Jeffrey Davis has been calling this area his home for the past 21 years. He has found happiness in the majestic mountains, and the outdoors is his cathedral. Nothing brings him more pleasure than loving his wife and children and finding contentment in their company. Other loves of life include novels, and music, and practicing medicine. Throw into the pot some skiing, kayaking and hiking, and there is plenty for the feast of life. Full disclosure: he has three heroes, Salman Rushdie, Martin Luther King, and Garrison Keilor. Life is appreciated for the gifts it has given.
Susan Davis, “Over the Mountain…Garrett County Arts and Leisure,” at AppIndie.org
After moves that have taken me from my Prince Georges County birthing grounds to Carroll County, on to New Jersey, back to Baltimore and west into West Virginia, I now live in Garrett County. What was supposed to be a two-year stay (while we decided where in this great country we would next move) morphed into a twenty-year sojourn. My husband enjoyed his job; our three children flourished in their own individual ways from skiing to kayaking to acting. The kids are now grown and off to lives in far flung states, but the lure of the mountains, including the late night calls of the coyotes, keeps my husband and me here in a home perched on a point high above the Savage River State Forest. Throughout these years I have always maintained an acute interest in politics and remain an avid reader of the news, especially that from liberal outlets. Needless to say, I was very interested to learn about the possible creation of a progressive, on-line newspaper, became part of the planning group for this endeavor and am now excited to be a part of AppIndie.org as host of “Over the Mountain….Garrett County Arts and Leisure.” Please feel free to contact me through this website, www.appindie.org, with your submissions, questions and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you, and welcome to appindie.org!
Craig Etchison is a former college professor, writer, and speaker. For the last decade he has been writing and speaking about the intersection of environmental concerns, politics, and social justice.
Woody Getz is an Appalachian-American born and raised in central Pennsylvania. He left the Appalachians, after earning a Bachelors Degree in Accounting & Economics and a Masters degree in Student Personnel Services from Indiana University of Pennsylvania located in western Pennsylvania, to work at [then] West Chester State College [near Philadelphia] for 3 years, live in South Africa for a year, and work at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for nearly 5 years. His self-imposed exile from Appalachia ended when he moved with his wife and their daughter to Frostburg in 1987 where he has worked at Frostburg State University and Main Street Books. This member of the AppIndie TechTeam is also an avid recycler [waste management], guitarist & vocalist [currently Academic Probation, formerly Shanty Irish], who can be seen on the Highlands Trail running, biking, or walking [waist management] often with his wife and Hershey the wonder Lab.
Kurt Hoffman moved to Frostburg in 2000 from Napa California to become a member of the Psychology faculty at the local community college. He has also taught additional courses in Leadership, Sociology, and Anthropology. Kurt is passionate about his two little girls; as well as the issues of fair trade, sustainability, participatory democracy, deep ecology, peacebuilding, and social justice. The idea of this grassroots newspaper is a further extension of his values and his desire to empower individuals to make a difference in the world and to make the world a better place for all children.
It took 20 years but Richard Kerns has come full circle with the Appalachian Independent. Starting as a reporter with the weekly Frostburg Journal circa 1988, he moved to the News-Post, in Frederick, MD, covering county, education and city beats, and then to the Cumberland Times-News, where he worked 14 years, first as a reporter, and for the last five years as editorial page editor. A single father of three, Kerns also wrote the enlightened half of a well-received Sunday feature called Faceoff and a personal Wednesday column that drew a modest but devoted audience. Following a disagreement with the publisher and managing editor over the meaning, application, and value of the First Amendment, and the critical role a newspaper must play in any democratic society, he became a communications technician in the exciting field of Medicare customer service. That gig lasted a blessedly brief six months, so that Kerns now works full-time in a variety of editorial capacities at the sprightly, lively, and growing, century-old and still-vital, News-Tribune of Keyser, WV, 25 miles south-east of his Frostburg home, “the hut at the crest of West.”
Steve Robinett is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Allegany College of MD. He spent 18 years as a software engineer in the DC metro area before returning to his hometown of Cumberland. Steve holds a Bachelor of Music degree from James Madison University and a Master of Education from Frostburg State University. He is particularly interested in open source software and the application of technology as an agent for community building and social change.
Cherie Snyder is a social worker who has been in active practice since completing graduate school in 1974. She has been a professor of human services at Allegany College of MD since 1987 and also directs the integrative health program at the college. Cherie has been certified in mind/body skills since 2001 through the Center for Mind/Body Medicine in Washington, DC. She loves being outdoors, nature, camping, swinging on swings, history, quilts, reading, and guinea pigs. A resident of Frostburg for the last 21 years, she has four children ages 18, 21, 24, and 26.
Benjamin M. Strozykowski is a Computer Science student at Allegany College of Maryland. He is the student intern on the Tech staff for the Appalachian Independent. He is a freelance web developer originally from LaVale, and now residing in Mount Savage. Ben is also the father of two, and spends most of his free time being a parent.
Kara Rogers Thomas is an Assistant Professor of Folklore and Sociology at Frostburg State University (FSU). She holds a combined Ph.D. degree in Folklore and American Studies from Indiana University-Bloomington. Thomas offers several courses on the Appalachian region. She also coordinates a Minor in Cultural Anthropology. In addition, Thomas oversees Folklore and Folklife Programming at FSU, documenting the traditional art and folklife of Western Maryland and the Allegheny Highlands, and developing public programming featuring that material.
Portrait of the get-together prior to our internet AppIndie launching.