Update on Search to fill County Administrative Positions

As previously announced, Michael Koch has presented County Administrator Monty Pagenhardt with his resignation as the Director of the Department of Community Planning and Development effective March 31. In light of this, the Board of County Commissioners approved a recommendation to reorganize the Department of Community Planning and Development whereby the offices of Economic Development, Planning and Land Management, and Permits and Inspection Services will now be designated as separate departments. The Directors of these distinct departments will report to the County Administrator.

The Board had also previously announced its search for a new Economic Development Director. An appointment committee comprised of representatives from a number of community organizations to include Garrett College, Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, Garrett County Mayors Association, Greater Oakland and Grantsville Business Associations, and others have been nominated. The interview and appointment process will be facilitated by Mr. Pagenhardt and Mr. Koch will assist and also serve on the appointment committee. Plans are for this committee to screen applicants, conduct initial interviews, and present a recommendation of candidates for appointment as director of the Department of Economic Development to the Board the week of February 23. Plans are to have a new director in place on March 23.

The Board had also announced that based on Mr. Pagenhardt’s decision to retire as county administrator when his employment agreement ends in June, a separate position classification for the Director of the Office of Human Resources has been approved by the Board. Mr. Pagenhardt has served as both County Administrator and Director of Human Resources since 1995. This newly created director position will report to the County Administrator. Plans are to begin the application and interview process for this position the week of February 16, a recommendation of appointment will be presented to the Board the week of March 30, and the director in place on April 20.

Plans for appointment of a County Administrator will commence with the position announcement to be published the week of March 9. An interview committee comprised of representatives from a number of community organizations will be nominated to assist in the applicant screening and initial interview process with interviews to be scheduled for the week of April 20. Interviews with the Board are planned to take place the week of May 4, a final decision of appointment to take place the week of May 11, and an announcement of the selected candidate to be presented at the Board’s May 19 public meeting. The appointed county administrator will begin employment on June 15 with Mr. Pagenhardt assisting with the transition through June 30.

Questions on these issues should be addressed to Mr. Pagenhardt.


Garrett County Memorial Hospital President and CEO, Mark Boucot, participated in the traditional Donate Life Rose Signing in support of organ and tissue donation.  In conjunction with the Living Legacy Foundation, Boucot and hospital staff submitted a signed Rose to be included in the “Dedication Garden Float” made up of thousands of signed roses from across the country. The Donate Life Float is a feature of the Rose Parade.

The 2015 Donate Life Rose Parade Float featured 60 beautiful butterflies emerging from an open book, representing the number of lives changed by a single deceased donor and was coordinated by One Legacy, a nonprofit organization serving the Los Angeles metropolitan area. According to Annie Kure of One Legacy who headed the float campaign as manager, “Our campaign urges Rose Parade viewers of all ages to help the one million people in need of life-saving and healing organ, tissue and cornea transplants each year. We encourage everyone to join American’s 120 million registered donors so that those who need a transplant can benefit from one.”

Donate Life Organization reports that one person can save up to eight lives through the donation of life-saving organs – heart, kidney, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestines – and help 50 people or more who need corneas to see, skin to heal from burns and bones and connective tissue for common knee, back and dental surgeries. Anyone can sign up when renewing a driver’s license or state ID, or by visiting www.DonateLifeAmerica.org. Additional information is available through the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland ( www.TheLLF.org ) and the Donate Life Maryland Organization ( www.donatelifemaryland.org ).

Garrett County Chamber Hosts Economic Forecast on January 20, 2015

 The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce will present an Economic Forecast at the next Business Before Hours on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 in the Crawford Room at Wisp Resort sponsored by My Bank! First United  Bank & Trust. The Business Before Hours begins at 8:00 a.m. with breakfast and time for networking followed by guest speaker R. Andrew Bauer, senior regional economist at the Baltimore Branch of the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank.

Come find out what to expect in the New Year and how our economy is expected to fare. This could be the most important program you attend to help plan your business activities for the New Year.

Andrew monitors the Fifth District economy with a special focus on Maryland and the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Prior to joining the Richmond Fed in 2006, Bauer worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. As a senior economic analyst on the Atlanta Fed’s macroeconomic  team, Bauer co-authored articles on macroeconomic  forecasting, consumer inflation measures and shocks to the U.S. economy during recessions. Bauer earned his B.A. at American University and his PhD at Emory University.

The cost for members is $15 in advance or $20 at the door.  The cost for non-members is $30.  Register online at www.visitdeepcreek.com or by calling Carol Hauser at 301.387.6171 by noon on Monday, January 19 to receive the advance payment discount for members.  Space is limited so early reservations are recommended.

The Business Before Hours breakfast programs are bi-monthly events designed to focus on specific topics with formal presentations.  Non-competing sponsorship opportunities are available for each forum.  For more information or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Paula Thomas at 301.387.5237 or paula@garrettchamber.com.

The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce is the largest professional organization in the region representing more than 650 member firms.  The Chamber is the voice of business while providing networking/promotion opportunities, education & training, cost savings & benefits and community involvement.

GILL Members Select Winter Classes for January

 The Garrett Institute for Lifelong Learning (GILL) group, operating under Garrett College Continuing Education and Workforce Development, has released their winter class schedule for January. GILL learning experiences are developed by the organization’s members based on group consensus. The topic sessions are coordinated by volunteers who select presenters for each topic identified. February sessions will be released at a later date.

The first session, ‘Nutrition Needs as We Age’ will be held on January 20 from 1-3pm at the Southern Outreach Center. Participants will learn about portion control, vitamins and minerals, and the need for exercise as one ages. Amy Ritchie, licensed registered dietician, will present the session and give information on nutrition and aging.

‘Games: Ideas for All Ages’ will be presented by Lisa Davis on January 22 from 1-3pm at the Southern Outreach Center. Join us for a few hours of learning and playing games that can be enjoyed with family and friends. Light refreshments will be available. Participants are encouraged to bring a snack to share.

On January 27, Vanessa Stacy will present ‘Genealogy’ from 1-3pm at the Ruth Enlow Library in Oakland. This presentation will offer a ‘tour’ of the resources on genealogy at the Ruth Enlow Library and give a crash course on the use of www.ancestry.com. Participants are encouraged to bring WIFI capable laptops for use during the session.

The final January session, ‘Snowshoeing Hike’ will be held on January 28 from 1-3pm at Herrington Manor State Park. Join along with GILL members for an invigorating afternoon in the outdoors. Participants must bring snowshoes (rentals are available around the county) and will meet at the Herrington Manor Hut for a hike on their trails. Those that wish can also gather after the hike for hot beverages and conversation in the hut.

For the winter classes, all sessions are free, but registration is a must. If you are not a GILL member and wish to join in order to register for a session, please contact Continuing Education Workforce Development at 301-387-3069. More information on Garrett Institute for Lifelong Learning is also available by contacting Sue Fowler at susan.fowler@garrettcollege.edu or www.garrettcollege.edu/GILL.

 2105 New Year’s Baby at GCMH

New Years Baby pic.jpg
Garrett County Memorial Hospital welcomed Remington Lantz as the New Year’s Baby for 2015.  Remington arrived on Friday, January 2 at 3:17 a.m. and weighed 6 pounds and 15.9 ounces.  Pictured are the proud parents, Benjamin and Renee Lantz. The Lantz Family resides in Oakland and also includes Remington’s sister, Adriane, age 3. The local business community joined in the celebration by providing a basket of gifts donated by the following: Art’s Images, Book Market, Broken Road Associates, Browning’s Shop N Save, Chic Shack, Dairy Queen, Deep Creek Cinema 8, Deep Creek Pharmacy, Denny’s Restaurant, Garrett County Memorial Hospital, Green Acres, Gregg’s Pharmacy, Hair N Phernalia, Helbig’s Jewelry, Jan Florist, Ledo’s Pizza, Loar Auxiliary Gift Shop, Madalyn Hoffeditz, Mindy Bernard, Perkins Restaurant, Pizza Hut, Sheetz, Smart Style, Sorelles, Uno’s Restaurant, and Walgreens.

Oakland Library Celebrates National Seed Swap Day

The Oakland Library is celebrating National Seed Swap Day on Friday, January 30 from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.  This free program, presented by the Garrett County Master Gardeners from the University of Maryland Extension Office, will be one of sharing seeds, ideas, and tips on how to save seeds. Ashley Bodkins, Faculty Extension Assistant, will provide information about the differences between open pollinated, hybrid, and heirloom varieties and which seeds gardeners should be saving for best results the following season. 

Participants are encouraged, but not required, to bring seeds to share from their collections, photos or stories about the plants that grew from those seeds, or favorite garden recipes. Registration is requested by calling Bonnie at 301-334-3996, x117 or by emailing bonnie@relib.net.

National Seed Swap Day is an event that gathers gardeners together to exchange ideas, seeds, experiences, and knowledge. The first Seed Swap Day occurred on January 26, 2006 and was organized by Washington Gardener Magazine.

The University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all citizens 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.

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 .


Garrett County Memorial Hospital Receives National Recognition from the American Hospital Association

The American Hospital Association (AHA) recognized Garrett County Memorial Hospital for its efforts in quality of care, patient safety and patient centered care and for its participation in the AHA McKesson Quest for Quality Prize.  The Quest for Quality Prize is recognition for hospitals that pursue excellence in continuous quality improvement and patient safety.  GCMH received the recognition after submitting a description of its quality improvement processes and measurements of success.

In the same week, GCMH was also awarded the Carolyn Boone Lewis “Living the Vision Award” for the hospital’s participation and membership in a state collaborative that is reinventing the payment systems for hospitals in the State of Maryland.  This “new” payment is also known as Total Patient Revenue, or TPR.  The way that the TPR payment system works, is that hospitals assume risk for the health of the community and are paid based on the population served, versus being paid based on the volume of patients.  The TPR Collaborative consists of a total of 10 Hospitals in the State of Maryland, all of which were presented the award for reinventing themselves to meet the new payment system.  Awards were presented by Rich Umbdenstock, President and CEO of the AHA.

“Garrett County Memorial Hospital is the longest standing TPR Hospital in Maryland.  We’ve been paid on this system since the early 1980’s.  This work has led to GCMH having the lowest 30 day readmission rate in the state, which is currently below 6%, versus the state average of 12%,” explained Mark Boucot, GCMH President and CEO.   “The people of Garrett County may not realize it, but this work could essentially become a basis for the rest of the nation when considering the implementation of a population based health reimbursement system.”

Maryland TPR Collaborative formed in 2010 out of 10 hospitals involved in the Maryland Total Patient Revenue Project. The Maryland Total Patient Revenue Project uses a fixed revenue system to encourage hospitals to decrease hospitalizations. The participating hospitals are the sole providers in communities in the western mountain region and coastal parts of the state. The collaborative’s purpose is to reshape the participating hospitals’ approach to health care, learn from each other’s challenges and successes, share best practices and data and improve care as a group, despite demographic diversity.  Tracy Lipscomb, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at GCMH remarked, “I have been honored to work with such a talented group of CEO’s and CFO’s as part of this TPR Collaborative.”

These 10 hospitals focus on providing greater access to primary care, which keeps patients out of the hospital, and improving quality. Some of the successful strategies implemented by TPR Collaborative Maryland hospitals include:

·         Creating partnerships with physicians, pharmacists and community groups;

·         Supporting the primary care physician practices;

·         Creating primary care medical homes;

·         Developing high-risk clinics like GCMH’s Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab Unit;

·         Partnering with independent urgent care centers and increasing collaboration with

            Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC’s);

·         Expanding and supporting Home Health and community resources;

·         Focusing on appropriateness of admissions;

·         Improving and changing discharge procedures and follow-up; and,

·         Increasing health and wellness activities on a regional basis.

Umbdenstock recognized the TPR Collaborative in Maryland for their efforts to reducing costs, increasing access to primary care and sharing best practices in a way that all hospital can learn from.  An important element of the Carolyn Boone Lewis Living the Vision Award is that a hospital must be recognized as a leader and nominated by others in the health care field.

Participating hospitals in the collaborative are Calvert Memorial Hospital, Carroll Hospital Center, Chester River Hospital Center, Garrett County Memorial Hospital, The McCready Foundation, Meritus Medical Center, Shore Health System, Union Hospital and Western Maryland Health System.

The American Hospital Association is the national advocate for its members, nearly 5,000 hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations, and 43,000 individuals.  For more information visit the website at www.aha.org.

GC Awarded TAACCCT Grant

 Garrett College, as a partner in a consortium with 13 other Maryland community colleges, led by Montgomery College, has been awarded a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant for $448,959, over four years. A total of 14 community colleges in Maryland will benefit from the $14,957,899 in funding to support job-driven training programs. The funding is part of the TAACCCT competitive grant program, which is co-administered by the Department of Labor and Department of Education.

Vice President Biden, Secretary Thomas E. Perez, and Secretary Arne Duncan announced the winners of $450 million in job-driven training grants going to nearly 270 community colleges across the country. Maryland is a national center of cybersecurity with over 130,000 IT jobs–49% above the national average–yet many workers find these careers difficult to enter.

The grant will support the Cyber Technology Pathways Across Maryland (CPAM) project which is directed toward significantly increasing the number of pathways leading to employment in cybersecurity or closely related fields, where this is a critical shortage of workers.

The TAACCCT grant will enable Garrett College to expand existing AAS degree programs and offer new training programs. “The new certification programs offered in Continuing Education and Workforce Development will enable students to earn various industry recognized credentials or certifications. The training will be designed to meet the needs of students new to Cyber Technology as well as enhance employability for individuals who have already earned an AAS or BS degree,” says Carol Mowbray Brooks, Director of Workforce Development and Adult Education. “The Health Information Technology training program will expand job opportunities for individuals wishing to enter the Allied Health field or expand their knowledge and employability.”

With support from grant funding, Garrett College will provide a continuum of training (both noncredit and credit) ranging from basic skills through coursework leading to an Associate in Applied Science degree in Cybersecurity. Health Information Technology will be a new certificate program. The college will also upgrade and expand its PearsonVue testing center to facilitate certification testing for CPAM project participants, and work with local business partners to provide job shadowing, internship, and possible employment opportunities.

The grant also provides funding to support curriculum development, student recruitment and advising, and faculty/instructor professional development, acquisition of equipment and supplies, and project management and administration. The grant will also cover costs associated with hiring the temporary (contractual) personnel needed to carry out the CPAM project. These include a program coordinator, a part-time instructor, and a testing center administrator.

Chamber Collects Truckload of Toys for Garrett County Children

The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce presented their annual Holiday Business After Hours and Toys for Tots Drive on Thursday, December 11 hosted by HART for Animals, Inc. and is proud to announce that 101 new unwrapped toys were collected for the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program.

Since the mid-40’s Marine Corps Reserve Units, located throughout the nation have conducted toy collection and distribution campaigns.  In 1947 5,000 toys were collected and distributed to needy children in Los Angeles.  Today nearly 470,000,000 toys are collected and distributed.  The local Garrett County Marine Corps Reserve Unit lead by Rob Heilig of Heilig’s Plumbing and Heating starts in October collecting new unwrapped toys that are delivered to the Garrett County Department of Social Services.  The staff at the Department of Social Services work to inventory and distribute each toy to a Garrett County child in need.  The toys are distributed throughout the county during the week of Christmas.

“We love to participate in the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots Drive,” said Nicole Christian, President & CEO of the Chamber. “This time of year is a time for giving and it makes us so proud to see our membership come together and give back to our local community.  It is very impactful when you see a truck bed full of toys collected that you know are going to our local children.”

For more information about the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program and the Marine Toys for Tots Foundations, visit the Foundation’s web site at www.toysfortots.org.

The Chamber of Commerce was formed 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 Chamber organizes monthly Business After Hours events that are hosted at member businesses throughout the county. 

Recycle Christmas Trees at Garrett County Landfill

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

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

Christmas tree recycling is available to Garrett County resident’s FREE-of-CHARGE.  A residential disposal permit is not required to participate in this program or any other recycling program in Garrett County.

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

Remove all tinsel, garland and ornaments before recycling Christmas trees at home or at the landfill location.

Please remember that a refuse sticker is not required to recycle at any of the refuse & recycling sites, including the landfill. If you have any questions, please contact the office at 301 387 0322 or email kmadigan@garrettcounty.org.


County Awarded Grant from Chesapeake Bay Trust

Garrett County has been awarded $70,000 from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to conduct a stormwater assessment within the North Glade Run subwatershed in the Deep Creek Lake area. This subwatershed contains all or part of subdivisions in areas along Glendale Rd, Beckman Peninsula Rd, Glen Acres Rd, Harvey Peninsula Rd, North Glade Rd and Sky Valley Dr.

Project objectives include:
(1) Assess the subwatershed to identify where stormwater issues exist.
(2) Determine the source of identified stormwater issues.
(3) Rank the identified issues based on the extent of their harmful impact on Deep Creek Lake.
(4) Identify recommended best management practices and mitigation strategies.
(5) Review the effectiveness of the process and document the procedure in order for the County to conduct similar assessments in other subwatersheds in the future.

The project also includes two educational public forums to which all residents in the subwatershed will be invited. The first will be to discuss the purpose, process and projected outcomes of the project, as well as to provide education on the importance of good stormwater management. The second will be to present findings from the assessment, as well as possible mitigation strategies and educate private homeowners and homeowners associations on stormwater measures they can initiate to aid in proper stormwater drainage on their properties.

According to Bob Hoffmann, POA President “This stormwater assessment will be the first of many that will identify run off areas and the resulting erosion, some of which contribute sediment to Deep Creek Lake. This and future efforts of a similar nature are directly supportive of objectives found in the Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan which was completed earlier in 2014. This first effort will serve as a template for Garrett County to work together with affected property owners to identify storm water problems and remedies which will benefit all stakeholders. This CBT grant award will make possible a great first step for us all.”

The grant award will be used to hire an experienced firm to conduct the stormwater assessment. The project is expected to commence in the spring and conclude by the end of the year. Subwatershed residents can expect notification of the first public forum in March. Any questions regarding this project should be directed to Deborah Carpenter at 301-334-1920 or dcarpenter@garrettcounty.org .

Funding for this project is from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chesapeake Bay Program Office, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Chesapeake Bay Trust.


GC Department of Planning & Community Development Executive Director Resigns

County Administrator Monty Pagenhardt has announced that Garrett County Department of Planning and Community Development Executive Director Michael Koch has submitted his letter of resignation to be effective March 31, 2015.  Mr. Pagenhardt stated that he had spoken at length with Mr. Koch about his decision and it was certainly a difficult and well thought out decision.    Mr. Koch commented that “my two-year tenure in County Government has been quite fulfilling.  I am very proud of what has been accomplished, and the current state of the County’s economy, financial condition, and business development environment. Now, it is time to return my focus to FireFly Farms, my own successful and expanding  County business.”

Mr. Pagenhardt indicated that based on Mr. Koch’s decision of resignation the Department of Planning and Community Development will be restructured whereby the Departmental Offices of Planning and Land Management, Economic Development, and Permits and Inspection Services will be reorganized into 3 separate and distinct departments.  Deborah Carpenter, who is currently the Assistant Director of the Office of Planning and Land Development will be promoted to Director and James Torrington, Assistant Director, Office of Permits and Inspection Services will be reassigned from Assistant Director to Director.   The process to seek applicants for the Director of the Department of Economic Development will commence in January.

Questions on this matter should be addressed to Mr. Pagenhardt at 301.334.8970 or mpagenhardt@garrettcounty.org


Garrett County Tourism Outpaces Maryland Tourism Growth

 Margot Amelia, Executive Director of the Maryland Office of Tourism, presented an update on the state of Maryland tourism at the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce’s Business Before Hours - Tourism Update on November 18 at Wisp Resort. According to Amelia, there has been considerable growth for Maryland tourism in recent years and Garrett County tourism has steadily outpaced the state’s increases.

During her presentation, Amelia tracked the progress of tourism since 2009. She stated that Maryland has grown tourism sales tax revenues 15.9 percent, while Garrett County has grown tourism sales tax revenues 21.8 percent during the same time period. Maryland has grown visitor spending 21 percent and Garrett County has grown visitor spending 38 percent. Maryland has grown lodging sales 14 percent while Garrett County has grown lodging sales 35 percent. Maryland has grown second home revenue 22 percent and Garrett County has grown second home revenue 39 percent. Maryland has grown hotel tax revenue 22 percent and Garrett County has grown hotel tax revenue 50 percent.

“Tourism is an economic engine for Garrett County and we are pleased to see that this engine continues to churn out additional revenues and business for our community,” said Nicole Christian, president & CEO of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce. “As evidenced by the numbers in Ms. Amelia’s report, investment in tourism promotion generates a significant return for Maryland. In Garrett County, the Chamber’s effective tourism promotion efforts are generating results even better than the rest of the state. It is imperative that we continue to invest in tourism promotion and keep this engine churning.”

“We enjoy a great partnership with the Maryland Office of Tourism, who is doing a terrific job promoting our state,” said Sarah Duck, Director of Tourism and Marketing of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce.  “We look forward to continuing to work with them to keep tourism in Maryland and Garrett County growing.”  

The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce reports that tourism is continuing to grow in the Deep Creek Lake area and Garrett County with a 1.4 percent increase in accommodations sales and a 7 percent increase in admissions & amusement tax in Fiscal Year 2014. Garrett County has also experienced a 7% increase in heads on beds and a 4.9% increase in sales tax collections during calendar year 2014. The Chamber attributes much of the increases to an aggressive marketing plan with concentrated efforts and new ad strategies.

A copy of the full presentation by Margot Amelia is available at the Garrett Chamber’s website, http://www.visitdeepcreek.com/pages/BusinessBeforeHours.