Garrett Regional Medical Center Radiology Service has been awarded the gold seal of accreditation in all of its Radiology modalities from the American College of Radiology (ACR).  The last three modalities to be accredited were ultrasound imaging, nuclear medicine and computerized tomography (CT).  MRI and mammography were already accredited. 

The ACR gold seal of accreditation represent the highest level of image quality, assuring patient safety.  It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards after a peer evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the Imaging field.  Image quality, personnel qualifications, capability of facility equipment, quality control procedures, and quality assurance programs are assessed and the findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Accreditation.  The ACR provides the hospital Radiology Department with a comprehensive report that the hospital then subsequently uses for continuous improvement.

Mark Boucot, GRMC President and CEO explained, “The ACR standards for accreditation are a stringent set of criteria that the Radiology department has to follow in order to achieve this status. The accreditation is not a regulatory requirement, but it’s important for the community to know that we provide high quality care and diagnosis for our patients.  We established the goal of accreditation to use as an evidence-based framework as we strive to provide the highest quality care.”

The ACR is a national professional organization serving more than 36,000 diagnostic/interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.

Hunter Education Field Day Workshops to be Held at New Germany

New Germany State Park will be hosting Maryland Hunter Education Field Day Workshops on September 23, October 15, and December 15, 2015.  These classes are for first-time hunters obtaining their hunter education certification.  All students must be at least 13 years old and must complete the online Maryland Hunter Education Course prior to attending a workshop.  The online course is available at Register-ed.comAfter completing the online course, students must pre-register for a Field Day Workshop online.  The workshops are free of charge and will take place at the New Germany Lake House from 9:30 am – 3:00 pm.  Students must bring their internet voucher and a photo ID with them to the workshop.  Those with questions about the course are encouraged to visit the website or email Donald.Simmons@Maryland.gov.

Intro to Essential Oils Class Scheduled at GC

 Garrett College Continuing Education and Workforce Development will be offering a course, Introduction to Essential Oils and How to Use Them, at the College’s Northern Outreach Center in Grantsville. Classes will be held on Mondays, September 14 and 21, 6-9:15 p.m. 

 Often referred to as nature's living energy or the very essence of a plant, essential oils are aromatic liquids derived from shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, and seeds. Research shows that when used aromatically, applied topically, or taken internally, therapeutic oils can calm, energize, balance, purify, and rejuvenate the mind and body. Calming, stimulating, and soothing, oils bring balance to all systems of the body. Register and learn the history, chemistry, uses of, and how to select oils that are right for you and your health. The course is being taught by Jeannie Kemphfer, a doTERRA Wellness Advocate from Aurora, W.Va. She became interested in essential oils when presented with the idea of natural pain relief without side effects. Kemphfer and her associates will have oil samples and explanatory pamphlets for demonstration. They will discuss the scientific studies behind these completely organic oils, as well as the emotional connection involved.

For more information on this course, persons may contact Terry Beachy at 301-895-4700 or terry.beachy@garrettcollege.edu. To register for this course, contact Continuing Education and Workforce Development at 301-387-3069.

Saving Seeds for the Next Season to be offered at GC

Garrett College in coordination with the University of Maryland Extension is sponsoring a one-session course, Saving Seeds for the Next Season, at the Northern Outreach Center in Grantsville. Class will be held on September 2, 1-3 p.m. 

Learn some basic genetic information and what qualities one should look for in plant seeds if you want to save seeds for the future by attending this class. Basic seed saving techniques will be discussed and some easy plants to start with for guaranteed success.

The course is being instructed by Ashley Bodkins who received her B.S. degree in Agronomy from WVU and an A.A. degree in Horticulture from Potomac State College.  She works for the University of Maryland Extension where she answers home horticulture questions and coordinates the Maryland Master Gardener Program for Garrett County. The University of Maryland Extension programs are open to any person and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, and gender identity or expression. Anyone with a disability that requires special assistance for participation in the program should contact the extension office at 301-334-6960.

For more information on this course persons may contact Terry Beachy at 301-895-4700 or terry.beachy@garrettcollege.edu. To register for this course, contact Continuing Education and Workforce Development at 301-387-3069.

Chamber Hosts Next Business After Hours at First Peoples on September 10, 2015

The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that First Peoples Community Federal Credit Union will be hosting our next Business After Hours on Thursday, September 10 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at their 12599 Garrett Highway location in Oakland. Enjoy delicious food and mingle with fellow Chamber members and Chamber staff at our monthly networking event.  Don’t forget your business card to enter to win prizes.

Overflow parking for this event will be available at neighboring Green Acres Flower Basket.

First Peoples Community Federal Credit Union is a member-owned cooperative committed to meeting the ongoing financial needs of its members. First Peoples serves any persons who live or work in Allegany County, Maryland, Garrett County, Maryland, Somerset County, Pennsylvania or Mineral County, West Virginia.

The cost to attend the Business After Hours is $6.00 for members paid in advance and $10 for non-members and members paying at the door. Register online at visitdeepcreek.com or contact Holly Lane via email at holly@garrettchamber.com  or call 301.387.6171.


GCMH Announces Name Change

Garrett County Memorial Hospital is changing its name to Garrett Regional Medical Center and is moving forward with a clinical affiliation with WVU Medicine, the newly branded name for the Health System of West Virginia University. The new logo for Garrett Regional Medical Center will include a tagline, “A proud affiliate of WVU Medicine”, as WVU will be bringing specialty services to the Garrett Region.  Both organizations are equally important to each other as partners in developing healthcare services for the region.

The Hospital Board of Governors passed the resolution to change the name from Garrett County Memorial Hospital to Garrett Regional Medical Center because the new name is more reflective of the regional community that Garrett serves. Of the roughly 20,000 visits to the emergency department each year, 9,000 of those are from residents outside the county. Similar percentages hold true for inpatient care, orthopedics, and general surgeries performed at Garrett. “During the strategic planning process, we reviewed a lot of data that showed we draw patients to Garrett from all over the region, not just Garrett County, and not just Maryland, but West Virginia and Pennsylvania” stated Henrietta Lease, chair of the hospital strategic planning committee of the Board of Governors.

“This is an exciting time of growth and execution of specialty services,” said Mark Boucot, President and CEO. “The initial goals of Garrett’s clinical affiliation with WV Medicine are to implement Cancer Care and Infusion Services locally beginning in January of 2016; to increase access to specialty physicians locally in our community so people do not have to travel far distances for needed healthcare services; and to implement telemedicine access in our hospital to specialty physician consults, with an immediate focus on neurology for stroke care and tele-psychiatry.” 

Peggy Jamison, chairman of Garrett’s Board of Governors explained the unique relationship with WVU Medicine: “Garrett will be the only hospital affiliated to WVU Medicine that remains independent, rather than being acquired through merger or affiliation. The Garrett Board of Governors remains as the independent leadership team that will govern the Hospital and the Medical Staff will remain independent.”  She continued to explain, “the CEO position of Garrett will be a participating member of the senior leadership team for WVU to assure that Garrett’s interests are represented throughout the process of growth and expansion of hospital services.”

The rebranding effort for Garrett is also timely as the hospital has recruited more specialists to the community including the first medical surgical gynecologist in the region in many years, Dr. Abby Feathers; a new pediatrician that joined Wellspring Family Practice, Dr. Stephanie Sisler; a new orthopedic surgeon that joined Garett County Orthopedics, Dr. Todd Feathers; and two Anesthesiologists, Dr. Barbara Leighton and Dr. Marc Kirshner.  Recruitment is also underway for a hematologist-oncologist that will be the medical director of the Cancer Center, and other specialists that will join the medical staff. 

CEO Mark Boucot stated, “Our whole team is excited for everything to come together; the great doctors we already have; the new doctors here and coming; construction and renovations; and now the relationship with the only academic medical center in the region, WVU.  It’s important to realize that the name change denotes the incredible pride and conviction that our hospital is truly a great organization with a brilliant future ahead; and that our sphere of influence for patient care is much more expansive than Garrett County. But in the end, it’s the tremendous work of our doctors, nurses, employees and volunteers that make our hospital great!”


Maryland Public Television (MPT) Focuses on Garrett College Adventure Sports Program

 Maryland Public Television (MPT) camera and crew were on site in Garrett County, videotaping activities involving the Garrett College Adventuresports Institute in an effort to produce a segment for their ‘Outdoors Maryland’ series, focusing on adventure sports and the College’s efforts to train and credential a workforce in support of the adventure recreation industry. The segment will be aired sometime this fall. An exact date has yet to be determined.

 Among the sessions being taped included the institute’s Transition Age Youth (TAY) program working with area middle and high school youth in rock climbing, mountain biking, and trail hiking at Fork Run Recreation Area; Garrett College students being trained in team building and group leadership dynamics on the college’s challenge course; and whitewater kayak learners being taught basic kayaking skills on the currents of the Adventure Sports Center International’s whitewater course.

 This MPT Outdoors Maryland segment highlighting adventure sports and the education of a supporting workforce comes on the heels of Garrett College and Frostburg State University kicking off the first year of their cooperatively offered first-of-its-kind in the nation bachelor’s degree in Adventure Sports Management – a degree program that will be physically housed on Garrett’s campus, thus making convenient access to the natural resources and venues required to conduct the program’s numerous field courses.

 For more information about Garrett College’s Adventuresports Institute or Frostburg State University’s bachelor’s degree in Adventure Sports Management, persons may contact 301-387-3330, email adventuresports@garrettcollege.edu or visit online at www.adventuresportsi.org.



Accident Dome 2.0 Public Health & Natural Gas Infrastructure

Engage Mountain Maryland will be hosting a follow-up presentation and dialogue in Accident, MD titled THE ACCIDENT DOME 2.0, Public Health & Natural Gas Infrastructure: Community Discussion. This special public meeting will focus on community engagement and exchange.

At a June 23 general informational meeting, “ABOVE & UNDER THE ACCIDENT DOME”, citizens expressed concern about health effects related to hazardous air emissions at compressor stations, including the Accident facilities and storage field. At this September 1 meeting, known health problems associated with these air emissions will be reviewed. Additionally, citizens will learn about monitoring for air quality and noise and how they may become involved in safeguarding community health.

Two guest speakers will open the program. Michael McCawley, Phd, will outline air emissions and air monitoring pertaining to the community. Dr. McCawley is currently serving as the Interim Chair for the Dept. of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences at West Virginia University School of Public Health. The second presentation will be from Meleah Boyle, MPH from the University of Maryland’s Institute for Applied Environmental Health (MIAEH). She’ll be addressing monitoring and assessment of residential exposure to noise associated with natural gas compressor stations in West Virginia.  Both presentations will be followed by Q&A breakout sessions allowing guests to learn more from both Dr. McCawley and Ms. Boyle. Breakout sessions will include more in-depth discussions on Health Concerns, Citizen-Scientist Volunteer Air & Noise monitoring, and "Fracking 101” to including infrastructure and pipeline. This is a great opportunity to learn and share information about very important issues concerning public health.

This public meeting will be held at the Career Technology Training Center on Tuesday, September 1st from 7:00PM - 9:00PM. All residents are encouraged to attend to learn more about how they can become more involved in protecting their own health and what they can do to improve existing monitoring of the Accident Dome facility.

For more information you can email EngageMountainMaryland@gmail.com, visit www.engagemmd.org or join us on Facebook at Engage Mountain Maryland. Engage Mountain Maryland is a citizen based alliance who seeks mindful growth of our socio-economic position, to ensure the future stability of our unique heritage and quality of life.

Dog Obedience Training to be offered in Accident

Garrett College’s Continuing Education and Workforce Development Division will be offering a dog obedience course at the Career and Technology Training Center in Accident on Tuesdays, September 8 to October 13, with two timeslots available: 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. or 7:30 to 8:15 p.m. This class provides new and experienced dog owners the necessary training that dogs need for good manners at home and in public, particularly when meeting new people and dogs. Instruction will be given in polite walking on a leash, sit, down, stay, recalls and help with behavior problems. The basic dog obedience class also lays the foundation for handlers who may want to take the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. Dogs must be six months old. Please note, dogs do NOT attend the first class on September 8. Thus, handlers only. Class size is limited.

The course is being taught by local resident, Barbara Glover. From a very early age, Glover has always had a passion for working with dogs, not just having pets, but for what she could teach them to do.  She has trained dogs to compete in obedience, agility, rally, dock diving and some field work.  One of her most memorable experiences was teaching her lab/chessie mix to do blind (directed) retrieves, then taking her to South Dakota to watch her do what came naturally.....hunt pheasants.  Dusty, her dog, sure made her proud when other hunters would ask me how I trained her to take direction to find something that she didn't know was there. Glover’s present teammate, Qwick, earned 9 AKC obedience and agility competition titles in 2013.

For additional information contact, Terry Beachy, Northern Outreach Center Coordinator by calling 301-895-4700 or via email at terry.beachy@garrettcollege.edu . To register for this course, contact the Continuing Education and Workforce Development Division at 301-387-3069

Ruth Enlow Library Hosts Program with the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Maryland Chapter

The Ruth Enlow Library will host a book reading and discussion of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias, presented by the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Maryland Chapter on Monday, September 14, from 6 – 7 p.m. at the Oakland Library. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is requested by calling Donna Fost at 301-746-7145 or emailing dfost@alz.org

Fost, a licensed clinical social worker, will facilitate the event. After 30 years in her career as an administrator and social worker, she now is pursuing her passion to educate and work with her Garrett County community regarding the resources available from the Alzheimer’s Association.

The event also will feature local readers Monty and Nancy Pagenhardt, Diane Donham, and Joanne Harsh. Chicken Soup for the Soul comprises essays, stories, and poems from people living with Alzheimer's or another dementia, caregivers, and affected friends and family members. Its aim is to help raise awareness of the Alzheimer’s epidemic and comfort those impacted by the disease.

“Chicken Soup for the Soul has a reputation for publishing inspirational and extraordinary stories,” said Cass Naugle, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Maryland Chapter. “We are thrilled to have been able to collaborate with them to highlight the voices of those who are affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

“Alzheimer’s disease is the nation’s sixth leading cause of death and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the U.S. without a way to prevent, cure, or even slow its progression. In 2015, over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and cared for by 15.5 million caregivers,” noted the Alzheimer’s Association.

Copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias will be available for purchase from the association. Also, copies of this book are available for check-out from the library. Patrons can place a hold online at www.relib.net or call the library at 301-334-3996 to request the book.

The Alzheimer’s Association® is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support, and research. Its mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Its vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. For additional information, visit www.alz.org/maryland or call 800.272.3900.

A listing of events and services at the Ruth Enlow Library is available on the website at www.relib.net. Follow the library on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RuthEnlowLibrary.



Golden Ambassador Nominations Due Sept. 11th

The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce is once again seeking nominations from Chamber members for Honorary Golden Ambassador. The person earning this honorary title has contributed to tourism in Garrett County. Only Chamber members may nominate fellow Chamber members for this prestigious title.  If you are interested in nominating someone for this distinction, please download the Golden Ambassador Nomination Form at visitdeepcreek.com or contact Sarah Duck at the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce at sarah@garrettchamber.com or 301.387.8746 to receive a nomination form.  

The 2015 Golden Ambassador will be announced during the Autumn Glory Kick-Off Reception presented by the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, October 7 at Wisp Resort. Clear Mountain Bank is the sponsor of the annual Kick-Off Reception and Long & Foster Resort Rentals and Wisp Resort are the entertainment sponsors.

Please submit your completed nomination form to Sarah Duck by email at sarah@garrettchamber.com or drop off your completed nomination to the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce located at 15 Visitors Center Drive McHenry, MD 21541 by 5 pm on Friday, September 11th.

Music at Penn Alps Announces Fall Scholarships for 2015-2016

Two new scholarships are available for the fall 2015 semester in the Music at Penn Alps Private Lessons Scholarship program. If you know of a child that needs help to get private music lessons, please forward this information to the child or their parents.

The scholarship program is made possible by the Naylor Family Trust Fund, the Community Trust Foundation, the Fred Bolton Memorial Fund, and the executive board of Music at Penn Alps. Its purpose is to provide private lesson study on musical instruments and voice for students in grades K – 12 in the Allegany/Garrett County area, who otherwise might not have such opportunity.  In the four years of its existence the program has grown from 23 students to the present total of 45.

In addition, a limited number of scholarships may be available for the semester beginning January 1, 2016. Applications are open to K - 12 students in the Allegany/Garrett County and nearby Pennsylvania/West Virginia areas, are due no later than August 15 for the current school year and December 15 for the semester starting in January. Complete information about the program and an application form are available on the Music at Penn Alps website, and questions can be answered by calling or emailing Jean Miller (301-722-4184, jcdrgrn@yahoo.com), or by contacting Sean Beachy, assistant administrator (301-895-4224, sdebeachy@hotmail.com).


48th Annual Autumn Glory Festival King & Queen Announced

The 2015 Autumn Glory Royalty Court has been selected for the 48th Annual Autumn Glory Festival. This year’s King is Devan Hamrick and the Queen is Marley Merrick.

Devan is involved in theater and Southern Garrett Soccer and the Southern Garrett Cross Country and Wrestling teams where each earned State Titles. Devan is the first student in Southern Garrett High School history to win two State Titles in two sports in the same academic school year.

Marley participates in Southern Varsity Soccer and Track and serves as 2016 Class Vice President and is also a member of the National Honor Society. Marley also volunteers with Garrett County Gives and Broken Road Associates, among others.

The Autumn Glory King & Queen will be present at the Autumn Glory Kick-Off Reception to be held at Wisp Resort on Wednesday, October 7, and they will be featured in the Autumn Glory Grand Feature Parade on Saturday, October 10. Besides having the honor of representing their home country during the Autumn Glory Festival and at other events, the Royalty Court will receive scholarship funds.

The 48th Annual Autumn Glory Royalty Court sponsors are Hugh Umbel Companies (Bear Creek Traders, Deep Creek Shop’n Save Fresh, Legacy Home Corp., McHenry Beverage Shoppe and Perkins Restaurant & Bakery), Massage at the Lake Day Spa and Newman Funeral Homes, P.A.

The 48th Annual Autumn Glory Festival is October 7 - 11, 2015. Festivities include two large parades, concerts, band competitions, art exhibits, antique & craft shows and much more. The Festival is timed to coincide with the peak of Fall foliage in Garrett County and you can take in the breathtaking views of the spectacular foliage by driving the 2015 Autumn Glory Fall Foliage Tours.

Kaitlynn Fratz To Be Grand Marshal of Garrett County Maryland’s
48th Annual Autumn Glory Festival Parade

 Kaitlynn Fratz, Team Captain of the 2015 National Champion California University of Pennsylvania Women’s Basketball Team, will be the Grand Marshal of Garrett County’s 48th annual Autumn Glory Festival Grand Feature Parade on Saturday, October 10. Kaitlynn will be featured in the annual Grand Feature parade, sponsored by My Bank! First United Bank & Trust, which begins at 1 pm in Oakland on Saturday, October 10th.

Named Most Outstanding Player in the 2015 Elite Eight Tournament, Kaitlynn helped lead the California University Of Pennsylvania Women’s Basketball Team to the NCAA Division II 2015 National Championship.  A Garrett County native, Kaitlynn attended Northern Garrett High School where she holds the current school record for points, assists and steals and the all-time county points record (for boys and girls) with 2,103 points. At Northern, she was named Conference Player of the year in 2010 & 2011 and a four-time first Team All-Conference Selection. A four-year letter winner in Soccer and Basketball at Northern, Kaitlynn was a member of the State Championship Runner-Up Women’s Basketball Team in 2011 and a member of the State Championship Final Four Soccer Team in 2007. The Cumberland Times News named Kaitlynn their Athlete of the Year in 2011 and they named her the All-Area Player of the Year in 2010 & 2011. In her Freshman and Sophomore years at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Kaitlynn was also Team Captain of the Women’s Basketball Team and named WVIAC Freshman of the Year in 2012 and a WVIAC All-Conference First Team Selection in 2012 and 2013.

Currently, Kaitlynn is a Graduate Assistant for Valdosta State University’s Basketball Team in Georgia while she works on obtaining her Masters Degree in Higher Educational Leadership with the hopes of continuing her career in Collegiate Coaching. 

The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce presents the 48th Annual Autumn Glory Festival which runs from October 7 - 11 in Garrett County, Maryland with a kick-off reception at Wisp Resort, two large parades, concerts, Oktoberfest celebration, the Maryland State Banjo, Fiddle & Mandolin Championships, Fall Foliage Driving Tours, art exhibits, the Western Maryland Tournament of Bands, antique and craft shows and much more.

Garrett County’s annual Autumn Glory Festival landed in the international spotlight eight years ago, when the popular travel website, MSN.com listed it tops among fall festivals in the world. To the delight of locals and visitors alike, Autumn Glory in Oakland, Maryland, beat out Paris’ Festival d’Automne (#5) and Munich’s Oktoberfest (#7) – in addition to a bevy of domestic celebrations, including San Francisco’s Dias De los Muertos. “Music, parades and awesome colors are at the center of this festival,” noted the site, plugging in particular the Grand Feature Parade, the Maryland State Banjo & Fiddle Championships and the Tournament of Bands. In 2014, Travel & Leisure Magazine selected Oakland, MD as one of America’s Best towns for Fall Colors and included a mention of our annual Autumn Glory Festival. The travelchannel.com has listed the Autumn Glory Festival & Garrett County as one of America’s 3 Best Autumn Road Trips from 2008 – 2014 and, in 2008, the baltimoresun.com listed Garrett County as one of the top 5 locales for Fall Foliage.

County Announces Changes TV Recycling Program

The Garrett County Department of Solid Waste & Recycling, has made a change to the electronics recycling program.  We have suspended the recycling of all TV and CRT monitor recycling until further notice.  Our electronics vendor has seen an increase in the cost to recycle elements of the CRT type computer monitors and televisions.  We do not want to pass the additional cost on to the residents or business owners in Garrett County, therefore we will discontinue recycling these items until a better solution can be found.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and will make every effort to restore full service to the electronics recycling program in the future.

Horizon Goodwill Industries in Oakland and Grantsville offer a computer recycling program.  Please ask the Goodwill Representatives at each location for handling & drop-off instructions.  Televisions will still be accepted at all refuse & recycling sites for disposal by Garrett County residents.  A television is covered by the residential refuse sticker program.  Additionally, if you do not have a refuse sticker, a bulk item sticker may be purchased at the sites for $5.00 or televisions may be brought to the landfill and charged by weight at the rate of $45 per ton for disposal.

Electronics materials are accepted for recycling at the Bumble Bee, Grantsville, Kings Run, Garrett Highway refuse & recycling site and Landfill.

If you have a question regarding the recycling of a specific electronics item, or questions, suggestions or comments on the free recycling programs being offered in Garrett County, please contact Kimberly Madigan, Recycling Coordinator at 301-387-0322 or visit www.garrettcounty.org/solid-waste-recycle

Garrett County Announces New County Administrator

The Board of Garrett County Commissioners has announced the appointment of Kevin Null as County Administrator. Mr. Null was previously Town Manager/Chief Operating Officer for West Manheim (Pennsylvania) Township for 5 years and also served on the New Windsor (Maryland) Town Council as Vice President for 12 years. Prior to his position with West Manheim Township Mr. Null had 23 years of corporate security experience with Chevy Chase Bank and Provident Bank.

Kevin earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from the University of Baltimore and a Masters of Business Administration from Frostburg State University.

Board of County Commissioners Chairman Paul Edwards stated that “I am very excited to add Kevin to our team in county government. He has years of experience working with municipal governments in Maryland and his skill set matches our needs extremely well. I think he has the perfect demeanor to be successful working in Garrett County and that the public will enjoy working with him. He truly is a great fit”

Mr. Null stated that I’m excited about this opportunity and look forward to joining Garrett County as County Administrator. I’m impressed with the County Commissioners’ vision for the County and I’m anxious to meet with County employees, local government officials, and civic and community groups. My goal is to continue to provide exceptional citizen services to our residents, employers, and employees who call Garrett County home.”

Mr. Null will succeed Monty Pagenhardt who served as County Administrator for Garrett County Government since 1995 and in 2014 announced his intent to retire and not seek reappointment. Mr. Null will begin his employment with the County on July 20 and he and his wife will be relocating to Garrett County.

GCMH Announces Opening of Cancer Center and Clinical Affiliation with WVUH

President and CEO of Garrett County Memorial Hospital, Mark Boucot has announced the opening of a new Cancer Care and Infusion Services Center at the Hospital.  The new Cancer Care Center is expected to open for patients in January 2016 and will be located on the first floor in the original hospital building.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., as well as Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Cancer is also the second leading cause of death in Garrett County.  The need for cancer care services here in Garrett County is particularly important for early screening and prevention programs because the mortality rates for Breast and Colorectal Cancers in Garrett County specifically are 25% higher than the rest of the state and the nation and 15% higher for prostate cancer, according to the Garrett County Health Department statistics.

While the need for services provided locally is paramount, access to cancer care services has been minimal, which forces residents to travel at least one hour each way to the nearest regional medical center.  “This is a real hardship for our residents, especially the elderly, disabled, and under-employed people who often may go without access to cancer care services entirely,” stated Boucot.

Approval for the new Cancer Care and Infusion Services Center was given to Mark Boucot by Donna Kinzer, Executive Director of the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) in June of this year. “Obtaining the HSCRC approval is an important step that required extensive data gathering and strategic planning to present the case for the GCMH request to open the center,” explained Boucot.  GCMH considers the HSCRC to be a strategic partner of the hospital.  The agency is responsible for setting hospital rates and ensuring that hospitals in Maryland meet reporting guidelines and adhere to established hospital revenue and rate setting standards.  GCMH administration was very appreciative of the support from the HSCRC to implement the Cancer Care and Infusion Services Program.

Over the last year, Garrett County Memorial Hospital has reinvigorated its relationship with the American Cancer Society and the hospital also enjoys a longstanding relationship with Cindy’s Fund.  The availability of cancer care in the community has become a priority with both administration and staff at Garrett County Memorial Hospital.  The Hospital’s Relay for Life team, headed by Jessica Lucas as Team Captain, is poised to raise over $10,000 for the American Cancer Society.  “GCMH's new cancer center will not only save lives, but change lives.  Having the hospital as the top sponsor for Relay For Life of Garrett County, as well as one of the top fundraising teams, speaks volumes.  Having the hospital’s support, to show our community that we are committed as partners in the fight against cancer, has given new hope to the people of Garrett County,” said Courtney Case, Community Manager for the American Cancer Society.

To support its efforts to provide Cancer Care services, the hospital applied and was awarded a three year grant of $600,000 from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which paved the way to implement a new Nurse Navigator Program for Cancer Care in Garrett County.  The nurse navigator will help patients find medical services and assist with research and education on the disease processes. The program will also identify social and support services for patients and families to cope with the hardship of a cancer diagnosis.  Hospital leaders recently announced the selection of Gina Artice, RN as the first Nurse Navigator.  With the program already getting underway, Artice explained, “Our goal is to ensure positive patient experiences and outcomes.  My role is to support patients in their journey and provide assistance whenever they need it.”

The new Cancer Care and Infusion Services Center has been embraced by community members that are poised to kick off a capital campaign drive, specifically for the center.  The fund raising initiative is being led by Dorothy and Darryl Walters and is setting a goal to raise over $1 million in community and corporate support.  “This is definitely a project we can all rally behind- One million reasons to beat cancer,” said Dorothy Walters.  Also volunteering to help with the project are Tracy Bemiller, Bill Grant, Sandy Hill, Carole Perez, Rob Sharps and Bill Weissgerber.

The provision of cancer care services locally at Garrett County Memorial Hospital has been endorsed by our congressional leaders as well.  Their letters of concern and support for the Nurse Navigator Program and the New Cancer Care and Infusion Services Center show their dedication to the community at large. “We should be doing everything we can to provide Marylanders – wherever they live – with access to affordable and quality health care,” said U.S. Representative John Delaney.  State Senator George Edwards added, “The Cancer Care Center at GCMH will be able to provide the most up to date medical treatments available so patients won’t have to travel great distances to connect with cancer care services.  This is a great happening for the Garrett Region.”

To support the Cancer Care effort, Garrett County Memorial Hospital has implemented a Clinical Affiliation with West Virginia University Healthcare (WVUH).  “Our first goal will be to provide Cancer Care Services here in Garrett, and afterwards, the clinical affiliation will help GCMH to improve the community’s access to specialty and subspecialty care, as well as support physician recruitment initiatives,” explained Mark Boucot.  WVU was chosen as the hospital’s partner following a proposal process led by Henrietta Lease, the GCMH Board leader of the Strategic Planning Committee.  Proposals were sought from other large hospitals in the surrounding areas, however, Western Maryland Health System declined to submit a proposal. 

Regarding Cancer Care and this new affiliation, Boucot stated, “We are pleased and honored to announce the new Cancer Care and Infusion Services Center will be a satellite of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center of WVUH, located at Garrett County Memorial Hospital.”  Recruitment efforts are getting started for a medical oncologist-hematologist to lead the center.  “We are excited to be partnering with GCMH to provide Cancer Care and other specialty services in Garrett County.  It’s our mission to provide high quality care in the communities we serve,” stated Albert Wright, President and CEO of WVUH.  “We will support the cancer program at GCMH with clinical trials and research, especially when patients present with aggressive or rarer forms of Cancer,” added Hannah Hazard, MD FACS, Director of Clinical Services and Surgeon-in-Chief of the Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University School of Medicine.

Design plans for the new Cancer Care and Infusion Services Center have been completed with construction slated to begin in July of 2015.  Projected opening for the new Cancer Care and Infusion Services Center at Garrett County Memorial Hospital is planned for January 2016.  As Chair of the hospital Board of Governors and Mayor of the Town of Oakland, Peggy Jamison states, “The opening of this center is one of the most important recent developments of the hospital.  We are thrilled to be able to bring these services to our community with such a respected partner as WVUH.”

     Deep Creek Lake Named One of TripAdvisor’s 30 Rising Vacation Rental Destinations in 2015

  McHenry in Garrett County, Maryland has been named  by TripAdvisor as one of thirty rising vacation rental destinations in 2015. The list is made of the top 30 destinations who experienced “huge jumps in vacation rental interest on TripAdvisor from 2014 to 2015.” Along with McHenry, the list includes such notable destinations as Gatlinburg, Tennessee; The Adirondacks, New York; St. Petersburg, Florida; South Lake Tahoe, California; Smoky Mountains, North Carolina; Hot Springs, Arkansas; Flagstaff, Arizona; Killington, Vermont; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Catskill Region, New York; and Nags Head, North Carolina.

“We are delighted to be included in this list by TripAdvisor,” said Nicole Christian, President and CEO of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce. “We have been watching our numbers of vacation renters and visitor number hit record levels and now our data has been validated by the world’s largest online travel site. According to the Maryland Office of Tourism, the Deep Creek Lake Area and Garrett County is outperforming every other county in Maryland in tourism growth. Now we see that we are outperforming or on par with some of our largest competitor destinations. Our goal is to continue this trend through our ongoing aggressive marketing efforts.”

Grantsville Receives Arts & Entertainment Designation

After many months of planning by a group of dedicated volunteers, the town of Grantsville has received notice that the application for an Arts & Entertainment District designation has been successful.

Secretary Mike Gill of the Maryland State Department of Business and Economic Development sent a letter to the town on behalf of Governor Larry Hogan announcing the ten year designation.  The award is effective July 1, 2015.  In addition to Grantsville, the community of Chestertown in Kent County will become an A&E District.  The towns of Denton and Salisbury will expand the boundaries of their existing A&E areas and Berlin's district has received a renewal of their previous designation.

Maryland is one of the first states in the country to develop Arts and Entertainment Districts on a statewide basis.  A&E Districts help develop and promote community involvement, tourism, and revitalization through tax-related incentives that attract artists, arts organizations and other creative enterprises. The benefits offered to designated districts include property tax credits for new construction or renovation of buildings that create live-work space for artists or space for arts and entertainment enterprises.  An income tax subtraction is available to artists that work and sell within the district.  And an exemption from the Admissions and Amusement tax to an arts related business or qualifying residing artist is available through the ten years of designation. Through these incentives, the state is creating a structure for creative placemaking.

Grantsville becomes the first community in Garrett County to successfully obtain the A&E District title.  The town has a rich history of being a haven for cottage industry arts.  With the keystone attraction of Spruce Forest Artisan Village and signature events such as the Music at Penn Alps summer concert series and Grantsville Days, the town is positioned to grow the interest in the arts.

Former mayor and now Garrett County Commissioner Paul Edwards states "This is fantastic for our town and its revitalization efforts.  The beauty of this is that we don't have to reinvent the wheel.  We have a strong arts history here with well known Maryland photographer Leo Beachy, artist Aza Stanton, and world champion bird carver Gary Yoder,  and the venue, thanks to Dr. Alta Schrock (Spruce Forest), to highlight and attract new artisans and tourists.  We can take what we already have and expand on it and draw even more attention to it.  This is a home run for Grantsville!"

Current Mayor Mark Diehl credits the committee that worked closely with Karen Reckner, Executive Director of Garrett County Arts Council in submitting the application to the Maryland State Arts Council review panel.  "We hosted the folks from MSAC on May 1 and I think we 'wowed' them!  The members of the business community, Spruce Forest and Penn Alps, our Grantsville Revitalization Organization and the others that came out that day demonstrated the excitement and energy that is happening in our town."

Reckner agrees that the community of Grantsville is working together to create a new environment within the town.  This is evidenced by businesses such as High Country Creamery and Cornucopia Café, both scheduled to open soon.  "On behalf of Garrett County Arts Council, our residents, and especially the artists that call Garrett County home, we thank Maryland State Arts Council, the Department of Business and Economic Development and Governor Hogan for the Arts & Entertainment designation."

Short-term and extended goals for the Grantsville A&E District have been established and include strengthening the town's appeal as a regional tourism destination, developing an Artist Relocation Program, installing public art projects and increasing the number of businesses and residents of the community.

Grantsville and Chestertown join 22 other A&E Districts across the state. The most recent Impact Analysis of Arts and Entertainment Districts across Maryland for the fiscal year 2014 indicates nearly $571.4 million in total state GDP was generated.  6.000 jobs were supported and visitor spending at events brought more than $38.5 million in tax revenues during the study period.