City refinances Piney debt, to save $400K over 20 years PDF Print E-mail
Written by Richard Kerns   
Thursday, 16 October 2008 22:51

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FROSTBURG - The Frostburg Mayor and City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to refinance debt from the Piney Dam reconstruction, securing long-term savings of nearly $400,000 even as the nation grapples with economic upheaval of historic proportions.

The City Council also approved the sale of the old ambulance building on Water Street to a Frostburg businesswoman, recognized the developer of the Lyric Building on Main Street, and established a date and time for trick-or-treating.

Although only three financial institutions submitted bids for the Piney Dam refinancing - about one-third of the normal participation rate -- the city was able to lock in an interest rate of 4.09 percent over 10 years. That rate will reset at the end of the term for another 10 years, but Davenport & Company, the city's financial advisors, noted that the new rate would have to be almost 50 percent higher for the city to not realize savings on the refinancing. While noting that "there are no absolutes anymore," Davenport said the "likelihood is small" that reset rates would be so high.

The end result of the refinancing is that city taxpayers will realize a savings of $394,352 over the course of the 20-year loan, with the vast majority of the savings occurring in the next two years.

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Mechanic Street Angel PDF Print E-mail
Written by Richard Kerns   
Tuesday, 14 October 2008 22:27

 

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Barb Armstrong makes things happen

at the corner of Mechanic & Water

FROSTBURG - A longstanding effort to revitalize a Mechanic Street corner and create additional parking is nearing fruition thanks to the determined efforts of a Frostburg businesswoman.

Barb Armstrong of Armstrong Insurance was recognized at the September City Council meeting as a "Mountain City Angel" for her involvement in transforming the now-vacant lot at the corner of Mechanic and South Water streets.

Barb at Mechanic Street Lot"This is small in comparison to what you've done," said Mayor Arthur Bond, in naming Armstrong one of the first recipients of the new "Angel" award.

 

Also recognized as a Mountain City Angel was downtown businesswoman Peggy Atkinson, for her role in serving as a link between business owners and City Hall during last year's Broadway revitalization project.

The project at Mechanic and South Water, across from Armstrong Insurance, has been percolating at City Hall for nearly a decade.

Formerly the site of a car-dealership garage, the building that occupied the corner had long been vacant, and in recent years had decayed into an eyesore. In 2002 the city acquired the property and worked to market the building for business use. However, the structure had deteriorated to the point that no one wanted to invest the funds necessary to restore it.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 October 2008 21:44
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Wanted: Citizen Journalists PDF Print E-mail
Written by Richard Kerns   
Wednesday, 03 September 2008 20:46

FROSTBURG – While the idea of an online newspaper serving Mountain Maryland and its sister-state environs is radical in itself, even more revolutionary is the concept at the heart of the Appalachian Independent: The citizen journalist.

 

Meeting over the past year, a dozen area residents sketched out the scope of the enterprise that would become AppIndie.org. Frustrated by the failure of local print media to both hold public officials accountable and celebrate life in these mountains, the group sought to engage, inform and empower area residents through development of an independent, vigorous press.

Last Updated on Sunday, 07 September 2008 02:40
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Election Siamese Twins, A Political Opinion PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Davis   
Saturday, 04 October 2008 12:14

Election Siamese Twins, A Political Opinion

A very bizarre election campaign it is. For the first time in the history of our national elections, the Vice-presidential candidate is not permitted to campaign apart from her running-mate. In every election in the past, the person running for V.P. would be out on the hustings, criss-crossing the country and giving speeches and interviews. But in the current election it has been decided by Republican political handlers to keep Sarah Palin conjoined at the hip with John McCain, keeping her at a safe distance from the scrutiny of an inquiring press.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 October 2008 22:28
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Followers of the late Charles Fort, connoisseur of anomalies, gather in an anomalous place: Cumberla PDF Print E-mail
Written by Andy Duncan   
Saturday, 20 September 2008 17:40


Aug. 16 marked the second consecutive year that the International Fortean Organization, based in Baltimore, held its annual FortScape conference at the Holiday Inn in downtown Cumberland.

"It's always good to come up to the mountains and get grounded," said William Fellows, a quantum physicist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. His presentation, "White Gold of the Ark," argued that the Ark of the Covenant was a high-tech communications device given to the ancient Egyptians by "the Visitors."

Fort CoverFounded in 1965 by sibling science-fiction fans Ron and Paul Willis of Alexandria, Va., INFO is dedicated to "the baffling and often hilarious universe of anomalous phenomena" in the tradition of Charles Hoy Fort (1874-1932), a journalist, iconoclast and skeptic of established science whose life's work was the collection of scientifically inconvenient oddi ties. He assembled his voluminous clippings into four remarkable books: “The Book of the Damned” (1919), “New Lands” (1923), “Lo” (1931) and “Wild Talents” (1932). (Tarcher/Penguin brought all four back into print in 2008 in a single volume titled “The Book of the Damned,” alongside a new biography by Jim Steinmeyer, “Charles Fort: The Man Who Invented the Supernatural”)

Speaker Orion Foxwood neatly summarized Fort's philosophy when he told the assembly of several dozen people: "Curiosity didn't kill the cat; it liberated the cat."
 


To open the meeting, moderator Larry E. Arnold, author of “Ablaze!: The Mysterious Fires of Spontaneous Human Combustion,” noted two choice examples of Fortean phenomena in that week's newspapers:  Dozens of passers-by in the Bronx, not waiting for a tow truck or crane, together lifted a 5-ton school bus off a critically injured pregnant woman; and the Mineral County, W.Va., commissioners discussed an inexplicable bad odor that had plagued residents of a Wiley Ford neighborhood for five years.

Last Updated on Monday, 03 November 2008 09:13
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City tests roiling fiscal waters PDF Print E-mail
Written by Richard Kerns   
Friday, 10 October 2008 10:48

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FROSTBURG – As an economic maelstrom of historic proportion broke over Wall Street and markets worldwide, the Frostburg Mayor and City Council stuck their big toe in the roiling waters, to test a possible refinancing of long-term debt that could save the city up to $300,000 over the next two decades.

Meeting Thursday night at City Hall in a public hearing, the mayor and city council voted unanimously to proceed with consideration of bid proposals for refinancing debt from Piney Dam and the city’s joining the state pension system.

The city had solicited bids for the refinancing in August, a month before the storm clouds rose in Manhattan, but it’s a different world already.

Only three banks submitted bids for the refinancing, where in the past the city would have expected six to eight participants.

Last Updated on Saturday, 11 October 2008 18:51
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Summer time done come and gone, my oh my... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Richard Kerns   
Saturday, 04 October 2008 20:09

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A sign of the season in the Mountain City, as sure as Big Savage aglow orange, red and yellow, is The Frostburg Freeze closing down for winter.  Sunday the 5th marks the end of either their 44th or 54th season, depending on which sign you read. Of the former, my cousin Rick Hess of Mount Pleasant Street was born that year, if the latter, my folks were married at St. Mike’s that November. Whatever the year, it’s a grand tradition in Frostburg; more so in spring rebirth, of course, but as day wouldn’t be the same without night, rise without fall, it is our lot to endure life without The Freeze. For now…

 

Sign of the time

Last Updated on Saturday, 04 October 2008 22:39
 
Homecoming first game at new Mountain Ridge Stadium PDF Print E-mail
Written by Richard Kerns   
Thursday, 02 October 2008 15:50

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Mountain Ridge High School celebrates its second Homecoming this weekend, with the Miners taking on the Frankfort Falcons in Friday-night football action. It will be the first game played at the new stadium, which was still undergoing last-minute work this week. The roof on the concession stand is still not finished and a mobile"Regal Restroom" is on site to provide facilities for fans while work continues on indoor plumbing.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 October 2008 16:22
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