Kick-Off for Ban on Fracking to be Held at Frostburg's City Place PDF Print E-mail
Written by Nadine Grabania   
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 17:49

ban frackingA western Maryland kick-off for those wanting to be involved in the Maryland General Assembly debate to ban fracking begins at 3:00 PM on Sunday at Frostburg’s City Place. The all-ages event hosted by Citizen Shale and the state-wide Don't Frack Maryland Coalition is free and open to the public. (RSVP at http://ow.ly/a7uJ3092hm9)

 

A series of speakers, including elected officials, investigative journalists and educators, will present on topics ranging from water contamination and health impacts of fracking to how citizens can take action in Annapolis.  A light dinner will be served. The program is expected to wrap up around 6:30 PM followed by live music. Those who will attend the legislative meetings and rally in Annapolis on March 2 are encouraged to attend. 

 

Both the House and Senate introduced bills earlier this month to ban shale gas development.  The bills have attracted the sponsorship of some 90 legislators as concerns mount that fracking in Maryland’s shale plays will cause harm.

 

“As a member of the General Assembly, it is my responsibility to make sure Maryland communities are protected from the environmental, public health and safety threats posed by fracking,” said Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo (D-15), the lead sponsor of the Ban bill in the House of Delegates. “I’m proud to be introducing legislation banning fracking once and for all. This bill will protect our communities and the environment of Maryland.”  

 

Plans are in the works to connect via Skype with legislative champions who will provide an overview of fracking bills under consideration and discuss ways western Maryland citizens can and should participate in the decision-making process in Annapolis. The General Assembly has set hearing dates for the bills that would ban fracking statewide: Feb. 22 for House Bill 1325 and Feb. 29 for Senate Bill 740.

 

Environmental organizations from around the region will provide table displays and present information about how fracking is harming other communities, to show what Maryland must avoid.  "The negative impacts to health, the environment, and the economy are irrefutable at this point; the only resolution to this six-year debate that polls show most Marylanders support is a permanent ban on fracking," said Natalie Atherton, a founding member of Citizen Shale, one of the local groups organizing the event.

 

There will also be photo-ops, petitioning stations, and sign-making materials so that people can get ready to attend the Rally and March to ban fracking in Annapolis on March 2.

 

The lineup of programs begins with Brooke Harper of Chesapeake Climate Action Network.  Ms. Harper will explain how citizens who meet with legislators can hone "talking points" and explain potential harms if the legislation does not pass this session.  Other short presentations will include “Fracking 101” with Annie Bristow, PhD; “Walking the Talk” with Kimb Alexander of Water Walk MD on her walk to raise awareness on fracking’s harms to water; and “Is this what we want for Maryland?” with Nadine Grabania of Citizen Shale, who will reprise her January address to the Environmental Summit in Annapolis.

 

Josh Pribanic, who operates Public Herald news service in western Pennsylvania, will also be on hand to present his organization's five-year investigation of the state environmental regulatory agency's failure to disclose some 4,000 complaints of water contamination from fracking in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale.

 

The evening will end with food and music by local musicians, including Rob Smith, Beau Hartman, Dan Bourdeaux, and Kim Alexander.  The Water is Life chorus, a grassroots group based in Friendsville will teach attendees the lyrics to two songs that will be sung during the March 2 action in Annapolis.  

 

"The purpose of this ban launch is to ready western Marylanders to advocate for the solution that is best for all of us," said Annie Bristow, a Frack-Free Frostburg organizer and long-time ban advocate. She invites everyone to sign up for buses that will carry western Marylanders to Annapolis on March 2 for the giant rally being planned. "The City Place event will prime citizens for our journey."

 

This educational event and celebration of the growing movement to ban fracking in Maryland will take place this Sunday, February 19 from 3pm-8pm at Frostburg City Place, 14 South Water Street, Frostburg, MD 21532.

 

 
Embassy Theatre to Host Alt/Punk Show PDF Print E-mail
Written by Embassy Theatre   
Thursday, 09 February 2017 12:32

The Embassy Theatre will host three bands: Broken Radio (Cumberland), the downstrokes (Frostburg-Cumberland) and Jet Set Vapour Trails (Morgantown), Friday, February 17th for an 18+ show. Doors open at 7:30 pm with music starting at 8 pm. 

Opening act Broken Radio is an alt-rock/punk band playing covered and original songs. Featuring Ian Dorsey, guitar; Cameron Deal, bass; and Adron Fiscus drums, their music reminiscent of early Green Day in their enthusiasm and excitement. These kids bring the spirit and energy of punk to a whole new generation of local kids.

Some people might call it punk rock, others might call it gritty rock ‘n’ roll, but western Maryland’s the downstrokes bring a variety of influences to their mix of straight ahead, four on the floor garage music. From the Stones, the Who, and the Kinks to the Ramones, the Clash, and Social Distortion; from the Replacements and Pixies to Agnostic Front and H2O, the downstrokes are fans of the music they play. The results: a band that explores the possibilities of punk rock, with poetic lyrics by frontman author Gerry LaFemina, crisp guitars provided by Cumberland’s own Mike Holland, all driven by the rhythm section of Aaron Hoel on bass and drummer Bill Poorbough. After three years, the downstrokes still explore the boundaries of punk.

Power chords from the early 70's, the rhythmic angularity of 90's alt rock, a pinch of stoner doom and a unique melodic sense. Put them all together and you get Jet Set Vapour Trails. This power trio of Morgantown music veterans deliver original tunes, introspective and savage. Consisting of Jeffrey Goodwin on drums, Jarrod Ott on bass, and Thomas Moore on guitar and vocals, this band invokes the primal spirit of rock ‘n’ roll.

Tickets are $7.  The Embassy Theatre is at 49 Baltimore St. in downtown Cumberland, and reservations may be made at 240-362-7183.

 
Old-TimeTrio April Verch Band to Perform at Mountain City Traditional Arts PDF Print E-mail
Written by FSU News and Media Services   
Thursday, 09 February 2017 12:27

April Verch 1The April Verch Band will bring its world-class talent and dynamism to Mountain City Traditional Arts, 25 E. Main St. in Frostburg, on Friday, Feb. 24, at 7:30 p.m. The performance is open to the public, with a suggested donation of $15.

This passionate and energetic old-time trio has performed across the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and China. Their mastery of their instruments and stage presence has won over audiences worldwide.

April Verch has been deeply immersed in traditional music since she was a young child in Ottawa Valley, Canada. She has been touring full time since 2000, bringing her passion for her music to small rural communities as well as expansive concert halls. Verch has also held classes and lectures, performed at numerous festivals and was even one of six fiddlers representing the Canadian fiddle tradition at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. In February, she will release "The April Verch Anthology" (Slab Town Records), an 18-track collection celebrating her life's work. Hand-picked by Verch, the songs on this compilation offer an enchanting mix of regional Canadian, American old-time, bluegrass, country and Americana tracks.

Cody Walters, a native of rural Kansas, has been playing upright bass since 1999. He has played bass in a variety of musical styles, including country, jazz, Latin, folk, old-time and more with a number of bands. Walters has been with the band since 2007, playing his upright­ electric bass and banjo.

Alex Rubin has been a member of the band since March of 2016; he plays guitar and mandolin. Though he began exploring music through classical violin, he soon changed his focus to bluegrass guitar and later became immersed in the Boston bluegrass scene. Rubin has studied with John McGann, performed in a folk duo with banjo player BB Bowness and performed in a variety of festivals and New Zealand.

Dedicated to the education, sales, documentation and perpetuation of the traditional arts in the mountain region, Mountain City Traditional Arts is a program of Frostburg State University, with support from FrostburgFirst, the Allegany Arts Council and the Maryland Traditions Program of the State Arts Council.

For more information, contact email MCTA at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or call 301-687-8040.

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.

 
Reflections on the Women's March on Washington PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jerri Dell   
Tuesday, 31 January 2017 21:26

Jerri etcLess than a week after Donald Trump was elected as President of the United States, I was organizing to go with fifty Western Marylanders on a bus from Cumberland to join the Women’s Woman on Washington, D.C. Having grown up in D.C. in the 1960’s,  I knew something about protesting.  I was a in elementary school when Martin Luther King had a Dream and spoke at the Lincoln Memorial;  I one of so many college students who protested the War in Vietnam on the National Mall.  I was the granddaughter of suffragists who linked arms with thousands like them to demand the vote for women. It was time to protest again, and I was eager to be there. . . .Until I wasn’t. 

 

As the day of the March got closer – and the horror of a Trump presidency became all the more real—I thought.  Really?  Why do I want to spend hours on a bus, then into the throngs of people in the Metro, brave the misery of Washington January?  What difference would make anyway?  Perhaps I could get a cold bad enough to keep me home or slip on the ice and bruise my shin too badly to walk.  And what about the dogs?  Who would feed the dogs?  Better to continue  media blackout – no TV, no Yahoo, no Facebook. Why march with the multitudes and force myself to face it.  Up until the night of the inauguration I still wavered. Why March? Shameful as it is, on Saturday morning I climbed up on that bus because I promised my friends I would be there.  In fact, it was me who encouraged my friends to do go.  It was me who registered us all for the March and  got our Metro One-Day Passes online.  I was the one who had sixty “Resist” buttons made to give to everyone on the bus to Washington. It was just too embarrassing not to show up

 

After a quiet companionable trip to D.C. on the bus from Cumberland with 54 other people – most of whom I didn’t know personally - we arrived just after 9 at the Shady Grove Metro station where the line of people waiting to get on the train snaked all the way up the hill and moved as slowly as molasses in the winter time.  But it was a friendly crowd and there were plenty of port-a-johns and it wasn’t cold or raining.We were a cheerful, orderly group getting into the Metro.  Nobody rushed; nobody pushed. Since Shady Grove was the first beginning of the Red Line, all of us to got to sit down.  Having agreed on a buddy system before we left, Krystyna and Doris and I were a triad. Sitting in front of us on the train was a pretty, pale, slender girl of maybe twenty-two, short black hair, tattoo on the back of her neck. As Krystyna and I spoke in worried voices about cell service and whether we’d be able to contact people at the march, the girl turned around, smiled shyly at us and said “There’s an app” that lets you communicate with people without service.”  Krystyna, Doris and I busily tried to find the app.

 

“I have severe anxiety,” said the girl, “so I like to prepare for everything.  I have all kinds of Plans B and C and D.  You know, there’s even an upside to anxiety!” I reached in to my bag and gave her one of the few “Resist” buttons still left once everyone on the Cumberland bus had taken theirs. The girl was from Boston and alone and anxious, but a stranger gave her a “Resist” button. A very good omen, she said. As we piled out of the train, her eyes darted right and left, she took a deep breath, smiled and disappeared into the crowd. I felt better already.

 

March4From Union Station we strolled toward the Capitol. There were a lot of people, sure.  Mothers, some with babies attached.  Teenagers with tattoos and pink and purple hair.  Fathers with little boys throwing Frisbees.  Gay couples holding hands. Grandmothers carrying signs, smiling.  Me, Krystyna and Doris kept up fine. We walked, down sidewalks, across grass, around fences left over from the day before, and with every step the crowd got a little larger. On our way to the rally – where apparently Gloria Steinem was speaking, we heard whoops and hollers.  The crowd swelled and we couldn’t see the stage. There were swarms of us everywhere packed in as tight as the proverbial sardines. We passed a women’s drum circle, then a Native American dance.  Now a few more thousand packed in closer. Moving – just slightly—first one way, then another – “Dead end” a group said, so we all turned around, continued back to where we’d been.  – “It’s blocked,” a group said, we turned around again.  A circular sort of march. March 3

 

When it was clear we would never see Gloria Steinem or Scarlett Johansson or John Kerry, even from a distance, Krystyna and Doris and I worked our way slowly toward Independence Avenue, turned right at 7th Street and then cut across the mall.  The huge crowd spread, took over the streets, the grass, even the trees where people could get an aerial view of things. Of course the best part was the sign “Kids 4 Kindness”, “Fight Like a Girl” “Dissent is Patriotic” “You Can’t Comb Over Racism!”, “Nasty Women seeking Bad Hombres”, “Flaky liberals are getting you Healthcare!” “My Undocumented Father Paid More Taxes Than Trump!” “Free Melania!--We’ve all had bad boyfriends!”, “Politically Correct and Proud of It!”  My spirits soared.PART 1485041355058

 

At noon we stopped at the Hirschhorn Museum where there were walls to lean against, eat our sandwiches and use a clean restroom. In need of a restroom, I got in line with the others. When I saw everyone hold up their hands to show the guard they were carrying nothing dangerous, I shoved my colorful “Anti sexism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia” poster under my left arm and held my hands up too. “You’ve got to drop the poster,” the guard said.  I let Krystyna go in the museum alone. No way I was dropping my poster.

 

Doris, Krystyna and I marched on the national mall in sight of the Washington monument, past the National Gallery of Art and the Museum of Natural History. I’d done this a hundred times as a kid – either with my parents or with friends on a school trip—but this was different.  Now I was doing it with hundreds of thousands of Americans I didn’t know, mostly women.  And everywhere we went, people were kind; the marchers were kind. When someone stumbled there were a dozen people right away helping to get them back on their feet. The volunteers in neon orange jackets were kind and the police on foot, on bicycles and in police cars were all kind. People danced and chanted.  But mostly people looked around at all the thousands and thousands of other people, and smiled.  A few hours into the march – our numbers had increased a hundred fold since we left Union Station – a small group of women with shaved heads and nose-rings called out “Tell Me What Democracy Is!” and thousands of us – as far as the eye could see - shouted our response “THIS is what democracy is!”

 

And it was. 

 

Photos by Jerri Dell and Beau Hartman

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Our Town Theatre to Hold Auditions PDF Print E-mail
Written by Emily Elmlinger   
Wednesday, 18 January 2017 10:19
Our Town Theatre announces auditions for Almost, Maine, January 295-7 pm and January 307-9 pm. The cast calls for several men and women, ages 16 and older. Production dates are March 22-26. Brittney Hostutler will be directing. 
 
Synopsis:
Almost, Maine is a small town buried in snow. In the town, its residents find themselves falling in and out of love. A sweet, lighthearted play, Almost, Maine is the perfect cure for mid-winter blues. 
 
 
 
Embassy Theatre to Host Alt/Punk Show PDF Print E-mail
Written by Embassy Theatre   
Thursday, 09 February 2017 12:32

The Embassy Theatre will host three bands: Broken Radio (Cumberland), the downstrokes (Frostburg-Cumberland) and Jet Set Vapour Trails (Morgantown), Friday, February 17th for an 18+ show. Doors open at 7:30 pm with music starting at 8 pm. 

Opening act Broken Radio is an alt-rock/punk band playing covered and original songs. Featuring Ian Dorsey, guitar; Cameron Deal, bass; and Adron Fiscus drums, their music reminiscent of early Green Day in their enthusiasm and excitement. These kids bring the spirit and energy of punk to a whole new generation of local kids.

Some people might call it punk rock, others might call it gritty rock ‘n’ roll, but western Maryland’s the downstrokes bring a variety of influences to their mix of straight ahead, four on the floor garage music. From the Stones, the Who, and the Kinks to the Ramones, the Clash, and Social Distortion; from the Replacements and Pixies to Agnostic Front and H2O, the downstrokes are fans of the music they play. The results: a band that explores the possibilities of punk rock, with poetic lyrics by frontman author Gerry LaFemina, crisp guitars provided by Cumberland’s own Mike Holland, all driven by the rhythm section of Aaron Hoel on bass and drummer Bill Poorbough. After three years, the downstrokes still explore the boundaries of punk.

Power chords from the early 70's, the rhythmic angularity of 90's alt rock, a pinch of stoner doom and a unique melodic sense. Put them all together and you get Jet Set Vapour Trails. This power trio of Morgantown music veterans deliver original tunes, introspective and savage. Consisting of Jeffrey Goodwin on drums, Jarrod Ott on bass, and Thomas Moore on guitar and vocals, this band invokes the primal spirit of rock ‘n’ roll.

Tickets are $7.  The Embassy Theatre is at 49 Baltimore St. in downtown Cumberland, and reservations may be made at 240-362-7183.

 
Frostburg Not Named Finalist for Small Business Revolution, but Momentum Continues PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bethany Doyle   
Thursday, 09 February 2017 12:20

Frostburg, Maryland was recently named one of eight communities out of 14,000 nominations nationwide selected for Deluxe Corporation’s Small Business Revolution project, with a grand prize of a $500,000 Main Street Makeover and Hulu documentary series co-hosted by Robert Herjavec of ABC’s Shark Tank. Unfortunately, on February 9, Frostburg was not announced a top-five finalist for the competition. While we are disappointed that we are not finalists, our momentum does not stop here.

FrostburgFirst and the City of Frostburg are so proud of the community for rallying behind the Small Business Revolution. Main Street Manager Jessica Palumbo says, “We've been able to pull together as a community to rally behind a common goal, and that type of momentum is invaluable. I am inspired every day by the passionate and hardworking people of this community. This is just the beginning.”

Although Frostburg was not named a finalist, the nomination alone provided a huge burst of energy from business owners, FSU students and alumni, and community members. “We learned something about Frostburg businesses from the process,” says Andrea De Palatis, owner of Spectrum Design Services. “With 8-10 new businesses opening in the last 2 years, Frostburg is experiencing a shift to the next generation of entrepreneurs who bring fresh and exciting energy to our town.” Diana Iman, owner of Funky Repurps & More, says, “Even though our beautiful town was not a finalist, I am excited about the momentum that has started.”

 

This nomination has instilled, not only a sense of community pride, but also a sense of state pride. Coverage on Frostburg’s nomination has been featured by the Maryland Department of Planning, Main Street Maryland, and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. Support has come from across the state and beyond. In fact, Katie Morgan, an FSU alumna from southern Maryland, submitted the original nomination for Frostburg to the Small Business Revolution contest! Katie says she nominated Frostburg because, “This small town quickly became my home away from home. I loved the small town feel and the beauty of the mountains surrounding us.”

 

The online #MyFrostburg campaign led up to the finalist announcement on February 9. Social media users were asked to post about their love and memories of Frostburg using the hashtag. Posts were tracked diligently by Deluxe, the sponsoring organization of the Small Business

 

Revolution competition. The hashtag campaign allowed Frostburg to connect with a much broader network of communities via social media engagement. Stories poured in from former Frostburg residents, Frostburg State University graduates, and out-of-state citizens with family ties to the area. Common themes throughout the posts were the beautiful scenery of Mountain Maryland, tales of local folklore, and the past and present small business community.

 

While our journey with the Small Business Revolution has come to an end, we view this only as the beginning of a new journey. “Frostburg is a very resilient town,” says Frostburg Mayor Robert Flanagan. “We’re going to keep moving forward, because that’s what we do. We’re tough, we’re hardworking, and we’re always looking to the future.”

 

Keep the Frostburg love going on social media. Follow along with Frostburg on our journey on social media and keep the Frostburg love going using #OurFrostburg. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @FrostburgFirst. For more information on how we got this far, visit www.downtownfrostburg.com.

 
FSU’s Mountain City Traditional Arts to Present “Maple Syrup Production in Western Maryland” PDF Print E-mail
Written by FSU News and Media Services   
Monday, 23 January 2017 10:34

LeoMountain City Traditional Arts will host the program “Maple Syrup Production in Western Maryland” on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 2 p.m. at 25 E. Main St. in Frostburg. The event, which teaches the local community about maple syrup production in the region, features recent Maryland Traditions Heritage Award Winners Steyer Brothers Maple Syrup and S&S Maple Camp. Both were recognized by the Maryland Traditions Program of the Maryland State Arts Council for their roles in continuing the tradition of maple syrup making in Western Maryland. The event is free and open to the public.

“Maryland is home to a wealth of agricultural traditions, and one of the sweetest comes from the Appalachian west, where families like the Steyers and Shinholts have been passing down maple syrup-harvesting practices for generations,” said Chad Buterbaugh, director of the Maryland Traditions Program, who will participate in the MCTA program.

Maple Syrup production has a rich history in Western Maryland, where operations may have numbered in the hundreds at one time. Only a handful of those remain today, with the Steyers and Shinholts being some of the few producers remaining to keep the tradition alive in Western Maryland.

(Leo Shinholt - photo by Edwin Remsberg.)

“Wind from the north, sap comes forth. Wind from the west, sap runs best. Wind from the east, sap runs least. Wind from the south, sap is a drought,” Leo Shinholt, owner of S&S Maple Camp, is fond of saying. When most residents of the region are still staying indoors and out of the winter weather, Shinholt, of Corriganville in Allegany County, and Michael and Randall Steyer and their families, near Oakland in Garrett County, are walking miles, sometimes in snowshoes, to drill holes in maple trees, set taps and collect sap.

Sap can run for two months or more, from mid- to late February through early April, but the sweet spot of that time frame, when sap runs best, may be only a third of that time. It is during that intense period that running and boiling sap becomes the focus of life in the Steyer and Shinolt families, both of which have been at it for three decades or more. Shinholt learned the tradition from his grandfather; the Steyer family has been engaged in the practice for more than 100 years.

In early spring, the Sugar Camp becomes the hub of social activity for both families. Family and friends gather nightly to share stories, trade gossip and socialize while the sap is boiled down to produce syrup. “The maple syrup-making process represents ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit, but it also provides a source of fellowship for the immediate and extended family members who come together each winter to participate in tapping, boiling and bottling,” said Buterbaugh.

The program is being presented as part of a partnership with the the Western Maryland Heritage Association, which is partnering with the Maryland Humanities Council to bring the Smithsonian travelling exhibition, “The Way We Worked,” to Western Maryland. The main exhibition will be hosted by the Allegany Museum in Cumberland from February through March. Additionally, six Allegany County museums and historic sites will develop companion displays featuring labor and work themes.

A program of Frostburg State University, Mountain City Traditional Arts is dedicated to the education, sales, documentation and perpetuation of the traditional arts in Western Maryland.

For more information, contact MCTA at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or call 301-687-8040.

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.

 
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