Tracking Bird Migration

Beginning Saturday, September 24 and running through Sunday, October 2 is when bird migration tracking happens. It’s something FUN for all ages and you can even stay inside and just watch your back yard feathered friends. Check out more info in Good Natured

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7S Market Update AUG 2022

Listing inventory or better said lack of listing inventory has kept this years sales down compared to 2021. All markets change and this one will too.. Check out the numbers!

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HV Market Update AUG 2022

Listing inventory remains at all time lows with multiple buyers in line for the next offerings. Interest rates continue to inch up but how many buyers will it curtail… Check out the August numbers!

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WHOA NELLIE DAIRY FARM

FALL FUN! Whoa Nellie is a family owned dairy farm that offers a Charlie Brown Corn Maze, horse and tractor rides, a sheep wagon, and a store filled with white, chocolate, and strawberry milk (the old fashioned kind). It tastes like you are drinking ice cream!! Check out the photos and video, better yet go have some fun! Here’s a video of the Corn Maze!

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Real Estate Taxes Bump Up at VAIL Resorts 7S and HV

Properties in Hidden Valley sit in Jefferson Township and at Seven Springs Middlecreek Township. Both have seen their millage rates go up this year, Hidden Valley/Jefferson Twp to 64.64 and Seven Springs/Middlecreek Twp to 36.99. The Somerset County Real Estate Search will help YOU figure out your new property tax amount. There’s a box that asks you to “CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE REAL ESTATE SEARCH.” A new page will open and fill in your last name and municipality click the search button. New page opens then find your name (may be more than one Miller) and click the link. Scroll down to the bottom left and click on “View Property Tax Calculator.” If you get lost, catch up and I’ll help:)

2022 NEW MILLAGE
2022Millage

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7S, HV, Laurel Mtn Resorts and Climate Change

From Pittsburgh Magazine comes an article discussing snow or the lack of it and how to keep and maintain it during the upcoming ski season. Some of the changes, opening days will not be when the weather allows, lift tickets will be limited, and extended hours of operation.

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HV, 7S, Laurel Mtn Resorts Ski Schedule Announced

Straight from the Vail Resorts Press Release Days and hours are in the link. NOTE that all 3 sales systems are NOW CASHLESS OPERATIONS!

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7S MARKET UPDATE JULY 2022

Bring your check book with you if you are considering buying at Seven Springs! Take a look at the market update and you’ll see why…

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HV MARKET UPDATE JULY 2022

Listings are still gone within days of hitting the market. Buyers have very few properties to select from, take a look at the results from July.

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SOMERSET TOP SMALL TOWN FOR ADVENTURE FOR MIDATLANTIC AND SOUTHEAST??

Online voting will determine IF Somerset is the #1 choice for the Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine’s 12th annual list of Top Adventure Towns. Here’s where to VOTE and note there are 3 rounds! GOLH has a great write up for more details about Somerset and the competition! Have to give a shout out for the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce too, check out their website.

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VOTE FOR LAUREL HIGHLANDS BEST DESTINATION FOR FALL FOILAGE!

This is the 3rd consecutive year the Laurel Highlands has been a nominee for the Readers Choice Awards according to GO Laurel Highlands. Here’s how to vote, “Individuals have a chance to support the Laurel Highlands – one of 20 locations selected for the 2022 Best Destination for Fall Foliage award – by voting daily through Sept. 12 CLICK HERE. Photo from GO Laurel Highlands.

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Homeownership and Climate Change

Here are some interesting numbers on climate change and homeownership according to the 2022 Climate Change Survey by Policygenius. They lead with “64% of young homeowners (18-34) expect to move due to climate change in the next 30 years.” Take a look and see what you think!

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CLIMATE CHANGE RISKS?

How will the next 30 years impact YOUR LIVING CONDITIONS? More Heat, Fires, Flooding coming your way? Check out this tool created by First Street Foundation that allows you to type in your address and see what risks may be on their your way to your property due to increases in extreme heat, fires and or floods. It will help you prepare for the type of extreme elements that may be headed your way. There’s a new term called “climate migration” that you will be hearing more often when it comes to real estate. Buyers will be considering the impacts and costs of extreme weather….

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SUNFLOWER MAZE Maple Bottom Farm

This year Maple Bottom Farms planted “more than 300,000 sunflower seeds!” Owners Vickie and Mike Baker want to help others learn about agriculture and dairy which lead to farm tours for visitors. The sunflower maze is just one of their offerings. They have a B&B, picnics in the sunflower and zinnia fields (think date night), room for events and weddings, sell milk and cheeses, special events, and educational offerings! Check out their FB Page

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BEER HERE!

Would YOU believe that PA is second only to California when it comes to number of craft breweries with 486! According to VINEPAIR in their article “Best States For Beer Lovers” they also ranked PA 5th out of all our states. Enjoy the read and the beer!

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PA 1031 Like Kind Exchanges

For years, PA was the only state NOT Fully recognizing the 1031 Like Kind Exchange. For years, our PA Association of REALTORS have lobbied the PA General Assembly to incorporate the Federal Tax Code 1031 into the PA Tax Code. On July 8 the Governor signed House Bill 1134 which is now Act 53 of 2022. It takes effect the beginning of 2023.

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WHAT DOES THE FUTURE RESORT MARKET HOLD?

Hmmm Over my 40 some years in the Laurel Highlands resort markets I have collected a ton of data. I’ve also survived 20% interest rates, sales of both resorts, a great recession, bank failures, and Democrat and Republican governance. From these experiences I have ONE crucial thought for seller’s and their bottom line, listen to the end!

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7S MARKET UPDATE JUNE & 1st HALF 2022

We are beginning see changes in the market place. Will the 2nd half bring in more listing inventory? Check out the market and the numbers for June and the first half of 2022.

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HV MARKET UPDATE JUNE & 1st HALF 2022

First half numbers are in and low listing inventory produces low sales. Check out the market and the numbers!

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GO LAUREL HIGHLANDS

If you are looking for something FUN to do in the Laurel Highlands then you need to spend some time diving into GO LH the Laurel Highlands Visitors website. That link will take you to a downloadable visitors guide. Yes we have been members for years and are raving fans of the information they continually put forth ALL YEAR ROUND for residents and visitors to our back yards. ENJOY!

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HIGHLANDS GOLF CLUB = 7SPRINGS & Hidden Valley Golf Courses

The Nuttings kept a large section of venues and land when they sold the ski areas to Vail Resorts. That includes both 18 hole golf courses now rebranded as the HIGHLANDS GOLF CLUB. Here’s where you will find fees and details about memberships. Golf On:)

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7SPRINGS Upcoming Fun

Since the sale of both Seven Springs and Hidden Valley Resorts ski areas everyone has been wondering what events will be continued… On the 7Springs.com site under events and entertainment here’s what you will find.

Jazz Nights at Helens JULY 13, 2022 – OCTOBER 12, 2022
Foggy Goggle Concert Series JULY 15, 2022 – DECEMBER 24, 2022
Rib and Wing Festival JULY 29 – 31, 2022
Wine Festival AUGUST 26 – 28, 2022

As of today there are no events or entertainment listed on the Hidden Valley site under PLAY.

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Nellie Over 12/13/1918~6/21/2022

Yes, you read those dates correctly, Nellie was 103! Since 1984 Nellie has been my good friend and for many of those years my work mate. We met at Seven Springs when we both were working for Kettler Forlines, the builder developer of Swiss Mountain and the Villages. Nellie had an effervescent and inspiring personality. Many homeowners will remember her as our new construction model and 7 Springs resort on site hostess. She greeted potential new homeowners and warmly welcomed back all past visitors.

I recall her blessing my new beau, Robert Wags Wagner in 96 and celebrating our wedding in 1998. We spent many wonderful days together and celebrated years of holidays, challenging times, and life. She loved PEOPLE, Boston terriers, was President and longtime Garden Club member. Flowers were her passion.

Nellie’s favorite saying, “Cherish your yesterdays, dream your tomorrows, but LIVE your todays!” I hope in your lifetime you will come across another person with such a positive attitude or maybe you are lucky enough to carry a piece of her happiness within your heart like we do…..

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7S Market Update MAY 2022

Check out the real estate market update for Seven Springs! This monthly summary of what’s happening at Vail’s newest resorts will keep you in the know!

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HV Market Update MAY 2022

Take a look at the real estate market numbers for May! Limited listing inventory is only offering a few properties for buyers to consider. See what’s up!

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TICKS IN THE LAUREL HIGHLANDS

In the past week I have heard MULTIPLE TICK stories! PLEASE enjoy the outside but understand that ticks carry serious side effects. Here’s a super short video from the DCNR recent newsletter about taking pre-cautionary steps and how to protect yourself!

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7S Market Update APRIL 2022

I can remember the markets where we had over 100 listings and they would sit for a year or two! Times have changed and now listing inventory is almost non existent, buyers are waiting for properties, and many sellers are sitting on a ton of home equity! See what’s up with the April market!

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HV MARKET UPDATE APRIL 2022

Same story, very low listing inventory, buyers waiting for properties, and sellers sitting on a boat load of home equity! Check out the April market report!

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RESORT HOME OWNERS, HOW MUCH EQUITY DO YOU HAVE??

How long will this sellers market last?? No one can say for sure but we do KNOW is that listing inventory is still at historic lows, buyers our waiting for properties, and there’s a very good chance that as a homeowner at the resorts YOU are sitting on a ton of home equity!

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Hotel Tax Update Resort Owners

As reported in the Tribune-Democrat Johnstown, the Somerset County Treasurer is catching up with those NOT paying their 5% hotel tax! In a past post I shared the forms and more details but basically if you are renting your home part time you are responsible to pay up! According to the article one home owner owes 16,000 in back hotel taxes! Here’s the story.

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Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail

One of our favorite adventures in the Laurel Highlands was taking the time to enjoy the wonders of the 70 mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail! We did it in sections and there was one overnight stay. The trail winds through a section of Seven Springs. Below is picture (GO LH) of one of the fern beds, such an amazing sight and there are many! Especially if go in a season when the trees have shed their leaves. Anna Weltz from GO LH put together a FAQ specifically for this trail. Sure hope you check it out!

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7S March and 1st Quarter Market Update

YOU are going to want to see these first quarter numbers! We have MORE EXCITING NEWS! The Josh Crowe TEAM welcomes Sarah Greiner Brown as a buyer’s agent. Selling or buying, on or off the resorts we are here to help you with your real estate needs! Sellers know that you may be sitting on an unexpected windfall of cash! Catch up to see what prices properties similar to yours have sold for recently!

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Hidden Valley March & 1st Quarter Update

YOU are going to want to see these first quarter numbers! We have MORE EXCITING NEWS! The Josh Crowe TEAM welcomes Sarah Greiner Brown as a buyer’s agent. Selling or buying, on or off the resorts we are here to help you with your real estate needs! Sellers know that you may be sitting on an unexpected windfall of cash! Catch up to see what prices properties similar to yours have sold for recently!

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Keep An Eye OUT for THIS!

One of my FAVORITE resources for what’s going on outside in PA is the DCNR newsletter! Since we have so many water ways in the Laurel Highlands I thought you would help keep an eye out for this disruptive yellow SPRING invasive plant. It actually crowds out our wild flowers! Watch the video to find out more! https://youtu.be/UwItC-B4cv0

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COVID and WHITE TAIL DEER

Hmmm, never thought about it till I came across this story from NPR.   What makes it even more interesting is that the study was done across PA with 93 dead deer. End result was a “nearly 20% coronavirus positivity rate.” There’s also a second study that’s been done in southwestern and eastern Ontario that used 300 deer and is pending review. Big question, how did they contract it?

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CLIMBERS, BATS & BIOLOGISTS

In our younger days Wags and I were climbers (he way more advanced than me). So when I saw a Zoom meeting titled, “Climbers for Bat Conservation in PA” I signed in. Dr Shawn K Davis of Parks, Conservation, and Recreational Therapy Department at Slippery Rock University (724-738-2599) lead the meeting.  In a nutshell, climbers are reporting in  when they see bats. Bats in crevices (you won’t believe how far back they can go), bats flying, bats where ever.  Biologist learn so much from these sightings that bats may have a rosier future ahead! Climbers are learning too and together there is now a gathering of information internationally. Find out more at CLIMBERS for Bat Conservation. Here’s a link to the ZOOM meeting!

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RENTING your place in Somerset County? YOU OWE A HOTEL TAX

Somerset County Treasurer Anthony DeLuca is out to collect from those who may not know they owe! Resort owners at Hidden Valley and Seven Springs who rent may fall into this category. Let’s begin with the HOTEL ROOM RENTAL TAX Rules and Regulations. Effective April 1, 2018 as explained in Part 2 under Rules and Regulations Section D3 is basically saying that anything rented for less than 30 days qualifies for the 5%  tax fee. Then there’s the 2002 Ordinance Section 2 (6) that further clarifies who needs to pay up.  The full story can be found here by David Hurst in the Tribune Democrat Johnstown. Here’s the link to register and the Hotel Tax and Regulations page from the Somerset County Website for even more information.

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Spotted Lanterenfly (SLF)

If you see it REPORT IT! According to DCNR, the map below shows the few counties that this pest has yet to be found! Read the newsletter here.  It was first found in Berks County, PA in 2014 and has a preference for grapevines, maples, black walnut, birch and willows. Read more on HOW it can impact our economy and quality of life!

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Vail Resorts to Raise Wages to $20 For Winter Season

Here’s a follow up link to an editorial about the pay increase from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

According to Sierra Sun  “The new base pay will apply at all the company’s U.S. resorts. Canadian resorts will also increase base pay to 20 Canadian dollars per hour. Those in skilled positions — including ski patrol, drivers and others — will start at $21 per hour. Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch said salaried employees will see wage increases beyond the current rate of inflation. The company made the announcement in a press release on Monday in advance of the company’s 2022 second quarter earnings call.”

Hmmm the employment page on 7S is currently showing $13.50 per hour for most of the open jobs. The article does say “for the 2022-23 ski season” time will tell!

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PAR CFO Jim Antonio Retires

After 43 years of superior and steadfast financial management for the Pennsylvania REALTORS Association Jim is retiring. For those REALTORS who have never experienced the in person involvement of our state meetings I’m sad that you have never meet this man. He has overseen our associations financial growth from $500,000 to over 7 MILLION today. Speaking as a past financial committee member, he served more than just our top bean counter.  As our leadership changes every year Jim held the memories of past experiences. Not only what happened when but was able to add insight as to the circumstances and share WHY decisions were made. When I was going through my masters program Jim helped me analyze our new PAR building as an income producing property for our membership and an A for me. His insight, dedication, and friendship will be greatly missed. Thank you Jim!

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40 Years of Resort Experience at Seven Springs & Hidden Valley

This year Abe celebrates 40 years of working the resort markets! From 1982 till 2002 she advanced from agent to Broker of Record for the Villages at Seven Springs. From land development, new construction, marketing, and all of the real estate paper work she has had incredible experiences. One of her favorites was lobbing for the new construction company of Kettler Forlines Inc to open their first real sale division. She shared how life long friendships evolved from many of her 1st time meeting consultations. Here’s a quick review!

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7S Market Update Feb 2022

Sellers YOU could be sitting on a TON OF CASH! With very little listing inventory it is indeed a sellers market! Take a look at the February numbers and catch up with me to discuss your options!

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HV Market Update for Feb 2022

Sellers YOU could be sitting on a TON OF CASH! With very little listing inventory it is indeed a sellers market! Take a look at the February numbers and catch up with me to discuss your options!

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4507 Swiss Mountain New Listing

Buying or selling, we are here to help you! Check out our newest listing,

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Encouragement McCloskey

Affirmation

by patmccloskey

Affirmation with the Cow Bell.

So the other day, I was riding my mountain bike at our local park trying to get back into some semblance of shape after a tough winter on our trails. Once the snow came and the thaws and freezes, the ice on the trails was too tough for me because I don’t have studs. So with the recent spring like weather, I figured I would go out again and start riding. I was making my way up a hill when a guy who was hiking with his wife said, ” Hey!………..good job”. I kind of chuckled at that comment and said thank you and kept riding. It kind of reminded me of the old mountain bike racing days when I would be killing myself up a hill and some kind soul observing on the side of the trail would look at me and say………..” Hey- good job.” Those kind of comments kind of spurred me on to the top of the hill and then helped me make my way enthusiastically to the finish line. It is amazing how a little positive commentary can spur you on.

I always returned the kindness at the World Cup Mountain Bike Finals in Snowshoe, West Virginia with my cowbell. When the pros would be making their way up a heinous climb, I would encourage them with my cowbell. Many of them were so focused that they they never wavered in their concentration. Others like American Haley Batten would smile and enthusiastically say “thank you” and keep riding spurred on by the pro-American spectators wishing her well.

The Shark and the affable Haley Batten

Affirmation is usually the result of the acclaim of a job well done. At Snowshoe, you can see the result of hard work of the world class athletes, and the support they got from their home team and trainers. We cheered them on- affirming their hard work. Affirmation comes after the support of someone trying to do something positive. Support them first- then affirm them.

We all have the opportunity to support people on their way up or maybe on their way back. For instance, I have a neighbor who had a severe stroke and is making his way back. He has been through a lot along with his supportive wife. The guy is a noted, retired orthopedic surgeon who has had some tough breaks with his health. I have tried to support him as well as his wife in different ways, but the other day- I saw Dr. Tim out on a walk using his walker encouraged by his ever supporting wife, Joyce. I looked at him and said, ” Good job, TIm.” You could see the smile on his face because I affirmed the hard work he has done to make it back. When I was at his house the other day, he showed me his strength by pulling me with his arms. The guy is a big strong guy and although he is in his 80s, he has made a remarkable come back. He deserves affirmation and we give it to him.

I have another friend who has had a stroke as well and he is making his comeback. Although he is younger, he has worked hard to come back. He is an avid mountain bike rider, skier, backcountry adventurer, snowmobiler, and traveler. He has his moments of despair, but I always affirm his hard work and tell him that he will be back stronger than ever. People need support when they have difficult times and we all can give that support. And when they make their way up over the hill metaphorically, we can give them the affirmation that they deserve.

Jeff on the comeback trail.

There are a lot of people today that can use our help. Friends who have had a death in the family, are having health issues, maybe are going through a divorce or other personal issues, or people that just need a boost up that hill. We can make the effort to support them and when they make progress, we can affirm that progress with a kind comment like- ” Good job- keep up the good work.” You may not need to use a cowbell to affirm them, but you can certainly recognize that people go through a lot and can use a word or support, a kindness afforded to them, and affirmation that gives them that boost that they need. To have a friend is to be a friend. Thanks for reading.

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Deer Tick Virus (DTV)

Deer ticks spoil all of the fun for those of us who love the outdoors! In the weekly update from Senator Stefano, “Avoiding Tick Borne Diseases”  was one of features.  The information begins with  “Lyme disease and the rare but dangerous Deer Tick Virus (DTV) have been found in ticks at high levels for the first time in multiple locations around the state.” Here’s another site for learning more about ticks.

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Kindergartners Hotline

Is the worlds environment weighing heavealiy on you right now? NPR reports there’s a new FREE hotline to help you find JOY! Well at least a smile… Teachers in CA at Westside Elementary created the arts program with their very young elementary students.  Here’s your menu choices, “If you’re feeling mad, frustrated or nervous, press 1. If you need words of encouragement and life advice, press 2. If you need a pep talk from kindergartners, press 3. If you need to hear kids laughing with delight, press 4. For encouragement in Spanish, press 5.”   Dial Peptoc at 707-998-8410

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DIXON by McCloskey

55+ years of Friendship.

by patmccloskey

My Pal- Dixon Rich

Dixon Rich and I have been friends since the minor league in baseball. We both talk about how we forged our friendship on the bench. I was a fat little catcher and Dixon played out in left field, but we talked a lot about how thirsty we were and couldn’t wait to get to Dixon’s house for a drink.

Fast forward- Dixon senior bought a cabin on County Line Road and all of us neighbor kids spent the weekends crashed out on the cabin floor in sleeping bags. What a wonderful way to grow up. The winters were always special to me and still are thanks to the Rich family and my pal Dixon.

Dixon, Melissa and Jaime. Laurel Mountain friends for life

Dixon is an accomplished attorney and tax specialist. You might not know that if you visited him and he answers the door with a red bandana adorning his noggin and baggy shorts and construction boots doing someone’s tax work. He plays the Dead while he works and really doesn’t know the difference between night and day. He works when he feels inspired and that may be in the middle of the night. Naps are important to Dixon as he takes them between work sessions. He is a character. A skillful tele-mark skier, Dixon likes to hide out at Laurel Mountain where it is quiet, scenic and he has the place basically to himself most days of the winter. He can work from anywhere and the Laurel Highlands are his home for the winter. The other day he pulled out a pair of old 70’s era alpine skis and attacked Lower Wildcat on an icy morning. I have not seen skis like that in a while but Dixon has a whole houseful of 70s era skis which he uses with tele equipment and a few selected pair for alpine outings.

Valuable nap time for the tax man.

Dixon and I have skied together for over 55 years. But we also have had many adventures in cycling. We used to ride from his cabin to Confluence, Pa on our mountain bikes, getting lost on the way home, running out of daylight and crashing exhausted at the Red and White Store in Indian Head hoping to get a ride back. One time in West Virginia at the Wild 100 Backcountry Race, we both ascended Prop’s Run just outside of the Elk River Touring Center. When we got to the top exhausted, Dixon smiled at me with vivid blue teeth and asked if I wanted some bubble gum. That was his ” Power Bar”. He loves Captain Crunch cereal and other sweet treats. I am trying to get him back into riding more and he claims he will join me again this spring and summer. But his antics on the slopes and on the trails are legendary. Ask him about the plastic shower cap he used to cover his fanny pack when riding. A bright floral pattern which protected valuable cargo in his pack. LOL!!

Dixon does not like to be pinned down with a schedule. He is happy to meet you and ski with you but it is on his timing and on his terms. I call it like seeing an “albino deer” – wonderful to see but never planned. Like me- he likes the quiet of a remote ski area and enjoys the scenery without all the hassle of what takes place at Laurel’s sister area – Seven Springs, which can get a bit hectic during the winter. He has a great head of hair and never wears a hat – no matter how cold. I am amazed sometimes but my wife always says that with that great head of hair, she wouldn’t wear a hat either.

But the most important thing about Dixon is that he is a good friend. They say if you leave this world with friends that you can count on your right hand, you are a lucky man. Dixon is one of those fingers to me. I will always remember when my father passed away unexpectedly in his sleep back in 2001. Dixon was one of the first guys there for me and tirelessly helped me to close down my dad’s business. I could not have done it without him and will always be grateful for his kindness, his help, and his expertise.

Friendships are important. Especially as we age. We need to stay active, pay attention to our health, and most of all, spend time in the great outdoors with friends like Dixon. Thanks for reading and if you see the albino deer sometime, say hello. You will instantly gain another good friend.

 

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Great Backyard Bird Count Update

The numbers are in! According to the report there were 318,000 participants from 192 countries, identifying 7,091 species, and sharing 120,000 photos! Check out the short video! You may want to visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for more information on birding. And if you LOVE birds as much as I do try the Merlin Bird ID app it is free and very easy to use!! ENJOY!

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Getting the most skiing on busy days

 

How to Ski an Area Effectively

by patmccloskey

Whiteface , NY

Jon Weisberg from http://www.SeniorsSkiing.com suggested that I write a piece for him on how to effectively ski a given area. Interesting topic which can be shared in his magazine and also on my blog here. Kind of kill two birds with one stone so to speak. So here goes.

Let’s start with the smaller areas like we have here in Western Pa. and Western New York. Moving from slope to slope or trail to trail regularly can be an effective way to maximize the satisfaction out of an area with a smaller vertical drop. I also try to make as many turns as I can in order to really utilize the terrain. Maybe a ski with a tighter turn radius can be used and often if you combine the tactic of ” keep moving” and “make turns”, you can see where the best snow is at a smaller area and then focus on lift lines and crowded conditions. My favorite local area has one really good slope- the best slope in Pa. It also has a number of trails and glades as options, but really, I like to lap Wildcat at Laurel Mountain and utilize its steeper terrain to the best of my ability. People ask- ” Pat- how can you ski the same slope all day long?” I tell them it is the best slope in Pa. and I change up my lines every run. Skiers left, middle and skiers right always yield a different challenge each run and really you can make the most out of limited terrain if you vary your lines. I mix it up with some selected runs down the trails at Laurel- often taking in great views of the Ligonier Valley. But for the most part, you can see me lapping the Cat each time from a different line.

Mammoth Mountain, California

Moving on to larger areas, a number of tactics come into play to effectively ski an area. The first one is to get there early to beat the crowds. This is true everywhere you ski. Oftentimes the best grooming is available in the morning or the morning’s best powder stashes can be accessed if you get up early and get to the parking lot and on to the slopes early. Once there, I often follow the sun. Look for where the sun shines first and go there for good visibility. If the slopes are not crowded, feel free to rip some big GS like turns because there is no fear of lots of people impeding your progress. Once the slopes begin to assemble people, those moving targets need to be respected and you can move on to another area which may not be as sunny and perhaps less crowded. I try to avoid the crowds at all costs. At Deer Valley a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the lifts servicing the black diamond slopes seemed less crowded. The reason is that the entry to those slopes were pretty icy and people tended to avoid another run. For me- that is the green light to keep skiing them. If you can stand a little bit of adverse conditions, you will have a particular run or runs to yourself with no lift lines.

Steins Way at Deer Valley

Skiing at lunchtime is another tactic where you see the lines dramatically disappear. Make use of the time and pump in a snack bar or some fruit that you have packed in your parka and wait until later in the day to eat lunch. It is amazing how areas empty at lunchtime and then especially on a Sunday, when people tend to leave for home, you can access a lot of vertical. I remember being in Austria with my friends Mark Singleton and Kenny Griffin. The local lift attendant looked at us quizzically and asked why we were skiing so much at lunchtime? We were supposed to be taking a “siesta” but as Type ” A” Americans, we were trying to access the most vertical we could get and take a break from the Euros stepping all over our skis in the lift lines. People want to ski and they want to get by you. Sometimes your skis tended to take a beating. LOL!!

On a powder day- people tend to hunt the fresh lines and leave perfectly good snow behind that is cut up from the masses. I ski with wider skis ( 107 mm under foot) on powder days and no matter how the new powder gets cut up from the crowds, the wider skis just plow through without even a thought. People with narrower skis tend to egg beater and disappear when the smooth, powdery, runs are cut up. But if you have the right equipment, you can continue to ski the cut up lines and avoid lift lines and the rush by the locals for new lines.

Arapahoe Basin ,Colorado
Northstar, California

Also- don’t be afraid to try new areas. It is easy to get into a rut and ski all the same areas on a trip or regularly in your home region. But the more terrain you can access that is different, the more your skiing will improve. I have skied in a lot of different areas in my lifetime and I am glad that I took the time to do so . I get in a little bit of a rut locally but even at that, I try again to mix up the lines, and the runs for maximum use of limited terrain.

When skiing with my wife, I also employ another tactic in that I check the area grooming report. I see where the most recent grooming has occurred and head there. She thanks me for the recon. Lastly- another tactic that can be used is to ski the lower part of the mountain after most of the crowd have moved on to the upper portions of the mountain. People will take a few runs down below and then head up to the rest of the terrain. Oftentimes if you ski the upper part early, you can come back down and the lower half of the mountain is empty. And the best is that- most of it is usually still in the sun on a good day.

Think ahead. Out think the masses and you will have a good day or week navigating the areas the most effectively. Ok Jon? LOL. Thanks for reading.

patmccloskey | February 28, 2022 at 6:25 pm | Categories: outdoor activitiesoutdoor sportsOutdoorsSkiingUncategorizedWinterwinter sports | URL: https://wp.me/p31Q99-1vU

 

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TAX TIME and RENTAL DEDUCTIONS

Did you rent out your primary or 2nd home in 2021? If so some of you may be wondering just IF and WHAT your deductions may add up too. First YOU should discuss this information with your tax advisor as I am only SHARING information directly from the IRS. This information discusses “Topic # 415 Renting Residential and Vacation Property”  There are multiple links to help you file in April.

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Friends of Jurassic Park

As reported by NPR a Pterosaur fossil dating back 170 Million Years was found in Scotland. Imagine the excitement of Ph.D. student Amelia Penny when during a field trip in 2017 she noticed the jaw line of this amazing reptile. Read the story HERE.

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SHEETZ BREAKING GROUND IN DONEGAL

There have been rumors for years and NOW it is finally happening! SHEETZ is coming to town! The parcel is larger than most. It will be on your right when you take the Donegal turnpike exit at the stop light by the PNC bank. There will be a dedicated exit lane to skip the stop light IF you are headed to the resorts. Watch for the earth movers this March!

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Mountain Watershed Association: A Year In Review

Mountain Watershed Association: A Year In Review

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Dear Reader,

For all the years we lived in the Laurel Highlands this organization did the most to maintain and improve the natural beauty and assets of the Laurel Highlands. We encourage you to JOIN and CONTRIBUTE.

Although this past year presented challenges, our dedication to advocacy, conservation, and clean water led us to new accomplishments. A few examples include:

– Fundraising efforts for the Steyer Bridge were successful; we will begin construction this year. We’ll continue to fundraise to resurface the trail leading to Steyer Bridge in 2022.

– We completed installation of the pilot phase of the Rondell-Correal Pilot Mine Drainage Treatment System. It is expected to remove 262 lbs. of acid, 97 lbs. of iron, and 6 lbs. of aluminum from the Indian Creek Watershed each year.– We completed the Indian Creek River Conservation Plan: The Sequel, a document loaded with information that will guide our work in the watershed for years to come. You can read the full document here.

– Eric, our Youghiogheny RIVERKEEPER, hosted multiple river cleanups in the Spring and Fall, removing hundreds of old tires along with metal and other trash. Spring cleanup dates are:

    •  April 30 – Casselman River in Meyersdale
    • May 21 – Yough River in West Newton
    • June 18 – Yough River in Connellsville

– As a direct result of MWA’s advocacy, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection altered the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for MAX Environmental, the only permitted hazardous waste landfill in Pennsylvania.

This is merely a drop in the bucket when it comes to the hard work and dedication shown by the MWA team last year. Our 2021 Year In Review covers the work done in advocacy, conservation, biodiversity, trails, and more.

To showcase the diligent work done by our advocacy team at MWA, we have created a video, “Year in the Yough”, to point out threats to the Youghiogheny River watershed and the actions our team is taking to make sure our beloved land and water is protected from pollution. You can view the video and the annual report on the homepage of our website: www.mtwatershed.com.

If you don’t already receive our monthly emails, sign up on our website to be added to our mailing list. The monthly email blasts contain calls to action, recent blog posts, upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and other announcements.

We hope to see you around the Yough watershed this year. Together, we can fight for clean water and a healthy environment.

 

With deep gratitude,

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Ashley Funk

Executive Director

Meet Taylor Robbins

Taylor is stepping into the new role of Conservation and Recreation Manager at Mountain Watershed Association.

You’ll see Taylor throughout the watershed, monitoring water quality and managing the Indian Creek Valley Trail and Yough River Water Trail.

Read Taylor’s Bio

Mountain Watershed Association

PO Box 408
Melcroft, PA 15462

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Hidden Valley Real Estate Market Update Jan 2022

More Exciting Things happening in the real estate markets at Hidden Valley and Seven Springs. See for yourself!

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Seven Springs Real Estate Market Update Jan 2022

More Exciting Things happening in the real estate markets at Seven Springs and Hidden Valley. See for yourself!

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Great Backyard Bird Count Starts TODAY!

This 4 day event (Feb 18-21) has been ongoing since 1998. It has become a worldwide citizen science event sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. It’s simple and fun, count and report the birds in your back yard:) Here’s the link. This helps to identify bird populations around the world! Have Fun!

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30 Year Mortgage Rate Above 4%

Predictions are it will not be going back down anytime soon! 2019 was the last time we saw 4%. More info on mortgage rates from MONEY.  Seller’s, consider the higher the interest rates go up the the number of eligible buyers for your property gets lower.

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Trout Stocking Schedule

It’s time! The 2022 trout stocking schedule is NOW available. Use this LINK to search by county! The first day of trout season is April 2nd. Good Fishing!

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NEW GENERAL MANAGER FOR SEVEN SPRINGS, HIDDEN VALLEY, LAUREL MOUNTAIN

According to Ski Area Management, beginning Feb 14th, Brett Cook is the new GM for Seven Springs, Hidden Valley, and Laurel Mountain. He’s been involved at Roundtop, Liberty Mountain, White Tail and then back to Roundtop as GM when Vail purchased the “Peak Resorts” in 2019. WELCOME Brett!

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How China Made Olympic Snow

Here at Seven Springs, Hidden Valley, and Laurel Mountain we are all accustomed to man made snow. But for the Olympics’? Here are two stories that feature the how it was done process. NPR and the New York Times

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The Poma by McCloskey

by patmccloskey
The Moment of Truth
Leslie McKee suggested a post on the iconic Poma lift. She said it would be a good post in and of itself and she is right. How many of you who started skiing battled with the monster of surface lifts as a kid? I can remember moving from the rope tow( which itself burned up many gloves) to the Poma lifts at our local resort. Although we got many comments and instructions on how to ride the Poma, it was always a matter of getting prepared in the track, waiting to grab the right one, and presto……off to the races. As a little kid, they always told me if I fell, not to hold on to the Poma- just let go. But what did most people do? See below. LOL!!!
Don’t hold on………LOL:!!!!!
The other frightening thing as a little kid was if the spring in the Poma was quirky, you would oftentimes be lifted right out of the track, high into the air( or so it seemed) and tried to set your feet down in the track again without falling. You never sat down. You would place the platter between your legs and hang on. Never sit down. The mantra for all of us. Poma lifts became a thing of the past in many areas but still are used to get skiers from place to place in the larger areas out west. There is still a need to connect chair lifts and in a lot of areas the only way is to transport people across a flat via a Poma lift. I have so many memories when I step into the loading zone of a Poma lift these days. I am heavy enough now not to be spring loaded into the stratosphere and I certainly know not to sit down or do what we always did and try to move in and out of the track. We all did that and tried to hang on the pole for as long as we could and launch it at the end of the ride up and laugh when we let it go. We were always the same jagoffs who would jump out of a chairlift if it was low enough and ski away from an operator who was yelling at us threatening to take our passes. Kids!!!!
The T Bar
The cousin to the Poma lift is the T-Bar. More commonly used these days and especially in Europe to transport skiers up the mountain and get them across flats between chairlifts. This lift is ridden by two people and if you were a taller person and you rode with a shorter person, it became a difficult task. The taller person had the part of the bar riding up his or her back while the opposite was true for the shorter person. Constant adjusting and laughing in the case of us youngsters at the time and a little more concerning riding it as an adult. Now for those of you who know me, I am not a confrontational person. However, one time in Austria, I happened to be riding up a T Bar with a shorter French guy. He kept jawing at me in his Gallic dialect and basically was trying to get me to adjust the position of the bar to suit his shorter stature. After a while, and listening to his verbal abuse for longer than one should ever have to, I leaned over to him and said, ” If you keep yelling at me, you are gone.” He either didn’t understand or ignored my warning and he caught my left elbow and was sent careening down the slope never to be seen again. Viva la France!!!!!

Surface lifts were intimidating, frightening, and most of all loads of fun growing up as a kid. I don’t even give them a thought today but when Leslie reminded me of all the fun times we had as kids battling the Poma lifts, I had to jot down some memories. One last one was the Poma lift at our smaller municipal ski area where I was trying to get one of our blind skiers up the hill. Regis Sullivan was a heavy guy and I put the Poma between his legs and mine and we rode up together. I screamed ” stand up Regis” because if he sat down, I am sure the ski patrol would have been involved. Another time I had a nun with a colostomy in the same position with me on the Poma. I laughingly suggested that she stand up and don’t fall. I told her I didn’t want the fallout from that one. LOL!!!! She was very open about her colostomy and I was very open about me not wanting to face the consequences.

So, thanks Leslie. I am sure I will have a few laughs like all of you reading this. Think snow and ………..don’t sit down!!!!!

patmccloskey | January 31, 2022 at 6:38 pm | Tags: Poma Lift | Categories: Humoroutdoor activitiesoutdoor sportsOutdoorsSkiingWinterwinter sports | URL: https://wp.me/p31Q99-1vi

 

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PA Property Tax and Rental Rebate Program

Fron Senator Stefanos weekly newsletter, “Older and disabled Pennsylvanians can apply now for rebates on property taxes or rent paid in 2021.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older, widows and widowers age 50 and older, and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

After checking eligibility requirements, you can file your rebate application online by visiting mypath.pa.gov. Submitting your application online does not require you to sign up for an account. You can check the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program instruction booklet to learn which information you will need to complete the process.”

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XC and the Olympics

New post on chroniclesofmccloskey

Go Nordic!

by patmccloskey

Olympic Gold Medalist Jessie Diggins,

Years ago, I met a young lady who was a member of the Middlebury College Nordic Ski Team. She was recounting her workout routine while quickly demolishing a half gallon of ice cream right before my eyes. She had to pay close attention to her diet and make sure that she was eating enough calories to fuel her practices and meets. In many cases, they just can’t eat enough. You see, cross country ski racers are a rare breed. Among endurance athletes, they have the most impressive VO2 data and their engines are unmatched in the endurance sports world. We have a real superstar right here in the U.S with Jessie Diggins who is a member of our U.S Nordic Ski Team and a gold medalist from the most recent Olympic games in Korea. She has had tremendous success on the World Cup and is a favorite for gold in the upcoming Olympics in China. These athletes are amazing and their skill and endurance is worth watching on the upcoming coverage of the Olympics in February. Check them out.

More gold in China?

If you take it down several notches, there are opportunities out there for the mortal man to participate in this winter sport. I am an alpine skier and rarely get to go cross country skiing any more but I have always had respect for people who make use of Nordic ski centers like the one we have at Laurel Mountain right here in Pa.

Laurel Mountain Nordic Ski Center

The cool thing about cross country skiing is that you can enjoy it casually like a nice tour through the woods or you can make it a real workout. Traditional skis can be used in the machine made tracks and the feeling of gliding along with your skis floating though the tracked trail is spectacular. Shorter skating skis are also available and you can skate your way along groomed trails which is another great workout. Finally, there are wider touring skis that have metal edges which allow you to break trail on a freshly fallen snow landscape like a golf course. Many ski touring centers offer rentals and if not, most outfitters like L.L. Bean. Public Lands, and REI have equipment for sale or rent. With the recent big snow in the East, I see many people out on the golf courses and on the groomed trails these days trying to make the most of the winter weather.

Tracked Trails.

Years ago, I had touring skis and would ski at night on the golf course near my home with a light on my head. A fun workout on clear, cold nights. Oftentimes in those days, I would also visit my friend Eric in Vermont and as a diversion from alpine skiing at Killington, we would take cross country equipment out of his garage and head to the quarry near his home in Bethel, Vermont. It was there that we skied up and down gravel and sand piles showing off and usually crashing and burning many times until we either had destroyed his equipment or were so stiff and sore and snow covered that we left and headed home for a cold beer. Fun times in those days in Bethel.

I often joke with my friends who cross country ski. I call them communist skiers. They laugh because they know that I associate cross country ski racers with the Eastern Bloc. Most of the success in recent years has been with skiers from the Baltic countries or Russia as well as the usual suspects from the Scandinavian countries. But look out for the Americans. We are coming on strong and the term communist skier jokingly will be a term of the past for me.

As much as I like alpine skiing, I do miss the days when I used to cross country ski. I may take it up again although Janet and I like to snowshoe when we are not skiing. We take advantage of the snow when it comes. If you are looking for a good day in the woods, there is nothing like a sunny winter day with cross country equipment in hand. Try it and perhaps look up your local Nordic ski center or consult with L.L.Bean, Public Lands, or REI and enjoy the winter. Thanks for reading, watch the upcoming Olympics on NBC and Peacock, and think snow.

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Know This Logo?

It belongs to The Nature Conservancy and they have released their 2021 Global Photo Contest Winners.  There are some very interesting pictures that will make you think….

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Low Income Energy Assistance

Here’s how to get HELP if you or someone you know needs assistance to keep the heat on! The money comes as a cash grant (no need to repay) and goes directly to your heating company. Yes, there are forms that need to filled out. Click for details.

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MORTGAGE RATES INCREASE

Up, up and away we go. We all knew these HISTORIC LOW mortgage interest rates were not going to last forever. According to Mortgage News Daily  3.7% is now the average rate on popular 30 year mortgages. Last year around this time that percent was closer to 2.7%! What it means to YOU if buying, you’ll be paying more to borrow money for your forever home. Sellers are likely to see the beginning of fewer offers on their properties. The Federal Reseve Board meets next Wed to discuss next steps.

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Fannie Mae Appraisal Changes

Many of our resort and cabin properties have spaces with ceilings that slant, most of these are in upstairs bedrooms as pictured. Beginning April 1, if the buyer is financing through Fannie Mae the appraiser has to follow new rules. Check out the section in this link, How Well Do You Know ANSI which details measuring space and what counts as a basement. The MLS may have to revise rules on what is considered a bedroom….

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PA WINTER DOG LAW

A friendly reminder that our furry frineds have a PA law that protects them in our cold winter weather. Read it here under 2017 Act 10. Here’s the short version: ” an unattended dog may be tethered for no more than nine hours in a 24-hour period and must meet the following criteria:

The dog may not be tethered for longer than 30 minutes in temperatures below 32 degrees or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
The tether must be of a type commonly used for the size and breed of dog and at least three times the length of the dog or 10 feet, whichever is longer.
The tether must be secured to a well-fitted collar or harness by means of a swivel anchor, swivel latch or other mechanism designed to prevent the dog from becoming entangled.
The tethered dog must have access to water and an area of shade to escape the direct rays of the sun.
Penalties range from up to 90 days in jail and/or a $300 fine for neglect to seven years in jail and/or a $15,000 for aggravated cruelty.

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Jan is RADON Action Month

Take a test to be safe! Radon is both a color and odorless gas. That is WHY it can be so dangerous. Check out the information on the Environmental Protection Agency for more details!

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PA Homeowners Assisstance Fund

From the state weekly newsletter the PA Assistance Homeowner Fund, PAHAF, will begin taking applications Feb 1. PA was awarded more than $350 million in American Rescue Plan Act and supports Pennsylvania homeowners whose household income is at or below 150% of the area median income. See if you qualify!

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Hidden Valley End of Year Market Update

Another year with really big numbers! Take a look I’ve included the deed to Vail Resorts!

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Seven Springs End of Year Market Update

It’s the last real estate market report for 2021! Lot’s of great numbers and news included! I’ve even included the Vail deed for you to see.

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Vail Resorts Closes Purchase of 7S, HV, and Laurel Mtn

According to HospitalityNet, Vail announced on Jan 3 that they had closed the deal. Read the story here.  Somerset Court house records indicate that 392 acres were purchased for $67,730,667. on the 7S side and 230 acres for $13,300,000 at HV.  Watch for my next market update as I’ll link the deed transfers.  Google Maps show the resorts below

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MORE EXCITING NEWS!

As of Jan 1st, I am an official associate of the Josh Crowe Team!

My extensive knowledge of the resort markets and his of the local market allows us to provide our clients with details into past, present and possible future real estate market conditions. He is a long time resident and is involved within the communtiy with a BA in Business from the University of Pittsburgh. We are able to offer buyers and sellers insight into this current competitive seller’s market ON or OFF of the mountain. Our clients include those who are looking for their 1st or 2nd home and those who are transitioning elsewhere.

Combining our years of experience of the resorts and local markets allows us to provide very unique services. These offerings have resulted in multiple 5 star ratings with local, state, and national awards. We may be reached by phone, text, email, and yes, the mail too.

We hope if you are looking to buy or sell property in the Laurel Highlands you’ll catch up with us!

Please request Abe or Josh

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All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Copyright 2022.



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