Joan Bittner Fry

Few people in the history of Frederick County, Maryland, can claim to have been a mother to thousands, yet Ambrosia Elizabeth “Rose” Derwart Clarke (who shall be called Rose) could. She was born in south Baltimore on August 4, 1895. Her father owned and operated a saloon and the convenience store next door on Hull Street. If she were alive today, she would be doing one of two things: donating blood or visiting sick and wounded service members in hospitals.

It isn’t certain why she became so devoted to servicemen, but the fact that her father’s two businesses catered to the sailors docked in Baltimore may have had some influence. On Christmas Day 1916, she married Charles H. “Jerry” Clarke, Sr., a route driver for Rice’s Bakery. Rose and Jerry met on an excursion boat named “LOUISE” in Tolchester, Maryland. A painting of “LOUISE” later hung on a wall in the front living room of their home.

After their marriage, Rose often accompanied her husband on his daily rounds from Baltimore, which included Northern Frederick County. The young couple later chose to make Thurmont their home. Rose gave birth to twenty-four children, twelve of whom lived. As the years passed, Jerry bought a candy store across from O’Toole’s Garage on the Old Emmitsburg Road (at that time) and quit his job at Rice’s. The store was turned into a beer saloon and sandwich shop. Jerry bought additional land and a seventeen-room, three-story house (Altamont and 550) up the road from the restaurant-beer saloon. Eventually, the entire saloon was completely transported up the main thoroughfare of U.S. 15 (now 550) to where Mountain Jerry’s came to permanently be (Liberty Gas Station is there now.).

One would think that raising twelve children and helping a husband run a business would be exhausting, but not for Rose. Her desire to help others was boundless. At the beginning of WWII, Rose and Jerry made sandwiches daily and took them to the soldiers who stood picket duty along the road. There were so many military convoys traveling the highway that guards were needed. This simple act of kindness on their part began a lifetime of devotion to Veterans and, eventually, earned Rose the title of “Mother Clarke” to thousands.

In 1942, Rose was the first woman in Frederick County to give blood for the war effort. When she signed up for the first donation, the newspaper noted that a woman from Thurmont, who had given birth to twenty-four children, was to donate blood and wished to remain anonymous. At age sixty, her doctor ordered her to stop giving blood; but, by that time, she had given fifty-one pints, a pint every two months from 1942 to 1955. Also, in 1942, she began to visit wounded servicemen in three military hospitals. She once said, “Arthritis hasn’t stopped me. If God lets something happen to my feet, I still have my hands.” At age eighty-six, she said, “As long as God gives me health and strength, I’ll continue my work.”

For twenty years, she never had time to leave her hometown. In fact, she had never left her native state of Maryland. So, in 1947, The Thurmont Lions’ Club thought it was time for Mother Clarke to take a breather, and they provided a trip to California for her.

Jerry died in 1954, and although Rose was deeply grieved, she turned more and more of her energy towards the comfort of Veterans. When she was hospitalized in 1966 for surgery on an arthritic knee, she remarked, “When they would take me for physical therapy, there would be hundreds of our boys trying so hard to get used to their artificial arms and legs; oh, how my heart ached for them. That’s why we must keep their morale up, make their hospital stay a little more cheerful, and show them we won’t forget them.”

She was a friend to all servicemen, and during the war won their respect and admiration for the many little favors she did for them. Her home was a “home away from home” for the servicemen, contributing much to their morale. When the war ended, she continued this service, begging and borrowing to carry on this personal service for her “boys in uniform.”

She made frequent visits to numerous hospitals and sought small gifts from retailers in both Frederick and Baltimore for “her boys.” Military leaders at every medical facility in Maryland wrote to thank her, and she was a guest on several national television programs, soliciting gifts that she donated to Veteran’s hospitals. At nearly eighty years of age, she was feted at the Thurmont American Legion, where tributes came in from around the country, including from many Veterans whose lives she had touched while they were hospitalized.  She was remembered for her many acts of kindness shown to the servicemen, and as the Vietnam war grew more intense, she was kept busy visiting the hospital wards and providing the Veterans with little pleasures that only a mother would consider. Her work, which she considered a mere pleasure, won her the respect and admiration of the entire community, as well as thousands of servicemen throughout the country.

In 1983, two years had passed since she had seen any of “her boys.” That year, she received a letter from President Ronald Reagan, thanking her for thirty-eight years of devotion to servicemen. This was not her first letter from a president. She also received notes from Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Eisenhower, and was recognized by national publications such as Samaritan of the Year. She received citations from Francis Cardinal Spellman and Pope Pius XII, who also had an interest in servicemen.

None of that fame changed her personality. She was a simple country woman, proud to be Mother Clarke to men and women in uniform and preferred if she could remain anonymous. She was always a good mother to her children: Charles, Jr., Jerome, Kate, Mary, Ellie, Pat, Rose, Joe, Mike, Paul, Ronnie, and Francis (in no particular order). Their last child was born when Rose was forty-five and Jerry was sixty. Many in the community may have known one or more of them. (Special thanks to Mike for naming his siblings.)

Rose’s last public appearance was at the change of command at Fort Detrick in June 1985. She died April 22, 1987, at age ninety-one and was survived by ten of her children and forty-eight grandchildren. Her son, Paul, compiled a book entitled Memories of Mother Clarke, The Veteran’s Mother in 1985.  It may be viewed in the archives at the Thurmont Regional Library.

 

Note: Some information was excerpted from Gateway to the Mountains by George Wireman,  . . . All Our Yesterdays by John Ashbury, and The Veteran’s Mother by Paul Clarke, 1985.

Rose and Jerry Clarke.

Blair Garrett

The 55th Annual Catoctin Colorfest may have been rainy, but it did not stop lovers of arts, crafts, and great food from flooding the streets of Thurmont.

Business owners and Colorfest workers trekked through the mud during the peak hours of the morning to bring one of the East Coast’s biggest craft shows to life for the people of the Catoctin Area. Locals and visitors poured in from dusk until dark, grabbing the best deals they could find from their favorite vendors.

Even with the overcast skies and muddy terrain, nothing was going to stop Thurmont visitors and residents alike from picking up their favorite hand-crafted carvings and ornaments.

From turkey legs to airbrushed paintings, Colorfest offered something for everyone to enjoy. It also offered an engaging experience for patrons to discover the talented works of local business owners.

One family business, in particular, makes gel-based candles that resemble fan favorite food and drinks. Between delectable apple pies or gallon-sized pitchers of beer, Jeff Bartos’ candles smell as good as they look. Bartos and his wife Donna have been making candles for decades under the business name “D.J. Flickers Candles,” finding the perfect fusion of realistic looking desserts and fragrant aromas to make a candle that lights up a room.

The Bartos family took quite the route to finding their way to becoming a mainstay at the annual Colorfest. Jeff was a truck driver, and Donna was the head designer of a candle company. Donna eventually split from her company, and the pair created a candle shop in the garage of their house.

“She was doing little craft shows on the weekend, and I was still driving trucks,” Bartos said. “You make three times what I make just doing the craft shows. This is what we’re going to do for a living, and we’ve done it for a living for the last twenty-four years.”

The Bartos’s story is one that many families who make up the vendors of Colorfest have lived. Taking a chance on their dream to produce something they love to make for a living is what keeps Colorfest thriving year after year, and it is what keeps locals and visitors coming back for more.

There is no shortage of variety among the hundreds of vendors showing off their products, as well as the broad variety of great food and dessert choices found at Colorfest. With two days to travel across all the parks and streets, event goers can discover the many amazing talents of artists while having a tasty meal with the kids in an environment perfectly suited to satisfy your hunger and your sweet tooth.

Colorfest not only offers families from around the East Coast to get out and have some fun, but it also allows them to tap into a piece of the local culture of the greater Catoctin area, which is a big reason why the event is an annual smash hit.

From stand to stand and person to person, there is a story to be told. Vendors may have gotten their starts in different ways, and may have vastly different industries, but everyone has one common goal in mind: to put on a great show for the community.

Though the streets are no longer be filled with fine arts and trademark foods until next year’s Colorfest, our local residents have the lasting keepsakes and memories from another successful Colorfest.

Scouts pose for a picture with Mayor John Kinnaird at their booth in front of the American Legion, selling popcorn, beef sticks, drinks, and candy bars to help support their camping adventures.


The folks from Mason Dixon Hydro Dipping show off their colorful, handcrafted tumblers.

Grace Eyler

Former students of Emmitsburg High School met on Saturday, October 20, 2018 to celebrate class history, reminisce, and enjoy time together as the group congregated for another year of the popular reunion. The Vigilant Activities building in Emmitsburg, where the reunion took place, quickly filled as 191 attendees checked in at the front desk for a name tag. They were greeted by the familiar faces of Sam Valentine (Alumni Treasurer), Connie Fisher (Secretary), Betty Valentine, Joyce Bruchey (Historian), and Alan Brauer (2019 Vice President).

To open the event, Alumni President, Bill Wivell warmly welcomed guests and their families. Dinner was blessed by Bill Simpson, Class of 1941. As a tradition, Bill also led the Pledge of Allegiance, and sang an excerpt from “America the Beautiful.” Live entertainment was provided by local talent, Ronnie and Cheryl Carney (from Harney).

After a meal, the President introduced the honored classes — those that ended in either a three or an eight including the classes of 1938, 1943, 1948, 1953, 1958, 1963 and 1968. He also introduced former teachers of Emmitsburg’s High School, who included Betty Ann (Hollinger) Baker, Joyce (Meadows) Bruchey, Dorothy Arsenault, George Kuhn, and Marvin Laws.

For the class of 1968, this made their 50 year reunion; they also had the largest turnout of the honor classes. All of the honor classes had great stories to share about pranks, crushes, clubs and other classmates.

Joyce Bruchey recollected, “Class of ‘68, do you all remember when you fed Mr. Corl brownies with laxatives?” The entire class roared out in laughter. Franny Brock defended their decision, explaining how Mr. Corl would always eat their candy, so they repaid him with a special treat.

Betty Mumma, class of 1958 shared some of her fond memories, and then thanked the Alumni Board for their efforts to make the reunions so successful each year.

After Joyce provided the classes with interesting tidbits of their history, she informed everyone that in the Emmitsburg Town Office, outside of the meeting room, there is a display case filled with Emmitsburg High School memorabilia. She invited everyone (or if they know anyone) to contribute memorabilia to add to the collection.

The Emmitsburg High School Alumni take great pride every year in providing a few lucky recipients of the high school descendants a scholarship to help with furthering their education. For 25 years, they’ve raised a total of $73,000. This year, the recipients of the scholarships were Allison Rippeon, Jessica Welty, Michaela Persinger, Stacie Baust and Myra Swiderski. All of the recipients were very grateful for the help.

During the class meeting, the alumni president offered an opportunity for alumni members to contribute with suggestions, changes and correction of the past year’s meeting minutes. This year a motion was made to vote on a change of time that the banquet would be held in the upcoming years. The suggested time would move the event to 1:00 in the afternoon, opposed to 2018’s 4:00 p.m. start time that had already been moved back from 5:00 p.m. in 2017. This year, a new Vice President was voted into the board, Alan Brauer of Rocky Ridge. Vice President Brauer served his class once before in high school as President in 1964.

Sam Valentine commented, “I think moving the banquet back by an hour really seemed to help the overall outcome of the event.” Also, new this year, members were able to see photos of past banquets on the large TVs that surround the activities building. The board plans to continue adding content to the slide show for attendees to see each year.

The Emmitsburg Alumni association works hard to make the multi-class reunion a success each year and provides the opportunity to see old friends and family, but most importantly, classmates. Like a big welcoming family, the Emmitsburg High School Alumni Association would like to extend future invitations to anyone who attended the school, whether they graduated or not.


Pictured are members of the Emmitsburg High School Class of 1968 who were in attendance at the 94th reunion.

William Eiker, Sr.

My father, Bob Eiker Sr., was a life-long resident of Emmitsburg, who resided at 116 South Seton Avenue, located directly across from the Chronicle office. From his garage, he operated Bob’s Archery Shop, the only supplier of archery accessories within 25 miles. He crafted custom shafts, bow strings, new and used bows, and free advice.

A straw bale was used as a target in the back yard. Arrow shafts evolved from cedar to fiberglass to aluminum to carbon over the years, and from long bows to recurve to compound.

Bob also provided services to the Trojan Sport Shop near Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Producing custom bow strings and straightening aluminum shafts were among some of his services. He was responsible for many potential archery and bow hunting buffs in the surrounding communities.

In the early 1950s, Bob and several friends of the community endeavored to form a local archery club, equipped with a shooting range that would be open to enthusiasts for competition. This dream was realized when land was leased southwest of Emmitsburg, off Riffle Road.

Some of the early founders and members of Indian Lookout Bowmen were Bob Eiker, Harold Hoke, Weldon Shank, Elwood Eiker, Gilbert Eiker, Morris (Mickey) Eyler, Jack Umble, Jim Brown, John Adelsberger, Tom Zurgable, and Mac Ancarrow.

Competitors from miles around came to shoot this rugged terrain and challenging course. The club disbanded in the late 1950s due to the loss of the land.

Bob also assisted in the formation of a new archery range in the 1960s, off Pumping Station Road near Gettysburg, and then again when this range relocated near Bonneauville, Pennsylvania.

Bob was so respected for his knowledge and successes in bow hunting that his friends referred to him as “The Fred Bear” of Emmitsburg.

Fred Bear was born in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, in 1902 and earned the reputation of “the Father of Bowhunting.”

Over the years, Bear would become an international bowhunting legend, tackling all manner of dangerous game with his trusty bow and arrow. Bear broke six archery world records for various big game species: Alaskan brown bear, barren-ground caribou, mountain caribou, Canada moose, polar bear, and stone sheep.

My father catered to his customers in Emmitsburg for nigh onto fifty years. His last two buck successes were acquired when he was eighty-two and eighty-three years of age.

Bob Eiker, Sr. was born January 21, 1917, and departed this life May 10, 2004.

May his legacy live on!

From Friday, October 29, 1954, issue of Frederick Post:


“Pictured are winners of championships and trophies at the recent championship archery match, sponsored by Indian Lookout Bowmen’s Club. Elwood Eiker was awarded the trophy for winning the championship at the tournament held at the range on Riffle Road near town. Other winners at the shoot were Maurice Eyler, medal and ribbon; Robert Eiker, medal; and Johnny Adelsberger, medal. The first junior award was claimed by Robert Eiker, Jr., ribbon and medal, with James Brown second. Weldon B. Shank won the flight medal award.”

 

James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg and Thurmont received two of Frederick County’s first Municipalities Impact Awards in September.

The Frederick County Office of Economic Development (OED)recognized local municipalities for their commitment to serve businesses. The project began last year with a municipal survey to gather economic impact data from each of the town’s in the county.

The awards were created to recognize all that municipalities do to increase the number of jobs and businesses in the county, according to a county press release. This is because municipalities are where the majority of county businesses are located. According to the OED, while only 41 percent of Frederick County residents live in a municipality, 62 percent of the businesses are located in one.

“We know that our cities and towns serve a critical role in attracting businesses to our county,” OED Director Helen Propheter. “When businesses look to locate or expand their business, they’re not just looking at what land or vacant property might be available. They also want to be sold on the total package of each town or city. They want to know the quality of the local workforce, what infrastructure projects are being completed to support their business, and what quality of life factors exist such as tourism attractions.”

The Municipalities Impact Awards recognize business attraction, business retention and expansion, infrastructure and large projects, business marketing, and small business and entrepreneurship.

The winners were: City of Brunswick—Small Business and Entrepreneurship; Town of Emmitsburg—Infrastructure and Large Projects; City of Frederick— Business Attraction; Town of Middletown—Business Retention; Town of Mount Airy—Infrastructure and Large Projects; Town of Myersville—Infrastructure and Large Projects; Town of New Market—Business Expansion; Town of Thurmont—Business Marketing; Town of Walkersville—Infrastructure and Large Projects; Town of Woodsboro—Business Retention.

The Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland announced that the Town of Emmitsburg was one of eight Maryland municipalities honored at the Sustainable Maryland Awards Ceremony at the Maryland Municipal League’s annual Fall Conference in Annapolis, Maryland, in October. Emmitsburg received its first Sustainable Maryland certification in 2015.

Highlights of Emmitsburg’s accomplishments include:

  • The Town has two solar fields that generate approximately 250,000
    kilowatts/month. The Town’s electrical use in municipally-owned
    buildings is now supplied by over 95 percent renewable energy.
  • The Mayor and Board of Commissioners approved the Town of
    Emmitsburg’s Sustainable Procurement Policy for use by the Town staff.
    The policy requests town staff use sustainable purchasing practices
    when choosing vendors and supplies for the Town.
  • Approximately 15 miles of natural surfaced multi-user trails for
    mountain bikers, hikers, bird watchers, and trail runners have been
    created as part of a stacked loop network in the Emmitsburg
    Watershed.

“We are honored to receive our second consecutive Sustainable Maryland Certified award,” said Emmitsburg Mayor Donald Briggs. “Our green team worked very hard for the award and is very much looking forward to the challenges of receiving the award for a third time.”

According to Mike Hunninghake, Program Manager for Sustainable Maryland, “This year’s class of Sustainable Maryland Certified communities represents significant continued progress on sustainability issues, in small towns and large cities, from all across the state. The Green Teams, elected officials, and municipal staff that have accomplished so much provide both inspiration and real-world examples for their peers to follow.”

For detailed information about Emmitsburg’s sustainability initiatives, please contact Town Clerk Maddie Shaw at MShaw@emmitsburgmd.gov or 301-600-6302.

Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willets holds the Sustainable Maryland Certified Award at the Maryland Municipal League Conference.

 

 

 

October 2018

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Incumbents Re-elected

The Emmitsburg Town Election was held on September 25, 2018. Incumbents Clifford Sweeney and Timothy O’Donnell ran unopposed for two open commissioner seats. Forty-eight ballots were cast. Sweeney received forty-four and O’Donnell received forty-one. The winners were sworn in for their new four-year terms during the October 1 town meeting.

Following a recommendation from Mayor Don Briggs, the board of commissioners was reorganized. Sweeney became the new president of the board and O’Donnell became the treasurer. Glenn Blanchard became the new vice president of the board. Elizabeth Buckman remained the liaison with the Citizen’s Advisory Committee, and Joseph Ritz, III remained the liaison with the Parks Committee.

 

Rezoning of Emmit Gardens Property Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners held a public hearing during their October 1 public meeting to consider rezoning the property at 600-602 East Main Street Ext. Joseph Baldacchino, representing the Sarah E. Baldacchino Trust, asked that the property be rezoned from low-density residential (R1) to neighborhood commercial (B1). This zoning better represented how the property had been used years ago when it served as a home and dentist office.

The commissioners agreed that a mistake had been made in the original zoning, but they had concerns that B1 zoning would allow a future property owner to install a large sign that was out-of-character with the neighborhood. Another concern was the placement of required fencing would impinge on a utility right-of-way.

After much discussion, the commissioners approved the rezoning, while reserving the right to approve signage and fencing when, and if, it happened.

 

Commission Turns Down Group Asking to Hunt on Scott Road Farm

The Indian Lookout Conservation Club asked to enter into an agreement with the town to allow its group to hunt on the town-owned Scott Road Farm if the group took care of the maintenance of the property. Town staff did not recommend this agreement to the commissioners for numerous reasons, such as making it harder to enforce the no-hunting ban and showing favoritism to a small group of citizens. The commissioners decided to stick with their original decision to re-evaluate its no-hunting rule next August.

Thurmont

Town Sees Big Insurance Savings

The Town of Thurmont entered into an agreement with the Local Government Insurance Trust. The trust is a pooled insurance fund among government entities that allows their combined size to get them better insurance rates.

The Thurmont Commissioners had allocated $100,000 in the current budget for insurance. The town’s insurance provider at the time quoted the town $96,143. However, town staff decided to shop around to see if a better rate could be had. LGIT quoted $60,471 for the same insurance. Chief Administrative Jim Humerick told the commissioners that LGIT also offered an extensive line of online training in different areas of municipal government that LGIT customers can use for free.

Commissioner Marty Burns raised the issue as to whether Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird had exceeded his power by authorizing town staff to change insurance providers without approval from the commissioners.

Kinnaird said, “It’s my duty to see we don’t exceed our stated budget.” It was pointed out that the line item was for insurance and did not state a specific company. Those types of things are typically left to the decision of staff and/or the mayor. Kinnaird also noted that had the insurance quotes exceeded the approved $100,000, he would have brought the issue back to the commissioners to decide what to do.

The other commissioners had no issue with Kinnaird’s decision, particularly since it saved the town more than $35,000. The commissioners unanimously approved the agreement with LGIT.

 

Colorfest Looking Good

A few days before the 55th Annual Catoctin Colorfest, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners received an update on the number of permits issued for the festivals.

Last year (which was the record year for permits issued), a total of 764 permits were issued. This year, with three days to go before the festival, 719 permits had been issued with more expected. This is more than either 2016 or 2015. Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick told the commissioners that he expected the 2018 total permits to be at least as many as 2017 and possibly more.

The town issues permits for craft vendors, for-profit-food vendors, non-profit food vendors, information-only booths, parking, and yard sales. Craft vendors make up the majority of the permits, but the for-profit-food vendors pay the most for their permits.

All income from the permits is used to pay for the services that the town provides during Colorfest. This includes staff overtime, security, trash removal, porta-potties, and shuttles.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

For our active town, the first two weeks of October, predictably, are always busy, but this year was off the charts. It started off with the town meeting on the first Monday, Thursday, a teleconference with Maryland Mayor’s Board executive committee; and Friday night, Catoctin High homecoming float judging with Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird. We quickly deferred our votes to my granddaughters, Kiernan and Peyton, who chose the 4-H float as the winner. Saturday morning, town offices opened to host the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) Memorial weekend activities. At noon, I attended and spoke at a ribbon-cutting grand re-opening of McDonald’s. That night, I attended Motorola – NFFF Board of Directors dinner at the Carriage House Inn. Sunday morning, I attended the 37th NFFF Memorial Service, where 103 fallen firefighters were honored, and I gave the welcoming address, which is always an honor. Monday welcomed the National Fire Heritage Board at its annual meeting. Tuesday, I attended and received an award for the town from the International Society of Arboriculture at its annual meeting, held this year in Frederick. Then, off to Annapolis I went to the League of Conservation Voters awards dinner, where the town was recognized. Wednesday and Thursday, I attended Maryland Municipal League Fall conference, where the town’s application for Sustainable Maryland re-designation certification was awarded.

More on the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) award: The International award is given out annually. ISA is an international non-profit organization that serves the tree care industry. The organization has 22,000 members and 31,000 certified tree care professionals. It has 59 chapters in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, and New Zealand.

The town was honored to receive the 2018 ISA “Harry J. Banker Gold Leaf Award” for Outstanding Arbor Day Activities. This is a great honor, and kudos go to our staff for forging ahead on our green stewardship goals to take care of the wonderful blend and backdrop to our town. What we did was plant trees in the park along Willow Run. It was a fantastic town effort, with every civic organization, including the Mount, FEMA, the Basilica, and the whole Mount rugby team.

Thank you to the Seton Center for hosting another round of job fairs. A convenient, friendly way for residents of Northern Frederick County to meet area employers. They’re coming to us.

While winter sports are ramping up, Catoctin High School and Catoctin Youth Association fall sports teams are on a roll. What a year. A few losses here and there, but as any coach will tell you, a loss can sometimes prove to be your best win.

Thank you to all the service groups, led by the Lions Club, involved in the planning and organizing of the Emmitsburg annual Halloween event.

The town office will be closed on Thursday, November 22, and Friday, November 23, for Thanksgiving.

Monday, December 3, is the Christmas tree lighting in front of the Community Center. Music and caroling begin at 5:45 p.m. Santa visits from 6:00-6:30 p.m., then it’s down two blocks to the Carriage House Inn for the annual “An Evening of Christmas Spirit,” featuring free hot dogs, cider, hay rides, and entertainment.

The Town council meeting is Tuesday, December 4.

Happy Thanksgiving wishes to everyone.

Emmitsburg, a great place to live and work.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

Now that the elections have come and gone, I want to congratulate those returning to office and those who have been newly elected to serve our residents. I also want to thank those whose campaigns were unsuccessful for trying to make a difference. As we all witnessed during the campaign, things can get very nasty. In today’s world, it is getting more difficult for people to decide to run for public office; those that do must be able to withstand the onslaught of negativity that seems to surround our election process. It is my belief that the thought of negative campaigning has kept some from stepping up to serve. I hope we can work together to overcome this unfortunate aspect of elections.

Christmas will soon be here and with it comes Christmas in Thurmont! This year’s event will be held on Saturday, December 1, 2018, beginning at 9:00 a.m. with the arrival of Santa at Mechanicstown Square Park. Kids can register for free prizes all day at the Park; prizes will be drawn at 5:30 p.m. (must be present to win). Adults can register for prizes by picking up a prize map and visiting local businesses; the drawing is also at 5:30 p.m. (must be present to win). There will be horse and wagon rides available at the Thurmont Municipal Parking Lot. Please watch for more information about the wagon rides on the Thurmont or Main Street Facebook pages. After the ribbon-cutting, there will be free photos with Santa in the Gazebo until 12:30 p.m.; kids, parents, grandparents, and pets are welcome. Santa will then be at the Thurmont Regional Library at 1:00 p.m. to read to the children and sit for photos. Santa will return to the Mechanicstown Square Park at 2:15 p.m. for more photos with his friends. Pictures with Santa will end at 4:30 p.m. The Catoctin High School Marching Band will be performing, as will the Gateway Brass Ensemble.

We are happy to announce a great new feature at this year’s Christmas in Thurmont: a model train setup at 5B East Main Street. The Frederick County Society of Model Engineers (FCSME) will have an indoor train set up, not only for Christmas in Thurmont, but for each Saturday and Sunday in December. The display will be open Saturdays, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; and Sundays, noon-4:00 p.m. As a special treat, Santa will be visiting the display several times to speak to the children and for photos. The Society will be asking for a donation to help with the renovations to its historic rail car in Frederick. We are very pleased to partner with the FCSME for this amazing opportunity!

This time of the year brings added difficulty for many of our neighbors, and I encourage everyone to support the Thurmont Food Bank and Clothes Closet. Your donations of non-perishable foods, clothing, or cash can help make a positive difference in someone’s life during the holiday season and into the cold winter months.

If you have any questions, comments, or recommendations, please call me at 301-606-9458 or e-mail me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

 

Megan Doolittle

Elower-Sicilia Productions (ESP) of Dance and Music in Thurmont is celebrating its 50th year in business, and the dancers continue to work hard and diligently on their new choreography. They had a great time performing some of their new dances at the Thurmont Colorfest. The rain didn’t hold them back!

ESP would like to thank all who came out and participated in the 8th Annual ESP 5K “Tutu Cute Edition.” A portion of the proceeds went to help support Maggie Kudirka (aka “The Bald Ballerina”).

Maggie is a Maryland native who was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer at the age of twenty-three, while she was dancing with the Joffrey Ballet Company in New York.  Maggie has been a strong advocate for breast cancer awareness. The money raised will help with the cost of Maggie’s increasingly large medical bills.

ESP will be holding a Bingo event at the Thurmont Carnival Grounds Activity Building on Sunday, November 4, 2018. Doors will open at 2:00 p.m. The cost is $10.00 admission for a 6-pack of regular games, specials, and jackpot. Early birds, 50/50, and additional cards are also available for purchase. Games are being played for restaurant and business gift card prizes. Early birds and 50/50 are monetary prizes, including a $200 jackpot. Delicious homemade food and baked goods will be available for purchase.

ESP is currently accepting sponsors for the 2018-2019 year. There are a lot of perks to sponsoring. Please contact the office if you are interested in becoming a sponsor. Please help our dancers make their way to the Nationals competition in June 2019.

The dancers have been hard at work with choreography and training for the new dance season. They will be traveling for regional and national dance conventions and competitions throughout the season, including Baltimore;  Norfolk, Virginia; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The dancers love to travel and work with master teachers from all over the world, but their favorite place to perform is for their home community. Other local performances for the season will include Thurmont Main Street’s Arts and Wine Stroll on November 9, 2018 (dancers will be performing between 6:00-7:00 p.m.); the ESP Showcase is scheduled for February 23, 2019, at Mount Saint Mary’s Knott Auditorium; and Frederick’s Festival of The Arts will be held in June 2019. The dancers are also excited to be performing at the Mount Saint Mary’s halftime show on December 8.

ESP specializes in all types of dance, including tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, acro, lyrical, and pointe. Classes are currently enrolling for the fall season.  For more information, contact the studio at 301-271-7458 or register online at www.espdance.com. Be sure to check them out on Facebook. ESP would like to give a special “Thank You” to the Thurmont community, The Catoctin Banner, and The Frederick Arts Council for all of their continued support.

 

Blair Garrett

Each October, some of our nation’s bravest heroes are honored in Emmitsburg, a.k.a. Firetown, USA.

The Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service gives thanks to firefighters who are no longer with us, who have served our communities, protecting citizens in their time of need.

In a town heralded for its dedication and history in fire prevention and safety, Emmitsburg is a special home for the memorial ceremony, which honored 103 firefighters on its 37th Annual Memorial Weekend October 5-7, 2018.

The service commenced amidst bagpipes sounding off and the hushed crowd filing into the seats, as Chief Dennis Compton, chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, offered confirming words of security to families in attendance who have lost loved ones in the line of duty.

“The men and women we are honoring today are not heroes because they died; they became heroes to the people in their communities the day they signed up to be a firefighter.”

The impact firefighters who have given their lives over the years is felt not only in the tight-knit community of Emmitsburg, but around the nation. Major landmarks across the country participated in “Light Up the Night,” shining fire engine red lights on buildings like the World Trade Center in New York and LAX in Los Angeles in support of fallen heroes. Over 150 fire departments nationwide participated as well, in honor of those who came before them.

Throughout the weekend, families of the fallen gathered for the candlelight service and a vigil in honor of the men and women who passed in 2017 and years prior. Participants came together to hold moments of silence and remembrance for members of one of our country’s bravest professions.

The Memorial Service caps off the special weekend, bringing thousands of people from across the country together to stand by the families of the fallen and to show respect for each firefighter gone too soon.

The two-day event is a constant reminder to the proud citizens of Emmitsburg to never take a day for granted and to be thankful that should an emergency strike, we always have men and women in uniform ready to help at a moment’s notice.

“We are again reminded today through the actions of those fallen, when someone calls for help, they can be assured of one thing,” Chief Keith Bryant said,“firefighters will come, regardless of the dangers.”

The importance of the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend to Emmitsburg cannot be overlooked or understated. For a town intertwined with firefighting, the service is a chance for the community to recognize the safety and security the nation’s firefighters have given us over the years. And there may be no town in the world more appreciative than Emmitsburg.

As the leaves on Catoctin Mountain turned to yellow, red, and orange, Thurmont turned pink as the town supported activities to raise funds to fight breast cancer.

During October, Thurmont becomes the “Gateway to the Cure,” as the town sells pink light bulbs, pink t-shirts, pink shopping bags, and more. In addition, various groups hold events and fundraisers and donate the income to the Patty Hurwitz Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital.

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 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.

“We’ve been able to do a lot of great things with this fund,” said Sadie Wolf, development officer for the fund.

She told the Thurmont Commissioners that because of the hospital’s focus on fighting breast cancer, and with the help of the fund, the time between a patient’s cancer diagnosis and surgery has shrunk from fifty-nine days to twelve days. This means that cancers are treated earlier, which improves a patient’s chances of survival.

Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder told the commissioners that 2017 had been the best year so far for the town’s campaign. Thurmont donated $15,000 to the fund. This brought the town’s four-year total donations to $43,648.

Grinder is hoping that the town does even better this year. She said things had gotten off to a good start with a two-hour Zumbathon at the American Legion that raised $700. The annual 5K run/walk also had forty runners and walkers raising money to find a cure.

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird stated that he was challenging all of the other municipalities in the county to do something in their own communities to raise funds to fight breast cancer.

The town will make its donation later in the year, once all of the donations have come in and been tallied.

Thurmont’s involvement in the Gateway to the Cure started in 2014 by 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.

As the leaves on Catoctin Mountain turned to yellow, red, and orange, Thurmont turned pink as the town supported activities to raise funds to fight breast cancer.

During October, Thurmont becomes the “Gateway to the Cure,” as the town sells pink light bulbs, pink t-shirts, pink shopping bags, and more. In addition, various groups hold events and fundraisers and donate the income to the Patty Hurwitz Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital.

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 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.

“We’ve been able to do a lot of great things with this fund,” said Sadie Wolf, development officer for the fund.

She told the Thurmont Commissioners that because of the hospital’s focus on fighting breast cancer, and with the help of the fund, the time between a patient’s cancer diagnosis and surgery has shrunk from fifty-nine days to twelve days. This means that cancers are treated earlier, which improves a patient’s chances of survival.

Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder told the commissioners that 2017 had been the best year so far for the town’s campaign. Thurmont donated $15,000 to the fund. This brought the town’s four-year total donations to $43,648.

Grinder is hoping that the town does even better this year. She said things had gotten off to a good start with a two-hour Zumbathon at the American Legion that raised $700. The annual 5K run/walk also had forty runners and walkers raising money to find a cure.

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird stated that he was challenging all of the other municipalities in the county to do something in their own communities to raise funds to fight breast cancer.

The town will make its donation later in the year, once all of the donations have come in and been tallied.

Thurmont’s involvement in the Gateway to the Cure started in 2014 by 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.

A mission team from Tom’s Creek UMC traveled to Puerto Rico to provide support and to help Puerto del Cielo Methodist Church rebuild its pavilion that was destroyed during Hurricane Maria. The pavilion was used to cook food and provide meals to the people in the community and to support the ministries of the church. In addition, a solar panel system was brought, so they would have a form of power when future emergencies occur. The team of eighteen missionaries left from Emmitsburg to travel to Puerto Rico on August 8, 2018, for ten days. The team took school supplies for school children in need and helped the teachers paint their rooms before school started. They also were able to lead a service on the beach with music and communion. As with most mission trips, the team received more than they gave and they plan to continue the relationship by returning next year.


Tom’s Creek UMC’s Mission Team helps the Methodist Church in Puerto Rico rebuild its pavilion, which was destroyed during hurricane Maria.

Aaron Shaw of Frederick took the top honors in both the spring and fall 2018 bass tournaments, hosted by Cobblestone Hotel & Suites and held on Lake Royer at the former Fort Ritchie property in Cascade. The events featured adult and youth divisions.

Joining Shaw on the podium for the fall tournament, held on Saturday, September 22, were Jacob Martin (second place), along with Dave Fisher and Josh Smith (tied for third place). Cash prizes were awarded for the top three finishers. In the youth division, Jesse Leisinger of Smithsburg took first place, followed by Chad Moser with second place. Youth division winners earned gift cards. Shaw’s winning fish was 13.25 inches, and Leisinger’s measured 13.5 inches.

The Cobblestone Hotel & Suites’ Bass Fishing Tournaments are held annually in the spring and fall, with proceeds benefitting the programs of the Fort Ritchie Community Center. Cobblestone Hotel & Suites has more than one hundred facilities across the United States, with the closest location to Fort Ritchie being in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. For more information on the community center, please visit www.thefrcc.org.

Aaron Shaw (far right) won both tournaments in 2018; pictured with Shaw are (from left): Josh Smith, David Fisher, and Jacob Martin.

Jessie Leisinger (right) won the youth division, and Chad Smith earned second place.