Deep Creek Lake Art & Wine Festival


September 5-7, 2014

Friday Night Wine Pairing Dinners

Saturday Festival

Garrett County Fairgrounds

Noon – 6 pm (wine store open til 7 pm)

Sunday Brunch

Weekend Lodging Packages

Come for the Weekend!  Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales is offering specials for the weekend!  Check them out at



It’s in the Bag!

Its in the Bag

This Thursday, August 28, Celebrity Bartenders from The Episcopal Church in Garrett County will serve up your favorite libation and food at the Sand Trap at the Oakland Golf Club from 5 to 8PM. This event will benefit It’s In The Bag, a program to provide weekend meals during the school year for at-risk elementary school children. It’s in the Bag is beginning its 6th school year and will provide a backpack with 7 easy to prepare meals each weekend for close to 250 children in Garrett County. It costs $280 to feed a child for the entire school year and It’s in the Bag relies solely on donations and fund raisers like this. So come out and have some fun with us at the Sand Trap at the Oakland Golf Club. Tips and a percentage of sales will go to It’s in the Bag to help get us through our sixth school year. Sea you there!!!

Labor Day Activities

Labor Day weekend is almost here!

The Wisp has an abundance of activities going on including the Mountain Coaster, Zip Lining, Segway Tours and their Labor Day weekend Sale .  Check out for all the happenings.


High Mountain Sports will be hosting their annual Labor Day weekend sale.  It is 70% off storewide!  For more information check them out at


From the looks of the weather report, it is going to be a BEAUTIFUL weekend here in Deep Creek Lake!!



Deep Creek Lake Watershed Management Plan

Tuesday, August 26th

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Garrett County have partnered to develop a comprehensive watershed management plan for Deep Creek Lake. The Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan will serve as a comprehensive, best practices guide to ensure that one of Maryland’s most visited, revenue-generating sites is protected far into the future. In addition to protecting the lake’s sensitive natural resources, the plan will address water quality and recreational activities like swimming, fishing, boating and scenic viewing.  For more information please visit the DNR Lake Management Plan website.

Read More here:

Man walks from Deep Creek Lake to Ocean City, MD

Posted: Aug 24, 2014 7:42 AM EDT


A man walked and biked over 300 miles across Maryland to raise money for kids with cancer.

Justin Berk started last week at the top of mountain of the Wisp Ski Resort at Deep Creek Lake Maryland. He finished 312 miles later in Ocean City, MD yesterday. He dedicated each day to one “Cool Kids’” child who has either survived or is battling cancer.

Berk was 14 when he nearly lost one of his legs to a staph infection. This week long journey was a way for him to commemorate his hard battle at such a young age.

Read More Here:


Proposed Water & Sewer Service Area Amendments – Property Listings

Monday, August 25th:

The Garrett County Department of Public Works – Utilities Division is proposing to amend all service area boundaries to match where existing water and sewer service lines are located. Please be advised that all properties located within a service area are subject to ad valorem taxes where applicable. These rates are available at the bottom of this page. The maps of the proposed changes were posted to the website on July 3, 2014 under the “Current News, Events, and Press Releases” section. These maps continue to be available for review.  The lists below identify the properties that we are proposing to remove from the service areas as well as the properties we are proposing to add to the service areas.  For questions or comments regarding these amendments please contact the utilities office @ 301-334-6983.

Read More Here:

Operating Rule Band

Thursday, August 21st:

Deep Creek Hydro is permitted by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).  During the permitting process, MDE balances stakeholder concerns and requests with generation opportunities.  The result is the operating rule band.  This rule band was amended in 2011.

The Operating Rule Band is defined by the Upper and Lower Rule Bands, which represent the highest and lowest desirable reservoir levels at any given time. Deep Creek Hydro strives to maintain the lake between these two rule bands at all times. Periods of high run-off or extreme drought conditions can result in reservoir levels outside of the Operating Rule Band. During these times, the hydro project attempts to restore the reservoir to the proper level in a reasonable amount of time.


Read More Here:

Media Advisory: Comptroller Franchot to Present 2014 Schaefer Award in Garrett; Champion

by: Comptroller Franchot’s Announcements Aug 19, 2014

Comptroller Franchot will present a 2014 William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award to honoree Sandy Bell, who founded an organization called Cindy’s Fund. The fund was named after her twin sister, Cindy Kutchman, who died of ovarian cancer in 2003. The organization helps Garrett County cancer patients and their families who can’t afford proper care and also covers expenses such as gas cards, hotel stays and medical/nutritional supplies.

At noon, the Comptroller will join local elected, business and tourism officials at the Lakeside Creamery to promote “Let Summer Be Summer,” a campaign to start schools after Labor Day with a goal of collecting 10,000 signatures on a petition to present to the Maryland General Assembly when it reconvenes in January. In late May, a governor’s task force recommended to delay opening the state’s public schools until after Labor Day – a proposal that seeks to extend summer vacation for a week or more in many areas. The state task force met for nearly a year and voted 11 to 4 to embrace a later start date statewide.

- See more at:


New Bridge Opens to Traffic Ahead of Schedule Before New School Year Begins
(August 18, 2014) – The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) will reopen the US 219 (Garrett Highway) Bridge over Cherry Creek near Oakland, Garrett County by 5 p.m. today following a bridge replacement project.  US 219 has been closed and detoured since June 18 and the re-opening is earlier than originally expected.

Would drilling hurt Md. tourism? Report unclear

Associated Press Updated: August 18, 2014 at 5:31 pm •

FROSTBURG, Md. (AP) — A Towson University study of the potential economic impact of shale gas drilling in far western Maryland fails to answer what some critics said Monday is their biggest question: How would hydraulic fracturing for natural gas affect the tourism that accounts for a large share of the economy in Garrett County, where most of the drilling would occur?

Several members of the state panel that commissioned the study, including state Delegate Heather Mizeur, asked the authors to include language in their final report next month highlighting their lack of information about the tourism impact, as well their lack of cost analysis of a potential disaster such as widespread contamination of drinking water.

“Let’s just get real about what we were able to discover and, quite honestly, how much more there is that we didn’t even begin to touch on that was the whole initial charge of this commission to begin with,” Mizeur said. The Montgomery County Democrat made her opposition to hydraulic fracturing a part of her failed gubernatorial bid earlier this year.

Study author Daraius Irani of Towson’s Regional Economic Studies Institute, said his team found a dearth of usable data about the impact of hydraulic fracturing in tourist areas. The institute produced the $150,000 study for a state commission that aims to recommend regulations this fall for safe drilling in Maryland’s portion of the Marcellus shale formation.


2014 Western Maryland Amateur Championship

Tuesday, August 12th:

The Annual Western Maryland Amateur is a stroke play event open to all male amateurs and is played over 54 holes. There is a “cut” after Saturday’s round combining the 2 day gross scores, with the low 30 players and ties competing in the Championship flight on Sunday, while all others not making the “cut’ will be flighted for play on Sunday.  The 3 day total score is used to determine the winners in all of the flights. All players making the championship flight are guaranteed to receive a prize.

We also have a senior division with 3 age flights for those 55 & older as of the tournament date. Other events include “Closest to the Pins” on Friday & Saturday sponsored by the Women’s Golf Association. A practice round is included on Thursday with an option 2 man Best Ball Tournament with prizes being determined by the number of participants.

Read More Here:


Garrett County developer pleads guilty in bank fraud case

Posted: Sunday, August 10, 2014 3:16 am

BALTIMORE (AP) — A Garrett County developer faces up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to bank fraud conspiracy in a scheme involving three properties in Western Maryland and West Virginia.

Lewis Strosnider pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Baltimore. He’ll be sentenced Nov. 19.

Co-defendant Samuel VanSickle has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Read More Here:

Garrett to shift road affected by sink holes

Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2014 11:09 am

BARTON — Bore samples taken from Aaron Run Road have determined that the sink hole area was much deeper than the Maryland Department of Environment Bureau of Mines had anticipated, according to Jay Moyer, director of the Garrett County Department of Public Works.

“Therefore pile driving of sheeting to create a stable shoulder is not an option,” said Moyer.

 The road has been closed since May 17. In order to restore the road surface, a right of way has been obtained from the adjacent property owner, according to Moyer.

“This will allow the road to be shifted to the north and should help reduce the total cost of the project,” said Moyer. “The property owner agreed to participate by donating the land needed and this was accomplished by the county agreeing to upgrade the entrance to the private property.”

Read More Here:


Garrett officials defer action on water, sewer plan

Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 12:21 am

OAKLAND — The Garrett County commissioners voted Tuesday to table a decision on service area boundaries of the county’s water and sewer master plan, suggesting that more specific notifications regarding potential ad valorem tax rates be given to customers and that other details be clarified.

“I’d really like to have a little more time to understand this thing and make sure the public understands this thing,” said Commissioner James Raley.

 Customers in the Keysers Ridge area, whose well water was contaminated by salt from state property, will be most affected by the tax rate, Raley said. Those residents could pay about 43 cents more for service.

“Who knows what’s going to happen to them. Are they going to be required to hook up? Are they going to be paying ad valorems for something the state did to harm their property  — (that’s) government at its worst,” said Raley. “I don’t think that those people should have to pay for the system at all. You (state) poisoned people’s water supplies and now you want them to pay to fix this.”  


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Garrett County Commissioners set to vote on extended agreement with American Woodmark

Posted: Monday, August 4, 2014 12:32 pm

OAKLAND — The Garrett County Commissioners are set to vote on extending the terms of an agreement with American Woodmark Corporation during the commission meeting Tuesday.

The agreement includes the loan repayment terms and associated terms with construction and job creation, according to Mike Koch, executive director of Garrett County Community Planning & Development.

“Currently, there are no active plans for an American Woodmark location in Garrett County, but we are hopeful that the extension and an improving economy will provide for opportunities in the future,” said Koch.

Also on agenda is a decision on the boundary changes for the county sanitary district. The public comment period for the boundary changes is open until Tuesday and includes a review session with Gorman Getty III, county attorney. The county’s Water and Sewer Master Plan hasn’t been updated in full since 1997 and once it’s completed it will include a review of all sewer and water service areas, according to Monty Pagenhardt, county administrator. There are people who are outside the service district per the map definition but they are receiving services, and vice versa, said Pagenhardt in a previous interview with the Times-News.

Read More Here:


Early 2014-15 Winter Forecast: A Region-by-Region Breakdown

This is a more simplified version of the preliminary 2014-15 winter forecast that I released on July 20th. In this post, I want to go region-by-region and tell you what I believe this winter entails for those areas. Before I do, please understand that this winter forecast is subject to change, but at this time, I am fairly confident in my current predictions for this upcoming winter. Only time will tell if my predictions verify, and if any changes need to be made, I will do so in my final winter forecast which will be coming out in October.

Two of the points that I made in my preliminary winter forecast was that the strength of the El Nino matters and the placement of the above-average sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Pacific matters. That’s why you can’t come out with one of those “this is your typical weak El Nino winter maps” and call it a winter forecast. It simply won’t work. Also, there are other factors that will be big drivers of this upcoming winter because we will likely only be in a weak to weakly moderate El Nino. The warmer waters in the northern Pacific over the Gulf of Alaska could again be partially responsible for another cold winter in the central and eastern United States, while the West has above-average temperatures.

Read More Here:

More Active Oversight Planned For Deep Creek Lake

July 28, 2014 6:49 AM

MCHENRY, Md. (AP) — A draft management plan for the Deep Creek Lake watershed seeks better coordination among government agencies and private parties whose interests converge at the western Maryland vacation destination.

The Department of Natural Resources and the Garrett County Commissioners released the plan Friday for public comment through Aug. 9.

It was developed by a local steering committee amid concerns that factors including residential development, natural-gas exploration, agricultural runoff and failing septic systems threaten the lake’s quality and recreational value.

The plan calls for the state and county to jointly develop an agency to coordinate activities within the watershed.

Read More Here:





Ever wanted to … Complete the Savageman Triathlon

Taking place over two days in the Appalachian Mountains, this half-ironman is widely renowned for both its unrelenting difficulty and beauty that can leave you gasping for breath one minute and gasping in awe of the scenery the next.

The name ‘Savageman’ comes partly from the fact that participants initially descend down the Savage river, then attempt to ascend Big Savage Mountain, twice, and partly from the fact that it takes a certain breed of individual to enter like this.

There is the option of entering the 70.0 and the 30.0. The Savageman 70.0 is the half-ironman version, composed of a 1.2 mile swim, a 55.7 mile cycle and a 13.1 mile run, while the Savageman 30.0 consists of a 0.9 mile swim, a 22.9 mile bike and a 6.2 mile run.

Those who complete both are said to complete the Savage 100! With a small field of around 500 competitors, both Savageman races allow participants to enjoy the experience and race their own race, without the added pressure and annoyance of avoiding large crowds. The race is completely non-profit with its proceeds going to charity. The race is very well supported with plenty of volunteers to man every turn and alert all dangerous parts of the route, while also providing support to participants. -

See more at:

Grand jury looking into 84 Lumber deal with La. company

July 14, 2014 10:25 PM

By Tim Grant / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Louisiana businesswoman who claims a deal with 84 Lumber ruined her 30-year-old contracting company has been subpoenaed to testify Wednesday before a federal grand jury in Baton Rouge about the contract she had with the Washington County business for two school construction projects funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency following Hurricane Katrina…..

…..Meanwhile, Gregory Mortimer, a developer in Deep Creek, Md. who also is in litigation with 84 Lumber, said federal investigators have contacted him about his case against the company.

In April 2011, 84 Lumber sued Mr. Mortimer for $600,000 in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas for unpaid labor and supplies. Mr. Mortimer countersued the same month in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, claiming the poor quality of work 84 Lumber did for him while building luxury villas in Deep Creek, Md., killed his real estate business.

Read more:

The AJ List: The 9 Best Raft Trips In The Lower 48


3. Upper Youghiogheny, Maryland and Pennsylvania

The Upper Yough, cutting through one of the few wilderness canyons in the East, is one of the wildest stretches of river in the U.S.: It starts with a mild section and a few warmup rapids, then boaters hit five miles of continuous rapids up to Class V, 20 in all. The river can only be run during releases from the Deep Creek Dam—of which there are about 60 on the published schedule, April through October.

Much more here.

In the wake of two deaths, 28 accidents, police stress boating, swimming safety

Michael A. Sawyers

Cumberland Times-News

— MCHENRY — A boater or swimmer or water skier is just as dead whether he or she drowns in the Chesapeake Bay or Deep Creek Lake and Maryland Natural Resources Police officials say there is too much of that going on.

Thursday morning NRP and Maryland Park Service representatives gathered at Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis to point out the problem as well as the solutions.

Two people drowned in Maryland during the July 4 weekend. Twenty-eight boating accidents were reported during the past two weekends.

At Sandy Point, water users were told how to avoid accidents and how to deal with them should the need arise.

During 14 years of dealing with the same issues, but on Mountain Maryland’s Deep Creek Lake, if Sgt. Jeff Sweitzer hasn’t seen it all he has come pretty close.

“So far this year there have been nine reportable accidents at the lake, one involving a capsized boat, one a boating collision and the others involving injuries to water skiers or tubers,” Sweitzer said on Thursday.

The capsizing took place May 24 when three adults and one 4-year-old were on a rental boat that overturned. There were no injuries.

The collision was between a pontoon vessel and a motorboat. There were 11 people aboard the two vessels and none was injured.

A 48-year-old female broke a shoulder bone when she was thrown from a tube being towed and struck the water.

“It’s common for a group of kids to be towed on a tube and the tube hits a wake or other rough water and one child’s knee strikes another child in the head, things like that,” Sweitzer said.

No matter the size of a boat, there must be one wearable life jacket for each passenger. Boats of 16 feet or greater must have a qualifying throwable life preserver as well.

Although there is no speed limit on the main body of the lake, U.S. Coast Guard rules require an operator to be able to stop the boat within half the distance that can be seen ahead.

“Obviously at night you can’t see very far ahead and that’s when speeding is a real danger,” Sweitzer said.

A number of years ago, Sweitzer was on night patrol when a speeding boat came dangerously close to a fishing boat. Sweitzer began a pursuit.

“The boat was going so fast that it became unsafe for me to continue at that rate,” Sweitzer said. “So I kept on course, but slower.”

Pretty soon Sweitzer heard a man in the water screaming for help.

“It was one of the people who had been on the boat and had fallen without the others knowing it,” he said. “I picked him up and found out that there were nine family members on the boat and they had been drinking heavily. In fact, the man was so intoxicated that he couldn’t recognize where we were on the lake even though he had been coming there all his life.”

Sweitzer said he operated the boat along the shoreline until the man recognized the family boat at a dock.

“We walked up to the house and they were still partying and still didn’t know the man was missing,” Sweitzer said. “In fact, a couple of them argued with me that I hadn’t actually rescued the man.”

Charges followed.

The weekend of June 27-29, known as Operation Dry Water, was one of intense water safety patrol on lakes and rivers throughout the United States.

At Deep Creek Lake, on those dates, officers contacted 436 boats, made 320 safety checks, responded to three accidents, issued 32 citations and 119 warnings. There were no arrests for operating a boat while influenced by alcohol.

That changed on the July 4 weekend when there were 18 alcohol violations and two accidents.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police has investigated nine water-related fatalities so far this year. The total for all of last year was 19 fatalities. Those numbers do not include deaths handled by local jurisdictions, such as the two swimming fatalities in Ocean City last month, or accidents that occurred at private establishments.

This year, the victims range in age from 22 to 56. They include a commercial waterman, three swimmers, four men boating in protected waters and an inexperienced kayaker on a miles-wide stretch of the Potomac River.

Thursday at Sandy Hook, Col. George F. Johnson IV, superintendent of the Maryland Natural Resources Police, offered these safety tips for swimmers.

• Obey lifeguards and law enforcement officers. Heed warning signs and flags.

• Insist that young children or inexperienced swimmers wear a well-fitting Coast Guard-approved life jacket in and the around water.

• Make sure an adult watches children and the elderly when at water’s edge. Keep young children within arm’s reach. If more than one adult is in attendance, take turns being the “Designated Kid Watcher.”

• Swim sober and never swim alone.

• Stay alert and check local weather conditions. Carry a cell phone.

• Make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.

Sweitzer offered a couple tips of his own for users of Deep Creek Lake.

Tip 1 — Follow all the safety rules for water users.

Tip 2 — NRP considers enforcement of those rules a high priority for the popular mountain lake.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at

More here.

Dog-Gone FUNdraiser TODAY

Dog-Gone FUNdraiser

The Garrett County Humane Society 15th Annual Dog-Gone FUNdraiser will be held on Saturday, July 12, at Garrett College. Admission is free! Family friendly event with lots to see and do! Here are just some of the activities that we have planned.

» Large Silent Auction
» Cash and Carry gift area
» Meet the Breed Tent: 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
» Bunny Town ($): 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
» Face painting ($): 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
» Snack bar: 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
» Nail trim/ears (donation)
» Raffle tickets (3 cash winners!)
» Admission and parking are always free.


From doughnuts to wall hangings at TriState Festival

Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2014 3:28 pm

The TriState Festival, Auction & Cruise-In is a great two-day family affair to be held in the convention hall at the Garrett County Fairgrounds, 270 Mosser Road, McHenry, Maryland. Celebrate the spirit of helping others in the U.S. and worldwide at this giant benefit sponsored by area Mennonite churches.

Beginning July 18, a giant silent auction will be on hand to greet enthusiastic buyers with more than 200 items including a chain saw and train tickets, collectibles, plants and much more. A market place will offer fair-trade handicrafts from around the world at the Ten Thousand Villages table as well as baked goods, plants, woven rugs, crib quilts, homemade jellies and both new and used books.

More here.