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WCBC’s Most Compelling People of 2016

December 28th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

Every year WCBC compiles a list of the most compelling people in our area. In 2016 our list includes:

Jim Pyles, a longtime anchor of the Maryland State Police effort locally.  In 2016, Pyles became one of the most visible experts on the opioid epidemic.  He’s been a key guest on a number of panels, and says, that although it a tough battle, he thinks Maryland is on the right track.

Dr. David Lever the former Head of the Maryland Interagency For School Construction.  When it seemed the Allegany High School replacement project may be lost due to bids that came in millions higher than projections, it was Lever who stepped in with a plan that led to a groundbreaking in the spring.

Shawn Hershberger, the Executive Director of the Cumberland Economic Development Corporation.  During 2016, he became a lightning rod for criticism of the plan to acquire properties in the Rolling Mill area with an eye to using that area as a site for economic development in future years.

Current Sentinel coach Todd Appel, who guided Fort Hill to its fourth consecutive 1A Football Title.  No one has done it better.

New Frostburg State University president  Dr. Ron Nowaczyk.  He arrives on campus after nearly a decade of leadership by Jonathan Gibralter, who made cutting student drinking a top priority.  Nowaczyk says making college affordable is a major challenge for all institutions, including FSU.

Eugene Frazier is one of the WCBC 12 Most Compelling as he made two attempts at Cumberland City Council during the last year.  He came up short in trying for appointment, but won election in November.  Frazier is retired from CSX, and has said he’s for economic development, but thinks there’s a better way than the current Rolling Mill effort.

Tammy Fraley, two years ago, she finished last in a field of seven running for the board.  This year, after working on various causes and meeting more voters, she led the ticket.  Fraley says she has kids in the system, and wants the area to thrive so they can stay here after graduation.

Lorelee Farrell, Farrell won a seat on school board in 2016, less than a year after filing a suit against the system over the way the careers of her and her husband, Bob, ended.  Farrell says the suit had no impact on her candidacy, but it should make for interesting discussions as it plays out.

The Fireball Run was a big event in Cumberland in 2016, and our local entry, Team Country Rhodes, are naturals for the WCBC 12 Most Compelling List.  Jeff and Liz Rhodes weren’t just roster filler, as they spent several days atop of the standings in their division, before finishing a highly respectable third and making a great impression.

There is said to be about a dozen homeowners in the Rolling Mill area that don’t want to sell their homes to the Cumberland Economic Development Corporation.  As the most vocal, Woody Gordon makes the WCBC 12 Most Compelling list.  He says he’s worked for years on his home, and also likes it for its proximity to services.

Dr Sean McCagh says 2016 was the last he will be the driving force behind the Hooley Plunge, and that makes him one of WCBC’s 12 Most Compelling.  Last year the plunge raised $150,000 for Allegany County Special Olympians and other programs for the developmentally disabled.  For his efforts, McCagh gets a thumbs way up.

If there was a local war on poverty, Reverend Dan Taylor would be a  General.  He’s also one of our 12 Most Compelling for 2016.  Taylor has headed up the Union Rescue Mission, and stepped down this year as Executive Director.  His impact can be measured in countless meals for the hungry and nights of shelter for the homeless.

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