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Deb Abraham Spalding

At the Catoctin Mountain Orchard in Thurmont, apples aren’t just grown and sold, various varieties are studied, cultivated, and found! Congratulations to Robert (Bob) Black, of Catoctin Mountain Orchard, for earning the 2020 Apple Grower of the Year Award title.

The American Fruit Grower Apple Grower of the Year Award was created 31 years ago by the editor of American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® magazines. It is presented annually and honors apple growers who have gone beyond the confines of the orchard and have, through their involvement and leadership, made a real impact on the apple industry due to their efforts in innovative production, marketing, horticultural, and management practices while being actively involved in associations and simultaneously taking a strong role in the apple industry.

Bob gives a lot of credit for this award to his father, the late Harry Black, who taught his children, Bob and Pat, the meaning of hard work at the orchard, leadership in the community, and cooperation and collaboration among apple growers with innovative growing practices.

Additionally, Bob gives credit to his family. He’s adamant, saying, “Yeah, I got the award, but basically, it belongs to the Catoctin Orchard family. I was just the one who traveled and took time to pursue other facets of the orchard business because my hardworking sister (Pat) kept things handled at home.” He explained, “This award went to me personally, but it really should go to our whole operation. It’s a team effort. All of my family and staff members do the work and make me look good…I’ve got to mention my family including my son, Christopher who represents the third generation along with Katlyn and Kylie the fourth generation who all help work this orchard.”

Bob feels that he wouldn’t be in the position to earn this award had it not been for a pivotal visit to the orchard from the University of Maryland’s Extension Specialist, Ben Rogers and University of Maryland Professor of Horticulture Dr. Arthur Thompson in the late 1970s where they suggested that Harry plant a relatively new variety of apple named Gala.

Many customers started shopping at the market for more Gala apples. Growing all those Gala apples is what led to an important discovery in 1995. To ensure top flavor all workers were advised to pick only the ripe apples leaving all green left on the trees. Three weeks after picking all the gala apples there was one tree that stood out. Bob was driving down the orchard road when he noticed one limb that had 60% red over yellow apples. “I thought we had picked everything down there, what the heck is that?”. It appeared to be a limb sport off of a normal ‘Gala’ tree that was clearly different and much later. Not only was this variety more red in color but it achieved the ‘noisy’ solid crunch with a sweet, crisp flavor. We contacted a well-known Nurseryman, Wally Heuser, to confirm that the Blacks latest discovery was in fact a new variety. The patent name was “Harry Black Gala” named after his dad, but the “Trade Name” was Autumn Gala which have planted all over the country. Unfortunately, Harry died in 1998 before the patent was issued.

To date, Bob remains involved with growing and experimenting with apples. He is a member of several professional organizations dedicated to orchards and growing fruit. He grafts and tests new varieties and shares his information for others to benefit.

Several of his peers commented about Bob’s impact in a Growing Produce article by David Eddy. “Mark Boyer of Ridgetop Orchards in Fishertown, PA, is a former chairman of the U.S. Apple Association, and the son of Dan Boyer, the 2006 Apple Grower of the Year. He said, ‘Bob Black has been a staple in the Mid-Atlantic fruit-growing region for decades. He has served on almost every board position available both in fruits and vegetables to social and community. Always the first to help and the last to complain.’”

If you’ve made any rounds to agricultural, school, or community service banquets in our area, or the State of Maryland for that matter, you will have noticed that Catoctin Orchard is often represented in the door prize or fundraising giveaways with several boxes of apples or gift certificates. Bob’s always sharing the gift of the growers.

Robert (Bob) Black, recently named Apple Grower of the Year, is shown in the apple orchard at Catoctin Mountain Orchard in Thurmont.

Pictured in this circa 1992 photo by Bob Black are University of Maryland Extension Specialist, Ben Rogers (left), Professor of Horticulture at University of Maryland, Dr. Arthur Thompson (right), with Harry Black (center), looking at Magnus Pear blossoms to detect if any pollination from insects or bees has taken place.

Pictured are Katlyn Robertson, Sage (dog), and Bob Black.

Catoctin High School has a new STEM educational experience for students in Northern Frederick County: FIRST Robotics Competition Team 686, Bovine Intervention. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a non-profit organization founded in 1989 to encourage and inspire students to pursue, and excel in, STEM-related careers.

Bovine Intervention comprises high school students from across Frederick County (currently Walkersville and Linganore high schools). It includes mentor support from high school alumni, parents, businesses, and Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) staff. Being new to Catoctin High School and Northern Frederick County, the team now invites students, as well as parents, businesses, and other mentors from these areas, to join their team.

Students will forge new friendships and learn valuable tradecraft skills in engineering, programming, project planning, business management, and decision-making processes, as well as compete against other FIRST teams in formal robotics competitions. The team also has opportunities for expanding leadership skills, video photography, newsletter writing, and communications.

Bovine Intervention primarily relies on community and corporate sponsors for funding to cover costs for materials, competition fees, and other resources. Students, family, and friends also support the team through their time and donations.

Operating within FCPS, Bovine Intervention now welcomes students to participate virtually and begin their STEM educational experience with training in engineering principles, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), and programming skills. The team looks forward to getting back together, in person, during the 2021 FIRST Robotics Competition season, and will also plan additional activities to inspire the youth and increase team awareness in the community.

To join or sponsor the team, or be placed on its email list, please contact them at

To learn more about Bovine Intervention and FIRST, or for information and links to Facebook and Instagram sites, please visit the team website at

Students routing wires on the robot.

James Rada Jr.

It will definitely be a different year for education as schools work to balance education with coronavirus restrictions and parent concerns.

When school starts in Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) for student instruction on August 31, it will be without the usual pomp of parents taking first-day-of-school pictures and seeing children off on school buses. The Frederick County Board of Education decided in July that all students would learn remotely for at least the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year. Also, all athletics and extracurricular activities are suspended for this semester.

While the spring may have been hectic and confusing for students, the board of education announced it used feedback from students, parents, and teachers to improve virtual learning. According to the board, the enhancements include:

•   Increased live virtual interactions between students and educators.

•   A single, digital platform for students and parents to access instruction, communication, and feedback.

•   Robust professional learning opportunities for educators to increase their skill set for teaching in a virtual environment, which includes on-demand professional learning videos and courses for educators.

•   Student training videos that will enhance their abilities to access and learn in a virtual environment.

•   Strategies to focus on individual student needs.

•   Continued efforts to ensure every child can connect digitally.

According to a press release from the FCPS, students “will engage in a combination of real-time virtual instruction, instruction on an individual schedule, and completion of assigned tasks. In addition to teachers and school counselors, online learning mentors will also support students, offering designated office hours.”

Also, the grading system will return to normal.

Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg is offering students the choice between remote and classroom instruction. Parents decided which way they would like to have their children educated in the middle of August.

This decision was made in consultation with the Archdiocese of Baltimore and in seeking recommendations from public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and our state and local health authorities. The school will reopen for instruction on September 8.

“For parents who prefer in-school instruction, recommended and appropriate safety measures are in place, including the wearing of masks, social distancing measures, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection of the school and buses,” according to a release from the school.

Parents are not locked into their choice.

Principal Kathleen Kilty wrote in a letter to parents, “I understand that as the school year progresses, you may want to switch from in-person learning to remote learning, or from remote learning to in-person learning. One switch will be permitted. Additional switches will be discussed and decided on a case-by-case basis. It is important for the students and teachers to have consistency, and it is equally important that students participate in the best possible learning option.”

Both FCPS and Mother Seton School say they will reevaluate conditions as the school year progresses.

Gateway to the Cure Covered Bridge 5K

Register today for the Gateway to the Cure Covered Bridge 5K on September 15, 2020. Run/walk begins at 8:30 a.m. at Eyler Road Park in Thurmont. Social distancing guidelines will be in place. View the advertisement on page 17 for more details on how to register and how to get a T-shirt!

Thurmont Lions Club’s Sandwich Series

The Thurmont Lions Club is holding its popular sandwich sale at Bell Hill Farm on Rt. 15 in Thurmont on September 5, September 19, and October 10. Sale features pit beef, pork, ham, turkey, and ham sandwiches, plus fresh-cut fries, Lions recipe baked beans, drinks, baked goods, and more! View the advertisement on page 11 for more information.

Thurmont Community Ambulance’s Every Friday Night Bingo

Every Friday night, come and play Bingo at the Thurmont Event Complex on 13716 Strafford Drive in Thurmont. Doors open at 5:00 p.m., with games starting at 7:00 p.m. Jackpot up to $1,000! Bingo features tip jars. Food and cash bar is available. View the advertisement on page 46.

6th Annual Gateway to the Cure

Get ready to turn on your pink in October for Thurmont’s 6th Annual Gateway to the Cure. Turn on your outside pink light every night in October, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., to support breast cancer awareness and treatment at Frederick Memorial Hospital via the Patty Hurwitz Fund. View the advertisement on page 23 for more information.

Town of Emmitsburg Election Day — September 29

The Town of Emmitsburg is holding its Election Day on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, at 22 East Main Street, from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. The last day to register to vote with Frederick County is August 28, 2020.

Registration applications can be obtained at the Town Office, located at 300A South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg or by visiting Candidates must file written application for candidacy and their Financial Disclosures with the Town Clerk no later than August 28, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. All candidates will be posted on the Town bulletin board in the order they are received. The write-in deadline is September 22, 2020, at noon. The Mayor’s seat and one commissioner’s seat are up for election.

For more information, visit or call the Town Office at 301-600-6300. View the advertisement on page 20.

Indian Lookout Shotgun Shoots

Indian Lookout Conservation Club in Emmitsburg is holding its Shotgun Shoots on September 20, October 4 and 5, and November 1 and 15, 2020. Registration starts at noon; shoots start at 1:00 p.m. Masks and social distancing will be required. View the advertisement on page 13.

Fort Ritchie Bass Fishing Tournament

Fort Ritchie Community Center in Cascade is holding its Bass Fishing Tournament on Saturday, September 19, 2020, from 7:00-11:30 a.m. Event features cash prizes for adults, door prizes, raffles, and multiple age groups for youth. Maryland fishing license is required. Tournament is catch and release. View the advertisement on page 24 for more details and for ticket information.

First Baptist Church of Thurmont’s Annual Fall Festival

On September 20, 2020, the First Baptist Church of Thurmont is holding its Annual Fall Festival, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Come out and enjoy great food, 5.5 Band, The Puppet & Story Works, crafts, and games for the whole family! Everyone is welcome. View the advertisement on page 17 for more information.

Emmitsburg Lions Club Chicken Dinner BBQ

On Saturday, October 3, 2020, the Emmitsburg Lions Club will hold a Chicken BBQ at the Vigilant Hose Company Activities Building, located at 17701 Creamery Road in Emmitsburg. Dinners will be on sale from 11:00 a.m.  until they are sold out. So, come early to get a great chicken dinner! View the advertisement on page 16 for more information.

The First Annual Community Tribute to Americans Who Lost Their Lives on 9/11

The Thurmont Lions Club is hosting The First Annual Community Tribute to the thousands of Americans who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. The tribute will take place on September 11, 2020, at the Thurmont Memorial Park on Main Street in Thurmont at 6:00 p.m. The memorial will feature Color Guards from Scout Troop 270, American Legion Post 168, AMVETS Post 7, Sons of the American Revolution, patriotic music by the Gateway Brass Ensemble. This is a family-friendly event, and masks and social distancing will be observed. View the advertisement on page 21 for more details.

Celebrate Arbor Day in Emmitsburg

The Town of Emmitsburg is hosting a tree-planting event in the Emmitsburg Community Park on September 26, 2020, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Learn how to plant a tree by watching a demonstration by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, then help plant 15 new trees. Bring your own shovel. Face masks required. View advertisement on page 8 for more information.

Mt. Tabor Drive-Thru Festival

Don’t miss the Mt. Tabor Drive-Thru Festival at Mount Tabor Park in Rocky Ridge on September 26, 2020, from 3:00-6:30 p.m. Enjoy home-cooked food, soups, sandwiches, iced tea, and ice cream! Due to COVID-19 restrictions, please do not leave your vehicle and follow signs for flow of traffic. Masks are required when interacting with any greeters. Cash only, please. View the advertisement on page 16 for more information.

Yard Sale at the Thurmont Carnival Grounds

Thurmont’s Guardian Hose Company in Thurmont will host a huge Yard Sale on Friday and Saturday, September 9 and 10, 2020, from 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. on Friday and 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Saturday. Spaces (10’x14’) are available, and trailers can be accommodated. Bring your own tables. Food is available to purchase. Call Lori to sign up at 240-575-5469. View the advertisement on page 38 for more information.

Emmitsburg’s Evening of Dance in the Park

Escape the pandemic and come out for an Evening of Dance in the Park with Sticktime on Saturday, September 26, 2020, from 6:00-9:00 p.m., in the Emmitsburg Community Park, sponsored by Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day. Tickets are $10.00 and must be pre-purchased (tickets are limited). Food and drinks will be available for purchase. The Vigilant Hose Auxiliary will be selling ticket jars. View the advertisement on page 17 for more details and for how to buy your tickets today!

Slippery Pot Pie Take-Out

Lewistown United Methodist Church in Thurmont is holding a Slippery Pot Pie Take-Out on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 (chicken or country ham slippery pot pie by the quart), with pickup from 12:00-6:00 p.m. Advance orders only by October 16. Cost is $7.00 per quart. View the advertisement on page 36 for details on how to place your order today!

Graceham Moravian Church Holding Yard Sale

Graceham Moravian Church in Thurmont is holding a Yard Sale on Friday, September 25, and Saturday, September 26, 2020, from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. The rain date is October 2 and 3. You’ll find lots of items, including men’s,  women’s, and children’s clothing in all sizes; books; housewares; jewelry; furniture; and much more! All proceeds benefit the 2021 Youth Mission Trip. View the advertisement on page 8 for more information.


Mayor Don Briggs

Comparing last year and years before with this August is like comparing life in a parallel universe. Some of us are wrapping up vacations—although, most likely much different vacations than years past—and others are enjoying the last days at the community pool. With the exception of Mother Seton School students, most children are not returning to school. We are amidst a slow rollout of the governor’s “Stage II of the Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery” plan to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is so different, but let’s accept and protect those most vulnerable. We will get through it.

At the August regularly scheduled meeting, the town council concurred on extending the town voluntary conservation restraint by all users of town water. This perspective will be reassessed at the September 8 town meeting. Because our offices are housed in the county-owned community building that is closed, the meeting will be virtual.

As scheduled, the last day the pool will be open is Labor Day, September 7. We are working with pool management on opening the pool for at least one more weekend after Labor Day.

Business growth and the resale of homes in town is strong. Dunkin’ (Donuts) is still planning to open in early September.

From the engineers working on the Rutter’s convenient store and gas, all county approvals have been met. Now they are waiting on state highway entrance approval, and the Maryland Department of the Environment signing off on the stormwater pond.

We have before us a proposal for a 50,000-square-foot owner-user warehouse.

We have met with a developer for an extended-stay hotel that could well complement the needs of the Mount for student housing. There is strong interest from several developers of tracts of land off Irishtown Road that would afford the installation of a second street out of Northgate.

A daycare center provider has purchased the former food bank building on East Main Street and is proceeding with readapting the building for childcare use.

The Silo Hill stormwater basin retrofit virtual public outreach was successful. The retrofit is part of work necessary for the state for stormwater permit restoration. We have applied for a $34,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust plan. Completion is scheduled for 2021.

The North Seton Avenue Green Street conceptual plan that will abate storm runoff to the Northgate entrance at Northgate was presented to town council and approved to move to next step. We are applying for a grant from Chesapeake Bay Trust.

As a part of care for our 900 acres of forest land, we have entered our second logging contract on what we reference as Stand 6 for $37,500. The logging will be done in 2021. Last year, we logged Stand 5 and received $46,000. Just recently we followed up cutting with spraying for invasive species. Our forest care and logging are all done under a Maryland State Forestry plan and constant communication.

After being dismissed at a town meeting in 2009 and vowing to never comeback, Ryan Homes is coming back to Emmitsburg. It took several humble invitations, coupled with other influences to bring the builder back. Their intention is to build-out the remaining lots in the Brookfield subdivision. Within their noted mastery, they will find the workable market price-point for the new homes that eluded the builder.

As I mentioned last month, I am running for re-election for mayor in September. I want to keep working with you to make Emmitsburg even better. We have had great success over the last nine years. We have revitalized the downtown, “the foyer to all our homes,” connected our community with sidewalks for the first time and embarked on so many cost-saving renewable energy initiatives. How did we do this while reducing taxes 14 percent? We did it with $531,000 in grant awards and partnering with the state. Costs are still going up, and revenue dollars are starting to wane, so we must look to newer technological opportunities and grants. We are ready.

These are challenging times, but we can meet any challenge if we work together as we have during my term as mayor.

As always, thank you.


 Mayor John Kinnaird

Thurmont households have until September 30 to respond to the U.S. Census. So far, 81.8 percent of Thurmont households have responded to the 2020 Census, while the statewide response rate is 68 percent. Let’s make it a 100 percent response from Thurmont residents! Census data is used to determine how your federal tax dollars are distributed in our communities for programs that touch every one of our residents, from our infants to our senior citizens. Every Thurmont resident not counted can mean an annual shortfall of $1,800 in federal investment in our community. Please remember that the Census is private and confidential. All households have until September 30 to respond online, via mail, at, or by phone at 1-844-330-2020 (English)/ 1-844-468-2020 (Spanish), or #MDBeCounted.

On Saturday, August 22, we gathered to dedicate the completed murals on the old H&F Trolley Substation building on East Main Street in Thurmont. Yemi has done a masterful job of capturing the history of Thurmont and the many highlights most of us take for granted that make our town a great place to live. This project was started several years ago by the Thurmont Lions Club as part of the Trolley Trail improvements. My thanks to Yemi for bringing his amazing vision and talent to this community arts project, and to all those who supported this wonderful endeavor. The recent additions were made possible by: Delaplaine Foundation, Dan Ryan Builders, Gateway Orthodontics, Thurmont Lions Club, Market Research & Resources, Ausherman Family Foundation, Main Street Maryland, Maryland State Arts Council, Imagination Center, Church of the Brethren, Frederick Arts Council, Frederick Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, Rowland Glass Studio, Marlene B. Young & Mike Young, Catoctin Colorfest Inc, George Delaplaine, an anonymous donor, and The Town of Thurmont. I encourage everyone to visit the substation building to have a look at Yemi’s artwork.

The Town of Thurmont has hosted a used oil dropoff site and a recycling dropoff for many years at the Public Works facility on Frederick Road. We are in the process of moving both of these facilities to a new location. The oil dropoff is temporarily closed during the move. Those with used oil looking for a dropoff should contact one of our local auto parts stores; they do accept used oil. The new facility will be open on September 1; watch for more information in your electric bill. I want to remind everyone that you should not leave oil filters, oil bottles, or other items at the oil dropoff. Be sure to put used oil only in the oil container, and antifreeze only in the antifreeze container. Recycling should be placed in the recycling roll-off. All boxes should be flattened before placing in the roll-off. There is a sign at the new location, indicating what can be recycled at this location. The roll-off is emptied regularly, but please do not leave your recycling on the ground if you find it full. Please bring it back later, or put it out on the regular recycling pick-up day.

Contact me with questions, comments, or concerns at or by phone at 301-606-9458.


Voluntary Water Restrictions Continue

Despite recent rains, Rainbow Lake and town wells are still not back to optimum levels. However, it has allowed the restrictions not to be tightened by the Emmitsburg mayor and commissioners. The current phase 1 water restrictions will continue.

Sanitary Changes for Election

Working with the Frederick County Board of Elections, the Town of Emmitsburg has enacted changes to this year’s election to comply with the coronavirus restrictions. Rather than three elections judges, this year, there will be four. One judge will serve as a greeter to control the flow of voters into the town municipal building on East Main Street. The judges will wipe down the voting booths after each voter, disinfect pens, and periodically wipe down the ballot box and sign-in table.

Other changes include that masks will be required for entry into the voting room and suggested use of hand sanitizer upon entry. Only two voters will be allowed in the room at once, tape markings will be placed on the floor and ground to ensure social distancing, and the judges will wear gloves and face masks.

Election Judges Appointed

The Emmitsburg commissioners appointed Lynn Orondorff as the chief election judge this year. Charlotte Mazaleski and Tammy May were appointed as judges. Tracey Lewis was appointed as the greeter, and Deborah Arnold will be the alternate judge/greeter.

Contract for Sheriff’s Deputies Approved

The Emmitsburg commissioners approved the contract with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office for two community deputies. The contract is unchanged and will cost the town $272,614 for fiscal year 2021, which is $12,010 less than the current contract. The difference is due to a change in personnel.

Amendments Updated

The Emmitsburg commissioners voted to forward a subdivision amendment and a zoning amendment to the planning commission for review and comment. Town Planner Zach Gulden went through these amendments to clean them up, update them, and correct errors. The commissioners expect to hold a public hearing on the amendments and changes next month.

Green Street Project Moves Forward

The Emmitsburg commissioners approved a contract with Fox & Associates for the green street conceptual plan along North Seton Avenue. The contract is for $19,825. Most of this cost is covered by Chesapeake Bay Trust grant. The town will actually pay $2,287 for the study.

Hand Sanitizing Stations in Parks

Hand sanitizing stations have been placed in Emmitsburg town parks and along town trails to help ensure community safety. If you find a sanitizing station that is empty or has other problems, e-mail the town office with the issue at


Town Considering a Parking Deck

The mayor and commissioners are weighing the pros and cons of building a parking deck over the Thurmont Municipal Parking Lot. Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick got a quote from a concrete manufacturer, so the council would have some actual numbers to work with as they consider the idea.

To build a deck over the current parking lot would increase the number of parking spaces from 42 to 98 and cost $1,481,000. This covers only the cost of a pre-fab concrete construction. Additional costs would be incurred for electrical, plumbing, and an elevator.

Mayor John Kinnaird said the information was “a great starting point.”

Although Commissioner Marty Burns wasn’t thrilled with the price, he said it was less than he thought it would be. He also sees having additional parking in town as an economic development initiative.

“This is the only thing that’s going to make business want to come to downtown Thurmont,” he said.

The commissioners now want to hear from residents whether the project is worth it and whether a single deck is what they want. Other variations include using the ground level for residential or retail space and adding an additional level to the parking deck.

New Officer Sworn In

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird swore in Nathan McLeroy as a Thurmont Police Officer. McLeroy comes from a law enforcement family. His father, Steve, was a Baltimore County Police Officer. Steve McLeroy gave Nathan the handcuffs he used when he began work as a police officer and told his son, “You’ve got a powerful duty, so don’t misuse it.”

Mayor James F. Black Scholarship Awarded

Elizabeth Anders received the 2020 Mayor James F. Black Scholarship. She plans to pursue dual degrees at Hagerstown Community College and Frostburg University in nursing, with the ultimate goal of earning her master’s degree and becoming a midwife.

Former Mayor Black’s family established the scholarship for Thurmont employees and their dependents.

Oil and Antifreeze Recycling Station Closed

The oil and antifreeze recycling station at 10 Frederick Road in Thurmont is closed for improvement. Please don’t set containers of oil or antifreeze at the center until it has reopened. You can also visit for other drop-off locations during this time.

James Rada, Jr.

When Tracie Stull-Miller was a young girl, her father operated a barbershop from the basement of his home in Yellow Springs. So, it is safe to say that barbering is in her blood.

Although her father is deceased, his picture still looks out over Tracie’s House of Hair in Thurmont, as if giving his nod of approval. Tracie opened her business in July at 7 Water Street in Thurmont. She offers a variety of services, including haircuts, beard maintenance, perms, coloring, keratins, and waxing.

“I always wanted a shop of my own,” she said. “Now, I’m living my dream.”

With 31 years of haircutting experience, Tracie last worked at a barbershop in Emmitsburg. However, the opportunity to go out on her own arose, and things “fell into place.” She signed a lease for the Thurmont location, and her husband built her workstations.

Since she would be spending many hours in the shop, Tracie decorated it with items of interest to her. In particular, it’s hard to miss the music theme. Instruments, some signed, are mounted on the wall, as are album covers and pictures of bands.

She chose the name Tracie’s House of Hair because it was neutral sounding. She believes barbershops skew more towards male customers, and hair salons skew more towards females. House of Hair doesn’t have any gender resonance. Also, the name is a tribute to the radio show The House of Hair, hosted by Dee Snider, who was a member of the rock band Twisted Sister.

It wasn’t the best time to open a barbershop because coronavirus had all the barbershops shut down at the time. Once they were allowed to open, though, Tracie found herself with plenty of business since many of her regular customers from Emmitsburg followed her to Thurmont.

“If they like you, they will follow you,” she said.

Some customers even brought Tracie flowers to congratulate her on her new business. She displays them in her store windows.

“You need to be a people person in this job,” she said. “If you care about people, it makes a difference.”

It certainly has for Tracie, as she is staying busy with both regular and new clients. She does take walk-ins, but she recommends that you call for an appointment at 301-556-6119.

Tracie’s House of Hair is open Tuesday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to noon.

On August 8, 2020, a team of more than 35 volunteers came together for the first “Ritchie Revival” event at the former Fort Ritchie Army Base property in Cascade. The event was organized by John and Joyce Krumpotich, who are in negotiations with Washington County to purchase and restore the property. 

Volunteers of all ages came out to help with beautification efforts at the Fort, including mulching, weeding, trimming, and trash removal.

John noted his appreciation at the large turnout, saying, “We are very grateful for the tremendous community support we have received. The community recognizes the significance of this great property, as well as the potential it has to be a centerpiece of the area. They genuinely want to be a part of it. The Fort has a rich history, and there is a real need and desire among the people of Cascade and the surrounding areas to restore and preserve it.” 

While legal delays have extended the timeline for the purchase of the property by the Krumpotich family, they remain optimistic that those issues will be resolved.

“We really appreciate the special connection the Cascade community has with the Fort, and we want to honor that and build upon it as we move forward,” Joyce noted.

Another community cleanup day is being planned. Anyone interested in participating in future events can visit the Ritchie Revival page on Facebook or call the Fort Ritchie Community Center at 301-241-5085 for more details.

Helpers of all ages participated in the first “Ritchie Revival” event on August 8 at Fort Ritchie in Cascade

Members of the Fort Ritchie Community Center can win a free T-shirt if they can properly guess their temperature upon entering the facility.

The Community Center has established a COVID-19 prevention protocol based upon guidelines from the CDC, State of Maryland, and Washington County. The protocol includes each member answering a series of questions related to their possible exposure to the virus, as well as having their temperature taken by a Community Center staff member.

“We came up with what we hope is a fun way for our staff to approach each member,” said Buck Browning, executive director of the Community Center. “It can be intimidating to have someone hold an infrared thermometer to your forehead, so we are trying to make it a little less awkward for both people,” he added. 

The Community Center features a fitness center, weight room, gymnasium, and multi-purpose athletic room, along with other amenities.  Equipment such as treadmills, stationary bicycles, and strength machines have been aligned so that they are at least six feet apart. Some machines have been closed off to improve the social distancing among members Browning said. 

The T-shirt initiative has been well-received by members. We had ten members guess correctly on the first day we offered the T-shirts,” Browning said. “I thought we might do this for a month or so, but at this rate, we will run out of shirts in a week or two,” he laughed. The initiative will continue while supplies last.   

The Community Center is a 501c3 non-profit organization, located in Cascade on the former Fort Ritchie U.S. Army Post. In addition to the fitness center and weight room, the Fort Ritchie Community Center offers group exercise classes, youth programs, and a wide variety of community events, such as craft shows, holiday celebrations, and speaker presentations. 

For more information on the Fort Ritchie Community Center, please visit online at    

A Fort Ritchie Community Center staff member checks a member’s temperature upon entering the facility.

It’s been several months, but Thurmont Little League has finally returned to action, following the district approval of its Return to Play Plan. After the league was forced to suspend its spring season, along with all planned activities such as opening day, spiritwear sales, basket raffles, and its annual Hit-A-Thon, the league was uncertain of when baseball would return. After many meetings and conversations with county, league, and town officials, Phase 1 and 2 of the Return to Play Plan was approved on June 16, 2020. Phase 3 was approved on June 30, and the plan was amended on July 27 to include changes to certain restrictions. To view the current plan, please visit

Baseball is not only resuming in Thurmont. After many years, the fields in Emmitsburg will be alive with activity as well. Thurmont Little League is lucky to be partnering with the town of Emmitsburg to use the wonderful fields that have been vacant for some time. Each division will be playing home games on these fields. They will also be utilized for team practices, as space is always limited during the season.

Activities officially resumed on June 30, with the beginning of a series of “sandlot style” pickup games for each age group. These games were open to the first 20 players to register online. The players were then split up and assigned to designated coaches who volunteered for each of the games. While no official scores were kept, it was a great way to get the kids back onto the field after several months of inactivity. Among the new restrictions in place during these games were enhanced safety measures, social distancing among players and coaches, mask mandates for coaches, umpires standing behind the pitcher’s mound, no use of dugouts or sharing of equipment, and extra sanitizing of balls and other items.

Registration for the extended fall season, running August through October, began in early July. Despite the pandemic, overall numbers were up this year due to the cancellation of other sports. The league ended up with two Major Division teams, four Minor teams, four Instructional teams, and four T-Ball teams. Practices began in the intense heat of late July, but that didn’t stop the dedicated players and coaches excited to be back on the field.

Thurmont Little League would not be possible without an amazing group of volunteers. From the board of directors, managers, assistant coaches, team moms, umpires, and down the line, nothing could be accomplished without this large cast of hard-working individuals.

Community service is a natural part of any youth organization. Because of this commitment, Thurmont Little League was happy to partner with the Potter Baseball Organization again this year, after a successful charity kickball game last summer. This group of young athletes, led by Coach and Author Jeff Potter, travels from town to town completing service projects and teaching about how baseball used to be played. On July 23, the Potter Baseball team arrived and helped volunteers from the town and league paint the Thurmont Food Bank exterior. Thurmont Little League was happy to provide lunch and snacks, with special help from Rocky’s Pizza and Thurmont Roy Rogers. The league is grateful to Coach Potter and his team and look forward to hosting them again in the near future. They will also be coordinating efforts along with the league to take a team of Thurmont youths to Cooperstown next year.

Prior to the season starting, Umpire in Chief Blaine Young held a clinic at the Thurmont Little League complex for managers and coaches to learn more about the rules and regulations for the upcoming season. There was also a focus on some of the additional restrictions and rule changes in place as part of COVID-19 and the Return to Play Plan. As mentioned, the league relies entirely on volunteer umpires. If you are interested in learning more, please visit the league website.

Finally, on Saturday, August 8, the opening day was held. Volunteers worked hard to adorn the complex with balloons, banners, and signs, outlining the new safety protocols. Basket raffles and spiritwear sales were held, and the majority of teams took part in their first official games. A successful, but hot morning was capped off with the sudden appearance of everyone’s favorite Kona Ice truck. It has been a long, hard road, but baseball is officially back at Thurmont Little League!

Q&A with Emmitsburg Mayoral Candidates

Why Should Residents Vote For You?

Don Briggs: I put my neighbor first, and I do what I say. I have had a business and/or have lived here over 25 years. I love the Mount. I am a former coach and graduate. While I’ve been mayor, taxes have been reduced 14 percent. The town has received $593,000 in grants to revitalize the Square, the “Foyer to all our homes.” Sidewalks were put in connecting the town for the first time. The pool was rebuilt, the dog park opened, Brookfield Drive onto Irishtown Road was opened, renewable solar energy was added, we switched to LED street lighting, and we purchased an electric car for the town. The Boys and Girls Club is also here.

Jim Hoover: Experience and knowledge. As mayor, I established several programs, events, relationships, and projects. I established the pool parties, farmers market, concerts in the park, BBQ competition, the After School Program, and a partnership with Mount Saint Mary’s University allowing town residents to attend University programs. Also during my time as mayor, we replaced the sewer and water lines on South Seton Avenue and Mountain View Road, relined sewer lines under Tom’s Creek and Flat Run, cleaned the water line from the town’s reservoir to the treatment plant, connected the town’s water service with Mount Saint Mary’s water service and secured a long-term agreement for emergency water service as needed, secured state grant funding of 74 percent of the total cost to replace the town sewer plant. The town needs a mayor that is proactive in protecting and planning for the town’s future.

Cliff Sweeney: I have 23 years of experience running the town of Emmitsburg. I have held every position on the board except mayor. I would like to take Emmitsburg to the next level to be the best small town in Maryland.

Why Should Residents Vote For You?

Don Briggs: I put my neighbor first, and I do what I say. I have had a business and/or have lived here over 25 years. I love the Mount. I am a former coach and graduate. While I’ve been mayor, taxes have been reduced 14 percent. The town has received $593,000 in grants to revitalize the Square, the “Foyer to all our homes.” Sidewalks were put in connecting the town for the first time. The pool was rebuilt, the dog park opened, Brookfield Drive onto Irishtown Road was opened, renewable solar energy was added, we switched to LED street lighting, and we purchased an electric car for the town. The Boys and Girls Club is also here.

Jim Hoover: Experience and knowledge. As mayor, I established several programs, events, relationships, and projects. I established the pool parties, farmers market, concerts in the park, BBQ competition, the After School Program, and a partnership with Mount Saint Mary’s University allowing town residents to attend University programs. Also during my time as mayor, we replaced the sewer and water lines on South Seton Avenue and Mountain View Road, relined sewer lines under Tom’s Creek and Flat Run, cleaned the water line from the town’s reservoir to the treatment plant, connected the town’s water service with Mount Saint Mary’s water service and secured a long-term agreement for emergency water service as needed, secured state grant funding of 74 percent of the total cost to replace the town sewer plant. The town needs a mayor that is proactive in protecting and planning for the town’s future.

Cliff Sweeney: I have 23 years of experience running the town of Emmitsburg. I have held every position on the board except mayor. I would like to take Emmitsburg to the next level to be the best small town in Maryland.

What Are Your Qualifications To Be Mayor?

Don Briggs: My experience in business and in local government. I love sports and education. I am an innovator, and I believe in God. I have coached football or rugby over a span of five decades. I have been awarded the Mount St. Mary’s University President’s Medal, and have been inducted into the Mount Athletic Hall of Fame. I served in the National Guard. I love our country and Emmitsburg.

Jim Hoover: As the previous mayor from 2002 through 2011 and as a town commissioner from 1998 through 2002, I have the relative experience and knowledge of the town government. Additionally, I have over 30 years of management experience. This includes project management, managing and overseeing over 400 employees, and managing multimillion-dollar budgets. I have over 30 years of work experience in state government, county government, and municipal government. I have and can create working relationships that benefit the town.

Cliff Sweeney: I have 23 years of service for the town, and 35 years working in water and sewer, storm drain, and road repairs. I have been president of the Lions Club, commander of the Sons of the American Legion, and president of the EOPCC. I devote all my free time and community service to the town.

Why Are You Running?

Don Briggs: People. We have more to do to provide innovative grant-driven, cost-saving services and activities for our residents.

Jim Hoover: I love living in Emmitsburg, and I want Emmitsburg to be the best small town to live and raise a family in. I’m concerned that the town is not properly maintaining or planning for the replacement of its critical infrastructure. I also want Emmitsburg to have a more user-friendly government.

Cliff Sweeney: I want to bring Emmitsburg to the next level with new businesses and more jobs for our town folks. I want to bring back our youth and community involvement with neighbor getting to know neighbor.

What Is The Biggest Issue You See Emmitsburg Facing?

Don Briggs: Infrastructure. We need to ramp up replacing decades of ignored work on underground pipes. We also need to do more for our children.

Jim Hoover: The town’s deteriorating infrastructure is not being addressed. For several months, the town has experienced brown water. The town needs to re-establish a short- and long-term plan to replace and upgrade the deteriorated sewer and water lines. In particular, the oldest sewer and water lines are on DePaul Street and North Seton Avenue. A plan needs to be put in place to make the funding and replacement of these sewer and water lines a priority.

Cliff Sweeney: Right now, COVID-19, repairing the old water and sewer lines, new pumping station on Creamery Road, the new water clarifier at the water plant for the lake water, finishing our developments out, and keeping our current businesses and bringing new ones to town.

What Are The Town’s Strengths?

Don Briggs: Seton Shrine, FEMA, the Mount, and Fallen Firefighter Memorial. We are an award-winning sustainable town. We are friendly people with a good work ethic. Emmitsburg is a great place to live, grow jobs, and attract tourism.

Jim Hoover: Community pride and character. Emmitsburg residents have a lot of pride in where they live. Many families have lived here for multiple generations. Emmitsburg is a town that still has that small-town atmosphere and character. While many cities and towns have seen a decrease in volunteering, Emmitsburg has seen an increase in volunteering, many being new residents and Mount St. Mary students. Seeing new residents and students from Mount Saint Mary’s University volunteering and getting involved demonstrates Emmitsburg’s pride and character.

Cliff Sweeney: Coming together in a time of crisis to help each other. Our first responders are the best in the state. I think we are the best small town in the USA.

What Is Your Vision For The Town?

Don Briggs: I want to keep the small-town feel and maintain our heritage. I want to add things to do using grants to make Emmitsburg a better place today and for future generations.

Jim Hoover: Improve the town’s infrastructure. Put a plan in place to update and replace town equipment and infrastructure as it ages, not after it fails. Work with other municipalities, counties, state and federal governments to obtain funding and programs to enhance Emmitsburg. Re-established more youth- and family-oriented activities.

Cliff Sweeney: I want to finish out all the empty development lots, to upgrade the water lines and sewer lines ASAP, especially the brown water ones, and to bring our youth activities and new businesses to town.

How Do We Get Back To Normal After COVID-19?

Don Briggs: Business is back, and new businesses are on the way. Ryan Homes is back in Brookfield. We need to protect our most vulnerable and children. Accept the new “normal,” take a deep breath, and play on.

Jim Hoover: The truth is nobody knows what the “new normal” will be yet. The full effects of COVID-19 are not yet known. We also don’t know the length of time it will last as we see it today. As a municipality, we must follow state, county, and federal mandates, but, at the same time, we need to do as much as we are legally allowed to do to provide the services and support to the Emmitsburg residents and businesses. The town is required to follow county, state, and federal mandates, but we’re not necessarily required to follow suggestions or recommendations. Suggestions and recommendations made by other government agencies need to be considered, but the best interest of Emmitsburg also needs to be considered before we apply any suggestions that are made by other government agencies.

Cliff Sweeney: Everyone has to follow the CDC guidelines. Wear a mask, social distance when possible, do what the doctors say, and we will get back to school and work and normal life sooner than later.

James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont Commissioner Marty Burns entered politics when he was elected as a Thurmont Town Commissioner in 1999. In August, the Maryland Municipal League recognized his 21 years as an elected official in Thurmont by inducting him into the MML Elected Official Hall of Fame.

The announcement came at the end of the town meeting on August 4. Inductions are usually made during the MML annual conference in Ocean City, but because this year’s conference was virtual due to COVID-19, the certificate was sent to the town office.

Mayor John Kinnaird nominated Burns for the honor and read the certificate into the record. At one point when Kinnaird said Marty was being recognized for his “long, exemplary service,” Burns jokingly asked, “Can you say that one more time?” Kinnaird replied, “Exemplary? That’s a typo.”

The back and forth joking and banter among everyone present showed not only how well the board of commissioners get along now—which at times during the past 20 years could get contentious—but that everyone present felt Burns deserving of the honor.

Former MML President Jake Romanell said that Burns receiving the honor shows, “Marty loves Thurmont, its residents, and his neighbors.”

Burns served two years as commissioner before serving three terms (12 years) as mayor. He has served as commissioner for the last seven years.

Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner also proclaimed August 4, 2020, as Martin Burns Day. In her proclamation, she noted some of the things Burns has accomplished during his time as an elected official, including creating the Charter Review Committee, overseeing a new town charter, getting a new police station built, helping the town become a Main Street Maryland Community, and forming the Thurmont Addictions Committee. Some of the people in attendance, including Mayor Kinnaird and Commissioner Bill Buehrer, pointed out that Burns was the person who pushed them to run for office.

As commissioners and audience members came forward to speak about Burns, jokes were made about his tendency to speak at length and to use Pentagon jargon, but they all praised his goal as trying to do what is best for Thurmont.

“You always have the best interests of our community at heart,” Kinnaird said.

“You certainly add balance to this dais and this board,” Commissioner Wes Hamrick told Burns.

Burns thanked his family for the sacrifices they had made to allow him the time to serve. He also said that his current term would be his last. He said it has been rewarding to serve on the board but also a burden because he has always tried to do the right thing. He thanked the residents of Thurmont for allowing him that opportunity.

“You saw through my flaws, saw all the bad parts of me, and still said, we want that person on the board,” Burns said.

Marty Burns, his family, and the commissioners are shown on August 4, Martin Burns Day in Frederick County.

Citizens and community officials gathered on East Main Street in Thurmont on Saturday, August 22, 2020, to dedicate the completed murals on the old H&F Trolley Substation building on East Main Street in Thurmont. The mural’s artist, Yemi, has done a masterful job of capturing Thurmont’s history and the many highlights most taken for granted that make our town a great place to live. This project was started several years ago by the Thurmont Lions Club as part of the Thurmont Trolley Trail improvements. Yemi brought his vision and talent to this community arts project.

The recent additions were made possible by: Delaplaine Foundation, Dan Ryan Builders, Gateway Orthodontics, Thurmont Lions Club, Market Research & Resources, Ausherman Family Foundation, Main Street Maryland, Maryland State Arts Council, Imagination Center, Church of the Brethren, Frederick Arts Council, Frederick Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, Rowland Glass Studio, Marlene B. Young and Mike Young, Catoctin Colorfest Inc., George Delaplaine, an anonymous donor, and The Town of Thurmont.

Pictured from left: front row) Donors: Thurmont Lions Club member Joann Miller, Lori Zimmerman and Dr. Jon Moles from Gateway Orthodontics, Catoctin Colorfest Carol Robertson, Yemi, Marlene and Mike Young, Lion Gene Long, Liesel Fennel from the Maryland State Arts Council, Sage Fagbohun, and Ryan Patterson from the Maryland State Arts Council; (back row) Thurmont Commissioners Bill Buehrer and Marty Burns, and Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird.

The Catoctin Area Livestock Sale will be held on Saturday, September 12, 2020, at The Eyler Stables, managed by Wolfe Agricultural Auction, located at 141 Emmitsburg Road in Thurmont. 

The sale will begin with awards given out to exhibitors at 5:30 p.m., and the sale beginning at 6:00 p.m. The sale will take place inside Sale Ring Barn. There will be a small area for handicap seating, and chairs and bleachers for buyers and everyone else. Selling that evening will be beef, sheep, swine, and market goats, which will be exhibited by youth in the Catoctin Feeder Area.

The slaughter houses that will be used this year are Shriver Meats in Emmitsburg, Shuff Meats Market in Thurmont, and Stoney Point (Nell’s) in Littlestown, Pennsylvania. All animals will be sold by the head this year and not by the pound.

All prospective buyers/bidders will need a Bid Number, which will be available starting at 4:00 p.m. If you would like to leave an absentee bid, please call one of the following people: Cathy Little at 240-674-3476, Chip Long at 240-315-7973, Josh Ruby at 301-748-2924, or Tyler Fitzwater at 240-405-8455.

We will be practicing social distancing; masks are required if 6-feet distancing is not possible. Prospective buyers, businesses, and individuals are encouraged to attend and to support the youth and their livestock projects.

The Guardian Hose Company, Inc. has decided to cancel the James H. Mackley Golf Day that was scheduled for September 26, 2020, at the Maple Run Golf Course. The event is held to raise funds for graduating seniors from Catoctin High School who plan to continue their education in the emergency services field. This would have been the 10th year for this event. But, with COVID-19 and cases beginning to rise again, it was decided not to hold the event this year for the safety of our first responders and also the public.

The Guardian Hose Company is pleased to announce that the scholarship was awarded to Emma Ford this past year, and they were also able to renew scholarships for Lauren Ames and Caitlyn Naff again this year.

The Guardian Hose Company thanks all the businesses that supported this fundraising event, and all of the golfers that always came out to make this a fun-filled day. They are looking forward to holding the James H. Mackley Golf Day next September 2021 and hope to see everyone then.

On Thursday, August 27, 2020, while this edition of The Catoctin Banner Newzine was at press, the Town of Emmitsburg hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil four wayside exhibits along the future historic walking tour route in Emmitsburg. The four signs explain the history of the Vigilant Hose Company, the Great Fire of 1863 (pictured above), Chronicle Press, and the Carriage House Inn. These signs contribute to a tour that includes West Main Street, the Emmitsburg Square, and South Seton Avenue, to date.

Special thanks to the Maryland Heritage Area Authorities (MHAA) for partially sponsoring the project through grant funding.

The Thurmont Lions Club held a benefit breakfast for Luke Bradley (pictured right) on July 18, 2020, from 7:00-11:00 a.m., at Bell Hill, located just north of Thurmont.

Luke is the 10-year-old son of Dan and Tracey Bradley, and the grandson of Rick and Judy May. Luke and his parents were present at the breakfast to thank everyone who came out to support the family. Luke will be in sixth grade at Thurmont Middle School in the fall. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was two years old and has suffered from many medical conditions. He has undergone numerous surgeries over the years, and he will continue to need more operations in the years to come.

The breakfast raised (profit from the breakfast and donations) over $4,000.  If you wish to donate to Luke’s struggle with his many health issues, you can go to and make a donation. These funds are an enormous help to Luke’s family to pay for his medical expenses. 

Veterans Day is fast approaching. Join the Thurmont Lions Club in recognizing Veterans and saluting their service in all branches. Our country is great because of the brave men and women who fought for our freedoms.

The Thurmont Lions Club is a non-profit organization that wants to honor our Veterans, living and deceased, and those who gave their all in the line of duty. The Thurmont Lions Club wants to start a program to display a banner on the light posts throughout Thurmont for the 21788 zip code. These banners would include a picture of the Veteran, their name, rank, branch of service, date of service, and war era.

Applications can be picked up at the Thurmont Town Office, AMVETS, American Legion, Hobbs Hardware, Cousins Ace Hardware, Thurmont Lions Club’s website at, or by contacting Lion Joyce Anthony at 240-288-8748.

If you have any questions, please contact Lion Joyce Anthony at or 240-288-8748. This is just a small way to honor our Veterans and to show appreciation for each one. The Thurmont Lions Club looks forward to displaying a banner for your Veteran, whether a family member or a friend. The club anticipates honoring 60 living Veterans during November and 60 past Veterans during May.

Please have your form to the Thurmont Lions Club by October 1, 2020, so they can meet the Veteran’s Day date.

Please Vote!

This is the second consecutive year Thurmont has been selected as a nominee in the 10th Annual Blue Ridge Outdoors Top Adventure Towns contest in the Small-Town Category.

The contest runs until September 4, and winners will be featured both online and in the November issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors. You can vote at this link:

Virtually everyone can watch and enjoy selected Maryland State Fair Youth and Open Livestock Shows and more online. While the traditional Maryland State Fair was canceled due to the pandemic, approval was received to allow youth and open class exhibitors from Maryland to show their animals in livestock shows, following all proper protocols. Although these shows will not be open to the public, the Maryland State Fair will be livestreaming selected Livestock Shows, the Miss Maryland Agriculture Competition, the Maryland State Fair Youth Livestock Sale, and the Undeniably Dairy Celebrity Milkshake Competition. Additionally, fun agricultural education activities and more can be accessed online, from August 27 to September 7 and beyond, at and at

The Lewistown Ruritan Club awarded scholarships to the following students: Michael Staley, UNC School of Arts; Sabrina Poore, Shepherd University; Douglas Isanogle, American University; Allison Rippeon, Shippenburg University; William Ochs, Frederick Community College; William Anderson, William and Mary College; Aaron Matlock, Shepherd University; Sahel Kargar-Javahersaz, University of Maryland; and Allison Howard, Anne Arundel Community College. 

Due to the COVID-19, the annual picnic to award these scholarships was canceled. The funds for these scholarships were derived through Lewistown Ruritan fundraisers.

The Lewistown Ruritan will have two more chicken BBQs, scheduled for Sunday, September 13, and Sunday, October 4, for carryouts only, beginning at 10:30 a.m., near Lewistown on Rt. 15, northbound near the intersection of Fish Hatchery Road.

Starting Monday, August 31, Frederick County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services will provide “to-go” breakfast and lunch at 26 schools under the National School Breakfast Program (NSBP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Meals will be provided based on a student’s eligibility. Students eligible for free meals will receive meals at no cost. Students eligible for reduced price meals will be required to pay the reduced price to receive meals. Students not eligible for free or reduced price meals will pay full price for their meals. Meals will be available to all children enrolled in a FCPS school.

Meal Service Schedule (11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.): Mondays—“to-go” breakfasts and lunches will be provided for Monday and Tuesday; Tuesdays—kitchens are closed; Wednesdays—“to-go” breakfasts and lunches will be provided for Wednesday and Thursday; Thursdays—kitchens are closed; Fridays—“to-go” breakfasts and lunches will be provided for Friday.

Meals will NOT be provided on Labor Day, Monday, September 7. Kitchens will be open on Tuesday, September 8 to provide “to-go” breakfast and lunch for Tuesday.

In Northern Frederick County, meals will be available at Emmitsburg Elementary and Thurmont Middle.

It is not necessary for children to be present for a parent or guardian to obtain meals for them; however, a student ID number must be presented for each student.

Community members are reminded to follow social distancing and face covering guidelines when picking up meals.

Please visit for more details. For additional information, please call 301-644-5061.

James Rada, Jr.

6: The Angry God

One by one, the soldiers stopped firing their rifles. They ran toward the exit from the excavated chamber beneath Raven Rock Mountain. It led to a half-mile-long tunnel that led to the surface.

When all his men were gone, Maj. Henry Owens took a hand grenade from his belt. He pulled the pin and let the handle fly. Then he lobbed the grenade, so it landed in front of the fence and monstrous creature, and he ran.

He counted as he ran, and right before the explosion, he flattened himself on the ground to avoid any shrapnel. The explosion deafened him, and he felt a pressure wave sweep over him.

He rolled over and looked back. He couldn’t see anything through all of the dust. However, he heard an angry growl and more metal snapping.

Owens pushed himself to his feet and ran for the entrance. He could see his men parking trucks and Jeeps in front of the entrance to create a barrier. Machine guns were set up facing down the tunnel.

The men shouted and pointed. Owens glanced over his shoulder and saw a boulder flying out of the darkness.

He dove to the side as a rock the size of a footlocker hit the ground. It was heavy enough that Owens felt the ground tremble.

Owens made it to the parked vehicles as the creature appeared from the shadows. The soldiers fired at the creature. It stopped moving forward and roared. The bullets could stop its advance, but they weren’t killing the thing.

As Owens made it to the other side of the barricade, a private ran up to him and saluted. “Sir, two men are at the main gate. They insist on speaking with you. One of them said he was a worker here. He says he has information about the box.”

Anyone who knew the metal casket was in the cavern must have been down there.

“I’ll meet them. I want you to call up to Ritchie and get more ammunition sent down here. Also, have them send half a dozen men with grenade launchers,” Owens told the private. Maybe the grenade launchers would be more effective at stopping whatever was trying to get out of the cavern.

The private saluted and ran off. Owens jogged down the road to the front gate, where MPs kept all of the non-military people out. He saw two Indians standing with the MPs.

“Which one of you has information you think I need?” Owens asked.

The younger of the two men raised his hand. “I’m Jack Standing Bear. I was on the crew that unearthed the metal box. I recognized the inscription on the box and went to get this man. He is John Tamanend, an elder of the Susquehannock. They are the people who used to live in this area.”

“If you saw the box, then you know it is not Indian.”

Jack nodded. “The box is not, but the inscription was.”

“What did it say?”

“It was a warning saying the demon inside had been cast from the gods, and that the Old Ones, the people who lived in this land before the Susquehannock, managed to imprison it only at great cost. It should never be opened or the demon would be released.”

Owens could see calling the creature a demon. It fit the bill.

“Well, it’s too late for that,” Owens said.

The older man spoke, and Jack translated. “He says there is a story told among his people of a god who fell to earth in a ball of fire. The god was angry and demanded the Old Ones worship him. Most did, but some did not want to worship an angry god. They didn’t and they vanished, but their numbers increased as more people resisted the angry god.”

“How did they kill it?” Owens asked, looking over his shoulder back toward the entrance to the tunnel.

Jack translated and listed to the Tamanend’s answer. “They didn’t kill the god. You can’t kill a god.”

“Then how did they get it sealed in the box?”

“The warriors who fought the angry god tried many things. Arrows and spears could not kill it, no matter how many times they hit it. Many warriors attacked with knives only to vanish. In desperation, they ambushed the angry god, throwing oil on him and setting him on fire. This worked. Then the warriors took the bones and placed them in the metal box, in which he fell from the sky. They buried him as a god should be. He was placed in a deep chasm, where he could rest peacefully and not be so angry.”

Owens rubbed his chin. The firing started again. He knew it was only holding the creature at bay, but if the Old Ones could defeat it, so could the U.S. Army. He walked to the nearest soldier.

“Go to the camp. I need flamethrowers and cans of gasoline, as much as you can get a hold of quickly. Then get back here.”

The soldier saluted and ran off. Owens turned to a corporal. “I need cans of gasoline and empty bottles. Meet me at the tunnel entrance.”

Owens returned to the tunnel entrance as the firing slacked off. Then a boulder came flying out of the tunnel entrance. Then men scattered. The creature hid in the darkness and roared.

As the corporal and privates brought the cans of gasoline to Owens, he assessed his resources. He had 30 gallons of gasoline and a dozen empty pop bottles. The gasoline might be enough, but he needed more bottles. It would be at least an hour before he could expect the Jeep back.      

He had the bottles filled with gasoline. Men tore strips from their undershirts, soaked them in gasoline, and stuffed the mouths of the bottles. He had six soldiers take a pair of bottles and wait.

When the creature pressed again for the entrance, the soldiers lit their Molotov cocktails, ran forward, and threw them at the creature. Half of the bottles missed. Of the six that did hit the creature, two hit too early. The creature knocked them away before they exploded. The four that hit the creature exploded and lit it on fire.

It roared in pain and thrashed around, rolling on the ground to put out the flames. When it finally lay still, one of the soldiers slowly approached it.

“Get back here, private. We don’t know if it’s dead yet,” Owens ordered.

The man didn’t stop. Owens pointed to another private.

“Go bring him back.”

The private ran out and started tugging on the other soldier’s arm, but he wouldn’t stop walking toward the creature. Then the creature glowed blue.

“Get away!” Owens yelled.

The second private started to turn back. He stopped as his skin split and vanished. Then both of the privates faded away.

On the ground, the creature stirred.

And Owens was out of firebombs.

The creature pushed itself to its hands and knees, lifted its head and roared. It looked barely affected by the fire. It hadn’t been large enough, plus the two soldiers had aided its recovery.

He had to do something. It couldn’t be allowed to escape the tunnel. No telling what damage it could do before they stopped it.

Emails to Gail

by Valerie Nusbaum

Not many major things are happening in my life these days, due mostly to the COVID times in which we’re still living. Randy and I haven’t taken a vacation or gone on any day trips, haven’t eaten in a restaurant or done much shopping, and haven’t visited family or friends. So, there’s not a lot to write about in any detail. That said, I thought I’d share with you some of the little things that have warranted attention lately.

I exchange frequent emails with my friend Gail, and I decided to look back over the more recent ones to see what Randy and I have been up to. Gail is the friend I go to for a laugh or a smile, and she says I provide the same outlet for her. We exchange frequent emails about the mundane and bizarre things that happen during our daily lives. In an effort to protect Gail’s privacy and that of her family, I’m only presenting my side of the conversations.

Randy now belongs to a very special group. He calls it the Men’s Morning Meanderers. It’s a group of men of a certain age who separately walk all over Thurmont early in the mornings. The men don’t know each other, don’t speak (other than to say “good morning” or nod as they pass one another), and aren’t a formally recognized organization. In other words, they all practice proper social distancing. Randy enjoys his group outings.

I’ve recently had three very strange dreams, though not during the same night. In the first dream, I was baking sweet potato pies with an old friend, and we were planning to give the pies away as Christmas gifts. In the second dream, I was an entertainment television anchor, and Brad Pitt stopped by to have some birthday cake. Apparently, it was Brad’s birthday, and I’d baked a cake for him. Am I starting to see a baking theme here? Do I watch too many shows on the Food Network? In the third dream, Tom Selleck was my father. It was the Magnum P.I. version of Tom, not the Frank Reagan version, and there were no baked goods involved.

We went to Mom’s for lunch one day, and she made marinara sauce with meat. She told me to take care of cooking the spaghetti since she’d done everything else and needed to sit down. As the pasta boiled, I asked Mom if she had a spaghetti fork. She replied that she did indeed have one. I asked her where she kept it because I couldn’t find it in the utensil drawer. She replied that it was in the bathtub. Yes, I asked her why she’d put it there, and no, you don’t want to know. We bought a new spaghetti fork, and it will stay in the utensil drawer.

I’ve been working with a guy whose name is Jim Nasium. I can’t make this stuff up.

It’s like a darned Snow White fantasy around here: chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, voles, groundhogs, deer, birds, birds, birds. Not to mention the neighbors’ cats who try to kill all the other stuff, and the occasional dog on the run. Two doors down are some chickens, and we sometimes see a fox or wild turkey—a live one, not the bottled kind.

Today is the 29th anniversary of our first date, and I was given a card and a nice gift early this morning. That’s why I keep him.  Randy is a very thoughtful guy. I remembered our anniversary, too, and Randy also got a card and gift.

Here’s my prediction on the mask thing: Since we’re required to wear them during outside group activities without social distancing, and it’s recommended that we wear them even with social distancing, I’m predicting a whole raft of new respiratory symptoms in the coming months from us trying to breathe through the masks in this heat and humidity. Plus, there will be more dehydration and elevated blood pressure events because wearing the mask makes us hotter. No one has mentioned this possibility yet, but when it comes, you can call me The Oracle.

Sometimes, it all gets to be too much for me. I had to call the hospital and schedule a medical test. The associate I spoke with was nice enough. Still, the registration took at least fifteen minutes, and her computer was on the fritz, which didn’t help either of our moods. Then, more questions, most of which didn’t pertain to my visit, and finally, “Are you ambilary?” I asked her to repeat the question, saying I didn’t hear. She said it again. I still didn’t know what she’d said or what it meant, so I said I was sorry, but I didn’t understand. She was frustrated, and she snapped, “It means, ‘Can you walk on your own.’” I had been nice, but I didn’t appreciate being snapped at, so I said, “No, ambulatory means ‘being able to walk on one’s own.’” I don’t know what the *&%# ambilary means. I thought I’d gone too far, but she cracked up.

Tell Jack that low water pressure is better than high blood pressure.

We finally have a gate on the garden! It’s only been three years.  Randy put on a gate. Jack took one off. Do you think they’re communicating on the sly? I hope they don’t discuss their haircuts. I have some texturizing scissors but haven’t resorted to pinking shears yet. Randy wanted another haircut today, so I obliged. When he finally does go to the barbershop, he’s going to get laughed out of there.

My left ear is considerably higher than my right ear, so nothing sits level on my face. It’s particularly annoying with my glasses. That’s why I tilt my head.

What? I told you, dear readers, nothing much has been happening here. Stay well.

by James Rada, Jr

September 1920, 100 Years Ago

Held For Throwing Stone

Clarence Oland, age 17 years, of Emmitsburg, was arrested on a charge of throwing a stone from ambush along the Emmitsburg-Taneytown road. The stone struck Mrs. James Boyle of Baltimore as she was passing in an automobile, and caused her much suffering.

After considerable investigation, Sheriff Wertenbaker arrested Clarence and his brother Guy Oland. At a hearing before Justice Henry Stokes, at Emmitsburg, fines were imposed on the two boys with costs amounting to $21. The recent grand jury took up the case and indicted Clarence Oland. His father gave bail in the sum of $100 for his son’s appearance at trial when the criminal docket is taken up.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, September 23, 1920

Many Women Register

The ladies of Mechanicstown election district, including the towns of Thurmont, Graceham, Catoctin Furnace, and Franklinville, exercised their right of suffrage and turned out and registered in numbers exceeding the expectations of many men who have been taking an active part in politics in the district.

The total number of names placed on the registration books here Tuesday of this week was 201. Of this number, few were men. …The total registration in the district had been about 700. Counting as many women as men, it would appear as though less than one third of the women took advantage of the opportunity to register.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, September 30, 1920

September 1945, 75 Years Ago

County Roads Board is Paid by Government

The Federal government has paid the Frederick County Roads Board $9,950 for damage to roads in the Sabillasville and Emmitsburg areas in 1942 and 1943; it was reported at a regular meeting of the board Monday night.

The Roads Board has been negotiating with the Federal Government for some time in an effort to be indemnified for damage done to roads by army maneuvers in the northern section of the county.

Rural roads across the northern section were used in the earlier days of the war for army vehicle maneuvers. Some roads were considerably damaged, and claims were filed with the Federal government.

                                          – The Frederick Post, September 11, 1945

Truck Crashes Into Coal Firm’s Shed

Seized with a fainting spell while operating a soft-drink truck on East Street, Robert Fitez, Rocky Ridge, was taken to the Frederick City Hospital in an unconscious condition about 4 o’clock, Tuesday afternoon, after his truck plunged out of control, through a coal shed belonging to the Baker Coal Co., this city.

Employed only two days by a bottling firm headed by Roy L. Leatherman, Fitez said last night he did not know what happened. His employer quoted him as saying he had never had a loss of consciousness before. He previously had driven a school bus for some time and held a chauffeur’s license.

Leatherman said the man regained consciousness yesterday evening but could not explain losing control of the truck or crashing the coal shed. Damage to the truck was only a cracked windshield. Leatherman said his firm is fully insured to cover costs or damages of the accident.

                                          – The Frederick Post, September 26, 1945

September 1970, 50 Years Ago

Fort Detrick to Lay Off 300 Employees

The Army plans to proceed with a planned reduction of 295 personnel spaces at Fort Detrick which was announced last March, Senator Charles McC. Mathias, Jr., and Rep. J. Glenn Beall, Jr., announced this week.

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, September 4, 1970

Killed In Action

Word has been received here of the death of Joseph F. Keeney, U.S. Army.

Young Kenney, 18 years old, was reported as killed in action in Vietnam on Friday, Sept. 18. For a number of years, he made his home here residing at the home of Miss Elizabeth Neck.

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, September 25, 1970

September 1995, 25 Years Ago

Gone Fishin’

Sunday, August 13, Rainbow Lake, Hampton Valley Road. A beautiful Sunday morning in a tranquil setting. The lake is bordered by kids—small groups, individuals, and kids with parents—intently concentrating on the task at hand: fishing. This much quiet concentration is not what one would expect from such a large group, but there is purpose here: not to miss a bite or nibble.

The day’s fishing expedition is sponsored by the Emmitsburg Youth Activities League consisting of deputies Horner and Hunter, Code Enforcer Bob Koontz, parents, grandparents, and merchants.

Every fisherman was a prize winner. The following were the ones whose deeds matched the tales: 1st prize, Dicky Cool; 2nd Prize, Joe Gentile; 3rd prize, Tammy Cool; 4th prize, Kenny Gentile. 1st fish, Michelle Messner.

                          – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, September 1995

People in the News

Local surveyor Robert F. Gauss has been elected president of the Maryland Society of Surveyors. MSS is a state-wide organization of over 500 members.

Bob Gauss is president of R.F. Gauss & Associates, an Emmitsburg-based firm doing professional land surveying in central and western counties of Maryland for the past 15 years. Previously, he was chief of survey for D.K. Sutcliffe & Associates for 22 years. He has been licensed as a professional land surveyor since 1975 and associated with the Maryland Society of Surveyors since 1960, and as a member for 20 years. He served as chapter chair for 8 years and director at large for 4 years.

                          – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, September 1995