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This year, the fireworks at Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day are in honor of Robert “Reds” Hance, who passed away unexpectedly early this year. “Bob was such a proponent for Heritage Day and was such a leader in the community that the Lions, Heritage Day Committee, and community, felt it would be fitting to dedicate the fireworks to him,” said Jennifer Joy of the Heritage Day Committee.

Bob was tireless in his support of many organizations and charities in Emmitsburg. It is hoped that many in Emmitsburg will come out in force to show their appreciation for him at the fireworks. Of course, the fireworks are the final event that finish off a day full of fun, sun, and family activities that begin early in the morning on June 24, 2017, beginning with the annual Vigilant Hose breakfast, followed by the Lions Club field games. Also planned this year: lots of delicious homemade food, including the Lions Club Famous Chicken BBQ; fun sports and activities for all ages; great live music from local artists; special vendor/craft exhibits, kid’s games, and rides; the Lions Club Memorial Event and Art Contest awards; Art Contest Exhibit; Library book sale; K-9 dog and emergency service demonstrations; horse-drawn carriage rides; historical tours, featuring author James Rada, Jr.; Grotto and Seton Shrine tours; car, truck, and motorcycle show (dash plaques also dedicated to “Reds”); annual parade (starts earlier this year at 5:00 p.m.); and evening entertainment with music from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, with Stewart Chapman and Michael Pryor Productions.

To keep abreast of all the news and schedule of activities on Heritage Day, please visit and check out its Facebook page: Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day.

The Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day Planning Committee would like to issue a special thanks to all who have contributed to the success of the Heritage Day festival including: the Sons of the American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Lions Club, VFW, EBPA, local churches, businesses, and all the residents, for their hard work and dedication to the community.

If you have not already donated to support the Fireworks display, and you would like to, there is still time to contribute. All donations received will support the Fireworks and the Heritage Day Festival. Send check payable to: Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day c/o P.O. Box 1182, Emmitsburg, MD 21727.

James Rada, Jr.

Kim Andrew of Emmitsburg was awakened one morning because the smell in her house was so foul. The smell wasn’t coming from anything in her house, though. It was coming from the wastewater treatment plant lagoon that the town rents to Enviro-Organic Technologies (EOT) during the winter.

The lagoon had not been used since the new wastewater plant went into operation. EOT currently hauls the town’s sludge, but it was in need of a place to store food process residuals from mid-November until the beginning of March. An agreement was reached, and EOT paid the town $80,000 to use the lagoon, which was to be used towards some of the operating costs of the new wastewater treatment plant, at least for the first year.

The problem is that the material stored in the lagoon has been creating a hydrogen sulfide type of smell.

Mary Ann Wivell of Emmitsburg told the commissioners that she is afraid to hang up her clothes to dry outside for fear that they will pick up the smell. She and other residents attended the May town meeting to ask the commissioners to do something about the smell, which has been noticed in the east end of Emmitsburg since March.

“We have a beautiful town, and I’m concerned that you have people that come here, and that’s all they smell,” Wivell said.

Andrew said that she fears she goes to work some days smelling of rotten eggs. The material in the lagoon is a nutrient replacement that is spread on fields, but new state regulations don’t allow this to happen in the winter, so the material must be stored.

Residents also wondered if there were health hazards associated with the smell. In particular, could it affect people with asthma?

Phil Snader, EOT vice president, said that Maryland Department of Agriculture regulates the material and that it is a wash water product from processing poultry.

He said that he believed the smell started when the material in the lagoon was stirred. This broke the crust on the surface and allowed the smell to escape.

Snader suggested some things that could be done to reduce and hopefully eliminate the smell: (1) A biological odor-control agent can be added to the lagoon once it is drained of material; (2) Mixing can be reduced so as to not compromise the crust; (3) Material can be removed through PVC pipe under the crust to keep it intact; and (4) Straw can be placed on top of the material that will help a crust form more quickly.

However, Snader cautioned, “I can’t guarantee there will never be an odor.”

The commissioners are willing to give Snader’s solutions a try. Also, EOT stopped using the lagoon in early May.

Based on how well the implemented solutions work, the commissioners may not want to rent the lagoon for the same use this winter.

The view out of Rachel Mohler’s kitchen window is so picturesque that it should be a painting—in fact, it is a painting. Or, should we say, it is many paintings. Rachel has painted that ever-changing view nearly a hundred times since her resolution to complete a painting-a-day started on January 1, 2017.

Her New Year’s Resolution had no real rules, so Rachel kept it seemingly simple, painting the view from the picture window in her new home on the mountain in Sabillasville. Each day she paints a unique rendition of the scene on a new 2×3 inch piece of gesso board.

The goal of a resolution is often measured in quantity, like counting calories or losing weight, or an absence of quantity, like stopping a bad habit or abstaining from eating a certain food. Rachel’s resolution seemed to be of the first variety, simple arithmetic—a painting a day.

In fact, Rachel’s resolution took on a life of its own, complete with the emotion of changing moods in the weather; the changing perceptions of the scene by Rachel, her children, and her husband; and the lessons of attention to detail: appreciation of nature, awe of the grand order of the world, rhythm and changing palette of the seasons, ebb and flow of life, happiness about being part of something grand, and peace in new inspiration.

Rachel has captured the scene at the birth of sunrise, the rest of sunset, the blanketing of snow, the cloak of fog, the bathing of sun, the cleansing of rain, and amidst the demand of storm. She said, “Sometimes the fog goes on for days, but then you realize, the color of the fog is changing depending on what’s going on above the fog.”

In the first two weeks, she painted with her usual watercolor but couldn’t quite capture the beauty of the images as well as she wanted, so she switched to oil paint. Feeling somewhat intimidated by oils, Rachel told herself, “Just do it. That’s how you’re going to learn.” So, she completed her first-ever oil paintings.

As the days progressed, Rachel noticed involvement by her children. “They’re seeing when the clouds are pink, the sky is green, there’s a rainbow.” At one point, her daughter Saige (turning five in June), joined the project and completed her own watercolor paintings on small pieces of hand-torn paper.

With a five-year-old (Saige), a three-year-old (Atlas), and a one-year-old (Wren), the mom artist was bound to battle the demands for her time, and family comes first—as it should. This winter, one family member after another battled sickness, as strep, flu, pink eye, and fever swept through the family. Because of this, Rachel was not able to meet the painting-a-day demand.

Reconciling what could be construed as a failure, Rachel was able to give herself a break after talking to her husband, Brian, and her mother, Linda Faulkner, who are very supportive of her. Her mother, who is also an artist, told Rachel, “If you had a friend who went on a diet and fell off the wagon a bit but still was making progress, would you call her a failure?”

Rachel surmised, ”If I can just give myself some grace, it’ll be okay.” So, she paints when she can.

Having never done a daily or a long-term goal project, Rachel quickly streamlined her painting processes. She takes photos of the view with her phone. Her choice of 2×3 inch gesso boards was really a matter of convenience. With three youngsters, she needed her studio to be at-the-ready when the opportunity to paint presented itself. Therefore, she owns a small travel portfolio case that, when unzipped, has all supplies handy, including pens, pre-cut boards, her brushes, and a small old tobacco tin that she purchased from the Emmitsburg Antique Mall, used as her paint box so her paints don’t dry out.

The many paintings that Rachel has completed so far are displayed on the wall next to the family’s dining room table. Some look like photographs. Each painting is different.

There is one painting that Rachel does not like. She has repainted it several times. The image was from Valentine’s Day morning. Rachel explained, “It was the most beautiful sunrise ever. The sun shone like a spotlight into the sky on the clouds. I just cannot capture the light of the clouds. I can’t even count how many times I’ve started that one over. I just don’t have the skill to capture it yet.” Undeterred, Rachel aspired, “It will make me feel better once I’ve conquered it.”

Read more about Rachel’s story and her painting-a-day resolution results at the end of this year in The Catoctin Banner Newspaper. To see postings of Rachel’s paintings visit and

Allison Rostad

If you’ve ever been a part of a volunteer fire company, you’ve probably already experienced a banquet that seems more like a family get together. For the members of Graceham Volunteer Fire Company, this is nothing short of the truth.

On Saturday, April 22, 2017, Graceham Volunteer Fire Company members gathered in their decorated engine bay, with apparatus neatly displayed out front, for their annual ceremony and awards banquet. Emcee of the evening, President Louis Powell Jr., welcomed guests and members for a meal provided by Mountain Gate, preceded by an opening invocation and blessing from Pastor Sue Koenig.

The awards program began shortly after 7:30 p.m., with a brief memorial service remembering the three members who passed away in the previous year.

“A bell symbolizes a start of the day for the fire department. It would symbolize a response, ringing the bell to call the firefighters in—on scene, on the apparatus, on the steamers; they would ring the bell that the incident was over and the fire fighters could go home. These three firefighters have gone to their heavenly home. As such, we will ring the bell in their honor,” Chip Jewell, director and chief of the Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, explained for the remembrance of Eugene “Sonny” Grimes, George “Junebug” Morningstar, and Anthony “Tony” Weddle.

Members took a moment to say a prayer for their lost loved ones, and a prayer for their safety in the coming year.

Chief James Kilby shared an overview of the previous year, announcing the company’s less than eight percent fail rate on answering their 230 calls for the year. “We did extremely well getting everything out.”

President Louis Powell Jr. then added to the list of company successes with the announcement of their first year being debt-free after the final vehicle payment on Engine Tanker 184.

A President’s Award was given to Brian Boller and Bill Morgan for their assistance in guiding Louis in his new role as president.

Julie Durgan received the Chief’s Award for her consistent efforts in keeping the apparatus up to standard.

Top Five Responders were: Hilary Blake (141 calls); Michelle Powell (113 calls); Josh Hillman (62 calls); Katie Miller (61 calls); and Eugene “Sonny” Grimes, who was represented by his wife and daughter to accept the award. Captain Valaria Kilby shared a slideshow entitled “Reflection of Past,” with images of members active on a call, at training sessions, and taking part in community events.

The banquet came to an end with a final installation of officers for the upcoming year by Gary Keller, Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Associations Board of Trustees member.

Administrative Officers for 2017: Louis Powell Jr.—President; Bill Morgan—Vice President; Hilary Blake—Secretary; Julie Durgan—Assistant Secretary; Sterling Seiss—Treasure; Brian Boller—Assistant Treasurer.

Board of Directors for 2017: Katie Miller, Brian Boller, Lara Gosbee, Hilary Blake, Kenneth “Doc” Simmers Sr., and Sterling Seiss.

Line Officers for 2017: Chief James Kilby, Assistant Chief Louis Powell Jr., Captain Valaria Kilby, and Lieutenant Julie Durgan.

Pictured from left are: (back row): Bill Morgan, Brian Boller, Louis Powell, Hilary Blake, Julie Durgan, Katie Miller, Lara Gosbee; (front row) Kenneth “Doc” Simmers and Sterling Seiss.

Pictured from left are Michelle Powell, Brian Boller, Josh Hillman, Hilary Blake, and Katie Miller.

Pictured from left are Jim Kilby, Louis Powell, Val Kilby, and Julie Durgan.

Just after his first birthday, six-year-old Ben Myers (pictured right) began having hundreds of seizures a day, for over a year, and was diagnosed with a catastrophic form of epilepsy caused by a rare mutation of the SCN2A gene. There is currently no cure for SC2NA. Due to the seizures, Ben can no longer talk, but he can give the best hugs! Please come out and support this sweet little boy and his family and help fight for a cure for SCN2A. All proceeds from the tournament go to Ben and his family to cover therapy, equipment, and other medical expenses not covered by insurance.

Bags for Ben’s Bunch Cornhole Tournament will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 3, 2017, at 13702 Graceham Road in Thurmont. The cost is $40.00 per team. The tournament will feature food, raffles, and prizes. To reserve your team’s spot today, call or text Renee Lawyer at 301-639-4585.

View the advertisement on page 33 for more information.

On Friday evening, May 26, 2017, the Myersville-Wolfsville Area Historical Society will sponsor a free PowerPoint presentation, exploring the rich history of the presidential retreat at Camp David.

The program is open to the public and will be followed by a social hour with refreshments. There is no charge.

Since 1942, the Catoctin Mountains have provided presidents of the United States with a respite from the pressures and stresses of Washington, D.C.

Camp David—formerly Shangri-La—has evolved from a highly secret, rustic facility to a resort-like mountain retreat, easily reached from the nation’s capital.

Established during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the “camp” was originally reached via a two-hour drive from Washington, through Frederick and Thurmont. Today, it is minutes away from the White House via helicopter.

This presentation will trace the fascinating 75-year history of Camp David, detailing the day-to-day activities of its occupants and the momentous decisions and events that have taken place there. In addition to anecdotes about the chief executives and their families, highlights include FDR’s wartime deliberations with Winston Churchill, Eisenhower’s talks with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, Nixon’s intense days at Camp David during the Watergate crisis, and Carter’s successful efforts to piece together the Camp David Accords with Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin.

The presentation will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Myersville Fire Hall, located at 301 Main Street in Myersville.


Theresa Dardanell

A solemn, respectful crowd gathered in Emmitsburg on Saturday, April 8, 2017, for the ceremony to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entrance into World War I on April 6, 1917.

The event, sponsored by the Town of Emmitsburg, along with the Francis X Elder Post 121 American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6658, was held in front of the Doughboy statue in town. The ceremony began with the Pledge of Allegiance, an opening prayer by Father John Holliday, and a welcome by Emmitsburg Mayor Donald Briggs. Commissioner Glenn Blanchard gave a brief history of the war and added a personal story about his own grandfather, who served in the war. The ceremony continued with the American Legion and VFW Color Guard and the laying of the wreath by the commanders of the Post.

The Doughboy statue was erected in 1927. Doughboy is the name of a World War I foot soldier. On the pedestal are the words, “This memorial erected and dedicated in honor of those from Emmitsburg district who served in the world war.” It includes the names of those who made the supreme sacrifice.

The mountain bike trails above Emmitsburg, around Rainbow Lake, are in need of upkeep. Volunteers are invited to Trail Work Days on May 21, June 17, and August 5, during which trail work takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Free coffee, juice, bagels, fruit, and donuts are provided before the work begins, and a free barbeque in town is provided afterwards. You may win a free prize.

Please direct any questions to Tim O’Donnell at or visit for information about the trails.

Theresa Dardanell

A large crowd gathered in Emmitsburg on April 8, 2017, to watch as two identical rooms, set up in a special apparatus in the parking lot of the Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum/National Fire Heritage Center (NFHC), were set on fire. The room with the fire sprinkler protection sustained some damage, but the room without this protection was completely destroyed. First responders from the Vigilant Hose Company and the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company participated in support of the demonstration, which was coordinated with the governments of the Town of Emmitsburg and Frederick County.

This event followed the dedication ceremony for the newly installed automatic fire sprinkler system in the Museum/NFHC.  The sprinkler system was paid for by donations from the National Fire Sprinkler Association and the Capital Region Fire Sprinkler Association, and was installed by Livingston Fire Protection of Hyattsville, Maryland, and Reliance Fire Protection of Baltimore. It will not only protect the irreplaceable contents of the Fire Museum and Heritage Center, it will be also used for sprinkler system training for members of fire departments.

In attendance were members of Frederick County fire departments, Frederick County officials, and representatives from the sprinkler system industry. Chief Ronny Coleman, NFHC president, began the program with the Pledge of Allegiance and introduction of guests; Museum President Chief James Deater welcomed everyone involved. Speakers included Emmitsburg Mayor Donald Briggs, Frederick County Council Member Kirby Delauter, and Maryland State Fire Marshall Brian Geraci.

The Frederick County Fire and Rescue Museum contains many interesting items, including pictures, artifacts, and histories from all twenty-six fire companies in Frederick County, as well as an 1821 “Old Lady” Hand Tub Pumper.

The National Fire Heritage Center, located in the same building, is dedicated to preserving America’s Fire History. Among the many documents is the September 11 incident report from Shanksville, Pennsylvania. All of these valuable documents and artifacts are now protected from fire by the newly installed sprinkler system.

Crowds gather to watch the side-by-side burn live demonstration in Emmitsburg (above), witnessing first-hand how a room without the fire sprinkler protection is completely consumed (below).

James Rada, Jr.

Energy costs for the Town of Emmitsburg will be lower at the end of FY2017 than they were six years earlier, and that is with the addition of the new, larger wastewater treatment plant that came online last year.

Emmitsburg Town Staff gave a presentation to the Board of Commissioners last month, outlining the town’s efforts to reduce its conventional energy costs by 20 percent by 2022. The town has instituted a number of changes since 2011 to achieve this including: (1) Using LED light bulbs in Emmitsburg street lights; (2) Installing the PowerStar system to reduce wasted electrical power; (3) Leasing solar power.

By installing energy-efficient LED bulbs in the street lights, the electricity costs for town street lights was reduced by 40 percent. “And the LED bulbs cut the town’s overall electrical use by 9 percent,” Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners.

The Powerstar Voltage Optimization System, which was installed at the sewer pumping station on Creamery Road last year, optimizes the power that station draws. It also rejects excess power, which means that the town doesn’t have to pay for it. The system cost the town $17,587, and it is currently saving the town around $2,059 a year in electricity costs.

The use of solar power is the element of energy reduction that has become a point of contention on the board, with Commissioner Joe Ritz, III, questioning the accuracy of town’s staff’s presentation.

“Everything we’ve seen tonight looks like we’re saving money, but are we really saving money?” Ritz asked.

His concerns were based on a media report, predicting that the town could lose $1 million over the life of the twenty-year contract. The report apparently focuses on the narrow element that the town has leased more power than it currently needs, and while it can sell back excess solar power to First Energy, it does not receive as much as it cost to produce that excess power.

The town’s intention is not to have excess power to need to sell back, though. Cole Tabler, the town’s accountant, said more than once during the presentation that the excess solar power would disappear as the wastewater treatment plant was utilized more and when the Emmitsburg Ambulance Company comes onto the system.
“When we get to a point that we don’t generate excess, that’s when the savings really come in,” said Willets.

A portion of the excess was planned for. The new wastewater treatment plant did not come into service operating at its peak capacity. It currently operates at 65 percent capacity. However, when planning for how much solar energy needed to be leased, an amount was chosen to run the plant at full capacity. Another portion of the excess was planned for the Emmitsburg Ambulance Company, but it was not able to come onto the system when originally planned. The circumstances that caused the delay have changed now, and it should be eligible to come on the system by the end of the year.

Other savings have also been seen as a result of the solar energy use that isn’t seen in the solar energy numbers. For instance, the use of solar energy has severely reduced the cost of the energy being bought from Potomac Edison, including fees such as the distribution charge, which has been reduced about 90 percent each month.

Overall, the use of solar energy has saved the town money. According to figures from the town office, total energy costs for the town government for FY2017 is projected to be $167,000. This includes the cost of running the new larger wastewater treatment plant. This is lower than the town’s energy costs in FY2011 of $175,400 with a smaller treatment plant.

The difference in opinion of board members of the value of solar energy seems to be one of focus. The single item of the cost of unused solar energy is a loss, while the overall energy costs show a gain.

Chart shows Emmitsburg’s energy costs between FY2010 and FY2017. Column A is the amount paid to Potomac Edison, Column B is the amount paid to UGI for solar power, and Column C is the rebate amount for unused solar power. In FY2015 and FY2016, the new wastewater treatment plant was being tested and brought online. This accounts for the increase in total energy costs those years. Now that the plant is functioning, the power consumption is at its normal level, and the projected total energy cost for FY2017 is expected to be around $167,000.

Jayden Myers’ journey of pain began the day before a family vacation in August of 2012, when a rash broke out all over her body, along with pain in her right leg, foot, and ankle. A first diagnosis, and several thereafter, was hives due to a food allergy. After additional diagnoses and follow-up visits to the pediatrician’s office, she was referred to a pediatric rheumatologist at Hershey Medical Center in Pennsylvania.

In October of 2012, she was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, enthesitis-related. With treatment, most of the joint pain she was having was eased; unfortunately, the extreme pain continued in the right foot, ankle, and leg.

Finally, Jayden was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Amplified Muscular Pain Syndrome (AMPS) and evaluated by Dr. Sherry, a specialist in Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome. His final diagnosis was two forms of AMPS: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Diffuse Amplified Pain Syndrome.

When experiencing AMPS, there is an abnormal short circuit in the spinal cord. The normal pain signal not only travels up to the brain, but also goes to the neurovascular nerves that control blood flow through the vessels. These nerves cause the blood vessels to constrict. This constriction restricts blood flow and oxygen to muscles and bone and leads to an increase in waste products such as lactic acid. It is the lack of oxygen and acid build-up that causes the pain. The new pain signal also goes across the abnormal short circuit and causes decreased blood flow, leading to more pain. The pain becomes extremely severe through this cycle.

Jayden participates in a multi-disciplinary pain management program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She attends school when she is able and continues with Home Intermittent School Teaching. Jayden is part of the Thurmont Kountry Kitchen Restaurant Family. Her parents, Rob and Sherry Myers, travel to Hershey Medical Center two times weekly for Jayden to receive the intense physical therapy she needs.

To help support the Myers in handling the unending medical bills that result from Jayden’s treatments, the Patty Pollatos Fund has been a blessing, hosting fundraisers in Jayden’s benefit.

A Wing Feed will be held on May 20, 2017, at the Emmitsburg Firehall. Please reference the calendar for more information about this fundraising event. You may purchase tickets, a Jayden’s Journey t-shirt, or submit a donation at the Thurmont Kountry Kitchen Restaurant in Thurmont. You can also go online to and click on Jayden Myers’ photo to donate.

Pictured during an April 15 bake sale and shirt sale (left to right), Owen Ott, Easter Bunny, Madison Ott, Jayden Myers, and Kendall Stuart

Grace Eyler

Dreary weather didn’t deter Thurmont’s Business Showcase from a delightful turnout on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at the new Thurmont Ambulance Company Event Complex. The building’s bright chandeliers lit the large event area with plenty of seating for families to comfortably enjoy a fresh meal, which was provided by the ambulance company.

“I’ve been here for one hour, and I’m very pleased,” said Heather Heier, owner of Harmony Healing. Heather provides her Reiki services from her office in the Center of Life Holistic Center on Park Lane in Thurmont. Thurmont’s favorite Chiropractor, Dr. John Hagemann, is the proprietor of the space, and his wife, Márcia, teaches pilates there as well.

“There were people already here, so that’s a good sign!” said enthused owner, Champ, from Complete Auto Diagnostics on Roddy Road. Champ and his staff members were surprised to see people waiting at the door for the event to begin.

Carol Robertson, long-time volunteer with the Showcase, was also impressed with the turnout. “I’ll tell you what has been really nice: I’ve seen so many people that I know. Sometimes you don’t see them for months and now, today, I see them!”

At noon, spectators gathered to watch the ladies from Anytime Fitness demonstrate the popular “Zumba Workout.” Anytime Fitness’ Bette Troxell sat back and cheered them on. She exclaimed,” They rocked it, they got compliments, it was good.”

Following the high energy demo, “Out of the Blue” provided live entertainment. Local entertainer, Harold Staley, followed their act. He has performed at previous Showcases.

John Nickerson, a.k.a. Gnarly Artly, stood near the stage at his booth, enjoying the band. “This is great; I hope everybody comes back next year.”

Some businesses provided a taste of the everyday products that consumers will find in their shops. Some of the most creative booths included J. Rothrock Outfitters, a family owned business on East Main Street in Thurmont. They displayed a tent and other unique decorative pieces that would pique the interest of outdoor enthusiasts. “I love the live band; the facility is fantastic,” said proprietor, Hillary Rothrock. This being her second time at the showcase, she already looks forward to next year.

Eyler’s Flea Market also displayed a unique set-up, with a montage of items from their flea market vendors’ booths.

For some business owners, it was their first time at the Showcase. Jason Thakkar, the new owner of Super 8 Motel in Thurmont made it a point to greet other business owners and welcome the community to visit the motel, which is also now under new management.

The Irons family, from Old Mink Farm Resort, offered a hand-painted cabin scene for visitors to take a fun photo “in the woods,” while advertising some of their beautiful mountain get-aways for rent. The Irons even noticed that some of the people dropping by for information weren’t from the Thurmont area, a sign that the showcase had a bigger draw than expected.

Local non-profit groups like the Lions Club, Civitan, and Girl Scouts were also present at the Showcase. Two of the Girl Scouts were dressed as “Thin Mint” cookies. The costumes reminded many that it was time to show their support and purchase some of their favorite sweet treats. When asked if she was having fun, Miss Harrison, eight years old, exclaimed, “YES! It’s sooo fun!”

The ladies of the Thurmont Lion Club sold tickets for upcoming raffles and commemorative Thurmont memorabilia. The Civitan Club proudly displayed projects and fundraisers they’ve been promoting during the past year. Frederick County Executive Jan Gardener dropped by their booth to thank them for their service to the community.

Cunningham Falls State Park Ranger Travis Watts brought his feathered friends from the aviary to advocate upcoming events at the park. Parents and kids stood aside while Ranger Travis handled a screech owl.

In the next booth, Cindy Poole was busy promoting both The Catoctin Furnace Historical Society and Thurmont’s Green Team. While she was showing artifacts from Catoctin Furnace and promoting future events, she was also busy encouraging residents of the community to go green in Thurmont.

Lowman Keeney, president of the Thurmont Ambulance Company, worked behind the scenes to make sure everything was in order. His sister, LaRue, along with other volunteers, made sure no one went hungry during the event. Jim Wolfe and Tim Wiltrout manned the enormous grills in the kitchen, while others served up the meals and took orders. Many visitors were impressed with the size of the building and kitchen.

Vickie Grinder, Thurmont’s Economic Development director and Main Street coordinator, said there were forty-five vendors—seventeen more than the previous year. “We had a great crowd, with people of all ages. That’s what you want.”

Mayor Kinnaird was spotted making his rounds with his camera, capturing all aspects of the community-enriching event.

Overall, the 2017 Thurmont Business Showcase was very much anticipated by the community and a success for our local businesses and organizations. It’s safe to say that everyone looks forward to a prosperous year and to the next Showcase in 2018.

(left) Thurmont Commissioner Wes Hamrick chats with local Melaleuca representatives, Kellie Bevard and Carla Longenecker, during the Thurmont Business Showcase.

(below) Park Ranger Travis Watts, with “Scales and Tales” educates visitors on upcoming programs from Cunningham State Park, along with his side-kick, the screech owl.

James Rada, Jr.

Although the Emmitsburg Town staff comprehensive energy plan presentation in April focused primarily on financials, it also looked at how Emmitsburg was becoming a greener and more sustainable community.

Maryland currently has only thirty-five certified sustainable communities out of sixty-seven towns and cities that are working toward that goal. Emmitsburg has been certified a sustainable community in 2015.

A number of projects that the town sponsors haven both improved the quality of life in Emmitsburg and contributed toward the town achieving its certified sustainable status. These projects include: the community gardens; the Emmitsburg Farmers Market; the town’s multi-user trails; the sidewalk project that made it easier to walk from place to place throughout the town; the pet waste ordinance; the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association; solar fields; LED street lights; and the new algae-control system in Rainbow Lake.

Also, as benefit to being a certified sustainable community, Emmitsburg gets priority when applying for state grants.

“We do get grant priority because we are certified, which opens the door to a lot of funding we would not get otherwise,” said Town Manager Cathy Willets.

This priority helped the town get $250,000 in Community Legacy Grants, which have helped improve business facades in town.

While the use of LED street lights save the town money, they also use 60 percent fewer kilowatt hours. The PowerStar System on the sewage treatment plants optimizes the power used at the plant so that less energy is used.

The new algae-control system not only saves the town 642,250 gallons of water a month, but it significantly reduces the amount of chemicals needed to treat that water. The installation of the system has freed up the equivalent of 85 water taps.

While the new wastewater treatment plant was a state-mandated project, it has allowed the town to reduce the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in the water, which is good for the Chesapeake Bay.

The solar fields have allowed the town to avoid producing 5.7 million pounds of carbon dioxide since their installation.

Future green projects planned for the town include: the installation of two electric car charging stations in town; rain barrels and composting; a water conservation plan; watershed stewardship; and tree planting.

Gene Long is quick to share his advice for life: “never stop learning; enjoy your vocation, serve your country and community, worship your Creator, and be thankful!”

As Long celebrated his 90th birthday at a party with more than 250 family and friends from six states, laughter prevailed in the room. Harold Staley, local folk singer and songwriter, performed “The Ballad of Gene Long.” A poem about Long that had been written by Rosemarie Powell just two days before she passed away was shared.  Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird presented a Proclamation declaring March 5 through March 11, 2017, as Gene Long Week, in recognition of Long’s many years of dedication to our heritage, our community, and his fellow residents.

Long grew up with loving parents and nine siblings at their family farm in Creagerstown, and graduated from Thurmont High School in 1944.  After serving in the U.S. Army during WWII, his career involved various agricultural positions, including manager at St. Joseph’s College Farm (site of current National Fire Academy), production manager for Ideal Farms Dairy, and manager of Mid-East Dairy Herd Improvement Association. He has four children, eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. He and his wife, Shirley, live near Lewistown.

After his retirement in 1992, Long enjoyed being involved in the community. As a member of the Thurmont Lions Club, he was the leader of the Thurmont Trolley Trail Refurbishing Project. The trail was dedicated to the Town in 2007.  Raising funds for causes that he feels are important is one of his passions. He raised more than $38,000 for a handicap-accessible van for the family of an eight-year old child with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Long was instrumental in getting football into Walkersville High School in the late 1970s, and his love of sports and youth led him recently to partner with the local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, to provide funding so that a national archery program could be included in the Frederick County curriculum at several schools. The program has been very successful in building self-esteem by offering an even-playing field for all, including youth who may not easily excel at other sports.

Long’s compassion is also shown in quiet ways. The men who pick up the recyclables at his home find cold beverages waiting for them; a four-year-old at his church adopted “Uncle Gene” the very first time they met; and family, friends, and neighbors all benefit from his abundant crop of lettuce each year—still producing from seeds gathered from his own father’s garden.

Despite many hardships, including the death of an adult child, heart stents and by-pass surgery, abdominal aneurysm, amputated fingers, twelve broken ribs, a punctured lung, broken shoulder, etc., he enjoys life and approaches each day with the desire to make that day better for someone else. At ninety years YOUNG, he remains active by playing golf, bowling, playing cards, hunting, tending the garden, and woodworking.

When asked his secret to longevity, he replied, “Learning right from wrong at an early age, finding ways to fully enjoy life in spite of hardships along the way, and good strong genes from the best parents anyone could ever have.”