Cumberland Times-News

July 30, 2009

Is the Legislative Forest dead?

Jan Alderton, Managing Editor

You can’t see the forest because of the trees. That’s unfortunately the case, as 20 Japanese trees planted in Constitution Park to honor members of the Maryland General Assembly appear to have died.

Known as the Legislative Forest, the Japanese trees were planted several weeks ago in connection with the annual Day of Caring and Sharing. The project is actually an outgrowth of the 2009 PACE theme: Think Green — Think Mountain Maryland.

Every year, PACE acknowledges members of the General Assembly. This year it was decided to establish a Legislative Forest in Cumberland, emphasizing green aspects, past, present and future, of Allegany and Garrett counties.

The trees — Hinoki Cypress, Sand Cherry, Kousa Dogwood and Katsura Dogwood — are on Reservoir Avenue inside the park and adjacent to the city reservoir. But all are brown and show no signs of life....

While last Wednesday’s rainfall was welcome because it has been so dry recently, no where was the precipitation appreciated more than in Waynesburg, Pa. That’s because July 29 was observed as Rain Day in the town.

The community celebrates Rain Day because legend has it that it nearly always rains on the 29th. Records show that it has happened 111 times in the last 135 years. The streak continues....

Do the cool temperatures this summer signal a frigid, snowy winter ahead?

Maybe so, according to Joe Bastardi, chief meteorologist for AccuWeather. He said July’s below-average temperatures could mean heavy snowfalls and bitter cold this winter along the Eastern Seaboard if the pattern continues.

But Bastardi and other meteorologists all agree it is way too early to predict what is ahead this winter, so at this point it is all speculation....

The region will have yet another gambling place to visit in a couple of weeks. Rivers Casino and its 3,000 slot machines will debut Aug. 9 in Pittsburgh. The facility also will have nine bars and restaurants and 1,100 employees....

Kudos to the Maryland State Highway Administration for the manner in which they recently paved U.S. Route 220 between Cresaptown and Bel Air.

After scraping off the old surface, the agency worked during the night of July 27 to pave the southbound lane and then the night of July 28 to resurface the northbound lane and repaint the yellow stripes.

The middle-of-the-night schedule allowed the busy daytime traffic on that highway to flow without interruption. ....

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, new college graduates with engineering degrees often attract the best starting salaries.

The council said average starting pays are $83,121 for petroleum engineering, $64,902 for chemical engineering, $64,404 for mining engineering, $61,738 for computer engineering and $61,407 for computer science. By comparison, a student graduating with a degree in social work usually starts out earning about $29,000 a year....

What has happened to the Friendliest City in the USA signs that used to be so prominent in Keyser, W.Va.? The city recently put up new signs identifying the community but without its friendly slogan.....

Workforce West Virginia has recovered more than $100,000 in fraudulent unemployment benefits during the second quarter of this year. There were 129 fraudulent cases, including a few in Mineral, Berkeley and Preston counties....

Seen on the Internet — Funny one-liners:

— If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of payments.

— I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather — not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

— Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

— I intend to live forever — so far, so good.

— Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

— A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick-boxing.

Jan Alderton is managing editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Contact Jan Alderton at