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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.

Nola Schildt of Emmitsburg, celebrated her 8th birthday in September. Instead of having her guests bring her gifts, she asked them to bring donations for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter. Her “gifts” filled the back of the car! On October 12, she delivered dog and cat food, toys, leashes, collars, blankets, towels, and cleaning supplies to the shelter. Great job, Nola!

Nola is the daughter of BJ and Maureen Schildt.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Free Parking for the Holidays

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved not charging for metered parking in town from December 13, 2019, to January 2, 2020. Because some people still put money in the meters during this time, any money collected will be donated to the Emmitsburg Food Bank (50 percent), Lions Club Community Day fireworks (25 percent), and the Friends of the Emmitsburg Library youth programs (25 percent).

Dunkin’ Donuts Moving Forward

A plan for a Dunkin’ Donuts on the site of the Silo Hill Car Wash has been conditionally approved by the Emmitsburg Planning Commission. The commission put 26 conditions on their plan approval.

According to Town Planner Zach Gulden, most of the conditions aren’t major and are generally small items that are in the town code but were missed when the plan was put together.

More Sewer Relining Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved having Mr. Rehab, Inc., of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, to reline sections of the town’s sewer system to decrease incidents of inflow and infiltration. Mr. Rehab was the lowest price among three bidders, and the company relined the sewer lines on East Main Street earlier this year. Mr. Rehab is charging $35.35 per linear foot for 8-inch pipe and $37.80 per linear foot for 10-inch pipe, and the approval locks in this price for three years.

For 2020, the relining projects are West North Ave. through Creekside Dr. to the creek, and from behind the post office to behind the school at manhole 33. This portion of the project is expected to cost around $107,419, which will be paid from the town’s sewer fund.

Town Approves Social Media Management Policy

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a policy guiding how the town’s social media accounts are managed. The town website remains Emmitsburg’s primary means of digital communication, but the town also has Facebook and Twitter accounts.

A policy was needed because public officials and government bodies have been running into problems recently over what can be posted on their sites, who can be blocked, and what is considered a public document. The policy also includes an attachment that outlines what visitors to the town’s social media accounts can say in a posted comment.

Long Appointed to Sustainable Communities Board

The Emmitsburg Commissioners unanimously appointed Mark Long to the Sustainable Communities Board. He is also a current member of the Emmitsburg Planning Commission.

Thurmont

Don Ely is Volunteer of the Year

The Thurmont Lions Club announced its Thurmont Volunteer of the Year during a recent meeting of the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners. The club received five nominees who were selflessly serving the Thurmont community. They are: Renae Coolidge, Paul Echard, Don Ely, Kyra Fry, and Rachel Mosiychuk.

“It is people like our five nominees who keep our community strong,” said Julie El-Tahir with the Lions Club.

Ely was selected as the 2019 Volunteer of the Year for his work helping the Thurmont Food Bank. He received a Shamrock Restaurant gift certificate, his name on a plaque listing volunteers of the year, and designating where a $400 donation from the Lions Club will go. Eli chose to have the Thurmont Food Bank get the donation.

The Lions Club has been recognizing Thurmont’s Volunteer of the Year since 2006.

Commissioners Sworn In

Mayor John Kinnaird swore in Commissioners Wes Hamrick and Bill Buehrer to serve new terms on the Thurmont Board of Commissioners. Hamrick and Buehrer were re-elected on October 29. Thurmont’s voter turnout for its municipal election was 11 percent, with 531 people casting 1,022 ballots. These numbers include 14 absentee votes.

Hamrick thanked the other candidates who ran for election and added, “It’s a very humbling privilege to be up here.”

Buehrer echoed those comments and said, “I am disappointed that only 11 percent of the people that are registered to vote in this community thought it as worthwhile to come out that day.”

Town to Acquire Moser Road Property

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to purchase a 10-acre parcel next to the town’s wastewater treatment plant. The town will use Program Open Space fund for the $150,000 purchase. This property will allow the Thurmont Trolley Trail to be extended outside of the town to the south. The commissioners’ hope is that the trail can become a much larger trail, extending to Frederick.

Electric Department Purchasing a Wire Trailer

The Thurmont Electric Department will purchase a specialized trailer that allows town staff to make temporary aboveground connections during an electrical service outage. Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick told the commissioners that using the trailer allows the town to get customers’ service back quicker, while also allowing town staff to work on the problem in safer conditions.

The town received two bids for the trailer. It awarded the bid for the trailer to Comstar Supply in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, for $13,147. The cost of the wire for the trailer is $2,000. The town has allocated $23,000 for the trailer and wire, so the equipment is costing $7,853 under budget.

Town Sponsors Model Train Display

Thurmont is sponsoring a free model train display at 12 East Main Street in Thurmont every weekend through December 22. The display is open 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sundays. The Frederick County Society of Model Engineers and the Town of Thurmont are sponsoring the display.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

With a prompt from a timely spike of cold weather—perhaps, an awakening to the holiday season—and the closeout of the 2019 year, it’s a good time to look back at some of the things we did over the last year. 

•  With County Executive Jan Gardner, town staff, commissioners, Boy Scout Troop 727, arborists, and residents, we held our second Arbor Day tree planting (April). We planted along Willow Rill, where it crosses through the elementary school grounds.

•  With County Executive Gardner and the renewable energy-minded residents, we held the ribbon-cutting for the four electric vehicle charging stations (May). The stations are located at the town office/community center.

•  With town staff, we hosted three pool parties (June 21, July 12, August 16), drawing record attendance (for the whole season). The pleasant weather, food, Rita’s Ice, and new pool served as additional inducements.

•  With County Executive Gardner, the town held ribbon-cuttings for the first set of three wayside exhibits: the Doughboy, Emmit House, and town square (June). Next year, we’ll be adding exhibits for the Great Emmitsburg Fire, Vigilant Hose Company, Chronicle Press, and the Carriage House Inn.

•  Completion of replacing lighting in all town-owned buildings with LED lights. More energy efficiency, more savings.

•  Another spectacular Heritage Day (June).

•  The town purchased an electric powered vehicle (June), saving money.

•  The town hosted a shred event for paper, electronic recyclables, and old paint (June).

•  With Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, the town hosted National Night Out, featuring a SWAT vehicle, K-9 demonstration, and petting zoo (August). Over 500 attended.

•  Boys and Girls Club has come to Emmitsburg Elementary School (September).

•  County Executive Gardner and Frederick County Fire Rescue Museum officers attended a ribbon-cutting for William Cochran glass etching (October).

•  Construction of the disc golf course in Community Park began (October). Completion is scheduled for the spring 2020.

•  With County Executive Gardner, town staff, and commissioners, a ribbon-cutting was held for new all-accessible playground in Community Park (November). 

•  Hope you didn’t miss the EBPA-sponsored Turkey Trot run/walk Thanksgiving morning (November). So timely. A good way to bank some calorie-burn for the cascade of calories awaiting you later that day.

Not to mention:

• The town was awarded Tree City USA certification.

• The town was honored to receive the People Loving and Nurturing Trees (PLANT) award.

• The pool house interior renovation is planned to commence (waiting on contract from contractor).

• Proclamation—recognizing Francis Smith as the town of Emmitsburg Poet Laureate (August).

• Proclamation—Frederick County Goes Purple (September 2019); we decorated the town purple and had staff wear shirts.

• Proclamation—Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October).

At The Catoctin Banner deadline, Catoctin Cougars just blasted Brunswick to move on into the football playoffs. Keep it up Cougars!

Hoping everyone has a wonderful holiday season. Don’t forget our food bank.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving; time passes so quickly, it will soon be Christmas.

I want to invite you to join us on Saturday, December 7, 2019, for Christmas in Thurmont. The day’s event will be held at the Guardian Hose Company Fire Station at 21 North Church Street. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive by fire truck at 9:00 a.m. to start the day. Kids can stop by throughout the day and enter their names for the prize drawing. Adults can pick up a stamp map to visit businesses for a chance to win prizes. There will be free photos with Santa from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and Santa will be reading a story at the Thurmont Regional Library at 1:00 p.m. The Gateway Brass Ensemble will be performing from 8:45-9:15 a.m. The CHS Jazz Band will be playing sounds of the season at 4:00 p.m., and the ESP Dance Studio will perform at 4:45 p.m. There will be horse and carriage rides on December 7; call the town office at 301-271-7313 for reservations.

The Frederick County Society of Model Engineers will be hosting the Second Annual Model Train Display at 12 East Main Street, starting at 10:00 a.m. on December 7. The Thurmont Lions Club Christmas Tree will be dedicated at 4:45 p.m., and prize drawings will begin at 5:00 p.m. Refreshments will be provided by the Guardian Hose Company throughout the day. This will be a fun day for everyone!

The Frederick County Society of Model Engineers train display will be open to the public on Wednesday evening, December 11 (up to Christmas), from 5:00-8:00 p.m.; Saturdays from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; and Sundays from 12:00-4:00 p.m. Our thanks to the FCSME and Acacia Lodge No.155 AF & AM for sponsoring this wonderful event. This is an amazing train display, and kids of all ages will enjoy visiting.

November 30 is Small Business Saturday. Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and provide a great local source for the services and products we all need and use daily, as well as provide local employment opportunities for our residents. I encourage you to shop local every time you can; our local restaurants and stores are owned by our neighbors and they return a lot of value to our community. Join the national Shop Local celebration by shopping locally on Saturday, November 30, and let our local businesses know that we support them!

As you may know, the Town of Thurmont recently made a $21,000 donation to the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Awareness Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital. This is the fifth year our residents and businesses have joined forces to support this vital effort. This year’s donation brings our five-year total to over $80,000! This year, we held several public events, including a Zumbathon, Golf Classic, our Annual 5K, a Pumpkin Decorating Contest, and the pink light bulb sales. Over forty local businesses participated in this year’s event, and countless residents helped by making direct donations or by visiting supporting businesses. I would like to express my personal gratitude to the members of the Team United U-13 Soccer Team for raising $4,000 by winning all their soccer matches in October. The kids from Team United, all our residents and businesses helped us realize this amazing milestone and are true Thurmont Heroes!

As always, I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

The 63rd Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show continues to give back to our local communities by making a $575 donation to each of the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Food Banks. 

These donations were made possible by contributions from the following areas of the Community Show: the Silver Offering, a free-will collection taken during the show, and the sale of both the Youth and Junior Department Champion Cakes during the annual Baked Goods Auction. 

This year, the Youth Department’s Champion Cake was a Carrot Cake baked by Jessica Martin of Thurmont, which was purchased by Thurmont’s Mountain Gate Family Restaurant for $800. The Youth Department is for ages 11-18.  

The Junior Department’s Champion Cake was a Sour Cream Pound Cake baked by Madison Ott of Thurmont and purchased by John and Maggie Doll, also of Thurmont, for $225. The Junior Department is for ages 10 and under.

The Community Show committee, officers, and countless volunteers thank all the baked goods buyers and everyone who contributed to the Silver Offering. The generosity of the Community Show’s attendees, the local businesses, and the citizens make these donations possible to both the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Food Banks.  

Pictured from left are John and Nancy Wine, food bank volunteers and Thurmont Grange members; Jessica Martin, Youth Dept. Champion Cake baker; Harold Bollinger, food bank volunteer; Pastor Sally Joyner Giffin, food bank coordinator; Laura Robeson, food bank volunteer; Sue Keilholtz, Community Show Youth Dept. chairperson; Rodman Myers, Community  Show committee president; Stephanie Ott, Community Show Junior Dept. chairperson; and Owen Ott (representing his sister, Madison Ott), Junior Dept. Champion Cake baker. 

Thanks to Gateway To The Cure business participants’ donations, along with events held throughout the year, the Town of Thurmont was able to present Patty Hurwitz with a check for $21,000 at the November 19, 2019, town meeting.

A few businesses came out to talk about their promotion/donation at the check presentation: Catoctin Veterinary Clinic, Gateway Orthodontics, Emmitsburg News Journal, Roy Rogers, and the CYA Soccer Club. It was a night to shine for the Town of Thurmont, to show how great the businesses, residents, volunteers, and CYA Soccer Club really are, and how a community comes together each year for this incredible campaign. All proceeds from Gateway To The Cure are donated to the FMH Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund.

Fundraiser participants proudly presented a check for $21,000 to the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at a Thurmont Town meeting in November.

Emmitsburg’s accessible playground ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Saturday, November 2, 2019. The ribbon was cut by Mayor Don Briggs with Commissioner Tim O’Donnell, Catoctin Area Civitan’s Ginger Malone, Commissioner T.J. Burns, Commissioner Cliff Sweeney, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, and Frederick County Councilman Michael Blue. This new playground will allow children of all abilities to play side-by-side for years to come.

Donors for this project include the Department of Housing and Community Development, Department of Natural Resource (Program Open Space), and the Catoctin Area Civitan Club.

During the annual Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. banquet at Simply Asia in Thurmont on November 18, 2019, Carol Robertson, president of Catoctin Colorfest, Inc., reported that the weather during the annual Colorfest event, held in October, was the “best ever!” The sunny, calm, temperate weekend resulted in record numbers in attendance, sales, smooth operations, and favorable public opinion.

Statistics to note include that The Thurmont Ambulance Company sold almost 11,000 apple dumplings, and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church sold 490 crab cake sandwiches. Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. had 237 food and craft vendors that produced $14,290 in permit revenue for the town.

It was with happiness that Carol presented $20,308.17 to various community organizations who support the event. The Guardian Hose Company: $1,500; Thurmont Ambulance Company: $1,500 and two vendor spaces; Thurmont Police Department: $1,500; Catoctin High FFA Scholarship Hog: $1,650; Catoctin High School Student Scholarships: $4,500; Town of Thurmont garden supplies: $168.17; Commissioners of Thurmont: $5,000; Gift Cards $100; Thurmont Food Bank: 220 meal baskets worth $3,500; a bereavement basket: $150; Christmas decorations for Mechanic’s Town Park: $100; and family Christmas meals: $150.

Recognition was observed in the memory of John Brown, a founder of Catoctin Colorfest and past president, who passed this past July. Carol recalled that he would tumble gems for sale during the early events before opening his jewelry business in Thurmont.

The 57th Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. event will be held October 10-11, 2020.Members of the Colorfest, Inc. Board of Directors and representatives of recipient agencies (from left): Jeff Wood (Catoctin Colorfest), Jim Humerick (Town of Thurmont and Thurmont Ambulance Co.), Mary Edwards, Frank Taylor, Mike Ancarrow, Carol Robertson, Nancy Mooney, Ted Zimmerman, and Cathy Maverick (Catoctin Colorfest), Harold Bollinger and Sally Joyner-Giffin (Thurmont Food Bank), Wayne Stackhouse (Guardian Hose Company), and John Kinnaird (Town of Thurmont).

The Emmitsburg Food Bank and the Catoctin Pregnancy Center held an Open House on November 9, 2019, for the public to see their newly relocated facilities. They are grateful for all the people in town who came forward to make this happen. Phyllis Kelly recognized these people that afternoon.

David Swomley and Ronnie Wivell came to her when they retired from their dry wall business, Entrepreneur Ventures, in July and offered their location for rent. It was perfect for both the food bank and pregnancy center’s needs. Next, the Masons came forward and said that they could help build the room they need for the clients to get their food. Ron Cool and Mike Lovejoy offered to take on that project; within two weeks, the room was finished. Eric Glass offered to remove the many shelves his company had made for the food bank many years ago and reinstall them at the new location. He sent Dale Hilbert and Chris Gephart to reinstall the shelves. Finally, Knights of Columbus came to move the large items, such as the freezers and refrigerator, and all the food that had been packed in boxes by many volunteers the week before. It all went smoothly, and Phyllis Kelly “is grateful to all those that helped.”

Boy Scouts Troop 727 from Emmitsburg collected 1,001 items for the newly relocated Emmitsburg Food Bank. Doug Lowe is the troop leader. The food bank would like to thank the scouts and the community for all their contributions.

Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum

The Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum will have a special holiday open house in conjunction with the “Museums by Candlelight,” being held throughout Frederick County, on December 14, 2019, from 12:00-7:00 p.m. The museum will have many artifacts from every fire company in Frederick County. The museum features the “Old Lady” hand pumper of the United Fire Company and United Volunteer Fire Company of Libertytown, as well as the ornate 1893 hose carriage “Romeo,” owned by the Independent Hose Co. No. 1 of Frederick. The newest addition to the museum is the magnificent William Cochran glass etching “Volunteers” on display in front of the museum. The museum will stay open until 7:00 p.m. to afford visitors an opportunity to see this beautiful art, brightly lighted during evening hours.

The open house will also feature a visit from the North Pole Fire Chief. Fire prevention and life-safety materials will be available for adults, as well as fire helmets and fire safety coloring books for the kids. Again this year, the museum will also serve as a drop-off point for Toys for Tots during the special museum hours on December 14.

The Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum is located at 300B South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg and will be open from on December 14, from 12:00-7:00 p.m., for this special holiday treat. 

Pictured is the lighted William Cochran etching “Volunteers,” located in front of the Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum, 300B South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg.

On October 22, 2019, the Thurmont Lions Club celebrated its 90th Anniversary on its Charter Night, held at Shamrock Restaurant. SVDG Charlie Croft presented to the club a certificate from District Governor Evan Gillett in recognition of its 90 years of service. Past International Directors Ted Reiver and Richard Liebon greeted the audience. 

SVDG Croft presented an International President’s Certificate of Appreciation to Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird for all he does for the Thurmont Lions Club and the Thurmont community. 

Mayor Kinnaird presented two proclamations to the club: one from the Town of Thurmont and the other from the State of Maryland. A great honor!

Lion Dianne McLean received  a Melvin Jones Fellow, and Lion Doug Favorite received a Life Membership.

In addition, four chevron members were recognized: Lions Joyce Anthony and George Bolling (20 years) and Lions Joann Miller and Kim Grimm (10 years). The committee recognized the past presidents and those members with 30-plus years of service.

The necrology service remembered Lions Cindy Wantz, John Hart, and John Brown.

Lion Dianne McLean receives a Melvin Jones Fellow: (from left) Lion Joyce Anthony, Lion Dianne McLean, PDG Paul Cannada.

Lion Doug Favorite receives a Life Membership: (from left) President Joyce Anthony, Lion Doug Favorite, 2nd VDG Charlie Croft.

International President’s Certificate of Appreciation is presented to Mayor John Kinnaird of Thurmont: (from left) Lion Joyce Anthony, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird, PID Richard Liebno.

Camille Kime (pictured above), with Karaoke Buddies, was a recent guest speaker for the Thurmont Lions Club.

Karaoke Buddies is an all-volunteer organization that provides individuals with disabilities a safe social setting to gather with their friends to dine, sing, dance, and not be judged by anyone. Camille’s disabled granddaughter, Taylor, likes to do all of those activities, so Camille started Karaoke Buddies in 2010. She developed the idea after she saw Taylor come out of her shell while singing karaoke.

Karaoke Buddies is a monthly get-together that fills the First Baptist Church of Frederick gymnasium with nearly 500 people. The last Friday of every month, the event includes a free hot meal, a disc jockey’s entertainment, and karaoke to people of all ages with a variety of disabilities.

The cost for food and supplies comes to about $1,000 a month. Camille is always out in the public fundraising. She has many volunteers who show up each month to help with the logistics. Everything is free to the individuals with disabilities. The hours and money it takes could make one question how she keeps going—she gives so much financially, as well as in labor, support, and love.

Camille said, “My parents taught me to love these children who are God’s special chosen ones. I have loved them all my life, especially my granddaughter, Taylor. My heart bursts with love for her.” 

For additional information, please visit the Thurmont Lions Club website at www.thurmontlionsclub.com or call 240-288-8748.

Thurmont Lions Club’s first September meeting fell on the 9/11 anniversary. Its guest speaker was Cindy McGrew, who talked about Operation Second Chance (OSC). 

OSC began in 2004 and is a 501(c)(3) organization, composed of patriotic citizens committed to serving its wounded, injured, and ill combat Veterans.  OSC supports Veterans and their families while they recover in military hospitals, building relationships and identifying and supporting immediate needs and interests. OSC is dedicated to promoting public awareness of the many sacrifices made by our Armed Forces. Their goal is to provide support for the soldiers and marines while they are at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and then to further assist them when they transition either back to duty or back to civilian life.

Cindy McGrew decided to leverage her business knowledge to provide some much needed financial relief to the families of American service members injured in combat. For the past 14 years, the non-profit organization she started has provided financial assistance and cold hard cash for everything from rent to groceries, to childcare, to mortgage payments, and even fishing trips. OSC is a national organization with chapters in Montana, Colorado, Texas, New York, Florida, and many other states. By the end of the summer, OSC has provided six million dollars in cold hard cash.

The Thurmont Lions Club announced Don Ely as Thurmont Volunteer of the Year during a November meeting of the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners. Ely is a member of Thurmont Lion’s Club and received the award because of all his work with the Thurmont Food Bank.

Thurmont Lions Club names Don Ely (second from left) Thurmont Volunteer of the Year.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Congratulations to those residents who came forth to run for the two open commissioner seats in the town election: two incumbents, Elizabeth Buckman and Glenn Blanchard and challengers Frank Davis and T.J. Burns. How can you lose when you step forward, especially when it is to present your perspective on care for the community? There are no losers.

Thank you to Glenn for the quiet, thoughtful presence he brought to the board of commissioners and the community. Whether in service as a St. Joseph’s board member, as a member of the American Legion and proud veteran, or the years in the classroom, his role is always as that needed steadying hand. Also being a world traveler, he contributed from those experiences and brought a wider perspective and balance to our town meetings.

Thank you to Elizabeth Buckman, a teacher, who often brought an energy centered on representing those in our community who are in need and possibly seldom heard. She also brought to the town meetings a broader perspective from her education and experiences. Congratulations to Commissioner Buckman on acceptance into a University of Pittsburgh graduate program. Her new studies will certainly ready her for the adventures that will be launched from that education. 

The new commissioners will assuredly bring a new energy and verve. 

On occasion, I have received inquiries as to infrastructure improvements during my time as mayor. The following is a recap of most, if not all, of those improvements that have been completed since July 1, 2014, or are anticipated to be completed in the near future.

•Capital Project spending (rounded): $149,000 – town square project town portion; $317,000 – paving and sidewalks; $700,000 – parks and recreation.

•Water: $29,000 – three phases of rip rap at Rainbow Lake; $134,000 – new waterline (North Seton Ave. and Main St.); $39,000 – LG Sonic (solar) – algae control Rainbow Lake; $219,000 – general repairs and maintenance; $13,000 – leak detection since 2017.

•Sewer: $17,000 – Power Star – water treatment; $18,000 – wastewater treatment plant (WWTP); $80,000 – sewer relining (East Main St.); $100,000 – pending sewer relining FY20; $2.5 – $3 million – pending new pumping station; $152,000 – general repairs and maintenance.

Annually, the town is committed to putting aside $65,000 for roads. We are working on another $1,000,000 investment in our water treatment plant that should create significant savings to the town.

The 38th Annual Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend was again a successful solemn tribute to the 119 firefighters honored this year. Adding to the tribute this year was the completion of the installation of the William Cochran Glass etching, “Volunteers” in front of the Frederick County Fire Rescue Museum. Congratulations to the officers of the museum. It was our pleasure in helping to raise funds for the project and assisting when requested. 

As of this writing, the redevelopment of the playground in Community Park to an all-inclusive playground is finishing up. This was a wonderful effort, which could not have been accomplished without support from the state, county, the Civitan Club, and lots of town staff “elbow grease.” It was a pleasure working with the contractor, Playground Specialists, and their field manager, Emmitsburg’s own Tim Boyle. We are very proud of this and a ribbon cutting is tentatively been set for 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 2. Please check the town website, channel 99, and/or Facebook for confirmation of date and time.

Congratulations to Emmitsburg resident Emmy Award-winner Conrad Weaver for his award-winning documentary, Heroin’s Grip. It was screened on Capitol Hill on October 16 in the Cannon House Office Building. Conrad and his team, together with Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and others in the Maryland delegation, hosted the event.

Hope you enjoyed the Halloween parade and festivities and are readying for a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

We have survived another Colorfest, and my impression is that this was a profitable one for many of our nonprofits. I also spoke to many vendors, all of whom said they were very happy with the turnout. The weather was ideal and that brought out nice crowds of visitors. I want to thank all our residents, vendors, and nonprofits for helping make this a successful Colorfest weekend.

The Thurmont Lions Club is celebrating its 90th Anniversary this year, and the Lions have been an active participant in our community for each one of those 90 years. With one of the most active memberships of any organization, the Lions have supported a wide range of activities, from their annual Easter Egg Hunt to the amazing improvements they brought to the Trolley Trail. The Lions sandwich sales, Community Show booth, and Colorfest stand allow them to raise funds that stay within our community. The Thurmont Lions Club is one of the pieces that make the Thurmont the community we all love. Here’s to another 90 successful years for the Thurmont Lions Club!

One of the most popular events in Thurmont is Halloween in the Park. This year’s event has been rescheduled to November 2 due to the weather forecast. Halloween in the Park is attended by thousands each year, and we all have an amazing time while raising funds and donations for the Thurmont Food Bank. The two driving forces behind this fun evening, since the first year, have been Jill and Wayne Hooper. Each year, Jill and Wayne are out collecting donations, encouraging volunteers to help, and making sure that everyone knows about the event. Then, during the week leading up to Halloween in the Park, they are working every day to get things set up just right. They always seem to be everywhere at once during the event and make sure we all enjoy ourselves. Sadly, Jill passed away June 10 of this year, and Wayne has taken on the responsibility of organizing this once again. This year’s event is titled “Jill’s Chills and Thrills,” in honor of her love of Halloween. I hope everyone has a great time, thinks fondly of Jill and her love for this event, and that everyone takes a minute to thank Wayne for bringing so much fun to our community.

Christmas in Thurmont will be here on December 7. Be sure to be on the lookout for information about the day coming soon. There will be games, crafts, and prizes for all ages, as well as a visit with Santa! We will have the extremely popular Christmas Train Garden set up again this year. The Frederick County Society of Model Engineers will be hosting the display on each Saturday and Sunday leading up to Christmas. Our thanks to the FCSME and Thurmont’s Acacia Lodge No. 155 for working with the Town of Thurmont to make this possible.

As always you can call me at 301-606-9458 or email me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

by James Rada, Jr.

OCTOBER 2019 Meeting

Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners Reorganized

With the election of new town commissioners, the Emmitsburg Town Commissioners assigned new duties to the members. Cliff Sweeney remains the president, with Tim O’Donnell acting as the vice president and treasurer. Joseph Ritz, III, will be the liaison to the Planning Commission. New commissioners Frank Davis and T.J. Burns will act as liaisons to the Parks and Recreation Committee and Citizens Advisory Committee, respectively.

Town Attorney Recognized

Long-time Emmitsburg Town Attorney John Clapp has retired. He served as the town attorney for 24 years. The Town of Emmitsburg recognized his decades of service with a proclamation honoring him.

Leslie Powell, Thurmont’s town attorney and Clapp’s recommendation, will replace Clapp as the Emmitsburg town attorney.

Planning Commissioner Appointed

Bernard Franklin was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Frank Davis on the Emmitsburg Planning Commission. Davis had to resign from the commission when he was elected as an Emmitsburg town commissioner. The term will expire in July 2022.

Cochran Etching Dedicated

The Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum dedicated the William Cochran glass etching, called “Volunteers,” on October 4. Its location is at the museum in front on the Community Center on South Seton Avenue.

The etching was moved from the Firehouse Financial Center in Frederick. The business was the former site of Independent Hose Co. No. 1 firehouse at 12 West Church Street. William Cochran developed the public art to replace the former engine house apparatus bay door. The new building owners decided the artwork did not fit into the future renovation plans for the building and donated the etching to the fire museum.

Mayor Don Briggs was delighted with the addition to the town. He has wanted a Cochran public-art piece for years, but the price was too expensive for the town.

Mayor Graduates from Municipal Official Program

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs graduated from the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy on September 29. More than 90 public officials from across the state received a certificate from the academy.

Briggs completed classes designed to meet the professional needs of a municipal official. These included classes to increase his “understanding of local government issues and ethical standards for public services, but also developed a foundation for informed policy making and effective governance,” according to a press release from the academy.

The Academy, which has offered classes since 1998, is a collaborative effort between the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, the Maryland Municipal League, the Maryland Association of Counties and the Local Government Insurance Trust.

by James Rada, Jr.

October 2019 Meeting

Thurmont Welcomes Two New Police Officers

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird swore in two new Thurmont police officers in October.

Mike Mentzer had more than 20 years on the job with the police in Washington D.C. before he retired. He said he looked for something outside of law enforcement to do after he retired, but “There wasn’t anything I really wanted to do other than be a police officer and work in law enforcement.”

Brandon Boyle was formerly with Loudon County Fire and Rescue before taking a position with the Thurmont Police. He started his academy training in October.

Senior Center to Get Funding for a Part-Time Assistant Coordinator

Unlike the other senior centers in Frederick County, the Thurmont Senior Center receives very little of its funding, if any, from the county. The Town of Thurmont usually contributes $20,000 to the center’s funding; however, this year, it provided $23,000 so the center coordinator could get a raise.

The senior center board of directors is now asking for $10,140 more each year to fund an assistant coordinator position for 15 hours a week. The commissioners feel this burden should be shared by the county since roughly half of the attendees to the senior center live outside the borders of Thurmont.

Frederick County stopped funding the center several years ago, primarily over the issue of lunches. The Department of Aging required the center to serve food it provided through a grant. However, the food arrived cold and mushy to the center, according to Commissioner Wayne Hooper. The poor food quality was causing seniors to stay home and the senior center wanted to make its own arrangements for lunches. The county told the center it had to abide by county rules to receive funding. The board of directors chose to run the center itself.

The county has provided a small amount of funding in the past, but it cannot be depended upon.

The commissioners voted to fund the amount needed for the position, less any additional funding the county can be convinced to pay.

Thurmont Changes How Corner Lots are Defined

The Town of Thurmont changed how corner lots were defined in its planning code in 2017. However, the change caused unforeseen problems with many existing corner lots in the town, putting them out of compliance with planning and zoning regulations. The mayor and commissioners unanimously voted in October to change the code back to the way it had been where corner lots are concerned.

This should take care of the problems some property owners have been having.

Emmitsburg Gets Two New Commissioners

Two newcomers were voted on to the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners on October 1. Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs swore in Frank Davis and T.J. Burns as town commissioners during the October 7 town meeting. Davis and Briggs defeated incumbents Glenn Blanchard and Elizabeth Buckman.

During the town election on October 1, 371 residents voted. Davis received 278 votes and Burns received 170 votes. They defeated Buckman who received 140 votes and Blanchard who received 117 votes.

Briggs told the new commissioners and audience, “We’re enthusiastic about the attitude you’re going to bring here.”

Davis will service as liaison to the Parks and Recreation Committee, and Burns will service as the liaison to the Citizens Advisory Committee.

Briggs praised the service of the two outgoing commissioners.

Blanchard served on the commission for 12 years. Briggs called him a quiet commissioner who always listened, processed, and was engaged with the work of the board.

Briggs encouraged Buckman to run for her first term as a commissioner and encouraged her to run again.

Commissioner Tim O’Donnell told Buckman, “You gave a voice to those who otherwise might not be heard.”

Buckman said she had enjoyed her service on the board and would continue to volunteer.

“As I transition from my official position as commissioner, I pledge to continue to wake up each day with a vision of possibility to stand with the people of Emmitsburg to problem-solve through networking and advocacy,” Buckman said. “I personally pledge to work collaboratively with the Town of Emmitsburg, mayor, and all the board, Mount St. Mary’s, our civic associations, our churches, our health department, our fire department, our cooperating municipal officials, housing, the Seton Center, the SHIP of Frederick, mentoring service, and many more, as we find creative solutions to the problems we face day in and day out.”

She called the new commissioners “two very innovative commissioners with fresh perspectives” and shared some of the insights she had learned during her term as a town commissioner.

Blanchard was unable to attend the meeting.

Thurmont’s Hamrick and Buehrer Win Re-election

Incumbent Thurmont Commissioners Wes Hamrick and Bill Buehrer were re-elected to the board of commissioners by large margins on October 29.

Thurmont’s voter turnout for its municipal election was 11 percent with 531 people casting 1,022 ballots. These numbers include 14 absentee votes.

Election results were:
• Wes Hamrick – 379 votes
• Bill Buehrer – 212 votes
• Sabrina Massett – 179 votes
• Elliot Jones – 126 votes
• Kenneth Oland – 121 votes
• Write-in Candidates – 5 votes

“I am thankful to the five candidates who had enough concern about the community to step up and run for office,” said Mayor John Kinnaird after the election.

Hamrick, 57, will serve his second full term as a commissioner. He was first elected to fill Kinnaird’s unexpired term in 2013 when Kinnaird was elected mayor. Hamrick is a manager with AT&T, where he has worked for 40 years. He has lived in Thurmont on and off for 50 years, including the last 23 years.

“I look forward to serving the town that I love so much,” Hamrick said.

He said his time as a commissioner has “flown by” so far, and he is proud of the things the board has accomplished during his time as a member. This includes improving Thurmont’s streetscape with building facades, new sidewalks, and improvements to the Thurmont Trolley Trail. He also said the board has kept the town’s budget healthy.

He feels the town will face some challenges, including the unpredictable cost of healthcare for town employees and the possibility of town revenues stagnating while costs continue to rise. He is ready to face those questions and make the best decisions he can for the town.

Buehrer, 74, is retired from Stauffer Funeral Homes, where he was a funeral director. First elected in 2011, this will be his third term as a commissioner. He said recently in The Catoctin Banner that his goal as a commissioner is to continue improving the town’s infrastructure, bring businesses to Thurmont, and improve housing development in a conservative manner.

“I was first elected in 2011, vying to preserve our past and save the future of Thurmont,” Buehrer said in the Banner. “This board has demonstrated such through infrastructure improvement. We have vigorously looked for and received state grants, thus bringing our tax dollars back to Thurmont. I want to continue these efforts.”

The election was held at the Guardian Hose Company Activities Building on East Main Street in Thurmont. The commissioners serve four year terms and earn $8,000 a year.

Putting into action the organization’s motto of “We Serve,” nine Lions, representing two Frederick County Lions Clubs, recently came together on a countywide service project when 214 preschool children in the YMCA of Frederick County Head Start program received vision screenings, performed by Lions members on eight different dates at various sites in September and October. The majority of the screenings were conducted at the Head Start offices in Frederick, with the remaining screenings held at Head Start locations at the Frederick YMCA and Hillcrest and Libertytown Elementary Schools.  Approximately 137 Lions service hours were spent on this effort. This was the sixth consecutive year for the joint-screening effort.

The children were brought in one at a time to a non-invasive testing station, with Head Start staff members accompanying the children. The station utilized PlusoptiX S12C eye-vision technology to capture an image of the children’s eyes and automatically determine 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, each child received a Lion sticker to indicate they had completed the screening process.

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 parents/guardians of 43 children tested received written test results to indicate that their child was recommended to see a vision professional for a potential problem or was unable to be screened. The advanced technology of the PluxoptiX camera provides readings that are printed out on a label that is attached to the letter for use by the vision professional of the parents’ choice.

Colleen Ford, health coordinator for the YMCA of Frederick County Head Start, stated, “This school year, our local Lions Club members have dedicated many hours of their time helping Frederick County (Maryland) families and children by conducting vision screenings. They have participated in four days of vision screenings in September 2019 and four days in October 2019. This event is one of extreme importance to the child’s overall health and educational development. With the state of art diagnostic machine they use, if the child is a referral, the information that is printed out for the family is of great importance to the provider performing the vision rescreen. Without the generous time given of the Lions Club members, it would be a hard mandate for Head Start to complete in a timely manner.”

Lions members participating in the screenings included: Sharon Hane, Nancy Smith, Clifford Sweeney, 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 Lion John Aulls at aulls2@comcast.net or 301-662-2360.

Lions participating in the recent vision screenings of Head Start students included:  (seated) Lion Sharon Hane, Emmitsburg Lions, and Lion Lynn Stimmel, Francis Scott Key Lions; (standing) Lion John Aulls, Francis Scott Key Lions; Lion Clifford Sweeney, Emmitsburg Lions; Colleen Ford, Health Coordinator, YMCA of Frederick County Head Start; and Lion Lions Bill and Rachel Wivell, Emmitsburg Lions.  Participating but not shown:  Lion Nancy Smith of Emmitsburg Lions

James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg could have its own disc golf by next spring. The town commissioners approved the design of an 18-hole disc golf course in Community Park during their October meeting.

Disc golf is played similar to golf. Instead of hitting a golf ball into a hole, players throw Frisbees into baskets. Its popularity has soared in recent years because it is an inexpensive sport for both the player and the course owner.

A $14,000 Community Parks and Playground Grant will fund the cost of the course. Fredrock Disc Golf, the group that designed and built the Woodsboro disc golf course, designed the Emmitsburg course to use some of the unused park area in Community Park. Also, the design does not require any mature, healthy trees be removed. Only dead and diseased trees and invasive species of plants will be removed.

“Disc golf is an activity that everybody can participate in,” Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners. “If you can walk, if you can be in a wheelchair, if you can get around, you can participate in disc golf.”

Town Clerk Madeline Shaw came up with the idea for the disc golf course and did the research to determine its feasibility. She said she was looking for an idea that would utilize more of Community Park (roughly only half of the park acreage is used now) and promote walkability and healthy lifestyles.

Woodsboro, Walkersville, and Middletown have disc golf courses, and Willets talked to staff at those towns to find out how they liked their courses. She said one town manager told her he was “amazed by how many people get out and just walk and get the exercise.” The length of Emmitsburg’s course is estimated to be about two miles.

The commissioners had some concerns over the placement of some of the holes and whether they would be in water when it rained. Fredrock representatives said if water becomes an issue with a hole, it can be relocated to a dry fairway within a few hours.

Although the Town of Emmitsburg will provide minimal weeding and clearing, volunteers with Fredrock will maintain the course in a similar way to how the town’s mountain biking trails are maintained.

If things go as planned, the town could host a ribbon-cutting for the course in April. Commissioner Tim O’Donnell suggested it might even be possible to have a tournament during Community Heritage Day.

The commissioners approved the course 4-1 with the understanding that the layout could be modified if needed. Commissioner Joseph Ritz, III, was the dissenting vote.

The Thurmont Lion’s Club will be collecting new and gently used coats (children and adult), beginning October 26 through November. Drop-off sites are: Thurmont Food Lion, Catoctin High School, and Thurmont Middle School, or you can call Marci at 301-748-1665 for pickup.