of poverty and emphasized the necessity of tackling the root causes of poverty. He stressed the importance of collaborative efforts at the local, state, and federal levels to create lasting change and support the well-being of our community.

"We are inspired by the passion and commitment to leadership demonstrated by the LEAD Maryland Class XIII," said Chris Mullett. "Their eagerness to learn about our work and their dedication to making a difference are truly commendable. We look forward to continuing this partnership and working together to build a stronger, more supportive community."

Garrett County Community Action remains dedicated to making a difference in the lives of individuals and families in our community. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the LEAD Maryland class for their engagement and commitment to leadership and community service.

Grantsville Lions Club 47th annual Grantsville Days, June 28th -30th

Posted 6/18/24

The Grantsville Lions Club is bringing the largest group of entertainment to Grantsville Days in their 47-year History!
On Friday night , all the way from Nashville we are featuring Tyler Reese Tritt beginning at 8 PM . Inspired by her father, country artist Travis Tritt, Tyler Reese Tritt has ventured into her own path in the country music industry. Tyler Reese Tritt is a Nashville-based country artist whose career has been fueled by her passion for music and her exceptional vocal prowess. In 2023 Tyler experienced a breakout year . She kicked off the year with the release of “ Porch Light”, which the video constantly airs on the County Network and streaming on CMT.

Saturday will bring The Amish Outlaws to the stage beginning at 7:30 PM . The Amish Outlaws are an American cover band from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The band was formed in 2002 and is composed of three ex-Amish and three "honorary Amish" musicians. .There is no “typical” Amish Outlaws show, but the crowd can expect to see men in full Amish garb releasing all of their pent-up energy with an infectious joy. With a set that is always evolving as the brothers discover more and more music and culture, The Amish Outlaws constantly surprise the audience and keep them guessing as to what they could possibly play next, from Judas Priest to Jay Z, Neil Diamond to Snopp Dogg and Dr. Dre, Queen and Twisted Sister, to theme songs from the TV shows they have come to know. Throughout, The Outlaws spin yarns about the brothers’ upbringing and adventures since Rumspringa. Amish Outlaw gigs are less performances than they are initiations into the life of an Amish Outlaw and parties celebrating the brothers’ newfound freedom.

Also Saturday afternoon beginning at 12 noon , American Idol Contestant Christian Evans ., a singer and guitarist, who was selected to perform for American Idol , will be performing at the Gazebo . Christian plays guitar and sings country and bluegrass.

Other events for this fantastic weekend will include The Grantsville Lions Club Beer Garden , The Friday Night Fireman’s Parade and of course Grantsville Largest Firework Show at 10 PM . Saturday will feature over 100 food and craft venders , games and the Grantsville Lions Club Famous Kettle Corn and Barbecue Chicken Dinners. Sunday will feature Christian Music , a classic car show , a little league tournament and of course the Lions Club Chicken and Kettle Corn. All events except food are free to the public. So, bring you folding chair and join us for a great weekend. 100% of the proceeds from the weekend go to support the Grantsville Lions Club Community projects.

Garrett County Chamber of Commerce Releases 2023-2024 Annual Report

Posted 6/11/24

McHenry, MD – The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce has released its 2023-2024 Annual Report that highlights its efforts 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 release of the report coincides with the Chamber’s Annual Membership Meeting & Dinner held at Brodak’s Banquet Hall on Thursday, June 6.

The Fiscal Year proved a fruitful and innovative one for the Chamber, evidenced by the record 69 new businesses and organizations to join as members. Over the past 12 months the Chamber hosted nearly 1,650 attendees at various events including old favorites such as the Economic Forecast Business Before Hours, presented by R. Andrew Bauer, Senior Regional Economist and Deputy Regional Executive at the Baltimore Branch of the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank.

As a companion to the annual Legislative Wrap-Up Business Before Hours the Chamber held its first ever Pre-Legislative Forum, presented by Senator Mike McKay and Delegate Jim Hinebaugh. The Chamber hosted a Lunch N Learn session featuring lobbyist Mike O’Halloran for “Business Advocacy Tips” as well as organized special seminars to educate employers about the legalization of recreational cannabis and also for the launch of the state’s new tax portal, Maryland Tax Connect. Continuing on the business advocacy front, the Chamber reviewed 2,728 pieces of legislation, tracked 30 bills during the 2024 session of the Maryland General Assembly, worked closely with Mike O’Halloran to effectively influence legislation.

The Chamber engaged in a series of community initiatives. Early in the year the Chamber partnered with Sunrise Sanitation Services, D’s Eats food trailer, and Kona Ice of Garrett & Allegany Counties to host a Community Shred Day event, raising awareness and promoting privacy protection by offering free and secure onsite shred services. Recently the Chamber helped 28 locals acquire high-quality headshots, elevating their personal profile at a steep discount by conducting a Professional Headshot Day event in cooperation with Smoke N Mirrors Photography. The biggest community impact came when the Chamber partnered with Special Olympics Maryland to hold the first ever Community Dunk event where 56 participants and 181 donors raised raising nearly $16,000 to benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Garrett County.

“I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the continued hard work our Chamber staff strives to deliver for our business owners and organizations,” said Chamber President Andrew Fike. “The large increase of new businesses joining the Chamber this past year as well as the increase in engagement of attendees at our Chamber functions is a true testament to our message and efforts to better serve our business community.”

The Chamber partnered with the Garrett County Department of Business Development to hold ribbon cutting ceremonies to celebrate the grand openings of 9 new businesses in the county. In an effort to help alleviate workforce challenges faced by local businesses the Chamber continued working with Garrett County Public Schools and presented Work Ethic Diplomas to 60 students from the graduating Class of 2024. The Chamber’s 20-year partnership with Usource, formerly called Premier Power, saved participating members around $400,000 on their electric bills in the past year. Fiscal Year 24 also saw the reemergence of the Chamber Trip program which has been dormant since COVID shutdown international travel in 2020.

The Chamber’s tourism promotional efforts continue to be very successful. Through March, FY24 Garrett County accommodations collections are a 59% increase over FY19, the last normal year before the pandemic. Through May, visits to the Chamber’s website, visitdeepcreek.com, are up 40.6% over last fiscal. Guests to the Visitors Center in McHenry increased 3.1% in 2023 over 2022 and through April, an impressive 40.7% of FY24 guests to the Visitors Center report seeing Chamber advertising. Through March, Garrett County & Deep Creek Lake Visitor Guide requests have increased 9.7% over 2023 and 2023 requests were up 10.6% over 2022. The Chamber’s Garrett County Small Town Trail promotion won the Maximizing Opportunities Award from the Maryland Office of Tourism in November 2023 and a significant advertising push has been made in local and drive markets to promote Garrett County’s small towns.

“We are excited to see continued positive growth in several key tourism metrics over the last year,” said Sarah Duck, Vice President of Tourism & Marketing. “We have confidence in our marketing strategies and these stats validate that our efforts are effective and yielding strong results for our community. We are also pleased our Small Town Trail has been so well received by visitors and that our guests have enjoyed our towns’ unique attractions, shops, activities and sights.”

The Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area, managed by the Chamber, received applications for 10 mini-grants and awarded 9 of them for a cumulative $25,000. The Heritage Area updated its 5-year plan, revamped the Heritage magazine, ordered an educational kiosk for the Visitors Center and a portable kiosk with a supplemental grant, established an annual heritage preservation award, and promoted the “National Road” collector coin at various local festivals.

Garrett County Planning for Future Landfill Needs

Posted 6/5/24

June 5, 2024, Oakland, MD – The Garrett County Government has outlined comprehensive plans for future waste management and landfill capacity, addressing current challenges and projecting future needs. As part of these plans, the county is evaluating options to ensure sustainable and cost-effective waste disposal methods.

The current landfill capacity stands at 1,228,879 permitted tons, with 875,138 tons already in use, leaving less than eight years of remaining capacity. This pressing timeline has necessitated a detailed analysis of cost centers where the expenses and revenues of the six collection sites and the landfill have been meticulously tracked.

In comparing current landfill expansion costs within Garrett County to those of neighboring regions, it is evident that Garrett County offers more competitive rates and more convenient locations for waste disposal. Allegany County, for example, charges a residential $2.00 per bag rate with only two disposal site options. A comparable pricing structure would cost the average Garrett County resident family well over $200/year.

Over the Fiscal Year 2023 period, site expenses have varied across locations between $68,529.09 and $118,817.17, while revenues have ranged from $43,928.49 to $109,038.13. Unfortunately, these collection sites are operated at an overall loss. Despite sticker and additional revenues, the total waste management program loss is $32,589.

Looking to the future, Garrett County faces two primary options for waste management after the current landfill reaches capacity. The first option involves constructing new landfill cells at the current site. And the second option is to build a transfer station and haul the trash to neighboring West Virginia.

Upon an assessment, the Garrett County Government finance team recommends proceeding with the construction of new landfill cells. Additionally, to support the financial viability of waste management programs, it is proposed to raise the scale rate for all materials to the landfill from $50 to $62.50 per ton and to increase permit fees from $75 to $85 per year. These adjustments aim to just cover existing expenses and prepare for the future cells.

“Waste management in Garrett County is at a critical juncture. With less than eight years of landfill capacity remaining, our focus is on planning,” said Pat Kight, Director, Garrett County Solid Waste and Recycling Division. “It will be an expensive and long process to close the existing landfill and open new cells but we feel this plan ensures a responsible waste management plan while minimizing financial impacts on our residents.”

The financial projections for these initiatives are promising. For collection sites, total permit revenue is expected to reach $590,750 against site expenses of $578,524, resulting in a modest profit of $12,226. For landfill scales, projected revenues of $1,850,000 will slightly undercut expenses of $1,853,449, leading to a minor loss of $3,449.

The Garrett County Government encourages residents to review these figures and provide feedback. Comments can be submitted via email to comments@garrettcountymd.gov.

GRMC to offer wellness blood screenings in June in Oakland, Grantsville

Posted 6/3/24

Appointments are required in advance

OAKLAND, Md. – Garrett Regional Medical Center will be offering wellness blood screenings for community members on June 12, 19 and 26 from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m. at the Pythian Avenue location in Oakland by appointment only. An additional blood screening will be held on June 13 at Grantsville Medical Center in Grantsville at the same time.

The blood screening will be $70. 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.

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