WESTERNPORT - Allegany County Commissioners Creade Brodie and Dave Caporale spoke to the local elected officials and a large crowd of community members gathered at the regular Westernport council meeting on Monday evening to hear the latest news concerning the recent announcement from Verso Corporation and the upcoming closing of the Luke Mill.

By Jean Braithwaite
Tribune Correspondent
WESTERNPORT - Allegany County Commissioners Creade Brodie and Dave Caporale spoke to the local elected officials and a large crowd of community members gathered at the regular Westernport council meeting on Monday evening to hear the latest news concerning the recent announcement from Verso Corporation and the upcoming closing of the Luke Mill.
Both Brodie and Caporale, regular attendees at the Westernport council meetings, each wanted to express what they thought was of main importance and that was to “keep that mill open.”
Brodie gave credit to Kelly Schulz, Maryland’s secretary of labor and commerce, for being one of the first officials to get on board when the Verso announcement was made public.
“She is knocking on every door possible,” Brodie said, as he added that United States Sen. Joe Manchin has also stepped up to work toward assisting the mill workers, with the majority of those being from his home state.
Speaking of the Luke paper mill and its employees, Brodie said the Luke production site “is a massive operation that involves three counties and two states.”
Caporale spoke about the short time from the initial announcement of the closure of the Luke mill to the date of expected closing being two months, calling it “a short window of time,” as he said that amount of time was just not enough.
He wanted to assure those citizens gathered at the council meeting, “Everything that can be done is being done,” and, “We are following every lead.”
Westernport mayor Tim Jackson said that the officials “will not let that mill just sit there and go to waste.”
Brodie said that upon hearing the news of the paper mill closing, he wanted to shout, “We love our mill; we want our mill to stay.”
He said that he is hopeful that by the Westernport council meeting in June, “I will have something better to tell you.”