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WCBC’s List of the Twelve Most Compelling for 2023

December 30th, 2023 by WCBC Radio

WCBC’s List of the Twelve Most Compelling for 2023 is now official. These individuals or entities have somehow influenced the area this year – for good or bad… 

Dan Bible worked tirelessly to organize volunteers for Unite on the Rock at the Allegany County Fairgrounds in September.  An idea hatched after meeting evangelist Jay Lowder, the event drew crowds for three nights to hear Lowder and included hundreds of volunteers.

Katie Quinonez is the executive director of the Women’s Healthcare Center on Route 220.  The abortion clinic relocated to Allegany County when abortions became illegal in West Virginia, saying that the county was an “abortion desert.” So far, no medical abortions have been reported to have taken place since the center opened in July.

Melinda Kelleher has operated as the face of the Reimagine Cumberland project – dealing with construction, retailers, shoppers, and government, the Executive Director of the Downtown Development Commission is leading the charge to get the project finished and keep shoppers coming downtown.

Edward Scott of Scott-Kline-Visco had been the developer of choice for the Cumberland Gateway project.  The company has successfully developed shopping areas in Frederick and Hagerstown and was expected to do the same here.  After over a year of no action, the developer is now in default and the future of the project is in limbo.

Jake Shade was recently named as the Executive Director of the Senator George Edwards Fund.  The former Allegany County Commissioner will now direct the board that was completely revamped through legislation passed last session in Annapolis.  The fund has spent $20 million of a $50 million investment in Garrett, Allegany, and Washington counties.

D.R. Horton Builders is the largest home builder in America and was chosen to redevelop the land once occupied by Allegany High School on Cumberland’s West Side.  It remains to be see whether the developer will end up as a positive or negative influence on the community.

Fred Timbrook, Jr. has expanded his family automobile business to Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania as well as carried on his ministry with City Reach Church and mission trips overseas.  His newest project is developing the Lila Building in downtown Cumberland into lofts and commercial space.

Max Green heads up the West Side Neighborhood Association and has made an impression on residents and neighbors alike with his persistence for answers about the development of the former Allegany High School site. He has prodded the Allegany County Commissioners for more public input and transparency in the project to place housing in the historic neighborhood.

Ruth Davis-Rogers has brought a renaissance to the preservation of historic properties in the City of Cumberland.  New grant programs to aid homeowners in renovations as well as a new long-term preservation plan for the City has provided encouragement that historic homes can be saved and revitalized.

Peggy Keene is the local regent for the Daughters of the American Revolution.  She and other volunteers maintain the site of George Washington’s Headquarters at Riverside Park on Green Street.  Faced with issues of vagrancy, trash, and vandalism, Keene has continued to provide tours of the Headquarters for tourists and local groups.

Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization celebrates 40 years in existence this year. The group of volunteers work throughout the year to maintain and recognize the final resting places of those of historical stature in the community as well as erecting monuments to those who would have otherwise been forgotten by history.

Gina Kyle retired this year after working for the City of Cumberland since 1988. She served as the first female firefighter for the City, paving the way for others to come after.  During her 35 years of service, she was an EMS and Fire Instructor as well as a Paramedic. Her father, uncle and grandparents also were firefighters.