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.
CARPENTERS IN THE FOREHEAD/SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS: WE'RE BLUE TODAY!
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.
Award winning filmmaker, Catherine Pancake, tackles one of Appalachia's most contentious issues in her film, Black Diamonds: Mountaintop Removal and the Fight for Coalfield Justice. She introduces that work to local audiences, Wednesday, November 5th at 7 p.m. in Allegany College of Maryland's Theatre.
The event is hosted by the ACM Peace Studies Club in partnership with Folklore and Folklife Programming at Frostburg State University. Immediately following its screening, attendees will be given the opportunity to discuss the film with Pancake.
Black Diamondsis a riveting portrait of an American region fighting for its life--caught between the grinding wheels of the national appetite for cheap energy and an enduring sense of Appalachian culture, pride, and natural beauty. For Catherine Pancake, a West Virginia native, the project was a labor of love for a region fraught with economic and environmental unrest.
October 11 saw the first-ever Arts Walk in Frostburg, a self-guided tour through the shops, bars, and restaurants that were highlighting local artists that evening. "It was the first time I couldn't find a parking place in Frostburg!" my friend Lisa Sheirer said-a sure sign of the will of the people to come out for the arts. (For more on Lisa's art, see my profile of her in AppIndie.) This is good news, indeed, as the city recently approved a designated area of Frostburg as an Arts and Entertainment District which, when approved by the State, will provide tax benefits and other incentives to artists wishing to live and create within the its borders. The same concept applied to Cumberland has been an economic boon to the downtown area there, and we Frostburgers hope for the same results in our town.
As my son Jason and I walked down Mechanic Street toward the festivities, we saw the kids and their families at the Arts Bus and Armstrong Insurance on Water Street. They were happily taking advantage of face-painting and garage graffiti-drawing. How often is it okay to draw graffiti on a city building? What an opportunity! Of course, this garage had first been protected by large sheets of paper.
by Jeff Davis (
They was waitin' To get their hands on some easy money....She could almost taste that easy money. Listen, Sam, how'd ya like to make some easy money ? ....He say, Yes! Oh yes! Jus' tell me what you want me to do... The easier it looks The hotter it hooks There ain't no such thing as easy money.
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.
Where 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.
FROSTBURG - When Frostburg city officials were approached by a local business about selling the old ambulance building on Water Street, they were enthusiastic from the start at the prospect of transferring a little-used piece of public property off the city books.
In addition to relieving city government the burden of maintaining the brick structure at 22 South Water, sale to a private entity would put the property back on the tax rolls, boosting revenue.
Frostburg businesswoman Barb Armstrong, though, had misgivings about the proposal. Located across the street at the old bus terminal she converted for use of her insurance business, she felt the ambulance building was a historical structure worthy of preservation and celebration. In addition, she saw a potential meeting space and other public uses to complement the adjoining City Place.
When the city advertised for bids on the property, it conducted a tour of the building that drew four potential bidders. At the bid deadline of Oct. 9, two bids were received, and during the Oct. 16 city council meeting, the property was sold to the high bidder: Barb Armstrong.
Although she did not initiate the sale, Armstrong took charge of the ambulance building's fate with a successful bid of $50,000.