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Thurmont & Emmitsburg Celebrate National Night Out

James Rada, Jr.

Excited children mounted police motorcycles, climbed into the driver’s seats of fire engines, and poked their heads out of the top hatch of an armored SWAT vehicle, as they met local police and emergency services personnel during National Night Out on August 6, 2019.

Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler is a big supporter of National Night Out. “You can build more trust between the community and police,” he said. “We can build a partnership with the community for community policing.”

Thurmont and Emmitsburg communities saw hundreds of people turn out to learn more about the people who protect their communities, to have fun with hands-on activities, and to enjoy great food.

The goal of National Night Out is to “heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for participation in anti-crime, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, send a message to criminals letting them know that neighbors are organized and fighting back.”

National Night Out has been around since 1984. Initially, National Night Out involved citizens sitting out on their front porches to show they were united in the fight against crime. The event has grown to include block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts, and safety demonstrations in more than 16,000 communities. Thurmont has hosted an event since 2005, and Emmitsburg has participated since 2017.

Thurmont held its event in the parking lot of the Thurmont Police Department. Children enjoyed pony rides, jumping in a bounce house, and meeting Thurmont’s K-9 officer. Various community organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, Thurmont Addiction Commission, and Thurmont Regional Library, had booths where visitors could learn more about what the organizations do. Thurmont Police also offered tours of their police station.

Sarah Campbell, the public information officer with Frederick County Fire and Rescue, said, “National Night Out allows the community, especially adolescents and youth, to do hands-on activities, to meet people, and to be educated.”

In Emmitsburg, National Night Out filled Community Park. It not only featured local emergency services personnel and their equipment, but also the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

Kenyon Beeman attended National Night Out for the first time, accompanied by his girlfriend and her children. “It’s a nice event to bring people out,” he said. “I think it definitely helps the police seem more human.”

Emmitsburg’s National Night Out featured K-9 demonstrations, SWAT demonstrations, music, a petting zoo, pony rides, and more. Emmitsburg Commission President Cliff Sweeney pointed out that all of the free food and activities were donated to the activity.

Cover Photo (by James Rada, Jr.): Hayden McKenney, 12, of Emmitsburg, tries on SWAT gear used by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office during Emmitsburg National Night Out.

Hundreds turn out for Thurmont National Night Out, held in the parking lot of the Thurmont Police Department on August 6.

At the Emmitsburg National Night Out celebration, kids are excited to see the inside of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office armored SWAT vehicle, a Lenco Bearcat that seats up to 10 people who are protected inside from firearms rounds.

Katelyn Klink, 7, of Thurmont, enjoys a pony ride at the Thurmont National Night Out celebration.

(from left) Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, Emmitsburg Commissioner Elizabeth Buckman, Emmitsburg Commissioner Glenn Blanchard, and Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs enjoy the Emmitsburg National Night Out celebration in Community Park.

James Rada, Jr.

Here’s your chance to get to know the three candidates (Glenn Blanchard, Elizabeth Buckman, and Frank Davis) who are vying for the two open Emmitsburg town commissioner seats during the town election on October 1, 2019.

Why are you running for commissioner?

Glenn Blanchard: I am running for commissioner to continue the good work of the board. I believe the town is moving in the right direction, and I want to continue this into the future. I like serving the citizens of Emmitsburg and taking on the challenges of this community. I have lived in Emmitsburg for 28 years, and I have raised my children in this community.     

Elizabeth Buckman: I am running for reelection because the people of my town are amazing, and I believe I have the experience, skills, and energy to be on the frontline to ensure that Emmitsburg is governed not only well, but governed with empathy for the needs and concerns of all its citizens.

Frank Davis: My term as president of the fire department is up in December, but I still want to be involved in the town. I also feel that it is good to give the citizens a choice on Election Day.

What do you bring to the board that is needed?

Glenn Blanchard: I bring to the board almost 14 years of elected service. It has given me experience on the issues facing the town and its citizens. I have seen the town change over the last decades and have a good idea on where we have been and where we should be going. I think there is a value in continuity. As a teacher in Frederick County Public Schools, I have invested a good portion of my life in the children of this county. My children have attended the local schools, and my experience as a teacher helps me serve my community.

Elizabeth Buckman: I have served three years as commissioner, collaborating with my fellow commissioners and municipalities for Emmitsburg’s benefit. As a teacher; a founder of Emmitsburg Cares (that has attracted statewide attention for our town); and a participant on the Council of Churches, Seton Center, and our civic associations, I am out in the community listening to your concerns. Being a commissioner is hard work, but it is rewarding that so many citizens feel comfortable coming to me with their concerns. As the only woman and mother on the board, I have greater sensitivity of the views and concerns of women and children.

Frank Davis: I will bring a fresh set of eyes to take a look at the town as a whole. While I’m deeply involved in our community,  I don’t have a specific interest or project on my agenda. I will work diligently with all parties involved to prioritize the town’s needs and get work done in a fair and favorable manner.

What are your goals as commissioners?

Glenn Blanchard: First and foremost, my major goal is to continue moving the town of Emmitsburg in a positive direction. This goes for both the citizens of this town as well as the businesses in town. To do this, I feel that we need to invest in our parks, infrastructure, and an expansion of both our business community as well as residential development. Another one of my goals as commissioner is to continue to have civil discussions at the meetings and avoid division and distrust among its members.

Elizabeth Buckman: Emmitsburg is a small town with similar problems to urban areas. We have roads and parks that need maintaining, poverty, homeless, addictions, and health issues. Solutions are often beyond the capacity of our resources to solve. I will continue to seek county, state, and federal resources. An important goal of mine is to support Mount Saint Mary’s building of an urgent care center. While Emmitsburg is a safe place to live and to raise a family, I would be more comfortable if the police coverage was expanded from two deputies to three to provide coverage seven days a week.

Frank Davis: Make the town user-friendly. Have the staff help citizens solve their problems and reach a favorable outcome for both parties. Take a hard look at the town’s infrastructure and put together a plan to correct and repair issues. Review fees that are being passed on to the citizens. It seems like the citizens that want to make repairs and keep their properties up are being punished by paying fees.

How can you achieve them on the board?

Glenn Blanchard: I feel I can achieve my goals as commissioner by doing the same things I have done in the past. One, working with the town staff and the mayor to get correct information on projects and purchases. Two, work with my fellow commissioners to get the job done. Find common ground. Division and conflict might make headlines, but the citizens and businesses of this community are not being served by that kind of behavior. Putting the Town of Emmitsburg above any personal interests is important. Remembering who I work for has been a critical part of my service to Emmitsburg.

Elizabeth Buckman: My answers above apply here, but I believe the most important contribution I can make to achieve my goals, and more broadly the goals of the mayor and entire board is to listen deeply to the concerns or our citizens and to be open to bold new solutions to meet our needs.

Frank Davis: Have a good working relationship with the other board members. Do research to see what other towns are doing and see if it is successful. Set priorities and develop short- and long-term plans that are achievable.

Why should people vote for you?

Glenn Blanchard: People should vote for me if they want someone who will continue to listen to them and help keep moving the town forward into the future. People should vote for me if they want civil discussion at meetings, and someone who is willing to compromise when necessary. After 28 years, I have roots in this community, and I believe in Emmitsburg.

Elizabeth Buckman: I will never give up being alert to our community’s needs. I will never give up seeking efficient and sound ways of governing. I will never give up seeking outside resources for our community. I will never give up Emmitsburg Cares. I will never give up promoting cooperation between our religious and civic institutions, and I will never give up on seeking ways to help the least among us. I love Emmitsburg, and I feel honored to serve my hometown. You are my friends and my neighbors, and I hope to continue pressing for our quality of life, safety, and well-being.

Frank Davis: My family and I are life-long citizens of Emmitsburg and are very proud of our town. I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of Emmitsburg over the years and want to make sure we don’t repeat bad history. Being retired, I have time both day and night to attend meetings and respond to citizen concerns.

Joan Bittner Fry

The following recipes, or receipts, are given as found in “my stuff.” Many were handwritten; others came from old books. Most recipes for wine follow one model. Clean the berries, blossoms, fruit, or any other edible to be used. Bring to a boil for a while, cool, and set until fermenting is complete. In the days of these recipes, wine-making was for anyone. Nowadays, special kits and equipment are available, all of which sound very sterile.

Many containers exploded from bottling before fermentation was complete.  I’ll bet you’ve heard those stories, too.  A long time ago, my neighbor and I made rose petal wine. At the time, my father-in-law proclaimed that it was a lady’s wine. I took that as a compliment.

Dandelion Blossom Wine

2 quarts dandelion blossoms

1 gallon boiling water

½ yeast cake

1 orange

1 lemon

4 pounds white sugar

Pour boiling water over blossoms. Let stand 24 hours. Strain. Add sugar. Stir thoroughly. Warm slightly, then add yeast. Slice lemon and orange and add to mixture.  Let set 6 or 8 weeks.  Strain, bottle and seal.

Dandelion wine is used a great deal for the kidneys.

Dandeline Wine

(1972 Mrs. Geesaman)

I remember the Geesamans providing communion wine for Jacob’s Church.

1 gallon dandeline blossoms

Pour 1 gallon boiling water over the blossoms.  Let stand overnight.

Strain in the morning and add 4 lb. sugar, 2 slices lemon and 1 yeast cake.

Mix all together and let stand for 10 days.  Put in bottles and let ferment.

Blackberry Wine

When blackberry season is at hand, we furnish a simple receipt for making the wine that is as good as any of the complicated ones requiring so many strainings, such a variety of spices, and so much time in filling up the cask or stone jug during the process of fermentation. First, the blackberries should be fresh and perfectly ripe. Then, to every gallon well-bruised berries, add one quart of boiling water. Let the mixture stand for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Then strain off into a clean cask or stone jug according to the quantity, adding two pounds of good brown sugar to each gallon of the liquor. Cork tight immediately and let it stand until October. The wine will be perfectly delicious. The mace, nutmeg, cloves, white of eggs, and other things so often recommended are totally unnecessary and the wine of this simple process is much the best. If the maker of the wine is too impatient to wait until October, have a jug set aside to begin on in a month, but it will be found that the October jug or cask will make the lips smack the most. The best wine is made from berries when the season is going out. They are sweeter.

Grape Wine

4 pounds sugar

1 ½ quarts grapes

Fill gallon container with water and let work 10 days. Makes 1 gallon.

Apricot Wine

1 lb. dried apricots                        2 sliced oranges

2 ¼ cups brown sugar                  6 ½ cups white sugar

2 sliced lemons                             1 tablespoon ginger

4 quarts hot water             1 package yeast

1 ½ cups raisins

Chop apricots and put in large crock. Add hot water, sugars, fruit, raisins, and ginger. Then add the dissolved yeast and mix well. Cover top loosely and let stand for 2 weeks, stirring occasionally. After fermentation ceases, strain first through a colander, then a cloth, and bottle.

Unfermented Grape Juice: The Fairfield Favorite Cook Book compiled by the Ladies of the Mite Society of The Lutheran Church, Fairfield, PA. Rev. C. L. Ritter, Pastor, 1904

Press out the juice from grapes without mashing the seeds, adding water one pint and sugar one-half pound for each pint of juice; then boil a few minutes, skimming any sediment or scum that rises, and bottling while hot, corking tightly.  Cutting off the corks and dipping the tops into wax and keeping in a dry cool place gives a wine that no one would object to.  It is in every way suitable for communion, as it is not intoxicating.

Installation of a large three-panel glass etching, featuring a 1920’s-era fire engine departing the old Independent Hose Company (IHC) fire station in Frederick, got started during mid-August at the Frederick County Fire/Rescue Museum on South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg. Measuring over 15 feet across and nearly 9 feet tall, the impressive display is to be dedicated on Friday evening, October 4, 2019, during National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend.

The etching originally arrived in March 2018 by way of the Emmitsburg Glass Company (EGC). It had been removed while in the process of installing new window panels at the historic original IHC engine house, formerly located at 12 West Church Street in Frederick.

Created by well-known designer William N. Cochran of Frederick in 1988, the etching is made-up of three panels, weighing a total of 1,500 pounds (the largest of the panels is 900 lbs.). Cochran is responsible for Carroll Creek bridge murals in downtown Frederick, among many other art projects. The new owners of the West Church Street building donated the large etching to the Museum, working in concert with members of the IHC and the Museum.

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs, a strong supporter of this opportunity, as well as the museum, earlier stated, “Having a piece of artwork done by Mr. Cochran will be a wonderful addition to the town.” The overall transfer included coordination with the new owner of the W. Church St. building, the Emmitsburg Glass Company, IHC Member Dewey Foreman, etching designer William Cochran, the Town of Emmitsburg, and several Museum personnel.

The current installation is being overseen by John Wantz of S&W Wantz Construction, a local firm, who is doing excavation and foundation work, working jointly with the EGC who will be placing the etching into a frame and housing display. It will be pleasingly lighted from the interior and certain to be a source of joy for area residents and visitors alike.

EGC President Dan Reaver was onboard with this project right from the beginning. One of his key foremen, Kenny Simmers, oversaw the etching’s removal and transfer to Emmitsburg for storage inside the Museum until now. A fundraising project led by Museum President Chip Jewell has allowed for its completion. More will be forthcoming on the October 4 evening dedication ceremony.


Mayor Don Briggs

I was at the President’s ‘State of the Mount’ opening day presentation to the university team. President Tim Trainor delivered an inspiring ramp-up to prepare for the year. First impressions are important, and everyone was readying to help the next day with the first-year student move-ins. The program included the status of major projects. First, a much-needed student multi-purpose building is ready for use. Next, plans for the Frederick Memorial Hospital (FMH) Urgent Care Center, a partnership with the Mount, is at the final conceptual plan phase. Opening may be as early as December 2020. Then, potential development of a county regional park on 130+ acres of Mount property. If that wasn’t enough, the potential development of a Mount School of Health Professionals graduate school program in town.

Alas, the final town pool party of the summer happened with a DJ music, ice cream truck, hot dogs, lemonade, hamburgers, and cheeseburgers. Thanks to Jubilee, Carriage House Inn, and  McDonalds. Over 200 people swam, ate, and danced. Libby, Maddy, Amy, Frank, Don, and Glenn worked the food stand.

After two years of working toward it, there will be a Boys and Girls Club in Emmitsburg this fall. The club will be held at the elementary school when the school is open and at Christ’s Community Church on the other days.

National Night Out 2.0 was special. Over 500 people attended the event in Community Park to enjoy the pleasant evening as guests of the town and Sheriff Jenkins. There was a K-9 team exhibition, the SWAT team members and vehicle, Vigilant Hose fire truck, and for the town’s part, 30 vendors ranging from ice cream, hot dogs, EBPA, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, and many county service departments were on-hand. There were pony rides and a petting zoo to boot.

On the calendar: The 63rd Emmitsburg & Thurmont Community Show weekend is coming up September 6 through 8. Always special, the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend is coming up in October. Ninety-two firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2018 and 27 firefighters from other years who met the inclusion criteria will be honored.

Construction of the William Cochran glass etching commemorating firefighters in action has begun. The etching will be located in front of the Frederick County Fire Museum. Mr. Cochran is nationally known for his public art projects. Locally, he is well-known for the “Community Bridge” a trompe l’oeil mural that spans over Carroll Creek in Frederick, Maryland. The glass etching will be a wonderful addition to what Emmitsburg offers.

Congratulations to Francis E. Smith, who by unanimous board approval and proclamation, became the Town of Emmitsburg Poet Laurate. Francis, who turned 94 years young in August, has lived in Emmitsburg since he built a home for his family in 1971. Professionally, Francis taught high school English and Latin for over 40 years at then Taneytown High School and then Francis Scott Key High School, and has published several books of poems. He is a special person. He contributes monthly to The Catoctin Banner Newzine, and from time to time, his poems will be included on the town Facebook page and website.

Finally, school is back in session; stay alert and be careful.

AUGUST 2019 Meeting

Town Starts Rain Barrel Program

The Town of Emmitsburg has started a rain barrel program to gain credit towards our stormwater management (MS4) program and to help the environment. The town will purchase the rain barrels from the non-profit Scott Key Center in Frederick. The barrels are manufactured by developmentally disabled adults, and they are made from recycled olive barrels. You can purchase a rain barrel from the town office and attend a workshop to learn to use it properly. The workshop will be help on October 1 at 6:00 p.m. Frederick City Sustainability Manager Jenny Willoughby will be the instructor. For more information, contact the Emmitsburg Town Office.

Emmitsburg Town Election on October 1

Emmitsburg citizens can vote for two open commissioner seats during the town election on October 1. Incumbents Glenn Blanchard and Elizabeth Buckman and Vigilant Hose Company President Frank Davis are running for the seats. Registered votes can cast their ballots at the town building at 22 East Main Street from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Town Selects Poet Laureate

The mayor and commissioners of Emmitsburg selected Francis Smith to serve as the Emmitsburg Poet Laureate. It is a two-year, honorary position. Smith will encourage reading, writing, and the sharing of poetry. Smith taught English and Latin in area high schools for 40 years before retiring. He is also a published poet who writes for The Catoctin Banner.

New Complaint Procedures for Off-Campus Mount Students

The Town of Emmitsburg, Mount St. Mary’s Univeristy, and Frederick County deputies encourage everyone to call the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office immediately if you are experiencing any issues related to noise complaints and/or destructive behavior, as soon as you experience it, with any Mount students. Don’t wait. It is harder to follow up about the problem when there is a significant time delay. Non-emergency number is 301-600-2071 or the emergency number is 911.

Pool House Rehabilitation Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners awarded a $66,329 contract to Omega Contracting and Consulting to renovate the pool house. The company specializes in this type of work and will warranty its work for a year. Program Open Space funds will pay 75 percent of the cost with the town matching the rest.

Sign Ordinance Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the town’s new sign ordinance on a 3-2 vote. Town staff has been working since February at refining and updating the sign ordinance to include new technologies being used to advertise businesses and events.

Commissioner Joe Ritz, III, said, “If a revised ordinance was really needed, why couldn’t it have been kept simple? Just list what’s allowed.” He also objected to what he called “excessive fines.”

Town Manager Cathy Willets took exception to Ritz’s negative characterization of the sign ordinance. She reminded him that not only was the new ordinance less stringent than the previous one, the EBPA supported the new ordinance. She also said that town staff had worked hard to not only gather community input but to address any concerns raised.

Commissioners Cliff Sweeney, Glenn Blanchard, and Tim O’Donnell voted for the ordinance and Commissioner Elizabeth Buckman and Ritz voted against.

Town Sells Trees

The Emmitsburg Commissioners voted to sell a selected group of trees as part of the town’s forestry management plan recommended by the State of Maryland. Tipton’s will pay $46,000 for the trees and will be responsible for removing them with minimal damage to any of the town’s trails in the area. The vote for 4-1 with Commissioner Joe Ritz, III, voting against the proposal.


Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are at the end of summer; where has the year gone?  School is about to start. I encourage everyone to be especially careful as our children head off to school. Kids will be walking on the sidewalks and getting on and off buses and may not always be aware of their surroundings. Be sure to obey all a speed limits, school crossing guards, and school bus warning devices. I hope all of our children have a great time at school.

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show is coming up on September 6-8. This Community Show is one of the largest community agricultural shows in Maryland and provides a wonderful opportunity for the display of crafts, livestock, baked goods, photography, floral displays, fruits, vegetables, and other items. There’s also plenty of delicious food available at the show, including the always popular turkey dinner, BBQ chicken lunch, and the tasty items at the Thurmont Lions Club food stand. I hope to see you all  at the Community Show!

With fall comes the Annual Colorfest weekend. If you are interested in setting up a booth, please be sure to contact the town office about permits and other important information. Colorfest represents one of the best fundraising opportunities for many of our local churches, service organizations, and youth groups. Be sure to visit our local organizations and support them during Colorfest.

Thurmont will be holding elections for two commissioner’s seats this fall. Here are some important dates to remember. The Nominating Convention will be held in the Town Meeting Room at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24, 2019. The last day to register to vote in the town elections is close of business on Tuesday, October 1, 2019. The election will be held on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Guardian Hose Company Activity Building on 123 East Main Street in Thurmont.

Please contact me at 301-606-9458 or by email at if you have any questions, concerns, or comments.

AUGUST 2019 Meeting

Town Launches Automated Speed Monitoring System

With the start of the new school year, the Town of Thurmont has launched its new automated speed monitoring program in an effort to slow traffic around schools. Vehicles traveling more than 12 mph over the speed limit will be photographed and the vehicle owners sent citations in the mail. The automated systems will be active Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the following school zones: Thurmont Primary School—Portions of East Main Street (RT. 77) located within one half-mile radius of the school; Thurmont Elementary School—Portions of East Main Street (Rt.77) located within one half-mile radius of the school; Thurmont Middle School—Portions of East Main Street (Rt.77) located within one half-mile radius of the school; Catoctin High School—Portions of North Church Street (Rt.550) located within one half-mile radius of the school.

The citations carry a $40 fine and no points.

Thurmont Turning Purple

The Thurmont Addictions Commission will be festooning Mechanicstown Park with purple ribbons and changing some of the town lighting to purple in an effort to raise awareness about substance abuse in town and reduce drug-related deaths and overdoses. The commission will also be selling purple light bulbs, T-shirts, and wrist bands to raise money to fight addiction.

Contract Awarded For Street Paving

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners awarded a $42,400 to American Asphalt in Baltimore to pave Center Street and Park Lane.

Rock Climbing

Blair Garrett

Living among the mountains certainly has its perks.

Just a short drive in any direction, there are beautiful sights to see, trails to pioneer, and peaks to reach. Of the various summer excursions available to the public, one not-so-often thought of may be the most riveting and challenging for adventure seekers.

Rock climbing in Thurmont is a thriving adventure, offering locals and visitors a chance to test their limits in a fun, new way they may not have done before. Most of the rock climbing in Thurmont and Frederick County stems from beautiful and natural rock formations scattered throughout the region’s national parks.

A few places of interest for climbers and those interested in getting out of their comfort zone include Wolf Rock, a 1.5 mile hike from the Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor Center. It is a place of boulders, crevices, and rock walls. Climbers can free-climb their way up the rock, or explore another climbing method on one of the many different rock faces. Nearby is Chimney Rock, a popular hiking destination and natural rock formation, overlooking a stunning scene of mountains and rolling hills. This semi-strenuous trail begins and ends at the east corner of the paved parking area by the Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor Center. The hike is 3.9 miles round trip and provides stunning views of the mountains from the top of Chimney Rock. Also worth checking out is Sugarloaf Mountain, a small mountain and park about 10 miles south of Frederick.

A rock range in Carderock, Maryland, northwest of Washington D.C. provides rock formations that are vast and offer varying degrees of difficulty, giving beginners an opportunity to learn and veterans a chance to push themselves. There are dozens of challenges to undertake, so a one-day trip may not be enough for avid climbers.

There are two main crags in Carderock: Jungle Cliff and Hades Heights. A crag is just a steep or rugged rock face, and these two have become extremely popular over the years for their accessibility year-round. Top roping these rock formations is the preferred method of climbing, but rappelling is also a commonly used technique in Carderock. There are a few styles of rock climbing that are different and challenging in their own ways, but let’s explore some of the options most beginners to advanced climbers find themselves doing.

Top Roping

As one of the safest methods of climbing, most beginners find their way into the sport through top roping, which includes a rope and anchor system to protect and prevent climbers from taking a nasty fall. Top roping includes a climber hooked into an anchored rope at the top of the climbing destination, and a belayer at the bottom, which is a person who takes the slack out of the rope secured with carabiners and a belay device to catch the climber should they fall. The person belaying uses a simple-to-follow method to pin and lock the rope while the climber finds hand and foot holds to advance on the route.

Top roping is a fun and popular climbing method, but it’s often limited to indoor rock climbing because placing new anchors can be damaging for rock faces. Utilizing pre-existing and permanent anchors are preferred for this method.


One of the widest performed climbing techniques used is bouldering, which involves free climbing without the use of ropes or harnesses on typically smaller natural or artificial rocks. Bouldering is considered a more dangerous style because of the lack of safety equipment, even if the fall is usually around just 10-15 feet.

Climbers bouldering often use horizontal movements to traverse tough terrain, which can be particularly difficult and strenuous even on the most experienced climbers. Bouldering competitions are also extremely popular in the sport, and most indoor facilities offer training or classes for bouldering.


Soloing, or free-climbing, is something that should only be reserved for the most experienced climbers. Free-climbing involves the use of many of the skills sharpened by other rock climbing techniques, but without the safety of a rope to prevent falls.

Soloing is a completely individual effort, too, so relying on a partner or friend for guidance or safety is off the table. It’s not recommended to free solo high off the ground, but seeking the biggest and best thrill is often what drives solo rock climbers to do what they do.

There are several other variants of climbing like sport and alpine climbing, and those who are serious about getting into the sport often find groups of like-minded individuals to take trips for the select disciplines in rock climbing.

An option for locals is to explore the different methods of rock climbing with a guided professional. Daybreak Excursions in Thurmont offers professional instruction in the rock climbing techniques previously mentioned, along with a few other exploration avenues like caving and kayaking. Interested participants can schedule a time and day to hit the trail and seek the adventures that draw them the most.

For all climbers, whether it’s your first time or your hundredth time, it’s always advised to know your routes, and climb with a trusted partner to keep you safe in all situations. Using a helmet is always advised, and taking the proper safety precautions for each climb ensures you have done everything possible to protect yourself.

Checking something as simple as properly tied knots for top roping or securely fastened shoes can make all the difference in the world for a climber. After all, the safety of you and your crew is the most important thing for a climber.

Whether it’s Wolf Rock in Catoctin Mountain Park, a peak at Sugarloaf Mountain, or a small rock formation in another local park, like Cunningham Falls State Park, there’s more to see than we could ever imagine. Rock climbing is yet another way to explore the great outdoors, so don’t be afraid to get out there and do it.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Pictured climbing is Alex Case.

Wolf Rock at Catoctin Mountain Park

Pictured climbing is Mckenna

Photos Courtesy of Daybreak Excursions

The Emmitsburg Business & Professionals Association (EBPA) met Thursday, August 15, 2019, for a quarterly breakfast at the Carriage House Inn in Emmitsburg. Guest Speaker Nancy McCormick, the City of Taneytown’s Economic Development and Mainstreet Manager, energetically shared her experience and advice about economic development, marketing, signage, and attracting businesses to Emmitsburg.

The EBPA will host a live concert fundraiser featuring The Reagan Years band on September 14, 2019, at the Vigilant Hose Company’s Event Center at 17701 Creamery Road in Emmitsburg. For concert tickets, visit to purchase online. For more information about EBPA, visit

Nancy McCormick (pictured front center), the City of Taneytown’s Economic Development and Mainstreet Manager, gave an up-beat and informative presentation to members of the EBPA during the group’s quarterly breakfast.

The August 1 Thurmont Business Network meeting was held at Ole Mink Farm Recreation Resort, where Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Kelly Shultz addressed the group about conducting business in Maryland, regulations, and other pertinent topics to running a business. The next Thurmont Business Networking meeting will be held on Thursday, September 5, at Catoctin Breeze Vineyard at 15010 Roddy Road in Thurmont. The meeting will start at 8:00 a.m., and will end at 9:00 a.m. Thurmont Business Network is open to any business owner/manager in the 21788 zip code only. For more information, contact

Guest speaker, Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Kelly Shultz, addresses the group at the Thurmont Business Network meeting in August.

Blair Garrett

Tucked away in the quiet mountain town of Emmitsburg lies a talented blacksmith who specializes in creating the unknown. 

The unknown for Harold Green of Horseshoe Forge and Ironworks is what job will come through his door next. Green creates what his customers need, and that is quality metalwork, repairs, and an innate ability to pull off the near impossible.

Green often has customers come to him, struggling to find a way to create the project they have in mind. Filling the gaps with the design and craftsmanship is what has taken Horseshoe Forge and Ironworks to the next level.

“Anything made out of metal that people can’t find anymore, they come and see me,” Green said.

Whether it’s small trinkets for a keychain or a hand-crafted specialty knife, and anything in between, Green finds a way to make it happen.

This latest venture of running his own business has exploded since its establishment in September 2017.

“About a year and a half ago, I did a bluegrass festival in Granite Hill,” Green said. Green’s displays and dedication have earned him a reputation, rocketing his business to new heights. “With all the promoters, now, people call me and ask me to come out. It’s just been growing and growing.”

There is no limit to what Green can create from the comfort of his garage, but it isn’t the money that gets him out of bed every morning. Green came into contact with a father from Alabama, desperately trying to raise enough money for his daughter.

“I sent some stuff down to a guy who was trying to send his autistic child to camp in Alabama. I sent a hand-forged tomahawk and a knife down, and with that they raised enough money to send that little girl to camp for two weeks. The email that the gentleman sent me back was well worth it.”

The joy Green gets from creating something he’s proud of is what pushes him to pursue his passion, but even though Horseshoe Forge and Ironworks is a one-man show, Green still needs a little help from time to time.

“My wife helps out when we go to shows sometimes,” Green said. “Diana really, more or less, supported me throughout this whole thing. There were times when I wanted to quit, but she told me I wasn’t a quitter and that was it.” Green also has an official chief of security dog on staff, Riley, who protects and supports him throughout his work day.

The long-time welder turned blacksmith has big plans for the future, but Green is taking his work step by step. “Our dream is to open up a retail store somewhere,” he said. For now, the plan is to keep putting out the best product possible for his customers.

Even though Green is officially retired, running his own blacksmithing business has been far from work. “I don’t consider this a job,” expressed Green. “It’s more like a nice opportunity to expand my imagination.”

Check out Horseshoe Forge and Ironworks online to see more of Green’s work at

Harold Smith worked as a welder for 40 years before opening his own business in 2017.

Opening Ceremonies Will Honor Three Local Organizations

The 63rd Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show’s opening ceremonies will be held at Catoctin High School on Friday night, September 6, at 7:00 p.m.  The evening will begin with the 43rd Annual Community Organizations Flag Ceremony, with approximately 30 local organizations participating.  This year’s program will honor the 50th anniversary of the Seton Center in Emmitsburg, and the 100th anniversary of the Edwin C. Creeger, Jr. American Legion Post #168 of Thurmont and the Francis X. Elder American Legion Post #121 of Emmitsburg. At the end of the evening, the 2019-2020 Catoctin FFA Chapter Ambassador will be announced.    

The Seton Center in Emmitsburg provides emergency assistance with rent and utilities; financial literacy education; job search and support; case management; information and referrals; access to dental health care; life skills workshops; and Getting Ahead in a Just-Getting-By World program, which teaches people self-sufficiency, finance and budgeting, and how to create a sustainable way out of poverty.

The Seton Family Store is very popular with a selection of quality items; the support of the Family Store helps the outreach programs operate. The Seton Center relies on the generosity of donors and funds from the store to continue helping our neighbors in need. Honorees from The Seton Center are Kelly Overholtzer; Sister Roberta Treppa, D. C.; Kenneth Droneburg; and Melissa Miller. 

The American Legion organization was founded in 1919 by Veterans returning from Europe after World War I, and was later chartered as an official American patriotic society that carries on the tradition to support Veterans, families, and their community. The Legion continues to volunteer in patriotic service of mutual help to our Veterans and has touched virtually every facet of American life; and, to this day, they carry on the objective to serve the community, state, and nation. 

Honorees from Emmitsburg’s Francis X. Elder American Legion Post #121 are: Thomas E. Hoke, Edward E. Lingg, Martin R. Williams, Paul J. Sutton, Sanford R. McGuire, and Kevin Cogan. 

Honorees from Thurmont’s Edwin C. Creeger, Jr. American Legion Post #168 are: Sidney A. Wolf, James L. Mackley, Alvin L. Hatcher, Rick L. Hall, Robert H. Brennan, and Edward A. Gravatt.

The Linda Elower Studio of Dance will also be honored for their 50th anniversary during its Saturday, September 7 performance at 1:00 p.m. 

The annual Community Show Baked Goods Auction will begin immediately following the program, with the Grand Champion Cake, Pie, and Bread being sold at 9:00 p.m. Bidder number registration is on the auditorium’s stage, so come on out and support the 63rd Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show!

In conjunction with many other Community Show events and activities, on Saturday, September 7, the Thurmont Grange will serve a roasted turkey and country ham buffet dinner in the Catoctin High School cafeteria, from 3:00-7:00 p.m. Prices are: Adults—$14.00; children under 12—$7.00, and children under 5—$5.00. Carryout dinners are $15.00. On Sunday, September 8, at noon, the Catoctin FFA Alumni will serve a chicken bar-b-que dinner in the Catoctin High School cafeteria. Prices are: Adults—$10.00; under 12—$7.00. Carryout dinners are $11.00.

Community Show’s Entertainment Showcases Local & International Talent

Don’t miss the performance of Thurmont’s Gateway Brass Ensemble on Saturday, September 7, from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Thurmont’s Gateway Brass Ensemble was formed in September 2017, under the direction of Morris Blake. The Gateway Brass Ensemble is very unique, in that it blends contemporary sounds with the traditional brass genre. The Gateway Brass Ensemble members span many generations, which makes this group’s talent shine!

Richard Troxell will perform in the auditorium on Saturday, September 7, from 8:00-9:00 p.m. Richard Troxell’s beautiful lyric tenor voice has been thrilling audiences in leading roles in opera houses and on concert stages around the world, among them are The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Los Angeles Opera, Washington Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Diego Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Australia in Sydney, Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari, L’Opéra Comique Paris, Opéra Monte Carlo, Théâtredu Capitôle de Toulouse, Opéra National de Montpellier, Vancouver Opera, Opéra de Montréal, Teatro de la Maestranza de Sevilla, Teatro del Lago Chile, National Theater for the Performing Arts Beijing, National Theater Taipei, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and the Portland Opera. His vocal artistry and powerful stage presence set him apart, and his ability to connect with audiences has made him a favorite.

Richard’s recording credits include his latest two solo CDs, So in Love with the Tom Lawton Trio, Classic Broadway with the Czech National Symphony under the baton of maestro Steven Mercurio, the role of Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly for the Sony label, the role of Beppe in I Pagliacci for the Deutsche Gramophone label under the baton of Georges Prêtre, the role of Christian in Cyrano de Bergerac for the Deutsche Gramophone label, the role of Galieo in Philip Glass” Galileo Galilea for the Orange Mt. label, and numerous recordings for the Milken Archive of Jewish Music on the Naxos Label, including Masada by Marvin David Levy with the Berlin Radio Symphony and his first sold-out solo CD Wonderful World. Richard Troxell is from Thurmont, where he started singing at the age of four, along with his parents, belting out Broadway tunes at Lions Club benefits and singing hymns in the church choir. He graduated from Catoctin High School in 1979. He received his operatic training at the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He currently resides in the countryside of Chester County, Pennsylvania, with his wife, dancer/choreographer Lisa Lovelace, and their two sons, Wilder and Shane.

When not performing, he enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, motorcycling, hiking, and long-distance bicycle riding.

The Catoctin Mountain Boys will be performing in the auditorium on Sunday, September 8, from 1:00-3:00 p.m.  

Enjoy Catoctin’s local talent in the Catoctin High School auditorium during the 63rd Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show! 

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show offers free admission and free parking. For more information, please visit www.thurmontemmitsburg

The Catoctin Mountain Boys (from left), Shane Swope, Bob Brown, Joe Brown, Dave Lingg, and Adam Brown, perform on September 8, 2019, at the 63rd Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show.

James Rada, Jr.

The Emmitsburg Boys and Girls Club starts this month on September 3 in Emmitsburg Elementary School.

The club is part of the Boys and Girls Club of Frederick County. It is an after-school program that provides a safe and friendly place for Emmitsburg students to gather, learn, and have fun.

According to Lisa McDonald, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Frederick County, a typical day in the club includes a snack, time to complete homework, and an enrichment activity. On occasion, the students will have field trips for different activities.

“Each day is a little bit different,” McDonald said. “We use several outcome-based curriculums to teach things like healthy habits, STEM, and character development.”

The club starts directly after school and continues until 6:00 p.m.

“When school closes early, we open early to accommodate,” McDonald said. Also, on days when school is closed, the club will meet at Christ Community Church in Emmitsburg.

The program, which is funded by a Frederick County Community Partnership Grant, serves 45 students and is open to everyone. The Town of Emmitsburg has also committed around $10,000 to the program, just as they did with the former after-school program.

“We are hoping to grow the program in Northern Frederick County,” expressed McDonald. However, the Emmitsburg Club is currently focusing on students in Emmitsburg Elementary, where a United Way study identified a need for such a program.

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs worked to convince the Boys and Girls Club to come to Emmitsburg.

“Their program is terrific,” said Briggs. “It complements the schools and helps develop a well-rounded person. It’s also another thing for youth in town to do.”

Students can register for the club online at The cost of the program is $15 annually and $40 a month for each month school is in session.

Emmitsburg Food Bank/Catoctin Pregnancy Center Relocate

This month, the Emmitsburg Food Bank and the Catoctin Pregnancy Center move from the old mill location on the east side of Emmitsburg to a new location up-town (meaning “up hill” into town), near the Emmitsburg Elementary School playground in the former W.S. Drywall offices at 130 South Seton Avenue (in the rear of the building) as of September 1. The food bank and pregnancy center will be closed the last week of August for the move.

At the new facility, Catoctin Pregnancy Center hours will remain the same: Monday and Friday, 1:00-3:00 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 7:00-8:00 p.m. Whereas, the Emmitsburg Food Bank hours will change to Tuesday, 6:00-7:00 p.m.; Wednesday, 7:00-8:00 p.m.; Friday, 3:30-4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Everyone is excited about the new location, which features more space and easier access. Please be patient while volunteers settle in. Director Phyllis Kelly said, “We invite anyone that needs help with food or during pregnancy to check us out.”

The former location of the Catoctin Pregnancy Center/Emmitsburg Food Bank was on East Main Street.

The new location is the rear entrance of the property at 130 South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg.

Courtesy Photos

The family of John and Betty Brown donated a wood and glass display case from Brown’s Jewelry & Gifts, which closed recently, to the Thurmont Historical Society. John passed away in July of this year and Betty died in 2009. According to Stacey Brown-Hobbs, her mother, Betty, displayed her favorite items in the case near the front of the store.

On Saturday, August 31, 2019, beginning at 10:00 a.m., Brown’s Jewelry & Gift Store at 9 Water Street in Thurmont will be celebrating the memory of John and Betty Brown with a Customer Appreciation Day. Light refreshments will be available, as well as a special discount for that day only. The Brown’s Jewelry Store family and staff are forever grateful for the prayers and support the community has given throughout the years.

Pictured from left are Joey Miller, Barb Barbe, Stacey Brown-Hobbs, Eric Hobbs, Emily Hobbs, ShaLeigh Saylor, and Michael Hobbs.

The annual Mount Tabor Church Big Picnic and Baby Show was held on Saturday, August 10, 2019, at Mt. Tabor Park in Rocky Ridge. A total of 42 babies—24 girls and 18 boys—participated in the show. The youngest baby was two-and-a-half-week-old Castiel Frushour, son of the late Austin Frushour and Angel Sharrer of Thurmont. Skyler Frizzell, daughter of Veronica Frizzell, traveled the farthest distance, from Selbyville, Delaware. There were no twins or triplets in this year’s Baby Show. Babies placed in three categories: prettiest girl, cutest boy, and chubbiest baby, in five age categories from 1 day to 24 months old. 

There were seven babies in the 1 day to 3-month-old category: the prettiest girl was Grace Miller, 2-month-old daughter of Tiffany and Will Miller of Hanover, Pennsylvania; the cutest boy was John William Reever, Jr., 2-month-old son of John and Danielle Reever of Hagerstown; the chubbiest baby was Atticus Lamb, 3-month-old son of Jessica and Scott Lamb of Frederick.

There were also seven babies registered in the next age group: the prettiest girl in the 4- to 6-month-old category was Emery Click, 6-month-old daughter of Morgan and Vance Click of Emmitsburg; the cutest boy was Kovalan Rosensteel, 5-month-old son of Asia and Matthew Rosensteel of Thurmont; the chubbiest baby was Raegan Davis, 5-month-old daughter of Tyler and Noah Davis of Thurmont.

Of the twelve babies in the 7- to 12-month-old category, Adelaide Shoemaker, 10-month-old daughter of Whitney and Dustin Shoemaker of Thurmont, was judged the prettiest girl; the cutest boy was Jackson Grimsley, 7-month-old son of Jordan and Whitney Grimsley of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Jaxson Cool, 11-month-old son of Mary Glass and John Cool of Thurmont, was named the chubbiest baby.

In the 13- to 18-month-old category, there were ten babies: Scarlett Lutman, 14-month-old daughter of Shannon and Matt Lutman of Walkersville, was judged the prettiest girl; the cutest boy was Carter Staub of Thurmont, 17-month-old son of Ashley and Justin Staub; the chubbiest baby was Angelo Bonasero, 16-month-old son of Michelle and Jason Bonasero of Frederick.

In the 19- to 24-month-old category, there were six babies. Izabella Putman, 22-month-old daughter of Andy and Kelly Putman of Woodsboro, was named the prettiest girl; Kace Boyer, 19-month-old son of Kathleen and Brian Boyer of Ijamsville, was named the cutest boy; the chubbiest baby was Skylar Herr, 20-month-old daughter of Dawn Wood and David Herr of Thurmont.

Please join in the fun again next year on the second Saturday of August at Mt. Tabor Park. You may register your baby (or babies) who ranges in age from 1 day to 24 months, 0 days.  Watch your local newspaper for more details, including registration time.

Ray Dove and his eight-month-old daughter, Cornelia, of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, are all smiles at the annual Mount Tabor Church Big Picnic and Baby Show.

Theresa Dardanell

Catoctin High School welcomes Jennifer Clements, Principal; Kelly Welty, Administrative Secretary; Olivia Aungst, English Teacher; Brian Brotherton, Science Teacher; Derrick Kaas, Math Teacher; Shawn Lees-Carr, English Teacher; Christopher Maze, Latin Teacher; Kaitlyn Masotta, Spanish Teacher; Stephanie Felmet, User Support Specialist.

Thurmont Middle School welcomes Rebecca Hunter, Language Arts Teacher; Todd Zinn, Career Technology Teacher; Brianne Green, History Teacher; Robert Almovodar, World Language Teacher; Aimee Watkins, Math Teacher; Krystal McKenzie, Special Education Instructional Assistant.

Thurmont Elementary School welcomes Sandy Smith, Media Specialist; Harry Hanna, Fifth Grade Teacher; Tammy Ferrell, Third Grade Teacher; Aaron Johnson, Physical Education Teacher; Kathryn Zumbrun, Music Teacher; Tammy Cody, User Support Specialist; Amanda Chapman, Beth Cochran, and Donna Smith, Special Education Instructional Assistants.

Thurmont Primary School welcomes Dr. Michele Baisey, Principal.

Lewistown Elementary School welcomes Ryan Hench, Art Teacher; Ashley Hood, Special Education Teacher; Allyson Gwinn, Fourth Grade Teacher; Emma Jozwiak, Third Grade Teacher; Todd Cutsail and Leslie Carbaugh, Pyramid Teachers.

Sabillasville Elementary School welcomes Jill Dutrow, Art Teacher; Gary Burgess, Physical Education Teacher; Carrie Trax, Music Teacher; Christine Ortiz, Special Education Instructional Assistant.

The Thurmont High School Class of 1952 met at the Thurmont Grange Hall in June.

Pictured from left are: (seated) Barbara Bittner Abraham and Betty Baker Trite; (standing) Virginia Dewees Portner, Charles Portner, Harold Long, Dorothy Jackson Ramsberg, Rodman Myers, Doris Nunamaker Dougherty, Sylvester Hann, Betty Willard, Jean Wolfe Cline, and Eugene Schoonover.

Thanks to the generosity of the supporters of the James H. Mackley Golf Day event for the past years, the Guardian Hose Company Inc. has awarded over $10,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors from Catoctin High School.

The scholarship was awarded to Caitlyn Naff this past year. The Guardian Hose Company will be renewing scholarships for Lauren Ames again this year. In the spring, the Guardian Hose Company will be once again presenting a local graduating student a scholarship in honor of James H. Mackley’s name to a student that wants to continue with an education in the public safety field (Fire, EMS, Police, etc).

Pictured are Terry Frushour and Caitlyn Naff.

Joan Bittner Fry

As I peruse more “stuff” in my house, I look back 70-some years to my days as a patrolman at Sabillasville Elementary School.  Some of my teachers were Naomi Martin Waynant, Margaret Leatherman Dutrow, Loretta Kincaid, and Maurice Clarke.

When a student arrived at the upper grades, a coveted duty was to become a safety patrolman.  The Automobile Association of America (AAA) sponsored School Safety Patrol, and it was an honored position, which began in 1922. It was established for traffic safety, but since we had no streets to cross, our assignments were hall patrolman, recess patrolman, or bus patrolman. This was quite a position to hold since one could be the boss of one’s peers for a time and then take names and report findings to higher-ups, namely teachers. We wore a patrolman’s canvas belt and were issued badges.  Mine says “Patrolman School Safety Patrol” centered with AAA.

Rules and regulations included: reporting for duty on time, performing duties faithfully, striving to prevent accidents, always setting a good example, and reporting dangerous activities of other students. Approval of a parent or guardian was required before taking on this position.

I couldn’t be a bus patrolman since my siblings and neighbors and I walked over a mile to school. I was a hallway patrolman. Some infractions were running the steps, pushing or shoving, talking, chewing gum, or otherwise being unruly. Bullying was not in our vocabulary; however, circumstances weren’t much different from today. Even then there were fellow students who wanted to be first, those who had to speak out, and others who wanted to bend the rules. We just didn’t have a name for it, and maybe that was a good thing.

Going on to Thurmont in eighth grade, the School Safety Patrol took a trip to Washington, D.C., where we marched in the annual parade.  The photo above is of Charlie Wastler (whom I met in eighth grade at Thurmont High School) and me on that trip. We became lifelong friends. Notice Charlie’s belt and cap. This was 1951 and may have been the first bus trip I ever took.  The other photo is my collection of School Safety Patrol memorabilia (above, left).

by Buck Reed

In cooking, there is a hierarchy of dishes, cuisines, and ingredients that most everyone can agree on. But, like most things in life, the simple pleasures are the best pleasures of life. For this reason, I suspect that the biscuit gets the entire month of September to itself.

Good bread is a staple at any meal, but a warm, tasty biscuit can take the spotlight anytime. Biscuits are relatively easy to make compared with bread. Once you learn to make them, they can actually be the most wonderful afterthought you can add to any meal. Good people cook, the best people bake, and I am not even sure you can consider yourself a good person if you can’t make a biscuit. All the great literary characters in Western novels made biscuits, and most considered it a higher calling. Augustus McCrae wouldn’t let anyone besides himself make the morning biscuits.

So, why a whole month dedicated to biscuits? I would suspect because even if it actually has a mixing method named after it—the biscuit mixing method— there are actually a number of ways to create a biscuit. Taking 30 days to explore and experiment with these methods may actually seem like a short time to dedicate to this undertaking. The ingredients are simple enough: flour, fat, salt, and liquid mixed together in the proper proportions, order, and technique, will yield a good biscuit. Of course, like with most simple things, you can complicate them with the addition of other ingredients. Cheese, ham, bacon, and fresh herbs can be added to make a unique addition to flavor. During the Civil War when flour was at a shortage, they made biscuits with sweet potatoes. And like most things made out of necessity, they soon found their way into our repertoire because they are just that tasty. 

The idea is not so much what you can do with a biscuit, but what a biscuit can do for you. Because they can be made so quickly, they have saved me on several occasions. Once, when the bread didn’t quite work out due to bad yeast, we threw together a cheddar biscuit just in time to save the meal. Another time, when the dessert wasn’t cutting it—and you gotta have dessert—a biscuit became strawberry shortcake. We do not use the word fail on the cruise ships.

A quick breakfast sandwich, an accompaniment at tea, an essential in biscuits and gravy, and a necessity for any stew, are just a few of the many uses for biscuits. In fact, you can make a biscuit every day this month and you might not have to serve them the same way twice. Try it!

And, if you want to talk about memorable, I would wager almost everyone can remember the best biscuit they ever had and who made it for them.

Story Written by James Rada, Jr.

Part 3: Unfair Education

“The Anger of Innocence” is a six-part original serial set in the Graceham area during 1973. Serialized fiction is something that older newspapers often did as an additional way to entertain their readers. We thought it was about time for serial to make a comeback. Let us know what you think.

Sarah Adelsberger woke in the morning feeling tired rather than refreshed. She hadn’t dreamed about the birds covering Christine Weber and the teenager not being there when the birds flew off. She hadn’t even dreamed about bringing the bird with the broken neck back to life. She would have expected to have nightmares about those things because they had happened, but she had dreamed about something that hadn’t even happened.

In her nightmare, she had argued with Mrs. Zentz, her science teacher. She couldn’t remember what they argued about, only that they had been shouting back and forth. While Sarah believed Mrs. Zentz didn’t like her, the teacher had never treated Sarah as poorly as she had in the dream. The teacher made fun of Sarah’s questions and laughed at her answers. She called Sarah a “stupid, fat girl.” Sarah had also felt a lot angrier toward the teacher than she had ever felt in real life. Maybe it was because of the way the dream teacher acted, but Sarah had felt disconnected from her dream self. Although she was awake now, Sarah still seethed with anger.

She got herself ready in a fog. She dreaded going to school because she knew Christine wouldn’t be there. Christine was a popular student, and people would wonder where she was. No one except Sarah’s family would have cared if Sarah had gone missing.

At Thurmont Middle School, Sarah heard Marci Robertson say Christine was supposed to come over to her house after school, but Christine had never showed up. John Poole mentioned that Christine hadn’t seemed sick yesterday, and she was probably playing hooky.

Most kids wanted to talk about all the birds that were in the area. The thousands of blackbirds, grackles, cowbirds, and starlings had started arriving in the area yesterday, and only Sarah knew that she was the reason they had come. She didn’t know how she had called them or how to make them go away, but her aunt had explained to Sarah that she had power.

Sarah walked into her science class and felt angry at the sight of her teacher. Mrs. Zentz was a few years older than Sarah’s mother, but not as old as Mrs. Smith, Sarah’s English teacher, who looked like a dried apple. Mrs. Zentz’s straight, red hair had to be dyed, as bright as it was, and her dark, brown eyes felt like daggers when they narrowed in on you. When Mrs. Zentz smiled at Sarah, all Sarah could do was frown.

During the lesson, Sarah heard some other students murmuring. She turned around in her chair to ask what was happening, and she saw a line of blackbirds and starlings perched on the windowsill. They all faced into the classroom, and they were all staring at Mrs. Zentz.

The teacher tried to ignore them, but she kept casting glances over her shoulder toward the windows. Then she would stare at Sarah.

Sarah’s bad dreams continued, and they were wearing the young girl down. As the weeks progressed, she became sullen and depressed. She lost her appetite and started losing weight. Even the Christmas break didn’t improve her mood. She still dreamed of Mrs. Zentz, but now, they physically fought each other in Sarah’s dreams, punching, kicking, and pulling hair.

Sarah’s father wrote off her attitude as one of the unpleasant symptoms of puberty. Her mother didn’t seem as certain. She kept asking Sarah what was bothering her, but Sarah knew her mother wouldn’t understand. Only Aunt Anna knew what Sarah was going through. She gave Sarah exercises to do to control her power. Sarah did them and felt she was making progress. Then she would try to make the birds leave, but instead, more flew into Graceham.

The longer the birds stayed, the more problems they caused. Dead birds abounded. People hit them with their cars. Other birds starved because there wasn’t enough food for what was now estimated up to 10 million birds. Chirping and shrieking kept residents awake at night. The birds coated the ground with their droppings.

When Christine never returned to school, the playing hooky story changed to her running away from home. This only seemed to make her even more popular because students thought she ran away to chase her dream to be a singer in New York City.

When spring arrived, Sarah’s father often talked about the Frederick County Government’s efforts to drive the birds off. County employees tried loud noises and explosions to scare the birds away, but it didn’t work. Next, they tried thinning out the pine grove where many of the birds liked to perch, but that didn’t work either.

Sarah had come to accept the birds and didn’t mind them. If her aunt was right, they were here to help her. That thought brought her a small measure of peace of mind, before her nightmares drove it away each night.

Sarah watched the birds sitting on the windowsill outside of her science class every day. The number of birds had increased so that they were jammed wing to wing on the sill. They all still looked into the classroom, and they all still stared at Mrs. Zentz.

“The birds must want to know more about science,” Mrs. Zentz sometimes joked.

No one mentioned that hers was the only classroom where the birds gathered, and that they were only there during Sarah’s science class. Odd questions without answers no one wanted to ask.

Sarah still had no idea how to control the birds, which she didn’t mind so much now, seeing how she had forced the cowbird to break its neck against a wall in November.


Sarah’s head jerked around to face front. Mrs. Zentz had asked her a question.

“Pay attention,” the teacher said. “I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of birds these past few months.”

Although Mrs. Zentz still smiled, Sarah could tell having the birds only on her windowsill worried her. She had become short-tempered since last fall, although she still wasn’t as mean as dream Mrs. Zentz.

“I like watching the birds,” Sarah said.

“Well, you can watch them when you’re not in class. It’s not like they’re hard to find. Now please explain the process of photosynthesis to the class.”

Sarah’s anger surged. She wanted to scream and yell at the teacher. Instead, she controlled herself and said, “No.” The other students whispered, “Oooooo!”

Mrs. Zentz put her hands on her hips. “No?”

“That’s right.”

“And do you have a reason for that?”

“I don’t want to. I want to watch the birds.”

“Then perhaps you’d like to watch them while you’re in detention.”

Sarah shook her head and turned away from her teacher. “No, I’ll watch them now.”

The teacher walked over next to Sarah’s desk. “What has gotten into you, Sarah? You are being insubordinate.”

“And you’re being nasty and mean,” Sarah said without turning back.

Mrs. Zentz slapped her desk. “Enough! Take your books and go to the office. I will call down and tell them to expect you.”

Sarah stood up quickly, knocking over her desk chair. Mrs. Zentz jumped back, and Sarah smiled. She pulled her books out of her desk and stomped to the door to the class. She didn’t even bother to pick up her overturned chair.

As she left, the birds pecked hard at the windows. When one of the panes cracked, some students yelled in surprise. It lasted only a few seconds until Sarah was out of the door and walking down the hall.

Blair Garrett

Fall sports for high schools across the country kick off each September, and Catoctin High’s student-athletes are finishing up training camp and entering their respective seasons, eager for the competition to begin.

After a long off-season for summer break, Catoctin High athletics is just getting back into the swing of things. Preseason and the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season offer coaches and players a chance to build the chemistry and team cohesiveness that makes a good team great. So, let’s take a look at what you can expect for the Cougars this coming season.

Football: Following up a stellar 2018 campaign for the Cougars is no easy feat. Catoctin High football rocketed off to a 10-1 start before falling in the playoffs, but this 2019 squad is up for the challenge to match or exceed last year’s success. The team, led by head coach Doug Williams, kicks off its season in what is sure to be a close-fought rivalry game against Boonsboro High School.

The Cougars won both matchups against the Warriors last season, and they’ll look to replicate their winning ways in both games against Boonsboro this season. Catoctin’s season opener begins September 6, at Boonsboro High School.

Golf: The earliest start to Catoctin sports comes from the Cougars’ golf team, opening the season with a quad-school morning matchup in late August, followed in the afternoon by another bout against Governor Thomas Johnson High School. The co-ed golf program features athletes typically competing against one or multiple schools at a time, vying for the lowest scores per hole to earn a victory for their school. The Catoctin golf program in 2018 found success, sending an athlete to compete at the collegiate level, which is promising for student-athletes competing for the Cougars in 2019 and seasons to come.

Cross Country: Catoctin cross country has been historically successful in the past, winning multiple championships back-to-back just a few years ago. The girls and boys season starts August 29, in a tri-school meet against Frederick High School and Brunswick High School. With various talented runners leading the team, the Cougars should be in form for another exciting season.

Field Hockey: The Catoctin field hockey team is the only sport to begin its 2019 fall season on its home turf, taking on the Eagles of Francis Scott Key High School. Catoctin field hockey is looking to get off to a hot start this season to continue improving and competing against the toughest competition. The Cougars face off in the season opener on September 10 at 4:00 p.m.

Soccer: The boys and girls soccer teams struggled to gain traction last season, but a fresh new season and fresh new faces leading the charge could be just what the Cougars need to get the squads back on track to find success on the field once again. Both crews ignite a new season on the road September 10 against familiar foe, Francis Scott Key High School. 

Volleyball: Catoctin High volleyball is the final of the fall sports to get underway, and the Cougars have ample time to prepare for a grueling schedule ahead. Catoctin volleyball found success on the road last season, going 5-2 in the opponent’s home court, which is great news looking forward to this season, as the team hits the road for its season opener against Walkersville High School on September 12.   

You can catch all the action this upcoming season and support your local high school by checking out schedules online and staying tuned for further coverage of local athletics throughout the school year.