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WCBC’s 12 Who Made a Mark in 2019

January 1st, 2020 by WCBC Radio

Twelve Who Made A Mark on WCBC in 2019 (in no order)

Ray Morriss took over as Mayor of Cumberland in 2019 and hit the ground running. Even though many long term issues remain unresolved at this point, there seems to be significant progress on the CSX Bridge issue and the pending development of the Rolling Mill area.

With the removal of Wayne Foote, how the Allegany County Board of Education would move forward got an answer just a few weeks ago when Governor Larry Hogan tabbed Ed Root to serve. Root has promised to be an independent voice on all issues, not siding with a faction.

Dee Dee Ritchie has been the Executive Director of Canal Place for several years, and with the future cloudy, she has pushed forward into a new venture, spearheading the River Park at Canal Place project. Ritchie continues to be resourceful in her position.

Jeff Blank was appointed as the interim superintendent of Allegany County Schools in July, replacing Dr David Cox. Blank had been the chief of operations for the system. At one point, he was voted as the permanent replacement, but the state said a formal search had to be undertaken.

It's hard to find a meeting where Paul Kelly is not involved in the discussion. The head of the Cumberland Economic Development Corporation has his hands in city development, the downtown mall upgrade, and rumors are that he may head county development efforts soon.

It was quite a year for Laurie Marchini, stepping away from the board of education, being at the center of misconduct allegations against Wayne Foote, and being named to Cumberland City Council. She was appointed to fill the term of Dave Caporale, who is now a county commissioner.

Cumberland City Solicitor Michael Cohen has been a valuable resource as the city works to resolve the West Side Bridge issue. During 2019, negotiations produced an agreement for a temporary replacement of the Fayette Street bridge, and a plan to replace the span on Cumberland Street.

Sandi Saville has been the face of the Downtown Development Corporation for several years, and will be the acting director for at least the first two months of 2020, until a new director is brought on board. She has had major imput on parking issues, as well as redevelopment plans.

Gary Howell is completing a decade of service as Delegate from the 56th District of West Virginia. He is the current chairman of the House Government Operations Committee and has been working diligently on issues surrounding the closing of the Luke Mill.

In his first year as Head Basketball Coach at Bishop Walsh School, Dan Prete took the team from a small local program to one of national prominence, with top national and international players moving to Cumberland to play for a Nike Elite Program under Coach Prete.

A year ago, Judge Ted Malloy retired from Allegany County District Court, and that opening was filled late this year with the appointment of Erich Bean. Bean had been serving as an assistant state's attorney, having prosecuted several high profile cases here in recent years.

2019 was the year of The Three Amigos. Bob Farrell, David Bohn and Wayne Foote had running as a team, pledging to bring change to Allegany County Public Schools. While Foote has been removed from the board, we likely have not seen the end of group candidacies.

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