WCBC Commentary: St. Michael School...A feeling of betrayal PDF Print E-mail
Written by Richard Kerns   
Tuesday, 25 November 2008 20:24

 "All that we asked of the Church was an effort that matched our own..."

Recorded 11-23-08



Come November it's easy to remember why Frostburg so appeals.

Lamppost flower baskets are newly planted with holiday pine, and the lamps themselves crowned with wreaths affording green and crimson halo.

And if snow's in the area, there's a good chance it's fallen on the Mountain City, adding to the wonder of the magical season dawning.

But the best part is all the people who make it happen.

Behind every bow and bough, are folks I'm humbled to call my neighbors.

They pour heart and soul into the town, water its plants, tear down its blighted buildings, keep the cigarette butts off Main Street, and rally others to the cause of any community worthy the name: To never stop making it better.

Something beautiful and old, of the living, breathing heart and soul of Frostburg, was given up this black Tuesday past. Cornerstone now memorial reads: St. Michael Parochial School 1891.

Speaking for none but myself, a sin was visited upon the St. Michael School community. A sin of omission.

As parents, we know of death; know all living things have their time, and that good things die despite heroic efforts. Yet, the cause of man remains life, his labors a shoulder to the wheel to keep the good of this world alive for those to come.

Not only our humanity, but our nationality calls us to fight for that which we hold dear.

From Bunker Hill to Grant Park, Americans have risen righteously in defense of the Republic, as when the electorate this month rendered precious gift unto the generations, sorely owed for all the crap we the people also bequeathed.

Thus were Catholic Americans of St. Michael compelled to respond as they did when given notice last year this time, that the school had one year to turn its fortunes around. And, oh yea, the parish priest eliminated the school's annual $40,000 subsidy.

Never mind that the death sentence implied in the 12-month reprieve scared existing and prospective families away. The parents of St. Michael School organized a promotional campaign unprecedented in energy, passion, commitment, and expertise, developing a marketing and fund-raising plan geared toward long-term viability.

In throwing themselves behind such a daunting task, parents proceeded from the assumption that Archdiocese and parish priest shared with us a fundamental belief in the inherent, life-enriching, faith-building value of Catholic education, and that all parties would do everything possible to preserve its 117-year presence in Frostburg.

All that we asked of the Church was an effort that matched our own.

In this, our priest and Archdiocese utterly failed. If I were to sum up the mood of this faith community in one word, it would be betrayal.

"Not like this, not like this," Switch says to Neo, as the treacherous Cypher pulls the plug that keeps her alive.

She was prepared to die, but with her last words, protested death without a fight.

Thus it is with the parents of Saint Michael. We knew the school could die, but not like this...



Last Updated on Thursday, 27 November 2008 01:02
Main Street lampposts dressed for the holidays PDF Print E-mail
Written by Richard Kerns   
Thursday, 20 November 2008 17:09

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FROSTBURG -- The green-thumbed elves of the Frostburg House and Garden Club were on Main Street this week, decorating lamppost planters with holiday greenery.

The club members maintain the planters throughout the year, with flower arrangements on display from spring to first-frost. Come mid-November, the planters are then decorated with pine and other evergreen clippings.

Pictured above, Nancy Crawley, right, and Tess Delaney work on the planter at the corner of Beall's Lane and West Main. One of three planters they transformed Thursday afternoon, the lamppost display includes a variety of greenery, including hemlock, white pine, yew, blue spruce and cedar.

The plantings are as varied as the members who maintain them, with some House and Garden elves also including rhododendron and holly.

Crawley and Delaney worked in below-freezing temperatures, and brought along pots of hot water to help thaw the frozen potting soil in the planter. Starting out with six plastic yard bags full of greenery, the pair used about two bags per planter.

"It takes more than you think," Delaney said.

While the winter plantings require little maintenance, with the cuttings usually retaining their color well beyond the holidays, the summer flowers are labor intensive. In July and August, Crawley said, garden club members are sometimes out daily watering the plants. Delaney said many motorists will toot their horn or yell a "Thank-you!" as they pass, a show of gratitude that the House and Garden Club members appreciate.

The greenery is being put out just in time for the new Christmas light wreaths and displays which now  top Main Street lampposts from Water to Grant. The new wreath displays, which were placed on 44 lampposts by city employees working into the wee hours Thursday morning, were designed and crafted by Frostburg resident Jack Dishong and  Karen Bingman, president of the House and Garden Club. The pair hope to extend the lights eastward on Main Street next year, and beyond in following years.


Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2008 23:21
Bigotry in Our Mountains: A Call to Action PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Davis   
Friday, 07 November 2008 22:43
Bigotry in Our Mountains:  A Call To Action


A very unpretentious man, no question about it, this gentleman who serves as one of the spokesmen for a local community organization called Concerned Citizens.   Bill Peck is passionate and articulate in his efforts as part of a group that seeks to address the racial issues that still plague us as a society in western Maryland.


Last Updated on Saturday, 15 November 2008 09:35
Wave that flag, wave it wide and high PDF Print E-mail
Written by Richard Kerns   
Thursday, 06 November 2008 22:11

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 FROSTBURG - AppIndie is getting star billing on Water Street in Frostburg, thanks to Barb Armstrong of Armstrong Insurance.

Armstrong, a tireless community activist, approached the city earlier this year about stringing promotional banners between her business at the corner of Water and West Mechanic, and the city-owned ambulance building at 22 Water, across from her offices.

After getting the green light from the city, she had a pulley-system installed for banners 2 feet wide by 24 feet long. The first to go up was for Cruisin' Main Street in early September, followed by a banner for the Appalachian Festival at Frostburg State University.

A few weeks ago, Armstrong generously offered the space to AppIndie. Upon delivery from Kenney Signs this week, she and her husband "Slug" Armstrong, with an assist from office worker Candy, put up the banner Thursday afternoon.

As one of the biggest challenges at the Appalachian Independent is spreading the word about our new publication, we're very grateful to Barb for her assistance in flying the AppIndie flag so prominently above one of Frostburg's main thoroughfares.

By the way, as reported earlier in AppIndie, Armstrong has since acquired the ambulance building and plans to convert it into a downtown living space with some combination of public uses, while restoring the front to its original appearance.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 November 2008 08:22
Mountain City Elves Craft New Lamppost Displays PDF Print E-mail
Written by Richard Kerns   
Friday, 31 October 2008 08:39


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FROSTBURG -- Up the stairs of City Hall, to a room rough cut of lumber-floor and bare brick-wall, Mountain City elves fluff garland, wrap lights and weave greenery, crafting ruby-lit halos for soft-glow Main Street lamps. In the expansive, attic-like room on the city building's second floor, the good volunteers not only assemble streetscape Christmas decorations, they midwife vision and passion to steel, lit form.

workers assemble lamppost displaysWhere others saw cheap, wiry, white-light abominations upon Frostburg's handsome lampposts, Karen Bingman and Jack Dishon saw cheap, wiry, white-light abominations, and set out to do something about it. Their dream was simple, yet daunting: Replace those tacky old lights with something truly befitting Mountain City December.

Dream made real will transform 50 downtown lampposts this holiday season, bathing Ma in Street in the colors of the season, from Water to Grant.

Bingman is president of the Frostburg House and Garden Club, whose members maintain the dazzling floral displays in the lamppost planters all summer, up to first frost, when they bouquet the planters in pine and bow. Club members naturally feel a sense of ownership when it comes to the lampposts, and they didn't like what crowned them come the holidays.

"I've had a a lot of people approach me at House and Garden, saying ‘Why can't we have nice Christmas lights?'" Bingman said.

Last Updated on Monday, 03 November 2008 08:55
The Raging Controversy of the County Road Patrol, Part 3 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Davis   
Thursday, 13 November 2008 19:58

The Raging Controversy of The Allegany County Road Patrol, Part 3



The roaring flames seem to have subsided for now, but there is still plenty of smoke smoldering below the surface in regard to the contentions between the Allegany County Commissioners and Sheriff Goad over the county road patrol.

Today in this updated report from your diligent investigative reporter for the Appalachian Independent, you can read about the opinions on both sides of the aisle, as well as comments based on an independent inquiry.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 November 2008 11:00
Population: The Critical Component in Global Warming PDF Print E-mail
Written by Craig Etchison   
Saturday, 08 November 2008 13:55

myphoto.jpg As I've considered the evidence for global warming and massive climate change over the past fifteen years, I was only vaguely aware of the eight hundred pound gorilla among all the scientific research, a gorilla that had the last say on whether we save our planet or not.  That gorilla was the planet's population.  Unless we address the population explosion in a comprehensive way, not much else we do will matter as runaway global warming wrecks the planet.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 14:57
Carpenters In The Forehead/ Shout It From The Rooftops PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Davis   
Tuesday, 04 November 2008 16:19



When you read the expression that we are blue today, I'm not referring to an emotional state of feeling depressed, down and out, or trapped in a glum-city state of mind.  Instead, this is intended as an expression of incredible joy at the outcome of a long and heart-wrenching political campaign that has given us a new President of the United States of America.  The Blue States and blue voters throughout our country have given rise to a resurgence of unabashed liberalism and the dream of a better future.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 November 2008 17:43
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