Mountain Maryland Solar Co-op Selects Big D Electric to Serve Group PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ben Delman   
Friday, 04 November 2016 12:36
Cumberland, MD – The Mountain Maryland Solar Co-op has selected Big D Electric to install solar panels for the 43-member group. Co-op members selected Big D Electric through a competitive bidding process over four other firms. 
“It is an honor to be selected because as a company, Big D Electric has provided awareness of Renewable Energy to our region since 2005,” said Betsy Delozier, owner of Big D Electric. “We are happy to show customers the benefits of going Solar.”

MD SUN expands access to solar by educating Marylanders about the benefits of distributed solar energy, helping them organize group solar installations, and strengthening Maryland’s solar policies, as well as its community of solar supporters. The group has helped hundreds of Marylanders go solar.


Co-op members selected Big D Electric because of their competitive pricing and experience. The group also valued that Big D Electric is a local installer based in Cumberland.


“I am excited to work with Big D Electric and see how much I can save with my system,” said co-op member Danny Welsch. “I appreciate having the support of a group as I go through this process.”

The co-op is open to new members until December 31. Garrett and Allegany County residents interested in joining the co-op can sign up at


Joining the co-op is not a commitment to purchase panels. Big D Electric will provide each co-op member with an individualized proposal based on the group rate. By going solar as a group and choosing a single installer, participants can save up to 20% off the cost of their system.



Water is Life Chorus to Form PDF Print E-mail
Written by Engage Mountain Maryland   
Friday, 04 November 2016 12:32

Researchers from Frostburg State University and Friendsville, MD, are uniting to form an intergenerational chorus group. Everyone who wants to participate will meet in Friendsville on a regular basis to share music about fracking and its impacts on the community. The group's gatherings will culminate in a command performance in the Spring of the 2017 Legislative Session in Annapolis.


Contact the program coordinators to learn more how you can sing for Clean Air, Water, the Environment, and a Healthy Planet. All ages are encouraged to participate. To learn more about how to participate, contact Kathy Powell 301 707-9900  or Ann Bristow 301 338-1101. 

Frostburg State University Highlighted in 2016 Sustainable Campus Index PDF Print E-mail
Written by FSU News and Media Services   
Friday, 04 November 2016 12:24

Frostburg State University has been highlighted in the 2016 Sustainable Campus Index in the Investment & Finance section for its efforts in advancing sustainability in higher education through the creation of the Student Sustainability Fee, which was voted on by the FSU Student Government Association.

The 2016 Sustainable Campus Index, a publication of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives from colleges and universities that submitted a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) report in the 12 months before July 1, 2016. FSU was also recognized for achieving a STARS Silver Rating from AASHE.

“I’m glad that AASHE recognized the foresight of our student body and Student Government Association dedicating funds to special sustainability projects that provide hands-on learning opportunities. I look forward to our latest projects coming to fruition,” said FSU President Ronald Nowaczyk. "Additionally, the STARS Silver rating is a reflection of the commitment from the campus community to be a good steward of the environment. The data in the STARS report reaffirms what a tremendous job our faculty, staff and students do to keep Frostburg green.”

FSU was recognized for its Student Government Association’s dedication to sustainability through dedicating a $15-per-semester student fee to fund a project or event that incorporates sustainable practices. Some of the latest projects awarded from this fee include monitoring Sand Spring Run for water quality on campus and a planned three-dimensional sculpture made from at least 80 percent recycled materials.

“Frostburg State‘s participation in STARS and recent accomplishments in the area of Investment and Finance demonstrates significant leadership and commitment to advancing sustainability,” said AASHE’s Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “We are pleased to recognize Frostburg State for working to secure a thriving, equitable and ecologically healthy world by incorporating sustainability into campus operations, administration, engagement and academics.”

FSU and University of Maryland, College Park are the only University System of Maryland institutions to receive a STARS rating. The STARS program measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.

AASHE’s STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in three overall areas: 1) education and research, 2) operations and 3) planning, administration and engagement.

During the reporting period, the Gira Center for Communications and Information Technology was awarded LEED® Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute. The building features reduced interior lighting power density, a high-efficiency condensing boiler, a green roof and many more features designed to reduce the building’s carbon footprint. The Gira Center was designed and built by a team of companies led by Ayers Saint Gross and Gilbane Building Co.

Many of FSU’s other sustainable practices are incorporated in the scoring of its STARS report, including Dining Services operator Chartwells using a composting system to divert food waste from landfills.

FSU’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website at

For more information about FSU’s sustainability initiative, Learning Green, Living Green, visit

Blick Resident Artist to Lecture on History of Oil Color PDF Print E-mail
Written by Heidi Custer   
Monday, 24 October 2016 07:34

Joe Gyurcsak is an Utrecht Brand Manager and the current Blick Resident Artist. He is an art materials expert and a nationally recognized artist in his own right. Joe is a practicing artist for over 4 decades and has lectured and demonstrated throughout North America to more than 150 major art institutions. 

This lecture covers the historical beginnings of oil color all the way up to modern day; as seen through the eyes of chemists, toxicologist, conservators, manufacturers and artists. Audience members will be educated on how to evaluate oil colors and their properties so that they may make wise decisions in regards to archival art. Color theory exercises and a hand mulling color demo will be explored as students are invited to participate. A discussion of media such as thinners, driers, varnishes, glazes, and wax is also planned. There will be a question and answer period and technical questions are welcome. The session will last approximately 2.5 hours. Attendees should come prepared to take notes, as valuable information will be discussed.

The lecture takes place on October 26, at 6:30 pm in the Schwab Mountain Maryland Gallery of the Allegany Arts Council, located at 9 N. Centre St, Cumberland, MD. The telephone number of the Arts Council is 301.777.2787
Free to Allegany Arts Council Artist-members, $5 for AAC members, $10 for non-members.
Seating is limited, please call ahead to insure your spot.

Senator Zirkin, District 11, Discusses Fracking Ban PDF Print E-mail
Written by Engage Mountain Maryland   
Monday, 24 October 2016 07:25

Engage Mountain Maryland, in cooperation with Citizen Shale, and the Don't Frack Maryland Coalition, welcomed Senator Bobby Zirkin from District 11, Baltimore County Tuesday evening to address the public about fracking legislation and the process to pass a ban on the industry in Maryland. The senator has seen and sponsored many fracking bills in his time on the Judicial Proceedings Committee, which he currently chairs. 

With just overnight notice, 60 residents carved out time to attend the impromptu meeting, including four local elected officials who have all expressed concern and opposition to fracking by either working on, or passing local ban ordinances for their respective towns. 

Sen. Zirkin carefully laid out the challenges and strategies to pass a ban in the next legislative session. The key, in his play book is to inform his fellow senators that Western Maryland overwhelmingly does not want fracking dotting the landscape like has happened in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The impression, according to Zirkin, is that most legislators think area residents are anxious to start drilling with the notion it will be good for the economy. 

Many opponents of fracking see it differently, basing their objections on the negative economic effects industrial development will have on an otherwise sustainable pristine recreational Mecca. With 60% of Garrett County's revenue coming from tourism and second home markets, its likely the invasive nature of fracking will drive tourists away and slow real estate interests. 

Earlier Tuesday, Delegate Kumar Barve, who chairs the Environment & Transportation Committee, vowed to pass ban legislation if it crosses his committee. This was encouraging news to Zirkin, but underscored the need to seek that same support with state senators. 

So far there is no specific ban bill, and Marylanders are anxiously awaiting what it will include. You can watch Sen. Zirkin's address and learn what he suggests for Western Maryland residents.

Performing Arts to Highlight Gender Equality Programming at Frostburg State University PDF Print E-mail
Written by FSU News and Media Services   
Friday, 04 November 2016 12:27

A robust series of arts-centered programs focusing on unity, respect and equal rights will kick off in November, as part of an initiative by the Frostburg State University Office of Gender Equality.

“Students want to have more of a voice in learning how to be effective allies in gender-based violence and harassment. We felt the arts is an effective vehicle to do so,” said April Baer, deputy Title IX coordinator in the FSU Office of Gender Equality. “It’s an engaging conversation they get to process.”

The programming is made possible through a $10,000 grant awarded by the Maryland Department of Mental Health and Hygiene’s Center for Injury and Sexual Assault Prevention.

“Music With a Bystander Message”

A special program, “Music With a Bystander Message,” will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, in the Lane University Center Atkinson Room (232) where several campus organizations will partner with recording artist The Billies. The workshop is free and open to the public.

The Billies are Chrisie Santoni and Craig Smith. The duo holds “Music With a Bystander Message” workshops at colleges across the nation. Santoni has co-written with Lindy Robbins hits for Demi Lovato, Jason Derulo, One Direction and others.

At this workshop, more than 50 students will join with The Billies to write and produce an original song that will focus on the importance of bystander intervention in sexual assault or discrimination situations. FSU students will be taught how to have confidence so they can successfully intervene to prevent or stop sexual assault and harassment.

“We’re really focusing on ways students can help each other out,” Baer said. FSU has an amnesty policy where bystanders will be forgiven if they are under the influence if they safely intervening to stop sexual assault and harassment.

The experience will include recording the performance and workshop to be part of a music video. The song will be recorded and broadcast on FSU-TV3, WFWM and shared with other media outlets.

Music fraternities Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity as well as peer educators from the BURG Peer Education Network are co-hosting the workshop.

Social Justice Theatre

FSU’s Department of Theatre and Dance will host a series of interactive productions exploring topics related to gender-based harassment and violence through theatre.

Students in the workshops will choose topics relevant to the students and interpret how the different people in the scenarios would react and feel by acting it out.

“As a theater artist, this is what I’m most passionate about,” said FSU Costume Shop Supervisor Michele Labar, who will lead Social Justice Theatre. “This gives people a voice who don’t normally have a voice.”

The productions are based on Augusto Boal’s “Theatre of the Oppressed,” which provides a framework on how to use improvisational games to give power to people who are at a disadvantage – whether perceived or real – in society.

“We will use improv games to help students explore these issues from an objective standpoint,” Labar said.

The students involved are not expected to be performers to give an authentic experience. Theatre and Dance students will be trained to guide the participants through the improvisational games.

“This is not a performance. There is no audience, no pressure,” Labar said. “This is a safe place to explore where there is no judging one another in that room.”

Dates and times for the workshops will be announced soon.

Relating, Dating and Communicating

First-year students are being trained annually in Introduction to Higher Education orientation classes on what healthy relationships are and what defines consent.

These special Relating, Dating and Communicating workshops in the courses are led by trained facilitators through the Office of Gender Equality. Students should be able to grow their understanding of verbal and non-verbal consent.

The 2016 workshops wrapped up earlier this month, where students could complete pledge cards about standing up to sexual assault and harassment.

A visual display of select pledges written by students will be unveiled in April 2017 as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. More information about the display will be announced at a later date.

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.

Frostburg State University’s Puppet Maker Saves “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” PDF Print E-mail
Written by FSU News and Media Services   
Saturday, 29 October 2016 10:38

Spider Puppet When the curtain rises and the lights come on for the Frostburg State University production of “James and the Giant Peach Jr.,” children throughout Western Maryland will accompany James and his six loveable insect friends on their magical, musical adventure across the Atlantic Ocean in an overgrown peach.

When the insects first appear onstage, they are in the form of six puppets, a prop challenge that director Mairzy Yost-Rushton feared would break the bank.

As Yost-Rushton, a professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, began researching the play, she began to suffer from sticker shock. One production of “James” in Ohio had used metal puppets, which she could rent for more than $1,000. Then she solicited bids for custom-made puppets.

“Two guys emailed me back, and those puppets would have been $1,200 ... each,” she said.

Those costs would far exceed the budget for a regional children’s theatre production, especially for puppets only used in the beginning of the play, before the insects are transformed into their “giant” form, performed by suitably costumed student actors. Temporarily stymied, Yost-Rushton turned to her colleague in FSU’s Department of English and Foreign Languages, Dr. Gerry Snelson.

“I contacted Gerry ... maybe he could just give us some ideas, and we could find somebody to make them here. Maybe there’d be a student who was interested or somebody local,” Yost-Rushton said. But Snelson told her he was too busy to possibly help, although he said he would ponder some ideas.

“The next thing I know, he’s emailing me a picture of one of them that was finished! And then he wouldn’t even charge us for them,” she said.

For Snelson, puppetry is a lifelong labor of love. He made his first puppet before entering first grade and has continued ever since, directing and performing in regular shows at First English Baptist Church in Frostburg and showing his creations at regional and national conventions.

“There’s no such thing as a standard puppet, because there’s so many different types,” Snelson said. “Normally, if I do a show, they’re all hand puppets, or they’re all rod puppets or they’re all whatever, but this one, it’s a real mix.”

No kits or plans exist for puppets like these, so Snelson had to answer several questions first. How will the puppets be used? How will they function on the stage? And finally, how can he create them from scratch to meet those needs?

“Building them is a process of working out puzzles, and I’ve always liked puzzles,” Snelson said, “but I wasn’t very sharp this summer, in the beginning.”

It turns out that Snelson already had pneumonia, which would hound him for the next two months. While he seeks the assistance of his wife, Jackie, for many of his puppets, for “James,” he relied on her even more than usual.

“She doesn’t like working on puppets, but she does it, and she likes the challenge. She certainly rose to it,” Snelson said. “I would work an hour and then rest an hour, because I really felt rough.”

The simplest puppet, Earthworm, came first. For the body, Gerry originally considered covering a Slinky. Jackie suggested a dryer vent hose instead. She covered the hosing in custom-dyed Antron Fleece while Gerry crafted the head, including a tricky leather aviator hat. Gerry cut up an old leather jacket for the hat and fashioned a set of goggles from some PVC piping, with cutout X-ray films for the glass lenses.

Jackie also suggested a disused cake-saver lid to form the body of Ladybug, devised the many arms for Centipede and recruited women from her quilting group to help craft the intricate costume worn by Grasshopper – the final and most time-consuming puppet in the set.

No two puppets take the same amount of time. It took several days to perfect the legs on Spider alone. Of course, the time involved was of little concern to Snelson.

“How long does it take to do anything that’s fun? If it’s fun, you don’t watch the clock. If it’s misery, you know exactly how long you’ve been working,” he said.

From the many handcrafted puppets and other creations that decorate his office to the nature of his hobbies, Snelson obviously finds joy in such intricate work. He collects 19th-century hats and all manner of pocket knives. His hobbies include photography, building model railroads from the ground up in scales small and large, building and playing stringed instruments and woodturning pens and other artistic objects.

“Yes, I like to work with my hands,” he said with a smile.

Centiped Puppet In all, the six puppets took the Snelsons roughly six weeks to complete. They eventually charged for materials, $38 for felt, wood, foam, etc. And soon their work will entertain children throughout Allegany and Garrett counties, as well as in West Virginia.

After Frostburg’s production of “James” concludes, Yost-Rushton said the puppets may get a second chance to bring smiles to theatre goers. To help other directors avoid her dilemma, she hopes to affordably rent some of the Snelson originals to other troupes looking to stage their own productions of “James.”

The public performance of “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” is Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 4:30 p.m. in the Pealer Recital Hall of FSU’s Performing Arts Center. Tickets for adults and children are $7. For information or tickets, contact the CES box office at 301-687-3137 or visit

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit or Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.

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.

CES’ On the EDGE Series to Host Step Dance Group Molodi Live PDF Print E-mail
Written by FSU News and Media Services   
Monday, 24 October 2016 07:29

Molodi 1CES at Frostburg State University will present the electrifying step dancers of Molodi Live in its next On the EDGE series performance. The show will take place on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 8:15 p.m. in the Alice R. Manicur Assembly Hall of FSU’s Lane University Center.

Using only their bodies as instruments, Molodi combines collegiate stepping, tap, gumboots, beatbox and poetry with guerrilla theatre. Interactive rhythms and crowd participation bridge the gap between the artists and the audience, who become essential participants in the performance. According to The Villager, “The soulful and energetically intense performance ... leaves the audiences in awe of their abilities to blend the traditional percussive dance forms.”

The On the EDGE series is an exciting club series presented as a collaboration between CES at FSU and FSU Student Activities. The series features cutting-edge performers who stretch the boundaries of their art forms. Patrons enjoy informal table seating, comfortable couch and armchair seating, and food and beverage options.

On the EDGE tickets are $15 and may be ordered by calling 1-866-849-9237 or 301-687-3137 or by visiting CES’ webpage at

CES is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business and Economic Development, MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. The CES 60th Anniversary season is supported in part by the city of Frostburg and the FSU Foundation, Inc.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit or Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.

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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