Hogan shifts money to roads, but not everyone’s a winner

hen Gov. Larry Hogan pulled the plug on Baltimore’s Red Line last month, he rolled out $2 billion in spending on road projects, giving the state’s toll-free highway system its largest infusion of cash in decades.

In shifting Maryland’s transportation priorities from transit projects to roads, the Republican made clear that as long as he is governor, asphalt will flow freely.

But not necessarily evenly.

The list of major new projects that Hogan funded includes big-ticket highway improvements for rural Maryland, from Garrett County in the west to the Eastern Shore. There are projects costing $100 million or more in Prince George’s, Montgomery and Frederick counties.

In Baltimore City? Nothing.

In Baltimore County? Less than 1 percent of spending for new projects.


•Garrett County: $90 million, or more than 10 percent of the new project money, to realign U.S. 219 between Interstate 68 and the Pennsylvania line.


Read More Here:  http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-hogan-highways-20150718-story.html#page=1

Garrett County takes the right approach to fracking

Unlike some other states, Maryland refused to jump willy-nilly on the hydraulic fracturing bandwagon. Instead, Maryland has proceeded slowly and deliberately, preferring, if it errs, to be on the side of caution. Considering how the story of fracking has developed in recent years, the cautious approach has proved valuable.

As we said in a past editorial on this subject, Maryland can live without fracking, which is the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks to force open fissures that then release oil and gas. However, the matter of whether the state will eventually permit this method of recovering deeply buried natural gas and oil has not yet been settled.

As things stand, no fracking permits can be issued in the state until October 2017. The time between now and then should be used wisely for continued evaluation of the pros and cons of fracking, the latter of which have been widely reported.

That’s exactly what Garrett County is doing. A federal grant announced last week will help that county evaluate the wisdom of permitting fracking there. According to The Associated Press, the federal government, via the Appalachian Regional Commission, has awarded Garrett County a $37,500 matching-funds grant to “explore potential impacts on tourism, property values and outdoor recreation if the state allows fracking in western Maryland.”

Restrictions placed on use of jetpacks at Deep Creek Lake

MCHENRY, Md. (AP) – Officials say the use of jetpacks has been restricted at Deep Creek Lake.

The Cumberland Times-News (http://bit.ly/1KghIFO) reports that Deep Creek Lake Policy and Review Board spokesman Bob Hoffmann says the devices can be used, but not on weekends or holidays during the summer season.

Jetpacks are backpacks that use water to thrust a wearer into the air.

Read More Here: http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/29587189/restrictions-placed-on-use-of-jetpacks-at-deep-creek-lake

Federal grant to help Garrett County study fracking impact

WASHINGTON — The federal government is awarding funds to help a western Maryland county study the potential economic impact of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski announced the $37,500 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission on Friday. It must be matched with an equal amount of local funding

Read More Here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/federal-grant-to-help-garrett-county-study-fracking-impact/2015/07/17/13a8ca7e-2c9c-11e5-960f-22c4ba982ed4_story.html

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”

Read More Here:  http://deepcreektimes.com/news.asp

50 most beautiful places in Maryland

From the beaches of the Eastern Shore to the mountains of Western Maryland, our state is teeming with picturesque spots to visit. It’s hard to choose just 50, but we gave it a shot. Here’s our list of Maryland’s most beautiful places.

Property Tax Discount Rate for Early Payment Announced


Contact Person:                   Monty Pagenhardt, County Administrator

Date:                                     July 7, 2015

Garrett County Government Director of the Department of Financial Services Scott Weeks would like to remind all residents and real property tax payers that effective July 1, 2015, the discount rate for early payment on Fiscal Year 2016 real property tax bills will be reduced from 1% to .50%.

The discount will only be offered to those taxpayers who pay online with an E-check payment method.  Taxpayers can go online at www.garrettcounty.org and click on the “Pay Taxes Online” link.  They can then create a new account and add tax accounts for payment.  If any taxpayer choses the E-Check payment type, they will need to enter their bank routing and account number, then they will receive a .50% discount.  This payment method is FREE to the taxpayer and is the only payment method currently available to receive the discount for this tax year.

Questions on this payment process can be addressed to Mr. Weeks at 301.334.8971 (sweeks@garrettcounty.org) or Lori Paugh at 301.334.1965 (lpaugh@garrettcounty.org).

The Top Under-the-Radar Fourth of July Destinations

Millions of Americans will take to the road and sky this Fourth of July weekend, and while many will head for beloved U.S. cities like Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, and New York where the nation’s birthday will be celebrated with a world-class fireworks display, there’s no shortage of destinations that promise to deliver a one-of-a-kind July 4 experience.


Oakland, Maryland


Situated just a few miles away from popular tourist spot Deep Creek Lake and the Maryland-West Virginia border, Oakland is the No. 1 town in America for fall colors and one of the country’s most underrated Fourth of July destinations.

The celebration starts early in this small town, with a concert and fireworks display kicking off on July 3 at Broadford Park along the shore of Broadford Lake.

You can also head over to Deep Creek Lake on July 3 for the Lion’s Boat Parade. Plus, July 4 is a free fishing day across the state of Maryland so travelers won’t have to worry about acquiring a license.

Read More Here:  http://www.travelpulse.com/news/destinations/the-top-under-the-radar-fourth-of-july-destinations.html

NRP Urges Safe Boating During Busy July 4th Holiday

NRP on patrol on the Magothy River

After a weekend in which three people died on Maryland waterways, the mission for the Maryland Natural Resources Police this July 4th holiday is simple: fewer boating accidents.

The game plan is direct: officers will be going all-out on the state’s waterways, from the Atlantic Ocean to Deep Creek Lake.

“Maryland has seen eight boating fatalities so far this season and that’s eight too many,” said Col. George F. Johnson IV, NRP superintendent. “Our officers will be aggressively targeting reckless and negligent boaters, and those whose judgment is impaired by alcohol or drugs.”

Historically, more than half of Maryland’s annual total of boating accidents occur in July and August. Last year, Maryland recorded 130 boating accidents that killed 12 and injured 96.

As a dress rehearsal for July 4, NRP took part last weekend in Operation Dry Water, a nationwide campaign to curb alcohol- and drug-impaired boating.

Read More Here:  http://news.maryland.gov/dnr/2015/07/02/nrp-urges-safe-boating-during-busy-july-4th-holiday/#more-8804

8 New Laws That Go Into Effect In Maryland On Wednesday

New laws approved in Maryland’s last legislative session are taking effect on July 1.

Here are eight things to know about them:


State-mandated stormwater management fees will end, but nine counties and the city of Baltimore will need to show they are paying to meet federal mandates to clean polluted stormwater.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan campaigned against the state-mandated fees, which were approved in the last hour of the 2012 legislative session, and he made repeal a priority of his first session. Critics referred to the fees as “the rain tax.”

The repeal measure that passed earlier this year by wide margins in both houses of the Maryland Legislature has the approval of environmentalists, because it creates greater accountability for the state’s 10 most populated jurisdictions in preventing pollution in stormwater from entering the Chesapeake Bay.

Read More Here:  http://www.wbal.com/article/115876/40/8-new-laws-that-go-into-effect-today-in-maryland


Maryland governor to announce almost $2B for roads and bridges statewide

“This investment not only will move long-awaited highway projects into construction, so that Maryland families and businesses will benefit from safer, smoother roads, but also it will address every single structurally deficient bridge in the state”. Critic argued it would be too expensive and soak up too much money from other needs.

Wearing a green cancer awareness pin and a purple tie, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan officially gave the go-ahead for the Purple Line this afternoon.

GRAPHIC: Katherine Shaver – The Washington Post. “Meanwhile, we look forward to working with the Maryland Transit Administration to ensure that this light rail-line is built quickly and offers the best possible service within these limitations”.

In announcing his favorable decision on the Purple Line project on June 25, Hogan also delivered disappointing news to advocates of a second light-rail project, saying he isn’t endorsing a proposed 14-mi. line in Baltimore.

Read More Here:  http://sentinelrepublic.com/maryland-governor-to-announce-almost-2b-for-roads-and-bridges-statewide/11121/

NRP Issues Upper Potomac River Advisory for Weekend

The Maryland Natural Resources Police is urging boaters and other recreational users to avoid the Upper Potomac River, including its creeks and streams, this weekend.

The National Weather Service is predicting heavy rains for the region that will lead to a dramatic rise in water levels. At Point of Rocks in Frederick County, forecasters believe the river will rise to 13 feet by Monday morning. Flood stage is 16 feet.


Read More Here:  http://news.maryland.gov/dnr/2015/06/26/nrp-issues-upper-potomac-river-advisory-for-weekend/

Vacation-home sales heat up in destinations across country

If you’re thinking about buying a vacation home, you aren’t alone.

Vacation-home sales across the country are soaring, mainly for two reasons: Declining prices mean deals are available, and empty nesters are flooding the market.

Baby boomers looking forward to days of leisure are snapping up vacation homes, particularly in beach resorts in the South and the West.

Vacation-home sales rose by 57.4 percent in 2014 compared with 2013 and reached a record high, according to the National Association of Realtors.


Deep Creek Lake in Maryland

Deep Creek Lake — which offers boating, fishing and swimming and a mountainous ski resort — is a four-season destination, said Betsy Spiker Holcomb, a real-estate agent with Long & Foster.

“There are price points here for everyone — from under $250,000 for a one- or two-bedroom condo to up to $3 million for a large waterfront home,” Holcomb said. “Right now, the demand is highest for either something small under $350,000 or for a single-family home with four to six bedrooms on the lake with a private dock for two or three boats, which costs between $700,000 and $900,000.”& amp; amp; amp; lt; /p>

Waterfront town houses are also priced around $350,000, she said.

Read More Here:  http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/home_and_garden/2015/06/28/01-vacation-home-sales-heat-up-in-destinations-across-country.html

Boating and PWC Regulations


Specific Regulations for Deep Creek Lake:

 ·        Boats may not exceed 26 ft. in length, except pontoon boats, which may not exceed 30 ft.

·        Sirens are not permitted.

·        Houseboats are not permitted.

·        Engines may not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended capacity, or total    displacement of 550 cubic inches – whichever is less.

·        Parasailing is not permitted on the lake.

·        Vessels shall be muffled so as not to exceed state noise level limits.

·        No garbage, sewage or other waste materials may be discharged into the lake.

·        Aircraft are prohibited on the lake and buffer strip.

Read More Here:  http://deepcreektimes.com/boatregs.asp

NRP Joining ‘Operation Dry Water’ this Weekend to Nab Impaired Boaters


As the summer recreational boating season gets into full swing, the Maryland Natural Resources Police will join this weekend with the Coast Guard and other maritime law enforcement agencies for Operation Dry Water, a nationwide crackdown on alcohol- and drug-impaired boaters.

From Deep Creek Lake and the Potomac River, to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, NRP officers take part in saturation patrols beginning Friday, looking for boaters whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08.

The goal of the three-day campaign that combines messages about the dangers of boating under the influence and an increased police presence on the water, aims to drastically reduce the number of accidents and deaths due to impaired boating.

“Protecting the public goes to the heart of our mission,” said Col. George F. Johnson IV, NRP superintendent. “Alcohol and drugs can have a profound effect on a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. Operation Dry Water makes it clear that Maryland has no tolerance for alcohol- or drug-impaired boaters.”

Read More Here:  http://news.maryland.gov/dnr/2015/06/25/nrp-joining-operation-dry-water-this-weekend-to-nab-impaired-boaters/

“Tremendous” news for Garrett County

CUMBERLAND — Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement Thursday on transportation funding brought good news for a major Garrett County project.

New funding of $90 million will be available for design, right of way acquisition and construction to realigning U.S. 219 north of Interstate 68 and constructing a new interchange at I-68. Pending approval from the Federal Highway Administration, the state will break out the project from the larger U.S. 219 study. Construction would begin in the spring of 2018, according to documents released by the governor.

This is tremendous news for us,” said Garrett County Commissioner Paul Edwards. “As you all know, this is a project that we have been working on for well over a decade and the fact that the governor has prioritized this financially brings it that much closer to fruition,” said Edwards. Quality infrastructure is key to economic development and interstate highways are the conduit for commerce in America, especially in rural areas, Edwards said.

“This new interstate will provide a north/south corridor to partner with our east/west Interstate 68 with Grantsville as the hub. The economic opportunities here cannot be overstated and will allow all of Garrett County greater access to the markets of the Northeast. This is really regional development, as Allegany County will benefit from this project as well as Somerset County,” Edwards said.

Read More Here:  http://www.times-news.com/news/tremendous-news-for-garrett-county/article_65b1ee64-1b7a-11e5-9608-37206ddffeb0.html

Seasonal Black Bear Sightings Increase in Suburban Areas

While black bears are typically found in western Maryland (Garrett, Allegany, Washington and Frederick counties), sightings in suburban areas are not uncommon this time of year.

In May and June of each year, 1 ½ year-old bears disperse, sometimes more than 100 miles, to find a suitable territory of their own. In recent years, DNR has confirmed black bear sightings in Montgomery, Carroll, Baltimore, Howard, Harford, Cecil, Anne Arundel, and Prince George’s counties. Sightings typically peak in late June and early July, but may persist throughout summer months. These juvenile bears, which can weigh anywhere between 65 and 200 pounds, eventually move on to more attractive bear habitat.

DNR advises that black bears may be seen any time of day and are typically not aggressive. Below are precautions and tips when dealing with bear encounters.

Read More Here:  http://news.maryland.gov/dnr/2015/06/24/seasonal-black-bear-sightings-increase-in-suburban-areas/#more-8748