Currently viewing the category: "Community News"

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 wdwrpw@gmail.com or 301-473-2275, or Francis Scott Key Lion John Aulls at aulls2@comcast.net 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 www.emmitsburg.net/lions or Francis Scott Key Lions at www.fsklions.org.

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 www.thurmontlionsclub.com 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 thurmontemmitsburgcommunityshow@gmail.com. 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  www.thurmontemmitsburgcommunityshow.webs.com. 

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.

James Rada, Jr.

Two hundred years ago, Western Maryland was the American frontier. With a sparse population spread throughout hills and valleys and only rarely clustered in cities, the Appalachian Mountains formed a mental, if not physical, border to the United States.

Yet, the land beyond the mountains to the Mississippi River was also part of the United States. It represented an untapped source for food, lumber, and fur, and with barely one million Americans living on the frontier, it was ripe with opportunities.

So in May 1811, construction began on America’s first federal public works project, a national road that would make it easier for settlers to move into the western United States.

The National Road began in Cumberland. The road reached Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1818 and Vandalia, Illinois, in 1839.

Robert Savitt of Myersville has written The National Road in Maryland, which is filled with information and historic photographs of the National Road.

“Ever since I moved to the area, I’ve been fascinated by the National Road,” Savitt said. “I tried to drive along the old route if I could find it. It was fun going from town to town, visiting historical societies and getting information and photos.”

Thirty-three miles of the original road is in Maryland. The original road was the first federally funded road in the country. Private and state-funded turnpikes were eventually built and connected to the National Road, extending it to Baltimore. The National Road passes through 25 towns, and along one stretch outside of Boonsboro is the first macadam road.

“Writing this book was a good excuse for me to get out and visit these interesting little towns,” Savitt said.

Various contractors built the road in small sections of a few miles, each under the supervision of David Shriver, Jr., who had experience building Maryland turnpikes. However, once built, the federal government did a poor job of maintaining the road. Control of the road was eventually turned over to the states. The states erected toll gates and collected revenue to maintain the road. One of the last remaining toll houses is located only a few miles west of Cumberland.

Turnpikes went out of fashion in the mid-19th century, but the National Road was given a second life in the early 20th century, as roads were built and improved for automobile travel.

The National Road in Maryland is Savitt’s third book and can be purchased online or in bookstores.

Savitt will be speaking about the National Road at the Middletown Valley Historical Society on May 29, 2020.

He is now working on his next book, which will be about Camp David.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

In mid-February, going into whatever this thing was and is, only the words of Charles Dickens from his mid-19th-century novel seem aptly to describe: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” So much going for us, the economy, a mild winter, gearing up for March Madness, going to work, church, children’s school events, everything going on at full pace. Everything in overdrive. Then everything stopped. The governor invoked a state of emergency, under which we were directed to shelter in place. Sitting out on the back porch, except for nature’s noises, especially the birds, this must be what it sounded like living here 200 years ago.

We are now working under Governor Hogan’s April 24, three-stage recovery plan, “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.” No more “Stay at Home”; now “Safer at Home” advisory. If it seems confusing about reopening businesses, well, it is. But everyone is doing more than their best.

We knew this COVID-19 virus was serious, but we are only finding out now how serious. As of this writing, 2,045 persons in the state have died from the virus in two months, while there were 63 deaths in the state from the flu during the seven-month flu season. Johns Hopkins researchers have been saying the COVID-19 is at least 10 times more contagious. The battle is not over.

I’d like to write more, but everything is changing quickly, and I’m going from one meeting to another or listening.

Here are a few things I do know.

Mayors have a weekly telephone conference with the county executive. Very informative.

I have a weekly live interview that is recorded. Typically, the interview is at 1:00 p.m. on a Wednesday. Guests to date have been Dr. Trainor, president of the Mount; County Executive Jan Gardner; and Helen Propheter, executive director, Economic and Workforce Development, Frederick County Office of Economic Development. So kind of these people to come on for us with all that is going on.

The budget for next year is coming along. It is a smaller budget than last year. We held a budget presentation at the special meeting, and we will have further discussions at the June 1 town meeting. Parks are open. Wear masks and bring sanitizer if you or your children are using any play equipment.

The farmer’s market is still a possibility.

The pool, with new changing rooms, will hopefully open in mid-June.

There will be no Little League this summer. A lot of hard work led by Commissioner Davis went in to bringing baseball back to Emmitsburg.

Take care and be safe. We are coming through this together.

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

Things have changed drastically since my last column. We have spent two months in near lockdown conditions. Many businesses are just now reopening, and many of our family, friends, and neighbors have been laid off or have lost their jobs. The COVID-19 crisis continues to impact all of our lives, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I encourage everyone to continue to wear face masks when you are out in public, to practice social distancing whenever possible, and to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Please keep in mind that these last couple of months have been exceptionally difficult on your neighbors, and nerves are getting frayed. Keep an eye on your elderly neighbors and offer assistance if they need it. Many are more dependent on the Food Bank than ever before. The Food Bank continues to help many local families and is there to help anyone in need. So, be patient and follow the recommendations from Governor Hogan and the CDC. Let’s do our part to limit the rate of infection from COVID-19; you may save the life of a loved one or neighbor.

Many local events such as carnivals, banquets, raffles, and other events have been canceled. Keep an eye out for these events to be rescheduled in the future. Especiallly hard-hit are all our fire companies, churches, non-profits, and private schools. If you can make a donation to help any of these organizations during this time, it will be greatly appreciated by the organization and your community.

Here in Thurmont, we canceled bulk trash pickup, yard waste drop-off, and the Community Shred Event. The next bulk trash pickup is set for July 11, 2020; contact the Town Office if you have any questions at 301-271-7313. We will be restarting yard waste drop-off soon, and we will announce it on our web page and on Facebook. The Community Shred Event will be rescheduled to a later date.

Our parks are open, as are our Trolley Trail and walking trails. You are invited to use our parks for recreation and as a place to enjoy the great out of doors.

Please contact me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by telephone at 301-606-9458 if you have any questions or concerns. Be sure to follow the Thurmont Facebook page and my personal Facebook page for news about local events, updates, or cancellations.

I hope everyone stays safe and healthy!

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

$1.87 Million Budget Presented

The Emmitsburg Commissioners will consider approving a $1,870,067 general fund budget for Fiscal Year 2021 during their June meeting. This is 3.1 percent or about $60,000 less than the FY 2019 budget, which is the last one that the town has audited figures for. The audited budget was used because town staff has no idea what impact COVID-19 will have on revenues.

“There’s not a lot of frills,” Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners. “There’s not a lot of extra spending in the budget due to decreasing revenues we expect.”

Town staff also consulted with the Maryland Municipal League and Frederick County Executive’s office to get an idea of how much revenue will be affected.

Highway User Funds and income taxes may be the hardest hit revenues. They are projected to decrease 12 percent. Grant funding and county equity revenues are also expected to drop.

Willets called the expected decrease in real estate taxes the “big unknown.” This could be because the layoffs from COVID-19 are expected to cause larger-than-normal numbers of delinquent payments and foreclosures on property.

The budget uses the FY 2019 figure as a basis for estimated real estate taxes, and the town’s property tax rate will remain unchanged at 36 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Mayor Don Briggs said the budget funded the basics and the essential services the town needs to provide. It also funds step increases and a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for town employees.

Town Parks Are Open

Town parks in Emmitsburg reopened on May 7, based on a new executive order from Gov. Larry Hogan. Please remember to continue social distancing and washing your hands.

Town Offices Remain Closed to the Public

Although the town of Emmitsburg is expecting to resume normal operating hours sometime early in June, the town offices currently remain closed to the public. Staff is available by phone at 301-600-6300 or by email, Monday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The office is closed on Fridays. You can check http://bit.ly/eburgcovid19 for updates to the town’s response to COVID-19.

Water/Sewer/Trash Bill Due Date Pushed Back

The first quarter water/sewer/trash bills were mailed to Emmitsburg residents last month. They have a new due date of June 24. Although the mailing of the bills was delayed, the billing period still remains January through March. If you have a problem paying the bill because of the health crisis, contact the town office for payment options.

To get back on schedule, the second quarter water/sewer/trash bills will be mailed June 30 with an August 5 due date.

Community Pool Delayed Opening

Because of COVID-19, the opening of the Emmitsburg Community Pool for the season has been delayed. It was supposed to open Memorial Day Weekend. While this didn’t happen, a new opening date has not been scheduled. It is expected to open in mid-June. This is because the company managing the pool for the town will need that amount of time to get workers hired once Gov. Larry Hogan relaxes restrictions and pools can reopen.

Committee Appointments Made

The Emmitsburg Commissioners reappointed Ronald Lind to the Board of Appeals for a three-year term that ends February 17, 2023. They also reappointed Wayne Slaughter as an alternate member of the Board of Appeals for a term that ends April 15, 2023.

The commissioners unanimously appointed Tim Clarke to the Ethics Commission beginning May 4, 2020.

Community Pool Free on Heritage Day

Although the Emmitsburg Community Pool will open late this year because of COVID-19, Emmitsburg Heritage Day is still planned for June 27. The pool will be open by then, and the admission fee will be waived.

Brown Water Problem Fixed

It appears the problem with brown water at certain Emmitsburg homes has been fixed. Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners that since the town undertook its mitigation efforts earlier this year, the town office has received only one complaint of brown water. In that instance, the water cleared up after running for a short time.

Small Businesses Can Apply for a Micro-Grant from Emmitsburg

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the creation of a micro-grant to support existing businesses within Emmitsburg town limits and with fewer than 15 employees. The grant is funded with $30,000. The town staff will award a one-time grant with no repayment due to those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions placed on businesses and who meet the criteria. Based upon the number of applications received, the $30,000 will be distributed evenly to all eligible businesses that meet the criteria, not to exceed $1,000. Nonprofits, churches, banks/financial institutions, investment, real-estate entities, chains/franchisees, and government agencies are not eligible to apply. You can find more information and the grant application at www.emmitsburgmd.gov.

Thurmont

Thurmont 5th Safest City in Maryland

Thurmont has once again made Safewise’s list of the safest Maryland cities. Safewise looks at the most-recent FBI Crime Report statistics and population of cities with more than 3,000 residents. They look at violent crime and property crime that occurs per 1,000 residents.

Although Thurmont’s statistics have improved over last year, it fell from number 3 to number 5 on the list. According to Safewise, Thurmont’s violent crime rate is the same as 2019, although higher than 2018. The property crime rate is 5.8, which is nearly half of what it was in 2018.

The top 10 safest cities in Maryland are: (1) Taneytown, (2) Ocean Pines, (3) Hampstead, (4) Mount Airy, (5) Thurmont, (6) Centreville, (7) Glenarden, (8) District Heights, (9) Bowie, and (10) Brunswick.

Yard Waste Drop-Off Has Been Canceled Until Further Notice

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, the monthly yard waste drop-off has been canceled until further notice. Once restrictions have been lifted, the town will re-evaluate when the program can begin again. Updates will be posted on the town website.

Thurmont’s MS4 Requirements

The MS4 Program is a government-mandated program to effectively prohibit pollutants in stormwater discharges. If residents observe situations such as discolored water flowing from an outfall pipe or anything being dumped into a storm drain illegally, they should report this to the town immediately.

To view Thurmont’s MS4 permit or report any stormwater issues, go to www.Thurmont.com and click on “Town of Thurmont MS4 Information.” 

Small Businesses Can Apply for a Micro-Grant from Thurmont

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the creation of a micro-grant to support existing businesses within Thurmont town limits and with fewer than 15 employees. The grant is funded with $30,000. The town staff will award a one-time grant with no repayment due to those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions placed on businesses and meet the criteria. Based upon the number of applications received, the $30,000 will be distributed evenly to all eligible businesses that meet the criteria, not to exceed $1,000. The town will mail applications to eligible businesses, but if you feel your business is eligible, contact the town office.

Parks and Recreation Commission Restarted

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners restarted the Thurmont Parks and Recreation Commission and appointed the members of the commission. The new members are: Horace “Jim” Robbins, Chris Banks, Ross Lillard, Amie McDaniels, and Carl Weber. All the members were unanimously approved.

$4.3 Million Budget Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a $4,297,999 general fund budget for Fiscal Year 2021. The budget accounts for expected revenue losses, but it acknowledges that the commissioners may have to revisit the budget later in the year. Mayor John Kinnaird recommended that should this happen, the town should limit capital fund expenditures.

“When we see reductions in income streams and revenue sources that we address it at that time because unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball,” Kinnaird said.

The budget does allow for an excess of $267,135 of revenues over expenditures. This excess could help offset some revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19.

The commissioners also voted to maintain the property tax rate at 29.92 cents per $100 of assessed value, which is slightly above the constant yield rate for Fiscal Year 2021.

Town staff also consulted with the Maryland Municipal League and Frederick County Executive’s office to get an idea of how much revenue will be affected.

James Rada, Jr.

Note: Portions of this article are pulled from a series of articles The Catoctin Banner ran in 2014 about the history of newspapers in Northern Frederick County.

William R. “Bo” Cadle, Jr., died January 21, 2020, at the SpiriTrust Lutheran Village in Gettysburg with his wife, Jean, by his side. Although no longer living in Emmitsburg, the Cadles left their mark on how northern Frederick County receives its news.

The Cadles started the monthly Emmitsburg Regional Dispatch in 1993. You can still read old copies of the newspaper at www.emmitsburgchronicles.com.

“Volunteers helped us do all sorts of things. An unexpected and greatly appreciated alliance between people in the community (readers and merchants and the worker-bees) over the following months helped the paper to gain firmer footing,” Bo Cadle wrote in a 2002 editorial.

Bo was born October 10, 1931, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  He graduated from Frederick High School, received a degree in science from the University of Maryland, served two years in the Air Force and then earned his Master’s in Education. Although not a trained newspaper man, Bo had a desire to contribute to his town by keeping its residents informed of local news.

A couple years later, after he started his own paper, Bo encouraged Lori Zentz to get into the newspaper business. Chronicle Press had started the Catoctin Banner in 1994, but by 1995, Art Elder was looking to sell the paper. The Cadles already had the Regional Dispatch running, so they contacted Zentz about taking it over.

Zentz saw a need for local news in Thurmont. WTHU in Thurmont was publishing the Thurmont Times, but this was seen more as a coupon supplement than a newspaper. The Gazette published a Thurmont/Walkersville edition, but it, like the Frederick News Post focused more on happenings around Frederick. Meanwhile, the Regional Dispatch was primarily focused on Emmitsburg. The Catoctin Banner was eight pages when Zentz took over, and it grew steadily, at one point reaching 32 pages. Her goal was to create a paper that was about Thurmont.

Both the Banner and Dispatch continued operating independently, focusing mainly on their respective areas.

Cadle nicely described a community newspaper when he wrote in 2002, “As far as we know, there were few, if any national conversations, ever held, but the Dispatch chatted on. Writers, of less than national stature, but with their unique voice, kept us informed of what was going on in our churches, clubs, service organizations, and homes across the greater community. Local merchants and groups were willing to bend their bottom-line thinking and underwrote the Dispatch by placing ads or making donations to insure that the Dispatch was able to pay its way. Small-town journalism was taking root, not spectacularly but the entire community, the Dispatch’s extended family, was contributing and the paper became a household word.”

In 2002, the Cadles decided to pass on the Disptach to Raymond and Jennifer Buchheister. They changed the name to The Emmitsburg Dispatch, and eventually started publishing a sister publication, The Thurmont Dispatch. The Buchheisters published each newspaper twice a month. The Dispatch newspapers ceased publication in November 2008. Just a year before, Deb Abraham Spalding had taken over publishing The Catoctin Banner and also received helpful advise from the Cadles.

The Catoctin Banner continues publishing and living up to its name. It combines the news and events of the Catoctin region in much the same way some elements of both Emmitsburg and Thurmont have combined.

Although Bo is gone, we at The Catoctin Banner still remember his positive impact on our history, the history of our local newspapers, and the history of the greater Emmitsburg area.

On Saturday, March 21, 2020, Trinity United Church of Christ and the Thurmont Lions Club will be partnering together to provide a benefit breakfast for Luke Bradley (pictured right) to help the family with his medical expenses. Luke is the 10-year-old son of Tracey and Dan Bradley, and the grandson of Rick and Judy May of Thurmont and Edward and Shirley Bradley of Taneytown. The family has lived in the community for many years. Luke is a fifth-grader at Thurmont Elementary School.

Luke has been a fighting underdog from the start. He was born six weeks premature due to his mother suffering from pre-eclampsia late in her pregnancy.  He was delivered by emergency C-section and spent two months in the NICU at Frederick Memorial Hospital. During that time, he contracted an infection that delayed him from coming home.

During his first two years of life, Luke’s development was slow, and his parents started noticing that he was not reaching the normal milestones for a two-year-old.  After being examined by doctors, it was determined that Luke had Cerebral Palsy, which was likely caused by brain trauma at birth.  Cerebral Palsy can present itself in many different ways, depending on the part of the brain affected. In Luke’s case, the muscles in his legs contract, which makes it difficult and painful to walk. He wears leg braces to keep his feet flexed, and he also uses a walker to get around.  As he grows, these things need to be updated to accommodate his size. 

The condition has also manifested itself in the way of nerve damage to his eyes. Luke has undergone surgery to help improve this, be he still suffers from low vision and requires glasses to help improve his vision. A few years ago, he also began having seizures while sleeping, so he is on daily medication to help prevent this from happening.

Luke has had numerous surgeries over the years. He’s had several rounds of Botox injections into his leg muscles to help relax them, and he now has a Baclofen pump installed subcutaneously in his abdomen with a catheter that delivers medicine directly to his spine. 

In May of 2019, he had major surgery performed at Johns Hopkins in an attempt to straighten out his hips, knees, and ankles.  The tension from his muscles contracting tends to cause his legs to twist, so during the seven-hour surgery, they inserted many plates and screws to straighten his legs and make walking easier. After two weeks at Johns Hopkins, Luke was transferred to Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital for six weeks of extensive therapy.  In the beginning, with casts and knee immobilizers on both legs, he was confined to his bed and a wheelchair. As therapy progressed, he eventually regained his mobility and was able to return home in July. During the rest of the summer, he worked to build up his stamina, in hopes of joining his fifth-grade class in September. This coming summer, he will be facing another surgery to remove the hardware they inserted, but recovery from this should be much easier.

Despite all of the challenges Luke faces in his life, he continues to be a very happy and upbeat 10-year-old. He has an overwhelming love of sports, especially football. He has great intuition for the game and has helped out with coaching and announcing for the local CYA football team. The coach loves having him on the sideline, and he is a great inspiration for the team. When he can’t be on the field, he hones his coaching skills by playing sports video games and watching plenty of games on TV.  He also enjoys woodworking, and his dad has set up a workbench in the basement just for Luke.  He especially enjoys building the prefab kits from Lowes.

Luke’s daily schedule is complicated, and often includes physical therapy and doctors’ visits. His parents and grandparents work together to provide for his needs while also including stimulating activities. Luke will live with these—and many more—challenges his entire life. It would be great if we, as a community, could come together to provide support for him and his family. 

So, please come out on Saturday, March 21, 2020, from 6:00-11:00 a.m., to Trinity UCC, located at 101 East Main Street in Thurmont. Enjoy an all-you-can-eat breakfast, sponsored by Trinity UCC and the Thurmont Lions Club. There will be an abundance of good food and community fellowship.                              

James Rada, Jr.

For anyone watching President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address on February 4, a face seen in the gallery might have easily been mistaken for Santa Claus. It was Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird. He attended the event as a guest of Congressman Jamie Raskin.

“It was the chance of a lifetime to do something I never thought I would do,” Kinnaird said.

Rankin called Kinnaird a week before the event and asked him, “What are you doing next Tuesday?”

When Kinnaird found out that he was being invited to the State of the Union, he was surprised, to say the least. For one thing, Kinnaird is a Republican, and Raskin is a Democrat. “I thought there’s got to be lots of other people more deserving than me,” Kinnaird said.

Kinnaird arrived at Raskin’s office in the Cannon House Office Building around 5;00 p.m. From there, he and Raskin went to a reception in the Rayburn Office Building, hosted by Congressman Steny Hoyer of Maryland. He had the opportunity to speak with several other U.S. representatives while there. He then traveled on the Congressional subway from the office building to the Capitol Building. He and Raskin visited the Rotunda and Statuary Hall. They then attended a reception at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office. “It was jam-packed,” Kinnaird said. “I saw the speaker, but it was only from a distance.”

He also had the opportunity to speak with Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser about issues both municipalities deal with.

He also saw several of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. One even remarked on the Scotland pin that Kinnaird was wearing on his sports coat. It led to a conversation with the man for several minutes. “It was exciting to be in the company of all these people and talk with some of them,” Kinnaird said.

He also wore his Maryland tie, which many people remarked upon.

From his gallery seat, he had an excellent view of the podium. He was speaking with someone when he turned to see First Lady Melania Trump entering the gallery. She sat about a half a dozen seats away from him.

He had the chance to speak briefly with Brig. Gen. Charles McGee and his great-grandson for a few minutes before the address.

While the gallery guests were mixed somewhat between supporters and non-supporters of the President, Kinnaird said it was very obvious on the floor who was a Democrat and who was Republican.

“It was electric being in that room,” Kinnaird said.

Because of his nearness to the First Lady, Kinnaird can be seen on some of the pictures and video of the gallery when guests were announced.

He said the entire experience was humbling, and he was glad he was able to be there to represent Thurmont.

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird and Congressman Jamie Raskin at the U.S. Capitol.

James Rada, Jr.

Although Emmitsburg has not been receiving complaints about brown water lately, town staff is looking for ways to fix known problems with the water system, so they don’t cause future problems. However, the fixes could cost $5.3 million, so the town needs to find a way to pay for these fixes.

Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willets updated the town commissioners on the work staff has been doing on the water system.

Water samples were taken from various homes and locations around town that had reported brown water. The samples were sent to the Maryland Department of the Environment to be tested for iron, manganese, lead and copper, bacteria, turbidity, and pH and chlorine levels. Willets hadn’t been sent the results by the February meeting.

New parts had been ordered to replace failing parts on the water line, and the pressure-reducing valve was adjusted to run smoother. This could help reduce brown water in the line. The town also purchased a new clarifier for the water treatment plant that would better deal with the raw water coming into the plant.

“Our treatment process is doing its job,” Willets said. “It’s treating the water, but the water, unfortunately, hasn’t changed over the last couple of months.”

The commissioners also approved replacing a portion of the town water line that runs under Waynesboro Pike. It will require boring and the installation of a new 6-inch HDPE line under the road. The cost for this work is $23,800.

When the weather warms up, a line break on Tract Road will be repaired for $6,800.

Town staff has also met with the Middletown Town Manager to discuss how Middletown handled a brown water problem in 2013. Middletown did pay for water filters for some residents who met certain criteria; to fix their problem, they used funding from the Department of Community Housing and Development.

The town’s short-term plan is to increase pH levels of the water by adding ortho-phosphate. This will reduce tuberculation (flaking) in the water lines. The pressure-reducing valves will be replaced, and an automatic chemical feed will be added.

It is in the long-term where things get expensive. The water lines with tuberculation need to be replaced. These include lines on North Seton Avenue ($1.1 million, not including engineering fees), Waynesboro Pike ($750,000, not including engineering fees), and DePaul Street ($1.1 million, not including engineering fees). Future infrastructure projects include a Creamery Road Pump Station (estimated $2.5 million), and a clarifier at the wastewater treatment plant (estimated $800,000).

The total for these projects is $5.3 million, and the water fund only has $439,000 in cash in it. Money can be borrowed from other town funds but would have to be paid back. However, if too large an amount is used from the town reserves, it could make the town ineligible for certain loans because of the town’s change in finances.

Emmitsburg could get a 30-year loan currently at 3.15 percent from DCHD to pay for the work. If approved, the town could have the funding in the spring. Another option is funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This would be a 40-year loan at 2.25 percent, currently. Also, if eligible, the town could qualify for up to a 75-percent grant with a rate as low as 1.625 percent.

The Maryland Department of the Environment might also be able to provide some grant relief. However, Willets said MDE told the town that because there is “no health concern,” no immediate action has been taken. This is because previous water tests have shown that despite the discoloration, tests are within acceptable levels.

The Lewistown Ruritan Club recently held the installation of the following officers by Lew Sherman, assistant governor for Zone 3: Randy Green—Director; Richard Rippeon—Director; Robert Thompson—Secretary; Lew Sherman—Assistant Governor for Zone 3; Odale Martin—Treasurer; Jim Brown—Vice President; and Greg Warner—President.

The Lewistown Ruritan Club was formed on August 16, 1960, and has been prominent in Lewistown since its inception. The Club has been a mainstay of economic support for many community activities. The money to fund these activities is raised by holding their famous chicken BBQs six times a year, from May through October. The location along U.S. Route 15 brings in many travelers, as well as the regulars.

The Club also provides scholarships to local high school graduates, funded by the annual golf tournament.

The Lewistown Ruritan Club meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at Lewistown United Methodist Church.  

To find out more about this active local Ruritan Club or to become a member, contact James Brown at 301-898-5270 or any club member.


Lewistown Ruritan Club’s installation of officers.

For the past three years, Nola Schildt and Evan Laird have organized a fundraiser to support the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter (CVAS).

This past year, they presented $363 and miscellaneous supplies to Jennifer and Mary during CVAS Christmas Open House on December 8, 2019.

While at the shelter, Nola and Evan visited all the animals and enjoyed Christmas goodies. The two are already working on next year’s fundraiser.

Evan is the son of Nathan and Carrie Laird of Thurmont. Nola is the daughter of BJ and Maureen Schildt of Emmitsburg.


Nola Schildt and Evan Laird (pictured center) present Jennifer and Mary of the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter $363, along with miscellaneous supplies, that they raised from their fundraiser.

There will be a Community Food and Clothing Giveaway on Thursday, February 6, 2020, at the Thurmont Middle School cafeteria, from 4:00-5:30 p.m. Please park in the back parking lot by the gym. Come and check out the winter coats available. Please bring your own bags for food and clothing. Hosted by Thurmont Middle School and the Maryland Food Bank.

Dennis Ebaugh, Sr. (pictured left) is celebrating 40 years as the facilities manager at St. Joseph Parish in Emmitsburg on February 4, 2020.

Denny was hired as a young 25-year-old by Rev. Francis X. Quinn, C.M. During his career at St. Joseph’s, he worked for the Archdiocese of Baltimore and 12 Vincentian pastors. He is the sole worker of the complex, and his duties include the upkeep of the church, the rectory, the parish hall, as well as all the grounds, which includes mowing, snow removal, and the maintenance and cleaning of two cemeteries.

Denny has commented that among the many projects he has done over the years, he is most proud of overseeing the building of the St. Joseph Parish Hall, where he served as the junior project manager; the Hall was completed in 1991. He also served as the project manager for St. Joseph Church Restoration beginning in 2003 and was completed in 2006.
Denny and his wife, Elaine, are members of St. Joseph Parish, where they are still very active in their parish. Another proud moment for Denny was when he received the Medal of Honor in 2003, presented to him by Bishop Francis Malooly (his wife was very proud, too!). Denny expressed to his fellow parishioners, as well as his past and present bosses/pastors, a sincere “thank you” for the many years that he was able to work for the parish. He plans on retiring sometime this year.

The Emmitsburg Food Bank’s hours will change on February 1, 2020, to the following hours: Monday—7:00-8:00 p.m.; Wednesday—7:00-8:00 p.m.            Friday—10:00-11:00 a.m.; Saturday—10:00-11:00 a.m. The Emmitsburg Food Bank is located at 130 S. Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg.

James Rada, Jr.

On December 2, 2019, Emmitsburg residents celebrated its annual “Evening of Christmas Spirit,” sponsored by the Carriage House Inn, the Town of Emmitsburg, and the EBPA.

 The evening began with the lighting of the town Christmas tree at the Community Center. Before and after the illumination, youth choirs from Emmitsburg delighted attendees with their Christmas songs.

Following the short tree-lighting ceremony, the crowd moved down to the Carriage House Restaurant for the rest of the evening.

 A line of children quickly formed at the entrance of the restaurant to meet with Santa. Other children were inside in a dining room, making Christmas decorations.

Tina Ryder of Emmitsburg came with her niece, Vivienne Weiant, age six. It was Ryder’s first time attending. “It’s pretty cool. We really like the hayride,” Ryder said. “This is a good event. It gets all the kids to come out.”               

Outside, people could take a hayride or enjoy hot dogs, hot chocolate, and cookies. More food was upstairs in JoAnn’s Ballroom, as were the musical performances by area groups. Each year, around 800 hot dogs and 30 gallons of hot chocolate are served at the event.

Katelyn Mills of Thurmont was attending for her second time with Kristen Mills, age 10. Kristen said her favorite things about the evening were talking to Santa and taking the hayride.

Chris Fluke of Emmitsburg brought his children to the event. “This is a great event,” he said. “We really like riding around town on the hayride and seeing the lights.”

Ellie Fluke, age six, said she cried the first time she sat on Santa’s lap, but now she really likes coming to see him.

The Carriage House Inn sponsors the Evening of Christmas Spirit each year as a tribute to JoAnn Hance, who was the wife and mother of the Carriage House founders, Bob Hance and his father, Jim.

Local children dress up as angels for the Nativity scene at the Carriage House Inn during the annual An Evening of Christmas Spirit.

Everyone enjoys the musical entertainment in Joanne’s Ballroom at the Carriage House Inn during An Evening of Christmas Spirit.

Grace Eyler

Thurmont’s annual Christmas in Thurmont is a magical time each year for so many reasons, and this year was no different. The event was held on December 7, 2019, and people flooded the streets to bring holiday cheer and to celebrate the season of giving. From face painting to horse and carriage rides, to a Christmas Train Display and pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, to the award-winning ESP Dance performance, a wonderful time was had by all.

Elle Smith, and her boys, Jack and Sam, enjoy the day out, along with their Aunt, Teresa Covell. Dylan Owen (back) enjoys chatting with families and educating kids about model trains.

Volunteer Wendy Martyak gives directions and maps to eager participants, Morgan Gipe, Grant Zimmerman, Autumn Long, and Mason Knott, who look forward to the festivities of Christmas in Thurmont!

From left, Wayne Stackhouse, Pam Fraley, Linda Davis, Lori Brown, and Peggy White take a quick break for a photo opportunity with Santa & Mrs. Claus. Looks like Guardian Vol. Hose Co. made it to the nice list!

Model train conductor, Ed Maldonado from Frederick County Society of Model Engineers kept his train busy on Saturday entertaining children and adults visiting during Christmas in Thurmont.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Here we are again at the end of another year, which always seems to bring reflection on the pluses and minuses for the year. In the plus column is the Catoctin Cougars bringing home the State Division 1A Football Championship, with a convincing 31-8 win over Dunbar High of Baltimore. The win is a valuable time capsule for the community’s strong bond with the school, meshed with the hard work and sacrifices of the kids, the families, the administration, the teachers, and the coaches, win or lose. We are so fortunate to have a school that provides a safe and competitive environment for a wide range of sports to offer students, to balance out with their educational curriculum demands.

As a minus, still on the heels of absorbing the Zurgables Hardware closing, comes the announcement that at the end of this year, the Shamrock Restaurant will close. After 57 years of lore and Celtic traditions comes the loss of another sliver of the Northern Frederick County personality. Places where you could step back in time to another generation’s template, the family-owned businesses, and they are disappearing. These are not just businesses, they are people. We are now all in a hurry, a pace that pushes us to chains and franchises as substitutes. I know this is not a new paradigm. We have a few of these special places left up our way. Use them; they are exceptional. To remember, “For everything has a season; and a time for every matter under heaven.” (Eccl 3:1).

With the Fiscal Year 2020 Community Legacy Grants Award to Emmitsburg comes the milestone that we will have reached $1,000,000 in grant funds and matching owner investment into downtown properties. We have only been in this program six years. Remember, our downtown is the foyer of each of our homes and businesses.

As we enter the winter months, please be careful on the roads.

On behalf of the town commissioners, the town staff, and my family is a wish to all for a Happy New Year.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and has a safe and happy New Year. Here we are in 2020; where does the time go? The Town of Thurmont had an excellent year in 2019, and I am looking forward to 2020!

A big part of our duties as mayor and commissioners is to plan ahead for our future; you can play a role in planning our future by participating in the upcoming Thurmont Master Plan Update.

This year, the Thurmont Planning Commission will be updating the Thurmont Master Plan. The first chance to get involved in the process will be at a public workshop on Thursday, January 16, 2020, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at the Thurmont Municipal Office, located at 615 East Main Street.

Your participation in the process is important! Please join us on January 16 and help us better understand the needs of the Town of Thurmont and plan for its future. The Thurmont Master Plan guides the Town’s growth, development, and conservation, and has been updated almost every ten years since the 1970s. The Planning Commission is seeking your input.

1. What would Thurmont look like if you had the power to make it any way you wanted?

2. What would you preserve about the Town, and what would you change about it?

3. Imagine you are in a future generation of Town residents. Tell us what would impress you most about the vision of today’s citizen planners?

Beginning in the spring of 2020, as part of the plan update process, the Planning Commission will publicly study and consider petitions from property owners who seek to change the zoning classification of their property. If you are interested in seeking a new zoning classification for your property, as part of this comprehensive Master Plan and rezoning process, please contact the Town Office for an application. Applications for rezoning consideration will be accepted through March 15, 2020. Rezoning applications will not be accepted or discussed at the January 16 workshop. Please keep watch for additional information regarding the Thurmont Master Plan Update.

The towns of Emmitsburg and Thurmont are in the process of discussing the possibility of bringing limited, circulating bus service to our communities. We are working with Frederick County to iron out details for this proposal, and we will be discussing the plan during an upcoming Thurmont Town Meeting. If you are interested in seeing a form of public bus service come to Thurmont, please watch for information about the date of the public discussion and join in the discussion. The success of this proposal depends on community support!

As always, if you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please contact me via email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

DECEMBER 2019 Meeting

Town Wants to Connect Rutter’s to Emmitsburg

The Town of Emmitsburg wants to ensure that the new Rutter’s store, being built on the east side of Rt. 15, is connected to the town via sidewalks. The sidewalks would allow truck drivers, parking overnight at the site, to be able to walk into town to shop and eat without having to walk on the roads. The town is pursuing a variety of ways to get this accomplished by negotiating with the property owners, talking to state representatives, and withholding planning commission approval.

New Wayside Exhibits Announced

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners recently viewed draft versions of the proposed 2020 wayside exhibits that will become part of the historical walking tour the town is developing. Ion Design and Grove Public Relations are developing the waysides using a FY2020 Maryland Heritage Areas Authority grant awarded to the town. The four waysides, portraying the Great Fire of 1863 (North East Quadrant of Town Square), Vigilant Hose Company, Chronicle Press building, and Carriage House Inn building, will cost $12,032.

Town Committee Appointments

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners made the following appointments to town committees: Glenn Blanchard to Parks and Recreation Committee (term ending December 3, 2021); Sandy Umbel to Parks and Recreation Committee (term ending December 3, 2021);     Steve Starliper to Parks and Recreation Committee (term ending December 3, 2021); Amanda Ryder to Parks and Recreation Committee (term ending December 3, 2021); Shannon Cool to Parks and Recreation Committee (term ending September 21, 2021); Dianne Walbrecker to Board of Appeals (term ending December 15, 2022).

Forest Conservation Plan Updated

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to forward changes to their forest conservation plan to the planning commission for review and recommendations. The plan needs to be reviewed whenever the State of Maryland updates its forestry laws to make sure the town plan remains in compliance.

In a related move, the commissioners also forwarded recommended changes to the town’s buffer zone to the planning commission for review and recommendations.

Town Sells House

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a contract to sell the house at 140 South Seton Avenue for $165,000. The house is on a larger piece of property, and the town is only selling 9,906 square feet that include the house. Besides putting the house back on the tax rolls and relieving the town of landlord duties, the income from the sale will go towards paying off the amount the town owes for the entire property.

Thurmont

DECEMBER 2019 Meeting

State Plans to Demolish Frank Bentz Pond Dam

The Maryland Department of the Environment Dam Safety Division has deemed the Frank Bentz Pond dam unsafe. Perry Otwell, director of engineering and construction at the Department of Natural Resources, told the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners that the state is planning to demolish the dam, probably in 2022. The dam is over 100 years old and was initially used to provide hydroelectric power to the town. Although it hasn’t been used that way for many decades, the pond created by the dam is a popular fishing spot.

The state also plans to build a small park on the land if the Town of Thurmont agrees to maintain the park.

Town Receives a Clean Audit

Independent auditor Zelenkofske Axelrod, LLC, conducted the annual audit of Thurmont financial statements for Fiscal Year 2019 and gave the town an unmodified—or clean—opinion, which is the highest rating that can be given. The auditors had no difficulties performing the audit or have any disagreements with the management.

New Board of Appeals Members Sworn In

Ken Oland was sworn in as a member of the Thurmont Board of Appeals, and Elliot Jones was sworn in as an alternate member of the Board of Appeals.

Town Planning Colorfest Workshop

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are planning a workshop to figure out how to deal with the decreasing revenues from Colorfest. Although this year’s Colorfest was successful, the town provided its services at a small loss of $530. The commissioners were not so much concerned about the $530 as they were about the decreasing number of vendors, particularly the commercial food vendors that pay the highest permit fees. The commissioners also acknowledged that the $530 loss did not take into account donations to the town from Colorfest, Inc. or the town’s donation of some parking space to the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund. These more than makeup for the deficit.