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The Rocky Ridge Youth Club members participated in a service project for the month of May.

One of their members underwent a surgical procedure earlier this year and, on the day of surgery, was gifted a blanket provided by Project Linus. This blanket provided warmth and comfort when needed the most. Following this, the members of the Rocky Ridge Club wanted to come together to help other children in our community. Together, they made 36 blankets to donate to Project Linus. Blanket materials were donated by Thrivent Financial.

The Linus Project mission: (1) To provide love, a sense of security, warmth, and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need, through the gifts of new homemade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers”; (2) Provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities, for the benefit of children.

Members of the Rocky Ridge Youth Club pose with a couple of the blankets they made for the service project.

Amber Seiss and her son create a blanket to donate.

by Mitchell Tester, College Student

moon in space

“The Dark Side of the Moon”

I must admit I struggled to conjure up an idea of what to write about for this first month—space is just so vast.

The Sun, rising above our heads every morning we wake up, is 93 million miles away. For the sake of trying to understand such a large measurement, let’s say the state of Maryland decided that space travel was what the budget was to be spent on. And how they would spend it is by extending highway 15 into space, 93 million miles to the Sun (this would be impossible due to various factors, but stay with me). If you were going a steady 55 mph, 24 hours a day, for the whole 93 million miles, it would take you roughly 193 years to complete the drive. The Sun is the closest star to us, with our solar system’s closest neighboring star, Proxima Centauri, being around 4.25 light years away.

A light year is what distance light—the fastest known thing in the universe—travels in a year. So, if we were traveling at light speed, or 186,000 miles per second, it would take us 24 trillion miles or four years to get to Proxima Centauri. There is a reason why people use the word “astronomical” when referring to large amounts or objects. Outer space, similar to the deep ocean, is vastly unknown, and the unknown is scary to us, understandably of course.

As many of you may know, we see the same side of the Moon every night. In fact, every human from the beginning of mankind has only seen the same side of the Moon from our vantage point on Earth. Many people refer to this other side of the Moon as the dark side of the Moon, just as Pink Floyd did when they released their cult classic in 1973, the Dark Side of The Moon, one of my favorite albums. The album, considered by many, is about the beginning to the end of one’s life. The dark side of the Moon meaning, figuratively, the next chapter in one’s life after they pass, an afterlife, whatever that may look like. Many of us have our own ideas of what it could be. The dark side of the Moon encompasses that mystery, the mystery of what is waiting for us next.

Months ago, I lost someone very dear to me, my grandfather, or as all of his grandkids called him, Papa. He was a great man and someone I looked up to very much throughout my life. He was a very giving person, as any grandparent ought to be. A little bit before he passed, while cleaning out his house, he stumbled upon his old iPod. Due to myself not being there at the time, the iPod was given to my parents, which he told them was to be given to me. Papa, a man who came from nothing, grew up to own his own business (selling electronics). He was always fond of the fact that I loved technology. It was an interest he and I both shared.

After receiving the iPod, I put it on my desk, not to be touched for a couple of days. One night, I decided to turn it on and see just what kind of music was on it. My Papa and I never spoke much about music, a missed opportunity I now realize. While looking through the iPod, I saw many artists and bands I did not recognize, being way before my time. Although, while scrolling through, I saw a familiar band name, that band being Pink Floyd. He had the Dark Side of The Moon album on his iPod, in its entirety. I ran upstairs and got my headphones, and I listened to the album while sitting outside, with the Moon above me in the night sky. I spend a lot of my nights doing this, sitting outside with my dog and looking up at the night sky, listening to music. After discovering his love for one of my favorite bands and albums, I knew I just had to talk about it with him the next time I saw him. I wanted to see what his favorite songs by them are; if the Dark Side of the Moon is his favorite album by them or if he’s more of a The Wall kind of guy. I meant to call him that next day, but as it usually does, life gets in the way and I managed to forget.

Weeks later, my grandfather suffered a heart attack and passed away. I never got to talk with him about his love for music, let alone thank him for trusting me with his old cherished iPod, full of hundreds of his favorite songs.

The phrase “the dark side of the Moon” is supposed to mean the unknown. You and I have always looked up in the night sky and have always seen that same side of the Moon, for years not knowing what was on the other side. It was not until the spacecraft Luna 3 captured the dark side of the Moon.

The reason we see the same side of the Moon is due to billions of years of Earth’s gravitational effect on the Moon; the time the Moon takes to complete an orbit around the Earth is the same time it takes for it to rotate once on its axis. This is referred to as being tidally locked. The same side is always facing us. This fact is one of my favorite space facts to tell people. It’s fascinating the reasoning behind why the universe behaves in certain ways, and the Moon is something that can be observed by many almost every night with no need for any equipment.

When I was thinking about what to write for this month, I thought about the Moon, the closest celestial object to us, 238 thousand miles away. This then led me to think about my favorite fact about the Moon: why we see the same side. In return, this led me to think about the Dark Side of The Moon, then the iPod, then my grandfather who I loved dearly, Papa.

I hope you have learned something by reading this. Make sure to tune in next month as I talk about our own neighborhood star, the Sun.

As for my Papa: Once my time has come such as yours did, I hope to see you on the dark side of the Moon.

Question: “How should we plan for our retirement spending if we planned on social security income and we may not get it?”

This is a common concern among many of our clients, especially given the frequent alarming headlines suggesting that Social Security may run out of money. These headlines grab attention and boost ratings, but they don’t always tell the full story. Here’s a more balanced view and some practical advice on planning your retirement spending with less reliance on Social Security.

Understanding the Reality of Social Security

It’s important to understand the current state and future projections of Social Security.

Current Status: Yes, if no changes are made, the Social Security Trust Fund is projected to be depleted by 2035. However, this doesn’t mean Social Security will disappear; it would mean that benefits might be reduced to about 83 percent of promised benefits.

Likelihood of Changes: The probability of no adjustments being made to the system is very slim. Historically, policymakers have made changes to ensure the continuity of benefits. As noted recently in a newsletter from Bestgate Advisors, Congress is unlikely to make changes that would severely impact those close to or in retirement, due to the political implications and the desire of elected officials to be re-elected.

Uncertainty: While we can’t predict exactly what Social Security will look like in 20-30 years, it’s safe to assume it will still exist in some form.  It is most likely that any changes to benefits will impact younger individuals, who have more time to incorporate changes into their plans.

Role of Government and Policy Insights

Potential Reforms: Various reform proposals aim to ensure the long-term viability of Social Security.

Raising the Retirement Age: One proposal suggests raising the full retirement age from 67 to 68 immediately, then gradually increasing it by two months each year. This would address 44 percent of the funding gap.

Adjusting Payroll Taxes: Another proposal suggests raising the cap on FICA payroll taxes. Or, alternatively, subjecting all earnings to Social Security taxes to fill the gap.

Benefit Adjustments: Modifying the formula used to calculate benefits to slow the growth rate of future benefits.

Given these uncertainties, it’s wise to plan for Social Security as a supplementary income source rather than your primary retirement fund.

Planning for Retirement with Minimal Dependence on Social Security

To plan for a secure retirement, consider these steps:

1. Assess Your Retirement Goals and Expenses

Start by estimating your retirement expenses. Consider the following categories:

Housing: Mortgage, rent, maintenance, property taxes, and utilities.

Healthcare: Insurance premiums, out-of-pocket costs, and long-term care.

Living Expenses: Food, clothing, transportation, and entertainment.

Debt Repayment: Any outstanding debts that will continue into retirement.

Inflation: Account for the rising cost of living over time.

Bucket List Items: Don’t forget the fun stuff! You want to make sure you build room into your retirement budget for those wish-list items you’ve been waiting for. 

Having a clear understanding of your projected expenses will help you determine how much you need to save.

2. Maximize Retirement Savings

With uncertainty surrounding Social Security, it’s crucial to maximize your contributions to retirement savings accounts such as:

401(k) Plans: Take full advantage of employer-matching contributions.

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs): Both traditional and Roth IRAs offer tax advantages.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs): For those eligible, HSAs provide tax-free savings for medical expenses, which can be significant in retirement.

3. Consider Alternative Income Sources

Explore other potential sources of retirement income such as part-time work. And don’t forget to factor in potential passive income such as investment and rental income. See if there is a way you can start getting your money working for you now without taking on a second full-time job.

4. Plan for Healthcare Costs

Healthcare is one of the most significant expenses in retirement. Consider Medicare, supplemental insurance, and long-term care, to name a few. 

5. Create a Contingency Plan

Having a contingency plan can provide peace of mind. This might include:

•   Emergency Fund: Maintain a fund with 6-12 months of living expenses.

•   Insurance: Adequate health, life, and possibly long-term care insurance.

•   Estate Planning: Ensure wills, trusts, and powers of attorney are up to date.

Tools and Resources

Financial Calculators: Online tools and calculators can help you estimate your retirement needs and evaluate different scenarios. Websites like AARP and financial institutions offer valuable resources.

Books and Articles: Further reading on retirement planning and personal finance can provide deeper insights and strategies. Consider books by respected financial experts and articles from reputable sources.

Financial Advisors: DIY financial planning isn’t for everyone. If you’re ready to start building your financial plan with the guidance of a professional, look for an advisor who’s right for where you are on the journey. Remember, if you’re ready to retire, look for an advisor who specializes in retirees!


While the potential loss of Social Security benefits is concerning, proactive planning can help ensure financial stability in retirement. By maximizing savings, diversifying investments, exploring alternative income sources, and planning for healthcare costs, you can build a robust retirement strategy that doesn’t rely solely on Social Security. Additionally, staying informed about potential policy changes and continually adjusting your plan will help you navigate the uncertainties of retirement planning.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial planning advice. Please consult with a certified financial advisor to discuss your specific situation and plan.


Observations from the Woodpile” is a collection of essays bundled together and given as a birthday present for my wife, Nancy, in 1997. Twenty-seven years have passed since the collection was given. The two main subjects of the essays, my sons Justus and Jacob, have grown into men with families of their own.

The Full Measure of Wood

When our load of logs arrived one autumn day, one of the first questions in my mind was: “How much wood do we have here? How many cords?” That’s an important consideration. It determines the unit price, dollars per cord, of our main heating system. I needed to know how much wood we consumed each year so that we could build our budget. Dads are always interested in that kind of stuff.

I looked at the pyramid of logs and estimated perhaps six cords of split firewood. That made my unit cost less than one-third of the cost of buying the wood already cut and split. One cord is nominally 4-feet deep, by 4-feet high, by 8-feet wide. However much wood can be stacked in that space is a cord. If I stacked the wood in an area 4-feet high by 8-feet deep and 24-feet long, that would make an even six cords. I staked out a four-corner, six-cord area adjacent to the stack of logs for stacking the wood. 

Whenever we cut and split wood, we would stack the wood periodically as we went along to keep it out from underfoot. As the winter dragged on, the bigger the stack of wood grew.

By the time we were rolling the last logs around to be cut, it was evident we weren’t going to get the full six cords. Even seven-year-old Jacob could see we were going to fall short. He told me this after I noticed he was stacking the wood with a lot of “air.” That is, he was trying to stretch the wood in such a way as to completely fill the six-cord space. 

He said he was doing that so we would get the full six cords of wood. I told him I was glad he wanted to achieve our goal, but that wouldn’t give us any more wood. We would be cheating ourselves. What I wanted was a true measure.

To put his mind at ease, I reassured him that the six cords was just an estimate, a guess. The fault lay with me for turning the estimate into the goal. I tend to do that from time to time. Whenever we go on a trip, I’ll look at the map to estimate the distance and the time it will take to get there. Bulging bladders cannot dissuade me from getting there on schedule.

I hope I haven’t passed a flawed gene onto Jake ̶ the one that causes me to develop an expectation first and then cause everything to fit that expectation. This approach is alright for some things, but not for dealing with people and certainly not for raising kids.

Letting kids grow to their full measure is a tough thing for parents to do. A kid can be forced to grow into something they’re not, but they’ll resent it. Sometimes, a kid will grow into more than what is expected and needs an extra measure to fulfill their capacity. The best a parent can do is to facilitate and guide. Let the kid fill out the measure.

An Isolated Town Arrives in the 20th Century

Although Catoctin and South mountains aren’t the largest mountains in America or even the Appalachians, their crooks and crannies provided land where isolated communities sprung up. One of these communities was Friends Creek, west of Emmitsburg in Frederick County.

“Friends creek dashes musically over its rocky bed, dropping frequently into quiet pools, the ideal home of the trout. Close in on each side crowd stern, densely-wooded mountains, forming a pocket, typical of hundreds of similar localities through the entire range of the Appalachian chain,” the Frederick News reported in 1922.

Despite the towns and cities within a reasonable distance from the small community, Friends Creek remained in a bygone era even as the region moved into the 20th century. It was made up of 25 to 30 homes that were not much more than one- to four-room cabins. Each home was filled with large families and multiple dogs.

“The people make a living by tilling little patches of ground cleared off on the less precipitous slopes of the hills and by hunting and fishing. In the summer many of the men go out into the fertile valleys not far away and work on the large farms,” according to the newspaper. “In the winter their chief reliance is on hunting and trapping, and it is whispered that further back in the mountains ‘the moon shines bright upon the moonshine distillery…’”

Few of the residents were literate, and most had such basic math skills that when they dealt with people from the outside world, they needed someone to help them.

“Stubborn in his resistance against what he considers the iconoclasm of modern civilization, standing firmly upon the ways of his forefathers, regardless of their retarding effect upon his own development and comfort, retaining the customs and folklore of past centuries, maintaining an austere and cheerless religion, filled with queer superstitions peculiar to isolated mountain people…,” according to the Frederick News.

But the newspaper noted that by 1922, the modern world had finally started creeping into Friends Creek. Beulah Weldon and Margaret E. Newman were given the credit for easing Friends Creek into the modern world. Weldon was the community’s teacher and Newman was the graduate nurse.

Both of them were also trained social workers associated with the Henry Street Settlement. The Henry Street Settlement was an organization that had formed in 1893 in New York City to provide social services and health care to needy New Yorkers.

However, Weldon and Newman saw that Friends Creek was in need, and they believed they could help.

Newman told the newspaper, “My principal motive in leaving New York and coming here was to help the country children, the native Americans, to get a better share of what is due them. In New York there are fine schools, which are almost swamped by the children of recent immigrants, eager to learn, but remote regions such as this are permitting the children, many of whom are direct descendants of Revolutionary war heroes, to grow up in ignorance. The truth of this terrible proportion of illiteracy among our native-born population was brought home forcibly to men, as to many others, by the revelations of the draft records made during the last war.”

The Frederick County Board of Education supported the women’s efforts. They had built a decent schoolhouse in the community, but they had trouble finding a teacher to work there for any length of time. The Frederick News said the that the reason for this was, “The mountain homes, swarming with children, with no possibility of securing a private room, the meagre and unvaried food and the general isolation did not appeal to young school ma’ams: in fact, no boarding place could be found, and it was not within the power of the Board of Education to furnish a home.”

Even when a teacher could be found for the school, attendance was low. The average attendance was only 8 to 10 pupils, which led to the school being closed intermittently for lack of students.

Newman and Weldon arrived in Friends Creek in the summer of 1919. Newman had learned of the community from her father who had bought land in the area with the plan of planting an orchard. He had often told his daughter he wished something could be done for the people.

The women found a place to live in Friends Creek due to the generosity of Dr. Howard A. Kelly of Baltimore. He bought a rustic home on 53 acres for $300 and allowed the women to live there. They moved in and slowly made improvements to the property over the years when they had time. They also kept a small garden, cows, horse, poultry, sheep and “a flivver,” which is slang for cheap car.

It took time for the community to accept the women, but over three years, they helped the people of Friends Creek make significant problems. Interestingly, the religious leaders were resistant to the changes. The community had two religious groups; Pentecostals or “Holy Rollers” and the “Church of God.”

The Holy Rollers, in particular, were against the changes. The pastor was said to have told his congregation “if the Lord intended them to read and write the Holy Ghost would teach them,” according to the newspapers.

Weldon and Newman persevered.

Weldon started holding school with two classes: those who had attended school and those who hadn’t. At first, the latter class was larger than the former. As the children quickly learned, attendance improved. Eventually, all the children, except those in one or two families were attending school.

Another issue they dealt with was the health of the children. When Weldon and Newman arrived, only 12.5 percent of the children were at a normal weight. The remaining children were underweight. Newman started visiting homes and speaking with the families about nutrition. Since most of the students did not bring a school lunch, the women started a school lunch program.

“As there was no place but the schoolroom to  cook the food the distraction was found too great and this was given up, but the teacher and nurse take daily with them to the school a gallon of rich milk from their own cows, which is given to the children who seem to need it most. Few of the families in the settlement own a cow,” the Frederick News reported.

Through diligent efforts, by 1922, 80 percent of the children in the community were at a normal weight.

Weldon and Newman also dealt with problems of poor clothing that was held together by safety pins, snakes, tuberculosis, dental health, and even farming conditions.

It was hard work, but Friends Creek and its residents eventually joined the 20th century.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

The original Friends Creek Church of God, built in 1868. It was one of two churches in the Friends Creek community in the early 20th century in Frederick County.

by Ana Morlier

Crazy Plant Lady: Years In Review

Hopefully, you’ve been able to enjoy all the chills (popsicles, delectable produce) and thrills (local carnivals, parades, and staying up waaaay past your regular bedtime) that summer has to offer, as well as the horror of discovering a pest invasion (or is that just me?). It is with a heavy heart that I report that I will be going on hiatus to focus on school. But before I go, I wanted to give you the inside scoop on my articles!

My first article was about the Christmas Cactus. I started writing for the Banner because my sibling used her culinary expertise to write an article for the previous month. As you can tell, I’m a tad competitive, so I entered the realm of writing to try and best her works.

The December months were certainly the most informative for me and my family, featuring writings on Christmas tree health and traditions, and a shameless article of my Christmas list that elicited a chuckle and an eyebrow raise from my parents.

Further, with the excess of time at home granted by quarantine, I began my gardening journey with succulents and any cheap plants I could get my hands on and revive. My January article in 2021 revealed my pun skills and efforts at container gardening. Admittedly, container gardening herbs in the winter didn’t exactly yield healthy results…overwatering was my Achilles heel.

In the fall of 2021, I educated myself and wrote about bouquet composition and health. This rabbit hole of information led to the creation of decent-looking bouquets that I gave to family and friends (who were surprised. I’m not exactly known for being an artist in my family). Overall, I always enjoyed writing fall articles, integrating spooky and glamourous plants and decorations into my own decor.

Discovering new plants, foods, and ways to celebrate the holidays always added a novel sort of flair to the seasons (and helped me dredge up “original” gift-making ideas).

I truly enjoyed writing these articles, and I hope they made you think, laugh, maybe buy stuff, roll your eyes, rip the article to shreds, use it for papier mâché, stare at your plants for hours and ponder your existence, and appreciate the Earth a little bit more.

Many thanks to Deb Spalding, who accepted my column (and our new publisher, Alisha Yocum), and the Banner editors, who made such fantastic formatting with a mere jpeg link and an essay’s worth of words at times. To my sibling and my mom, who also proofread my works, so they were comprehensive and logical (I know my brain vomit isn’t the easiest thing to read, but you did great!). To planet Earth for providing life to me and the plants I so love. And, finally, to YOU for reading these ramblings, or at least glancing over my titles at some point in your life.

Keep giving love to your plants and garden valiantly and fearlessly!

Organic Leaf Wreath, column featured in the 2023 October issue of the Banner

July 1924, 100 Years Ago

Thurmont To Have Big 4th Celebration

One of the largest Fourth of July celebrations ever held in Thurmont will take place Friday.

An elaborate program which includes a parade, a baseball game, etc., has been prepared by the Civic League of Thurmont which is in charge of the demonstration. The League is also being assisted by the town authorities and other interested persons.

In the afternoon at 1 o’clock the parade will form on the grounds of the Thurmont High School, in the parade will be several floats and a number of decorated automobiles. The parade will be followed by the baseball game between the Thurmont and Middletown teams of the County league.

At 7 o’clock in the evening there will be community singing in Memorial Park and the day’s exercises will be brought to a close with a display of fireworks and a lawn fete.

The celebration is the largest ever planned for Thurmont, it was declared by one of those in charge, and all needed to make it a success is good weather, it is said.

                                – Frederick Daily News, July 3, 1924

Get Hearing Monday

Two boys, each about 18 years of age, were arrested in Thurmont late last Friday night,  charged with entering a house a short distance from Thurmont and which was lately occupied by a new tenant. They were arrested by Deputy Sheriff Speaks and brought to jail Friday night near 12 o’clock. They will be given a hearing before Justice Cadow on Monday.

Sheriff Albaugh reported this morning that no trace has yet been found of George L. Fry, who on Thursday night escaped from the jail, by means of placing dummy on the cot in his cell, thereby eluding the turnkey when the prisoners were locked in their cells for the night.

                                – Frederick Daily News, July 12, 1924

July 1949, 75 Years Ago

Thurmont Citizens Oppose Water Hike

A hearing has been set before the Public Service Commission July 14 at 10 a.m. on the complaint of the Citizens Committee of Thurmont and the Commissioners of Thurmont against the Mechanicstown Water Co., of the same town.

A Thurmont Town official said last week he understood the complaint was directed at a recent increase in water rates ordered by the company, which is a privately owned organization. He said he understood this increase amounted to around 25 per cent.

This official was unable to identify the “Citizens Committee of Thurmont” but assumed that the group was composed of water rent-paying residents of the town who desired to protest the increase in rates, published some time ago.

The rate increase was to take effect around June 1, it was reported.                           

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, July 1, 1949

Commissioner is Overruled; License Granted

Reversing the decision of Commissioner G. Cleveland Trout, Associate Judge Patrick

Schnauffer Tuesday afternoon ordered a Class A Offsale beer, wine and liquor license issued to Richard H. Rosensteel and Louis Cooper in the Emmitsburg District.

The controlling factor in his decision, the judge indicated, was a petition signed by some 250 residents of Emmitsburg, including many of the most important citizens, urging the issuance of the license.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, July 22, 1949

July 1974, 50 Years Ago

Bridge To Re-Open For “Limited” Use

Authorization for repair of the bridge over Tom’s Creek west of here has been made by the Frederick County Commissioners according to County Engineer William Fout. Fout said the “proposal” accepted by the commissioners Monday will see the Wolfe Brothers Construction Company of Myersville doing the work for approximately $4,500.

Start of work is expected next week.

The bridge was damaged last November and has been impassable since that time. To keep traffic from using the bridge, dirt barriers have been placed at each end. Fout said the delay in repairing the bridge was caused by his department’s wanting to be sure a new bridge and approach, now under design, would not interfere with the old bridge, which could be used for limited traffic during the new construction.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, July 11, 1974

Carr Installed As MVMA President

Dr. William H. Carr, of Emmitsburg, has been installed as president-elect of the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association following the counting of secret mail ballots from the organization’s more than 400 members. Dr. Carr will assume the presidency next June.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, July 11, 1974

July 1999, 25 Years Ago

US Route 15 ‑ More Than Transportation Artery

FCCP is an alliance of civic associations from throughout the county that studies the subtle influences and implications of growth in Frederick County. One topic of concern is what has becoming known as the “Route 15 Corridor” problem.

Portal to portal—from Emmitsburg in the north to Point of Rocks in the south—United States Highway 15 is proving to be more than just a commercial artery linking town to town across Frederick County or state to state across Maryland. Along with the flow of goods through the corridor, residents are concerned about the consequences that flow from this heavily traveled (the State Highway Administration reports 21,725 vehicles/day at the S. Seton and US 15 intersection) ever-widening roadway: housing sprawl, dangerous intersections, and loss of historic sites. Disparate people and communities are now joining in dialogue with FCCP. They are linked in thought by this concrete and asphalt arrow piercing the countryside.

                                – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, July 1999

Kate Warthen Retires from Library After 37 Years of Service

At a gracious and well-attended reception at Emmitsburg Branch Library on June 23, friends and readers gathered to thank and honor Kate Warthen for all that she has done in effectively creating the library as we know it today.

            – The Emmitsburg Regional, Dispatch, July 1999

Maxine Troxell

With summer approaching, it’s berry-picking time. I remember picking black raspberries at Catoctin Mountain Orchard. Berry picking wasn’t one of my favorite things to do, especially black raspberries, because of all the thorns on the bushes. When I was growing up, I remember my mother would make black raspberry custard pies.  Anytime someone would come to visit, they would always ask her if she had made any of her raspberry pies. Below is her recipe. I hope you enjoy it.

Black Raspberry Custard Pie


1 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

2 eggs (slightly beaten)

2 cups black raspberries

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup half and half

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 9-inch unbaked pie crust


To make custard: mix sugar, flour, and salt.  Add half and half, slightly beaten eggs, and the melted butter. 

In another small bowl, sprinkle berries with a small amount of sugar (2 tablespoons) and a sprinkle of cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg. Place fruit in bottom of pie shell. Pour custard mixture over berries. 

Bake pie in a 400 degrees oven for 10 minutes, then reduce oven to 325 degrees and bake until custard is set. Baking time is usually around 1 hour.


Not many people will agree with me, but I will say it: I like grits. If they are on the menu, I will order them. Unfortunately, they have been fighting a bad rap since they were probably first made. But hot grits with a pat of butter is good. Stir in some cheese and they are great. Top them with some sauteed shrimp and bacon and they are divine. That’s the trick right there. We are all familiar with the first breakfast side dish, but we don’t seem to get the idea that there is a lot more to this ingredient/dish.

Basically, grits are made from ground corn, from the starchier varieties known as dent. Nutrition varies according to how they are processed, so definitely check your product label if this concerns you.

 Grit Types

Stone-ground (aka Old Fashioned) — are milled with the germ, are coarser, and take longer to cook.

Quick cooking — the corn is more finely milled and takes less time to cook.

Instant — precooked and dehydrated and simply need to be rehydrated in hot water (not this chef’s favorite idea).

Hominy — made from corn that has been soaked in an alkaline solution, and the hull is removed before milling.

Heirloom — made from various types of corn that might have a different color, such as blue or red,

Cooking grits couldn’t be easier. Measure out a four-to-one ratio of water to grits. Bring the water to a boil, and cook grits until they are done—45 minutes for stone-ground and about 5 minutes for quick cooking. Instead of straight water, you can use a bit of milk for a creamier texture or chicken broth to add a savory flavor.

Serving suggestions include adding butter, crispy bacon, and cheese to your grits for breakfast, and, as mentioned before, topping with shrimp for an appetizer or main course for dinner. Grits and peas make a nice side dish alongside roasted bird or meat. The real secret to grits is they have a mild flavor, so it is easy for almost any other ingredient to shine when you pair it with them.

Online, you can find numerous grit casserole dishes that might be the star side dish of your dinner table or your cookout. Sorting through them might be the most difficult part of the process, but once you find a good one, you might wonder how you lived without it.

Grits can also be served with your favorite soup, poured over it to give it a different texture. I am not so sure about salad, but I am certain there is a recipe out there somewhere.

I have also seen recipes for desserts using grits. Some are as simple as adding macerated berries on top of plain grits with a bit of sugar or honey. Some call for baking, such as cookies and cakes.

So, like most things that we seem to write off as old fashioned or out of date, we can find a new twist to make it fresh and new again. Grits are about as American as it gets, and maybe we should take some time to find a way to appreciate them again and get them on our table at any meal. Maybe if we called them “breakfast corn,” we might be more welcoming to it.

Clarence Deardorff Cullison, Jr.

Liberation of Luxembourg

Gettysburg resident Clarence Deardorff Cullison, Jr. was born on September 20, 1918, in Franklin Township, Adams County, to parents Clarence Cullison, Sr. and Lena Cullison.

He had five brothers: Harvey, Oscar, Russel, Norman, and Chester Cullison; and five sisters: Margaret Cullison, Letha Myers, Mildred Plank, Kathryn Kepner, and Evelyn Spangler.

Cullison was married to his wife, Irene Mae Cullison (who passed away on June 3, 2004) for 66 years. The couple had two daughters and a son: Patsy Carey and her husband Ralph, Gettysburg; Nancy Richardson and her companion Raymond Kump, Gettysburg; and Ricky Cullison and his wife Lauren, Gettysburg.

According to his enlistment records, he completed grammar school and had been employed as a general farmhand until his enlistment on May 19, 1944. Cullison was enlisted as a private into the United States Army at 22 years of age. At the time of his enlistment, he was 5’8” in height, weighed 145 pounds, and was employed at E.B. Romig, Biglerville, according to his November 5, 1948, Statement of Service.

The New Oxford Item reported in an article regarding Cullison having been wounded-in-action that he had been employed, before being enlisted, at the Gettysburg Furniture Factory. Cullison received his basic infantry training at Fort McClellan, Alabama, before being dispatched overseas to the Luxembourg front, in time to participate in the “Battle of the Bulge,” also referred to, more officially, as the Ardennes Counteroffensive.

From December 16, 1944, to January 25, 1945, the German Army attacked allied forces in a desperate measure to regain the ground in the Ardennes region of Belgium, France, and Luxembourg that had been lost to the allied forces. The German attack commenced on December 16, 1944, and raged on until January 25, 1945, when the German onslaught was stymied, as the result of the Battle of the Bulge.

The New Oxford Item, as well as other newspapers, reported on February 8, 1945, that Private Clarence D. Cullison, Jr. “was slightly injured in action in Luxembourg on January 17, according to a War Department telegram received February 1 by his wife who resides in Gettysburg…”

According to Cullison’s military medical record, he was admitted for treatment of his wound at a general hospital in January 1945. His medical records did not state if the general hospital was a public or military hospital. He was subsequently discharged from said hospital in February 1945. More specific dates were not provided, but if he had been wounded on January 17, he more than likely had spent several weeks in that medical facility.

According to his records, his diagnosis was determined to have been the result of having been struck in the head by shrapnel from an artillery shell, thereby causing a puncture wound which did not, at least, involve any nerve or artery involvement.  Treatment entailed “penicillin therapy (treatment with penicillin).”

Prior to Cullison’s discharge from the Army, he had been promoted to Sergeant. As a result of his having been wounded, he was awarded the Purple Heart. For his service in the Army, he was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, and the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal with three Bronze Stars.

Following his discharge from the Army, Cullison was employed at Blue Ribbon Orchards, the Franklin Township Road Department, the Panel Factory, and with Barbour’s Fruit Stand on Route 30. Additionally, he also sold firewood and engaged in landscaping with his son for 21 years. 

He was further employed at Musselman’s for 33 years as a shipping clerk, retiring from that position in 1982.

The (Baltimore) Evening Sun had reported in his obituary that Cullison was a lifetime member of the Cashtown Fire Company and the Biglerville American Legion, and that he was “an avid deer hunter,” and, additionally, he also enjoyed refinishing antiques and carpentry work with his brother, Oscar.

Cullison passed away at age 93 on Saturday, June 9, 2012, at his Gettysburg home. He was buried in the Biglerville Cemetery with full military honors, which were provided for by the Adams County Veterans Honor Guard, according to his obituary in The Sun.

Sergeant Clarence Deardorff Cullison, Jr.

The flag of Luxembourg flying from a Luxembourg hospital after its liberation by the American Army.

American Legion Post 168, Thurmont

Happy Independence Day—the day America was born, because of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, separating us from Great Britain. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday!

June 15th was a beautiful day to have our Car Show. There were some spiffy-looking vehicles on the lot! Thank you to all the volunteers and patrons for your support. Your support goes a long way to assist the Veterans and the community.

National Hire a Veteran Day is on July 25 to remind employers to consider Veterans to fill their open positions. Veterans bring competitive skills to civilian jobs, along with core values cultivated by Military Service. To learn more about this day, check out the website at

In June, we held the installation of new officers in the Legionnaires, Sons, and Auxiliary. Come out and support your new officers for the 2024-2025 year.

We are always looking for new ideas. Please start the new year (July 1) by attending as many meetings as you can and sharing your ideas or just helping with the events we have going on. Get more involved for our Veterans!

For more information on banquet hall rentals, call the Legion, Monday through Friday, at 301-271-4411.

Attention Auxiliary JUNIOR Members: Dues for 2025 (starting July 1, 2024) will increase to $12.00.

Winners of the Poppy Poster Contest, shown with Teresa Snyder and Auxiliary President Alice Eyler, are Hailey Weber, Chase Shoemaker, Brayden Weber, and Blake Duvall.


What Are Your Fingernails Saying About You?

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Fingernails and toenails are comprised of a rich complex of micronutrients needed to maintain their health and strength. A protein structure known as keratin makes up nails, along with critical nutrients, including iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, sodium, vitamins A and C, and B-complex vitamins like biotin.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recognizes that nail problems may often be a sign of a serious disease, including cancer, that should not go untreated. The organization summarizes:

“Nails often reflect our general state of health. Changes in the nail, such as discoloration or thickening, can signal health problems, including liver and kidney diseases, heart and lung conditions, anemia, and diabetes.”

The declining health of your nails is your body’s cue that you may have an underlying disease, nutrient deficiency, or chronic health concern. The following are some examples of what your nails may be telling you about your health.

Dry, Cracked, or Brittle Nails

There are many influences that cause nails to be brittle, dry, and to crack easily. Activities like swimming and washing dishes can cause these symptoms. Also, nails exposed to chemicals from nail polish remover and cleaning products can weaken them. Low humidity can also make your nails dry and brittle.

Related Conditions

Symptoms of dry, cracked, and brittle nails may be a sign of a fungal infection or a more serious endocrine disorder called hypothyroidism.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Brittle nails may be associated with a deficiency in vitamins A, C, or biotin (B vitamin), and iron.

Yellow Nails

Lifestyle factors such as aging, the use of acrylic nails, constant application of nail polish, and smoking can stain your nails a yellow color. However, if they appear thick and crumbly, that is often caused by a fungal infection.

Related Conditions

Health problems associated with yellow nails include smoking, fungal infection, diabetes, thyroid disease, psoriasis, and bronchitis.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutritional deficiencies include antioxidants such as vitamins A and C.

Also, be sure to dry your hands very well each time you rinse your hands. Fungus thrives in environments with extra moisture.

White Spots

Typically, white spots are a result of nail trauma, resulting in calcium deposits as the body recovers from the damage. If you see white spots, chances are the damage occurred months ago, given the length of time it takes for nails to grow.

Other causes of white spots include a fungal infection and gut disturbances, which may lead to a deficiency in the critical mineral zinc, which is essential for immune health.

Related Conditions

Fungal infection or possible gastrointestinal disorders that may prevent the absorption of adequate nutrients for nail health.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Boost the concentration of zinc you are taking into your diet to improve your gut health, immunity, and increase nutrient assimilation by the body.

Horizontal Ridges

Horizontal ridges that appear as a white line across the nail may also be a result of nail injury. If the ridges appear on multiple nails, there may be a more serious issue, resulting from the body’s redirection of responsibilities to heal where there is a more critical need.

For instance, a dermatologist with the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. John Anthony, explains that the nail bed pauses its growth during a serious illness, such as pneumonia, high fever, or heart attack. Multiple lines represent a chronic issue, and you should seek medical attention immediately.

Related Conditions

Pneumonia, high fever, arsenic poisoning, carbon monoxide poisoning, leprosy, psoriasis, circulatory disease, uncontrolled diabetes, malaria, Hodgkin’s disease, and also malnutrition present in individuals with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Celiac disease, and IBD (inflammatory bowel disease).

Nutrient Deficiencies

What are termed Beau’s lines result from horizontal ridges that appear as indentations into the nail bed and can be associated with a deficiency in zinc.

Vertical Ridges

Vertical ridges are generally a sign of aging, becoming more visible throughout the years, as blood circulation in the body decreases. Cases where these ridges are of concern are if you are experiencing nutrient malabsorption; also a possible result of reduced circulation and, therefore, decreased nutrient delivery in younger years. The deeper the ridges, the more severe the deficiency of nutrients.

Related Conditions

Health complications that may cause malabsorption problems in your body include thyroid issues, heavy metal toxicity, rheumatoid arthritis, possible parasitic infection, and digestive disorders.

Nutrient Deficiencies

May be caused by deficiency in vitamin B12 and magnesium.


Clubbing is characterized by the downward curve at the end of the nail and enlarged fingertips. Clubbed nails are not as common as many of the other nail problems and can be present with heart or lung issues, resulting from inadequate oxygen flow from the blood to tissue.

Related Conditions

Lung disease, lung cancer, and complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia, liver disease, kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease, congestive heart failure, AIDS, and thyroid cancer, can all present with clubbed nails.

Nutrient Deficiencies

The most common nutrient deficiency associated with clubbing of the nails is iodine.

Spoon Nails

Spoon nails curve upwards at the end of the nail, resembling a spoon in appearance, often flat or dented towards the nail bed at the surface.

Related Conditions

Heart disease, hypothyroidism, autoimmune issues like Lupus, Raynaud’s disease, anemia, and hemochromatosis (excess iron absorption) may be associated with spoon nails.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Iron deficiency is the most common reason for spooned nails, but it can also result from excessive iron.

White Nails with a Strip of Pink

Known as Terry’s nails, the nail appears mostly white with a narrow pink strip at the top of the nail. Although this problem may be a result of aging, it may also be an alarm that a more serious health concern is lurking.

Related Conditions

Kidney failure, liver disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and malnutrition.

Nutrient Deficiencies

A general need for increased nutrient intake is especially associated with elderly individuals with symptoms of Terry’s nails.

Dark Discolorations

If you are experiencing painful growth of your nails or the appearance of black, brown, or purple streaks on your nails, visit your health practitioner as soon as possible.

Related Conditions

Skin cancer like melanoma, Bowen’s disease, Addison’s disease, nutritional disorders, and AIDS. Less serious health concerns include nail bed trauma, resulting from carpal tunnel syndrome and nail biting.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Malabsorption of multiple vitamins and minerals can be to blame for the wide range of pigmentation discolorations resulting on the fingernails and toenails.


Pitting is characterized by the multiple dents or pits along the nail. It may be a sign that you are possibly at risk for a serious health problem.

Related Conditions

Psoriasis, eczema, connective tissue disorders such as Reiter’s syndrome or Lupus, syphilis, and alopecia areata.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Inadequate nutrient intake of calcium, minerals, and proteins is associated with pitting and is most susceptible in children under the age of 12. Also, many prescriptions such as antibiotics, oral contraceptives, and chemotherapeutic agents, have been shown to induce nail pitting.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107 in Frederick. Check out the website at

by Kristen Bodmer

Summer has arrived, and we have lots of fun activities going on here at the Thurmont Senior Center. One of the finest sounds to hear is the sound of our seniors laughing and having a good time. There are smiles aplenty here at the center. We would love to have you come in and have some fun with us.

June was a fun-filled month. We celebrated together at our annual birthday party. Pam and her committee did a great job in providing fun games and a wonderful “Strollin’ through the Decades” themed-party. Thank you to the Rocky Ridge Fire Company Auxiliary for a delicious meal. Two successful bingos and many card and dice games were played, and lots of food was shared.

We had a wonderful visit from some Catoctin High School students on the last day of school. They came to do service work for an hour, but before we put them to work, they enjoyed doing Zumba with Kellie Bevard and her Zumba Gold class. It was a lot of fun. Thank you, Logan Abarca, Molly Bosko, Addy Bruchey, Darrin Frey, Eva Oleszczuk, Julie West, and Advisor Rachel Misner. You were so much fun to work with. We hope to see you all again. You are all welcome to come back and volunteer anytime!

July is full of activities. Take the opportunity to take a look the calendar of events we have scheduled. You can find our calendar at, on Facebook, or come into the center and ask for one.

Don’t forget, we serve lunch every day at noon. If you are not able to stay and eat your lunch, you can just pick it up. We have quite a few people who pick up lunch from the center now. Just remember to call the day before or by 9:15 a.m. the morning of the day you want lunch. 

We would love for you to join us for a free balance and strength exercise session, daily on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, beginning at 11:00 a.m. We play many games, including pinochle on Tuesday, bunko on the second Thursday of the month, and farkle on the fourth Thursday of the month. Thursdays at 12:30 p.m., we play dominoes. Bingo is held every first and third Wednesday of the month. If we have a fifth Wednesday in the month, we have a special bingo. It is always a fun time, full of laughter and special homemade treats for halftime. I can’t forget to mention coffee since we are told ours is the best! So, come in and have a cup with us. We have Zumba on Fridays; we also offer poker and 500. Just to let you know, we have a whole corner dedicated to exercise. We have two treadmills, a stair climber, and a recumbent bicycle for use during our hours, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.  There is no charge to use this equipment.

Just a reminder that some activities may have a minimal cost, but to join the center is absolutely free.

We really love having the community use the center. There are so many different possibilities to rent the center. The price is very affordable. Call the Thurmont Senior Center to rent for different activities, such as a baby shower, a birthday party, or a bridal shower.

As always, if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 301-271-7911.

Roy Rogers Fundraiser: Nancy Rice, Sherry Kuhn, Carol Long, and Fred Henning.

Zumba fun with Catoctin High Students,  Logan A., Molly B., Addy B., Darrin F., Eva O., Julie W., Nancy D., Nancy E., Wanda O., Karen Y., Dottie O., Kellie B., Terry K., Habib

Twinning Frank Valentine and Moe Snyder show their Mount spirit.

BY Caitlyn Kirby

As we fly into July, keep in mind the many new and reoccurring activities at the Emmitsburg 50+ Center. Want to find a general exercise or increase your mobility? There are exercise videos available with professionals to guide you through moderate and low-intensity exercises. There is also availability on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for an “open gym” if you desire to engage in your own exercise. Further, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, there will be Unrulies pickleball. Please note, the Unrulies pickleball players play for fun and exercise on Wednesdays. A new addition will start on Monday, July 8, and Emmitsburg 50+ Center will have a new instructor providing paid chair yoga at 1:00 p.m. 

Starting July 1 through September 30, we are offering Lunch Bunch meals for free for all eligible participants. This is an exciting opportunity to visit the center and bring a friend or to meet new people! We have Lunch Bunch every Monday at noon. All you need to do is call ahead at least three business days in advance to reserve your meal. Check out our calendar for bonus lunch opportunities, like the Independence Day Luncheon on July 3. 

If you are seeking recreation or socialization, please explore some of our crafts and games. Returning crafts are glass lab that includes instruction if needed. Also, paint by number will be returning its acrylics on canvas. On Thursday, July 18, there will be a “make and take” salt painting. Additionally, the very creative Dorothea Barrick will be back to guide participants through a Plein Air Painting. This experience is an outdoor painting using a real landscape of the Blue Ridge Mountains behind the center. As well as painting, the center will also be doing concrete stepping stones to adorn in your own fashion. Come uncage your creativity! Aside from crafts, come in to socialize and engage in various games. 

To see the full Activity Guide for summer, visit We have many exciting offerings, including some mini-day trips leaving from Emmitsburg.

Please call the Emmitsburg 50+ Center at 301-600-6350 or email if you have any questions.

by Helen Xia, CHS Student Writer

When scouring the internet for topics to write about, there’s one lesson I’ve learned: There are what seems to be an infinite number of niche holidays. From National Onion Ring Day to Lemon Month—yes, June is the month for this versatile sour citrus—it’s always a surprise when I discover these quirky celebrations. (To me, this is good news because it means I will never run out of things to write about.)

Another one of these festivities occurs on June 1: National Say Something Nice Day. This day is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a day designed to spread kind words and uplift spirits! It’s the perfect day to call somebody “the icing on the cake” or “a smart cookie.”

Wait—those sayings are far from literal, but you understood what I meant, right? That’s the power of idioms, but where did these distinguished sayings originate?

Idioms are embedded into our day-to-day speech patterns. Namely, when going through the (sometimes painful) procedure of sustaining small talk, one of our first reactions may be to judge the weather.

“Nice weather we’re having!” One may remark, hoping to rouse a more meaningful exchange. If it’s not a cloud-free day, one may groan, “I’ve had enough of this dreary weather. It’s raining cats and dogs outside. Stay dry out there.”

Speaking of rain—and famed English idioms—why do people say it’s raining cats and dogs outside to convey heavy downpours?

You’d be pleased to know that the Library of Congress answers this inquiry directly: “We don’t know.” It’s uncertain where precisely this phrase comes from, but there are a few amusing possibilities. For instance, a popular theory is that, in 1500s England, house roofs were constructed with straw. This made it an excellent home for small animals like cats and dogs and a not-so-excellent functional roof. These animals would tumble from the roof into the house upon heavy rainfall, hence the raining cats and dogs.

The first recorded usage of the expression can be traced back to Henry Vaughan, a British poet who mentioned that a roof was secure against “dogs and cats rained in shower.”

In Richard Brome’s City Witt, a comparable term emerged once more, where he declared, “It shall rain dogs and polecats.” With that being said, it’s generally accepted that the saying didn’t reach the common vernacular until Jonathan Swift used it in his satirical literary collection, mocking aristocratic conversations. One of his characters cited “rain[ing] cats and dogs” as one of his or her fears. Additionally, Swift wrote a poem named “City Shower,” which detailed how streets flooded after sustaining heavy rain. These floods left deceased animals scattered on said streets, which may have also contributed to “raining cats and dogs”—this context more bleak than the other prepositions.

Now, assuming the dogs survived these calamities, what would they do? Scavenge for food? Sniff around for their friends? Bark?

On the topic of barking, let’s discuss another well-known idiom: barking up the wrong tree. If someone barks up the wrong tree, they are mistaken about how to accomplish something and, consequently, follow the wrong course of action. Fortunately, this saying has a more tangible origin than “raining cats and dogs.” Presumably, “barking up the wrong tree” dates back to early 1800s America, and it was initially a logical statement: Prey would fool hunting dogs into believing that they were still in trees after they escaped. Dogs would, literally, bark at fruitless trees. Hopefully, we can finish this month with a bang and avoid expanding our energy in this useless manner—knock on wood!

Knock on wood? Why? To continue to avoid misfortune, some people knock on wood as a way to, ideally, uphold their good luck. Many claim that this eccentric practice stemmed from pagan cultures, whose practitioners believed that spirits and higher powers inhabited trees; therefore, tapping on tree trunks could be interpreted as seeking these powers’ luck and protection. On the other hand, Christians have translated this act into a reference to the wood of the cross of Jesus’ crucifixion. Despite these elaborations, like much of common parlance, there is no definitive answer for how this began. At this point, centuries down the road, we can merely speculate.

With something as customary and communicative as language, it’s the perfect outlet to think outside the box, and, evidently, people have done just that and left their influences on our everyday speech. Keep an eye out for these things in the future—linguistics can be a fascinating subject to ponder!

Oh, and let’s strive to practice National Say Something Nice Day every day. The Golden Rule is golden for a reason.

Chocolate Park by Wib Davis   Submitted by Joan Bittner Fry

This article appeared in the July 30, 1977 edition of The Record Herald, Waynesboro, PA.

Remember Blue Mountain Chocolates?

The Cascade area-based candy factory was operated by the B. R. Summers family. The chocolate factory came into existence in 1920 after Summers’ two sons, Harris and Walter, came home from the Army at the end of World War I.

A German candy maker by the name of Jensen operated a boarding house near the lower gate of Camp Ritchie. He also made candy in the kitchen of his place. Jensen’s confections were sold in Waynesboro at the Clarence Croft Drug Store in Center Square.

The Summers brothers got interested in the candy business and persuaded their father to sell his coal feed and grain business and finance their venture. The elder Summers sold his business to W. B. Thompson. Summers also sold his fruit farm near Quincy.

The Summers trio purchased Jensen’s candy recipes and in 1920 constructed a large brick building opposite the Jensen place to house their operation. The building was built at a cost of $50,000.

The candy was called Blue Mountain Chocolates and found a ready market in Waynesboro, Hagerstown, and as far away as Baltimore and Washington. Vacationers in the mountain area purchased much of the candy to take home to their friends. This spread the popularity of the candy. In Waynesboro the Croft Drug Store had the lone franchise.

Jensen stayed with the Summers family until they were entirely familiar with the business and then returned to Germany.

The factory’s busiest times were Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and Easter. The candy was kept in cold rooms until delivered to the dealers. The factory employed 20 to 25 people.

In the late 20s, a swimming pool and picnic area were added and named Chocolate Park.

The trolley tracks, connecting Pen Mar and Blue Ridge Summit ran close to the fence along one side of the pool. Walter Summers, a physical fitness buff, was the lifeguard. Holidays and weekends through the summer there were wall-to-wall people. During the summer season the candy factory had a roadside booth for the sale of confections.

The factory closed down in the fall of 1940 and John B. Eader took over the property for a shirt mill. The mill burned in 1941. The roadside booth was purchased by Joe Greenawalt and blossomed into a tavern and dance pavilion, retaining the name “Chocolate Park.” The tavern is still in operation.

by Tricia Bush, CPA, CFP®, Partner, Bestgate Advisors

Are you thinking about investing your hard-earned money but feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the choices out there? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  It can be intimidating if you don’t have a good grasp of the basics. Let’s break down the different investment options in a way that’s easy to understand, especially if you’re a newbie.

Understanding Your Investment Choices

1. Stocks: Investing in stocks means owning a piece of a company. When you buy stocks, you’re essentially betting on the company’s success. Stocks can offer high returns but also come with higher risks due to market fluctuations. When you select individual stocks, your market return depends on the success of those specific companies.

2. Bonds: Bonds are like loans you give to governments or corporations. In return, they pay you interest over time. Bonds are generally considered safer than stocks, but because of this, they offer lower potential returns. For instance, you can invest in U.S. Treasury Bonds or corporate bonds issued by companies like Coca-Cola or Walmart.

3. Mutual Funds: Mutual funds pool money from multiple investors to invest in stocks, bonds, or other assets. They are managed by professionals who make investment decisions on behalf of the fund’s investors. An example of a mutual fund is the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund, which invests in a broad range of U.S. stocks. This allows you to invest in just one fund but have multiple stocks and bonds in your portfolio. However, nothing is free, so because you are getting the benefit of a professionally managed fund, it comes with a fee, called the expense ratio.  This typically ranges between 0.10% -2.00% of the investment value due to varying degrees of active management.

4. Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs): ETFs are similar to mutual funds but trade on stock exchanges like individual stocks. They often have lower expense ratios and can provide diversification across various asset classes, typically 0.05% – 1.00%. For example, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) tracks the performance of the S&P 500 Index.

5. Real Estate: Investing in real estate involves purchasing properties or investing in real estate investment trusts (REITs). Real estate investments can generate rental income and appreciate in value over time. You could invest in a residential property or consider a REIT like Vanguard Real Estate ETF (VNQ), which holds a portfolio of real estate assets.

6. Commodities: Commodities include physical goods like gold, oil, or agricultural products. Investing in commodities can serve as a hedge against inflation and provide portfolio diversification. For instance, you can invest in gold through exchange-traded funds like SPDR Gold Shares (GLD).

Tax Benefits of ETFs Over Mutual Funds

As noted above, ETFs are similar to mutual funds, with one of the biggest differences being how they are taxed.  ETFs often have tax advantages over mutual funds. They are structured in a way that minimizes capital gains distributions, which can help reduce your tax liability. Additionally, ETFs allow investors to control when they realize capital gains by buying and selling shares on an exchange.

Key Considerations When Choosing Investments

Expense Ratios: Always compare expense ratios when selecting mutual funds or ETFs. Lower expense ratios mean less of your investment returns are eaten up by fees, leaving more money to grow over time.  When comparing mutual funds and ETF investment returns, be sure to incorporate the expense ratio in your analysis, so you’re looking at the true net return of the fund.

Risk Tolerance: Understand your risk tolerance before investing. Younger investors can generally afford to take more risk because they have more time to recover from market downturns.

Diversification: Diversifying your investments across different asset classes (stocks, bonds, real estate) can help spread risk. Index funds and ETFs are excellent tools for achieving instant diversification.

Long-Term Goals: Define your investment goals, whether it’s retirement savings, buying a home, or funding education. Your goals will influence your investment choices and strategy.

Beginner-Friendly Investment Strategies

Target Date Funds: These funds are designed for specific retirement dates. They automatically adjust their asset allocation (stocks vs. bonds) based on your target retirement year, meaning less decisions and monitoring on your part. This hands-off approach is ideal for long-term investors. Examples include Vanguard Target Retirement 2050 Fund or Fidelity Freedom 2035 Fund.

Index Funds: Index funds aim to replicate the performance of a specific market index, like the S&P 500. They offer broad diversification and are passively managed, resulting in lower fees compared to actively managed funds. A popular example is the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX).

Why Start with Beginner-Friendly Options?

Investing can feel daunting, especially for beginners. That’s why starting with target date funds or index funds is a smart choice:

Simplicity: These funds offer a straightforward approach to investing, making it easier to get started.

Diversification: Both target date funds and index funds provide instant diversification across multiple assets, reducing risk.

Cost-Effectiveness: With lower expense ratios, these funds ensure more of your money stays invested and working for you.

In Conclusion

Investing is a marathon, not a sprint. Start by educating yourself about different investment options and strategies. Consider your risk tolerance, investment goals, and time horizon before making decisions. Target date funds and index funds are excellent choices for beginners, offering simplicity, diversification, and cost-effectiveness.

Remember, the key to successful investing is staying informed, staying patient, and staying disciplined. Start small, stay consistent, and watch your investments grow over time. Happy investing!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be construed as investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any financial products or securities.


Observations from the Woodpile” is a collection of essays bundled together and given as a birthday present for my wife, Nancy, in 1997. Twenty-seven years have passed since the collection was given. The two main subjects of the essays, my sons Justus and Jacob, have grown into men with families of their own.

Throw Another Log on the Fire

Along about the middle of October every year, a cold front will move through our part of the country, bringing with it the first hint of the winter that follows. The temperature will swing 30 or 40 degrees on such days. One minute, the wind is still, the sky is cobalt blue, and sweat beads up on your hairline. Then, a little breeze kicks up and your body shudders with a chill as you’re suddenly transported into a December day. The whole day is spent ebbing and flowing between late summer and early winter with every cycle of the wind.

The evenings of these winter/summer days always bring about the request for the first fire. It’s not that it’s really that cold (by January, similar temperatures will feel like a heat wave, and I’ll be hollering at the kids to put their shoes on), but everyone likes that snug feeling. I resist as long as possible. Finally, if the flues have been cleaned, the mob wins and the wood burns. 

I remind the kids that every stick of wood burned now is one that will need to be replaced later. This is a more potent warning as the winter drags on. By February, nearly all the logs have been cut, split, and stacked into a neat block of five cords in the shed. The weekly trips to the woodshed to replenish the woodbox have added about a thousand miles (in kid miles) to the wheelbarrow.

By February, there is also some linkage in the minds of everyone in the family to the amount of wood consumed and the amount of effort to produce it. There is a relationship between consumption and production. When all the wood in the house is used, there will be many trips to the woodbox on the porch. When the woodbox is empty, there will be several trips to the woodshed for split wood. When there is no split wood in the shed…well, you get the point. Ultimately, when none of these things are done, we turn on the electric heat, and everyone warms themselves by my tantrums.

This lesson of the linkage between what we consume and what we produce is much deeper than the measure of cordwood or calories or sweat. I want my kids to understand that the society, of which they are a part, necessitates a replenishment of what is consumed.  

Success in relationships pivots on this point, too. If nothing is put back into a relationship, be it between friends or spouses or parents and children, eventually it is consumed. It has been my observations that this is particularly true of marriages. One spouse consumes more of the other than is replaced until there is either a catastrophic failure or a slow, creeping collapse. 

When my kids are all howling about how cold it is and they want more heat out of the stoves, I’ll go on reminding them to conserve: to consume the resource slowly. There is more at stake than just firewood.

Roaring fires helped keep Isaac Cromer’s house and outbuildings warm during the cold January days in 1909. On January 25, Isaac and his wife, Catherine, got called away to Gettysburg to care for Cromer’s mother-in-law. That left 20-year-old John Cromer alone on the farm that was located in Adams County between Littlestown, Pennsylvania, and Silver Run, Maryland.

While John Cromer was doing some work on the farm, stray sparks spewed from the chimney of an outbuilding and caught the newly remodeled farmhouse on fire. The house had originally been a log cabin, but when it was remodeled, clapboard had been placed on the exterior. Also, a large porch had been added to the front of the house and an addition built onto the rear.

When Cromer saw the fire, he began rushing around to try and extinguish the flames. He was working by himself, though, and was soon losing ground as the fire spread.

“Realizing that the house was doomed if he could not secure help, he ran to the telephone, called the central at Littlestown and telling her what was wrong asked that she notify all his neighbors having telephones that assistance was wanted at once. Many of the farmers in that vicinity are on a rural telephone line and Littlestown exchange called all and soon had a small army of fire-fighters on the scene,” the Gettysburg Times reported.

Rural phones at the time used a hand crank to produce enough power to ring the bells of all the telephones on the line and alert the central operator. This multiple ringing of phones, though annoying if the call wasn’t for you, could allow for quick notification of multiple people at once, which was just what Cromer needed.

The group of neighbors that turned out to fight the fire didn’t make any better headway in saving the house, either. The flames were spreading too quickly. Once they realized this, they concentrated instead on saving the contents of the house.

They rushed into the house and carried out furnishings, clothing, and personal effects out of the house. Because of their efforts, the newspaper reported that little, if anything, that was movable was lost in the house.

“The fact that his loss was not made greater by fire loss of the contents of the building and the probably destruction of other buildings was due to the quick work of the son and the Littlestown exchange in summoning aid which proved most effective and valuable,” the Gettysburg Times reported.

The house loss amounted to several thousand dollars, which is equivalent to about $175,000 in today’s dollars.

It could have been much greater, though, had it not been for Cromer and the Littlestown central operator realizing the power of the telephone.

The country had more than three million telephones at this time that were connected with central switchboards like the Littlestown exchange. However, the majority of these phones were located in big cities. Rural areas had to make do with having multiple homes in a farming community all using the same phone line. Some farming communities were even known to use their barbed-wire fencing as telephone line to transmit signals.

June 1924, 100 Years Ago

Deserted On Her Wedding Day, Says

James R. Lowery, about 45 years old, formerly of Point of Rocks, was arrested Tuesday afternoon by County Constable Charles W. Smith, charged with desertion and nonsupport. He will be given a hearing in police court this evening at 7:30 o’clock. Lowery recently married a woman of near Utica. It was his fourth venture on the matrimonial sea and it seems that it soon went on the rocks. According to the bride, she was deserted on her wedding day and appealed to the authorities to assist her to locate him. Several days ago, Constable Smith received word that Lowery was in Harrisburg and he planned to go after him.

Tuesday evening, however, when the constable was on his way to Thurmont, he caught sight of a man near Catoctin Furnace answering to the description of the missing bridegroom. The constable took another look and sure enough, it was Lowery. He made no effort to get away and the officer placed him under arrest. Mrs. Lowery stated that she could give no explanation for her husband’s actions so soon after the wedding. She added, however, that she wanted him arrested for deserting her.

                                – Frederick Daily News, June 11, 1924

Autos Collide! Two Fined.

A truck driven by Charles H. Clark, of Thurmont, and a sedan, driven by Mrs. Wood, of Graceham, met in collision on the square at Thurmont Sunday afternoon. The truck, in making a left hand turn, from Church street, to East Main street, made the turn too short, and the sedan making a like turn from East Main street to Water street, apparently turned short also. An officer who witnessed the accident called both parties before Justice R. E. Cadew. After hearing the testimony of the drivers and witnesses, Justice Cadew imposed a fine on Clark for reckless driving and on Mrs. Wood for driving without operator’s license. Nobody was hurt in the accident and the machines were but slightly damaged.

                                – Frederick Daily News, June 20, 1924

June 1949, 75 Years Ago

County Pinball Machine Licenses Net County $7,800

Frederick County’s new pinball licensing measure, which took effect June 1, has already brought approximately $7,800 into the coffers, to be split between Emergency Hospital and the county’s general fund, it was learned this week.

Licenses for 130 pinball machines at $46.34 per device, including fees, have been issued at the office of the clerk of the Circuit Court. At the same time, four operators’ licenses at $458.54 per permit, including fees, have been issued. Actually, the pinball license under the Alexander bill is $50 per year and the operators’ license is $500 a year, but the first permits are for 11 months, being renewable along with trader licenses and similar permits on May 1, 1950. So the cost of the permits is pro-rated on an 11-month basis.

Under the bill, all pinball machines must be licensed and special metal tags showing the issuance of the permits are provided when the licenses are secured. These tags are attached to the devices.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, June 10, 1949

Second Appeal for Liquor License Denied

Liquor License Commissioner G. Cleveland Trout Friday denied for the second time R. Class A off-sale beer, wine and liquor license application of Richard H. Rosensteel and Louis Cooper in this district.

The same reason for the denial was given this time as the first when the commissioner maintained that the population of this district did not justify granting of a third such license..      

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, June 24, 1949

June 1974, 50 Years Ago

Students Hired For Historical Work

The State of Maryland, through the Maryland Historical Trust, has hired college students for the summer to photograph and register old homes and other structures. Three students, with the cooperation of the Frederick Landmarks Foundation, are working for two weeks in upper

Frederick County, in what has been designated the “Emmitsburg District.” Their names are Lou Ann Smith, Tony James and Phil Metzger.

Any assistance by local people in locating and gathering information on the old buildings will be greatly appreciated

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, June 13, 1974

Boards Meet To Discuss Pool

A special joint meeting of the Emmitsburg Parks and Recreation Board and the Burgess and Commissioners was held Tuesday night to discuss further plans for the community swimming pool project.

Meeting with the board were Thomas Wallace of Buchart-Horn Engineering, and Lumen Norris and Allen Bouey of VFW Post 6658. Buchart-Horn is the consultant engineering firm for the project, and the VFW has made a sizeable pledge toward the swimming pool.

                                – Emmitsburg Chronicle, June 20, 1974

June 1999, 25 Years Ago

Gene Myers Recognized for His Years of Service To Emmitsburg

“Gene Myers generously contributed his time and energy for the betterment of the Town of Emmitsburg, and dutifully served the town…,” — an understatement.

On May 3, 1999, the Town of Emmitsburg issued a proclamation to E. Eugene Myers in appreciation of his services: “Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Town Council, on behalf of the citizens of Emmitsburg proclaim its appreciation to Gene Myers for his dedication, support and superior service to the Town of Emmitsburg, which has made Emmitsburg a better place to live.”

Over the years Gene has been associated with youth sports and recreation. He has  sponsored and/or managed many softball and baseball teams. He served as a volunteer fireman as well as being Chief of the Vigilant Hose Company for 10 years. He served as the Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, as Parks Commissioner, President of the Town Council, and is a former mayor of Emmitsburg.

                                – The Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch, June 1999

Family Fun Night

The community center was alive with the sounds of 150 children and their families on Friday night May 7, 1999. There were hot dogs, sodas, and lots of fun to be had. Erik Behrendt won the town coverlet that was given as one of the door prizes. Mrs. Deb Spalding from Frederick County Parks and Recreation made balloon animals along with Urma Tressler who organized the dancing and games. Members of Rocky Ridge 4-H provided the face painting and

Emmitsburg had some very colorful children by the end of the evening.

            – The Emmitsburg Regional, Dispatch, June 1999

Becky Linton, Thurmont High School class of 1958, gave me this recipe from Mrs. Strube, who taught first or second grade at Thurmont Elementary School. This recipe is dated September 27, 1949. Our family had just moved to Thurmont in 1951, and I remember her classroom was across the hall from the second-grade classroom I was in. I have fond memories of Thurmont High School. All twelve grades were in the same building until the new Thurmont Elementary School was built in 1956.

Lemon Chiffon Pie


1 tbsp. Knox Sparkling Gelatin

¼ cup cold water

½ cup lemon juice

4 eggs (separated)

1 cup sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. grated lemon rind


Soak gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes. 

Add ½ cup  sugar and lemon juice to beaten egg yolks. 

Using a double boiler, cook over boiling water until the consistency of custard. To this mixture, add the grated lemon rind, the softened gelatin, and stir thoroughly.  Cool. 

When mixture begins to thicken, fold in beaten egg whites and the other ½ cup sugar. 

Fill pie shell and chill. 

Just before serving, spread a thin layer of whipped cream. Chill until ready to serve.

by Buck Reed
The word “mycology” refers to the study of fungi, which is another word for mushrooms. You don’t really need to study mushrooms to appreciate them or enjoy what they bring to the culinary world. But in case you need to know, or are ever on Jeopardy and the category comes up, below are a few terms you may want to know.

My advice is to embrace the mushroom in all its varieties and don’t be afraid to use them in your cooking. Fear is the only thing we have to be frightened of, and we can’t have that in our kitchen. Just make sure you get your mushrooms from the grocery store and not your back yard.

Mushroom Terms & Types of

Commonly Eaten Mushrooms

Mycophagy: The eater of mushrooms.

Mycophile: a person who loves mushrooms.

Mycophobia: A person who fears mushrooms.

Mycorrhiza: A mushroom and host that benefit nutritionally from each other.

Parasitism: One organism feeds off another without any benefit to the other.

Spore: Reproductive structure of a mushroom.

Cap: Top part of the mushroom.

Stem: The part that raises the cap.

Bulbous: Describes a fat stem.

Gills: Thin, papery structures that hang vertically under the cap.

Button Mushrooms ~ A common mushroom that has an edible cap and stem; also referred to as domestic mushrooms.

Most other mushrooms are commercially grown but are referred to as “wild mushrooms.”

Portobello ~ Swiss brown mushroom that is harvested when it is quite large and gills are open.

Cremini ~ Browner and firmer mushroom.

Note: Button, portobello, and cremini are all the same species but at different stages of their life.

Shiitake ~ A Japanese mushroom that grows on trees.

Maitake ~ This mushroom has an earthy woody flavor.

Oyster ~ Mushroom variety that has a short stem and a cap that resembles an oyster.

Chanterelle ~ Yellow mushroom that is considered by gourmets to be the most flavorful.

Enoki ~ A small mushroom with a crunchy texture that is used in many Asian cuisines.

Black Trumpet ~ Mushroom found in parts of the United States and shaped like a wavy cone; smokey in flavor and somewhat like black truffle.

Morels ~ Considered by many to be the king of mushrooms, these grow once a year in the United States and are often sold dried; must be reconstituted before using both the mushrooms and the broth they produce.

Kale & Avocado Salad with Blueberries & Edamame

Yield: 8 cups

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Nutrition Profile:

Diabetes-Friendly     Healthy Pregnancy     Vegetarian      Gluten-Free     Egg-Free

6 cups stemmed and coarsely chopped curly kale

1 avocado, diced

1 cup blueberries

1 cup halved yellow cherry tomatoes

1 cup cooked shelled edamame

¼ cup sliced almond, toasted

½ cup crumbled goat cheese (2 ounces)

¼ cup olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced chives

1 ½ teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salt


Place kale in a large bowl and, using your hands, massage to soften the leaves. Add avocado, blueberries, tomatoes, edamame, almonds, and goat cheese.

Combine oil, lemon juice, chives, honey, mustard, and salt in a small bowl or in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Whisk or shake well.

Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine. Veteran

Edwin C. Creeger, Jr.

Namesake of Legion Post 168

by Richard D. L. Fulton

Edwin C. Creeger, Jr. was born on August 21, 1920, in Thurmont to parents Edwin C. and Ethel Creeger.  He was his parents’ only child. 

The family’s address was given as having been 7 North Church Street, Thurmont. Creeger’s father owned and operated the Creeger Motor Company in Thurmont, and he had served in France during the First World War.

Creeger graduated from Thurmont High School in 1937 and from the Lebanon Valley College in 1941. 

According to an article published on October 27, 1943, by The (Frederick) News, Creeger “had always been especially talented along musical lines and after having majored in this subject, became music supervisor at the Lower Paxton High School, Harrisburg.”

At a Thurmont High School Alumni Banquet held on June 1, 1942, Creeger sang “Johnny Doughboy Found a Rose in Ireland” and “River Stay ‘Way from My Door,” accompanied by a pianist, as part of the entertainment held during the banquet.

He was still employed at the Lower Paxton High School when he was granted a leave of absence to enlist in the Navy.

Creeger enlisted at 21 years of age on July 7, 1942, in the Naval Reserve.  Upon enlistment, he was listed as having been 5’ 9” in height, weighing 180 pounds, having gray eyes, brown hair, and a ruddy completion.

He initially received training at Marietta College in Ohio (World War II had briefly turned the Marietta College into a pilot training center, according to the Marietta Times).

He then received additional training at the Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia, and at the Naval facility on the University of Georgia campus in Athens, Georgia. That training was followed by additional training in Hollywood, Florida, probably at the Naval Training School there.

Having completed his training, he graduated as a navigator on June 23, 1942, in Hollywood, Florida.

Ensign Creeger had been on sea duty since September 10, 1943, according to The (Frederick) News, which further noted that he “had spent a two-week leave with his parents before leaving for service on September 20.”

Nearly a month following his visitation leave with his parents, Creeger met his death on October 23, 1943, when his plane was shot down at Dunkeswell, East Devon District, Devon, England, deeming him almost certainly as a casualty of the Battle of the Atlantic, said to be the longest, continuous military campaign in World War II.

The (Hagerstown) Daily Mail reported on October 28, 1943, that Creeger had been killed “in the performance of his duty and in the service of his country,” further reporting on November 10, 1943, that, “The Naval officer was killed in the crash of a seaplane, presumably somewhere in England, the Navy Department announcement said.”

His body was interred in the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, Coton, South Cambridgeshire District, Cambridgeshire, England.

The (Frederick) News, announced in their November 17, 1945, issue that a new American Legion Post was being formed in Thurmont and would be named the Edwin C. Creeger Jr. Post 168, in honor of the fallen aviator. 

The (Frederick) News further reported on December 1, 1945, that “The father of the Thurmont youth who lost his life in World War II, and after whom the new post of Legion is named, was elected Commander of the Thurmont organization.”

Creeger was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Thurmont.

On August 21, 1944, Creeger’s family published a Card of Thanks in The (Frederick) News, which read, “To our very good neighbors and wonderful friends of Edwin, Jr., and ourselves, we wish to thank each and every one from the bottom of our hearts, for the many wonderful words and acts of consolation in our very dark hour of sorrow…  His Mother and Father.”

Edwin C Creeger, Jr.

May was Poppy month. Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird started off Poppy season by getting the first Poppy from Miss Poppy, Ella.      

Did you register for the 3rd Annual Golf Tournament at Maple Run Golf Course?  This will benefit Platoon 22. Not a golfer? Think about sponsoring, and there are many ways to do that. For more information, contact Rick Hall at or by call 240-626-4660.   

Are you a car enthusiast? The Sons of American Legion will be hosting its 2nd Annual Car Show at the Legion. Last year, a great time was had by all, so you don’t want to miss it.

The Sons of the American Legion also has Pop-Up Shops in June and July. 

For God and Country is Sunday, June 9, at Camp West Mar. Flag Day Ceremonies (flag retirement) will be held in Emmitsburg on June 14 at 7:00 p.m. More details forthcoming about both events.

Attention Auxiliary Juniors Members: Dues for 2025 (starting July 1, 2024) will be increasing to $12.00. 

Congratulations to all our 2024 Graduates! The best of luck to each of them in all their future endeavors.

Pictured from left are Miss Poppy, Ella; Alesha Subasic, 1st Vice President of the Auxiliary; and Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird.

The American Legion Post 168 hosted the Legion K-9 Riders for lunch in May. A wonderful time was had by all.

Courtesy Photos of American Legion Post 168 hosting the K-9 Riders in May.