Allegany Magazine addresses pandemic in August edition

Liz Simmons, a nurse at UPMC Western Maryland, appears on the cover of the August issue of Allegany Magazine in a photograph taken by Karen Morgan. 

CUMBERLAND — It is recommended in the state of Maryland — and even globally — that to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, people should wear a mask, wash their hands and social distance at least 6 feet away from others they do not know.

For the month of August, even the subject on the cover of Allegany Magazine is wearing a protective mask.

“For nearly 15 years, Allegany Magazine has been a reflection of life and living in the mountains of Maryland and our surrounding communities and we would be remiss if we did not print an issue that addresses what we have all been experiencing these last four months,” said Shane Riggs, the managing editor.

A sister publication to the Cumberland Times-News, the August issue is one that spotlights the community response to the pandemic — from frontline workers to those who spent countless hours sewing masks — to even people who celebrated life events in very different ways.

For August, the magazine’s correspondents — writers and photographers alike — were challenged to capture these unprecedented times in words and pictures. Seven photographers submitted “gallery style” photography that is featured inside the magazine. Among the submissions was a photo by Allegany Magazine photographer Karen Morgan chosen for the cover. The subject in the photo is Liz Simmons, who works as a nurse for UPMC Western Maryland.

“As a nurse, she has been right in the middle of this pandemic this entire time,” said Riggs. “And I think what is sewn into her mask on the cover — the word ‘hope’ is something we all could use a little more of right now.”

In addition to Morgan, the August edition features editorial styled photography by Sierra Chaney, Lorelei Huff, Jeff Keister, Brooke Long, A.J. Small and Lisa Wolford.

Allegany Magazine correspondents, including Cassie Conklin, also wrote about the ongoing crisis.

“The coronavirus, which upended our world, sense of comfort and all our 2020 plans, has been the backdrop of every discussion over the last four months,” Conklin writes. “With states beginning to lift restrictions and communities like Allegany County, Maryland. reopening businesses, we can’t help but wonder. ‘What’s next? What’s the new normal? What will it look like?’”

“Who would have thought that we would see the day when a global pandemic closed down schools and businesses?” writes Correspondent Carisa Fazenbaker-Wildman. “(It) brought the world — including our world here in Allegany County — to a screeching halt.”

Even the regular columnists like William Hand, C.J. Cangianelli and Heather Lancaster address the crisis in their August offerings.

“As a contributor for Allegany Magazine, our articles are submitted several months in advance for editing, layout design, publishing and many other important reasons before they end up in your hands,” notes columnist Heather Lancaster in her August contribution. “But it’s difficult to think of anything but the new normal we are faced with. I would personally like to get off of this nightmare of a ride — and hope that by the time you read this, that ride is ending or ended.”

Allegany Magazine also afforded the opportunity for a few student journalists at Mountain Ridge High School to submit thoughts. Among them is Jenna Green.

“For some, this pandemic hit close to home; while for most of us, it meant staying quarantined in our homes,” she writes. “What is visible despite the darkness of this time in our world is the light from the vision and determination we have to persevere and come out better for it: stronger and focused on the future.”

The August edition also features articles and reflections by Devin Barnes, Eddie Deezen, Eugene Frazier, Arlene Johns, Rachel Jones, Deb Litman, Elizabeth Marchbank, Danielle Mock, Doris Mullan Brady, James Rada, Leah Shaffer and Mark Vernarelli.

“This will be the month when we will begin to collect information and collect ourselves,” said Riggs. “We can begin this month to look back on the last few months with 20/20 vision — pun intended — and see how far we have come and how far we have left in this journey.”

Allegany Magazine is available by subscription and single copies are sold at more than 50 retail partners in Allegany, Bedford, Garrett, Hampshire and Mineral counties.

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