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You are invited to a free showing of Before The Flood, a special film documenting extreme weather changes and how they are affecting all of us, especially the poorest people and innocent creatures worldwide. From rising sea levels to destruction of rainforests, Leonardo DiCaprio, as the Messenger of Peace on behalf of the of the United Nations, takes us on a tour around the world as he investigates with us the consequences of human activity and the spiritual necessity for us to protect “our only home,” as Pope Francis puts it.

The free showing will be held on Thursday, June 13, 2019, at 7:00 p.m. at Weller Methodist Church, located at 101 N. Altamont Avenue in Thurmont.  A second showing will be at Mystic Meadows Nature Preserve on Friday, June 21, 2019, at 7:00 p.m. (please RSVP for this second showing at 240-469-7899, or for any questions related to either showing).

The Emmitsburg Lions Club is once again sponsoring a Heritage Art Contest. The contest is open to school-aged children from the Emmitsburg School area in first through eighth grades. Homeschoolers are encouraged to participate as well.

All artwork should reflect the theme: “What Does My Community Look Like to Me?” Prizes are awarded to winners in each division.

For registration, visit www.Emmitsburgevents.com or email eburgheritagedays@gmail.com.

Poem by Francis Smith

Come to me

     in the greening

     of the springtime

when all the world is born

     fresh and new.

          Come to me

              when flowers and trees,

              veggies and fruits,

              and seedlings of all sorts

              poke their heads

              and twine their roots —

              their colors burst anew.

So, come, watch with me,

     enjoy the scenes, and

     smile your biggest smile!

Come, rest your soul;

     it is so worth the while!

Last month, I wrote about how a local Emmitsburg collector owned two Armstrong rifles, which had been crafted in town. The same collector owns an Eyster clock, and the Maryland Room at the C. Burr Artz Library in Frederick owns a Hoover clock.

John Hoover is believed to be Emmitsburg’s first clockmaker. He lived from 1771-1832, so his working years would make him a contemporary of riflemaker John Armstrong and Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton.

The John Hoover clock in the C. Burr Artz Library is a tall clock in a wooden case. Hoover signed the face: John Hoover, Emmitsburgh, 20.

The numeral indicates that it was Hoover’s 20th clock.

“The case is very well constructed, and it is interesting to note that both this clock and the Eyster tall clock show a similar Pennsylvania Dutch influence in the design on the base,” Mary B. Nakhleh wrote in Emmitsburg: History and Society.

Little else is known about Hoover, regarding his clocks. Luckily, much more is known of Andrew Eyster (1800-1872). According to Nakhleh, a local story is that a clockmaker named Bachman, who came from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, trained Andrew in clockmaker and silversmithing. However, she also theorizes that, given their ages, it is possible Andrew Eyster learned his trade from John Hoover. Besides clockmaking and silversmithing, Andrew also earned a living as a jeweler. The Eyster shop was on the south side of West Main Street. He was also active in local government, serving as a town commissioner, burgess, and magistrate.

When Andrew died in 1872, his sons, George Edgar Taylor Eyster (1847-1914) and Hall Webster Eyster (1851-1927), took over the business, having been apprenticed to his father. At least one clock still exists that is labelled “G.T. Eyster & Bro., Emmittsburg.” According to Nahkleh, it has a double dial and a calendar dial that indicates day and month.

George was a Civil War Veteran. He had enlisted in the Army in 1864, and then signed up for Cole’s Cavalry in 1864, according to his obituary in the Emmitsburg Chronicle. “

Mr. Eyster was one of the few men who could boast of having heard Abraham Lincoln deliver that immortal address at Gettysburg at the dedication of the National Cemetery,” the Chronicle reported.

Like his father, George was active in civic affairs, although in his case, it was serving with the Vigilant Hose Company for 20 years as its captain.

George advertised his business in a way left little doubt as to what he did. “George T. Eyster has hung out, at his store, a large gilt watch, that indicates the time at 8:20 or 5:40 o’clock as you please to read it. It goes by swinging.” “This sign is still in the possession of the Eyster family,” the Emmitsburg Chronicle reported in 1883.               

Although George was the Eyster name on the business, Hall seems to have had the talent. Andrew may have recognized this because he left all of his watch and clock making tools to Hall. Hall also held a patent for creating an improved clock movement frame. “The frame was designed so that the mainspring arbors could be removed without tilting or damaging the movement. The lower portions of the clock frame, both front and back plates, were constructed in three parts which were screwed together in such a way that the entire lower frame could be dismantled sectionally,” Nakhleh wrote.

A third son of Andrew Eyster was also a clockmaker. George’s older brother, John Thomas Eyster (1833-1921), is listed in Maryland Clockmakers as Andrew’s son and apprentice who worked as a silversmith, jeweler, and watchmaker.

Given the rich tradition of clockmaking in Emmitsburg, it’s a shame that more Eyster and Hoover timepieces haven’t survived.

(left, below) Hoover Clock in the Maryland Room at C. Burr Artz Library.

James Rada, Jr.

Watching Majo jump around, waiting for Tim Duhan to throw a lacrosse ball, it’s hard to imagine that the nineteen-month-old German shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix is a trained law enforcement officer. On the job, Majo is all business, as he tests the air for the scent of hidden narcotics.

“He’s 100 percent a puppy still, and he’s also ball crazy,” said Duhan, a corporal with the Thurmont Police.

Majo is trained as a narcotics dog and has been on the job since September 2018. He came from the Czech Republic, and the Thurmont Police purchased him from Castle’s K-9 Inc., a company in Pennsylvania that imports and trains police dogs.

The town had a budget of $10,000 to purchase and train Majo, but the bill came out to be $12,600. However, the Humane Society of Frederick County donated $1,600 and Woodsboro Bank donated $1,000 to make up the difference.

“Another couple of agencies wanted to make him (Majo) a dual-purpose dog, but we got him first,” Duhan said.

Some dogs can also be trained as a patrol dog, besides smelling for certain scents. This “bite work” is left to dogs with a temperament for it and a reputation for being tough like German shepherds or Doberman Pinschers.

“The town didn’t want a dog that would bite, though,” Duhan said. “They wanted a social dog, and Majo is very social.”

Majo also does his police work well. So far, he and Duhan have been called out for scans three times, and drugs were found every time.

This comes from Majo’s daily training. Duhan not only exercises him, he trains him through scanning scenarios.

“With a dog like this, he should be doing some sort of drug training every day,” explained Duhan.

Majo takes over the position of canine cop from Buddy, a black Labrador retriever who was medically retired in May. He was running and playing when he injured himself in an accident.

“I’m not sure what happened,” Duhan said. “I saw him running down the yard and turned away for a moment. When I turned back, he was doing a somersault and hit a tree.”

Duhan rushed over to Buddy and discovered that the dog couldn’t get his front legs to work. He rushed him to the veterinarian for care. It was discovered that Buddy had permanent nerve damage to one of his legs, and it had to be amputated.

“He still could have done the job, but the town was unable to get insurance for him,” Duhan said.

Buddy still lives with Duhan, his family, Majo, and Duhan’s large Pyrennes. The dogs get along well, except they fight over toys like children. Duhan will still let Buddy do drug scans because the retriever likes the activity.

“He watches me do it with Majo, so I also let him scan,” Duhan said. “Even after being retired, I could probably certify Buddy now.”

Corporal Tim Duhan stands with Majo, a trained narcotics dog with the Thurmont Police Department.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.

James Rada, Jr.

There was a time in Frederick County when workers needed to follow the work. Every year, a couple thousand workers would journey up the East Coast to work on farms and in factories in the county. They lived in migrant camps in Thurmont, Frederick, and Araby.

Galen Hahn was among them. He didn’t travel with them or work the jobs they did. He ministered to them in the 1960s.

Born and raised in Frederick County, Hahn is the son of John and Helen Hahn. He was confirmed and ordained into Christian ministry at Grace Reformed United Church of Christ in Frederick.

While in high school, Hahn spent a couple summers working with the pastors who served the migrant communities in the county. He initially served as a guide, getting a pastor who wasn’t local to the different places he needed to go, but he continued volunteering and serving the migrants. After he graduated college, Rev. Hahn returned to the county as the migrant pastor.

“It wasn’t just a meeting on Sunday,” Hahn said. “I had to go day to day, week to week. The bulk of the people I worked with were children and a few women.”

This is because the men, and most of the women, were in the county to work, and they worked seven days a week. In the Thurmont area, they worked in a canning factory owned by J. O’Neill Jenkins.

The migrant camp was a set of run-down barracks that were “falling apart,” according to Hahn. For these poor accommodations, the families paid $2.00 per person, per week. The camp, which was near the Weller Church cemetery, no longer exists.

Hahn has written a book about his time as a migrant pastor, called Finding My Field. It includes pictures, which he has since donated to the Maryland Room in the C. Burr Artz Library in Frederick.

The book is the story of the migrant ministry in Frederick County and the people who cared enough for the migrant farm workers to pursue justice for them.

“Toward the end of my life, I am enjoying the opportunity of revisiting some of my early days of involvement in ministry before ordained ministry became my life,” Hahn said. “I was early affected by race, poverty, justice, and ministry to children where these were issues. These issues stayed with me throughout my ordained ministry.”

Although he now is retired and living in North Carolina, Rev. Hahn previously served as pastor of the Mt. Pleasant Reformed United Church of Christ and the Sabillasville United Church of Christ. He has also served as a chaplain at Stauffer Funeral Home, Victor Cullen Center, and Victor Cullen Academy.

You can purchase his book online at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Copies are also available to check out in county libraries.

Thurmont Migrant Camp

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Before Migrants Arrived in 1963

Connie  Stapleton at the Thurmont Camp Garbage Area.

Thurmont Camp Barracks Family Room.

Photos Courtesy of the Maryland Room, Frederick County Public Libraries

Blair Garrett

Emmitsburg-based filmmaker Conrad Weaver’s new documentary, Heroin’s Grip has been making waves in a community affected by an addiction epidemic.

The documentary offers viewers hope, understanding, and empathy for those who have struggled with addiction or are currently dealing with the effects of opiates.

Weaver’s in-depth look at the critical issues of opioid addiction premiered locally this September, and the impact of the film is already catching the eye of filmmakers around the country. It all started by Weaver paying close attention to the people close to him and their personal issues with addiction.

“One of my friend’s kids got tangled into this mess, and hearing their stories and their struggles and seeing it on the news every day made me decide to jump into it and figure out how to tell this story,” Weaver said. “I couldn’t sit on the sidelines any longer and just turn my head away. I just had to get into it and get involved somehow.”

The response from the community has been tremendous for Weaver and his team, and it comes at a time when Frederick County and thousands of others need the message most.

“We had a screening [locally] a couple weeks ago and the feedback to that was just amazing,” Weaver said. “Immediately, I started getting calls from people around the country looking to screen the film.”

The reach of the film is perhaps what may drive awareness most, and that awareness is what Weaver is striving for. “We really hope to help people understand addiction, help them to have a little more empathy for those who are caught up in it, and I believe that is what that film is doing.”

While the documentary has been a local hit so far, soon the world may get to understand Weaver’s vision behind Heroin’s Grip. “My goal is for as many people to see it as possible,” Weaver said. “It really does change your perspective on this problem, and specifically what opioids do to the brain.”

Weaver plans to show his film locally again and hopes to have it broadcast in theaters nationwide. For Weaver, if Heroin’s Grip helps erase some of the stigma surrounding addiction or helps another to understand and support those in recovery, the documentary will have done its job.

The sense of satisfaction in filmmaking is not always about the money. Sometimes, a story needs to be told for the good of the people, and Weaver’s documentary is giving people just that. “This is my third feature documentary I’ve produced, and I love telling stories. Projects like this are near and dear to my heart.”

 

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was the great national project that failed to live up the dream. It never reached its ultimate destination, which was not Cumberland, Maryland (where it wound up), or the Ohio River (as the name implies). The early vision of the canal planners was something far grander and longer, and it’s just one of the secrets of the C&O Canal.

In his new book, Secrets of the C&O Canal: Little-Known Stories & Hidden History Along the Potomac River, award-winning writer James Rada, Jr. (pictured right) tells the stories of the canal, its people, politics, and connection to history.

If you’re wondering where the canal could have gone, one possibility was that it would have ended at Lake Erie to offer competition to the Erie Canal. You can discover and alternate starting point in the book.

Other “secrets” of the canal include: Discovering the connection between the C&O Canal and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; Finding out how building the canal led to the creation of the U.S. Constitution;    Discovering how the Johnstown Flood helped kill the canal; Solving the mystery of two murders on the canal that never actually happened.

“I’ve been writing about the C&O Canal for eighteen years,” Rada said. “It was the subject of my first historical novel. I love it, and I keep coming back to it as a topic for stories.”

Rada considers “secrets” in this book as stories that aren’t widely known. When speaking to audiences about the topics of his other “Secrets” books, he has found that people whom he expected to know all of the stories in his book knew half of them.

“And those were people who you would expect to know all about the topic,” Rada said.

These are stories that Rada discovered looking through old newspapers and journals, and they cover a wide range of areas.

“These are stories that caught my attention in one way or another,” Rada said. “They aren’t the types of stories you find in history books about the county, but they are part of the area’s past.”

Secrets of the C&O Canal contains sixty-seven black and white photographs and illustrations that help bring the stories to life.

“I love writing about history,” Rada said. “I love finding interesting and unusual stories about people and places, and I haven’t come across an area that doesn’t have plenty of these stories.”

Secrets of the C&O Canal is the third in a series of books that Rada is writing about regional topics.

James Rada, Jr. is an award-winning writer, who Midwest Book Review called “a writer of considerable and deftly expressed storytelling talent.” Leatherneck Magazine called The Last to Fall “a superb book.” Rada has two dozen writing awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists, Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association, Maryland State Teachers Association, and Utah Ad Federation. He has been writing about history for nearly twenty years and still finds it fascinating and new.

“History is not boring. It’s full of love, adventure, comedy, and mysteries that still aren’t solved to this day. It’s those types of stories I like to write, and I believe I’ve pulled together a great collection of them for this book,” Rada said.

Rada is the author of twenty books, most history and historical fiction. His articles have been published in magazines like The History Channel Magazine, Boy’s Life, and Frederick Magazine. He also writes four local history columns for The Cumberland Times-News, The Gettysburg Times, The York Dispatch, and The Catoctin Banner.

Secrets of the C&O Canal: Little-Known Stories & Hidden History Along the Potomac River retails for $19.95 and is available at local booksellers. For more information about James Rada’s books, visit his website at jamesrada.com.

Catoctin Voices Evening of Poetry opens its 2018 series with guest poet, Jessica Flynn, on Friday, April 20, at 7:00 p.m. in the Collier’s Log House, located at 12607 Catoctin Furnace Road in Thurmont. Flynn, of Gardners, Pennsylvania, has written poetry for sixteen years and performed as a Spoken Word Artist for over four years. She represented the USA as an award-winning Poet of 2015 in the International Poetry Festival in Macedonia. Her YouTube channel, “The Hippie Housewife,” currently features fifty-nine videos on topics such as art, crafts, food, nature, family, animals, tattooing, dreadlocks, hula hooping, children, and more. She produces two videos per week. Her husband, Dustin Nispel, is also an award-winning published poet and Spoken Word Artist.

Catoctin Voices is open to the public and features a guest poet from the region every third Friday of the month, from 7:00-9:00 p.m., April through November. The venue is held in the village of Catoctin Furnace at the historic Collier’s Cabin, courtesy of the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society. Anyone who writes poetry or has a favorite poem by another author may share up to three pieces during the 45-minute open mic time. Students are most welcome! Open readings precede the featured poet and refreshments are always served. For more information, call 301-418-3375.

Jessica Flynn, featured guest poet at Catoctin Voices Evening of Poetry on April 20, 2018.

Calling all artists for the 2018 Spring in the Village/Art at the Furnace event in historic Catoctin Furnace in Thurmont.

During the past six years, more than 3,500 visitors have enjoyed the crafts, food, and traditional atmosphere of the historic village during this family-friendly event.

For more information, please visit www.catoctinfurnace.org or call 301-271-7574.

Anita DiGregory

Have you recently fallen in love?  Are you newly engaged and planning a wedding? Did you recently get married? If so, Mount Saint Mary’s graduate and author Stephanie Calis has some practical and spiritual advice for you. On February 11, in honor of St. Valentine’s Day and the observances of National Marriage Week (February 7-14) and World Marriage Day (February 11), the Seton Shrine hosted a “Chat with an Author,” featuring Calis and her book, Invited: The Ultimate Catholic Wedding Planner, which is up for its second printing and has been a #1 Amazon bestseller in Weddings.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton was the first native-born U.S. saint.  Because Mother Seton was a young wife, mother, and resident of Emmitsburg, the Seton Shrine was thrilled to invite Calis to share her message with the community. The event, which was well received, was moderated by Shrine Programs Director Tony Dilulio and included a talk, a question and answer session with the audience, a book signing, and refreshments. The free event was the second in the series, with the next talk (featuring Good Enough is Good Enough: Confessions of an Imperfect Catholic Mom, author Colleen Duggan) scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on April 29, 2018.

Calis, a young wife and mother herself, was happy to meet with the community and share her wedding and marriage advice in a refreshingly humble and down-to-earth style.  Her passion is sharing with others the immense worth that they hold as a human person; that love is a verb; and that pure, sacrificial love is real.

With the tone of a big sister or a best friend, Calis invites her reader (much like a friend would over a cup of coffee) to see with fresh eyes the beauty and truth of the sacrament of marriage. In an honest and caring manner, Calis shares her insights in hopes to share that rules as established through the Catholic Church are in actuality freeing, resulting in pure, sacrificial love.

“My hope for the book is to present a message, which is accessible and inviting, where Faith is a path to freedom,” adds Calis. In an attempt to combine practical wedding planning advice with spiritual teaching and insights, Invited includes the Catholic Rite of Marriage; planning worksheets and checklists; sample invitations and programs; and reception planning sheets, interspersed with information on marriage prep programs, how to choose the perfect dress, budget aids, planning resources, and more.  Another unique element of the book is the “From the Groom” advice, which includes thoughts and insights written by her husband.

While a student at the Mount, Calis met her future husband, Andrew, a fellow student in her English class. In 2010, Calis graduated, got engaged, and worked in the field. The following year, she and Andrew married at the Grotto in Emmitsburg. Over the next year, she and her husband attended nine weddings for friends and family. Each time, Calis, who had just recently planned her own wedding, was asked for practical advice on topics from the liturgy to vendors to wedding planning. After realizing there were very few resources covering both the practical and spiritual aspects of wedding planning, Calis attempted to humbly fill that void. In 2012, she started a blog, Captive the Heart, to inspire and assist new brides-to-be. Soon after, the sisters from Pauline Books and Media approached her, asking her to write a book, incorporating her insights from the blog. Calis was thrilled to do so, and in 2016, Invited was released.

Those looking for helpful, friendly advice in wedding planning or marriage, can reference Calis’ book, Invited; her blog, Captive the Heart; or her current undertaking (as co-founder and editor) of the beautiful and inviting blog, Spoken Bride.

Author Stephanie Calis and Moderator Tony Dilulio respond to questions from the audience at Seton Shrine Chat with an Author event.

Photo by Anita DiGregory

by Larry Freshman

Well, the old kid has rested and my brain seems ok, so how about some more fanciful recollections of Thurmont back in the day. On the square corner was a large store operated by Jules and Rose, selling a large variety of goods, everything from liquor to clothes. Margaret Thompson had moved from across the street and next to Shappy’s took her place; Margaret sold lovely ladies’ clothing that were accented with style and grace. Some years later, Pat and Pat would take over the shop and rename it LuRay; And continued to sell beautiful clothing, the classic style of the day. Down the street was Roy Lookingbill’s Barber Shop with Billy and Roy Purcell; As a kid I had my hair buzzed there and I thought it really looked swell. Once in a while, I imagine I can still get a whiff of those fragrant aftershaves and hair tonics I recall; But what fascinated me most back then was the painting of Custer’s Last Stand on their wall. Next to the Barber Shop was my Uncle Guy Hobbs’ grocery store; I know he delivered groceries to our house every Thursday as a weekly chore. Down the street was the Stoner House, it’s grandeur and beauty so evident; However, in the name of progress it was torn down, but its magnificent wall paper now decorates the home of our President. Further down on the corner of Center Street, Creager’s Furniture Store could be found; With some of the most gorgeous home furnishings of anywhere around. I can still see Mr. Creager at his desk working on accounts, order forms and sale notices by the score; While daughters Clara Jean and Mary Ellen were assisting customers who were browsing through the store. Across from Creager’s was a large old building, I think several families lived at that sight; In my memory, it was called Mathews Apartments, I believe I am right. From the apartment building to the alley were some quaint little homes all in a row; Across the alley was the old Post Office where mail deliverers and letter carriers scurried to and fro. Above the Post Office, those very steep stairs you would have to climb; To be treated for your illness by Dr. Gray, one of our best physicians at the time. Up the street were two taverns whose business was quite brisk; Although some wives didn’t think kindly of hubby going to Keefer’s for a brew, so it was understood if you went it was at your own risk. In between those two taverns, dentist, Dr. Doll’s office was located; As a kid, a trip to the dentist meant that nasty drill, I guess that’s why those visits I hated. Outside Dr. Doll’s office, Reverend Krone sold vegetables, freshly picked from his garden earlier that day; Everybody was trusted so just leave your payment in the box on the table and be on your way. Behind the Shapiro’s store was a market where you could purchase meat of fowl, pig, or cow; It was Hunting Creek Market, owned and operated by Louis Powell. At the top of Church Street hill was a doctor’s office, Bireley was his name; And as a kid, every time I went there his treatment was the same. The remedy, get up on that table and pull-down your pants; With this big needle of penicillin, those germs won’t stand a chance. Across the street from Dr. Bireley were the Lutheran, Methodist and Catholic Churches all in a line; Oh! how lovely they were, when all were decorated at Christmas time. Further out on Church Street, Mountain Jerry’s Place you would find; The thought of this place brings smells of fried chicken, cigarettes, and beer to mind. As a kid the best thing about this place was the baseball player sign that read; In flashing letters, Mountain Jerry’s it’s a hit, what more needed to be said? Out the street, on the right was Royer’s Restaurant owned by Sam Louise; Royers was spacious inside, had plenty of parking and a staff that worked hard its customers to please. The terrific food and service made Royers busy night and day; I know, ‘cause I was the kid manning the dishwasher; The plates, glasses and silverware never seemed to go away. Traveling past Royers was Bollinger’s Restaurant and snack bar located on a hill nearby; With Momma B doing the cooking, everyone wanted to give that delicious food a try. Hot roast beef sandwiches, cole slaw and fries, my favorite back then and today; Located near Bollingers was a ball field where I believe the Bombers used to play. I hope as you read my remembrances of old Thurmont, you’ll recall your own fond memories of the peaceful places and kind people for which our small town is renowned. Well, it’s time for the kid to put his trusty pen away; And if the memory holds up, there might be more on another day.

There are two more excellent films to be shown in Thurmont this autumn, at both the Regional Library and the Main Street Center. The library itself, as everyone knows, is a great resource for our community, with multiple creative activities and books and movies to engage our minds, as well as internet access. The Main Street Center on Water Street is a marvel to enter, with art work by local artists, as well as the history of this area. We are blessed to have both of these wonderful features here in Thurmont, which is increasingly becoming a reservoir of culture, along with many local businesses.

This fall, we are fortunate to have two films sponsored by the Town’s Green Team and the Sierra Club, and everyone is welcome to attend, free of charge. The films, places, and times are as follows:

 

Before the Flood, a thought-provoking documentary with Leonardo Dicaprio, taking us on a tour around the world, showing us the ravages of pollution, corporate destruction of rainforests, and climate disruption. It also examines positive ways that we can help rectify the problems. A must see! Showing : Saturday, November 4 at 2:00 p.m., Thurmont Main Street Center, 11 Water Street.

 

Bag It, a playful, yet serious, examination depicting the current problems we are are having with plastics in our environment and our food. Excellent!

Showings: Thursday, November 16 at 6:00 p.m., Thurmont Regional Library; Friday, December 1 at 6:00 p.m., Thurmont Main Street Center, 11 Water Street.

Both of these films are good for adults, as well as middle school and high school students. There will be discussions following the film, along with healthy food to snack on. Hope to see you there! For more information, write Christine at songbirdschant@gmail.com.

Each year, the VFW Post 6658 Auxiliary sponsors a contest titled “The Patriot’s Pen,” which is open to students in grades sixth through eighth.

Students are required to do a typed essay of 300-400 words, based on the theme “America’s Gift to My Generation.” Monetary prizes are given to the winners on local, state, and national levels. Judging is based on knowledge of the theme, theme development, and clarity of ideas.

If interested, please contact Annette Wivell at 301-447-3475 for an entry form. Deadline for obtaining the form is October 1, 2017

Poet Tracy Seffers of Charles Town, West Virginia, will read from her latest work, Some Other Life, at the monthly poetry gathering, known as “Catoctin Voices,” on Friday, September 15, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. The event has moved to the historic Collier’s Cabin, located at 12607 Catoctin Furnace Road in Thurmont, home of The Catoctin Furnace Historical Society.

Publisher Finishing Line Press of Kentucky, describes Seffer’s work as bringing “…into view the deep ‘other life’ hidden underneath the commonplace. It is a celebration of the small and unseen lives that reveal deeper truth both divine and deeply human: the poetry sings an incarnational universe.”

  1. Claire Cantwell poet, columnist, and host of “Catoctin Voices” wrote this jacket review: “Tracy Seffers gives us her well-lived poems with an intensity and intimacy that both scores and soothes us, excites and rests, charges and stills. She invites us to float in her world of familiar themes and objects, but what is unfamiliar is her vision, awash in something. Shall I say wisdom? Perhaps it’s more akin to grace.”

The poems demonstrate “a musical ear and fine sensibilities that tap deeply into and from the Appalachian landscape and her own heritage,” writes Dr. Sylvia Baily Shurbutt, professor of English, Shepherd University, senior editor of Anthology of Appalachian Writers, and Director of NEH Voices from the Misty Mountains. “Her poems have an exquisite sense of structure and touch the reader with the quality of language and art. This is a book you will love.”

Tracy Seffers lives with her family on the banks of the Shenandoah River, under the shadow of the Blue Ridge. Her poetry has been featured in reading events throughout the Jefferson County WV Arts Council and in WV Writer’s podcasts; and published in regional literary journals such as the Bluestone Review, Backbone Mountain Review, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel Literary Journal, the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, and in online journals, including Still: The Journal and Assisi: an Online Journal of Arts and Letters.

“Catoctin Voices” is open to the public and features a guest poet from the region, in addition to open readings from anyone who writes poetry or has a favorite poem by another author to share. Approximately forty-five minutes of open reading time precedes the featured poet. Refreshments are always served. For more information, call 301-418-3375.