Cumberland Times-News

January 24, 2010

We’re getting a new Web look

Jan Alderton, Managing Editor

Visitors to the Cumberland Times-News Web site www.times-news.com will see a whole new look sometime in late February.

The Web site’s appearance is being revamped but the same type of content such as local news, breaking news, weather, sports, obituaries, weddings and the like will continue to be posted. The ability to search the Times-News archives also will remain.

One of the major improvements in the Web site will be pull-down menus to make it easier to navigate the site. Another improvement is the dedicated search boxes for consumers looking for jobs, homes, automobiles or general shopping information.....

Is it February yet? Doesn’t January seem like it will never end? And we still have all of February to go before we can begin realistically looking for spring.

Along those lines, Cumberlanders may get some encouragement on Feb. 2 if Western Maryland Murray does not see his shadow. Like Punxatawney Phil, Murray promises that if he does not see his shadow we can bank on an early spring. If the shadow appears, it is six more weeks of winter.

Murray will make his Groundhog Day appearance in downtown Cumberland. More details will be announced later in the Times-News....

The city of Frederick promises to lift winter spirits when it holds The Cabin Fever Festival Feb. 13 and 14 at the Frederick Fairgrounds, 797 East Patrick Street. The festival is held in heated buildings and features traditional and contemporary works of art. See the festival Website, www.cabinfeverfestival.com., for more information....

Most hospitals in the U.S. no longer permit their employees to smoke at the workplace. But Chattanooga Memorial Hospital in Tennessee will stop hiring people who use tobacco products, effective Feb. 1.

The Nashville Post said the hospital is one of a small number of employers nationwide that consider smoking status in job applicants....

Apparently, death did not end the TV sales career of Billy Mays. Many informational commercials still feature Mays, who died at his Tampa, Fla.., home June 28, 2009.

Despite his demise, viewers still see Mays — known for his distinctive beard and impassionate sales spiel — as a pitchman for a variety of TV-only products advertised on various cable channels....

Here’s a new wrinkle for paying taxes. American Express cardmembers can use their rewards points to settle federal, state and local taxes. American Express said the new program is the first of its kind in the industry.

It’s unlikely there will be many takers, though. Cardholders will have to rack up a lot of points to make it beneficial. It will take 200 points to pay off just $1 in taxes. WUSA TV in Washington calculated that to pay off a $5,000 tax bill would require $1 million in purchased goods to earn enough rewards points to make the tax payment....

The Maryland Office of Tourism Development has published its 2010 Maryland Calendar of Events. Unfortunately, the agriculture fairs in Allegany and Garrett counties are not included in the lineup.

The Allegany County fair will be July 18 through 25. Garrett County’s fair is scheduled for Aug. 8 through 14.

Many other local events are included in the state calendar, however, including the Heritage Days Festival in Cumberland, June 12-13 and the Autumn Glory Festival in Oakland Oct. 6-10....

Seen on the Internet — Actual physician notes in patient charts:

• Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.

• The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.

• The patient has no past history of suicides.

• Between you and me, we ought to be able to get this lady pregnant.

• She is numb from her toes down.

• Patient’s past medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40-pound weight gain in the past three days.

Jan Alderton is managing editor of the Cumberland Times-News. His email address is jpalderton@times-news.com.