Blair Garrett, Gracie Eyler, and Deb Abraham Spalding
“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come… I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise…”
These words are part of a Proclamation done at the City of Washington, the Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth by the President: Abraham Lincoln.
President Lincoln was not the first president to proclaim Thanksgiving, and he wasn’t the last. Today, although the pace of our daily business has changed with the ease of technology, it is important that the foundation of thanks be reminded and put into practice universally, for it is a basic part of humanity.
For 126 years, almost as long ago as President Lincoln’s Proclamation, members of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Creagerstown have provided a community Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving Day in their parish hall. This year, the room was full consistently, as family-after-family gathered to share the homemade meal throughout the day.
Courtney Topper, a twenty-one-year-old member of the Seiss family, one of the long-time member families deeply involved with this tradition, has helped since the age of four. She said, “I’d rather do this than anything on Thanksgiving Day.”
Thirty-seven volunteers served over five hundred dinners and over one hundred carry-out orders. Linda Seiss, Courtney’s grandmother, coordinated the event. She said, “It’s the giving and joy and love that make this event so great! Everybody came in so jolly and happy… and so thankful. It’s a wonderful thing!” Linda tried to name all of the volunteers because, “That’s important,” she said, “Phyllis Kolb is known for her sweet potatoes. Everyone is overwhelmed by them. Then there’s…let me see, Madeline Valentine, Glenna Wilhide, Dick Wilhide, Bill and Regina Dinterman, Sherry and Melanie Topper, Vicky Troxell and her daughters Kelsey and Payton, Nancy Heyser, Judy Zimmerman, Betty Seiss, Dot Lare, the Ferrell Family, the Thayer Family, and my husband Frankie Seiss. We can’t forget about him.”
Linda said she hopes that the Thanksgiving Dinner event, “makes it to 200 years of Thanksgivings someday.”
At the Ott House Pub in Emmitsburg, the Ott family, extended family, friends, and sometimes people right off the street, gather to enjoy a pot-luck Thanksgiving feast. This year, one hundred and four gathered for this tradition at the family’s restaurant.
Their tradition started when Bernard Ott, a painter by trade, and his wife, Evelyn, opened the Ott House in 1970 as a hobby and “something for their son, Pat, to get into,” said Chris (Ott) Wilson. They had nine children, Buddy (deceased), Pat (deceased), Dave, Susie, Chris, Cathy, Bobby, Rosie, and Ritchie. Today, four are still heavily involved in the day-to-day operation of the business. At the time, the family had grown too large for any one’s house to host Thanksgiving dinner, so the restaurant was the perfect alternative.
To this day, the Ott House Pub still operates with about half of the work force comprised of family members. Most Ott family and extended family members have worked at the pub at some point during their lives. It is truly a family-run business. The Otts, Susie, Bobby, Chris and Rosie, and the greater Ott House family and staff wish the community a happy holiday season and expressed, “Thanks for all of your support.”
This year, as always, after our Thanksgiving feasts were consumed and our family members filtered home, the chaos of Black Friday arrived. The season of thanks continues and becomes the season of giving as the holiday shopping frenzy builds.
Many families see the end of Thanksgiving as the beginning of Christmas, pushing moms and dads to flock to the stores in search of the perfect holiday gift for their children. The transition from November to December brings lights, candy canes, and plenty of holiday cheer, but what is it that spurs shoppers nationwide to begin checking off those holiday lists one by one?
The holiday deals cannot be denied, with stores around the world slashing prices to entice customers to spend their hard-earned cash in their stores. Parents often begin gathering ideas for gifts as early as summer, officially beginning the countdown until the holidays. The holiday crunch is finally here.
There are a few different types of holiday givers, with each finding different ways to make their shopping and gifting all come together for their families.
The extremely prepared are the early birds who have their holiday gifts purchased and wrapped months in advance, hiding them in a locked-away safe place, away from the eyes of the kids. Then, there are the extremely unprepared procrastinators, who are scrambling to grab the latest and greatest gifts fifteen minutes before the doors close for Christmas Eve.
But, the majority of givers fall somewhere in the middle, picking a weekend here and there to peck away at their shopping lists, grabbing the final items just in time for family get-togethers. Though disguised in the materialistic shopping game, the togetherness and camaraderie of being surrounded by the people you care about most is what excites people about this time of year.
Events like “Christmas in Thurmont” and “An Evening of Christmas Spirit” in Emmitsburg give people a reason to cook, celebrate, give thanks, and give to others. But…don’t forget to take a moment, take a breath, reflect upon history, remember loved ones who have passed, celebrate the moment, plan the best future, notice the little things, invite the big things, live life fully, and appreciate family and community. Be thankful. Be giving.
John and Fay Holdner, Angel and Mike Clabaugh, Randy Welty, Mary Elle Goff, Jaylyn Shaw, Jess Shaw, Bill Thurman, Alice Thurman, Larry Gladhill, and Brooke Gladhill sit together to enjoy the community Thanksgiving Day meal at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Creagerstown.
Linda Seiss is shown with fellow volunteer, Russell Long, in the kitchen at St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Family, extended family, and community members gather at the Ott House Pub and Restaurant for a Thanksgiving feast. A tradition since 1970.
Deb Abraham Spalding
Candy (Leahy) Lawyer, of Thurmont, “was a beautiful lady with golden hair, bright green eyes and a sweet smile. She lived in a cottage called Candy’s Corner. Joy and laughter filled the cottage. Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, after days of preparation filled with love, she would host a gingerbread house decorating celebration. This became a celebration of love, family and togetherness that was disguised by candy-coated fun! It was a special time for everyone to laugh and kick off the holiday season.”
The above is an excerpt from Heather Lawyer’s “Candy Corner”online about her mom. What started out as a small gathering to make four small gingerbread houses became known as “Gingerbread Day”and grew to become an annual tradition. Candy became known as “Sweet Candy,”since this was her very favorite time of year. Candy passed away in 2017 after a courageous four-year battle with cancer.
Her children, Brent, Heather, and Mitchell, have set out to carry on the gingerbread tradition by continuing Gingerbread Day. Heather hosted the family’s gingerbread day this year, and she worked with Vickie Grinder, Thurmont’s Main Street Manager, to provide community gingerbread classes in the Main Street Center in Thurmont. Her brothers, their wives, their cousins and friends come out to help. Heather said, “We have a little army of gingerbread helpers.”
In a “History of Gingerbreads” interview by Barb Lawyer Briggs with Candy, Candy explained that when she was pregnant with her and her husband Dave’s first child, Brent, in 1982, she made a gingerbread carousel for her mother-in-law, Mary Lawyer. Then, in December of 1986, when Brent and their second child, Heather, were three and four, Candy’s mother, Lynne Leahy, came across an article about a gingerbread lady where the recipe, the patterns, and directions were outlined. Lynne had always wanted to start a Leahy tradition for the kids and felt this was it.
During Barb’s interview, Candy recalled that one year, half the gingerbread houses collapsed. She explained that gingerbread can be temperamental. She shared that when the kids get to age 10 to 14, they start using planned themes. “It’s really interesting to watch.” One year, Mitchell made a complete barn and barnyard. One nephew, Kevin, used gummy bears every year. One year, the gummy bears were in a battle. “I think that year all the boys had a war theme. Santa was on a roof with a machine gun. There were injured gummy bears. It wasn’t very Christmassy.”
This year marks the thirty-first year of Gingerbread Day. Every year, every kid keeps coming back, even when the kid has now become an adult. Heather said, “The youngest cousin is now 20 and everybody including him still shows up. That was mom’s favorite part.”
Heather’s love for her mother and her family is very evident in her actions and words. It is very obvious that the opportunity to carry this tradition is truly an honor for her. Heather claims that her all-time favorite gingerbread will always be the tribute to her Uncle Jan Lawyer. The year Jan passed away, Heather, her brothers and their wives, Renee and Stephanie, made gingerbread replicas of Jan’s Winterbrook Farm and Corn Maze. Brent and Renee did the barn, Heather did the home farm, Mitchell did the corn maze.
For about twenty years, Heather took her gingerbreads to her Grammy (Mary) Lawyer. Heather said, “She’d be calling, ‘Heather, is your house done yet? I thought Gingerbread Day was two weeks ago!’ As soon as I took it to her, she’d stand up in church and announce that the gingerbread house was finally there and she’d invite the whole congregation to come on over and see it.”
Heather’s most memorable gingerbread creation that she made herself was a ski resort with a mountain made of Rice Krispie with a gingerbread lodge at the bottom. It was about 24”x 24”. She said, “I made trees out of pretzels using coconut shavings that I died green for leaves. It took me about a week to finish. I remember coming home from work and finding random gum drops stuck on places I did not put them. I realized it was my grandfather (Pat Leahy), of course, playing tricks on me! They know how particular I am and this was a fun game for my grandparents and mom to play!” She added, “Grammy (Lawyer) called during that week wondering if I would ever finish it. When I finally delivered it to her, her jaw dropped and her face lit up when she finally saw it being carried in her house!”
Keep an eye open for opportunities to participate in the gingerbread classes that Heather and her brothers are hosting in the coming years. It’s a sweet time of candy-coated fun!
Candy Lawyer is shown with her husband, Dave, and her first gingerbread: a carousel.
Heather Lawyer gives her mom, Candy, the Gingerbread Lady, a squeeze as they bake gingerbread in their kitchen. Candy is wearing her Gingerbread Lady apron.
Heather’s favorite gingerbread, a ski resort.
The Wallpaper Story
Joan Bittner Fry
William Jones was a prosperous tannery owner who operated his tannery along Little Hunting Creek in Thurmont in 1838. To show his prosperity, he built a six-room stone house on East Main Street. That was not enough, though. To give his new home a touch of elegance and class, he ordered new panoramic wallpaper from the French company of Jean Zuber.
Eugenie and Daniel Rouzer purchased the home in 1891. The Rouzers’ daughter, Gertrude, and her husband, William Stoner, eventually inherited the house. Gertrude Stoner sold the house in 1961, and it was scheduled for demolition to make room for a grocery store (Thurmont Super Thrift at the time; now Hobbs’ Hardware).
In 1929, Gertrude Stoner had written to Gregory and Brown Co., an interior decorating firm, trying to find out the history of the unusual wallpaper. J.C. Waterman replied saying the print was called “Scenic America” and was manufactured by a French manufacturer, J. Zuber in Rixheim, Alsace, France. The scenes were taken from a set of Currier and Ives prints and show American landscapes: Natural Bridge, Niagara Falls, West Point, and Boston Harbor. The wallpaper was an extravagant cost of $10.00 at the time. It journeyed from France to Thurmont in tin foil tubes to protect it from the moisture of an ocean crossing.
Viewpoint from Baroness Stackelberg, Baltimore American (newspaper), Sunday, September 3, 1961
The Stoner House provided a near miracle recently for a young man who had faith in his own judgment and real devotion to a cause. He is a 33-year-old Washingtonian named Peter Hill who, through a set of unusual circumstances, sold some very early 19th Century wallpaper that he bought for $50 for 250 times as much as he paid for it. The paper, which shows a scene of the Boston Harbor in the early days, and another scene of an Indian dance, brought $12,500 to the finder and his Danish-born wife and was later presented by the purchasers to the White House.
Mr. Hill happened on to the paper on account of an interest in the history of religion and a zest for antique collecting. The antique collecting and selling has helped him make money to carry on the spreading of the gospel as a lay preacher.
Through some of the heirlooms he found in the past that are now part of the historical collections at the Smithsonian Institute, Peter Hill met John Newton Pearce. Mr. Pearce is in the cultural section of the Smithsonian, and his wife, Mildred, is the White House curator. It was through her that Mr. Hill later aroused the interest of Mrs. John F. Kennedy in the scenic wallpaper.
Last spring when he was in desperate need of money to carry on his religious drives, as if in answer to prayer, friends told him to go to an antique sale in Thurmont, Maryland. There a Mrs. Stoner was selling the furniture in her old house as it was being torn down in just a few days to make way for a chain store (Thurmont Super Thrift, now Hobbs’ Hardware). When Mr. Hill entered the house he noticed the magnificent wallpaper in the front hall and was told that in order to acquire it he must deal with the wrecking company.
Hill told Stoner he wanted to purchase the wallpaper, but she told him he would have to negotiate with Ralph Miller who was in charge of the demolition that was scheduled to start in two days. Miller told Hill that a woman had offered $100 for the wallpaper but would not be able to remove it before the house was demolished, according to a 1961 Frederick Post article.
He paid $50 for the wallpaper and set to in a rush to remove it from the walls where it had been for over 100 years. He spent three days removing the complete set of “Scenic America” wallpaper with a razor blade and putty knife. After this was done, he called his friend Mr. Pearce of the Smithsonian and showed it to him. Mr. Pearce thought it a “find” and arranged with his wife to take it to the White House so Mrs. Kennedy could see it.
On seeing the wallpaper, Mrs. Kennedy decided it was appropriate for the White House and indicated she would like to have it. Mrs. Kennedy and the Hills decided it would go well in the Diplomatic Reception Room which was at that moment being furnished with Americana by the National Society of Interior Decorators (NSID). They offered to buy the paper when they heard Mrs. Kennedy liked it. And, so, it was that the NSID complied with the wishes of the First Lady, and helped a young religious person to carry on his work by paying $12,500 for paper that had cost him but $50.
The sequel to the story is that the NSID who paid for the paper has found out since that this wallpaper was made in the early 1800’s by a company called J. Zuber. The J. Zuber Co. is reputedly still making the identical wallpaper from old hand blocks and modern prints of this paper could have been bought for less than an eighth of the price they paid.
The Zuber wallpaper in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House.
The Stoner House
Joan Knott Courtesy Photo
James Rada, Jr.
Catoctin High School (CHS) recognized its graduates who had gone on to find success post-high school during its 4th Annual Distinguished Graduates Induction Ceremony on November 20, 2018.
“We’re here to connect the future with the past,” said Teacher Mike Franklin.
Also in attendance at the ceremony were the freshmen and senior classes at CHS. They were the future that Franklin wanted to show what can be accomplished by graduates from the school. Many of the graduates said that when they were students, they wouldn’t have believed that they would be honored as a distinguished scholar. However, they had applied themselves in their chosen fields, seeking to do the best work. It was an effort that succeeded for them in academics, arts and humanities, athletics, business, and public service.
This year’s ceremony was dedicated to the memory of 1LT Robert Seidel, a member of the CHS Class of 2000, who was killed in Baghdad in 2006.
Besides graduates from the school, former staff members Gail Slezak and Earl Miller were also recognized for the impact they had on the lives of Catoctin students. Slezak was a music teacher at CHS when it opened in 1969.
“I was eager to meet the challenge of creating a music program here at Catoctin High School,” Slezak said. In 1970, Music Theory students actually wrote the school’s alma mater using skills that she taught them.
Miller was the principal of CHS from 1984-1996. He called his time at the school, “the most significant chapter of my career,” in part, because he was shaping the school in his own community.
“The decisions you are making in high school will shape the life you will live later as an adult,” Miller told the students.
Kerry Dingle, Class of 2001, was the academics inductee. She is an appellate litigator with the Securities and Exchange Commission, protecting investors from financial fraud. She gave the students some tips on understanding and taking control of their finances. It is only in doing that, she said, that they would be able to build the life they wanted.
Justin Albright, Class of 2009, was one of the athletics inductees. Although his athletic skill helped him earn a college degree, today he works as a software engineer. He told the students to be true to themselves and have patience.
“Good things will come to you as long as you continue working hard and continue doing the right things,” Albright said.
Sean Reaver, Class of 2001, was also an athletics inductee. A U.S. Naval Academy graduate now serving in the Marine Corps, Reaver urged students to set their goals high and to not be afraid of failure because it would help them learn and get better.
Craig Mayne, Class of 1996, was the business inductee. Mayne, who owns the Ace Hardware store in Thurmont, recounted some of his personal struggles and struggles as a student. He told them that they don’t necessarily need to attend a fancy college to be successful, but they do need to work hard and strive to be the best that they can be.
Randy Waesche, Jr., Class of 1972, was the public service inductee. An active member of many community organizations, Waesche urged the students not to coast but to push themselves to do more.
David Ammenheuser, Class of 1980, was the arts and humanities inductee. He told the students that adults don’t have all the answers, but they are there to listen and help. However, the students also need to listen and absorb what knowledge they can to figure out the answers to their questions.
Principal Bernie Quesada noted that the inductees and their achievements were part of what helped make CHS a “landmark of success.”
The pictured CHS Distinguished Graduate inductees are: (from left) Gail Slezak; Craig Moyne; David Ammenheuser; Sean Reaver; Randy Waesche, Jr.; Kerry Dingle; Earl Miller; and Justin Albright.
Photo by James Rada, Jr.
by James Rada, Jr.
New Trees on Main Street
The Maryland State Highway Administration has planted new trees along Main Street. The different species include scarlet oak, columnar sergeants cherry, snow goose cherry, and rotundiloba sweetgum.
Town Awarded Community Legacy Grant
Emmitsburg received a $50,000 Community Legacy Grant for façade improvement and restoration. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development provides half of the grant award, and the property owners match the award amount. The maximum grant amount is $12,500 per property, per fiscal year, as long as the money is available.
You can pick up a grant application in the town office. The completed application is due by January 4, 2019. Contact Town Planner Zach Gulden at 301-600-6309 or at email@example.com with any questions or for more information.
ADA Playground Nearly Fully Funded
Emmitsburg received another Community Legacy Grant of $75,000 to help pay for the new ADA-compliant playground in Emmit Gardens. This grant, along with the $125,000 in Program Open Funding previously awarded for the playground, nearly pays the entire cost of the playground.
Commissioners Review New Town Waysides
The Emmitsburg Commissioners reviewed a new set of waysides that will be erected in town to highlight the town’s history. The waysides are designed and written by Ruth Bielobocky of Ion Design Firm and Scott Grove of Grove Public Relations.
The waysides are funded with a $9,000 grant from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority. The three waysides will be at the Emmit House, doughboy statue, and town square. The long-term goal is to create a historic walking tour through the town.
Tree Ordinance Approved
The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners approved an ordinance for tree care that is needed for Emmitsburg to become Tree City certified. To receive the certification from the National Arbor Day Foundation, a municipality must meet four criteria: (1) Celebrate Arbor Day; (2) Have a team dedicated to tree care; (3) Have at least $2.00 per tree dedicated to tree care in the budget; and (4) Have a law to protect trees.
John Dowling Named Volunteer of the Year
The Thurmont Lions Clubs announced its Volunteer of the Year for 2018 during a recent town meeting. The award recognizes volunteers who work in the Thurmont zip code. This year’s nominees were: John Dowling for his work at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church and Thurmont Senior Citizens Center; Nicole Orr for her work with Hospice of Frederick County, the Distinguished Young Women’s Program, and the Lewistown Elementary School; and Donna Voellinger for her work with the Thurmont Historical Society.
“They are each passionate about their volunteer work and put their whole heart into what they do,” Lion Susan Favorite told the commissioners.
Dowling was chosen as the Volunteer of the Year. He received a certificate of recognition and a gift certificate to the Shamrock Restaurant. He was also able to designate where a $400 donation from the Thurmont Lions Club would go. Dowling chose to split the money between the Thurmont Senior Center and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church.
New Police Dog Introduced
The Thurmont Police Department introduced its new police dog, Majo, to the Thurmont Commissioners in October. Majo is now a nineteen-month-old shepherd chow mix that came from the Czech Republic. He was certified in October and is now on the street with his handler, Cpl. Tim Duhan.
The town had budgeted $10,000 to purchase and train Majo, but the bill came out to be $12,600. However, the Humane Society of Frederick County donated $1,600 and Woodsboro Bank donated $1,000 to make up the difference.
Town Will Continue to Receive County Tax Rebate
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners decided to continue receiving money that the county returns for duplicative services as a rebate rather than the more complicated tax differential. The refund amounts to roughly $685,000 returned to the town annually to help pay for police, parks, and town planning.
Thurmont Food Bank Receives Donations from Town Events
Two recent events netted the Thurmont Food Bank substantial donations just in time for the seasonal increase in demand for services.
The Community Shred Event asked residents to also bring non-perishable food items for each box of paper that was being shredded or to make a cash donation. The event collected 768 items and $235.
Halloween in the Park also asked attendees to bring a non-perishable food item or to make a cash donation. The event collected 820 items and $91.
Arbor Day Proclamation Made
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners made an Arbor Day proclamation as part of their efforts to continue being recognized as a Tree City by the Arbor Day Foundation. Over the last few years, the town has also planted 224 new trees throughout the town.
Mayor Don Briggs
This year, Northern Frederick County residents will get a great Christmas present. The Hayward Road-U.S. 15 intersection is closed. Amen. For years—no, generations—this intersection was one of the worst traffic spots in the county. Stop and think of all the trips that you, your friends, or family members whistled by there at 60 mph or merged first south from Hayward Road across traffic to make a “J” to go north in all types of weather, at all times of day. Travel through there was always a chilling reality.
For me, the newly completed and opened overpass of U.S. 15, connecting Monocacy Boulevard and Christopher Crossing, conjured up thoughts of approaching the ANZAC bridge in Sydney Harbor, Australia. That bridge, that trip, was spectacular. So was the opening of the overpass for us from the north who now have safe and easy access to the many shopping and service opportunities on Route 26, as well as to the primary location for county medical services along Thomas Johnson Drive.
Going back some 30 years, when I was a member of the Frederick City Planning and Zoning Commission, there was a deadly automobile accident at the Hayward Road-U.S. 15 intersection. It was not the first accident nor was it to be the last. At that time, frustration was high on the commission and in the community, “Please, State do something.” The Maryland State Highway Administration was requested to send a representative to the commission’s next meeting, and did. At that meeting, the representative made a presentation, and in the end, joined in with our frustration, “Sorry, there is nothing we can do. There are over 1,000 similarly dangerous intersections in the state like the Hayward Road-U.S. 15 intersection.” That is my recollection almost verbatim. And that was that.
Update: The trees are in place along Main Street. We have been assured that they are different varieties from those planted thirty years ago. Not fruit bearing, and the shape and growth will be more controlled.
Thank you to the EBPA for the series of volunteer clean-ups around town. It was a wonderful gift to the town.
There are many wonderful community events planned throughout the Christmas season, so please check our town website and Facebook page.
I hope all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and from my family to yours, we hope you have a wonderful Christmastide and Happy New Year.
Mayor John Kinnaird
Thurmont held its annual Gateway to the Cure fundraiser in October. At the Town Meeting on November 20, we presented the Patty Hurwitz Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital with a donation of $18,000. These funds were raised by Thurmont businesses, organizations, individuals, the 5K Run, as well as through the sale of pink lightbulbs and other items. The funds will be used by the Patty Hurwitz Fund to help support research and cancer patient services at FMH. I want to thank everyone that participated in this year’s event. With your help, cancer patients now get treatments in Frederick that just a few years ago were not locally available. This year’s donations brings our five year total to $62,000! All of our residents and businesses should be very proud of this accomplishment.
Be sure to visit the model train display at 5B East Main Street, open weekends during December. The display is open Saturdays, from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., and Sundays, from noon-4:00 p.m. The train setup is courtesy of the Frederick County Society of Model Engineers. The Society is partnering with the Town of Thurmont to make this display possible as a part of Christmas in Thurmont. As a special treat, Santa will be at the display on December 15, 16, 22, and 23. Stop in to see this amazing train display!
The New Year is almost here, I find it hard to believe that 2019 is upon us. It will take me at least a month to write the correct date! With the new year comes the annual park pavilion registration. Be sure to watch for the opening date for reserving park pavilions. I am happy to announce that we were just informed that we will be awarded Project Open Space funding for a new pavilion at the Community Park. I hope we can begin construction on this new pavilion in the spring and have it available by summer.
The coming year will bring new projects and infrastructure repairs, and we will be sure to let everyone know when work will be done. New schedules for grass clipping pickup, bulk trash removal, trash pickup holiday changes, and other important dates for 2019 will be sent with your electric bill and posted on the Thurmont Facebook page and website.
On behalf of the town staff and the Thurmont Board of Commissioners, it has been our pleasure to serve the residents of Thurmont, and we wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years!
Questions, comments, or suggestions are always welcome. Call me at 301-606-9458 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Rada, Jr.
October has become a month when the residents and businesses in Thurmont go all-out to fight breast cancer. This year was no different, with Thurmont raising $18,000 for its 5th Annual Gateway to the Cure. With this year’s donation to the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund, Thurmont has raised $62,000 over five years.
With the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners wearing their pink T-shirts, they held a meeting to present the town’s annual donation to the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund.
Thurmont Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder reminded the commissioners and mayor that when the town began its efforts in 2014, they were hoping to be able to sell a case (122) of pink light bulbs.
“Jim Humerick and I were afraid we wouldn’t sell them all,” Grinder said. “We sold 1,348 that year and had two dozen businesses on board with us.”
Jeff and Patty Hurwitz created The Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital in 1999. Patty had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and the couple believed that early diagnosis had helped improve her chances of beating cancer. The fund is used to help improve ways of diagnosing and fighting cancer in the county. The fund has raised $1.7 million to date. That money has gone to purchase things, such as a machine for biopsies and another for 3D mammography. Every dollar donated to the fund is used for direct patient benefit, and there are no administrative costs.
During October, the Town of Thurmont sold pink light bulbs, sold Gateway to the Cure merchandise, sponsored “Paint a Lighted Wine Bottle” afternoon, held a Zumbathon at the American Legion, held a 5K race, and planted a pinwheel garden in honor of loved ones and survivors of all types of cancer.
Nearly fifty businesses and groups also participated in the Gateway to the Cure by holding their own fundraisers to contribute to the town’s donation.
Catoctin High Football Team and Cheer Squad sold pink T-shirts to be worn during the pink-out games.
Thurmont Historical Society donated a portion of its new member and returning member membership fees.
Gateway Orthodontics donated money for each set of braces patients purchased and sold pink mouthguards.
Timeless Trends held a night of pampering for people with local wine, food, and services.
Roy Rogers donated a portion of the strawberry shortcake sales for the month.
Simply Asia donated a portion of its customers’ checks.
Woodsboro Bank held Pink Fridays where employees could pay to wear pink on Friday, sold merchandise, and paid for each Facebook like their page received.
Criswell Chevrolet donated a portion of the cost of each oil change performed in October.
The thing that many of these participating businesses had in common is that they had employees, members, family, or friends who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Some had fought it and won. Others had died from the disease. These businesses and groups wanted to help find a cure or at least more-effective ways to treat breast cancer.
The $18,000 donation is not only Thurmont’s largest donation to date, but it is also 20 percent more than was donated in 2017.
“This town is just amazing, and you should be commended for that,” Jeff Hurwitz told the commissioners.
Thurmont’s involvement in the Gateway to the Cure started in 2014 with Commissioner Wayne Hooper, whose wife Jill is a breast cancer survivor. Since that time, Grinder has been coordinating the town’s efforts to help find a cure.
Thurmont raises $18,000 for its 5th Annual Gateway to the Cure and presents check to Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at FMH.
James Rada, Jr.
It has been decades since Thurmont had a train station; however, this December trains will once again stop in the town.
Of course, each train is only a couple feet long.
The Frederick County Society of Model Railroad Engineers will host a weekend train garden throughout December. The group will use the empty storefront at 5B East Main Street in Thurmont. The trains will first arrive on December 1.
“The mayor contacted us because he wanted to have an extra event at Christmas in Thurmont that would engage the community,” said Dylan Owens, vice president of the Frederick County Society of Model Railroad Engineers and the member in charge of the Thurmont project.
The society began in 1966. It is housed in a 70-foot-long, six-door Chesapeake and Ohio horse car in Frederick. The car houses a 56-foot HO scale layout, showing off the imaginary Catoctin Central Railroad (CCRR) that crosses Frederick County and the Catoctin Mountains, where it connects with the HOn3 scale Catoctin Mountain Lines.
The Thurmont train garden will have three garden trains running along the floor, an N-scale layout on tables above, and Hagerstown and Frederick trolley running back and forth. The trains will weave between buildings, trees, parks, and other features.
“This is our first time doing a show outside of our clubhouse,” Owens said.
The train garden will be open throughout December: Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.; Sundays at 12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Owens was unsure of just how large the final display would be. The society has a van that can be packed with track and trains.
“We were told to use however much we could legally fit and go for it,” explained Owens.
The garden will be free to visit, although donations will be accepted.
“If it’s a big hit, we will try to do it as a yearly thing,” said Owens.
The society sees the Thurmont project as a way to reach out to younger people and interest them in creating their own model railroad layouts.
James Rada, Jr.
The rainy evening did little to keep people away from the bi-annual Thurmont Art & Wine Stroll in November.
“I thought because of the weather things would be slow, but it’s been non-stop people,” said Michele Maze with 7 Dragonflies Studios.
People like Kevin and Bridget Leahy had to leave and come back later when there was a space at Maze’s table to paint their ornament. She was set up in an area of Hobbs Hardware where people could come in and paint their own free holiday ornament to take with them.
Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder also thought the rain would keep the crowds away, but she said they ran out of the wine glasses they give out for the event an hour after the stroll started.
The Art & Wine Stroll has been held twice a year for the past four years. “Every stroll grows with more artists and attendees,” Grinder said.
This stroll’s participating businesses were: Park Lane Center of Life Pilates and Holistic Health Center, Timeless Trends Boutique, Thurmont Bar and Grill, Hobbs Hardware, Gateway Flowers, Meet Me in 5B, Thurmont Historical Society, Brown’s Jewelry & Gifts, Main Street Center, J&B Real Estate, Kountry Kitchen, and ESP Dance Studio.
The Thurmont Historical Society was showing the artwork of Cherry Love Ford, a Washington artist who had been living in Thurmont when she died in 1948. Steve Hoke’s grandparents had bought Ford’s house and discovered a set of paintings, overlooked under some paper in the attic.
“She has become quite renowned and getting a bit of coverage,” Hoke said. “Her art has taken off in the art world.” He said that the paintings could easily sell for $15,000.
Hoke and the historical society are working with a church in Arlington to try and locate a mural that Ford reportedly painted in the church.
The local businesses were filled with local artists, musicians, and wineries. They included: Wineries—Links Bridge Vineyard, Detour Winery, Catoctin Breeze Vineyard; Artisans—Gnarly Artly, 7 Dragonflies Studios, Laura Day, Alexandra Farrington, Nancy Houston, Yemi, Charlotte Dutton, Jan Flynn, Cherry Love Ford, Libby Cain, Nicole Lutrell, Rebecca Pearl, Christine Lehman, Barbara Creighton, Dorothea Barrick, Barbara Brittain, Patricia Fisher, Helen Flourim, Marcia Johnson, Susan Orsini, Michele Proce, Mollie Stock, Cynthia Wyant, ESP Dancers; Musicians—Open Easy, Harold Staley, Sherry Kemp, Lyla Zelenka.
Cara McMannis is an artist who came from Emmitsburg to wander the downtown businesses and see the artwork.
“It’s my first time,” McMannis said. “What better way for a community to show its support of the artists.”
Steve Hoke stands next to the art of Cherry Love Ford, which was discovered in his grandparent’s home.
Open Easy performs at the Thurmont Bar and Grill during the Art & Wine Stroll.
Michele Maze, owner of 7 Dragonflies Studio, helps visitors paint their own Christmas ornament during the Art & Wine Stroll.
Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. held its annual banquet in November at Simply Asia in Thurmont. This yearly meeting serves as a wrap-up for the Colorfest annual festival.
The weather for the festival was not optimum this year, with cold temperatures on Sunday, some rain, and plenty of mud. Crowds still turned out in large numbers to enjoy the offerings from hundreds of vendors. The festival was also able to avoid the power outages that plagued last year’s event.
During the meeting, annual donations are made to various organizations in Thurmont, in an effort to give back to the community. This year, Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. donated $20,339.22 to the following organizations:
- $5,100 to Town of Thurmont
- $4,500 to Catoctin High Scholarships
- $3,500 to Thurmont Food Bank
- $1,500 to Guardian Hose Company
- $1,500 to Thurmont Ambulance Company
- $1,500 to Thurmont Police Department
- $696 to Catoctin High School FFA
- $500 to local victims of a fire
- $500 to Thurmont Ambulance Company (value of two vendor spaces at the festival used by the company at no cost)
- $383.22 to Town gardens
- $225 to Thurmont Library Fun Day
- $190 to Town of Thurmont for flag lighting
- $150 to Family Christmas meals
- $75 to Mechanicstown Park Christmas decorations
- $20 to American Heart Association
The Town of Thurmont issued 798 vendor permits for the event this year, of which 244 were for the Colorfest, Inc. vendors in Community Park. Among the other stats Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. listed were: 5,120 pounds of trash were generated in Community Park during the event; 72 bales of straw were delivered to combat the mud; and 9,600 apple dumplings were sold by the Thurmont Ambulance Company.
The 56th Annual Catoctin Colorfest will be held on October 12 and 13, 2019.
Apples United Church of Christ Thurmont
by Theresa Dardanell
In 1760, Peter Apple donated one acre of land for a school that was also used as a church on Sundays. This location has been a place of worship for over 250 years and is now known as Apples United Church of Christ.
A log church was built on the same ground in 1765; renovations and additions were made until 1826, when a new stone church was built, with much of the labor provided by churchgoers. For several years, the church was known as Troxells Church; the name was chosen by members of the two leading church families: the Troxells and Firors. The original name, Apples, was later restored. Renovations continued over the years and an education building was added in 1965. The adjoining cemetery contains the graves of early settlers, as well as soldiers from the revolutionary and civil wars. Many of the headstones are written in German and several list birth dates in the 1600s. The church historian, Roger Troxell, is available to help people with genealogy research.
Keeping the church history alive was only a small part of the conversation with Pastor Laura Robeson and members of the congregation when I met with them after attending a recent Sunday service. They are proud of their commitment to outreach programs. Locally, they support the Thurmont Food Bank and the Ministerium. They also give an annual gift of $500 each to two Catoctin High School (CHS) graduates during the senior awards program; the students are chosen by the CHS guidance counselors. Two international agencies are recipients of their generosity. Through donations to Compassion International, they sponsor a child who is then provided with medical care, food, education, mentoring, and access to the gospel. Donations to Heifer International over the years have provided six ARKs. The gift of an ARK includes two water buffalos, two cows, two sheep, two goats, two oxen, two pigs, two ducks, two guinea pigs, two llamas, two schools of fish, bees, chicks, rabbits, and an animal vet kit. The ARK provides the community with milk, honey, eggs, and wool, and an income from the abundance of goods that they can then sell; it also sustains farming by providing livestock to work the land.
Funds to support the outreach projects comes from direct donations, as well as the very popular fundraiser held on the Friday and Saturday of Colorfest weekend. Volunteers spend many hours preparing apple turnovers, apple pies, cookies, and breads for the bake sale. People in the community donate lots of items for the yard sale. Along with the bake sale and yard sale, food is served in the pavilion on the church grounds. Everyone works together to make this a success. Mike Mathis said that people just do whatever needs to be done. LuAnne Ewing added, “Current members deeply appreciate the members who have passed away who were an intricate part of Colorfest.” Another yard sale is held in the pavilion in May; proceeds from this fundraiser are used to help a family or person in need in the community. Pastor Robeson said that the members of the congregation are “a loving, generous group of people who really try to act out their Christian faith in the community beyond just the church.”
Visit the Apples UCC Thurmont Facebook page to see how important music is to the congregation. Videos posted to the site show that they love music and they love to sing. However, during the annual Christmas program on December 23, singing is not the only talent on display. Adults and children are given an opportunity to get up on stage, possibly for the first time. Performances are not limited to singing, storytelling, reciting poetry, or playing an instrument. The real purpose of the event is the guarantee of “thunderous” applause for every performer.
Apples UCC is located at 7908 Apples Church Road in Thurmont. Everyone is welcome to attend the 9:30 a.m. Sunday service. Once a month, during the service, children’s time is held. Weekly adult Sunday school begins at 10:45 a.m.; Pastor Robeson said that they focus on the study of the bible, but they also “talk about how the word transfers to their daily life and how it influences everything around them. It helps to deepen their faith and deepen their ideas about how to conduct themselves during the week.”
Pastor Laura Robeson (front row, right) with members of Apples United Church of Christ.
“Home for the Holidays”
by Anita DiGregory
Snow, twinkling lights, Christmas music playing on the radio. Just like that, the holidays are upon us. I love this time of year! But it can also be a very stressful season, especially for moms and dads. The struggle to meet regular schedules and family needs doesn’t take a holiday; instead, parents must find time for cleaning, prepping, baking, traveling, finding the perfect gifts, attending and hosting parties, and taking part in festivities.
While children may sail happily through the season with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, parents instead have the countdown time clock ticking loudly in their heads. (Imagine the movie Speed; replace the bus with the family SUV.). Okay, maybe it’s not quite that bad, but with financial strains, extended family friction, crowds, lines, and holiday shopping, it isn’t always the scene painted in T’was the Night Before Christmas, either.
According to The New York Post, this holiday anxiety is termed “festive stress.” Citing a study commissioned by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, 31 percent of Americans classify the season as frantic, with 49 percent of moms suffering stress to create an exceptional holiday experience, and 6 in 10 moms finding it hard to take the time to enjoy the season.
Quality family time may be the cure for “festive stress.” According to the research studies, spending time together reduces stress levels. It also builds self-confidence, creates strong bonds, and nurtures a healthy lifestyle.
Below are some ideas that may help de-stress the season and enable you to slow down and enjoy the little blessings all around you.
Bake together. Cookies, fruit cakes, pies, or whatever your family favorites may be, some of the most delicious memories come from baking with mom and dad. Family baking is not only fun, it can be educational and informative, teaching children concepts such as measuring, nutrition, food handling, and safety.
Create greeting cards. Get out the scissors, glue, stickers, construction paper, and even pictures or text from last year’s recycled cards. Many kids love to get messy and be creative, and this project can be both. Plus, making cards helps with reading and spelling. Grandparents, neighbors, and friends will be delighted to receive these priceless, handmade masterpieces.
Make and deliver gifts. This doesn’t have to be costly. Many sites, such as Pinterest, have fun and inexpensive gift-making ideas. Whether it be jars with hot cocoa fixings, homemade candles, or tins filled with candies or cookies, everyone will enjoy these personalized items delivered with love.
Read together. Get a warm blanket, some hot chocolate, and cuddle together as you enter a new land or visit a different time period in your favorite holiday storybook. Family read-alouds are not only fun, they can foster a love for reading that can last a lifetime. Choose a classic like A Christmas Carol, Dr. Suess’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or an old family favorite.
Have a movie night. Light a fire, pop some popcorn, and settle in together to enjoy a family favorite holiday movie.
Take a drive. With Christmas right around the corner, many homes and businesses are decorated with lights. Put on some holiday music and take a family drive to explore the sights and sounds of the season.
Teach a lesson. Often, Christmas can be a time of the “gimmies.” Take the opportunity to teach your children the joy of giving. Help them collect some of their own toys and clothes to donate to others. Many churches or businesses offer opportunities to sponsor families in need or to collect for the homeless or Toys for Tots. Talk to your children about the importance of giving and helping others. Perhaps they may even enjoy taking some of their own money to the store to purchase a gift for donation. By encouraging them to think of others, children learn compassion and empathy, virtues that are extremely important, especially in today’s world.
Make a visit. The holidays can be a very lonely time for many. Take the kids to visit a local hospital, an elderly neighbor, or a retirement home. Sing carols, play a board game, or just chat. Just having a visitor can bring some Christmas joy and brighten someone’s day.
Get outside. Studies show that physical activity helps reduce anxiety and stress. Bundle up and take a holiday walk and look for Christmas decorations. Go for a hike, or, if possible, go play in the snow together.
Help someone. Talk to your kids about the importance of helping others in need. Shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk. Help an older relative decorate their home.
Reflect together. Talk to your children about the true meaning of the season. Many churches host special holiday events, such as live nativities or Christmas concerts or pageants. Take time to pray together and celebrate special holiday traditions.
This season, like most, will be gone in the blink of an eye. By counting our blessings and spending quality time with our children, we can create memories and instill virtues that will last a lifetime. Taking time to breathe, remembering what is really important, and celebrating the true reason for the season will turn any Scrooge’s “ba humbugs” into a “Merry Christmas, one and all!”
by Valerie Nusbaum
It was quiet inside the toy factory. Oh, Santa insisted on calling the wood and glass facility a workshop, but everyone knew it was a factory with assembly lines, conveyor belts, and noisy machines that belched and snorted and spit out toys. The elves still did some of the work by hand, but times had changed and heavy demand for product had meant that new ways of manufacturing needed to be implemented. Fewer and fewer elves were applying for jobs that didn’t pay cold, hard cash, so the machines were building more and more of the toys.
It was early December. Snow was blanketing everything at the North Pole, and the white flakes were still falling hard and blowing around outside. At least it was warm inside the factory and there was plenty of food and drink. Poor Mrs. Claus and her elf kitchen staff could barely keep up with the baking. Hungry factory-worker elves ate a LOT of cookies and drank a lot of cocoa, at least the boys did. Thank goodness the elves had had the good sense to unionize and strike until Santa implemented a dental plan. All that sugar was ruining their teeth.
Most of the boys were outside in the snow “testing” out a new remote-controlled flying contraption that promised to make life easier, while providing hours of mindless entertainment for children. The drone-like device had a hidden camera so that parents could monitor their children from their phones, but, more importantly, the new toy flew over a designated target and sprayed a stinky-smelling vapor that lasted for a very long time. The elf designer was tentatively calling the new toy the “Stink Bomber,” but he realized that the name needed some tweaking. Apparently, the toy needed tweaking as well because the odor was way too strong and offensive, and it was leaving some of the elves gagging and running for cover.
The girls sat inside where it was warm, dry, and sweetly scented, and cautiously nibbled and sipped. A steady diet of cookies, candy canes, and hot cocoa didn’t do wonders for tiny elf hips and thighs.
“I’d give almost anything for a salad,” said Bernice. “I mean, it’s lovely of Mrs. Claus to bake special sugar-free cookies for me, but I need something healthier.” Bernice was diabetic and all those carbs weren’t good for her. “Besides, these things taste like cardboard.”
The other girls rolled their eyes and ignored Bernice’s griping. It seemed that Bernice was always unhappy about something. She’d even changed her elf name. You see, whenever a new elf came to work at the factory, Mrs. Claus had the task of assigning a new name, one which appropriately reflected the Christmas season. Some of the other girls were now called Merry, Holly, Ivy, Joy, and Carol, which were all very lovely, Christmas-y names. Bernice was given an elf name, too, but she promptly changed it back to her old name, exclaiming that no one wanted to be called “Ho.” And truthfully, Mrs. Claus did kind of miss the mark with that one.
Jolly, the elf shop foreman (and also Holly’s twin brother), glanced out the window and yelled, “Oh no!” The boys were lying on top of the snow, prone and unconscious. Clearly, the spray from the drones had been toxic and had caused the boys to pass out. Jolly screamed for the medics and quickly and efficiently had all the boy elves transported to the medical facility.
Luckily, Jingles had stayed inside during the break. Jingles was the elf who had designed the drone. “I told you it wasn’t ready to be tested yet. Now, what do we do?” cried Jingles.
The machines were ready to begin production on thirty million drones that very day. “We’ll never have all these orders ready by Christmas Eve without our full staff. Plus, I have to redesign the drone.”
Bernice piped up and said, “We girls can help, you know. We can do more than paint pretty doll faces and sew plush animals.”
At that point, Santa strode into the room and announced that all of the sick elves would make full recoveries, but they’d need plenty of rest and fluids for the next week or so. “We’ll all have to work double shifts to get the toys ready by Christmas Eve.”
Jingles set about refining his drone design but it was no use. He didn’t know how to fix it. He sat down hard and put his little head in his hands.
Santa had never seen his elf staff so discouraged, so he asked if anyone had any ideas of how to make sure that good little boys and girls around the world had a wonderful Christmas.
Since Bernice was always ready with a suggestion, she said, “Children don’t need a lot of fancy toys, Santa. What they want most is to connect with their parents. Everyone is so busy these days.”
“That’s it!” yelled Jingles. “We’ll reconfigure the drone so that the kids can watch their parents and they can listen and talk to each other through microphones and recorders!”
The elves rejoiced and worked all day and night right up to December 24, Christmas Eve. They loaded Santa’s sleigh with the new drones, and Santa left one at every house. The kids didn’t know what to do with them, and the parents hated them. Jingles was sent back to the kitchen staff. Bernice changed her name to Noel and got a job at the North Pole Panera. Santa got rid of the machines and started paying his elves in cash, and the elves went back to making simple toys by hand. Mrs. Claus started a side business selling her cookies on Amazon.
Randy and I hope your holidays are wonderful!
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