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Photo by Carie Stafford

Guest Speaker Sheriff Chuck Jenkins speaks at the National Wreaths Across America Day Ceremony, sponsored by the Thurmont Lions Club.

The second Saturday of December is National Wreaths Across America Day, and this year was the third year the Thurmont Lions Club has sponsored the program in Thurmont.

On Wednesday, December 14, 2022, a tractor trailer owned by Sheetz, Inc. was given an escort from Catoctin Furnace Road on Rt. 15 to the Thurmont American Legion Post 168 by the Thurmont Police Department and the Thurmont Guardian Hose Company.  Cub Scout Pack 270 and BSA Scout Troop 270 were on hand to assist in off-loading 70 boxes, equaling 630 wreaths.

On Saturday, December 17, the Thurmont Lions Club hosted a ceremony, with guest speaker Sheriff Chuck Jenkins. Veterans laid wreaths to recognize each branch of the military, and Sheriff Chuck Jenkins laid a wreath in honor of all emergency services personnel. 

Thurmont residents, along with Cub Scout Pack 270, BSA Scout Troops 270B & G, Venturing Crew 270, and Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital, laid wreaths at five cemeteries: Weller United, Blue Ridge, Mt. Carmel, Apples Church, and Graceham Moravian cemeteries. The Wreaths Across America mission is to Honor, Remember, and Teach.  

If you would like to donate or purchase a wreath, please visit  or, or send to The Thurmont Lions Club, 15000 Roddy Road, Thurmont, MD 21788 (in the notes, put Veteran name and cemetery).

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Pictured from left are Wayne Harris, Zone 3 Lt. Governor, who performed the installation; Loberta Staley, secretary; Patricia Goff, director; Jim Brown, vice president; Frank Warner, president; Odale Martin, treasurer; and Trevella Foster, Zone 3 governor.

The Lewistown Ruritan Club held an election of officers at the January 3, 2023, meeting.

The Lewistown Ruritan Club is a service-oriented club that provides financial support for many local community functions, in addition to the annual scholarship program for local students. The club is also known for its famous chicken BBQs, held each year from May to October at the pavilion on U.S. Route 15 (north and Fish Hatchery Road).

 The club meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the Lewistown United Methodist Church. Come join the club at one of its regular dinner meetings to see if you are interested in joining this very active community organization.

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BSA Scout Troops 270B & G earned the pulp and paper merit badge. Part of earning the badge is to take a tour of a papermill to see how the process works from beginning to end.

On December 10, 2022, Maryland Paper Company in Williamsport, Maryland, assisted the Troops by giving them a tour of their recycling plant.  The tour consisted of showing the Scouts how the company uses recycled cardboard and paper to make items ranging from paper to building materials. The Scouts asked in-depth questions, covering business to machinery and labor. 

Thank you to Maryland Paper Company and John Wright, Merit Badge counselor, for helping our youth learn important life skills.

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Pictured from left are Lions Wanda Ottey and Ruth Heaney, President Julie El-Taher, and PDG Paul Cannada.

On December 14, 2022, PDG Paul Cannada inducted a new member into the Thurmont Lions Club: Wanda Ottey, sponsored by Lion Ruth Heaney.  Lion Wanda has lived outside of Sabillasville for approximately 24 years. She has relatives in the military in the area. She is interested in helping to build the community, working on committees in and outside of the club, and is grateful to be given the opportunity. 

The club members extended a warm welcome to its new member and welcomed her into its “Lions family.”

The Thurmont Lions Club meets the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at St. John Lutheran Church, located on Church Street in Thurmont. For more information, visit or contact Lion Susan Favorite at or 240-409-1747.

The Volunteer for Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Northern Frederick County group of volunteers will again offer free preparation of Federal and Maryland tax returns this spring. Starting February 8, 2023, you can call 301-471-5757 (the same phone number as last year) to make appointments for the week of February 20. As usual, the deadline for filing your taxes is mid-April.

The group, working under IRS guidelines and certified by IRS to prepare certain types of returns, will follow the same general process for making appointments and preparing tax returns as before COVID. You must first call a volunteer for an appointment. When you call, the volunteer will ask you several questions about your 2021 income, filing status, and other tax factors to determine if IRS allows the group to prepare your taxes. If IRS does, the volunteer will make your appointment and ask you to bring your tax documents with you to the Thurmont Regional Library, located at 76 E. Moser Road in Thurmont. All taxes will be prepared at the library.

The Thurmont High School Alumni Association wishes to remind potential applicants that scholarship applications are found and must be submitted online between March 1 and March 31, 2023, at the Community Foundation of Frederick County website at

In June 2022, the Thurmont High School Alumni Association in conjunction with the Donald Lewis Memorial Fund and the Donald Dougherty Jr. Memorial funds awarded $22,400 in scholarships to six high school seniors. Each applicant must be related to a Thurmont High School graduate or a Catoctin High School graduate from the classes of 1969 to 1974. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles are encouraged to remind busy high school seniors of these scholarships.

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Pictured are Lion Joyce Anthony; Nick Goodrich, Autumn Lake Healthcare; PDG Paul Cannada.

In November 2022, Santa deputized special elves to collect goodies to fill Christmas stockings for residents at the Autumn Lake Healthcare at Glade Valley. The elves delivered all the goodies at the Thurmont Lions Club meeting on November 9. This was the club’s service project for December, with members assembling the stockings for delivery to the facility.

On December 23, 2022, PDG Paul Cannada and Lion Joyce Anthony delivered the 118 stockings and 118 Christmas cards to the Autumn Lake Healthcare at Glade Valley. Activities Director Nick Goodrich was so appreciative of the items. This was a heartfelt service project for the club, and it was fun to spread a little Christmas cheer to folks who have had a really tough year and could not be with their families during the holiday season.

Lion Joyce Anthony received a thank you letter for the club’s thoughtfulness, generosity, and adding joy to the residents.

For more information about the club, visit or contact Lion Susan Favorite at or 240-409-1747.

The New Year is a good time for people to clean out their pantries. The Thurmont Food Bank can use all the donations you offer, as long as they are not outdated, not opened, and not going bad. Unopened hygiene and cleaning items would also be appreciated. Non-perishable donations can be placed in the cart in the entryway anytime, and perishable donations can be delivered on Tuesday or Friday (from 11:00 a.m-1:00 p.m.) when volunteers are present.

Volunteers are needed at 8:30 a.m. on the first Thursday of each month to unload and process food received from The Maryland Food Bank.

A huge “Thank You” goes out to the Thurmont Food Bank volunteers who put in hundreds of hours each month to provide food for people in need. In December, they gave out two weeks’ worth of food more than 410 times! Drop a thank you card off at the Thurmont Food Bank or mail it to P.O. Box 74, Thurmont, MD 21788, so they can fill up a gratitude wall and let the volunteers know how much they are appreciated!

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Baton Twirling Holiday Show at Catoctin High School.

The Catoctin-Aires Twirling Corps recently hosted its annual holiday showcase of baton twirling. This marks the group’s 49th year of holiday stage-show programs. The event was held at Catoctin High School.

With over half of the organization as first-year twirlers, the group debuted the following new students with group-stage performances: Kasandra Grimes, August Miller, Cheyanna Sipes, Sydney Topper, Faith Walker, and Georgia Winslow. The group represented a mix of ages, from 4 through 11. Performing their no-drop group routine, the first-timers twirled one baton to the musical selection, “Celebrate.”

Seasoned twirlers of the group were Ruby Elswick, Caitlyn Purdum, and Kelly Reed. This trio performed one, two, and three batons to the musical selection, “Heart of Rock And Roll.” These girls continue twirling with the organization, having had years of experience in the sport.

In addition to the group numbers presented, Kasandra Grimes twirled a one baton and ribbon-stick solo to the song, “Shake It Off.” Caitlyn Purdum brought her one-baton, two-baton, and lighted-baton routine to the song, “Worlds Smallest Violin.”

Rounding out the show and bringing a holiday spirit to the show was Sydney Topper with her one- and two-baton routine to the song, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

Following the entertainment portion of the program, the group presented perfect attendance awards, as well as recognition awards. Kelly Reed was honored with the plaque and pin for having achieved 35 years of consecutive perfect performance attendance. Caitlyn Purdum was recognized with the pin for her achievement of 19 years of consecutive perfect performance attendance.

The trophy for the Most Improved Twirler was presented to Sydney Topper for the greatest improvement as a progression in baton-twirling skills throughout the year. The High Fundraising Award went to the family of Faith Walker for outstanding efforts in fundraising throughout the year. Miss Walker received the High Point Award, as well as a new baton, in recognition of her contributions.

Completing the evening was the crowning of the Queen for 2023. Members of the group voted for one member to represent the group as Queen for 2023. The elected title went to Ruby Elswick, who received the sash and crown. She will be featured in the group’s hometown parade in the coming parade season. Members of the royal court were August Miller and Faith Walker.

Thurmont’s MASONIC Acacia Lodge No. 155 is offering two scholarship awards this year.

Since 1995, Thurmont Masons have awarded scholarships worth over $100,000 to area students. Scholarships are available to all graduating high school seniors from a Maryland State accredited public, private, and/or homeschool program who reside within the Catoctin High School district boundaries, as per the Frederick County Public School district map (see FCPS District Map at

Scholarship application forms are available at the Catoctin High School Guidance Office and the Thurmont Public Library. Interested students must complete an application and return it to the location where it was obtained on or before April 30, 2023.

The successful applicant and their family will be invited to Acacia Lodge’s Annual Strawberry Festival in June for the presentation of the Scholarship.

Questions regarding the application should be directed to Acacia Masonic Lodge No. 155, attn: Scholarship Committee, via the Lodge website at

Richard D. L. Fulton

Mount Saint Mary’s University’s (MSMU) Junior Mountaineers Program, a student-founded organization, is seeking to expand the roles it previously played in offering mentoring to individuals trapped in isolation, resulting from the recent COVID pandemic.

According to Michael Hershey, graduate assistant of MSMU’s College of Liberal Arts, the program is seeking to expand its scope of mentoring services and has recently added providing mentoring services to the Lincoln Elementary School in Frederick (not to be confused with the Lincoln Elementary School in Gettysburg).  The group is also seeking to expand the offering of their mentoring services to older students as well.

As an example of the success of the Junior Mountaineers Program, Hershey stated that, in Spring 2022, Lincoln Elementary students were given an MSMU campus tour, had lunch in the Patriot Dining Hall, and were specially invited to practice with the university’s men’s basketball team.

Joe Vince, MSMU professor and the club’s faculty advisor, stated, “We gave the students Junior Mountaineers t-shirts that were signed by the basketball team,” adding, “I remember how excited the kids were. One of the kids said, ‘I am never getting rid of this! These guys will be famous!’”  Vince noted that many kids might not find philosophy and political science all that interesting, “but playing basketball is a great place to start connecting with these kids and teaching them about dedication and responsibility.”

After that initial meeting between MSMU’s mentors and the Lincoln Elementary School students, “mentors now go to Lincoln Elementary to spend time after school or during school events with their mentees.  “Mounties meet at least once a week for 30 minutes on Zoom, or in-person with their elementary student, offering help with homework, teaching life skills. Such as time management, or just chatting as a supportive friend,” Hershey reported.

Sergeant Rebecca Corrado, of the Frederick Police Department, who serves as the resource officer for Lincoln Elementary, stated, “The students tell me first thing in the morning that their mentor is coming today, and the feeling of anticipation truly carries them through the day,” according to Hershey.

Junior Mountaineers Program was formed two years ago by a group of MSMU students who wanted to “bring their community together to combat the loneliness brought on by the pandemic, through a mentoring program,” Hershey reported, adding that the Junior Mountaineers Program prepares Mount students to be role models for elementary schoolers.

“The program, started as a juvenile mentoring program, (but now) is looking to expand to older students, and has expanded (MSMU participants) from a handful of Mount students volunteering with the program to include faculty, staff, and community members,” he stated. 

The program is managed by the MSMU Criminal Justice Student Association.

In fact, MSMU students who wish to participate in the mentoring program have to pass background checks.  “Mount students who apply to be a part of the program go through a background check conducted by the Frederick Police Department,” Hershey stated, adding, “Once they are cleared, they are assigned to a student at Lincoln Elementary in Frederick.”

Yelena Schmidt, president of the Criminal Justice Student Association, said she is “thrilled with the success of the program and the possibilities for the future,” Hershey reported, further noting that Schmidt has been a tutor for three years now and is a head-tutor this year. “She has thrived as a leader in the Junior Mountaineers.”

“Every student is very different. I mentored a couple of students over the years, and they have always loved hanging out with me and telling me about school. It was really nice just being their friend, and they really loved just having someone to listen to them,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt noted that mentorship opens young students’ eyes to the world of possibilities available at an institution like the Mount, as they interface with student-athletes; STEM, liberal arts, business and education majors; artists and musicians, and more.

Junior Mountaineers Program members and faculty.

On December 8, Frederick Health, the largest healthcare provider in Frederick County, teamed up with the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) to host a visit for K9 Officer Duke, the newest crimefighting asset in the county. Duke is an Electronic Storage Detection (ESD) K9; his handler is SAO Investigator Justin Walters. Duke is one of only 100 dogs nationwide, and one of only two in Maryland, trained explicitly as an ESD K9.

ESD K9s are trained to detect and alert their handler to the presence of a chemical compound found on all electronic circuit boards, called triphenylphosphine oxide (TPPO). Examples of electronics with circuit boards include laptops, cell phones, and hard drives.

The ESD K9 team will focus on investigations of the Frederick County Cyber Crimes Task Force, which handles Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) cases within the county. K9 Duke and his handler will be a tremendous asset in ensuring that digital devices are successfully recovered during the execution of search warrants.

SAO Investigator Walters commented, “It is such a rewarding feeling to know that K9 Duke and I will help make a difference in bringing justice to some of the most innocent and vulnerable victims.”

Duke was at the Frederick Health Hospital beginning at 3:00 p.m. on December 12. He visited with pediatric patients, the Forensic Nursing team, and the IT department. The State’s Attorney’s Office often works closely with Frederick Health’s Forensic Nurses when processing sensitive cases.

“The Frederick Health Forensic Nursing team is proud to work collaboratively with the State’s Attorney’s Office and has done so for years. Our joint efforts help to protect this community,” said Pam Holtzinger, the Forensic Nurse supervisor at Frederick Health.

To learn more about Frederick Health, visit

A new session of beginner baton-twirling classes is starting on Thursday, January 19, 2023, at the Emmitsburg Community Center Gym.

The course runs for four consecutive Monday evenings and will be teaching basic twirling skills and marching. The course is taught by qualified instructors with decades of experience in twirling. Instruction is completely free. Batons are correctly sized for each child and are purchased at the first class of the course at a discounted rate.

Yearly, the Catoctin-Ettes hosts free beginner classes as a means to make the public aware of the growing sport of baton twirling, as well as to offer a new adventure for local youth.

Baton twirling takes place in gyms all over the world and encompasses many more levels than parade-style membership. This is a wonderful opportunity for youth to explore a new and exciting activity with no commitments.

For more information or registration, contact Donna Landsperger of the Catoctin-Ettes, an award-winning local non-profit twirling program established in 1972, at 240-405-2604 or email at Please use the header BATON in the subject line of emails.

The Emmitsburg Lions Club was able to serve 57 families in Emmitsburg during its annual holiday food drive.

The group met to put together food boxes with a ham or a turkey, with all the fixings, or a gift card, including a party at Lincoln on the Park with cocoa and delicious Carriage House cookies, supplied by our local elves Libby and Don Briggs! 

All this was made possible by a month-long food drive at Jubilee, Emmitsburg Dollar General, and the Vigilant Hose Company, as well as generous donations from the Emmitsburg Lions Club, American Legion, Sons of the American Legion, and the community! The Lions Club is very thankful for all of the support to serve its neighbors.

Lion Marilyn and Lion Bill help fill the Christmas food boxes.

On Sunday, December 4, the new Rocky Ridge Youth Association went Christmas caroling in Thurmont. The Matt Lambert Family, Eric Troxell Family, and Sam and Mary Jane Roop provided the tractors and wagons for 65 of our youth and parents to sing at 10 homes in the Thurmont area.

A huge thank you to Joyce Wivell for preparing the song sheets and music for the group. The Rocky Ridge Youth Association also had a special guest join them: Frosty the Snowman, who helped sing and dance at each stop.

The cooking group made cookies to give each family that was visited, as well as an ornament to hang on their tree.

After the chilly evening on the wagons, the Rocky Ridge Youth Association enjoyed soup and sandwiches at the Thurmont Grange Hall and enjoyed each other’s company with a competitive game of Bingo. The Rocky Ridge Youth Association would like to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

In mid-December, sometime during a Saturday night into Sunday morning, a bigfoot statue was stolen from the front of a house on Hemler Road in Thurmont. A sign was put up for its return, but nothing has materialized so far. If you have any information regarding this theft, please call The Catoctin Banner/E Plus Graphics at 301-447-2804. Anonymous tips will be kept confidential.

Helen Xia, CHS Student Writer

America, for many years, has faced a nuanced concern: the rise of the population of feral cats. These domesticated felines depend on humans for survival; however, feral cats are often abandoned on the streets, leaving them to endure the harsh outside world unaided.

Not only are feral cats vulnerable to threats such as contagious diseases, blood loss from worms and fleas, infections from untreated wounds, and cruel treatment from humans, but they also pose a danger to wildlife. For instance, according to the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), “Every year in the United States, cats kill well over 1 billion birds.”

The number of feral cats is not low, either. In fact, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), about 60 to 100 million feral cats wander our country’s roads, helplessly. What’s more, unfixed cats continue to produce even more litters of homeless kittens, further accelerating the problem.

Here’s some good news: We can help! The Cuddles Cat Rescue was organized in 2013 to help humanely reduce the large stray and feral cat population in the Thurmont area. The rescue is run entirely by volunteers who regularly dedicate several hours per week to coming in and caring for the cats. Since Cuddles Cat Rescue is a nonprofit organization, it relies solely on donations from the community to pay for food, veterinary care, and supplies to support its beneficial cause. (As a way to support the nonprofit, you can purchase an adorable tee or hoodie! To learn more, please visit

In the beginning, Cuddles Cat Rescue only operated through Trap, Neuter, and Release (TNR). This method entails colonies of cats being captured, vaccinated for rabies, and safely sterilized by a veterinarian before being returned to where they were found to be cared for by the property owners for the rest of the cats’ lives. Not long after starting, the rescue moved into a small, donated space on Carroll Street, where the organization could house cats and offer them for adoption. That way, instead of releasing them back into the wild, the cats had the opportunity to find forever, loving homes. In 2021, the rescue relocated to East Main Street in Thurmont, where they—Cuddles Cat Rescue and the felines themselves—have much more visibility to the public.

As mentioned previously, Cuddles Cat Rescue is managed exclusively by loving, generous volunteers, fostering a devoted, passionate, cat-loving community. The institution’s volunteers enjoy helping the cats as much as the cats enjoy finding their safe havens!

“I enjoy the rescue because it is my break from a hectic life,” said Tami Ridgway, a devoted volunteer at Cuddles Cat Rescue. “We see them come in scared and helpless, and then they develop into crazy fun cats! I also enjoy seeing the joy on the adopters’ faces when they get to take their new friend home.”

These sentiments were shared throughout the Cuddles committee. “I enjoy volunteering at CCR because you see the difference we make first-hand,” Chelsea Boggs explained, adding “Scared, sick, or unwanted cats come to us and leave not only healthy but with loving, forever homes.”

Similarly, the adoption director of the organization wrote, “Cuddles Cat is my weekly outlet from work and life. As the adoption director, it’s a great feeling to watch them find their ‘furever’ homes after coming in from a life outdoors. I love being a part of that. I started volunteering after the loss of my own cat. It’s been therapeutic.”

It is evident that while improving neglected cats’ lives and the environment, Cuddles Cat Rescue is bringing happiness to the individuals forwarding the nonprofit’s mission, too.

As a student volunteer at the rescue, I’ve definitely felt this happiness. It’s a bittersweet moment when a cat finds their long-awaited family—it’s a rewarding feeling, though you can’t help but feel a little sad when reminiscing the hours you spent looking after and playing with them. You often witness the feline friends grow up—both physically and mentally—especially if they entered the rescue as kittens or from adverse conditions. The rescue, to me, serves as a getaway from a potentially daunting reality. Sandwiched in-between responsibilities, such as work and schoolwork, is a refuge of innocent cats, jolly and eager for playtime, along with kindhearted volunteers who spark amusing and interesting conversations. I’ve been playing with the furballs for more than a year now, and I hope to continue for several more! Cuddles is excellent at what it does, from nurturing cats to emanating a warm, welcoming aura for all.

You can help save the lives of cats and dogs by making sure they are spayed or neutered. Fixing your furry friends is the number one way to reduce the population of homeless cats and dogs. Doing so also increases their quality of life, since they wouldn’t have to have litter after litter, which can cause a plethora of medical issues. There are far too many pets all over the country in need of loving homes. Even one litter of kittens or puppies is too much when countless other animals are waiting to be adopted in shelters and rescues.

If you have an unfixed cat on your property, or if you know of one anywhere, please do something to help! One unfixed cat can turn into dozens before you know it, only adding to the already overflowing population of feral cats in the United States. Though it is an intimidating issue, we have the power to help resolve it.

To learn more about Cuddles Cat Rescue and its adoptable companions, please visit

On October 12, Thurmont Grange #409 held its annual Veterans Appreciation Program. The evening started with a welcome given by Grange Lecturer, Niki Eyler. She stated that the Veterans being honored were “all honorable, upstanding, and respectable members of their families, churches, and communities.” Next, Grange member Noah Barth led all attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the National Anthem, led by Granger Hannah Barth. 

A special recognition of Veteran and past Granger, Bill Zentz, was given by Thurmont Grange Secretary Jane Savage. Bill, eldest son of Phil and Betty Zentz and grandson of Harry Zentz, a charter member of the Thurmont Grange, graduated from the University of Maryland in 1969 with a degree in business administration. Upon graduation, Bill enlisted in the Army. Before heading to Vietnam, he was stationed in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, where he was trained as a Field Artillery and Intelligence Specialist.

In 1970, Bill was stationed in Phu Bai, just outside of Danang, and then he was at Firebase Nancy, a hilltop several miles outside Quang Tri City and about 30 miles south of the DMZ. On April 13, 1970, his unit was overrun by the North Vietnamese sappers, and throughout that night, everyone fought back with their rifles, regardless of their military training. After returning home, Bill completed his master’s degree from Frostburg State College, in addition to graduating from the Stonier School of Banking at Rutgers University. He began his career in banking at Thurmont Bank and assisted with the mergers of Nations Bank, Sovereign Bank, and Bank of America. After 35 years, he retired from Bank of America and spent several years working for Ferko, The Frederick County Teachers Association Credit Union.

Bill led an active life of service in Thurmont.  He was a member of Thurmont Grange #409; the Thurmont Guardian Hose Company, where he served as Treasurer for 20 years; and American Legion Post 7. Bill was also chairman and member of the Frederick County Vocational-Technical Advisory Council for 20 years. Bill was recognized by Hospice of Frederick County for his service and was presented with a Vietnam War Veteran pin and Presidential Proclamation. He was also the first recipient of the “Proud Veteran” pin, designed by Hospice. On December 20, 2017, Bill passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family after a courageous six-year battle with dementia. He was buried with full military honors at the Blue Ridge Cemetery. In addition to this special recognition, Thurmont Grange will honor Bill with a banner in the Thurmont Military Banner Program, sponsored by the Thurmont Lions Club. Also, members of Scout Troup 270 folded the American flag and presented it to Bill’s children, Warren Zentz, Carroll Zentz, and Jessica Zentz-Ridenour in honor of Bill’s service to our country.

The guest speaker for the evening was Ron Pitts, who is the Western Maryland Chair of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense program that promotes a supportive work environment for Service members in the Reserve Component. Ron explained that almost half of our military force resides in the National Guard and Reserve. They are unique in that they also have civilian employers. Support of America’s employers and the employees they share with the Nation ensures the viability of this all-volunteer force of the Reserve Component and, thus, our national security. For more information on this program, visit

Next was a roll call of the evening’s honored Veterans, Fred Henning (Army 65-67), Stacie Massett (Navy 89-95), Louis Haynes (Army 92-00), Ron Pitts (Army 68-71), and Nelson Leroy Smith (Navy 60-80).

Honorees were met with a round of applause in appreciation of their selfless service in the United States Armed Forces. Lastly, a moment of silence was observed for departed Grange members Bill Powell, Cliff Stewart, and Jim Moser, as well as those who had lost their lives defending our country. 

If you are interested in joining the Thurmont Grange, please email

Pictured are family and friends of Bill Zentz who attended to be part of his special recognition.

Pictured from left are Grange Lecturer Niki Eyler, Ron Pitts, Louis Haynes, Fred Henning, Nelson Leroy Smith, Stacie Massett, and Grange President Bob Wiles.

Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

As much as we look forward to the fun and festivities of the holidays, the holiday season can also bring with it stress, anxiety, and exhaustion.

Most of us are pulled in multiple directions during the holidays, with shopping, cooking, sending cards, baking cookies, hosting family, attending events, and, well, trying to please everyone. This can wear us down and, sometimes, even cause us to get sick. However, there are several techniques we can try to minimize our stress and anxiety so that we can thoroughly enjoy the holiday season.Here are a few:

(1) Set a spending budget—don’t try to “keep up with the Joneses.” That’s a battle you can’t win. Remind yourself of what the holidays are really about; (2) Get plenty of exercise—being active can elevate your mood and help you deal with stress better; (3) Try to keep it simple—know your limitations and learn how to say “No;” (4) Take some time for yourself—set aside at least 15 minutes of alone time a day; (5) Forget “perfect”—stop setting unrealistic expectations. Don’t let stress over the house being perfect, dinner being perfect, etc. rob you of enjoying the moment. Those things don’t matter in the scheme of things; focus your energy on enjoying special time with your loved ones…that’s what really counts; and (6) Pick your battles—don’t let the actions of others rob you of your joy.

The Great Pumpkin Pickup, sponsored by the Thurmont Green Team, was held on Saturday, November 26. Approximately 20 volunteers combed the streets of Thurmont for pumpkins placed on the curbs by residents and delivered them to The Catoctin Zoo and area chicken and pig farmers to provide food for the animals.

At least 600-700 pumpkins were diverted from the landfill to provide food for the animals.

Volunteer Danni dropped off pumpkins for chickens and pigs at a farm on Layman Road. The farm owner says it will feed them for several weeks.

Emmitsburg’s Joy Family’s multi-generational Mount St. Mary’s (MSM) graduates are pictured (from left): Theresa Joy, Melissa Joy, Don Joy (seated), Sandra Joy, Cynthia Joy, Dolores Joy Henke, Robert Henke, and Mike Joy; (back row) Julie Joy and Ed Joy. Gertrude Joy was the first of ten children to graduate from MSM in 1953. All pictured are still alive except Dolores Joy Henke, who graduated when she was 52 years old

North-Effect Wa Tatas-Red has been named the best of the best at the 55th World Dairy Expo held in Madison, Wisconsin, on October 2-7. World Dairy Expo is the premier exhibition for dairy cattle exhibitors and enthusiasts. This year’s event was the largest ever, with a record number 2,663 animals housed and 54,525 attendees from 86 countries. Tatas was the winning Summer Yearling and Junior Champion in the International Red and White Show. She then went up against other breed champions in the prestigious Supreme Champion Pageant that concludes the weeklong event. While the overall winner hailed from Canada, Tatas reigns as Reserve Supreme and best in the United States.

Tatas is owned by Chris and Jen Hill of Thurmont and Tim and Sharyn Abbott of Richford, Vermont. She is housed at Glad-Ray Farm in Emmitsburg, owned by Jen’s parents, James and Sharon Keilholtz.

Pictured from left are Tim and Sharyn Abbott, Tatas, and Jen and Chris Hill.

Transit Services of Frederick County is committed to constant improvement, including ensuring that residents in our more rural communities have access to safe, reliable public transportation. They are embarking on an outreach effort to engage both current and future transit riders to learn more about how to improve the routes, especially the Emmitsburg/Thurmont Shuttle.

The Transit Services team has scheduled an open-house style event for the Emmitsburg community and surrounding areas on Thursday, December 8, from 4:00-6:00 p.m., at the Town Hall Office in Emmitsburg, located at 300A S. Seton Avenue. At this event, they will provide an opportunity for the Emmitsburg community and surrounding areas to learn more about the existing service, provide feedback for service modifications in the area, and ask their team questions about paratransit, job opportunities, and more. For more information, call 301-600-2065 or visit

Born November 16, 1922, Frances Messner recently celebrated her 100th birthday. She is third in line of 10 kids to Joseph W. and Annie Kelly. Frances has lived in Thurmont all her life. Her key to longevity? She claims, there are “too many people waiting to get into Heaven and the devil doesn’t want me. Besides, it’s too hot there!” She said she’s just waiting… “twenty-four hours a day “settin’ around, take it as it comes.”

As we age, she explained, we “get to a point where you can’t see, can’t hear, and you have to have somebody waiting on you hand and foot.” She most regrets that she “can’t eat the good stuff.” She joked, “You know, right before I die, I’m gonna ask for one of those big meals for my final meal!”

In school, Frances earned good grades, but one day (in 10th grade), she decided not to go to school anymore and “nobody ever said anything about it.”

Frances got a job in Taneytown for three years until marrying and starting a family with Ralph Messner. The couple had four children. When they started to fall behind on the bills, Frances went to work at the Emmitsburg Manufacturing Company. She worked there for 21 years. She and Ralph worked opposing shifts to cover care of their children. Frances now has 12 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, 19 great-great-grandchildren (with three more on the way)!

Frances Received 122 birthday cards. Thanks to all who reached out to her for her special centennial birthday!

Bobby Black of Catoctin Mountain Orchard (left) delivers 100 apples to Frances (pictured with Bev Sutton, Frances’ daughter) for her 100th birthday, as she takes a bite from the 100th apple.

Five generations: Emily Snyder—great-granddaughter, Beverly Sutton—daughter, Teresa Snyder—granddaughter, Josh Snyder—grandson, Chase Shoemaker—great-great-grandson, Frances Messner—holding Adeline Minns, great-great-granddaughter, and Kiley Myers—great-great-granddaughter.