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by Denise Valentine

Hello, everyone. Now that the children are out of school for the summer, you may be looking for some activities to keep them busy. Baking is always fun, and the best part is that they get to eat the finished product.

These “7 Layer Cookie Bars” provide the perfect opportunity to let the kids help create the recipe. You can let them sprinkle on the layers, and when they are finished baking, they can enjoy the delicious cookies with a big glass of cold milk.

I hope you have a wonderful summer!

7 Layer Cookie Bars

1/2 cup butter, melted                                

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs    

1 cup butterscotch flavored chips

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk                    

1 1/3 cups flaked coconut

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour melted butter into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over butter; pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumbs. Top with remaining ingredients; press down firmly.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Chill if desired. Cut into bars. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

This Fourth of July weekend, millions of Americans will huddle around outdoor pits, ovens, and grills to slowly cook themselves meaty, patriotic dishes, slathered in sauce. Barbecue is about as red, white, and blue as American cuisine gets.

The history of grilling begins shortly after the domestication of fire, some 500,000 years ago. The backyard ritual of grilling as we know it, though, is much more recent. Until well into the 1940s, grilling mostly happened at campsites and picnics. After World War II, as the middle class began to move to the suburbs, backyard grilling caught on, becoming all the rage by the 1950s.

4 pounds bone-in country-style pork ribs

1 cup water

1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon celery seed

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Dash pepper

Preheat oven to 325°. Place ribs in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, covered, 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour 1 cup sauce over ribs; turn to coat. Let stand 15 minutes.

Drain and discard sauce from ribs. Grill ribs uncovered, over medium heat 10-12 minutes or until browned, basting with 1 cup sauce and turning occasionally.

Serve with remaining sauce. Yields 4 servings.

by Buck Reed

The Charge of the Kitchen Brigade

When professional culinarians think about the chefs who shaped the structure, we labor our professional lives under one name that always seems to come up: Auguste Escoffier. Often described as not only the chef of kings, but the king of chefs as well, he spent a great deal of his career standardizing and defining how a professional kitchen should work. He didn’t invent cooking, but he did write the book that defined how the various dishes and their accompanying elements should be prepared. Le Guide Culinaire was, and still is, the book almost all chefs call the Bible. But more important to the chefs of present, he developed the brigade system that most successful fine dining restaurants follow today.

First, we have the line. This is where the various stations are “lined up” and the food is prepared and plated up before they are sent to the guests. Each station is staffed by a specific line cook who is trained and prepared to produce a specific dish or a part of dish to be plated for the guest.

The cooks working in the kitchen are given a designation that defines their training level, as well as their status in the pecking order in the kitchen. The head honcho is the Executive Chef and is responsible for the overall operation of the kitchen. He is directly assisted by the Kitchen Manager and the Sous Chef. The Sous Chef oversees the various people under him to make sure the are ready on a daily basis. The Kitchen Manager is responsible for logistics, making sure there is enough product in house and that the kitchen is clean and safe to work in. Under them is the Chef de Partie or the Line Cooks. They make sure their station on the line is ready for their shift. And, finally, there are the Commis Chefs. They assist the line cooks with prep.

In larger kitchens, the Chef de Partie can further be defined by a specialty position. For instance, the person in charge of cold appetizers is called the Garde Manager. Poissonier would be responsible for the fish dishes and the Rotisseur would cook the meats. Saucier oversees the production of sauces, and the side dishes are prepared by the Entremetier. Of course, the steak might be the sizzle, but it is the Pâtissier or pastry chef that gets all the glory. The Expeditor brings it all together, making sure everyone is working on the same order and then getting it on the plate correctly before it goes out to the guest.

Even if a restaurant doesn’t have enough personnel to fill all these positions, the work is still divided up and organized in such a way to keep the food consistent. Most importantly, the brigade system keeps the work flowing and keeps everyone—kitchen staff, servers, and guests—relatively sane.

Tom’s Creek United Methodist Church

by Theresa Dardanell

Rev. Heath Wilson (back row, on left) with members of Tom’s Creek United Methodist Church

 Photos by Theresa Dardanell

“Come Journey With Us!” is the invitation from Reverend Heath Wilson and the members of the Tom’s Creek United Methodist Church (TCUMC) in Emmitsburg.  The invitation is not limited to Sunday worship services. Weekly Bible studies, community outreach programs, fundraisers, and social events are open to everyone. 

One of the most interesting events is the weekly “Faith and Fellowship” Bible study/book group, led by Pastor Wilson. You won’t find this group meeting at the church; they meet at a restaurant that is part of the Lorien Health Services, a nursing, assisted living and rehabilitation community in Taneytown. Lorien residents are joined by church members, family, and friends every Thursday from 3:00-4:00 p.m. If you are looking for an evening Bible study/book group for women, check out the current Ladies Bible Study that began on June 4 and will continue until July 30. Using the book, Living a Chocolate Life: A Bible Study for Women by Debra Burma, the discussions about God’s grace are centered around the theme of chocolate.

Parishioners are involved in local and worldwide community outreach programs. The Emmitsburg Food Bank is especially close to the hearts of the members. They not only provide monetary and food donations, they have recently started a drive to collect toiletries and household items that are not normally donated but that are urgently needed. Church member Phyllis Kelly, who runs the Emmitsburg Food Bank, is often joined by other volunteers who belong to the church. Other local organizations which receive help from Tom’s Creek United Methodist Church are: the Seton Center, the Catoctin Pregnancy Center, and the Catoctin High School Blessing in a Backpack program. 

TCUMC is fortunate to have a large property, complete with an outdoor altar, church benches, and a pavilion, approximately two miles from the church. “The Promised Land,” located off Route 140 just east of Emmitsburg, is used for outdoor services, concerts, and other events. It is also the site of a rest stop for the Face of America bicycle ride each spring. During this two-day bicycle and hand-cycling challenge for adaptive and able-bodied athletes, riders travel 112 miles from Arlington, Virginia, to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. At Tom’s Creek Promised Land, the riders can spend time resting and enjoying snacks and beverages. Everyone in the community is invited to join the TCUMC members in cheering on the riders during this event.

The Tom’s Creek United Methodist Women (UMW) are busy with community service projects, as well as social events. They recently provided a meal for the Seton Center’s “Getting Ahead Program,” which helps individuals impacted by poverty to build resources needed for a better life. They also worked together to make feminine hygiene products for “Days for Girls International,” a global project that prepares and distributes sustainable menstrual health products to girls in areas where these items are not readily available. The UMW members also hold birthday parties, ice cream and pizza socials, and the well-attended annual picnic.

Mission trips are an important part of the worldwide community outreach. Church members will be traveling to the Navajo Nation in New Mexico in July this year. The project involves not only actual construction (the addition of a bathroom to the church), but also the building of relationships between communities. Previously, teams traveled to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

Linda Myers, Christian Education chairperson, said that one of the strengths of the church is their education program.  Sunday school for all ages is held year-round, from 9:30-10:15 a.m. every Sunday. There are four classes for children and eight classes for adults, so there is something for everyone. 

Watch for ads in The Catoctin Banner for their annual fundraisers. The all-you-can-eat buffet breakfasts include eggs, pancakes, sausage and bacon, home fries, chip beef gravy, and more; delicious handmade chocolate peanut butter eggs and chocolate coconut eggs are for sale at Easter. The turkey and oyster family-style suppers feature roast turkey, fried oysters, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, and their famous cracker pudding.

Sunday services are held at 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. The adult choir, accompanied by organ and piano, sings at the early service. Praise song, along with the passing of the peace, is featured at the later worship service.  Communion is offered on the first Sunday of the month, and everyone is welcome to receive it. Coffee hour after the 8:00 a.m. service is a time of hospitality and refreshments in the Fellowship Hall. Members Karen Wivell and Bill Coburn agree that Tom’s Creek United Methodist Church is a friendly and welcoming community that feels like a family.

TMUMC is located at 10926 Simmons Road in Emmitsburg.  For more information, visit the website at or Facebook page: tomscreekumc.

by Valerie Nusbaum

I heard a hissing, whistling sound, like bacon frying, but I wasn’t frying bacon. Not yet, anyway. Looking to my left, I saw sparks flying and then flames starting to climb. There was a “BOOM” and the flames climbed higher. The smoke was thick and white, then black. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Thirty Minutes Earlier

I had bought a quart of buttermilk and decided that I was going to make some homemade pancakes for dinner. Randy likes having breakfast for dinner, and let’s face it, the pancake mixes are good but nothing beats a homemade pancake/hotcake/flapjack for lightness and tenderness. I got out my mixing bowl and carefully measured and sifted my flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar, and added in my oil and buttermilk.

My griddle skillet was hot and coated, and I started cranking out the pancakes. They looked light and fluffy and golden brown. I arranged them on a baking sheet and set my oven to “warm” to keep the cakes hot while I finished off the batch, cooked my turkey bacon and eggs, and fried some potatoes. Yes, I know it all sounds terribly unhealthy, but everything in moderation, right?  Something is going to kill me, and I’d rather it be a pancake than a salad.  How many of you have choked on those raw vegetables?

And then the oven exploded.  Luckily, I was standing several feet away. It’s also lucky that I was in the kitchen when it happened and was able to act quickly; it was doubly lucky that I only had the oven on “warm” mode. One of the heat coils (or whatever they’re called) had worn through. I was able to save my pancakes and only got burned a little. I did manage to bruise my hand black and blue, and I’m still not sure how that happened.

Now, I know I could probably have gotten my oven repaired, but the stove was 25 years old and, after discussing it with my husband, we decided it was time for a new appliance. You might remember that last month I told you Randy is now working from home. He’s here with me all day long for several days each week now, and he had been in the kitchen every single time I’d entered it throughout that day. However, when the dinner preparations began, Randy disappeared. When the fire broke out, he was nowhere to be found. I fought the blaze all by myself. I’m not suggesting anything here. I don’t think he deliberately sabotaged my oven. He’s too fond of pancakes to do that. I’m just asking, “Where was he when I needed him?” Okay, he had run out to get me a fountain Diet Coke from McDonald’s, but I still say his timing was off.

We started shopping for a new stove and decided that it would be a good time to replace the dishwasher as well. I wanted a stove similar to my old one, without a lot of bells and whistles, but I discovered that things have changed in the last quarter-century. I didn’t really want stainless steel because it’s so easily fingerprinted, and I really don’t plan to spend all my time wiping and cleaning. We ended up with a black fingerprint-resistant range, with an extra burner and more buttons than I’ll ever figure out or ever need.

Ordering the new appliances took an inordinate amount of time because our salesperson was new to the job. We all suffered through the process, and then Randy and I came home to wait for our pieces to be delivered and installed. Two weeks went by and we finally got a call about the dishwasher. The range had evidently been misplaced, but it was eventually tracked down and it was delivered and installed last Friday. I’ve cleaned it and gotten it ready for use, but, so far, I haven’t cooked or baked anything. It’s new, after all, and I hate to mess it up.

The new dishwasher showed up on Friday, too, but when the installer began removing our old one out, he found that the valve was frozen, and he informed Randy that he wasn’t allowed to work on that because of some liability issue or something.  So, the plumber left the new dishwasher sitting in its box in a corner of the kitchen.  Randy spent an hour or so on Saturday opening and replacing the valve. It would have taken him 10 minutes if he hadn’t had to go out and buy parts. We’re expecting the plumber again this afternoon and we’re hoping that’s the end of this process.

Now, while all of this was going on, we discovered an ugly brown spot on the kitchen ceiling and deduced that there’s a problem with Randy’s shower drain. Did I mention that the tree service is here today taking down a couple of trees and doing a major pruning? 

We know we’re not alone.  Everyone who owns a home has these kinds of problems, and they always seem to happen at once, don’t they? 

All I know for sure is that I’ll be making microwave pancakes for a while. Those homemade cakes were delicious, but they sure were expensive.

by James Rada, Jr.

July 1919, 100 Years Ago

Motor Transport Train. Coast To Coast Journey Delayed at Thurmont

The motor transport train which left Washington on Monday of this week got as far as Frederick, Md., on the first day. They remained at Frederick over night, camping on the Fair Grounds.

Early Tuesday morning the journey was resumed, and the main body of transports came to Thurmont about 9:30 o’clock. The small cars and all but three of the heavy trucks proceeded without mishap until the overhead bridge of the Western Maryland railroad bridge was reached. Here the truck carrying the blacksmith shot got stuck, the heavy bridge girders being too low, and a portion of the top was torn from the truck in its efforts to proceed.


This is said to be the largest motor transport train in the history of any army. The trip from Washington to San Franscisco will be made over the Lincoln Highway, and will take at least 60 days.

The trip is being made under special orders from the War Department, and for the double purpose of giving a demonstration of national preparedness and of showing the need of national highways.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, July 10, 1919

Date Set For Homecoming

Several months ago a meeting of the citizens of Thurmont was held and an association was formed for the purpose of holding a home-coming welcome in honor of the boys who have been in the service.

A meeting of the association was held on Tuesday evening of this week and Saturday, August 2nd, was the date decided upon for the holding of the celebration.

It has been rather difficult to decide upon a suitable date on account of quite a number of the boys not having returned from abroad. At one time it looked like we might get ready about Just 1st but it was found that so many celebrations of this kind were being held on that date and it was decided to wait a bit longer and at the same time give the boys who are still abroad an opportunity of getting home.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, July 10, 1919

July 1944, 75 Years Ago

Pfc. Dale M. Ford First Thurmont Man Killed In Invasion

Pfc. Dale M. Ford is the first Thurmont man with the 29th Division to be killed in the invasion. His wife, Mrs. Florence Wireman Ford, has received word from the War Department that Pfc. Ford was killed in action in France on June 13, just one week after D-Day.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, July 14, 1944

Unnecessary Use Of Water Banned In Thurmont

With much reluctance the Mechanicstown Water Company, which furnishes water to the citizens of Thurmont, has at last been forced to place a ban upon the use water here for other than the most essential services.

According to an announcement in the advertising columns of this paper citizens are warned that effective today (Friday) it will not be permissible to use municipal water for sprinkling for the filling of wading and swimming pools and the replenishing of fish ponds.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, July 21, 1944

July 1969, 50 Years Ago

Firemen Sign Contract For New Pumper

The regular monthly meeting of the Vigilant Hose Company was held Tuesday evening at the Fire Hall, President James E. Fitzgerald presiding. Chief Guy R. McGlaughin reported that three fire calls and one service call had been answered since the last meeting. Co-chairman James Kittinger announced that $4,010.00 has been collected by the current Fund Drive, meaning that $3,000 is still needed if the $7,000 goal is to be achieved.


Old business discussed at the meeting included the decision of making a $6,000.00 payment on the building addition mortgage, as well as the signing of a contract with the American Fire Apparatus Company for the body portion of a new pumper in the amount of $21,360. This amount does not include the cost of the chassis which will be an estimated additional cost of $9,000 plus. The pumper is planned for delivery during the spring of 1971.

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, July 11, 1969

Con Man Held In Swindle Try

With promises of love and marriage, a Louisiana man attempted to con a Rocky Ridge woman whom he met through a Pen-Pal Club to give him $1,500 and leave with him, State Police said.

          Tpr. John W. Reburn said he was notified of the scheme by the Thurmont Bank. Arrested on a charge of conspiracy was Joseph Garciana, 58, of Port Allen and his nephew, Johnny Bareanco, 19, of Baton Rouge, La., was charged with attempted conspiracy. Police said that mode of operation used was to “make contact with the possible victim thru a Lousiana based Pen-Pal Club. After several weeks, the con artist would come and visit his pen-pal with claims of love and marriage.”

                                          – Emmitsburg Chronicle, July 11, 1969

July 1994, 25 Years Ago

Emmitsburg Revels In Old-Fashioned 4th

The clang of horseshoes and the band of fireworks filled the air here Sunday at the 12th annual Community Day, sponsored by the town Lions Club. The day’s events, which were unified under the theme of “Patriotism,” served to unite the town, Lions Club President Jim Wivell said. “It really gets the town together. It brings people together around the Fourth of July and people really appreciate that,” he said.

          Mr. Wivell said the day’s activities, which range from horseshoe pitching to a parade, attracted approximately 1,500 people. He predicted that 3,500-5,000 would watch fireworks.

                                          – Frederick News, July 5, 1994

Emmitsburg Smooch

President Clinton gets a kiss from the Emmitsburg, Md., Fire Chief’s dog, Hoser, as volunteer fireman Wayne Powell (right) watches. Clinton was driving through Emmitsburg and stopped to greet the citizens as he was returning from a round of golf Sunday at Carroll Valley Country Club near Fairfield in southern Adams County.

                                          – Gettysburg Times, July 5, 1994

by James Rada, Jr.

The Year Catoctin Mountain Burned

During 1920, Catoctin Mountain was plagued by fires that burned thousands of acres across both the eastern and western sides of the mountain.

The first fires started at the end of March. “It is said that the flames started along the Jefferson road and attracted very little attention until about 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon,” the Frederick News reported. “Passengers on the late train stated that the fire extended east and west across the mountain, a distance of nearly two miles.”

One fire started near the land of Harry Hickman near Point of Rocks and burned north. It was reported to be at least a mile wide. Meanwhile, a second fire started near Weverton and also burned north.

Individual farms and Hall Town, a small town where African Americans lived, were threatened by the spreading fires.

“The reflection was seen for miles and vivid along the road leading from Jefferson in Point of Rocks,” the Frederick Post reported.

That evening, people in the area took matters into their own hands. “Early in the evening, the fire became so threatening that a number of tenants on mountain farms went out and fought the flames,” the Frederick Post reported.

They succeeded and got the fire under control. It was estimated that over 100 acres burned. The following month, another fire broke out beyond Catoctin Fire. Fire Warden Martin Freshour noticed a cloud of smoke on May 9. He investigated the source and discovered the fire. The problem was the wind was fanning the flames.

He called for help, and he and 50 assistants established a two-mile-long fire line to check the fire’s advance, as they worked to put it out. They were hampered in their efforts when another smaller fire broke out near Foxville on May 10.

The fire wardens managed to bring the fire under control on May 12, but not before more than 2,500 acres burned.

In June, another fire broke out on the mountain in an area called Rattlesnake Hill.

District Forester C. Cyril Klein summoned 15 assistants to help him fight the fire. He quickly realized that he needed more help. Joseph Thropp, owner of the Catoctin Furnace property brought in a dozen men to help, and Fire Warden Albert Hauver brought in another dozen men.

The problem with the fire was that it was driving hundreds, if not thousands, of animals away from the fire.

“The snakes became so numerous that District Forester C. Cyril Klein had difficulty in keeping the firefighters on the job,” the Catoctin Clarion reported.

The snakes became so distracting that three firefighters had to be diverted from fighting the fire to killing the rattlesnakes that came too close to the other firefighters.

By the time the men got the fire under control, more than 300 acres had been burned.

It was a dangerous year on Catoctin Mountain, and luckily, although timber and crops burned, no lives were lost.

by Priscilla Rall

The 35 Missions of a Rocky Ridge Flyboy

World War II took Americans to places they had never dreamed of going. Most had never ventured far from their farming communities. One of these rural youths was Vernon Keilholtz.

Born in 1923 near Rocky Ridge, Vernon took the train to school in Emmitsburg for seven years until it went bankrupt after a major snow storm. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Maryland for one year before enlisting in the Army Air Corps in August 1942. After training in Florida, he qualified for mechanics’ school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and in Michigan. Just before being sent to the Pacific, he was ordered to San Antonio for cadet training where he qualified as a pilot or co-pilot. In April 1943, he first soloed in a Fairchild 19A (manufactured in Hagerstown). Vernon then was transferred to Arkansas where he shared his barracks with the future entertainer George Goebbels.

At last, Vernon was assigned as the co-pilot of a B-17 along with nine other crew members. They were to stay together for the duration of their service. They left in May 1943 to fly to England from Nebraska, refueling in Gander, Newfoundland, and finally reaching Scotland. In England they were assigned to the 100th Bomb Group (the “Bloody Hundredth”) of the 8th Air Force, with the 351st Squadron stationed at Thorpe Abbott in southern England. Vernon’s first mission was shortly after D-Day on June 12 with Harvey Dickert as pilot. It was supposed to be a “milk run” looking for “targets of opportunity,” but their flight path took them over Dunkirk where the Germans had a plethora of anti-aircraft guns. One plane was hit, caught fire, and plunged into the English Channel. Miraculously, four airmen were rescued, but the rest perished. Vernon and his crew flew many missions to support our ground troops. On June 25, they were ordered to load up with cannisters filled with equipment for the French underground. They flew just 50 feet above the ground and their drop zone was illuminated by flares. They were so low that they could see the French women and children waving at them!

Their plane, the “Mason and Dixon” (named for the previous pilot and co-pilot, and not for the crew members who were from Gettysburg and Maryland) flew many missions to Berlin.  They were part of what the military terms “maximum effort” as just one of over 1,000 planes flying from airfields all over Britain. The planes would enter Germany from Prussia where the marshy land precluded the placement of large gunnery batteries. Then they would turn south for their targets. Vernon made bombing runs over Nuremberg and Bremen where the enemy had military assembly plants and ball bearing factories.

The squadron’s most deadly mission was on September 11, 1944, when 36 planes successfully hit the industrial area of the Ruhr Valley but were ambushed by an estimated 100 enemy fighters who shot down 12 U.S. planes as there were no Allied fighters for protection. Once enemy flack hit an oxygen canister under the pilot’s seat. An explosion followed and filled the cockpit with dust and papers. Fortunately, that was the only damage and they continued home safely. The planes routinely flew at 26,000 feet with temperatures of -30 degrees. All of the crew had heated seats to take off the chill, but it was still a cold business. When they returned to their base, the crew would be treated to a shot of whiskey and a package of cigarettes.

Early in the war, the airmen only had to complete 25 missions to be sent home, but that increased to 30 and finally to 35. When Vernon reached that goal, he sailed home on the Queen Mary. She had a speed of 31 knots and zig-zagged to elude any German subs lurking in the depths. He was a happy man when finally reaching the New York Harbor and seeing the Statue of Liberty waiting to greet him. He was granted a 23-day leave, but after a quick visit home, he traveled to Detroit were his sweetheart, Bea Long, was stationed at a hospital. She had been a nurse cadet at FMH. On November 13, Bea and Vernon were married at a church in Mt. Pleasant. Vernon was later assigned as a flying instructor pilot, flying B-24s and B-26s. As his time was not yet up, he was sent to the Pacific, ending up in Tokyo. In Japan, he was placed in charge of the motor pool in Nagoya. Traveling throughout Japan, he saw the tremendous damage as a result of the fire-bombing and the two nuclear bombs. Finally, Captain Keilholtz flew home and was discharged on November 23, 1946. For his courage and service, he was awarded the Air Medal with six Oak Leaf Clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Bea and Vernon raised their family in a lovely brick home east of Emmitsburg. They had a daughter and a son while Vernon became a cattle dealer, and few knew of his war time heroics. Sadly, Vernon passed away in April 2013, mourned by his family and many friends. Not only was Vernon a friend of mine, but he was the first veteran that I interviewed for the Frederick County Veterans History Project. A true representative of the Greatest Generation, his experiences in WWII deserve to be shared, especially by those who knew him.

If you are a veteran or know a veteran who is willing to tell his or her story, contact the Frederick County Veterans History Project at

by Jim Houck, Jr.

Merle Edward Crouse Sr., Private First Class U.S. Army

As told to Jim Houck Jr. by Merle Edward Crouse Sr.’s son, Merle Edward Crouse Jr.

Merle Edward Crouse was born to Lester and Louise Crouse. He spent most of his life in Thurmont and went to the local high school;  at that time, the high school went from grade one to twelve. Ed went to school until the tenth grade, when he quit to go to work at the Thurmont Shoe Factory. He was working there when he was drafted into the Army in 1951.

Ed had an accident when he was 16 years old. He was driving a tack with a hammer; a piece of the tack flew off and went into his left eye, blinding him. At that time, being blind in one eye did not stop him from being drafted into the Army. Ed was inducted and was on a trip ship going over from California to Korea on July 10, 1951, when he received a telegram that he had a new born son, Eddy Jr.

Ed Sr. served in Korea until 1952, and the only thing Ed ever said about the Korean War was how cold it was over there. Being in the infantry, he did a lot of marching, and he was having problems with his feet. He got to the point where he could barely stand to walk; his superior officers thought he was faking, but he finally got in to the proper doctors and they discovered he had flat feet. The doctor made special inserts for him and got him back on his feet; he was better after that. He also said that he was in the infantry when he got there and then they put him on a half track as an ammo bearer for the machine guns on the half track; he said it was quite an experience. Ed Sr. was very proud of serving in the U.S. Army, and when he came home, he joined the American Legion and the Emmitsburg VFW. He enjoyed the camaraderie amongst the members. Ed Jr. said he was very proud of his dad for serving to protect him and our country.  

When he returned home, he went back to work at the shoe factory. He was only making 40 or 45 cents an hour at the shoe factory, when he was married and had his first child, Ed Jr. A year later, he had a daughter they named Nancy. Money was tight. Ed Sr. heard there was a new business coming to town named Moore’s Business Forms, and when they opened, Ed Sr. got a job with them, staying for 33 years before he retired. Ed Sr.’s wife’s name was Elsie Elizabeth Hurley of Foxville; Ed Sr. and she were married for 63 years. When Ed Sr. and Elsie first got married, they lived in an apartment at the corner of Radio Lane and Carroll Street. They moved to 16 Elm Street next, when Ed Jr. was about 10 years old. A house building company came to Thurmont called National Homes; they built a lot of reasonably priced houses. At first, Ed Sr. thought he would not be able to afford one of the homes. He had gone to the old Thurmont bank and the president of the bank was Steppy, and Steppy would not let Ed Sr. have the money because the lot and the house was about $7,000 and Ed Sr. needed more collateral. So, Ed Sr. went to the Farmers and Mechanics Bank in Frederick, and they loaned him the money. He got the house built on 16 Elm Street. That is where Ed Sr. and Elsie lived until they died, and Ed Jr. and Nancy lived there until they each got married and left home. Ed Sr. and Elsie never went far from Thurmont, their hometown. Elsie died in 2013, and not quite a year later, Ed Sr. died. Ed Jr. said that because of the way that his parents raised him and his sister, they couldn’t have had better parents. Things were a lot different back then, but good parents were invaluable, instilling the way things should be and respect and politeness in their children. The respect and politeness are some of the things that seem to be missing in children today.

Ed Crouse Sr. was the kind of man I would have really liked to have met. I enjoyed every minute with Ed Jr., listening to all the details of his dad’s life and the love he showed when he spoke of his dad.

Keep an eye out for my column in the August edition of The Catoctin Banner when I write about another neighborhood hero: a former Maryland State Trooper who retired after 25 years of service.

God Bless the United States of America, God Bless Our American Heroes, and God Bless You.

by Phyllis Clark

“I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free…” All of us­, no matter our age, are people who love our country. And all of us in this beautiful area know how to celebrate being free!

Although we’ve been busy thinking of graduations, weddings, or carnivals, we especially remembered those who nobly served our country.

In June, we proudly showed our spirit by flying the Stars and Stripes on Flag Day and on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. The community came together at the end of June as we celebrated our independence on the founding of our great country with games, races, good food, a parade, and a beautiful display of fireworks!

A Veterans Recognition Day will be held on Wednesday, July 10, from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., at the Frederick Senior Center, located at 1440 Taney Avenue. Colonel Laureen Barone, USA, Retired, will be the Keynote Speaker. We hope all of you special men and women will join us, but please call to register at either the Emmitsburg Center (301-600-6350} or Frederick Center (300-600-1048) before Friday, July 5. A contribution of $5.00 is suggested for lunch. It will be a full program and we hope to see you there.

The Senior Center does not take a vacation during these hot, humid days of summer, and there is still a lot to do (thank goodness for air conditioning)! Our hours are 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. There is only a donation for lunch. Come in for a glass of iced tea (or hot coffee) and join in some of our activities. Our programs are always interesting, as well as informative. Games, puzzles, and cards are nice cool things to do every day, and if there’s nothing else you want to do, we can always talk about the weather!

Why not try “Walk with Ease” on Monday mornings, beginning at 10:00 a.m.? This class is especially beneficial for those who have either a little or a lot of arthritic pain. The art class is taking time off until September.

Tuesdays begin with strength training, which can be done with ease at your own pace. No pressure and no competition. We’ll be talking about current events and happenings on July 2 at 11:00 a.m. Bring a dollar gift for Bingo after lunch on July 9. Nurse Steve doesn’t take a vacation, so he will be here on July 16 for blood pressure checks and to talk to us about: “How Do Our Senses Change with Age?” (Not sure I want to “hear” this.)

Be sure to put this activity on your calendar for July 23: we’re going to make a 3-foot banana split after lunch! Bring your favorite topping. Can’t wait to “see” and “taste” this! Finally, on July 30, we’ll have our Memory Cafe for special friends and their caregivers, beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Come to the Emmitsburg Senior Center for chair exercise on Wednesday, July 3, at 10:00 a.m., with a “Trip Down Memory Lane” at 11:00 a.m.

Chair Exercise will begin at 9:00 a.m. on July 17, because we’ll be leaving at 10:00 a.m. on a surprise  shopping trip with a stop for  lunch. Call Linda for  more details on this one.

Chair exercise again on July 24. More food and fun on Wednesday, July 31: we’re having a pizza party at 1:00 p.m., and Linda’s bringing the salad. Please call to register for this event.

The Emmitsburg Senior Center will be closed on Thursday, July 4, to have more time to celebrate. We will be closed again on Thursday, July 25, for a staff in-service day.

With all this good food in our future, we need to start coming to the strength training class at 10:00 a.m. on the other two Thursdays in July. Canasta will be at noon, and tai chi at 1:00 p.m. in the gym.

We close down the week on Fridays with hoop shoot in the gym at 10:00 a.m., canasta at noon, and tai chi at 1:00 p.m. in the gym.

 The Frederick County Senior Services Division is offering a number of trips for July, August, and September. Registration is in-person at one of the County’s Senior Centers or online at Call the Frederick Senior Center for more information, but don’t wait to register. The trips are: July 12—The Pride of the Susquehanna cruise, $45 per person; July 26—The Christmas Haus & Hofbrauhaus, $25 per person, plus lunch on your own; August 9—Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens, $25 per person; August 29—“Wrong Turn at Lungfish11 at the Totem Pole Playhouse, $60per person; September 13—Lake Tobias Wildlife Park, $50 per person; and September 20—Quiet Waters Park & Art Galleries, $30 per person.

A special note: The Groceries for Seniors Program is available to eligible seniors. Food may be picked up at 1:00 p.m. the first Friday of the month at the Frederick Senior Center. We ask that you call Linda Umbel at 301-600-6350 for more information and to register.

Our last thought: “…there ain’t no doubt, I love this land, God bless the USA!” (Thank you, Lee Greenwood).

by John Dowling

The good times of summer are here once again to enjoy. Now is the time of backyard cookouts, picnics, nature walks, swimming, and so much more. A time to visit and see and breathe in the many sights, smells, and beauty that Mother Nature offers us. 

Flowers in front of the Thurmont Senior Center are adding their beauty to all who enter the front door. We extend a grateful “thank you” to the Rocky Ridge 4-H Club, who donated the beautiful flowers, along with their time spent preparing the ground and doing the planting and mulching. Come by and see their beautiful work, and come check out what we have going on for the seniors to take part in and enjoy this summer.

The Thurmont Senior Center is located at 806 E. Main Street, across the street from the Thurmont Elementary School. Just drop in some time and meet our coordinator, Teresa, and pick up the monthly events calendar, which also has the daily menu on the back.

All of our activities and exercises are geared to the levels and abilities of most active seniors. On every Monday, there is the senior version of Zumba Gold exercises, from 10:15-11:00 a.m. The cost is $24.00 for a punch card for eight sessions, or you can pay $5.00 per session. Also happening every Monday at 1:00 p.m. is a free movie, which will be shown on our large screen TV.  Call the Center to see what movie will be playing at 301-271-7911.

On each Tuesday, from 9:30-10:00 a.m., we have exercise with Alice Eyler (you make a donation). Following exercise with Alice,  you can have fun learning and doing line dancing, beginning at 10:00 a.m.  There are also cards and games each Tuesday at 1:00 p.m.

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, July 3, and July 17 for our fun-time Bingo, which starts at 1:00 p.m. The cost to play is $5.00 for a 3-pack of 20 games, and $1.00 for a winner-take-all game. During intermission, there are a variety of free snacks to enjoy. 

Because of the July 4th holiday closure, we will have our Monthly Birthday Party on Tuesday, July 9, at 12:30 p.m., and the Memory Café on Thursday, July 11, at 12:00 p.m., sponsored by Spring Arbor. Call the Center for details at 301-271-7911. 

Bunco will stop for the summer, but will start up again in the fall on Thursday, September 19, at 1:00 p.m., and will always be the third Thursday of each month. From all the laughter and happy chatter that was coming from the Bunco tables, it must really be a fun game! Come and learn how to play; it’s easy.

On Wednesday, July 31, at 1:00 p.m.—since it’s the fifth Wednesday in the month—we will have our Special Benefit Bingo, when our proceeds go to a charity (yet to be decided for July) in the Thurmont area. Our Bingo games are growing and are a very fun time for all who attend. The payouts are getting BIGGER as well! So, come have some fun and see for yourself.  Call us on Tuesdays and order lunch for $6.00 on Bingo Wednesdays at 301-271-7911.

Don’t miss the Pot Luck & General Meeting at the Center on Wednesday, July 24, at noon. Bring a dish to share or pay $6.00. Fried chicken will be provided.

Also, don’t miss a free performance by “Forever Young” with Kip and Dale, from 1:30-2:30 p.m., on Tuesday, July 30. You will enjoy their great entertainment. There is more parking available across the street at the Thurmont Elementary School and behind the police station next door. 

Please see the Community Calendar in the back of the Banner for dates of our other events.

“Did You Know” that the Thurmont Senior Center building was originally built as an airplane hangar by Victor Leisner, who also started the WTHU Radio Station on Radio Lane, here in Thurmont. I once saw in the late 1960s on the grass runway behind the then-hangar, seven small airplanes, where the Little League ball fields and housing developments are now. My, how things change!

Have a great and safe summer, and may each and every day be a great one.

Lyme Disease: Recognize the Signs and Symptoms

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic

& Nutritional Healing Center

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease (3 to 30 days) after a tick bite are fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. The erythema migrans (EM) rash occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected persons with Lyme’s, beginning at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days (average is about 7 days). It expands gradually over a period of days, reaching up to 12 inches or more across. Sometimes, it will clear as it enlarges, resulting in a target or “bull’s-eye” appearance.

Later signs and symptoms (days to months) of untreated Lyme infection include severe headaches and neck stiffness, additional EM rashes on other areas of the body, arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly in the knees and other large joints. More symptoms are facial palsy; intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones; heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat; episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath; inflammation of the brain and spinal cord; nerve pain; shooting pains; numbness and tingling in the hands or feet; and problems with short-term memory can occur at later stages.   

Of note about Lyme’s is that a small bump and/or redness at the site of a tick bite that occurs immediately and resembles a mosquito bite is common. This irritation generally goes away in one to two days and is not a sign of Lyme disease.

A rash with a very similar appearance to EM occurs with Southern Tick-associated Rash Illness (STARI), but is not Lyme disease.

Ticks can spread other organisms that may cause a different type of rash.

How do ticks transmit Lyme disease?

The blacklegged tick (or deer tick) spreads Lyme disease in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central United States. The western-blacklegged tick spreads the disease on the Pacific Coast.

Ticks attach themselves to any part of the body and are often found in hard-to-see areas, such as the groin, armpits, and scalp. In most cases, the tick is attached for 36 to 48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted.

Most people are infected through the bites of immature ticks, called nymphs. Nymphs are tiny (less than 2 mm) and difficult to see; they feed during the spring and summer months.

Adult ticks also transmit Lyme disease but are much larger and are more likely to be removed before they have had time to transmit the bacteria. Adult deer ticks are most active during the cooler months of the year.

Ticks not known to transmit Lyme disease include Lone Star ticks, the American dog tick, the Rocky Mountain wood tick, and the brown dog tick.

How do I limit my exposure to ticks?

Tick exposure can occur year-round, but ticks are most active during warmer months (April-September). Reducing exposure to ticks is the best defense against Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other tick-borne infections. You and your family can take several steps to prevent and control Lyme disease.

Before you go outdoors, know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Spending time outside walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks.

   Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin. Permethrin is used to treat boots, clothing, and camping gear, and will remain protective through several washings. There are many insect repellents—some natural—that can help you combat your exposure to ticks. Always follow the product instructions. Use some precautions when using insect repellent. Do not use on babies younger than two months old, do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under three years old, try to avoid contact with ticks by staying away from brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter, and stay on well groomed trails when walking or hiking outdoors.

Once indoors, check your clothing for ticks. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, consider a longer dry time. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is best, as cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks.

Examine your gear and pets. Ticks ride into the home on clothing and pets.

Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors is shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tick-borne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.

Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your own backyard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks: under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, back of the knees, in and around the hair, between the legs, and around your waist.

How do I prevent ticks from getting on my pet?

Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and tick-borne diseases. Vaccines are not available for most of the tick-borne diseases that dogs can get, and they don’t keep the dogs from bringing ticks into your home. For these reasons, it is suggested that you use a tick preventive product on your dog.

Tick bites on dogs may be hard to detect. Signs of tick-borne disease may not appear for 7 to 21 days or longer after a tick bite, so watch your dog closely for changes in behavior or appetite if you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a tick. Ask your veterinarian about the best tick prevention products for your dog.

Note that cats are extremely sensitive to a variety of chemicals. Do not apply any tick prevention products to your cats without first asking your veterinarian.

In September 2018, the FDA put out a warning about “Potential Adverse Events associated with Isoxazoline Flea and Tick Products.” For additional information, please talk to your veterinarian.

How do I prevent ticks in my yard?

Here are some simple landscaping techniques that can help reduce tick populations. Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns. Place a 3-foot-wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play equipment. This will restrict tick migration into recreational areas.

Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaves raked. Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents that ticks feed on). Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees, and place them in a sunny location, if possible.

Do you think you may have Lyme disease?

Are you struggling with some of the symptoms mentioned in the article? Call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free screening. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. We hold free seminars at the office on rotating Tuesdays and Thursdays. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

by Jeanne Angleberger, Shaklee Associate for a Healthier Life

Boost Your Health This Summer

Summer is here, and it’s time to have some summer fun and create memories! So, let’s think about some tips that can help boost your health this summer.

Eating a nutritious diet is important. Load up on berries. Blueberries and blackberries are especially rich in antioxidants and fiber. Freshly-picked veggies contain the highest nutrients. Pick the colorful ones.

Create bonding time. Studies have shown that walking in the woods can improve blood pressure, boost mental health, and decrease cancer risk. So, go spend some time “forest-bathing” to improve your health. Enjoy outside activities with the family this summer. These memories will last a lifetime.

Be good to your eyes. Wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection. Lens should be amber or brown.

Remember to apply sunscreen before planning your outdoor activities. Consult with a dermatologist for a recommendation.

Be sure to brush and floss your teeth every day. Your teeth need to be healthy for chewing the delicious fruit and vegetables.

Stay hydrated. Water is the best beverage for hydration. To maintain proper hydration, drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Be sure to get enough sleep. Our body needs rest to restore and replenish for the next day. Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Getting between seven and nine hours of sleep each night will make your heart healthier and your overall health better.

A few healthy reminders can go a long way. Be mindful. Treat your body well every day. It just may create a memorable and healthy summer for you and your family!

by Amy Whitney, Branch Administrator, Thurmont Regional Library/Emmitsburg Branch Library

Fifty years ago this summer, my family took a vacation to Florida to watch the blast-off of Apollo 11—man’s first trip to the moon. It was a rare adventure, and I can remember standing on a hot, sandy beach watching as the rocket’s engine flared off into the great Florida sky. At that moment, even as a kid, I knew I was a witness to history!

Now half-a-century later, we’re celebrating one of our country’s most amazing achievements with all sorts of space adventures at our libraries. Here in the North County on Saturday, July 13, we’ll countdown to our two “pop-up” planetarium shows, with a space Storytime and activity at 10:05 a.m. Then at 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m., kids can view the universe, including planets, stars, constellations, and the moon inside the indoor planetarium (space is limited and tickets will be available that day). On Monday, July 15, at 7:00 p.m., National Park Service Ranger Ron Harvey will share stories of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing as part of our Family Night on the Deck series.

Teens are invited to celebrate all things Star Wars at a Party on Tuesday, July 30, at 2:00 p.m.—come connect with fellow fans with a love of space adventures!

Celebrate the lunar landing at the Emmitsburg Branch on July 20 at 11:00 a.m., with a day of rocket launches, crafts, and other space-themed activities for the entire family. Then, at noon, bring a packed lunch, learn about keeping our Earth healthy, and enjoy the feature film WALL-E with the whole family.

We have several Music and Arts programs on the Deck as well. Kids, ages 3-10, are invited for Firework Painting at 7:00 p.m. on July 1; a Freeze Dance Paint Party at 7:00 p.m. on July 29 and at 2:00 p.m. on July 22; all ages are invited to an introduction to Japanese Taiko Drumming.

On July 18 at 7:00 p.m., delight your senses with the exhilarating Russian folk dancers, Barynya, who have appeared on the Today Show. And, finally, on July 28 at 2:00 p.m., hear the uplifting sounds of the Flower Hill String Band, part of our Music on the Deck series.

For a complete list of programs and services, or for answers to all your information needs, contact the library at 301-600-7212 or visit

The following is a list of weekly programs at the Thurmont Regional Library: Mondays—Musical Storytime (ages birth & up), Thurmont, 10:15-10:45 a.m.; Tuesdays—Baby Storytime (ages birth-24 months), 10:15-10:45 a.m.; Toddler Storytime (age 2), 11-11:30 a.m.; Playgroup (ages birth-5), 11:30 a.m.-noon; Space Camp (ages 4-10), 1:00-2:00 p.m.; Wednesdays—Midweek Makers (ages 3-10), 10:15 a.m-2:00 p.m.; School Skills for Preschoolers (ages 3-5), 11:00-11:30 a.m.; Thursdays—Baby Storytime (ages birth-24 months), 10:15-10:45 a.m.; Toddler Storytime (age 2), 11-11:30 a.m.; Playgroup (ages birth-5), 11:30 a.m.-noon; Nature Sprouts (ages 3-10), 2:00-3:00 p.m.; Saturdays—Universe of Stories Storytime (ages 3-10), 10:05-10:45 a.m.

by Christine Maccabee 

Summer Flowering

“When the pink mimosa blooms,

                   it fills the air with the sweet perfume

  of summertime fair,

butterflies everywhere.”

~ (lyrics from songpoem “Dreaming of Spring”

by Christine)

It is nearly impossible to believe that spring is over already. No sooner do the crocus and violets appear that they seem to be gone. Other spring flowers such as the wild phlox that graced our roadsides have also gone, with all their purple, white, and pink beauty. Luckily, their seeds, roots, and bulbs live on for next spring’s show.

Now that summertime is upon us, another stage of flowers is here, some coming sooner than others. The common milkweed, with its broad leaves as habitat for the Monarch butterfly, is beginning to get its round cluster of flowers. I have been surprised to learn that many people are not aware of these wonderful flowers, which smell heavenly to me. Bees and butterflies flock to these flowers for nectar and pollen, pollinating them at the same time, so as to produce their fluffy seedpods we all love to see in late summer.

Another favorite of mine is a non-native tree, mimosa, which also has wonderful pinkish flowers, serving as food for our pollinators. Native or not, I allow it to thrive here at Mystic Meadows. It, too, delivers an incredible fragrance to the air that, in my experience, is nature’s aroma therapy. Just to walk out my door and breath in the sweet air while it is blooming transforms my mood.

Other wonderful pollinator magnets—as I call them—are the light purple bergamot flowers and amazing red monarda. On the verge of blooming in my gardens, as of this writing, they attract not only bees and butterflies, but the fascinating hummingbird moth as well. The hummingbird moth looks like a tiny hummingbird, but it is actually a daylight feeding moth that needs nectar as its food. Most moths do, but usually at night. If you ever get a moonflower vine to grow with its large white flowers, which only open at night, you will see a wonder. I am attracted to its wonderful perfume like a moth.

So many flowers come and go, all too quickly, though there are always “second blooms” (another subject for another time). The variety of flowers in the world is astounding; just in our little corner of the world, the diversity is one of which some people are only now discovering. For 30 years, I have been allowing many wild plants to grow to maturity on my property, and have been rewarded by the tall evening primerose with its yellow blooms, orange day lillies, jewelweed’s yellow or orange flowers, the powder blue flowers of chicory, more subtle flowers of edible ground cherry and lambs quarters, wild blue lobelia, the flower spikes of mullein, various clovers, and many, many more. As well, I love many non-native flowers, such as the amazing red poppies and blue larkspur that pop up wherever they planted a seed last year. Sunflowers and zinnias are favorites of many, including our neighborhood bees!         

Yes, from season to season, the sometimes slow, sometimes fast, appearance and then disappearance of these flowering multitudes, leading to colorful late summer goldenrods, purple ironweed, and Canadian asters, is a show not to be missed.

Indeed, flowers are Creation’s painter’s pallet. Exquisite colors and shapes. Enjoy them while they are here, before the bitter, cold winds of winter blow in and we begin to long for spring all over again!

The common milkweed attract bees and butterflies, which flock to these flowers for nectar and pollen, (right) Non-native tree, mimosa, delivers an incredible,  pleasing fragrance to the air.

James Rada, Jr.

When Emily Kline saw how much her mother enjoyed cutting pieces of paper, she decided to try it herself. She attended a class with her mother, Joyce, at the Blue Ridge Summit Library, and spent an hour cutting shapes from an 8.5×11-inch piece of paper. After an hour, she held up the paper and smiled at the image of a parrot she had created.

Once the paper was mounted on a black, uncut piece of paper, she had created her first piece of scherenschnitte artwork.


Many people consider scherenschnitte a lost art form.

Although the name scherenschnitte (pronounced SHARE-en-schnit-tah) is German, meaning “scissor snipping,” it is believed to have originated in China. The Chinese version is more directly related to cutting out silhouettes, though.

The Germans are the ones who popularized the paper cutting still practiced today. The early pieces were cut from white paper and mounted on black paper.

“The Germans and some of the Swiss brought it to America,” says Bill Hammann, who has been practicing scherenschnitte for 20 years.

Many of the earliest traditional forms of scherenschnitte are displayed in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, at the Ephrata Cloister. Monks and nuns created them to display religious themes. Other religious sects in Pennsylvania, such as Mennonites and Schwenkfelders, used the art form for designing school awards, birth  and wedding certificates, and Liebes Briefen or love letters.  This form eventually melded with the English Valentine.          

“Women tended to work with scissors and men tended to cut with knives,” Bill says.

The patterns used today are intricate designs that are often done with X-acto Knives that allow the artisan to make small, precise cuts.

Experienced cutters have worked without patterns and cut freehand. Another variation involves folding the piece of paper and cutting through multiple layers of paper that creates a symmetrical design when unfolded. There is also a method of layering the paper to create a 3-D effect to the finished piece.

Enjoying the Art

Bill enjoyed oil painting as a hobby when he was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1999. His brother collected scherenschnitte and encouraged Bill to try it. Bill purchased some books from a store in Lancaster and tried his hand at scherenschnitte.

It was challenging, and at times, frustrating. He gave the work up for six months at one point, but started again because he couldn’t leave the piece he had been working on unfinished. Now he can’t imagine not doing it. His pieces are in demand and he often sells them at local shows.

He estimates he has created 2,700 pieces of scherenschnitte over the years.

Joyce finds scherenschnitte relaxing, and it consumes her attention. “I was sitting there one night working on a piece and before I knew it, three hours had passed.”

She has completed dozens of pieces now. Each new one seems to be a little more complex than the last.


Bill meets with anyone who is interested in learning scherenschnitte on the first Tuesday of each month at the Blue Ridge Summit Library. The group works on cutting designs while he is on hand to offer help and advice if needed. It’s a free class and everyone is welcome.

Joyce has cut a few dozen pieces in nearly two years. She said that just like doing anything new, there is a learning curve, in particular holding an X-acto Knife for extended periods of time and making precise cuts.

“The first night I did it, it was really awkward then I started to pick it up,” Joyce says.

Katrina Ambrose has been cutting for slightly less than a year and is enjoying the cutting and the resulting designs.

She says, “You are only limited by your imagination.”

Blair Garrett

Wines come in all flavors and varieties.

The care and attention to detail that goes into producing award-winning wines is fine and intricate, and the wineries of Northern Frederick County are no stranger to that.

There are five vineyards and wineries on the Maryland side of the Mason Dixon, just a short drive away. Each offers a very distinct style and service, but all five have unique differences worth experiencing for yourself.

Catoctin Breeze Vineyard, 15010 Roddy Road, Thurmont, MD 21788

Detour Vineyard & Winery, 7933 Forest and Stream Club Road, Keymar, MD 21757

Red Heifer Winery, 12840 Red Heifer Winery Lane, Smithsburg, MD 21783 (Nearby in Washington County.)

Springfield Manor Winery/Distillery/Brewery, 11836 Auburn Road, Thurmont, MD 21788

Links Bridge Vineyards, 8830 Old Links Bridge Road, Thurmont, MD 21788

Each winery gives both the wine novice and connoisseur an opportunity to explore the depths of Frederick county’s best red and white wines, and tours are often the best way to dig into how each place makes its best wines.

Most wine drinkers know that wine is made from the fermentation of grapes, but the process is often finicky and difficult to perfect, which is why batches made using very similar methods can often taste quite different.

During the fermentation process, there is no need for sugar, water, or other acids to be added for grapes to turn into wine. The natural chemical balance of the grapes allows the process to produce wine, independent of any other additives. Fermentation is the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat.

Fermentation and stable temperature is just one step to the process, but it is the key ingredient to making high-quality wines, consistently.

White wines and reds, while possessing overwhelming chemical similarities, are made very differently. Red wines come from red grapes, while white wines come from white grapes. But the key difference between the two is that red grapes derive their flavor from the skins and seeds of the grapes, while whites are created through the juice of pressed grapes, where the skins are discarded from the process. This “juicing” of white grapes creates a much different color and flavor compared to its red counterpart, offering wine fans a greater variety of types to try and enjoy.

Wineries have become so efficient at producing quality products, that they’ve even expanded the fruit necessary to create wines outside of just grapes. Vineyards across the country are now planting blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and many others, to make a unique spin on traditional wine.

It is important to consider the sugar content when making non-grape-based wines. The higher the sugar content in the fruit, the higher the alcohol percentage in the finished product. So, fruits like pineapple, a common fruit found in wines in Thailand and Southeast Asia, would be monitored closely to ensure the sugars and acids in the fruit are creating a balance during the fermentation process. 

While wines offer a means to gather with our family or a reason to go out with close friends, there are more benefits with wine than meets the eye. Grapes and similar berry fruits are jam-packed with antioxidants, which is an important compound in fighting numerous medical issues. Red wine is known to have more antioxidants than white, but there is a balance in not over-doing it. Most scientists agree that the “glass a day” rule is likely the way to go.

Scientists also believe that young red wines may be better for you than older ones, even though the common conception is that the older the wine, the better it tastes. The tannin levels on young wines are higher, which is a compound shown to be healthy for the maintenance and longevity of the heart.

Wines develop very complex flavors over long periods of time due to a natural chemical reaction between sugars, acids and other compounds inside the bottles. So, the aging of a bottle can dramatically change the flavor and color over time, but not all wines need 60 years to taste great. Most wines produced today are ready to drink, and give off the intended flavor by the brewers, so it may not be necessary at all to put it away in a dark cellar until you have a special occasion.

The history of wine is nearly as old as civilization, with the practice of wine production showing evidence around the world as early as 4100 B.C. in ancient Armenia, and possibly even thousands of years earlier. People have been enjoying all that wine has to offer for thousands of years, and while the process has certainly become more refined, the social nature of a bottle of wine between friends remains the same.  

Whether it’s a white wine with a sweet kick or a dark dry cabernet sauvignon, the wineries scattered around Northern Maryland have created a warm and inviting atmosphere for customers to sample in order to find the wines that suit their taste. Some people have a balance between the reds and whites, and some specialize in one or the other; however, no matter where you go on the wine tour, you are sure to find a wine that satisfies your interests.

Boy Scout Troop 270; Venturing Crew 270; Cub Scout Pack 270; Girl Scout Troops 81759, 81178, 81200; and Boy Scout Troop 1011 worked together to place flags on graves of Veterans in preparation for Memorial Day. 

They also participated in the wreath-laying ceremony on Memorial Day, hosted by The American Legion Post 168 at Memorial Park in Thurmont. The Scouts took turns laying wreaths in memory of our fallen military members in past wars.

On June 14, 2019, the Scouts also participated in a Flag Day flag retirement ceremony at Memorial Park with The American Legion Post 168 and the Town of Thurmont. The Scouts folded flags for retirement and, along with attending members at the ceremony, retired the flags in the proper manner befitting the American flag.

On June 8, 2019, Cub Scout Pack 270 (shown below) had its annual spring campout to end the Scout year.

Boy Scout Troop 270 hosted a variety of activities throughout the afternoon, including water rockets, a huge water balloon catapult, and a bicycle safety course. Scoutmaster Sean Young, Boy Scout Troop 270, cooked his famous fried chicken and potato chips he made right in the camp.

The spring campout is the year-end Pack meeting and Bridging Ceremony to celebrate the Cub Scouts’ achievements, followed by a campfire, along with skits, songs, and jokes before retiring to the tents for the night.

Sunday morning brought breakfast; a “Scout’s Own” interfaith service, led by Mr. Bosche; then to pack up and clean up the camp. Everyone enjoyed a great weekend.

All of Cub Scout Pack 270 extend their gratitude to Boy Scout Troop 270 for showing them what being a good Scout is all about, as well as to the American Legion Post 168 for letting them use their field and pavilion.

Scouts in the Park will be held on July 25, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. in Thurmont Community Park. No matter what Scouting uniform you wear, you are invited to come for food, games, skill-building activities, and lots of fun. 

Are you interested in finding out more about Scouting? Come talk to leaders from local Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Venturing, and Girl Scout Troops.

Katie, Club Reporter

Members of the Rocky Ridge 4-H Club clean the flower beds, plant flowers, and mulch at the Thurmont Historical Society.

The Rocky Ridge 4-H Club has been busy. In May, many of our members participated in shows and events in the local area, including Wills Fair, Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, and Jefferson County Spring Classic. Our members always enjoy these events and represent our club well!

Our Community Service project for May was cleaning the flower beds, planting flowers, and mulching at the Thurmont Senior Center and the Thurmont Historical Society. We split our group into two teams and quickly tackled the project. The results will be enjoyed throughout the summer, as the flowers grow and bloom. After finishing the job, we enjoyed pizza at the Thurmont Grange Hall and held our monthly meeting.

Swine, Sheep and Goat weigh-ins for the Great Frederick Fair are right around the corner. We’re all working hard on our projects. Our club will enjoy its annual Club Field Day on Sunday, June 30. At Field Day, members will bring projects that we’ve been working on, to include: cooking, sewing, crafts, photography, and all animal projects. The entries will be judged just like at the Fair and prizes will be awarded. We will enjoy lunch together and play lots of games. It’s a fun day that members look forward to.

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show will be held at Catoctin High School, 14745 Sabillasville Road in Thurmont, on September 6-8, 2019. 

Entry of exhibits will take place on Thursday evening, September 5, from 6:00-9:00 p.m., and on Friday, September 6, from 8:30-11:30 a.m., in the new gymnasium and in the agriculture department area. The show will open to the public at 6:00 p.m. 

On Friday night at 7:00 p.m., the 2019-2020 Catoctin FFA Chapter Ambassador will be announced. This year’s program will honor the 100th anniversary of the Edwin C. Creeger, Jr. American Legion Post 168 of Thurmont and Francis X. Elder American Legion Post 121 of Emmitsburg, and also the 50th anniversary of the Seton Center in Emmitsburg. 

The American Legion organization was founded in 1919 by veterans returning from Europe after World War I, and was later chartered as an official American patriotic society to carry on the tradition to support veterans, families, and community. The Legion continues to volunteer in patriotic service of mutual help to our veterans and has touched virtually every facet of American life; and, to this day, they carry on the objective to serve the community, state, and nation.  There will be six persons from the American and Emmitsburg Legion honored during the Friday night program.

The Seton Center provides emergency assistance with rent and utilities; financial literacy education; job search and support; case management; information and referrals; access to dental health care; life skills workshops; and Getting Ahead in a Just-Getting-By World program, which teaches people self-sufficiency, finance and budgeting, and how to create a sustainable way out of poverty. The Seton Family Store is very popular, with a selection of quality items; the support of the Family Store helps the outreach programs operate. Seton Center relies on the generosity of donors and funds from the store to continue helping its neighbors in need. There will be three persons honored from the Seton Center during the Friday night program.

The Linda Elower Studio of Dance will also be honored for its 50th anniversary during its program on Saturday afternoon.

The baked goods auction will begin immediately following the program and the grand champion cake, pie, and bread will be sold at 9:00 p.m. 

On Saturday, September 7, the show opens at 9:00 a.m. Activities include a Market Goat, Beef, Sheep and Swine Fitting & Showing Contest, from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., at the Ag Center at the school. The Pet Show will be held at 10:30 a.m. outside the front of the school. The petting zoo, farm animals, and pony rides will also be held on Saturday and Sunday. The Thurmont Grange will serve its roast turkey and country ham dinner in the school cafeteria, from 3:00-7:00 p.m. on Saturday night. Prices are $14.00 for adults and $15.00 for carryout.

The Linda Elower Studio of Dance will feature entertainment on Saturday, beginning at 1:00 p.m. The Thurmont Gateway Spires Brass Ensemble will perform in the auditorium at 7:00 p.m., and Richard Lee Troxell will perform at 8:00 p.m. in the auditorium. There will be no admission charged for the entertainment.

The 45th Annual Catoctin FFA Alumni Beef, Sheep & Swine Sale will begin at 6:30 p.m. for exhibitor awards and the sale will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Ag Center area on Saturday night. 

Activities begin on Sunday, September 8, at 9:00 a.m. with the Goat Show, followed by the Dairy Show. The Decorated Animal Contest will begin at noon. 

At noon, the Catoctin FFA Alumni Chicken Bar-B-Que will be held in the cafeteria. Prices are $10.00 for adults and $11.00 for carryout.

The Log Sawing Contest will begin at 12:30 p.m., under the show tent in the Ag Center area, with categories consisting of women’s team, men’s team, men and women’s team, and a children’s division.

          A Peddle Tractor Contest for kids will be held on Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. in the Ag Center area; the 40th Annual Robert Kaas Horseshoe Pitching Contest will begin at 1:00 p.m. The Catoctin Mountain Boys will provide free musical entertainment from 1:00-3:00 p.m. in the auditorium.

Exhibits must be removed on September 8, from 3:00-6:00 p.m. Visit the website for updated information at The Community Show is sponsored by the Thurmont Grange, Catoctin FFA Chapter, Catoctin FFA Alumni, the Maryland State Grange and the Maryland State Agricultural Fair Board.

“Making a Memory, Creating a Legacy, Changing the World”

by Anita DiGregory

I was sick. Sick, sick…not playing hooky sick. Home from school sick. Probably another bout of strep throat; I can’t remember.  What I do remember was sitting in my little room, in my little chair,  at my little table, not happy I was stuck at home again. 

He walked in in his suit and tie and asked me how I was feeling.  Seeing I wasn’t happy, he quietly knelt down at the table, picked up a pencil, and drew a shape on it. A square with a triangle on top of it and an x inside it; it kind of looked like a little house. He slid it over to me. I looked at it, and back up at him. He smiled and asked me to draw it. It seemed simple enough.  As I picked up the pencil to begin, he added, “The catch is you have to draw the whole thing in one stroke; you can’t pick up your pencil or go over any lines more than once.”

I tried one way…nope. And another…no. I was frustrated and ready to give up, thinking there must be some trick to it. He encouraged me to keep trying.  Eventually with a little coaxing, I was able to complete the task and sat there proudly admiring my work.  For those few moments I wasn’t sick; I wasn’t sad; I was transported, engaged in a task and proud of my new found ability.

Isn’t it amazing how memories work? We live a lifetime of little interactions, moments like these.  Most we forget somewhere along the way.  But then there are these tiny moments, like old snapshots with yellowed, turned-up edges, that stand out so clearly in the scrapbooks of our lives. This one was of me and my dad.

You know what they say about dads and daughters is true.  No matter how cliche it sounds, daddies are their little girl’s first love, their first hero. It doesn’t matter how famous they are, what they do, or how much money they make. To a child, daddy is a prince, a protector, and a superhero all rolled into one.

My dad worked a lot. (He still does.) He was out early, worked some nights, and even some holidays. When he wasn’t at his job, he worked around the house. He worked hard. He fixed things, made them better. I always remember being really proud of him.

When I think of fathers, I am reminded of a song by Marie Bellet called “One Heroic Moment.” She writes:

“Sometimes it amazes him that a man can work so long.

He didn’t know till he had mouths to feed he could ever be that strong.

The alarm goes off and in disbelief he pulls it from the shelf

And he thinks how he’d give anything to just be somewhere else.

But in one heroic moment he lifts his sleepy head.

And with both his eyes still closed, he sits up in the bed

And reaching for the light he prays, “Today please be with me.

I know that this is nothing compared with Calvary…”

One heroic moment in an ordinary day

Minute after minute, little steps along the way

He knows he must deny himself for the man he needs to be

And each heroic moment slowly sets him free.”

And that is what fathers do.  Every day, in a million ways, they shape lives. They may not be perfect, and they may not wear capes, but they are heroes.

My husband is a father of seven, and grandfather of one. Sometimes, I smile and wonder to myself if he had any inkling of an idea when he was young, growing up with all brothers in a house of mostly guys, of what his life would be like someday. I think about that boy who grew up with family and good friends, playing outside late into the night, that guy who road motorbikes, played baseball and street hockey, lifted weights, and owned a landscaping company.  And I smile, wondering if he knew back then how he’d not only have to remember to put the toilet seat down, but have to make midnight runs for diapers, or emergency runs for feminine products for a house full of hormonal girls. Did that boy have any idea that someday he’d be grown and voluntarily driving a daughter four hours from home to stand in a line full of giddy, young girls with her to see her favorite singer, or driving to New York and sleeping in a car just so another daughter could have the opportunity to see her favorite football player (shockingly, not a Steeler) at training camp?

One heroic moment at a time, I have witnessed this man shape my childrens’ lives. I have watched him stay up ‘til the wee hours of the morning, teaching my kids math concepts they don’t understand, even when he had to get up early the next morning for work. He has cleaned up after sick children, who didn’t quite make it to the bathroom in time; spent nights in the emergency room with sick kids; taken pies in the face for a daughter’s birthday party; attended countless plays, recitals, games, and ceremonies; delivered a beautifully touching father of the groom speech (even though he hates speaking in public); and gone in late or not at all to make sure he is always where he is needed, whenever he is needed. If that isn’t the definition of a true superman, I don’t know what is. 

Now, my son is a new father.  Watching as he makes his way (often, sleeplessly) into this new realm, I have witnessed him follow in his father’s footsteps. Up at the crack of dawn, driving sometimes two hours in traffic to support his family, these are just some of the quiet sacrifices dads make each and every day.

A few weeks ago, I had to say goodbye to another superman when my cousin, Trey, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Trey was a loving husband and father of two young children. He fought that disease like he lived life, with Faith, incredible strength, hope, and courage. There were so many people at his viewing, the toilets at the funeral home went on the fritz and had to be shut down for repairs. At the funeral Mass, I listened to his lifelong best friend and his pastor speak about him and his life. Trey fought that cancer with all he had for a year and a half. He spent the last month in the hospital, unable to eat and only able to have ice chips. When he was finally released, he came home to family and friends, visited and laughed with them, went to Mass, tucked his kids into bed, and celebrated all the small things we take for granted every day. After, he passed away. Trey worked caringly, loved beautifully, and believed immeasurably. He touched people’s lives; he made a positive difference in the world. 

That is what dad’s do. Just like that drawing lesson, you may not be able to pick up that proverbial pencil and give up, or go over and redo any “lines” already drawn, but you figure it out, and you pass down that knowledge by example and with sacrifice and love. 

Here’s to all the dad’s out there.  You are making memories, creating a legacy, and changing the world, one heroic moment at a time.

Drawing by Christina DiGregory

The Catoctin High School Envirothon teams won many awards at the recent county competition. Team 1 members—Sophia DeGennaro, Isabel Rozo, Fernajen Tundag, Kallan Latham, and Karianna Strickhouser—won first place overall, and first in the Forestry category and fifth in the Issues categories. Team 2 members—Wyatt Payne, Cheyenne Van Echo, Josephine Bujold, and Kiandra Strickhouser—won first place in the Soil category and sixth place overall.

April Wells, science teacher and Envirothon coach, said “The team is in training and looks forward to the state competition at St. Mary’s College on June 19-20, 2019. They are also looking forward to improving for the county competition next year since only one of the five is a senior.”

Olivia Ecker, who is in the Academy for the Fine Arts dance program, was selected as an All-County dancer. Also, at the State Dance Festival in January, she was chosen as an Honorable Mention All-State Dancer.

Eliza Phillips and Zachary Savage, Catoctin High seniors and third-year Academy of Fine Arts music students, presented their “Capstone Projects” in May.

Hannah Poole, Skyler Payne, and Lauren McFarland  participated in All-County Chorus. Skyler Payne was also selected for All-State Chorus.

Senior Mady Crampton is Catoctin High School’s nominee for the Human Rights Award. Maddie was recognized at a banquet held at Dutch’s Daughter on April 25, 2019.

Senior Wyatt Payne won The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Award and the Excellence in Conservation Award at this year’s FCPS Science and Engineering Fair.