We, in Cumberland, Maryland, often see reports on the many several media sources such as, The Cumberland Times News, WCBC, and Cumberland Chat (now defunct), to name a few, that often start with reports of promise and end with a fizzle of an idea and leave us with even less of a fizzle of hope.
The financial debacle that has spread to all parts of The United States is certainly at issue on the surface at the very least, and what will overcomes this is patience, planning and vision.
I never see an entirely collective vision here in this town, and I can blame it no where except upon leadership, finances and communication, and these are the three devices cutting a huge division across our country, when we most need to buckle up for a long tough ride and find clarity united together.
For example, I am appalled we have extensively lost 40 acres of our city's, our citizens, park property, which is also our largest park, and to what ? a corporate arm twisting perhaps.
I hope for hope's sake I am wrong and it is a huge benefit to this area, but it just typically never turns out that way here.
The trade is 40 acres of Constitution Park adjacent to the new state of the art W.M.H.S. hospital facility, for the old hospital campus, which will, if all goes well, become our new high school.
If this is a done deal, I embrace it, because without acceptance, well, why be a sour puss.
So we move forward with property, but no real firm plan.
We place the apple cart before the horse all too often here in this town with many great ideas, that lack an overall coordination as to what the vision to be achieved should be and thence projected.
UPDATE OCT 22, 2015
Bids reveal $25 million shortfall for new Allegany High School
Article Posted: Wednesday, September 2, 2015 5:06 pm
CUMBERLAND — The much anticipated bid day brought bad news for the Allegany County Board of Education on Wednesday when contractor bids came in at roughly $60 million for the construction of a new Allegany High School complete with auditorium, sports fields and a nine-classroom addition.
With $35.2 million currently secured for the project, the school board is facing a shortage of roughly $25 million.
PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO DATES AND ADDED EDITS OF PROGRESS AFTER RECOMMENDATIONS I HAVE MADE HEREIN.
ALSO, I HOPE THE LINK ENCLOSED STAY ACTIVE TO FURTHER ILLUSTRATE THE TEXT FOUND WITHIN THIS DOCUMENTATION AS PROVIDED.
AS A RULE OF THUMB...UPDATES / EDITS SHOULD BE IN RED TO SIGNIFY THE ACTUAL UPDATED EDITS HEREIN AS WELL.
It makes one wonder often if their is ever a logical collective thought process of our leadership.
Do they really always look forward to weigh aspects and outcomes as well as they should?
We often hire "outside" companies to do studies.
Statistics are great to a degree, however, we know our town, not these folks that come to make assessments and then leave after finishing their data gathering, crunching, and final report.
We have to look much further and deeper into ourselves and this community then a study could ever really reveal, and I am not suggesting that we do not do these studies, however I think we often give them more weight then they deserve, and then do not see the bigger picture, which may consist of factors like an evaluation of this type. What any projects final positive and long lasting impacts will be upon our community.
I think with long lasting you can use a graduated scale of any reasonable unit, like 5-10 years, 11-15 years, 16-20 years, etc.
You may even consider posting these studies in an easy way for anyone to decipher, be they a scientist themselves or a lay person. An ignorant public is only as ignorant as you in politics accept and allow.
If tax money is paying for anything that is tangible, then each of those things should be able to be examined at anytime under the philosophy of transparency, and that only makes sense, and that is where we are moving as a world.
So here we are in 2012, making land acquisitions before diligent time has passed, before studies (which cost more money we do not have...even if it comes from the state...well its our collective tax money and it is being spent, when its spent, we are more in debt and...well, where do we pay that back...sounds like common sense, and so it is...so what is the issue here...why do we do this same insanity over and over again?)
We received it totally inoperable, as the kitchens wore ripped to shreds as well as most of the more useful things in the structure, and specifically because our hospital here has a no compete clause, that at some levels should be looked into, as it appears it may be abused or even perhaps illegal when it comes down to capitalism and promoting a marketplace of competition.
They (W.M.H.S.) effectively have a monopoly on hospital health care, and I am certain this is not the only one like this.
Growing up near Washington D.C., it is easy to take for granite that there are a lot of hospitals to choose from.
Well, not here, and it seems odd that they would have a policy as they do, which I have heard from employees many times and friends that work there.
I also new folks that were ripping the old place apart and hauling a lot of it for scrap.
We had an FDA approved kitchen in that facility and that is not something easy to get approved for.
The high school certainly could have used that, not to mention anyone else in a time of need in a potential emergency. Perhaps preparing meals for the homeless, or letting a small business co-op run an operation from there. Maybe even have a restaurant where the students could enjoy any facet of cooking and restauranteering.
You can imagine the possibilities.
The old hospital was purposefully made inoperable as a hospital again with very specific intent as I have outlined herein.
I had even written and suggested several times to family friends and other friends associated with the V.A. what a great place this would be for a rehabilitation hub for our returning veterans.
ADD MY TIMES-NEWS ARTICLE HERE
Well, I wrote that before they were returning and before the War in Iraq was over.
Now it is over, and we have missed another boat.
So here is what we had, perfectly functional, and running well, not to mention the recent multi-million dollar addition. This is the campus as it was operable.
related articles and information:
APPLE CART BEFORE THE HORSE
So guess what reality is. We have the site for the new school, and no funding for that new school.
How much more ridiculous can leadership be?
Here is the catch... We had until the end of the year to identify a site to ask for assistance with paying for the new construction.
The W.M.H.S. knew this!
We knew this, and what we did was make a swap in haste so that we could own and therefore apply for the construction grant.
There are no guarantees with grants and the reason this was done this way was so WMHS could lose their massive liability, they could blind side the city for 40 acres of our tax payer owned park, and they put the time pressure on us totally on purpose, and the net result is we own this land and old hospital and do not yet have any approval what so ever for the funds to construct it. That is all 100% fact.
The biggest reason for that push was because we needed to identify that land in the request and then send the request in so we could seek approval.
Had we waited until January 1, 2012 or after, we may have had to wait an extra year for that funding process to transpire.
Had I been mayor, I would suggest we would wait longer, as we do not need anymore liabilities, and we will run the negotiation and not the other way around.
Corporations bottom line is the dollar and profit.
That is what you are dealing with or against.
I understand that and any student of economic would too.
The bottom line is now we own this land, gave away 40 acres of our largest park, Constitution Park.
The Constitution of The United States is about freedom, and you traded the 40 acres of land of "Constitution Park", away to a corporation.
Can you really not see the huge symbolic paradox?
My deal would have said, if we moved forward to this point, We propose you guarantee funding for the school in the case that our request is turned down, or otherwise agree to take the entire property back where it does not cost our taxpayers one red cent if the approval is denied.
If you do not believe the facts as I have reported them here, simply go to the links above and read those articles and look at the dates and read between the lines while doing your due diligence.
In ten years of life here, I could write a book on the massive short-comings and financial mistakes we have collectively, most especially in Cumberland, Maryland, made so many times over and over again,, but so could anyone else in hindsight.
I saw these things coming long ago and I wrote about it.
Deaf ears are always, and will remain, well, deaf.
Like blinded eyes that cannot see.
We cannot ever make greedy decisions like this again because we are really placing ourselves, our entire cities future, in a place of possible jeopardy while we are in an extremely fragile economy with the worst economic downturn in history.
Some folks think the depression was worse.
The people may have suffered more this is very true, however what is being missed now is the scale of this compared to then.
So, in the Great Depression our total populations was in rough rounded numbers, and never exceeding:
and now, 2012, it is roughly as a round number:
Reading about the Great Depression is an unbelievable parallel to these times right now in many ways.
Simply investigate the link below and all of the wonderful data and history, or search elsewhere to your liking.
The massive difference is our population today, and that makes this a much tougher beast to take down.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT CUMBERLAND, MARYLAND
I like our new team players in city government. We have passionate people, with proven track records, that speak up, are transparent, motivated, good down to Earth citizens that are reaching out for help and making things happen.
Is there a five, ten, fifteen, and twenty year plan for out city?
I know we have a vision in the works all the time, but I think that entire vision is all wrong in many aspects and the vision we are trying to achieve is twenty years old.
Maybe you think that sounds stark or outrageous, however the fact is, this town has always lagged behind.
In some ways it is also what offers it's undeniable charm.
These things can be kept, and newer vision woven into and incorporated into this newer vision's fabric.
Not far from where I grew up in Fairfax County, Virginia, Loudon County was forced to place a moratorium on new building...why you ask?...because they had vision, understood logistics and projection, and saw clearly they were building "something" that people were flocking too, but also knew that they could not keep pace with the growth, due to traffic and infrastructure overload that was already upon them, and many other factors (and just because it exists does not mean it does not take a beating...Baltimore Avenue is sliding and cracking...the entire hillside is, starting upon North Waverly Terrace, through Waverly Terrace, down the hillside to Baltimore Avenue, and towards Decatur.
If you inspect them each carefully, you very often will see that the buildings have stress cracks in the direction of the sliding that has happened before, and is happening again and more recently picking up pace.
Some of these buildings even lean or are out of balance in that same direction.
The last two years in particular, on my walks, I see that North Waverly Terrace just below my home is slipping a lot, and Baltimore Avenue had a sink hole through the street that I shined my flashlight into and could not see the bottom of.
I reported it, and it was promptly filled and holding for now, but it is sinking in a larger pattern around what did not cave it, and that means there is massive erosion from water below the road, and it is only a matter of time that is proper drainage is not installed, and properly designed braces, or walls are not put in place, it will slide and be a major issue.
My Father is a Civil Engineer, so I just could not help learning certain things growing up.
He has quite a resume and has taught me a lot, more then I realize most of the time quite honestly.
So I observe a lot over many years and study my observations through research and reading, and when able to always talk to locals.
Locals told me this road already slipped once, and it is happening again, quickly.
A pot hole patch is wonderful, but it is not solving a thing in the long term.
Infrastructure issues are plaguing our city, and that is getting worse very rapidly.
We could have used 40 acres of park to swap with a company to start their business there and agree to pay for certain projects not to total more then 10 million dollars, or whatever figure works.
Asplundh had a pretty good size contract recently in the city, perhaps they would be interested.
Anyone offer the old Parks and Recreation building on Willowbrook Road to them yet?
Or close the North Waverly off in the middle section and place a retaining wall on Baltimore Avenue after we remove some homes, straighten out the street for safety and appearance, and make a safe, long lasting entrance to this city.
The middle part of North Waverly, as it is walked often by our community and is dark and dangerous at night time.
If it was closed, we would be safer, and people would also not go past my and my neighbor's homes at 45 miles per hour and bottom out on the hill several times everyday.
Or leave it how it is and spend more money real soon, and have one of the local children get hurt by the speeding cars.
If you speed down North Waverly, you may get to the stop sign six seconds earlier and you may kill someone in the process. Is six seconds of your time worth an entire lifetime of one of my neighbor's children?
That includes you White Cab! Yellow Cab, Crown Cab. ADDED ...IT IS 9:20 A.M. AND WHITE CAB JUST BOTTOMED OUT WHILE I WAS FINALIZING THIS 01 26 - 2012
I know and like you guys and use all of your services at times when I am ill...thanks as well...,
...but slow down !!!
It is funny how some (some not all) folks think the have a privilege to drive differently and dangerously because they do this everyday for a living.
CUMBERLAND, MARYLAND HOUSING
I have read recently that our number of homes here in Cumberland, Maryland are at 50% home occupancy.
We could stand to lose a few eyesores, offer cash or another home of choice under our swifter abatement laws...oh yeah...what happened to them?
UPDATED OCTOBER 23, 2015
Cumberland area to be demolished for new commercial development
Targeted section in Rolling Mills to be leveled by PennTex Ventures, LLC.
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Video Article Posted 09-29-15
Lots of talk of blight every year, however we do not address and change the system that allows the process to drag it's feet and prevents the city from taking action.
Let's address the real problem, and that is the mechanism that empowers the city to take action much more quickly.
We could rehab some homes and transition folks into the nicer newer projects we do have all around.
We have had a great many successes as well, however usually difficult to achieve as we have had to work through difficulties with so many projects, just to have them finally finished and then not well supported so often.
The progress here is undeniable and a beautiful thing to see.
I just do not have patience for inefficiency and mistakes, and I have made them myself, so I have even less room for such waste.
Canal Place, oh beautiful Canal Place, perhaps the largest diamond in the rough and at the same time the least successful, most poorly planned area that should be a tourism magnet on more then just weekends.
THESE BLUE AREAS BELOW ARE PLACES WHERE I AM UPDATING, AS THIS ARTICLE CONTINUES TO GROW WITH CHANGES WE HAVE INDEED MADE AND ISSUES WE ARE WORKING ON OR HAVE OVER COME
ADD RECENT PROGRESS HERE AND REORGANIZATION PLUS FOOTER BUILDING PROGRESS FINALLY MADE BUT ALSO WITH THE IMPEDIMENT OF A HUGE FINANCIAL SHORTFALL WE DID INDEED OVERCOME
We have a killer stage, acoustics, and backdrops at Canal Place, beautiful shopping areas, water fountains, fish, birds, a great restaurant, a bicycle shop, a train station with a running steam train, and businesses that cannot stay afloat, year in and year out.
ADD HERE THE NEW CONCERT SERIES INFORMATION
Perhaps you say it is the economy, or the business people lacking a business sense, and those are great thoughts, but speaking to folks down there, meaning both patrons and owners, There is just not regular foot traffic to those spots.
They are always busy when there is music.
People will play at the stage daily if you let them, and people will come all spring, summer, and fall long to see them.
Some crowds larger then others, of course, but my point is having regular nightly music to appeal to a wide audience, which I would say should be more focused to the 21-40 crowd for music, overall, but not always or so regularly that anyone else is alienated.
I watched Old Town Alexandria, Virginia re-birth growing up, and I have seen what can be done, what works, and how to draw folks in.
The city has to do better marketing!
ADD HERE THE RECENT CHANGES MADE (2015) WITH NEW MARKETING STRATEGY AND REORGANIZATION OF THE CITY GOVERNMENT IN THESE REGARDS
How about the city contacts, or better yet invites, all local businesses to offer a 20% discount of any local business, if they participate in the program and we issue a Cumberland Card, like a Martin's card.
It could all be done with web Apps, and the increase in volume would be well worth the 20% savings.
We need to be different. Anyone can offer 10%...20% or even 25% grabs attention.
Would you want to travel to city A or B if all things were equal but you could get a huge percentage off if you have a card, and it must be registered to your state license too, so there is no abuse of the discount.
We could then have a graduated scale on top of a minimal local tax scale that would be simple and say perhaps 1/2 of one percent is paid to the city from any business gross sales exceeding 50K, and then 1% if it is 100k, 1.5% for 150k, etc. and so forth, or at least something similar.
This way you know you have an incentive to really advertise well everywhere, and bring the tourism in, which will in turn make for more employment, more opportunities, and more local prosperity.
Marketing and business is a numbers manipulation game once you have the steady flow of that business.
You can be creative, fair, and honorable and everyone can make a decent living, and some still get rich too.
We can make a larger tax base, some folks would move here when they saw the new hospital, the great school that may be coming, the excellent history and leisure activities, and the excellent police department and other public safety agencies and safe guards we offer.
I understand marketing, politics, and business very well, as I have a lot of experience in each one, be it as the marketing manager of a mortgage company, to a manager of a bicycle shop or auto parts store, or even an automotive repair shop where I have been a mechanic too.
Marketing is a huge key to success. You must establish the niche, market to it, establish an identity, and market that well until you gain the "word of mouth" phenomena, the best advertising money cannot buy.
Once you establish that, you can scale down to a degree for a short time and build upon it, reassess the current situation and change where it may be needed, if so needed.
I have watched countless forms and result of many various types of advertising campaigns and it is from this experience as studying too that I am very confident that with proper marketing, we can have an incredible local economy here, on every level.
Build this town into a place people want to travel with their family on vacation, and we will be that place too where people will want to live.
Bring the Green Era to the local industry and marketplace, and you will have a job and a tax base.
The rest is just hard work and major progress.
BACK TO CANAL PLACE NOW JANUARY 2012
Is is really so hard to have some classy small venue concert series tour our town on a schedule, much akin to Wolf Trap, in Virginia.
That is just another idea, as I am as full of ideas as I am hot air, and they both make sense too
Wolf Trap and The Birchmere and Jack's all in Virginia get into a circuit and they get a schedule and the bands come play.
Many may come free to play as everyone needs to hit the stage and be seen, and heard and further develop those talents.
We could offer many styles of musical entertainment, be they classical, rock, country, blue grass, jazz, etc. ,not the size of the arena or audience.
Do we invite Penn Alps to co-op with us and share there mastery and excellence to educate and provide an even deeper culture to mesh with our own?
Do we ever really highlight the concerts at Windsor Hall?
WINDSOR HALL NOW CLOSED
Do we have any protocol on a higher level of thinking that is mapping out success for this town or not?
We have big money coming in here, driving our collective assets down in value, scooping a lot of raw materials and other assets up, and are able to do so with no real dedication to or for this area.
If business wants to operate here we should embrace it but also make them feel a real responsibility by the way we conduct ourselves, so that they will freely give back and further help build this local long overly stagnant economy.
MORE ABOUT THE HOSPITAL, NEW SCHOOL, AND GETTING SNOOKERED
Lets hypothesize outside the box.
We got the new land, they got the park....a very very unwise deal thus far.
We have land with a defunct hospital and valuables stripped from the inside that would have made it quicker and less expensive to have an even finer educational facility.
We could, perhaps, design a state of the art high school that further incorporates a co-op of a combined technology and science campus and high school in cooperation with ACM, Frostburg, VoTech, and all the other local state certified, public or private institutions that want it.
Check out Thomas Jefferson School of Science and Technology, in Virginia
Something like that can still happen here, needs to happen here, would more then likely qualify for even better federal funding, and be a part of the new fabric and philosophy here in Cumberland, Maryland that everyone, student to adults, could and would easily embrace.
If we build something less then a school similar to that, we sell ourselves short like usual, do not show the children that we believe they can meet a strong academic challenge, and have less prepared young adults that are expected to pave the way for the future generations.
If some students are not doing well, and the academics are tough, they can with the permission of family and through proper guidance, enroll in a training program that is part study and part work in an apprenticeship so that they are ready to transition to a new Green Era job.
Schools like this are successful and cutting edge, and the link to the one above has had an amazing amount of huge successes.
My suggestion is not exactly as their school is, but more along the ideas of what a new school should be, what it should offer the students and community, and how it will be seen as an asset and an attraction to, colleges, perspective businesses that want to locate here, the local community, and really everyone.
That is not what we currently have now.
BLIGHT CUMBERLAND, MARYLAND
If you want to address blight, come tear down the old East Side School.
UPDATED OCT. 22, 2015 ~ PROGRESS
Unearthing time capsule to kick off former East Side school demolition
Article Posted: Monday, August 31, 2015 5:33 pm
City officials were the recipient of a $500,000 grant from Maryland’s Strategic Demolition and Smart Growth Impact Fund to raze the school. The East Side property was purchased for $300,000 from the Potomac Economic Development and Housing Corp., which relinquished plans to rehabilitate the property.
The demolition cost is estimated at roughly $260,000. The city will cover the difference between the $200,000 balance available from the grant and the demolition cost.
A city crew will be utilized to remove the time capsule.
“We have to schedule them and see when they have time,” said Grim.
East Side School was constructed in 1921 and closed during school consolidation in 1984.
The decision to purchase the school and demolish the property was formulated in 2013 and approved by City Council in 2014. Once the current remediation of asbestos and other hazardous materials is complete, the demolition will begin.
City offers $300,000 to purchase East Side School if demolition grant secured
Some video before demolition...
That is a sad place, a disgusting eye sore, and in ten years I have seen nothing but vandalism there, as it has sat vacant except for wildlife, this entire ten years, and most certainly much longer then that.
I was recently published by The United States Department of Energy.
The above article is no longer active, you may read my text to that article here (Added October 23, 2015) This link starts off with many dead links however they are links from the US DEPT. OF ENERGY'S site...the text I wrote and had published starts after the date Friday, October 1, 2010 and has a sub title there...
Read that...that is vision, that is where we as Cumberland are.
Most of what I had written in a few paragraphs you can see coming to fruition in all of the marketplaces and throughout the entire world, as what I wrote there spelled out clearly and precisely where we are, where we need to go, how we need to do it, and it makes sense to everyone and it is happening.
If we fail here to adopt that philosophy and adapt to that philosophy, we fail miserably and remain increasingly more stagnant and will very very quickly fall further behind!
The companies that produce, distribute, and utilize coal and other "non green" energies are transitioning into this green era philosophy I spoke of, and very very quickly.
Some of the largest energy companies are swiftly and quietly making huge shifts to wind power and other alternative energy sources, and starting to remove the emphasis on nuclear energy while they are making the transition under this same philosophy.
The writing is on the wall and I, at least, wrote it.
MAKING THE SHIFT INTO THE GREEN ERA
Japan's huge earth quake is certainly a massive disaster, and now we have had to learn many tough lessons.
If we do not learn and implement these lessons now, thousands more have again lost their lives in vain.
That means what we can learn if we do not use makes their lives worthless! To me that means worth less, not nothing at all. It is just another word that has gotten all twisted up.
The real damages and statistics are not even close to having been collected and studied, but we know we were lied to, and if that means my an omission on purpose or not, at some level we were lied to because honesty would have prevented anything like it.
It could be as simple as a communication breakdown, and of course, highly likely it is exactly what it was.
If the earth quake happens, and lines of communication are lost and at the same time overloaded, well just imagine the closest Interstate from where you are completely at a stand still, bumper to bumper traffic, and the road disappears behind you, and for the folks going the other way, the road disappeared in front of them.
Communications are no different. That is why we have electronic switches and circuitry to control these things in a larger architecture..., and where most yet to be truly unraveled, as to the dangers of nuclear power, and also the fact that it is fully replaceable with more efficient less harmful less polluting electrical generation systems that need some more maintenance which equates to jobs in every industry, be it labor, marketing, manufacture, maintenance, parts distribution, etc.
We need to let the little guy back in that game so dominated by a minority of the population with a majority of the cash.
That is a fact, not a point of view, and it seems that a lot of folks confuse that issue.
I think we should be paid in such a way as we have always been paid and if we are all working again and being productive and with a sense of purpose and overall direction, the new American dream will no longer be the selfish dreams of huge homes, and fast cars, or fancy jewelry and lavish clothes, but rather a focus of the American dream evolving into a place where we contribute a lot back in different ways to the overall welfare of everyone.
If I could have every car I have ever owned back and brand new, I would stay as I am and offer them to auction if I new with a plan and a vision that I could help and assist with a huge plan for the future, where there is promise and less stress and you can have and buy anything you desire and earn as much money as you like, or you should so choose to not live so large, you would still enjoy a life offering many more ways of compensation then just money alone, the major driving force and pressure in the world today.
The thankful fact is that for me, in 44 years, I have never starved to death yet. So food is a pressure I rarely feel concern over, if ever.
We already have abundance, and I appreciate the abundance I do have, although, there are a lot of people suffering along.
This, like many things in life, is simply a "phase".
No where in the Constitution does it say the pursuit of the American Dream was about greed and dominance, and it was even written in such a way to prevent that, all in the while considering the draft and final document were crafted with idealistic principles in the forefront, at the dawn of our new nation, and when agriculture, with all of its inherent unknowns, were about to become the catalyst to massive growth and wealth.
It is history teaches that all civilizations that amass great wealth in a polarizing manner always has a part of their population suffer huge shortcomings, and eventually that super power suffers too, often in a downfall of mammoth proportions.
Would you rather have an entire candy bar and eat it alone and choke on it and die, or share it with another who is starving, and therefore hypothetically,each eat what is truly required for survival, sharing in spirit in the process, and therefore each survive with the chance to prosper another day.
So how does Cumberland, Maryland think increasingly out of the box, embrace the Green Era, and expand towards the Green Industry and Green Technology, and Green Innovation, here at home, while not over-inflating our current reasonable cost of living, and also maintain the basic size of the citizenship so that our already deteriorating, yet being improved upon quite well, infrastructure can continue to withstand and uphold the current use, as well as, continually be repaired, restructured, or built from scratch to last for this new fledgling Industry?
My great grandfather was friends with Ford, Firestone, Edison, Burroughs, and many, many notable others.
My great grandfather was a professor and a botanist, himself an incredibly brilliant man, and an adviser to them each in many ways, and more importantly then a colleague, he was a great and cherished friend.
I see their time and vision, through my families story and history, through the eyes of history, as well as, through my own research and understanding.
These men, "The Vagabonds" all traveled through here like George Washington and many great others.
Greatness loves Cumberland, Maryland and always has.
That greatness should continue to be both preserved and highlighted, ans well as promoted so that others may share and learn about this country's roots that are so rich in our region.
We even have tunnels under a church that are known for a fact to have been the last leg, or close to the last leg, of the, " Underground Railroad".
But why bother to promote anything around here to the masses?
Has this town not shrunk enough yet?
Have we nearly lost Canal Place?
ADD UPDATES HERE
It has certainly been no urban bane to anyone in this town, although it is such a great asset to this town.
Can't our beautiful new hotel just be given the old Footer Dye Works building before it falls and crushes a few cars on Industrial Boulevard?
ADD UPDATES HERE
If they agree to fix it up and keep the historical facade at the least we should give it to them and see what they have to offer.
On the other hand, this reminds me of how the old hotel at the end of Baltimore Avenue started to depart....brick, by falling brick.
It still even had a tenant in the bottom store front, a pet and pet supplies shop.
They went out of business and never recovered.
THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY ~ HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE
Now Nationwide Insurance wants to jack the cost of my insurance, when I have never had a claim( I did after the Derecho) (add link)ADD UPDATES HERE , and where my insurance (basic state required and business mandated standards) has been in force consistently for well over 6+ years, maybe more like 9 years.
They now want to come and see the house, which means they could just drop me after no claims and years of customer loyalty.
They do not have a care that I may be in violation of my mortgage if they drop me.
No one else may insure me as well, as this business has gotten out of control and is used to manipulate and crush those already suffering.
The insurance companies offer only insurance policies in the amount it would cost to completely rebuild.
I think this is corporate blackmail at it's ugly best.
If I owe $ 15,000 on a mortgage which must be insured, my minimum liability of insurance is to the loss payee.
We should have laws on the books that make all insurance companies at least legally be mandated that they must offer a policy like this, and the price must be in the proper mathematical ratio to the other policies for personal residential real estate for only primary residences.
I have questioned my insurance company and it's many agents, salesman, and representatives and have never gotten an honest answer about how their insurance can be so expensive.
However, If I join a certain organization by paying the fee to join, I will get a discount on my overall policy that is greater then what the yearly dues cost.
Does that sound like perhaps there could be a conflict of interest there and that it does not sound like ethical business practice in many ways?
I have very specific reasons for why I stated the two paragraphs above the way I did, and will write more on that at a late time in another blog or a book.
When does a business mandate to us, the consumer, what we need or must buy to have coverage when no where is any state law that says that is the case?
The state laws, just as the federal laws, are guidelines, not to be overstepped, but to be used as suggestions or mandates as to what shall be. Simple!
If we need to, we should and even have a responsibility to change laws to protect the citizens in regard to "any" unfairness.
So how can and where, does any insurance company make a change and get away with charging the poor guy more then the richer guy in Hagerstown who has a larger home and a larger policy of coverage? Sounds like highway robbery to me.
So you say or think, well you live in a crummy town in comparison with a less expensive home.
I would reply, my home has a balance of next to nothing on the mortgage in comparison to a home valued at over $ 250,000.
I did not pull these numbers out of a hat, as I speak with the man I bought my home from quite frequently.
The insurance companies charge so much that there is never extra money in a budget to even maintain my home as well as I would like.
Companies that conduct themselves this way always say they have a formula to calculate what the cost will be and their are many factors that go into that formula.
I offer that Math runs in my blood as my Father went to West Point and has a Master's in Math and Engineering and I would like to know the formula.
Of course no one ever offers it to me, and when I tell them the statements I have made above, they actually always agree with me that it seems to make no real logical sense.
I know the factors such as credit, area of living vs. claims made, employment, etc.
Here is my question, keep in mind, understanding fair business practice and etiquette, if there is truly a polarizing shift with the cost of policies in regard to the value of the property, which is a factor that should at least be looked at individually if not perhaps combined as factors of a larger quantifying factor, when considering this statement, at what point do we see a failure in the swing in the range of that factors range of possibility and have that send up a red flag that the market is suffering very bad inverse effects, and that it is heading in the direction where the class of people with the least amount of money will pay the larger portion of the required insurance which on it's face value looks fair, until you see we swing into a range of factors that dictate what actually happens in a crashing economy is a further polarization of disposable income which has a cascading effect that further manifests as even more claims are made by this now further suffering class.
The insurance company should have no way to twist the homeowners are about what coverage they want and do not want above what state or federal law declares legal, and that seems to be overlooked, abused in the insurance industry, and again, further shifts the political climate into more dire instead of less prosperous times.
I worked in the mortgage industry. I know plenty about insurance as well, as it comes with the territory as well as with home ownership, and any diligent shopper will inspect the goods they are purchasing.
In ten years of living here, my homeowners policy has gone up over 100% in cost, with that being the cost of the absolute basic policy anyone will offer me.
The city has laws for blight that address the issue if no one wants to rebuild, and that is their responsibility to enforce those laws, and it seems to me the insurance companies have manipulated business somewhere along the line to cover their own collective interests, and would that not really make sense after all?
They hedge their bets and make a lot of money of the little guy and never lose a penny as well, and smaller insurance companies are most often insured by larger insurance companies.
Maybe the Fed should just collect insurance payments, and everyone should just be covered automatically for everything, and then there is no more disaster that would go unkempt, no more insurance companies stabbing clients in the back, and no more class abuses, be they on purpose or a result of a great system with imperfections.
Maybe this and maybe that but what I see now does not work, needs to be further addressed, and maybe with our newest technology and computing science utilized, the federal government could run insurance thus monopolizing the industry and standardizing it's practice and driving prices down to fair levels for the citizens.
It is very easy to overlook so many financial aspects when you have an abundance of money. It is much more difficult to analyze these different criteria and prioritizing what you must have and what you still desire, knowing you have to change when there is no way you can continue to maintain as you once had before.
You can get innovative too, and explore the options that are in the marketplace and get more for your money often, and therefore sometimes come out a little ahead for the short term.
Eventually the options are gone and so is the money, as has been my case, and you peer further ahead thinking of a plan in the worst case scenario so you at least have time to regroup and move forward.
That gets exceedingly difficult, but with only Faith most times, I am still here maintaining what is not much, but a lot more then I would ever come to realize I would greatly appreciate at the same time.
There have been lessons all along this way of life.
I am excellent at some things now at which I failed previously because experience can be the best teacher and will certainly leave an impression that you cannot forget if it is the first teacher of any subject matter.
Literacy, education, and communication is vision.
Vision may be a voice that at least says something is wrong with any particular situation and it urges one to move forward seeking just answers and fairness.
This is not to be confused with those that complain, however honest that complaining may be, and are incapable perhaps through a lack of education, a lack of leadership or guidance, or a lack of developed skills to do anything about their own circumstance.
We have many people like this across the country, and we are implementing change, nut often not quickly enough.
I do not think we should ever gamble away that which is truly collectively owned by the people.
I do however think we should continue analysis through the use of new modern faster computing systems, and that we can always do this given we are on an electrical grid, and should always fine efficient ways to make quick decisions.
We should have the same odds as the house when compared to gambling, and not the other way around.
It seems to be working the other way around right now.
I think any reasonable man would be concerned about that if it were true, which is up for you to decide, and with that concern, would desire to find answers quickly and together.
We must move in a positive direction.
NEW HIGH SCHOOL CUMBERLAND, MARYLAND
I complain about the new school proposal.
I am all for a new high school here in Cumberland, Maryland, if it has a huge vision, not a narrow scope of vision that to so many looks to them huge.
I am very excited that we will have a new school, at least one day, and I just would like to see those funds really garner the promise that they have to offer, and I would like to see that act as a catalyst and become an integral part of this communities attraction and growth in every facet.
BACK TO INSURANCE A MOMENT
So as I survive by the skin of my teeth (skin and teeth, another hilarious cliche), to barely hang on to whats left, and I cut more and more to absolute financial minimums and eat less and less, when I lose my insurance that I cannot afford, and then my home because the mortgage is void with no insurance...then what?
Am I a bigger liability to society the I was just a moment before?
Isn't this just the type of case we should strive to avoid and therefore, develop an economy that totally prevents this to start with?
This is happening everywhere, and in other marketplaces in similar ways.
What always happens one way or the other is the "small guy" pays for the mistakes over a long haul that beats them down more, and keeps them down to start with.
This does nothing for the soul and morality of our nation, and it is a sad travesty we are living in today, and the hope I do carry is the changes I see taking place more and more swiftly today, however never swift enough when people are truly suffering.
CUMBERLAND, MARYLAND AND BLIGHT
Property Abatement is typically a long slow process.
It often can cost the tax payer more then the short term progress gained.
Cumberland, Maryland has many times torn down a home and turned it into a community mini-park, and this is a nice progressive alternative I am happy for, as it provides instant short term progress.
ADD UPDATES HERE ~ BALTIMORE AVENUE WORK IN 2015
Laws can be changed and should be periodically and regularly examined for their effectiveness, or perhaps, their lack of effectiveness, and therefore be amended or abolished or remain the same, as is seen fit by the proper oversight and procedures.
Most progressive jurisdictions perform this exact practice, as it is fruitful and keeps the laws on the books current with the day and age the populous lives in and is a very effective tool to maintain the balances of a tri-cameral government especially by enhancing the mechanics through which government must be performed ,as promised in The Constitution, through the checks and balances system which includes the three houses of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches in our system, in particular, here in the United States, but can effectively work in any system, if so understood and instituted.
This can allow for any governing body to move more effectively and progressively as we all know times may and do dictate.
We need to be able to be even more reactive while at the same time protecting the rights of the overall freedoms and civil liberties our Constitution is suppose to guarantee.
Because it has been historically a long slow process does not mean that it is in any way set in stone that it must remain a long slow process.
Have crappy houses and crappy neighborhoods, and crappy schools, what do you think will take place for a collective future?
Anyone can do that Math.
So where is the bigger plan and bigger picture taking shape I never see or read about locally?...
except the day after I started this writing! Once again what timing.
Since wring that above and finalizing this draft, I did finally read an article in our local paper that spoke of the vision, but I shredded it apart already herein, because playing catch up while getting left behind is simply and inarguably, not vision at all.
OTHER USES FOR HIGH SCHOOL PROPOSED BRADDOCK W.M.H.S. CAMPUS OTHER THEN A HIGH SCHOOL IN CASE THE FUNDING IS NOT APPROVED
AS WELL AS BRAINSTORM IDEAS TO CONSIDER AT LEAST FOR SIMILAR IDEAS
Perhaps we sell that land we own now or soon we got from the hospital.
Or give it to a tech windmill "green industry" company, or any other "green technology" business with it's proper credentials and business plan in order, (no one wants another Solyndra) as sad as that story is, it is exactly what happens when trying to play not catch up, but, get ahead.
We make agreements, an offer, that the land is free with these conditions:
They have to secure funding for the new school.
Employees (all) must live in a 25 mile radius of the campus, or reasonable distance, or no distance depending on how the local housing market is, they should adjust together, with consistent housing being offered, and fluctuate when housing opens or closes, as long as it is dedicated housing and not nursing home or after care or health care related.
That is just an example, but a way to consider future flexibility as a foresight and not an after sight.
The tech training needs to by taught by a professional the company pays for at the local schools, no matter how many teachers are required, and those teachers would be bound by public policy, but be employees of the corporation, and therefore their responsibility 100%.
The company would pay a base tax minimum, or a graduated scale percentage tax on the gross profit, whichever is higher.
The graduated scale percentage tax could be based on a percentage ( a formula designed for up ticks and down ticks in the market) to very certain specific earmarked funds that would be in accounts available to view the balances online at anytime by any citizen.
They can pay federal tax, and that is something we as a state or municipality cannot change, however, if we entice properly with excellent incentives, we will attract great businesses to come back here.
They must not be able to pollute, to destroy, and to leave our local society and culture in a disarray after stripping the natural resources.
We the people are the ultimate natural resources, and it is up to us to protect this land we have here.
LOCAL POLLUTION FROM INDUSTRY ~ ZIP CODE 21502 ~ CUMBERLAND, MARYLAND
Google earth shows the iridescent water colors and sickening pools of chemical all along the Potomac River close to Luke Paper Mill, coal mines, fracking, and many other heinous business practices.
I know of a rock quarry only a stones throw from my home, and it is near Hyndman, Pennsylvania.
The mountain is disappearing, there is no top soil for anything new to grow, the water run off causes massive erosion, and a train track lies beneath.
I am sure it is no big deal. Erosion and rock slides are simple illusions.
The fact across America today is that we are rather quickly historically speaking, becoming more and more like a desert.
This is a mix of over-farming the top soil, wind and other storm damage, and erosion for the most part.
There are countless documentaries, papers, and websites with excellent information on this progressive phenomena we are starting to experience.
Most civilizations that were massive and often Empires were this same way environmentally speaking, and then fell shortly afterwards, when water was more scare from human diversion due to irrigation and even further more from contamination.
We are moving in this exact same direction today with even more and more privatization of water.
That too is an excellent topic to research, and perhaps I will discuss that quite a bit more later in another blog posting.
Large businesses tend to jump at the potential for profit often very quick and pay a terrible and larger price later to to poor planning and quick decisions and then have to repair the damages done to the best of their ability they made in the process of getting rich.
The worst case scenario, and we have seen this countless times and it is happening today on a huge level, is that these companies get away with it.
Think of what has happened in that case and what will happen as the pollution that has been dumped finds it's way as it leeches along.
Once again, just look at those river and tributaries I spoke of on Google Earth.
I will work on a report to offer the DNR and EPA with these places, business addresses, and pictures supporting these claims soon.
Where is there sense in that?
Countless people become "mysteriously" ill, we play with chemicals we really do not understand, or perhaps some do understand and just keep quiet about, and we let all this happen as it seeps into our earth, into our water, into our rivers, streams, creeks, tributaries, bays, oceans, and there it is picked up and cast about the world as rain...you think that may be harmful, maybe just a little?
Not to mention we water our plants, let the animals drink it and we consume it too.
The story that history teaches over and over again is that the Big Wigs get the cash, the small guy suffers, and he has to clean up the mess as well for countless generations, and because of this greed and lack of planning for the future, we all suffer, civilization declines, greed now grows larger then ever, and it becomes nearly impossible to rebuild, like a Phoenix, because the damage is so deep and penetrable it has ruined the psyche and collective spirit of the very people that need to do the rebuilding.
So how do we know these things, yet do this again and again.
Let's switch it up a moment.
HEMP FOR THE AGRICULTURAL THE ECONOMIC FUTURE OF THE GREEN ERA
Hemp, not medicinal marijuana, which I am also a proponent of, but Hemp.
Henry Ford was credited with quoting that Hemp was the agricultural crop of the future.
This from the man who mass produced the car, my Great Grandather's friend, who my great grandfather also advised.
He was the man of agriculture, not industry. He was the professor botanist.
My Great Grandfather wrote a biography on John Burroughs, not Ford, all be it they were all pals.
My Great Grand-Father, R.J.H. DeLoach, wrote papers and did research all about agriculture.
He wrote books on the subject of raising, sheep and another about hogs, more effectively during times when production needed to increase in the United States through more efficient uses of resources and better education.
He researched and wrote a paper for the PGA on how to maintain their grasses properly. I can go on and on.
His son studied the Egyptian Pyramids, participated in digs there and was a great archaeologist.
So I am naturally gravitated to those things the same way, as well as music and science.
Some of what I learned about Hemp Farming was from reading and watching film, A great documentary is available on NetFlix and it is called, "Hempsters", directed by Michael Henning.
It was eye opening in may ways.
Hemp has no medicinal purpose as a crop, however is an excellent material which we can extract a great deal of incredible products from.
Do you think plastics are better or healthier if made from this fibrous natural material or produced in a lab by a petroleum derivative known to be a carcinogen, that we touch hundreds of times everyday?
There is no rational or logical reason not to grow Hemp as a massive cash crop across this country, that would allow some great production in many ares of the United States, as well as the ability to export more goods once again, as well as provide many great jobs.
Hemp is impervious, grows quickly, is as diverse as anything be it used as a fuel, a fiber, or for plastics, or paper production.
The best paper made comes from Hemp.
Some of the finest fabrics are made from Hemp as well for it's wool like for warmth and with equally decent water repellent properties, and durability.
CHANGE IS NEEDED AND HERE IS WHAT I HAVE SEEN AND WHAT I SEE
To see a mountain with no top, a river with human waste and garbage, dead fish or sick fish I have caught, dilapidated buildings all around town, bridges lacking in obvious engineering integrity due to the inferiority of proper upkeep and maintenance.
You want change, here is what I see.
We need Civil Service as a duty, make it simple but worthwhile, yet not mandatory, and celebrate short term projects accomplished by volunteers once the projects are complete.
Forget the politics, I am talking planting trees, flowers, planning family parks, sprucing up our beautiful assets even more and finding a way to get all of us who want the same basic things to funnel our collective energies into a process that quickly efficiently achieves the greater goods we all desperately need, while at the same time, propels forward the individual and smaller collective goal of organizations, non-profits,, charities, etc.
A PROPOSED VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF CUMBERLAND, MARYLAND, WHAT DO YOU SEE?
All too often we over complicate what should be simple.
Picture this...Gondola boats on the Army Corps of Engineer's Flood Plain Control, backed by a safe lock mechanism to maintain that flood control, and also with the ability to enhance the fishes (more then one species) travel both up and down stream, not hindering it.
I kind of doubt they care to go too far up stream anyway, after all,who would want to swim all the way back there just to breed and sustain the species?
For the fish swimming in water with pollution, it must be similar to us running a marathon with a running car's exhaust pipe in our mouths.
That may be quite a statement. It was meant to be...shock is all anyone seems to listen too, then realize it is this way for real, today...not one day really far away but, now !
So a prettier picture would be something like this.
Restaurants upon Mechanic Street can have outside deck dining next to the Gondola boats docks, and the water park can be below the blue bridge, where the water is calm and safer already.
There is a huge parcel of property that would be excellent for parking at the C and O Canal and have a great park in the flood plane, with appropriate measure in place, as this place rarely floods.
Ohio Pyle can keep there white water and so can Great Falls, Virginia...that is there natural beauty...let's not steal, but rather enhance what we already have here.
I worked in a lot of bicycle shops...think anyone might like a guided bike ride to the river, and then tubing together for a few miles, to be picked up by a sag wagon to bring you back to the shop, where all your bikes have already been returned...kinda doubt it!
How about ride the 187 miles down the path to Washington D.C...it is at least mostly downhill.
How about Footer Dye Works just given too Marriott with the condition that they build art galleries and shops and always highlight the artists works on the first floor as folks enter to look, learn and shop, and eat at a little deli.
I have seen similar shops in Beaver Creek, Colorado.
The assets we have here that we keep hidden disgusts me...we have an incredible amount of artistic talent here that has yet to even be tapped into in the least.
It is however, wonderful to see the artist's works on display at the WMHS Hospital, The Allegany Arts Council, the art walks, downtown on the mall in the windows, and at Tri-State Community Health Center as well, and I wish we had more places to show off these great works, but more importantly, some of these things we are losing, like the co-op at Canal Place which is now closed, as well as other art shops on the mall.
We have ideas but we do not have the overall collective key to mastering the vision that has started here thus far and it is something we need to strive for and build a larger spirit towards together.
We really need to make a huge concerted nationwide marketing campaign.
Some of the best tourism during these difficult times is in cities that have marketed well during these downturns by using attractive advertising, great prices, and highlighting the local sights to see.
I set up a tour with the Torpedo factory in Alexandria, Virginia...it was free, and it was guided by a man who has been there since day one as the project got under way many decades ago.
The building was a dilapidated former actual WWII torpedo factory transformed with a collective vision into art and quite frankly, well, that in itself is art.
I sent letters to local politicians and folks at art groups and got not nary a single response.
What a shame, are the only words that comes to mind.
Perhaps I am the odd man out, but it is my friends here that press me to write, use my voice, intelligence, and intellect to promote positive change, and quickly because we discuss this very often.
I, for one, am sick of suffering and watching so many more others suffer and be mis-lead time and time again, and from there comes vision, knowledge, change, perseverance, and faith.
I am unable to generate money with my back broken and a plethora of other issues, and I humbly (maybe the first time I ever felt this humble and used the word correctly) thank my Father for his support.
TRYING TO SURVIVE AND REINVENT MY LIFE INTO MY DREAMS
I can, however much in pain, write and record music, play guitar, write poetry, lyrics, sing, play keyboard and bass, and write what my thoughts are, on better days.
I know some incredibly gifted people such as my Great Grandfather did.
They inspire me, they give me the will to live, just behind that of which comes first which is God and my Family.
The statistics state that I will be homeless before long, will have lost my musical treasures I have collected so long, my dog who is 9 and my best friend will have to depart as she ages, and my parents will die, and family will become more distant, like so many of my friends already have...just simply because life happens.
So as I envision and I play this guitar and I write and record while I also heal and I get better at my art and I never quit and I get even stronger with intestinal fortitude I never knew of before and further realize what the Faith of a mustard seed can do and I have greater vision to see that, and thus can also share what the Faith that is greater then a mustard seed can do, so please, just think about that for a moment.
FREE LOCAL TRANSPORTATION
Here is an idea...anything wrong with an electric shuttle for Cumberland that is free, charges on solar, and that solar can be resold to the electric company when not used, and we save the money on gas from our inefficient vehicles we use today in the city that never ever turn a profit and always are subsidized just so they can stick around and be even more wasteful.
The routes they run are impractical and to far in a loop pattern to have decent ridership anyway.
Sometimes a cab is faster and cheaper as well for a short local trip.
With the proper marketing and tourist attractions and businesses brought here we can have shuttles that are free all daylight long.
Most great skiing towns are this way, and we have all the beauty and natural attractions here to make this happen, and that is has not and is not happening is just a waste and a shame.
So there are a few ideas, thoughts, experiences I just wrote in no particular order but simply to put down on paper.
This blog is really a blog first, and then the making of a book at the same time as I can later compile this information and any responses or accomplishments, and hopefully have something to offer for the future generations to read and understand the struggles we have all faced and perhaps have the wisdom to bypass and sidestep themselves.
FRACKING / MINING and LOCAL HISTORY
update: Dallas / Fort Worth quakes ~ October 2, 2012
Shale drilling (fracking) is proving to be a science in the making, not a true tested science, and we are polluting our water table worse then the chemicals that are already contaminating the water table from years of under or over looked abuses, neglects, or just a plain lack of the science from the times these things happened.
Here is an idea for proposed planning or dismissal, depending upon your own perspective.
A friend shared with me this rather sarcastically, but it made sense," Let's rip out the Dam at the blue bridge."
He then proceeded to say it would be asinine, and I agree with him after what he next stated.
Think of the years of sediment and all the chemicals that are settled in the silt and mud upon the bottom of all the water upstream of the damn all the way to the dam itself.
Shall we crack the damn open, remove it, and let that sediment flow downstream? YEP...all the way to the suffering dying Chesapeake? ...and it is dying...just research the studies about less oxygen in the water, smaller harvests that are minuscule to what we harvested in years passed when skip jacks were the common work ship of the Bay.
Here is some trickle down / trickle up theory, what we do here trickles down to Washington D.C., where I was raised (Alexandria, Virginia). The once at sea level it continues to move outward towards the Bay and then the ocean.
Google Earth Cumberland, Maryland and just follow the waterways that leave here.
Most go upwards in elevation and are easy to trace.
What disgusts me is how often you see water change color, and not because it is more deep or more shallow, but because of chemicals.
If you see antifreeze green, or radiant kool aid red, well just go see them for yourselves, it is certainly not a bunch of algae blooms in the dead cold of winter!
That we enforce anything astonishes me when you see what some people and companies get away with.
Did anyone see the news yesterday about the meat packing company.
Read and study this link real quick.
Western Maryland Elected Officials Up In Arms Over Marcellus Shale
When George Washington lived in Mt.Vernon, and incidentally my boy hood home is on a part of what was once his farm, and he traveled to Washington D.C., and then North / West towards Cumberland, visiting Fort Cumberland and his beloved outpost, and then even further North / West towards Pittsburgh and Fort Duquesne, he traveled with vision and also traveled through a region which was once a short time ago, and I mean an ecologically short time ago, a very lush haven of nothing but promise and opportunity.
These sites are also rich in history and are well worth the reading if this interests you even more.
These early forts were the early footholds of our developing nation.
Why, otherwise, would we have so vigilantly protected them and the areas we knew at that time were the future seat of the new United States?
These were specific rich areas that so much would spring forth from.
It is one of a few places where agriculture and then industry would sprout from their respective historical and newly forming philosophical roots?
Here is a picture from long ago down the C and O Canal from Cumberland, Maryland and close by to Paw Paw, West Virginia.
Great Material Here:
Many challenges lie ahead, including study