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Voluntary Water Restrictions Continue

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

Sanitary Changes for Election

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

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

Election Judges Appointed

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

Contract for Sheriff’s Deputies Approved

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

Amendments Updated

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

Green Street Project Moves Forward

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

Hand Sanitizing Stations in Parks

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


Town Considering a Parking Deck

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Officer Sworn In

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

Mayor James F. Black Scholarship Awarded

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

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

Oil and Antifreeze Recycling Station Closed

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

James Rada, Jr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please Vote!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James Rada, Jr.

With its draw of 100,000 visitors annually and the generosity of the Catoctin Colorfest organization, Colorfest has greatly benefitted the Thurmont community. Its cancellation for 2020 will undoubtedly impact those organizations moving forward.

“This has been a difficult decision,” Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird said in the town press release announcing the event’s cancellation. “The commissioners and I fully realize that all of the local non-profit organizations rely on Colorfest as their largest fundraising event each year. However, with this current public health emergency and the unknown impacts that lie ahead, we feel that public health and safety must be our highest priority.”

One way the organizations fundraise is to run a booth during Colorfest. Other organizations earn money through an associated service like offering parking or package check. Then, after the event is over, Catoctin Colorfest not only makes donations to organizations, but it supports community events and scholarships.

Chris Kinnaird with the Guardian Hose Company said, “Yes, we like to make money. We are in a financial crisis like everybody else is, but I think there are a lot of unknowns, and there are too many unknowns for us to decide today or know what is going to happen two, three, four, or five months from now.”

He told the commissioners that the company would have to raise prices on the food they sell at the festival because food prices had risen. The department also didn’t know whether the health department would place additional requirements on food vendors. There was also the question if the event happened, whether attendance would be way down, leaving them with unsold food that would reduce their earnings from the event.

Lowman Keeney with the Thurmont Ambulance Company echoed Kinnaird’s concerns. He expected attendance to drop with social distancing and other restrictions if the event continued.

“We do understand that this is our biggest fundraiser we have, but we too have to look out for the safety and well-being of everyone,” Keeney said.

The Thurmont American Legion earns money during Colorfest by renting 146 vendor spaces on Legion property. Gary Spiegel said the consensus among the post leadership was that if the event was canceled, the vendor fees would either be applied to the 2021 event or refunded.

However, he said that although the town needed to make a decision early enough to receive bids for the buses, sanitation, and police protection it provides for the event, “We are five months out, and I don’t think we need to say yes or no right now.”

Connie Masser with Deerfield United Methodist Church, which earns money from offering parking during Colorfest, told the commissioners during their meeting about Colorfest that there were people on either side of the issue. Some were scared about spreading the disease and others wondered how the lost income would be made up since just about every event has been canceled. She said the church would support whatever decision was made.

Catoctin Colorfest President Carol Robertson said that although some Catoctin High seniors had submitted scholarship applications, none will be awarded this year because of the lack of funds. However, Catoctin Colorfest will still purchase an FFA pig from their annual sale. This is usually done at the annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show, but that event was also canceled. The pig is then resold with the proceeds being donated to the Thurmont Food Bank.

Some of the organizations that receive direct donations or support from Catoctin Colorfest will see a reduction this year, if Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. is even able to make a donation. These contributions were approaching $20,000 a year. The organizations include: Guardian Hose Company, Thurmont Ambulance Company, Thurmont Police Department, Catoctin High FFA, Catoctin High scholarships, Town of Thurmont for various events and projects, Thurmont Food Bank, Thurmont Regional Library, and Thurmont Main Street.

Catoctin Colorfest 2021 will be held on October 9-10, 2021.

On Tuesday, August 18, 2020, the bridge on Biggs Ford Road over the Monocacy River will be dedicated in memory of Sgt. Kenneth L. Krom who was killed in Vietnam on August 18, 1968. He lived on Sixes Bridge Road and graduated from Emmitsburg High School. Many of his friends are still in the Emmitsburg area. The Emmitsburg Legion and VFW will be presenting and retiring the colors at the dedication.

The dedication will be held at the Walkersville Volunteer Fire Company on Frederick Street in Walkersville at 10:00 a.m. All are welcome as we celebrate, remember, and give thanks to one who has given the ultimate sacrifice while serving his country.

The Frederick County Health Department is offering free COVID-19 testing in both Thurmont and Emmitsburg. These tests are free and do not require a doctors order or that you have any symptoms.

The next Thurmont clinic will be held on Friday, August 7, at the Thurmont Town Offices, 615 East Main Street, from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

The next clinic in Emmitsburg will be on Tuesday, August 11, at the Seton Center, 226 Lincoln Avenue, from 12:00-2:00 p.m.

Testing will be offered at these locations every other week until further notice. Be sure to check or for changes to the COVID-19 Testing schedule.

Questions should be directed to the Frederick County Health Department at 301-600-1029.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Brandon Dyer of Emmitsburg graduated in June 2020 from Rock Creek School in Frederick. He is now working with the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) of Maryland to transition into work and volunteer opportunities. It is the goal of the DDA that people with developmental disabilities lead full lives in the communities of their choice, where they are included, where they participate, and where they are active citizens.

In keeping with the DDA’s vision, Brandon is helping his community whenever he can—for just an hour in the summer heat, or a few hours when the weather is better—by pulling weeds on Main Street, picking up trash in the community park, and helping others. Brandon is an outgoing, smiling guy who’s big on fist bumps. He loves meeting people and making people happy.

Brandon lives on a small farm and takes care of animals and pets, plus a greenhouse. He’s not a stranger to hard work. Actually, he thrives on daily interaction with the animals, and now through his volunteer work in the community, he’s expanding his circle of positive influence.

Brandon’s message is so important for our community, especially while we are all confronting these tough times locally and throughout the world. He wants to spread more laughter and smiles, and he reminds us to look out for each other and love and care for one another.

Brandon loves watching movies and theater productions, playing arcade games, riding roller coasters, rooting for monster trucks, watching extreme sports, and listening to music.

His mother, Mary Dyer, said, “Since the quarantine, he’s been watching Hamilton and other shows on the stage that are on TV or video. When this is all over, he’ll be back in a seat mesmerized by the stage.”

Thank you from your community, Brandon, for all you do!

The Emmitsburg Community Pool will be opening July 3, 2020 from 12 noon to 7:00 p.m. It will remain open every day, as long as permitted to do so, until Labor Day. From July 3 -17, 2020 the pool will only be open to Emmitsburg residents in the 21727 zip code on a first-come first-served basis due to the max occupancy restrictions set by the State. The max occupancy at any time is 111 persons. The situation will be re-evaluated to see if the pool can be opened to non-21727 zip code the week of July 17th. No season passes will be sold in 2020 due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

Social distancing remains in effect even inside the pool. Face masks are not required, but encouraged. Please be mindful if you have an underlying health condition. The pool will be sanitized before opening and temporarily closed for sanitizing from 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. every day. During that time, no one will be permitted in the pool or in the bathhouse. Please check the Facebook page and website for ongoing updates.

Denny Black reported that he had a wonderful time joining Jack Harbaugh and his family on a tour of Harbaugh Valley on June 11, 2020. Jack is an eighth generation grandson of Jacob Harbaugh (Feb. 5, 1730 – Apr. 28, 1818) who helped settle Harbaugh Valley in the 1760s. 

For our area football fans, you will know that Jack was the head coach of Western Michigan University and Western Kentucky University, and is the father of coaches Jim and John Harbaugh.  During their tour of Harbaugh Valley, Denny took Jack and his family to visit the grave of their ancestor Jacob Harbaugh who is buried in the Jacob Harbaugh Family Cemetery located on the Royer Farm near Sabillasville.

Pictured from left to right are Jack Harbaugh (Jim’s son), Jim Harbaugh (Head Coach of Michigan and prior Head Coach of the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers), Denny Black, and Jack Harbaugh at the Jacob Harbaugh gravestone at the Jacob Harbaugh Family Cemetery in Sabillasville.

Pictured from left to right are Jim Harbaugh, Jack Harbaugh (Jim’s son), Jay Harbaugh (Jim’s son and Running Backs/Special Teams Coordinator for Michigan), and Denny Black. at the Jacob Harbaugh gravestone at the Jacob Harbaugh Family Cemetery in Sabillasville.

Joan Bittner Fry

The following article was taken in part from the 1992 Annual Report of Waynesboro Hospital. This story seems timely. It is about the role played by our local community’s beloved Dr. Harvey C. Bridgers, who had a private practice in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania. He was a doctor on the staff at the State Sanatorium Tuberculosis Hospital in Sabillasville (the first TB hospital in Maryland), as well as the Waynesboro Hospital. His battle against the Spanish Influenza was indeed valiant.

From: Part 2 Plus, a self-published book by Joan Bittner Fry of Sabillasville in 2009

Dr. Harvey C. Bridgers (1885-1965)

“The Autumn of the “Spanish Lady”

In 1918, buried behind the headlines of war, a mysterious flu virus quietly hopscotched across the world, growing to epidemic proportions then vanishing as quickly as it appeared—leaving millions dead. This virus killed more than 22 million people. This estimate includes half a million Americans—more than the total number of lives lost in World Wars I and II, Korea, and Vietnam combined. Despite the ever-mounting death rate during the course of the epidemic, health officials fought to keep publicity at a minimum to avoid panic.

The first documented cases in the United States came in March 1918 from Fort Riley, Kansas, where 522 soldiers were affected. The Army continued training two million men and shipping them across the North Atlantic to France, England, and then Spain, where eight million Spaniards died. It came to be known as the “Spanish Influenza.” Although many blamed Spain for hosting the virus, in truth, the first outbreaks in the United States occurred at about the same time as Spain’s. The disease was confined to the Army for several months until early September when the first civilian case was documented in Boston.

No town is immune to the ravages of the Spanish Influenza. Waynesboro and nearby communities are devastated, while a tenacious young doctor battles the virus. Out of the record numbers of dead rose the need for a community hospital.

“It Can’t Happen Here”

When Spanish Influenza struck Waynesboro at the end of October 1918, the community didn’t panic. They had already battled tuberculosis and scarlet fever. By the time the flu was in full swing in Pennsylvania, Dr. Kinter, who had been appointed by Dr. Benjamin Royer, Acting Commissioner of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, found that Pennsylvania had been hit hard. A total of 5,000 people died in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia alone, with more than 500 bodies piled up awaiting burial in Philadelphia in just one day.

By the second week in October, Franklin County had reported 1,300 cases, with 60 cases reported the following week and a warning that the disease was spreading. By mid-October, The Record Herald reported that there were several local families in which every member was sick. The newspaper made a plea for volunteers to keep fires going at families’ homes where there were sick, and to help get food to quarantined victims. Emergency hospitals were hastily set up in the Waynesboro YMCA and on the second floor of the Firemen’s Hall, with patients filling every bed and cot available. From October 1 to 16, forty people died in Waynesboro, the highest number of deaths ever tabulated in this area for that length of time.

During the first part of November, The Record Herald made no further mention of the flu, the headlines busy now with news of the war. On November 20, the epidemic made news again in the headline “Influenza is Again Manifest in Local Life,” and 20 new cases were reported. Those who suspected they might have the flu were advised to call a physician; although, by this time, most doctors simply could not take on any new patients.

Dr. Harvey C. Bridgers, a physician in Blue Ridge Summit from 1917 to 1952, wrote the following account of his experiences with the epidemic:

“After I had been practicing about a year and a half, the great influenza epidemic of 1918 struck our community. It began in October, and during that winter, spread to an alarming degree. People died in numbers so appalling as to make it remembered as one of the most disastrous epidemics in the nation’s history.

In the influenza epidemic, each doctor had to proceed according to his own knowledge and experience. Many doctors used stimulants, especially whiskey, to bring their patients through the crisis of the disease. I did not use whiskey because I felt that such a temporary stimulant could not accomplish a prolonged improvement.

Usually, the influenza patient, upon examination, appeared to have some unknown virus, poison or toxemia. It occurred to me that if that poison could be diluted and taken rapidly enough from the body through the skin, kidneys, and bowels, the patient would have a good chance of recovery. 

Now that our modern antibiotics have come into use, my method will never be resorted to again; but for the record, I shall describe it here, especially because out of so many, only one of my influenza patients died during that epidemic in 1918.

To force the fluids out of the body to lower the fever is a process known as “antipyretics.” For this function, I had our pharmacist put up for me drugs in the proper doses, and I took large quantities of these around with me.

The reaction of one of my patients to my prescribed method of treatment was so extraordinary that, above all others, it will be hard to believe. A man I visited one afternoon had a temperature of 103 degrees. He was delirious. I prescribed the method of treatment stated above. When I saw him the following day, perspiration was dripping on the floor even under his bed. It had soaked through the bed linen and through the mattress.  However, the patient’s temperature had become normal, and he wanted something to eat.

People died so quickly and in such unprecedented numbers that, in some areas, fire houses were used as places for the dead, which were awaiting their turns for embalming and interment.”

Dr. Bridgers himself became infected after visiting a family where seven members were ill in bed—all in the same room. But there were still scores of patients to be treated, so the doctor accepted a local boy’s offer to drive his car for him to make more rounds. Dr. Bridgers wrote the following account of that day:

“As the day wore on, I became more ill and enfeebled. In the last house I visited, I remember only putting some capsules on the bureau in the bedroom. That loyal boy got me back to my office, where many patients were waiting for me. My wife saw that I was ill and telephoned to Dr. Victor Cullen at the Maryland State Sanatorium. He drove me from my office and took me upstairs to bed. There, propped on pillows, I wrote prescriptions and sent them downstairs until Mrs. Bridgers closed the door on any and all comers. When I heard Mrs. Bridgers telling a man that I was ill, I remember calling through the window, ‘tell Jesse Black to go home and go to bed—he has pneumonia!’  My own illness became complicated with pneumonia. It was some weeks before I could take up duties at my office again.”

          In December, when the last victims were finally recovered, the local people decided that another such disaster must not occur without the proper facilities to deal with it. The epidemic had ended the long-standing community debate over whether or not a hospital was needed in Waynesboro. After three grim and exhausting months of confronting the Spanish Lady, the opposition was won over. Four years from the flu’s outbreak, on October 2, 1922, Waynesboro Hospital first opened its doors to the community.

Putting into action the organization’s motto of “We Serve,” members representing two Frederick County Lions Clubs recently came together on a service project. Approximately 220 students at Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg received vision screenings performed by Lions members on two dates this past February. Over 52 Lions service hours were spent on this effort. This was the fifth consecutive year for the joint screening effort.

The children were brought to a non-invasive testing station utilizing PlusoptiX S12C eye-vision technology to capture an image of the children’s eyes and automatically determining whether a vision impairment, such as near- or far-sightedness or astigmatism, was present. The tester holds the unit approximately one meter from the child and asks the child to focus on the smiling face on the front of the camera. At the completion of the testing, younger children received a Lion sticker to indicate they had completed the screening process. The parents/guardians of all children tested received written test results to indicate whether their child was recommended to see a vision professional for a potential problem or was unable to be screened.

While the vast majority of children passed, readings obtained by trained Lions indicated that some of the children needed to be seen by vision professionals for potential vision anomalies. The advanced technology of the PluxoptiX camera provides readings that are printed out on a label, which is attached to the letter for use by the vision professional of the parents’ choice.

Lions members participating in the screenings included: Sharon Hane, Nancy Smith, and Bill and Rachel Wivell from the Emmitsburg Lions Club; and John Aulls and Lynn Stimmel from Francis Scott Key Lions Club.

Childcare centers or organizations that want to learn more about the Lions preschool vision screening program or to schedule a screening should contact Emmitsburg Lion Bill Wivell at or 301-473-2275, or Francis Scott Key Lion John Aulls at or 301-662-2360.

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization, with almost 1.45 million members in approximately 47,000 clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas around the world. Since 1917, Lions Clubs have assisted the blind and visually impaired and made a strong commitment to community service and serving youth throughout the world. Lions Clubs are comprised of individuals who identify needs within the community and work together to fulfill those needs. The two clubs involved in the screenings have long histories of community service: Emmitsburg since 1982, and Francis Scott Key since 1959. 

If you want to help your community and have a roaring good time doing it, consider becoming a Lion. There are a number of Lions Clubs in the Frederick County area, For information on becoming a Lion, contact the Emmitsburg Lions at or Francis Scott Key Lions at

Francis Scott Key Lions Lynn Stimmel (holding mascot Leo) and John Aulls; and Emmitsburg Lions Bill Wivell (holding clipboard), Nancy Smith (holding stickers), and Rachel Wivell (holding camera); not shown, Emmitsburg Lion Sharon Hane.

Pictured from left are Lions Susan Smith, Susan Favorite, Dianne McLean, Doug Favorite, Joyce Anthony, and Don Keeney, Jr.

Since the Thurmont Lions Club had to cancel its pit sandwich sales for the months of April and May, the club felt it needed to give back to the community to help during the pandemic. They decided to make pork BBQ and donate it to the Thurmont Food Bank, as well as to the Frederick Health Hospital (FHH), to provide tasty meals for the frontline staff. The club received more than $2,000 in donations to support the club’s “giving-back” project. The club made more than 800 pounds of pork BBQ. Many thanks go out to those who donated to this cause and to those members who helped to prepare, package, and deliver the pork BBQ.

The pork BBQ the club made for the FHH COVID-19 testing center tent was delivered to the nurses who work at the tent. The meat was heated, made into sandwiches (rolls were also donated), and distributed to the 60 nurses who work there on a daily basis.

The Thurmont Lions Club received a wonderful note from the hospital from Ms. Sipes (below). Lion Don Keeney stated, “This gives true meaning to ‘We Serve’ and makes me very proud to be a member of the Thurmont Lions Club.”

Hi, there! I want to thank you so much for everything you are doing.  Doctors and nurses and frontline people aren’t the only heroes …the effect this has on us mentally, seeing families watch their loved ones die from afar, not being able to kiss them goodbye or even see them, the grueling hours our bodies deal with, physically….people like you, supporting us, taking that extra load off, being our backbone when we weaken, are the unseen heroes…we honestly couldn’t do it without the support from wonderful caring people like you all! Heroes are for sure a team effort…thank you for keeping us going.  It is truly appreciated and loved.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  We love you!   ~Theresa Sipes

The Thurmont Lions Club is a group of community-minded men and women who come together to enjoy each other’s company, hear interesting programs, and raise funds for important local or vision-related activities. The club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at Mountain Gate Restaurant.

For more information, visit or call 240-288-8748.

In March, when Thurmont Kountry Kitchen Restaurant owners, Sherry and Rob Myers, heard that the Frederick County Public School System had initially left out Northern Frederick County as part of its student lunch provisions during the coronavirus shutdowns in March, they immediately took action to fill the gap. Sherry said, “I want to make sure the kids are fed.”

Plans were made to hand out bagged lunches for kids from their restaurant on Water Street in Thurmont and the Vigilant Hose Company’s Fire House on West Main Street in Emmitsburg.

While working the lunch station in Emmitsburg, the Myers’ son Bobby explained, “We just knew we’ve gotta do something. We do it for the kids. We all have to stick together. We won’t turn anyone away.”

Since starting the program, the Myers’ have been stunned by the outpouring of community support. The Town of Emmitsburg, the Vigilant Hose Company, the Facebook community, and the Catoctin community showed up with donations of food, money, and support. Catoctin High School’s new football coach, Mike Rich, asked what he could do to help. He then messaged his parents and players, who also showed up with donations and support. Sherry said, “People showed up. People we don’t even know.”

Sherry has been deeply moved for, and by, the community. Her reward is knowing the lunch program is appreciated. The bonus is having the community come together.

Bobby said, “As long as we have a turnout, we’ll be here for the kids.”

Ai (Sam) Fing, Owner of Simply Asia, wanted to give back to the community that welcomed him over eight years ago. His idea was to run a lunch special for $10.00 an entree and to provide all of the profits to the Thurmont Food Bank.

With the help of two of Thurmont’s biggest supporters, Carol Robertson of Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. and Karen Simundson of Senior Benefit Services, Inc., all 120 tickets for the restaurant’s fundraiser were quickly sold.

Simply Asia also found support through fellow Thurmont businesses, including 1st Look Properties, who printed all of the fundraiser’s tickets.

After seeing such an incredible response, Sam decided to donate the entire amount—100 percent of the sales—as a nod to the community that supported his restaurant through the coronavirus crisis.

A big round of applause for all who purchased tickets for this fundraiser to benefit the Thurmont Food Bank! Thanks to Sam for his generosity and to Karen Simundson and Barb Plovok from Senior Benefits, Carol Robertson from Catoctin Colorfest, and Sandi Jo Reed-Burns of 1st Look Properties for coming together to make this a great fundraiser.

Pictured are Ai (Sam) Fing, Carol Robertson, and Karen Simundson

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show committee met recently to begin planning the 64th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show.  The show will be held at Catoctin High School, located at 14745 Sabillasville Road in Thurmont, on September 11-13, 2020. Officers elected at the meeting were: President—Rodman Myers; Vice President—Robert Valentine; Secretary—Jennifer Martin. Other committee members are: Sue Keilholtz, Robert Wiles, David Harman, Niki Eyler, Cheryl Lenhart, Ray Martin, Carol Long, Chip Long, Sharon Graf, Bobby Myers, Denise Valentine, Amanda Dennis, Clifford Stewart, Helen Troxell, Cathy Little, Denny McGlaughlin, Karen Myers, Nancy Wine, Patty Johnston, Jim Barth, Kay Barth, Kenny Keeney, Jeff McAfee, Karen McAfee, Andrea Mannix, Amy Jo Poffenberger, Barry Burch, Daniel Myers, Sierra Weatherly, Justin Dewees, Kendall Abruzzese, Abby Kinnaird, and Danny Janc.  

On Friday night, the 2020-2021 Catoctin FFA Chapter Ambassador will be announced. This year’s program will begin at 6:45 p.m. (note new start time for program) and will honor the 50th anniversary of Lewistown Fire Company.  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. 

Entry of exhibits will take place on Thursday evening, September 10, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. (note new start and ending time for entering exhibits), and on Friday, September 11, from 8:30-11:30 a.m., in the new gymnasium and in the agriculture department area. Judging will begin at 12:30 p.m. Commercial exhibits may be entered on Friday, September 11, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. The show will open to the public at 6:00 p.m. 

On Saturday, September 12, the show opens at 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.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 their turkey and country ham dinner in the school cafeteria, from 3:00-6:30 p.m. on Saturday night (note new time).  Entertainment for Saturday and Sunday will be announced at a later date.  There will be no admission charged for the entertainment.

The 46th Annual Catoctin FFA Alumni Beef, Sheep & Swine sale will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Ag Center area on Saturday night. Activities begin on Sunday, September 13, at 9:00 a.m., with the Goat Show, followed by the Dairy Show. 

At 12:00 p.m., the Catoctin FFA Alumni Chicken Bar-B-Que will be held in the cafeteria. The Decorated Animal Contest will begin at 12:00 p.m. 

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 Pedal Tractor Contest for kids will be held on Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. in the Ag Center area, and the 41st Annual Robert Kaas Horseshoe Pitching Contest will begin at 1:00 p.m.

Exhibits must be removed on Sunday, September 13, from 3:00-5:30 p.m.  Please note the new deadline to pick up items.

If you would like to be a new advertiser in our show booklet, please contact Rodman Myers at 301-271-2104 to obtain advertising information or via email at Past advertisers should have recently received letters for advertisements for this year. The community show booklets can be found in local Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and surrounding area businesses in late July or early August. New residents of the community are urged to enter and be a part of the Community Show, the largest in the State of Maryland.

There will be changes to some departments. Departments include: Fresh Fruits, Fresh Vegetables, Home Products Display, Canned Fruits, Canned Vegetables, Jellies & Preserves, Pickles, Meats, Baked Products, Sewing & Needlework, Flowers & Plants, Arts, Paintings & Drawings, Crafts, Photography, Corn, Small Grains and Seeds, Eggs, Nuts, Poultry & Livestock, Dairy, Goats, Hay, Junior Department and Youth Department. There is no entry fee. Please visit its 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.

Note: With the rapidly changing events related to COVID-19, please look for updates regarding the Community Show being held in September.

Blair Garrett

Amidst the COVID-19 chaos, it is tough to get out and do many of the things we’re so accustomed to doing.

The virus has everyone on red alert, and with awareness of germs and transmission of illnesses at an all-time high, opportunities for a fun day trip seem like a distant venture. But being on lockdown doesn’t mean you can’t still do things you enjoy.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has put guidelines and suggestions forth for the public to follow, including limitations on numbers of people in groups (10), hand washing and sanitation procedures, and non-essential places to avoid. That includes bars, movie theaters, and your favorite local hangouts until notified otherwise.

Cancelation after cancelation has limited many of the group activities, and with the uncertainty of how long the social distancing and quarantines may last, taking a break from all the madness may be just what you need to outlast the virus. Check out a few of the ways you can relieve stress, be productive, and escape the boredom of the restrictions around us.

Outdoor Exercise

Going outside may be your last thought during a quarantine, but fresh air and a bit of movement can do wonders for you mentally and physically. Nobody likes being stuck indoors for days on end, and the CDC has promoted distanced exercise as a safe alternative to your regularly scheduled lockdown activity.

That means a walk around the neighborhood or a walk through the woods is a perfectly fine way to pass the time, and exercising to keep your body in shape is one of the very best ways you can build up your immune system’s defense.

As the weather gets warmer, the outdoors become more inviting for an early morning jog, and as long as you maintain a healthy distance from crowds, it’s a perfectly fine activity. Many residents of cities and more urban areas may not have the luxury of wide open space to take the dogs for a walk, so be sure to take advantage of rural Northern Frederick County’s fresh air. Best of all, dogs are immune to the virus, so no need to worry about your pups getting ill, too.

Purging the House

It’s a great time to clear the clutter in your household. Cleaning out the closets, the pantry, the garage, and so forth, is one of life’s most procrastinated-yet-necessary tasks, and an undetermined amount of time stuck at home gives the perfect excuse to tackle a messy house.

Often the thing keeping us from organizing the things out of order in our lives is lacking the time to dedicate adequate focus toward it. With most businesses on a temporary hiatus, the time you would normally spend out with friends or blowing off steam is likely freed up to be put toward something else.

Productivity in crisis is a great way to keep your mind occupied, while also greatly benefiting other areas of your life you may have been putting on the back burner for some time.

Reading/Writing Something New

Catching up on books or finally pushing yourself to write something of your own is a great way to spark creativity that may have been put off. Watching Netflix or Hulu will burn time, but reading and exploring a new story where your mind can fill in the details has unparalleled benefits to healthy brain function.

The discovery and critical thinking associated with reading and writing is tremendously important for brain development; so whether it’s you tackling a new book or your kids, it can be the perfect way to allow yourself an escape, even for just an hour or two a day.

One of the most popular creative outlets is poetry, and whether or not you have ever read or written poetry before should not shackle you from trying it for yourself. There are tons of forms of poetry easy enough to grasp, and they can be a powerful means of communication to express a state of mind, an imagined scene, or an innocent moment in time.

 If poetry is not your style, there are thousands of sports and art forums to explore through national magazines, newspapers, and massive online social information centers like Twitter or Reddit. With professional sports seasons on indefinite suspension, millions of Americans are clamoring for material, ideas, and information, all at your fingertips with the internet. It may just be the perfect time to write that blog or article about whatever interests you.

Picking Up a New Hobby

Too much free time can breed complacency. Without ample access to our normal day-to-day tasks, it is easy to fall into a rut of binging TV and taking far too many naps. Why not pick up something you’ve always wanted to do?  

Obviously the big restriction is whether or not your desired new hobby is something you can do mostly from the confines of your home. But there are plenty of valuable skills you can at least start from the comfort of your property.

Gardening, learning a new recipe, or learning how to hand-craft a bench all prove to be incredibly valuable skills, not just for the time being, but throughout your life. Food homegrown in your backyard somehow tastes just a little bit sweeter than food bought elsewhere, and it goes hand-in-hand with sharpening your culinary technique.

A new hobby will soak up your time and push you through a quarantine in no time, and you never know what a new and interesting skill will lead you into next. 

Use what free time you do have wisely, and don’t be afraid to try out something new. Regardless of how you pass your time, taking proper precautions to keep yourself and others safe from the virus is paramount, but it doesn’t have to run your life.

Life is what you make it. Make it good.