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."
Founded 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.
The Raging Controversy of the Allegany County Road Patrol
"Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
This child’s-play adage is certainly being put to the test when it comes to the barrage of criticism recently hurled at the Allegany County Commissioners. You could hardly blame them for wanting Kevlar skin after being accused at various times of being: "underhanded, a disgrace, dishonest, incompetent, part of a posse, a jeopardy to safety, spiteful, part of a civil conspiracy, comparable to a roach, and not qualified to be dog-catchers." And if you think that is not quite enough opprobrium for any three people, throw in the fear expressed on the part of one of our citizens that because of the actions of the Commissioners, “our next President of the United States could hand us over to the European Union, and our way of life, Constitution, and sovereignty will be gone.”
The October, 2008 National Geographic features an article on the Ozark Highlands Trail in Arkansas. The article features a map of the National Trails System, including the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, a series of trails along the Potomac River basin, including the Great Allegheny Passage trail running through Allegany County and on to Pittsburgh. Although written about the Ozark Highlands Trail, a quote from the article applies equally to our corner of the Appalachians:
“Thickly forested with red oak and black gum, these hillsides have witnessed much history, having been roamed by Indians, crisscrossed by Spanish and French explorers, and skirmished over by Union and Confederate armies in the Civil War.”
Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Appalachian Independent:The Dialogue of Democracy!What you see before you is the result of lots of hard work by numerous people.The content of this first issue of our community newspaper was authored by a core group of people and you will find their names associated with their articles.With every endeavor such as this, there are people who are instrumental to the process but remain anonymous because their responsibilities are behind the scenes.What you won’t see behind the “wizard's curtain” are the authors of the website itself.Steve Robinett and Woody Getz are the unsung heroes who have created the “AppIndie” website from the ground up.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 September 2008 07:14
A building whose obituary was written in smoke and ash on the editorial page of the Cumberland Times-News will soon open its doors to new life as a downtown destination for all-things Frostburg State.
Gutted by the 2004 fire that destroyed the landmark bar Gandalf’s on its first floor, the Lyric Building was given up for dead in the days and weeks that followed. A hollow shell and fragile façade survived the flames, but when bricks began falling on the sidewalk a few days after the blaze, the Times-News editorialized of the Lyric in the past tense.
I know because I wrote the editorial, and at the time fully realized that the phrasing of the piece essentially pronounced the building dead. It was a conscious decision, and to my mind, a safe call. The bulldozer was warming up to bring it all down in the name of public safety, white-striped asphalt patch where once brick and wood entwined, a Main Street denizen of elegant lines and long memory.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 September 2008 00:53
FROSTBURG – The city of Frostburg fully supports efforts to establish an Arts & Entertainment District in the community, with city officials confident that the state will approve the designation by the end of the year.
“It’s 5-0 in favor,” City Administrator John Kirby said of the mayor and council’s support for what he described as the “grassroots effort” to develop the district.
Kirby attributed the idea for the district to local residents, including faculty and staff from Frostburg State University, city council member Susan Keller, local business people and artists who already call Frostburg home.
Keller said the arts district was a natural outgrowth of long-standing efforts to revitalize the downtown Main Street area and foster economic development in the community as a whole. “I think people are interested in trying to figure out ways to promote the city and showcase those things we already have,” Keller said. “This interest seemed to go hand-in-hand with an arts and entertainment district.”
By Richard Kerns
FROSTBURG - The lead story of any debut news publication must be the birth of said publication. Thus it is with the Appalachian Independent.
The fruit of a year-long development effort by a core group of a dozen area residents, the AppIndie, as it is known in shorthand, for its .org Web address, seeks to foster grassroots news coverage of Mountain Maryland and its Appalachian environs.
The online paper, to be published every other Wednesday, aims not only to tell our region's stories, but to provide a forum where "citizen journalists" can report on their own communities. More than just sharing the good, bad and beautiful of the region we call home, AppIndie pursues a higher mission, to foster Web-based discussion as to the nature of the community we the people bequeath to those who follow.
This "dialogue of democracy" is at the heart the Appalachian Independent, as reflected in the publication's mission statement: Citizen journalists giving voice to a diverse Appalachian community.