Currently viewing the category: "Community News"


Mayor Don Briggs

As if queued with the changing colors of fall, and a wink from a reluctant fall, all permits in hand, the long-awaited start of construction of the Rutter’s store has finally begun. Many months after getting town approvals, site work has started and moving at a rapid pace to take advantage of the mild weather.

Another solemn and appropriate Veteran’s Day observances were held by the VFW Honor Guard with a 21-gun salute tributes at the American Legion, the Doughboy, and five area cemeteries. The commemoration is celebrated on the anniversary of the end of World War I, Armistice Day, when hostilities with Germany ended at the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.” The honor guard holds the salute ceremony on only two occasions every year: Memorial Day and Veterans Day. It has been an honor to stand with them over the last 11 years on these occasions, and I look forward to doing the same next year.

Irishtown Road upgrades will be delayed now until late December to early January 2022. The contractor hit rock. Again, the completion of upgrades will include leveling out a crest on Irishtown Road and enhancing safer conditions for driver visibility, accommodating the opening of Brookfield Drive onto Irishtown Road to two-way traffic, and bringing Ryan Homes building 19 single-family homes on the last remaining lots in the Brookfield subdivision. Thank you for your patience.

The Seton Center and local churches are seeking our charity to contribute gift cards from local grocery stores to share our blessings with our neighbors for holiday meals. Please contact your church or the Seton Center. They have a sizable list of those in need.

Please join us on Monday, December 5, at 6:00 p.m. for the town Christmas tree lighting in front of the Emmitsburg Community Center. From there, walk to the Carriage House Inn for Christmas music, free hot dogs, cookies, hot chocolate, hayrides, and to meet Santa.

On Saturday, December 11, the Lions Club will host meeting Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus at Vigilant Hose Company Activities Building on Creamery Road. The event is open to all, at no cost, featuring photos with Santa Claus, hot dogs, and hot chocolate from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Later that day, the American Legion will hold a ham and turkey raffle from 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Heads up, the town has been awarded a grant for (license) tag readers. The readers will be positioned along thoroughfares around town.

Our town has been blessed over the last year with grants, building restorations around town and on the square, four new businesses (and more on the way), getting Ryan Homes back building, upgrades to Irishtown Road, and welcoming new families.

Don’t want to forget, from Lib and me: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


 Mayor John Kinnaird

Thurmont’s Annual Gateway to The Cure was a great success this year, with over $18,500 being raised to help support the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund and the good work at the Frederick Health Hospital and its partners. I want to thank each and every resident of the Town of Thurmont for helping us realize another banner year for this great annual event. Those who participated in the many events, including the Golf Tournament, 5K Fun Run, pumpkin decorating, as well as everyone who purchased light bulbs, pinwheels for the garden, t-shirts, hoodies, and the other items, should be very proud for helping with this year’s effort.

The Town of Thurmont recently held elections, and I am pleased to have been reelected as mayor. I want to congratulate Commissioner Wayne Hooper on his reelection and Bill Blakeslee on his election as a new commissioner. I look forward to serving the residents of Thurmont for this four-year term, and I will be working closely with the Board of Commissioners to continue the work we have at hand. Funding from the American Recovery Act and the recent infrastructure funds will be put to good use in Thurmont. Our plan is to invest the majority of the Recovery Act funding in our water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. One of the first projects we will be working on is the upgrade of water and wastewater lines on North Church Street. Important upgrades to many of our stormwater management facilities will also be completed. It is my hope that the recent infrastructure funding will help us with much-needed street repairs. I will also keep pushing for the reinstatement of 100 percent of the important Highway User Revenue, so we can apply those funds to our streets. Thurmont and all other Maryland communities saw drastic cuts in our HUR funding several years ago, and our streets have suffered from these cuts. HUR funds come directly from gas taxes, user fees, and license and registration fees. We continue to pay these fees, and yet the HUR funds are still not back to the level they were 12 years ago.

With Christmas and winter upon us, I encourage everyone to support our local food bank and Clothes Closet. Many of our neighbors are not as fortunate as we are and would benefit greatly from your generosity during this season. The Thurmont Food Bank depends on community donations and would appreciate donations of nonperishable food, toiletries, baby products, or cash. The Clothes Closet would appreciate your donation of warm winter clothing for both adults and children. Winter is especially hard on families and warm clothing is a must. Your donations can help bring much-needed joy and comfort to local families.

Christmas in Thurmont is well underway, and I hope everyone has had a chance to participate in some of the festivities. The Frederick County Society of Model Engineers is hosting an amazing model train display at 21 East Main Street. There are also pop-up shops offering great gift ideas at 21 East Main Street. I want to wish everyone good luck in the Christmas Decoration Contest—they always put a lot of effort into it! I think that Santa, the Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, and, hopefully, Buddy the Elf and Jovie will be making appearances at the Square in Thurmont, so girls and boys can drive past and wave to their friends. A big “thank you” to Thurmont businesses, organizations, and volunteers for helping make Christmas in Thurmont a success.

I want to remind everyone that free COVID-19 vaccinations and testing are available at the Thurmont Town Office every Friday evening, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. All three current vaccinations are available, as are the boosters. Members of the 104th Area Support Medical Company of the Maryland Army National Guard stationed at Camp Frederick, Reisterstown, have been assisting with the vaccinations, and I want to thank them for helping our community. Appointments or doctor’s orders are not required for the vaccinations or testing. This service is made possible through the Frederick County Health Department and the Town of Thurmont.

Karen and I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Year’s. We look forward to what the New Year will bring. See you in 2022!

Please contact me at 301-606-9458 or via email at with any comments, questions, or concerns.

by James Rada, Jr.


Commissioners List ARA Projects

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners listed the projects they will fund with the $6.7 million the federal government is providing the town from the American Recovery Act. Many of the projects that the town had hoped to fund weren’t eligible under the new law, such as roads, electric, and sidewalk projects. The main focus of the funds was to be used for wastewater and water infrastructure projects.

These are the upcoming ARA projects for Thurmont:

•    Replace water and sewer mains on North Church Street. The state is also expected to repave the street once the project is completed. ($163,000 for engineering and design; $136,000 for inspection services; and $2.8 million for construction).

•    Replace the water main on Pryor Road and tie into Hillside Circle. The commissioners had planned to fund this using an already approved state loan. They will have to decide whether to use the ARA funds for an additional project or to repay the loan ($470,000 for engineering, design, and construction).

•    A water pumping station on Radio Lane ($80,000 for engineering and development, and $820,000 for construction).

•    MS4 upgrades to stormwater facilities ($120,000 for engineering and development, and $1.1 million for construction). 

•    Accounting software upgrades to allow online payments ($175,000).

•    Expansion of the town office ($50,000 for engineering and development, and $262,800 for construction).

•    Repair of stormwater catch basins on Frederick Road ($30,000).

•    Repair of sewer lines near well 7 ($18,000).

•    Storm drain repairs in Jermae Estates. This is completed and the town is asking for reimbursement ($17,385).

•    Economic development assistance for businesses affected by COVID ($300,000).

•    COVID-related wastewater and electric payment arrears ($50,000).

•    Repair to sewer laterals ($500,000).

Board Approves Bridge Analysis

The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners approved $8,500 to have ARRO Consulting, Inc. study the bridges on Boundary Avenue and North Altamont Avenue to see if there are any structural integrity deficiencies. The bridges are starting to show some wear.


Problems With Pump Station

Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willets told the Emmitsburg Commissioners that the pump station “can no longer keep up with these high flows” during the November town meeting. During October, the station treated an average of 889,000 gpd, while using 231,882 gpd. That means that the station was having to treat three times as much “wild water” as normal wastewater. The additional flow was due, in large, part to Tropical Storm Ida and another heavy rain event weeks later.

Another problem that continues to plague the plant is residents who flush rags into the system. The town had to hire a contractor to come to the plant to remove rags and grease from the system after staff had already removed five garbage bags of rags and grease by hand. Because these items aren’t removed during pumping, they are clogging the system. The town has tried to alert citizens to the problem, but it has not yet helped.

Mount Students Still Causing Partying Problems

The Emmitsburg Community Deputies still continue to receive complaints about Mount St. Mary’s University students living in town who are disturbing residents with their partying. The students have been warned in the past about carrying open alcohol containers in town and drinking in public. The deputies told the commissioners that they need to “escalate to the next level” their efforts to curb the problem.

Committee Appointment

Bernard Franklin was reappointed to the Emmitsburg Citizen’s Advisory Committee to serve a two-year term until September 3, 2023.

Town Declares Properties Not Needed

The Emmitsburg Commissioners declared two pieces of property the town owns as “no longer needed for a public purpose.” The properties are at 303 West Lincoln Avenue (now used as Christ Community Church) and 16715 Creamery Road (three acres of the water treatment plant property). This decision allows the town to set a sale price and sell the properties if the commissioners should choose to do so.

Hugs for Soldiers sends care packages year-round, filled with snacks, personal care items, handmade items, and cards and letters of appreciation to service members deployed overseas. Their mission is to lift the spirits of our Active Duty and Veteran communities.

The Catoctin Area Civitan donated items for the Hugs for Soldiers project, sponsored by Pivot in Emmitsburg.

At the November dinner/meeting at Dutch’s Daughter Restaurant, Lewistown Ruritan President Greg Warner presented Harold Staley and Richard Baseley the Ruritan Forever Award.

A Ruritan Forever Award helps solidify the future of the Ruritan Organization and recognizes members for their contributions toward the goals and achievements of the local organization. Harold Staley was recognized primarily for his organization and scheduling of the annual Lewistown Ruritan Golf Tournament for more than 20 years.  This was one of the main fundraisers for the Ruritan and the funds derived from these tournaments were used to provide scholarships for the local students.

Richard Baseley was recognized for his participation in the annual Lewistown Ruritan Chicken BBQs for countless years, which are a mainstay for the Lewistown Ruritan Club. Richard was usually the first one to arrive at each BBQ and could be counted on to ensure a successful event.

The Lewistown Ruritan President Greg Warner also announced the annual donations provided by the club to the following organizations: the Thurmont Food Bank, 4-H Therapeutic Riding, Lewistown District Volunteer Fire Department, Team Hope, Lewistown Elementary School PTA, Catoctin High School Safe and Sane, and the Lewistown United Methodist Church Women’s Group. These donations were made possible through the funds from the Lewistown Ruritan’s famous chicken barbeques.

The Lewistown Ruritan Club meets on the first Tuesday of each month at the Lewistown United Methodist Church in Lewistown and welcomes new members at any time.

Lewistown R

Pictured are (from left) Harold Staley, Lewistown Ruritan Program Committee; Lewistown Ruritan President Greg Warner; and Richard Baseley, Lewistown BBQ Committee.

Last year, Immediate Past President Susan Favorite established a new Thurmont Lion Club (TLC) award: the “Rookie of the Year.”

This annual award honors a new member who joins the club during the current year and meets certain criteria and excels to a degree during that year. 

This year, Lion Maxine Troxell was presented the award during the club’s Charter Night on October 27. She joined the club in July 2020. During the year, the club held many sandwich sale fundraisers, and she was there for the majority of the sales, working the dessert counter. After one year as member, Lion Maxine established the website for the club. She also volunteered to be the assistant secretary, which involves many duties. She has become an invaluable and beloved member of the Lions family. Congratulations to Lion Maxine Troxell.

For more information on the Thurmont Lions Club, call 240-288-8748 or visit

Pictured are (from left) Lion Maxine Troxell and Immediate Past President Susan Favorite.


Weller United Methodist Church has stood at the top of the hill on Altamont Avenue in Thurmont since 1830. From that time on, Pastors have come and gone. This past June, the time of year when pastoral reappointments are made, Pastor Kells, who had been transferred to another church, announced that Mark Eyler (pictured left) had been appointed Pastor of Weller, effective July 1. The congregation looked on in amazement, and then soon, everyone was smiling. This was quite a surprise, since historically, pastors are not usually appointed to their home church. It was also a big surprise to Pastor Mark.

Pastor Mark is a life-long member of the church, having attended with his parents and siblings. His parents started attending Weller in 1950. Older church members can recall Mark being involved in every church activity or event from childhood to adulthood and beyond.

Pastor Mark had a 32-year career with the U. S. Postal Service, making many lasting friendships as a mailman. He noted that while working there, God led him to take classes to become a Lay Servant. Upon finishing, friends told him he had missed “his calling.” After giving it some thought and prayer, he went to school to become a local pastor and received his license on June 30, 2018. Pastor Mark noted, God wanted the time to be right for him, and “He knew when I was ready.”

After retiring on June 30, 2018, Pastor Mark was appointed to serve the Brandenburg United Methodist Church in Sykesville, Maryland, on July 1, 2018. According to Pastor Mark, this church had a wonderful group of congregants who helped him grow as a pastor for the next three years.

In June, 2021, Pastor Mark received a phone call from the Bishop to come to Weller UMC, effective July 1. Because of the support from his wife Lori, his family, and encouragement from his church family, Pastor Mark remains very humble, knowing this appointment is truly a God thing, with all the blessings to follow.

 On July 4, 2021, Pastor Mark Eyler stood behind the pulpit preaching to a large, very grateful congregation. Since then, church activities and ministries at Weller have the pastor “blown away” and extremely busy. With the easing of the COVID-19 epidemic, Weller has returned to indoor worshiping and Sunday school for all ages, plus Sermon by Phone and a virtual worship service shown on Facebook and YouTube.

Weller supports many ministries and missions, both monetarily and hands-on, including Catoctin Pregnancy Center, Frederick Rescue Mission, Thurmont Food Bank, Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes, Catoctin Community School Supply Drive, Coat and Warm Clothing Drive for people in need through various charitable groups, and many more.

Pastor Mark notes: “God Is Moving In This Church. I am excited to see the ministries that are forthcoming.”

Weller United Methodist Church and its congregation.

On November 11, 2021, the Piecemaker Quilters of Keysville held a well-attended and inspirational Veterans Day program where 21 Veterans from the local area each received a special patriotic quilt, created by the Piecemaker members. The program was held at Keysville Lutheran Church, where the quilters meet every Thursday, from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. 

Each Veteran was asked to say a few words about their time in service.  Refreshments and fellowship followed the ceremony in the quilting room. The Piecemakers are always looking for new members.

Twenty-one Veterans receive a patriotic quilt from Piecemaker Quilters of Keysville.

Emmitsburg held its annual Halloween Parade & Costume Contest on Sunday, October 31, 2021. Creative costumes were in abundance, as onlookers lined Main Street, snapping funny photos of friends and family participating in the parade. The costume contest held at Vigilant Hose Company was a big hit yet again this year, putting smiles on the faces of every child in attendance. Refreshments and costume awards were given out at the Vigilant Hose Company station.

Costume judging included five categories: Cutest; Most Patriotic, Scariest, Most Original, and Best Groups. Costume winners were: Cutest—Carson Unger (1st Place) (pictured below, right), Lauren, Kevin, and Kinsley Carter (2nd Place), Emory Esses (3rd Place); Scariest—Rylee Hurtt (1st Place) (pictured right), Zombie costume (didn’t get name) (2nd Place), Mary Belle Res (3rd Place); Most Patriotic—Edgar, Gianella, Mia, and Diana (1st Place); Most Original—Possessed doll costume (didn’t get name) (1st Place), Mason Shorb, Carlos Caguias, Taylor Caguias (2nd Place), Paisley Fogel (3rd Place); Groups—Burns, Robinson, White, and Rumsey Families (1st Place) (pictured below), Zoey Rivera, Mason Rivera, Hunter Rivera, and Kyra Schultheiss (2nd Place), Adams Family (3rd Place).

The Lewistown Ruritan Club recently welcomed three new members at its monthly dinner meeting in October.

The Lewistown Ruritan Club has been a mainstay of economic support for many community activities, which are funded by the famous Ruritan chicken BBQs held each year, May through October. The regular dinner/meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Lewistown United Methodist Church in Lewistown.  

New members are always welcome. To find out more about this active local Ruritan Club, contact Odale Martin at 301-898-7344 or Loberta Staley at 301-898-7914.

New members (from left): Ben Tillery, Jeff Barber, and Ryan Dunn, with Lewistown Ruritan Club President Greg Warner. 

Blair Garrett

There is a whole lot to celebrate in the town of Thurmont.

The Thurmont Library unveiled its brand new Library Loop Nature Trail on Saturday, November 20, which connects the library to the Thurmont Trolley Trail.

The trail was successfully constructed with a whole lot of community support, and a fleet of citizens came out to see the trail’s grand opening.

“We’re celebrating success in all of the community collaboration taking place to make this trail system a success, and we’re especially celebrating the success of a group of hardworking students,” County Executive Jan Gardner said.

SUCCESS is a group that aids post high-school students with disabilities to continue growing their vocational education, and they put their skills to the test with Thurmont’s newest nature trail. The SUCCESS students helped maintain and develop the finished trail, and visitors and community residents will be able to see the beautiful sights Thurmont has to offer.

“One of the things I love most is that the entire community came together to bring this project to life,” Gardner said.

There are countless volunteers and organizations who have had a hand in the process of building or fundraising for the this wonderful nature trail. It was a total community effort and something the town and its members are very proud of. 

“My dream is that the Trolley Trail extends to Catoctin Furnace, and where it can connect to the bridge across Route 15 to give us a loop trail,” Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird said. “Today is an amazing day, and congratulations to everyone involved with this.”

The more connected the town is via these trails, the more connected the community will be with direct access to some of Thurmont’s most beautiful areas.

Thurmont community members officially open the town’s newest nature trail, connecting the library to the Thurmont Trolley Trail.

The Catoctin FFA Area Livestock Show & Sale results from September 11-12, 2021, at The Eyler Stables in Thurmont are as follows:

Fitting & Showing Results — Beef: Senior Showmanship Champion—Peyton Davis; Senior Showmanship Reserve—Wyatt Davis; Intermediate Showmanship Champion—Kelsey Troxell; Junior Showmanship Champion—Avery Harbaugh; Overall Showmanship Champion—Peyton Davis; Overall Showmanship Reserve—Wyatt Davis; Master Showmanship—Payton Troxell. Heifer Show: Champion—Payton Troxell; Reserve Champion—Avery Harbaugh. Goat: Intermediate Showmanship Champion—Alyssa Costa; Junior Showmanship Champion—Chloe Glass; 1st Year Showmanship Champion—Elizabeth Ifred; Overall Showmanship Champion—Alyssa Costa; Overall Showmanship Reserve—Elizabeth Ifred; Master Showmanship—Cheyenne Van Echo. Sheep: Senior Showmanship Champion—Kyleigh Donnelly; Intermediate Showmanship Champion—Chloe Keilholtz; Junior Showmanship Champion—Preston Clark; 1st Year Showmanship Champion—Braelynn Keilholtz; Overall Showmanship Champion—Chloe Keilholtz; Overall Showmanship Reserve—Kyleigh Donnelly; Master Showmanship—Caroline Clark. Swine: Senior Showmanship Champion—Rianna Chaney; Intermediate Showmanship Champion—Josh Wivell; Junior Showmanship Champion—Levi Myers; 1st Year Showmanship Champion—Dalton Mathias; Overall Showmanship Champion—Rianna Chaney; Overall Showmanship Reserve—Sheridan Chaney; Master Showmanship—Rianna Chaney. Market Show Results — Beef: Champion—Peyton Davis; Reserve—Wyatt Davis. Goat: Champion—Aylssa Costa; Reserve—Cheyenne Van Echo. Sheep: Champion—Caroline Clark; Reserve—Preston Clark; Ridenour Lamb—Braelynn Keilholtz. Swine: Champion—Rianna Chaney; Reserve—Chloe Mathias. Dairy & Dairy Goat Results — Ayrshire: Champion—Cadin Valentine; Reserve—Gavin Valentine. Brown Swiss: Champion—Ryan Martin; Reserve—Jessica Martin; Honorable Mention—Josie Martin. Holstein: Champion—Kiley Little. Milking Shorthorn—Jessica Martin; Grand Champion—Cadin Valentine; Reserve Champion—Kiley Little. Dairy Goat: Grand Champion—Kiandra Strickhouser; Reserve Champion—Laura Dutton.

The Catoctin FFA would like to thank all of its award sponsors and banner sponsors, as well as all its buyers for a great sale again this year. “We could not have this sale if it were not for our buyers.”

James Rada, Jr.

A familiar face is returning to the Thurmont Board of Commissioners after the municipal election on October 26. Bill Blakeslee, who served as a commissioner from 2003 to 2007, was elected, along with Wayne Hooper, to fill the two open commissioner seats.

John Kinnaird, who was running unopposed, was re-elected to serve a third term as mayor of Thurmont.

Hooper and Blakeslee received 310 and 287 votes, respectively, from the 562 votes cast. They were running against five other candidates: Sabrina Massett (181 votes), Olen Gunn (111 votes), Christopher Stouter (101 votes), Janice Guillory (50 votes), and Mickey Blank (24 votes).

Kinnaird received 506 votes.

The election was held at the Guardian Hose Company activities building at 123 East Main Street in Thurmont, where many of the candidates spent the day campaigning for last-minute votes. The Thurmont Board of Elections oversaw the election. The board is comprised of Chairwoman Lisa Nolan-Humerick, Elizabeth Lee. Viktor Kraenbring, and Greg Daniels.

In all, 562 votes were cast from the 4,459 registered voters in the town, representing a 12.6 percent voter turnout. The newly elected officials are expected to be sworn into office during the November 2 Thurmont town meeting, where they will join sitting commissioners Wes Hamrick and Bill Buehrer

(from left) Mayor Donald Briggs and Town Clerk Madeline Shaw with the Sustainable Maryland Certified Award at the Maryland Municipal League conference.

Courtesy Photo

The Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland announced that the Town of Emmitsburg was one of twelve Maryland municipalities honored at the Sustainable Maryland Awards Ceremony at the Maryland Municipal League’s Annual Fall Conference on October 12, 2021. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Sustainable Maryland program.

Highlights of Emmitsburg’s accomplishments include:

The Town of Emmitsburg has two solar fields that generate approximately 250,000 kWh/month. This clean, renewable energy powers 19 of the town’s largest electrical accounts, as well as the local fire department and the town’s Waste Water Treatment Plant. Overall, the town’s electricity use is now supplied by well over 95 percent renewable energy.

Debuted an all-inclusive playground to promote health and wellness in the community.

Installed public electric vehicle charging stations to support citizens and visitors with electric vehicles.

“Earning the Sustainable Maryland recertification is a very special honor,” said Mayor Donald Briggs. “The accomplishment recognizes the many hours of collaborative hard work and dedication by the Emmitsburg town staff, Green Team, and the community. We will pass on to both the many new families moving here, and future generations, that Emmitsburg, nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, will always be special.”

According to Mike Hunninghake, program manager for Sustainable Maryland, “During the first 10 years of the Sustainable Maryland program, if we have learned anything, it’s that reducing our footprint on where we live, be it a town, a county, a state, or the planet, is vital to our continuation as a species. The work being done at the local level forms a foundation, by example and by action, for upward pressure on governments at all levels to take action to make our communities greener, cleaner, and more resilient.”

For detailed information about Emmitsburg’s sustainability initiatives, please contact Town Clerk Madeline Shaw at or 301-600-6302.

Sustainable Maryland is an initiative of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland that is designed to support Maryland’s 157 municipalities as they look for cost-effective and strategic ways to protect their natural assets and revitalize their communities.

Pictured from left are: (front row) Mel Poole, Mary Miller, Amy Whitney, Sally Fulmer; (back row) Stuart Frazier, James Baker, Rick Canter, and Chris Trone. Not shown: Roberto Juarez, Dave Vogel, Matthew Lindbergdashwork, Michele Maze.

The Friends of Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Parks held a “Reconnect With Friends” event at the Gambrill Park Tea Room on Sunday, October 3, 2021. The event was open to members, partners, and sponsors of the Friends.  

The mission of the Friends is to support and enhance the programs and recreational offerings of Maryland’s Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Parks through charitable contributions and in-kind donations. To become a member or sponsor, visit

This photo was taken of the Friends Board on the balcony of the Tea Room. The Tea Room, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, is a stone structure with a capacity of 55 people and a 60-mile vista.  It is often used for weddings. The Tea Room can be reserved in season at

James Rada, Jr.

Catoctin Colorfest returned this year after having been canceled last year because of the pandemic. This year’s festival on October 9-10 brought tens of thousands of people to crowd the streets and parks in Thurmont as they shopped for unique crafts and enjoyed their favorite festival foods.

One Chinese food vendor brought 500 lbs. of chicken to use for their offerings, and it was gone by the end of the weekend. The Thurmont Ambulance Company sold 11,000 of their popular apple dumplings. Many visitors could be seen pulling camp wagons filled with items they had purchased at the show.

“It was quite successful this year,” said Colorfest President Carol Robertson. “A lot of vendors told me that Saturday was their single best day since they had been working Colorfest.”

The weather on Saturday was pleasant, which encouraged plenty of shoppers to venture out and begin their Christmas shopping early. Visitors came from all along the East Coast, and one vendor even came from California.

“Saturday was a really good day,” said Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird. “It was easily 40-50,000 people in town.”

Sunday’s weather, however, was damp and threatening rain most of the day. This lessened the number of festival visitors, particularly in the afternoon.

There were no reported problems caused by COVID. People who were worried about it stayed home. Some visitors wore masks, and Colorfest, Inc. made sure hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, and disposable face masks were available at information booths in Community Park.

Despite this, there were fewer vendors across all categories, according to the number of permits sold by the Town of Thurmont. In 2019, 720 permits were issued compared to 615 this year, and revenue from the permit fees was about $9,000 less, according to Kinnaird. Permit fees are used to pay for the shuttle buses, porta potties, and extra security needed for the festival.

The biggest drop in vendors was in the craft category. Compared to 2019, 89 fewer permits were issued. There appear to be a number of different reasons for this, depending on the vendor: family issues, retirement, unable to hire people to man a booth, and fear of COVID, to name a few.

Work has already started for Colorfest 2022, and Robertson received her first application for the event on October 14.

“I’m already getting calls from new vendors who want to be a part of next year’s Colorfest,” Robertson said.

While the festival takes over all of Thurmont during the second weekend in October, the actual Colorfest Craft Show is in Community Park, where hundreds of regional artists must be juried to have a spot. It is a popular show with artists and has been ranked in the top 35 arts and crafts shows in the country, according to the trade publication, Sunshine Artists Magazine.

Overall, Kinnaird said things went very well for the weekend and there were no glitches.

“On Monday, after the street sweepers went by, you wouldn’t have even known we had just had Colorfest, except for a couple of tents that were still up,” he said.

The 58th Annual Catoctin Colorfest will be held October 8-9, 2022.

A Colorfest shopper looks at colorful wooden flowers at the D&M Wooden Flowers booth in the official Colorfest, Inc. vending area in Thurmont Community Park. D&M vendors, Dee and Mike Miller, are long-time Colorfest vendors from Michigan.

Photo by Francis A. Tortoro, Jr.

The Thurmont Food Bank will be giving out Thanksgiving turkeys and side dishes to those in need.

Distribution will be during regular food bank hours on November 11,16,18, and 23. Food Bank hours are: Tuesday, from 5:00-7:30 p.m.; Friday, from 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Sign-up for the Ministerium’s Christmas Gift Program will begin in mid-November at the Thurmont Food Bank.

Children and elderly adults from households already signed up at the Food Bank are eligible.

Woodsboro Days was revived in 2013 and marked the first time in approximately 25 years that a town-wide celebration had been held. Woodsboro Days was revived as a 5K-run fundraiser for the Woodsboro Historical Society, held on the third Saturday of October each year, which this year fell on October 16, 2021. Over the years, the event quickly expanded into town-wide yard sales, with an annual large yard sale and food sale at the Woodsboro Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 2020, the event had to be canceled due to the pandemic. But this year, it was back and bigger than ever.

On Friday, October 15, the weather looked bleak for Saturday in the afternoon, so the decision was made by Burgess Barnes to postpone the music festival until October 17, which turned out to be a great decision all around. The 5K went off great, with a record number of 46 runners competing, and the Historical Society raised a record-breaking amount of funds to fund the museum’s operations for the next year. The town and churches yard sales had a great turnout and the town was bustling.

Shortly after Heath Barnes was elected as Burgess, he and Commissioner Dana Crum were approached by new resident, Joe Williams, regarding having a music festival in the park. After discussion, it was decided that it would coincide with the Woodsboro Days and would take place in the afternoon of October 16 after the yard sales and 5K were finished.

For the music festival on October 17, there were over 20 vendors and/or organizations set up with tents in the park, along with a beer and wine garden by Links Bridge Winery and Rockwell Brewery, and Calypso N’ Roux as the food truck on-site. The event began with Burgess Barnes, Commissioners Eckenrode and Cutshall, and maintenance men Mike and Steve cutting a ribbon to officially open the stage/bandshell (pictured above). Charity J opened with the national anthem. Due to the success of the weekend event, it has been decided that going forward, Woodsboro Days will not be a one-day event, but rather a two-day annual event, which will continue to take place on the third weekend of October.

The event was a great success for the community. Burgess Barnes said the roof will be completed in the next few weeks and invites the community to be on the lookout for a possible event in the spring. The next Woodsboro Days Festival will be held October 15-16, 2022.

Executive Committee (from left) Bill Wivell, Alan Brauer, Connie Fisher, Sam Valentine, Joyce Bruchey, and Phyllis Kelly.

Courtesy Photo

On October 16, 2021, members of the Emmitsburg High School Alumni Association (EHSAA) met at the Emmitsburg Fire and Ambulance Building for the 96th and 97th banquet. Due to the COVID pandemic, the 96th banquet was postponed a year. Approximately 150 attended, with a social hour from 4:00-5:30 p.m. Dinner was prepared by Keystone Family Restaurant and served by the Pen Mar Blue Star Mothers.

Bill Wivell, Class of 1966 and president, opened the meeting with the invocation, salute to the flag, and prayer. Teachers from the high school were introduced: Mary Fiery, Betty Ann Hollinger, and Joyce Bruchey. Veterans who served in WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Iraq and Afghanistan Wars were recognized, as well as those who also served their country. Secretary and treasurers’ reports were shared and approved. There was no old or new business.

Scholarship winners and their perspective colleges for 2020 and 2021 were acknowledged by Phyllis Kelly (Class of 1965): (2020) Alexi Baumgardner—Virginia Wesleyan University, Max Bingham—West Virginia University, Grace Blanchard—Frederick Community College, Gage Franz—Wheeling University, Audrie Gadra—Towson University, Molly Knighton—Loyola University, Issac Turner—Brigham University; (2021) Dylan Click—Virginia Tech, Emily Dewees—Hood College, Savannah Morris—Mount St. Mary’s University, Gage Franz—Wheeling University.

The EHSAA has given 95 scholarships for a total of $89,000 since 1994.

The deceased members were recognized with a memorial station, listing the birth year and death date, as well as obituaries collected by Mary Catherine Shields. Alan Brauer asked for a moment of silence in their honor.

Alan Brauer (Class of 1964) was elected president, and Vickie Frushour (Class of1971) will serve as assistant secretary. Phyllis Kelly (Class of 1965) will become vice president.

Treasurer Sam Valentine and Secretary Connie Fisher (both Class of 1964) and Historian Joyce Bruchey (Class of 1962) will continue their roles.

Joyce Bruchey shared a new book available, EHS in The Emmitsburg Chronicle. Newspaper articles were collected from the website established by Eric Glass of the Taney Corporation, “Archives of Emmitsburg Chronicle” from 1879-1918 and 1948-1977. With the help from Mary Mannix, librarian of the Maryland Room at the C. Burr Artz Library, and Joe Jennings, MD Room volunteer, over 500 articles were collected about EHS news.

The honored classes in attendance were recognized by sharing events that occurred during their senior years. Honored classes of 2020 ended in “0” and “5” while those of 2021 ended in “1” and “6”.  Displays with memorabilia from each honored class were assembled. Thomas Hoke (Class of 1940) was the oldest EHS graduate present, and it was his 81st anniversary. The Class of 1950 was the first class required to attend twelve years, thus there was no graduating class in 1949. A new addition, comprising of a gym and cafeteria, began this year. The school newspaper, E-Hi Times, was published for the first time. The Class of 1955 had a class member, Ray Harner, who completed eleven years of perfect attendance. The first discussion about consolidating Emmitsburg High and Thurmont High began during the senior year of the Class of 1956.

EHS girls were the county volleyball champs during the Class of 1960’s senior year. Dr. Morningstar, a well-respected local doctor came to town also. The Class of 1961 experienced the snowiest season in record-keeping history-62.7.” During their senior year, the class of 1965 saw the retirement of a beloved first-grade teacher, Mrs. Leary, and the promotion of a respected shop teacher, Mr. Eugene Woods, to County Supervisor of Industrial Arts. Land was bought for the new Emmitsburg-Thurmont High School in Thurmont and was to be named Catoctin. Emmitsburg PTA asked that ninth grade be included since only tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades were initially proposed. The Class of 1966 dedicated their yearbook to Vietnam soldiers (sold for $3). The student body worked hard to present an outstanding production of The Sound of Music. It was so well received that the cast was asked to perform it at Frederick High. Classes after 1968 graduated from Catoctin High. However, the classes of 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1972 have been invited to join the EHS alumni association since they spent at least eight years at EHS. The Class of 1971 is the last class to celebrate a 50th anniversary at EHS. Bobbie Black of Catoctin Mountain Orchard gave apples to all honorees.

Anyone who attended Emmitsburg High School is encouraged to attend the annual banquet and meeting. The 2022 meeting will take place at Emmitsburg Fire and Ambulance building on Saturday, October 15. EHSAA executive committee would like to acknowledge Bill Wivell’s contributions serving as president for six years, and the support of his wife, Rachel.

Pondscapes Inc. crew installed the skate park tables, which were donated by Playground Specialists Inc.

There will be a community celebration of the grand opening of the Thurmont Skate Park on October 30, from 2:00-5:00 p.m., in East End Park.

Enjoy door prizes, face painting, and of course, skateboarding! There will even be some pro-skaters there to join the fun. Thurmont Kountry Kitchen will have sandwiches and baked goods available for purchase. You may want to bring a chair, so you can sit back with a delicious sandwich and enjoy watching skating. Bring your own skateboard. All levels are welcome. You don’t skate? No problem. This event is open to all!

Come and enjoy watching your Thurmont community skaters test their skills and strut their stuff. Thurmont Skate Park t-shirts and hoodies will be available for purchase. Bring cash or a check written to the Town of Thurmont (memo: skate park shirts). Halloween costumes are optional. Please park at the Senior Center, Thurmont Police Department, or the Little League. So, drive, walk, ride your bike, or skateboard to the celebration!

by James Rada, Jr.


Rutter’s Breaks Ground

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Rutter’s store on MD 140 was held on September 13. Work is expected to begin this month. The 8,400-square-foot store is expected to bring around 50 jobs to the area. Besides the convenience store, the site will also include diesel and gasoline fuel pumps, a truck scale, and truck and car parking spaces. It is expected to open in the second half of 2022.

Stormwater Study Contract Awarded

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners reluctantly awarded a contract of $33,578 to the University of Maryland Environmental Science Center to conduct a stormwater utility feasibility study. This is part of the federal mandates municipalities are being required to do, and the commissioners complained that it is placing an unneeded strain on the town’s budget.

Town Charter Repealed and Replaced

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners repealed the town’s charter in September and replaced it with one that had been updated and corrected for grammar and style issues. Although it did not contain major substantive changes, one that garnered discussion among the commissioners was a change from requiring a one-year residency in town to run for town office to one month. This is based on a recommendation that the longer requirement was likely unconstitutional.

Slaughter Appointed to Committee

During the September town meeting, the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners appointed Sandy Slaughter to serve on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee. Her three-year term will run until September 7, 2023.

Arbor Day Event at Myers Community Park

The Town of Emmitsburg is hosting an Arbor Day event at Myers Community Park on October 2 at 9:00 a.m. Seven new trees will be planted. The public is invited to attend. Bring a shovel and help. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will also hold a tree-planting demonstration.

Town Receives $400,000 to Plant Trees

The Town of Emmitsburg received a $400,000 grant to plant 26 acres of trees near the town’s wastewater treatment plant. The trees will be planted on land donated to the town by Daughters of Charity.


Town Election This Month

Thurmont’s town election will be on October 26 at the Guardian Hose Activities Building at 123 East Main Street in Thurmont. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., as citizens choose who will serve as mayor and in two commissioner positions. Anyone in line when the polls close will be allowed to vote.

To learn more about the candidates, you can attend the candidates’ forum hosted by the Thurmont Lions Club at the town office. It will be held on October 6 at 7:00 p.m. If you have questions you would like asked, contact Mark Long at no later than October 4.

Town Makes Donation to Senior Center

The Town of Thurmont recently made a $33,000 donation to the Thurmont Senior Center to help them continue providing activities and services for the town’s elderly.

Town Replacing More Utility Poles

The Town of Thurmont had planned on replacing six utility poles in town, but recently discovered that three more were in need of replacement. The additional poles are in Woodland Avenue and Moser Road. The town added the poles to the outstanding RFP for the six poles. The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners awarded a contract of $56,500 to AUI Power in Elkton to replace nine utility poles in town.

Check for Tree and Shrub Compliance

The Thurmont Police are asking residents to check to make sure their trees and shrubs are in compliance with town ordinance. Limbs must be no closer than 9 feet above sidewalks and 15 feet above streets. Otherwise, the limbs must be removed.

James Rada, Jr.

The Town of Emmitsburg held its municipal election on Tuesday, September 28. Cliff Sweeney, Liz Buckman, Rosario Benvengi, and Tim O’Donnell ran to fill two commissioner seats.

During the election, residents cast 269 ballots. O’Donnell was the top vote-getter with 182 votes, followed by Cliff Sweeney with 174 votes. Former commissioners Buckman and Benvengi received 98 and 63 votes, respectively.

On the same day, the Town of Thurmont held its nominating convention in the town office to decide on who would be running for the mayor and the two commissioner seats open this election.

John Kinnaird was the only person nominated for mayor, so it is expected he will be elected for his third term as mayor of Thurmont.

Long-time Commissioner Wayne Hooper will be seeking re-election as a Thurmont Commissioner. He will be joined in the race for the two commissioner seats by Christopher Stoutter, Mickey Blank, Sabrina Massett, Olen Gunn, Janice Guillory, and Bill Blakeslee.

Commissioner Marty Burns is retiring after 24 years of service to the town and won’t be seeking re-election.

The Thurmont town election will be held on October 26 at the Guardian Hose Company activities building at 123 East Main Street in Thurmont. The polls will be open from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Anyone in line when the polls close will be allowed to vote.

Absentee ballots for this election will be available on October 8, and the close of business on October 19 is the last day to make an application for an absentee ballot.

The winners of the election will serve four-year terms.

The Catoctin Area FFA Alumni & Supporters Livestock Show & Sale for market goat, beef, sheep and swine will be held on Saturday, September 11, 2021, at The Eyler Stables, located at 141 Emmitsburg Road in Thurmont, managed by Wolfe Agricultural Auctions. 

The Livestock Show will be held at 9:00 a.m., with awards presentation at 6:30 p.m. and the livestock sale beginning at 7:00 p.m. Please come out to the livestock show and sale and support our 4-H and FFA youth exhibitors.

On Sunday, September 12, the Dairy Goat & Dairy Cattle show will begin at 9:00 a.m., and the Decorated Animal Contest will be held at noon. 

The Log-Sawing Contest will also be held on Sunday, September 12, at 1:00 p.m., which will have women’s, men’s, and children’s divisions. There will be various food vendors available to purchase food on Saturday and Sunday.

Next year’s Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show will be held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 9-11, 2022. Exhibits can include any item that has been made since the 2019 Community Show, except for baked products and any perishable items. 

“The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show has been bringing our Thurmont & Emmitsburg communities together since 1957. Please continue to support our local agriculture and area businesses who have advertised in our past Community Show booklets. We thank these organizations who sponsor our annual Community Show: Thurmont Grange, Catoctin FFA Chapter, Catoctin Area FFA Alumni & Supporters, Maryland State Grange, and the Maryland Agricultural Fair Board. Next year, we look forward to bringing back the largest Community Show in the State of Maryland.”

The annual Mount Tabor Church Big Picnic and Baby Show was held on Saturday, August 14, at Mt. Tabor Park in Rocky Ridge, after being canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19. A total of 27 babies—18 girls and 9 boys—participated in the show. The youngest baby was nine-day-old Elijah Pescatore, son of Bryan and Brittany Pescatore of Keymar. Tylee and Leighton Kolb, twin daughters of Krista Kolb, traveled the farthest distance from Leesport, Pennsylvania.  Babies placed in three categories: prettiest girl, cutest boy, and chubbiest baby, in five age categories from 1 day to 24 months old.

There were five babies in the 1-day-to-3-month-old category. The prettiest girl was Saylor Gregory, six-week-old daughter of Danielle and Collin Gregory of Rocky Ridge. The cutest boy was Declan Green, one-month-old son of Travis and Elizabeth Green of Emmitsburg. The chubbiest baby was Kora Potts, three-month-old daughter of Kortney and Robert Potts of Fairfield, Pennsylvania. There was only one baby registered in the 4-to-6-month-old category. The cutest boy was Eli Myers, five-month-old son of Steve and Heidi Myers of Emmitsburg.

Of the six babies in the 7-to-12-month-old category, Addison Staub, 10-month-old daughter of Ashlea and Justin Staub of Thurmont, was judged the prettiest girl. The cutest boy was Michael Patterson, 11-month-old son of Sandy and Michael Patterson from Sykesville. Jolene Brewster, 8-month-old daughter of Charlotte and Peter Brewster of Keymar, was named the chubbiest baby. In the 13-to-18-month-old category, there were 10 babies. June Muse, 16-month-old daughter of Reanna and Hunter Muse of Middletown, was judged the prettiest girl. The cutest boy was Jaxton Hanson of Keymar, 16-month-old son of Emily and Nick Hanson. The chubbiest baby was Grayce Stitely, 14-month-old daughter of Hannah and Cody Stitely of Thurmont.

In the 19-to-24-month-old category, there were five babies. Hailey Wagner, 19-month-old daughter of Tammy Stone and David Wagner of Hagerstown, was named the prettiest girl. Mason Robert Lee Baugher, 19-month-old son of Brandy Garner and Curtis Baugher of Frederick, was named the cutest boy. The chubbiest baby was Coleson Mortorff, 23-month-old son of Deana and George Mortorff of Abbottstown, Pennsylvania.

Please come out again next year on the second Saturday of August to Mt. Tabor Park. You may register your baby (or babies) who range in age from 1 day up to 24 months, 0 days.  Watch your local newspaper for more details, including registration time.

The Town of Emmitsburg held ribbon-cutting ceremonies at each of four new wayside exhibits on Thursday, July 1, 2021. These new signs comprise phase three of the future historic walking tour for the town: the Armstrong Long Riffle exhibit (121 East Main Street), Emmitsburg Railroad exhibit (300B S. Seton Avenue), Frederick County Fire and Rescue Museum’s Volunteers Glass Etching exhibit (300B S. Seton Avenue), and St. Joseph’s House exhibit on the grounds of Seton Shrine (339 S. Seton Avenue).

The Maryland Heritage Area Authorities are partially sponsoring the project through grant funding.

Pictured from left are Mayor Briggs, Liz Shatto (Executive Director, Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area), Claire Bodine (The National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton), and Frank Schmersal (Fire Museum Curator).

Photo by Madeline Shaw

The Thurmont Lions Club welcomed District Governor Barbara Brimigion to officiate the installation of officers for the year 2021-2022.

District Governor Brimigion expressed to the members that in order to have a successful year it depends upon what individual members are doing to make a difference in  the community and worldwide.  The success of the club depends on its officers.

Pictured from left are: (front row) Lisa Riffle, 1-Year Director; Jan Ely, Dues Treasurer; Julie El-Taher, 2nd Vice President; Dianne McLean, President; Maxine Troxell, Assistant Secretary; (back row) Marci Veronie, 1st Vice President; Susan Smith, Assistant Treasurer; Don Ely, 2-Year Director; George Bolling, 2-Year Director; Doug Favorite, Treasurer; Joyce Anthony, Secretary and Membership Chair; Don Keeney, Jr., Tail Twister; Susan Favorite, LCIF Chair and Immediate Past President; Gayle DiSalvo, Lion Tamer; Bill Reckley, 1-Year Director.

Courtesy Photo