Currently viewing the category: "Community News"

Pack 270, Troop 270B, Troop 270G, and Crew 270 proudly announce their Scouting for Food on November 7, 2020, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please leave a labeled bag at the curb (curbside pickup only available within Thurmont town limits). You can also drop off your donation at Thurmont Weis Markets Commuter Lot (next to McDonald’s) or the Scout House on Elm Street.

For more information, please email

Many non-profit organizations throughout Frederick County are continuing to help the public and their members (at least to some degree) during the coronavirus pandemic. Partners In Care is one of those organizations, although COVID-19 has adversely affected their overall efforts.

“We are continuing to drive people to their doctor appointments, the grocery store, the food bank, and elsewhere,” said Frederick County Partners In Care Site Director Randy Gray. Since their members are isolated (due to COVID-19), it has amplified the need for their “Phone Buddy” service. A Phone Buddy is a volunteer who calls a member who may be lonely or in need of some cheering up. The handyman service also remains active, although it’s limited to outdoor work at this time. “The pandemic may have added to the stress levels of some folks, but it doesn’t keep us from calling and trying to comfort our members,” Gray added.

Partners In Care, which has been located in Frederick for more than 20 years, moved to a new location at the beginning of 2020. The non-profit is in the Willowtree Plaza off Route 40 (the Golden Mile). Not only is there an administrative office, but there is also a beautiful, upscale resale boutique.

“The Upscale, Resale Boutique opened in late May observing protocols to keep our volunteers, customers, and staff safe by social distancing, requiring masks to be worn, and frequently using disinfectant,” said Boutique Manager Diana Modelski. “We gratefully accept donations of new and gently loved ladies and men’s clothing, jewelry, artwork, housewares and furniture. Donations are accepted Tuesday through Saturday during business hours (10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.). We are so appreciative of our donations, which we sell to support our heartfelt mission,” said Modelski. “Please help us get the word out!” For more information, please call 301-732-7110 or email

Partners In Care is based in Pasadena, Maryland, and was founded in 1993 as a way to help older adults remain independent in their homes. The organization deploys a unique model of “service exchange,” where all members are expected to chip in to help the good of the cause. There are no fees for membership or services. In addition to Frederick and Pasadena, Partners In Care also has an office in Easton, Maryland, and will soon begin operations in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Before COVID-19, the organization would send volunteers into members’ homes to fix leaky faucets, replace batteries in smoke detectors, and take care of many other minor handyman tasks. Partners In Care also hosts presentations and group events for members on various “older adult” topics when not in pandemic lockdown. The Frederick office of Partners In Care recently brought on board Office Coordinator Dawn Hessler and Site Director Randy Gray. For more information about their services, to volunteer, or to make a donation, please call 301-682-7433 or email

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) welcomes Emmitsburg native and U.S. Air Force military Veteran Todd Wivell (pictured right) as the new public information officer (PIO).

Wivell is a Catoctin High School graduate. After serving more than 23 years on active duty, he returned to Frederick County in 2017. He is responsible for coordinating all communications efforts for FCSO Sheriff Chuck Jenkins and the more than 430 deputies, correctional officers, and staff that support that office. As the organization’s public face, he will provide vital information to the more than 250,000 citizens and local media of Frederick County.

“We are excited to have Todd join our team and welcome him back to the local area,” said Jenkins. “His extensive military experience in public relations and his knowledge of Frederick County and the surrounding areas make him the right person for this position.”

Wivell started his military career in 1994 as a police officer and retired in 2017 as the chief of public affairs for the 62nd Airlift Wing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. He oversaw all information programs, media relations, public outreach, and distinguished visitor events for an organization of more than 7,000 personnel. His military work includes event coordination with the National Football League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the Seattle Seahawks, the Carolina Panthers, and the World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

Receiving numerous military decorations, Wivell earned two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, two Air Force Commendations Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, two Joint Service Achievement Medals, and five Air Force Achievement Medals. In 2014, he received a Department of Defense Thomas Jefferson Award. In 2013, the city of Tacoma, Washington, recognized him as their Military Citizen of the Year.

FCSO is a full-service law enforcement agency, an arm of the court, and a keeper of offenders. In this regard, it exists to serve the more than 250,000 citizens of Frederick County with respect, fairness, and compassion. FCSO is committed to the prevention of crime, the protection of life and property, the preservation of peace and order, the enforcement of laws and ordinances, the safeguarding of constitutional guarantees, and the safekeeping of prisoners. The men, women, and officers of this office nurture public trust by holding themselves to the highest standards of performance and ethics.

The FCSO is located at 110 Airport Drive East, Frederick, MD, 21701. Visit for more information.

Courtesy Photo

James Rada, Jr.

Mayor Don Briggs easily won election to a fourth term as mayor of Emmitsburg on September 29, 2020. Of the 398 votes cast for the mayor, Briggs won 230 of them.

“I am humbled by the results,” Briggs said. “It just means that I have to work hard to serve the community.”

The mayor’s race was a contested election, with former Mayor James Hoover and Board of Commissioners President Cliff Sweeney. Hoover received 110 votes, and Sweeney received 58.

“I ran against two true gentlemen opponents, where only the issues were discussed,” Briggs said during the October 5 town meeting.

Briggs noted that the town has a lot going on in terms of development right now, and the town needs to proceed carefully.

“What makes Emmitsburg so special is its small-town feel, and I don’t want to lose that,” Briggs said.

Commissioner Joseph Ritz, III, was also elected on September 29. He ran unopposed and received 331 votes.

Ritz said, “In the next three years, I’d like to address the following: the lack of public parking in town; traffic issues in and around the square; business growth without so many deterring restrictions; offering more for our youth and their families; and our aging and failing utility infrastructures.”

Sandra Dalton, clerk of the Circuit Court for Frederick County, swore in Briggs during the October 5th town meeting. Briggs then swore in Ritz. The ceremony was done without family in attendance because of COVID-19 restrictions.       

During the meeting, Briggs recommended new positions for the commissioners for the upcoming year. This happens after every election.

Commissioner Tim O’Donnell was asked to serve as the new president of the board of Commissioners.

Sweeney, who has served as board president for two years, was asked to serve as vice president and the liaison to the Citizens Advisory Committee.

Commissioner T. J. Burns was asked to serve as treasurer.

Commissioner Frank Burns will continue serving as the liaison to the Parks and Recreation Committee, in part, to continue his efforts to bring local youth baseball back to Emmitsburg.

Ritz was asked to serve as the liaison to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The board approved the mayor’s recommendations, and the commissioners are now serving in their new positions.

A special gathering is planned for Billy Hodge, Sr., former coach and teacher at Thurmont Middle and Catoctin High Schools. His late wife, Helen, who taught fourth grade at Sabillasville Elementary School for many years, will be honored as well.

Come and join friends and the Hodge Family at Cascade American Legion, 14418 McAfee Hill Road in Cascade, between 1:00-3:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 7, 2020. Masks will be required to enter the building.

You are encouraged to bring a birthday card for Mr. Hodge to enjoy the following day, November 8, his 90th birthday.

If you’d like to mail a card, send a message to Joan Fry at, requesting his mailing address.

Please tell all your friends who knew Coach/Mr. or Mrs. Hodge.

Photo Courtesy of Mr. Hodge’s daughter, Nikki Hodge Brooks

A recent photo of Mr. Hodge shows the Korean War Veteran offering a salute.

Members of the Catoctin High School (CHS) Class of 1985 are invited to the Ott House in Emmitsburg on Saturday, November 28, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Ott House does require masks and social distancing. If the gathering does not work out at the Ott House, an alternative gathering place will be posted the night of the gathering at the Ott House. Facebook has been used as the primary vehicle to spread this invitation.

If you know a 1985 CHS graduate, please let him or her know about this plan. All questions may be messaged on Facebook to Debra Abraham, emailed to, or called to 301-271-1050.

The Catoctin Church of Christ gave the Thurmont Middle School Weekend Pantry Bag Giveaway 300 snack bags to be handed out to students desiring supplemental snacks for the weekend.

The Church of Christ is an autonomous Christian congregation that is associated with one another through Bible-only doctrine. It was established on the Day of Pentecost, A.D. 27. The seed was planted in Thurmont in March 1996, when 15 members who were traveling to Frederick decided to make it their mission to establish the Lord’s church in Thurmont. The church speaks where the Bible speaks and is silent on issues where the Bible is silent. They believe in staying as close to the Biblical teaching as is humanly possible. 

The church has grown from 15 members to approximately 90 members at present. Bible classes are offered on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. for all ages, and worship follows at 10:00 a.m. Visitors are always welcome, and they encourage questions, “because if what we are doing is not found in God’s Bible, we will change.”

If visiting, they ask that you wear a mask in keeping with Maryland’s request to prevent the spreading of COVID-19. Church services are also broadcast live on Facebook (, along with a calendar of activities, which includes the annual pig roast held for the community on the first Saturday in June.

Courtesy Photo

Tamara Manahan; Connor Manahan; Glenn Murray, elder; Richard Long, minister; Janine Smith, principal; and Anita Shank, assistant principal.

Emmitsburg Boy Scout Troop 727 has teamed up with Jubilee Foods in Emmitsburg for this year’s Scouting for Food. From November 1 through November 13, please purchase some extra items and leave them in the boxes at the Scouting for Food display inside of Jubilee.

Items in most need are:

•   jelly

•   beets

•   sauerkraut

•   spaghetti sauce

•   pork and beans

•   potatoes (boxed)

•   Raman Noodles

•    rice (boxed)

•    pasta

•    shaving cream

•    shampoo

•    deodorant

•    dish soap

•    laundry detergent

•   coffee/tea

•   juice

•   soup (especially


The Scouts will transport the items to the food bank on Saturday, November 14. You may also deliver your items to the Emmitsburg Food Bank on Saturday, November 14, between the hours of 9:00 a.m.-noon. Scouts will be there to help you unload the items.

Any questions, please call Jen at 301-401-2387.

Lewistown Ruritan member, Patricia (Patty) Goff, made and donated face masks for local seniors and those with medical complications in the Thurmont area.

As a member of the Lewistown Ruritan, Patty, is very community-oriented and is more than willing to help wherever she can. Who would have guessed that her hobby of sewing may help save a life during this coronavirus pandemic!

Patty’s father, Wendric (Buddy) Moore, is also a long-time Lewistown Ruritan member.

Courtesy Photo

Lewistown Ruritan member, Patricia Goff.

Cuddles Cat Rescue Needs Your Help

Our rescue is facing difficult challenges. We’ve been at our location for six years due to the generosity of the owner in allowing us to utilize our space rent-free while paying only utilities.

Earlier this year, we had exciting plans to expand into a space within the building, where we could offer an adoption center open to the public. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic devastated our fundraising efforts, making our plans to expand no longer possible. The building we occupy has now been listed for sale.

We’re unsure of our future and how soon we will be required to move. We desperately need a new location for our rescue so that we can continue our life-saving work for cats. So many residents in our community are aware of the wonderful services we offer for stray and feral cats/kittens that may have never had a chance for survival without our dedicated volunteers.

If anyone knows of or has a space in Thurmont (even a room in a building) that is available for little or no rent where we could relocate our rescue, please let us know. We’d greatly appreciate it if you could help us save Cuddles Cat Rescue of Thurmont by asking around and sharing this news with everyone you know.

Contact us by email at

~ Thank You, from all of us at Cuddles Cat Rescue


Mayor Don Briggs

The new American flag mural on the southern face of the Jubilee store is a welcoming sight. It is a beautiful complement to the farm setting painting on the east face of the store. Thank you to Jubilee for sponsoring these works. Now we have three public artworks when we include the William Cochran glass etching in front of the Fire Museum on South Seton Avenue.

September has been a wonderful month hosting in-person guests for the weekly COVID-19 update podcasts: Sister Martha, Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz, Mount President Tim Trainor, and our deputy Ben Whitehouse.

At the September regularly scheduled meeting, the town council concurred on extending the town voluntary water conservation restraint by all users of town water. This perspective will be reassessed at the October town meeting. Always to note, because the town office is housed in the county-owned Community Center building, which continues to be closed to the public, the meeting will be virtual.

The community pool closed on Labor Day.  Thanks to our town, we successfully got through all the COVID-19 related issues to run the pool. Thank you for your patience. A new building interior and new mural exterior additions to our one-year old renovated pool awaits the 2021 season. 

The Dunkin’ Donuts opening has been pushed back to mid-October. Reasoning for the delay is sound: pandemic supply-chain-related delays.

As mentioned in last month’s article from the site engineers working on the Rutter’s convenience store and gas and go, all county approvals have been met and now they are waiting on state highway approval of entrance onto Rt. 140 and the Maryland Department of the Environment sign-off on their stormwater pond plan.

Now that Ryan Homes is back in Brookfield (as of September 17, the model home foundation on Wheatley Court foundation is poured and framing materials are on site), the prospects of opening Brookfield Drive to two-way traffic at the intersection with Irishtown Road is moving closer to becoming a reality. The Brookfield subdivision includes approved and platted lots on the west side of Irishtown Road. To build homes on those lots, the developer is committed to eliminating the crest in Irishtown Road east of where Brookfield Drive opens onto Irishtown Road. The crest currently impedes safe sight-distance viewing for an expected heavier volume of traffic converging at the intersection if two-way traffic were permitted (in and out) of Brookfield Drive; hence, we have the present condition, exiting-only traffic onto Irishtown Road.  

From practical experience and from what I am being told repeatedly, a Ryan Homes project in your town brings with it immense marketing attention to the town. Good to have Ryan back. This should be a big plus for our businesses, especially after what the businesses, as well as consumers, have been through in the last six months.

Several community events are planned for October, including a unity gathering in Community Park on Sunday, October 4; a daytime Halloween event at the Seton Center; and the Lions and Vets annual Halloween Parade. We can pull these events off safely if we adhere to the mandated request that we wear masks and social distance. I mention this because September has seen an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases in our zip code. We cannot let down our guard. This is a very serious disease. We need to wear our face masks, properly social distance, and wash our hands a lot going into the flu season months.

Take care and get out and enjoy this wonderful weather.


 Mayor John Kinnaird

I find it hard to believe that fall is here already. Being someone who keeps track of the seasons by the events I attend, this year has been upended by the COVID-19 virus. Many of the events have been canceled for this year due to concerns about spreading the virus. It is important that we limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus whenever possible. The State of Maryland currently has restrictions in place that require the wearing of face masks and the observance of social distancing. We all must wear face masks and keep the 6-foot distance when possible while shopping or gathering in groups at social events. Please observe the current requirements; this protects you and the people with whom you come in contact.

As everyone is aware, Colorfest has been canceled this year due to vendors’ concerns related to COVID-19. One of the biggest features of Colorfest week is yard sales. Yard sales can be held this year, regardless of the cancellation. Residents are not required to obtain a permit this year for yard sales on Colorfest week. We only ask that you observe current COVID-19 restrictions and make sure cars do not block the streets. Several organizations and neighborhoods will be holding yard sale events that week. The Guardian Hose Company will have yard sale spaces available at the Carnival Grounds on Friday, October 9, from 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., and Saturday, October 10, from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Vendor spaces are available by calling Lori at 240-575-5469. There will be ample parking, and food will be available from the GHC membership.

The Thurmont Parks and Recreation Commission is planning a family picnic day and movie night. This event will be held at the Thurmont Community Park, beginning at noon on Saturday, October 17. You are invited to join us at Community Park starting at noon to enjoy a picnic lunch. There will be local food vendors and ample picnic tables! Food will be served from noon until they run out. Get there early and enjoy a tasty lunch. You can also bring your own lunch or an early dinner and use one of the picnic tables or enjoy one of the many individual picnic areas at the back of the park. In the early evening, there will be a drive-in movie! The movie will be shown in the large parking lot with a section for lawn chairs and blankets and room for cars to enjoy the drive-in-movie. The movie night is free and complementary popcorn will be available. Drive-in-movie parking is limited, so get there early. Those viewing the movie from chairs and blankets can park in the designated areas. Face masks and social distancing are required.

Thurmont’s annual Halloween in the Park has also been canceled for this year. We are looking for volunteers to help with future Halloween events. If you are interested in volunteering, please keep an eye open for planning announcements this coming year.

Trick-or-treating will be held in Thurmont on Halloween from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Please observe current COVID requirements for masks and social distancing. I recommend putting candy and other treats in individual bags to hand out to the little ghouls and goblins. This will serve to limit contact from grabbing treats out of a single bowl or bag. As always, keep your porch light on if you are providing treats and be careful while driving on our streets; our kids may not be paying close attention to traffic while going house to house.

Elections are coming up soon! Here are some dates to keep in mind ahead of the November 3 general election: Tuesday, October13—deadline to register to vote; Tuesday, October 20—deadline to request mailing, faxing, or emailing a mail-in ballot; Monday, October 26 through Monday, November 2—early voting will be available from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Catoctin High School for Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and Northern Frederick County residents;  Tuesday, November 3—General Election voting will be held at Catoctin High School for Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and Northern Frederick County residents, 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.; a drop box for mail-in ballots will be at Catoctin High School during early voting and on Election Day.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable fall and that you enjoy some of the many local opportunities for events in our area. Remember to continue to support our local restaurants and businesses!

Please contact me at or at 301-606-9458 with any questions, suggestions, complaints, or comments.

by James Rada, Jr.


Emmitsburg Seeks to Become a Main Street Affiliate

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the application for Emmitsburg to become a Maryland Main Street Affiliate. This is not a Maryland Main Street Community, but it does bring some advantages to the town while not having the associated costs. Although the town is expected to show economic development improvements in town, it will not have to hire a full-time Main Street manager. A member of the town staff can oversee the town’s program efforts. The expectation of the affiliate program is that the community will eventually become a Maryland Main Street Community.

The advantages of being a Main Street Affiliate are that it opens up grant opportunities to help continue improving Emmitsburg and the town can get help running programs.

Emmitsburg Begins Annexation for Wastewater Treatment Plant Property

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners has introduced plans to annex two parcels of property (16707 and 16715 Creamery Road) totaling 85.39 acres. The town owns the property, on which there are no dwellings or residents. The property is currently zoned agricultural in Frederick County. If annexed, it will be zoned institutional in Emmitsburg. A public hearing will be held on November 2 for any public comment.

Commissions Issue Proclamations

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners issued three different proclamations during its September meeting.

Community Park was renamed the “E. Eugene Myers Community Park” in recognition of Myers’ “extraordination contributions” to the town. In addition to his service to the community, Myers was one of the founding members of Community Park.

September 26 was declared Arbor Day in Emmitsburg. Besides the proclamation, the town also recognized the day by planting 15 new trees in town.

Finally, September was proclaimed as Recovery Month in Emmitsburg.

Town Receives Compensation Study

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners heard a presentation of the staff compensation study during its September meeting. William Benner with WW Consulting, Inc. used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Economic Research Institute to estimate what the salaries of town staff should be. Benner averaged salary data from Gettysburg and Hagerstown with adjustments for the scope of the job, size of the town, and years on the job. The commissioners will hold a meeting on October 19 to review the information and decide on how to move forward with it.


Parades and Assemblies Changes Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved changes to the town ordinance affecting parades and assemblies in town. The changes will allow the Thurmont Police to better plan for any police needs during the events. The changes require events to fill out an application and be approved. Also, multiple events at the same time won’t be allowed.

Commissioners Approve Bid for Orchard Hills Street Lights

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a bid from Catoctin Lighting for 103 street lights in Orchard Hills. The bid of $45,681 will be paid for with a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration. The grant is for $48,925, and the difference will be used to cover any unforeseen circumstances that occur during the installation.

Commissioners Approve Use of Extra POS Funds

After the paving of the Thurmont Trolley Trail, Thurmont had $59,414 remaining in grant funding that can be used for other parks and recreation projects. The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to use the funds to complete the 950-foot southern extension of the trolley trail ($27,000) and replace the Ice Plant Park playground equipment ($13,000). The remaining funds will be used to start an exercise trail around Eyler Road Park similar to the one in Community Park.

Ethics Commission Appointments Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners reappointed Carol Robertson, Theresa Bean, and Beth Cranberg to four-year terms on the town ethics commission. There is still one vacancy for an alternate position on the commission.

New Recycling Station Locations

The recycling dumpster and the oil recycling station are now open at a new location next to the Thurmont Regional Library, adjacent to the Town of Thurmont Electric Substation at 70 East Moser Road.  To access the recycling center, follow the roadway to the right of the library and then turn right into the gravel lot. This is the same general location where yard waste dropoff is located each month, so all recycling opportunities will now be in the same location. Signs will be in place to provide direction to drivers. 

Please remember to treat the site respectfully. Misuse of the site may cause the site to be closed and discontinued. Security cameras are in place to help monitor the site and identify anyone who misuses the recycling stations.

Blair Garrett

A brand-new patriotic mural greets thousands of cars a day just outside the heart of Emmitsburg. Right off Route 15, visitors and residents can see a bold and colorful American Flag waving in place painted on the street-side wall of Jubilee Foods.

Lorne Peters, of Jubilee Foods, attributed the mural to the men and women involved in pushing through this crisis. “It’s for the community, and it’s a dedication to my employees. My employees are on the front lines. They’ve been here seven days a week and worked straight through COVID since the day it started,” Peters said.  

Two old friends, Benn Zaricor, Atlanta, and Marty Mummert, Gettysburg, teamed up to put their creative talents to use to make Jubilee’s community tribute. The mural fit into Zaricor’s future plans, too. “My goal is to do a flag mural in every state,” he said. “I’m only up to three right now, so I’ve got 47 to go.”

Both Zaricor and Mummert are gifted artists, and their contribution to historic Emmitsburg will leave a lasting impact.

While the mural took just a few short days to finish, the mural is prominently and proudly facing Main Street so all can view it for many years to come.

Lorne Peters (left), Benn Zaricor (middle), and Marty Mummert (right) show off Jubilee’s brand-new patriotic community mural.

Blair Garrett

Emmitsburg is nationally recognized for its rich fire history, with the National Fire Academy, FEMA, and the annual Fallen Firefighters memorial all within town limits. The four additional Wayside exhibits added this year push the town further toward its goal of a historic walking tour for visitors.

The new exhibits added include Vigilant Hose Company, the Great Fire of 1863, Chronicle Press, and the Carriage House Inn. Mayor Don Briggs held a ribbon cutting ceremony in front of each of the new exhibits, while also shedding some light on the history behind each location.

Emmitsburg now has a total of seven Wayside exhibits, each with a beautifully designed collage of the historic beginnings of their respective exhibits. The four new pieces are a very walkable distance from each other, allowing visitors to see much of what Emmitsburg has to offer in a quick and easy trip. 

The town plans to have a total of 12 exhibits to complete its tour, encapsulating everything that defines Emmitsburg. You can find the new Wayside signs along the town square and down South Seton Avenue.      

(above) Cliff Shriner stands with Mayor Don Briggs to unveil the Vigilant Hose Company Wayside exhibit.

(left) The Carriage House Inn Wayside exhibit is the town’s seventh on its walking tour.

Guy Swormley of Williamsport, Maryland, won the annual Fort Ritchie Community Center Bass Fishing Tournament, held on September 19, 2020, at the Fort Ritchie Community Center in Cascade. Guy Swormley reeled in a 16¾-inch bass to take the top honors in the adult division. William Trovinger of Sabilllasville, age six, won the youth division with a 13-inch bass. 

Brehon Sweeny of Hagerstown earned second-place honors in the adult division, with Jason Day of Baltimore taking third place. Dominic Wade of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, age 17, finished second in the youth division.

The Community Center traditionally hosts two bass tournaments on Lake Royer each year; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the spring event was canceled this year. Cobblestone Hotel & Suites is the primary sponsor of the annual events.

Proceeds from the tournament support the programs and events offered by the Fort Ritchie Community Center.

For more information, please visit the website at

Pictured are: (top) Guy Swormley, winner of the Fort Ritchie Community Center Bass Fishing Tournament, with Janet Sweeny, general manager of Cobblestone Hotel & Suites, which sponsors the annual event; (bottom left) Brehon Sweeney; (bottom right) Dominic Wade. Not pictured: youth winner, William Trovinger.

Thurmont Middle School will be handing out lunches for Thurmont-feeder families on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m., in the cafeteria of the middle school, off of Summit Avenue in Thurmont, until December 31, 2020. 

All families get a free lunch on those days and an additional pantry bag on Fridays for all children in their homes. These pantry bags have been graciously donated by several local businesses and organizations.

For any other information please contact Kelly Pizza, Community Liaison at Thurmont Middle School 240-236-5100.

James Rada, Jr.

This year, all registered and eligible Maryland voters will receive a mail-in ballot application in the mail. You should have received your application in September.

You can complete the application and return it using the postage-paid envelope that was included. You can also put the application in the Frederick County Board of Elections drop box at 340A Montevue Lane in Frederick. The deadline for applications is October 20.

You will then be sent a mail-in ballot. Complete the ballot and return it using the postage-paid envelope by November 3. You can also drop the ballot off in one of the drop boxes located throughout the county. The drop box in our area is located at Catoctin High School.

Catoctin High School is also the nearest site for in-person early voting. Early in-person voting can be done from Monday, October 6, through Tuesday, November 3, daily from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners expressed disappointment that there wasn’t a drop box or in-person voting center in Emmitsburg. They worried about senior citizens having access to transportation to drive to a voting center.

Mayor Don Briggs said the town had originally been scheduled for a drop box, but Gov. Larry Hogan decided not to place one there.

For more information about where you can vote this year, call the board of elections office at 301-600-VOTE or e-mail them at

Detective Gerald Bowen was honored as Thurmont Lions Club “Police Officer of the Year” at the town meeting held on June 30, 2020, by Lion Jonathan Hamrick. 

Detective Bowen joined the Thurmont Police Department in 2013, after serving 19 years with the Frederick Police Department.  He is currently serving his third year as a criminal investigator in the Thurmont Police Department.  He has fulfilled this position in an exemplary manner. Detective Bowen has responded to numerous call-outs for death investigations and other significant criminal investigations. His investigations have been thorough and meticulous.  All of his case closures have been successful and have reflected well for the agency. Detective Bowen also serves as a liaison for numerous law enforcement partners in the county.

Detective Gerald Bowen received a Certificate of Appreciation, a gift certificate to a local restaurant, and $400 donated to a charity of his choice, whereby he choose St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Congratulations, Detective Gerald Bowen.

Pictured from left are: Commissioner Wayne Hooper, President Joyce Anthony, Commissioner Bill Buhrer, Detective Gerald Bowen’s family (Detective Bowen is wearing the purple tie), Mayor John Kinnaird, and Lion Jonathan Hamrick.

The Thurmont Lions Club and Maryland Patriot Guard are teaming up to collect items for the Washington D.C Veterans Community Referral Center (CRRC) to help homeless or formerly homeless Veterans and their families, along with wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center.

Items needed (please note that all items must be NEW):

Personal items (clothing for men & women):

•   New underwear, socks, undershirts, sweat shirts/pants (Size L, XL, 2XL).

•   Winterwear: coats—men sizes L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL & women sizes L, XL, 2XL; winter hats; gloves; long underwear; thick winter socks; long-sleeved shirts/flannels.

Home Goods:

•   Quilts/blankets/sleeping bags (New w/tags).


•   Non-perishable canned fruits, vegetables, soups, pasta, pasta sauce, tuna, instant oatmeal, etc. Canned items preferably w/pull tab open rather than one needing a can opener.

•   Safeway grocery gift cards.

Cash donations also accepted. The Maryland Patriot Guard is a 501c3, all volunteer organization, supporting our active duty and Veteran military service members. Items will be  collected at the Thurmont Lions Club’s Pit Sandwich Sale on October 10, 2020.

James Rada Jr.

Everything that has happened in 2020 will make Halloween this year seem tame, no matter how scary things might be on October 31. It will actually be a nice break from everything that is happening; however, some changes to our regular slate of Halloween activities have been made.

Thurmont’s annual Halloween in the Park event has been canceled. However, trick-or-treating in Thurmont will continue as usual on Saturday, October 31, from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

As of mid-September, Emmitsburg’s Halloween events are still on. Trick-or-treating in town will be from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on October 31. Following trick-or-treating, people will gather at Federal and DePaul streets for the annual Halloween parade that will begin at 7:00 p.m. Due to COVID, social distancing and mask wearing is encouraged.

The Halloween parade route will run from Federal Street to North Seton Avenue, through the town square, then right onto West Lincoln Avenue to the rear entrance of the Vigilant Hose Company. You can enjoy refreshments as you wait for the announcement of the Halloween costume contest winners. First, second, and third place awards will be awarded for the most patriotic, scariest, most original, cutest, and best group costumes.

On the mountain in Cascade, Fort Ritchie Community Center will host Drive-Thru Trick-or-Treat from 4:00-6:00 p.m. on October 31.

McKenzi Forrest, Rocky Ridge Progressive

   4H Club Reporter

Congratulations to all of the winners and participants of the Catoctin Area Youth Show on September 12, 2020, at Eyler’s Stables in Thurmont. Unfortunately, we were unable to share in the normal festivities of the Community Show this year, but we really enjoyed the ability to show and sale our livestock projects. Thank you to all of the buyers who came out to support us again this year, as well as some new buyers who cheered us on through their financial support also. We are so grateful to the FFA Alumni Livestock Committee for coordinating this event for us kids, so we could experience a piece of what we enjoy doing most: showing our animals. 

We live in a great community where the outpour of support is unparalleled.  Good luck to all of the exhibitors participating in the Fair Invitational. Have fun! 

James Rada, Jr.

Northern Frederick County is not known for growing tobacco, but it has had a cigar box manufacturer and a few cigar manufacturers who used cigar boxes to pack their products.

On May 1, 1905, the federal government made it illegal to give away, sell, or display empty cigar boxes. The reason for this ruling from the Internal Revenue Department was “It is alleged they frequently make cheap cigars and place them in empty boxes that contained high-priced cigars. Through unscrupulous dealers, it is an easy matter to get the cigars on the market,” according to the Hagerstown Morning Herald.

The reason that cigars were sold in boxes in the first place was because of the federal government. The Revenue Act of 1864 required all cigars to be packed in boxes in bundles of 25, 50, 100, or 250 cigars.

“Although the majority of cigar boxes were made of wood, examples can be found in numerous other materials, such as glass, plastic, aluminum, brass, tin, and china. They come in a range of shapes and sizes, from intricately carved and decorated wooden chests to cardboard boxes with bold, attention-grabbing advertising text,” according to Collector’s Weekly.

The most-common box was six pieces of wood nailed together to hold 50 cigars. As simple as this sounds, the Catoctin Clarion reported, “The construction of a cigar box passes through nineteen different processes before it is ready to receive the cigars.”

The wooden boxes could be decorated and carved to be more attractive. This is why tobacconists liked using the empty ones for displays.

According to the Catoctin Clarion in 1883, 35,000 to 40,000 cigar boxes were sold every year in the area and that number was only expected to increase.

The main reason for Internal Revenue Department’s decision about empty cigar boxes was the federal government wanted to make sure it got its cut of any cigar sales.

“A decision has been rendered in the matter of making use of empty boxes, containing the label, caution notice and brand, for window displays, to the effect that the use of such boxes is illegal, but the decision does not appear to include boxes that have been stamped and filled with cigars and then emptied in the regular retail way,” the Catoctin Clarion reported.

However, when those boxes were emptied, the owner was supposed to destroy them. This typically wasn’t what happened. Tobacconists used the empty boxes in their store windows for display to attract more customers. These empty boxes all had the required revenue stamp and caution notices needed to sell cigars. Nothing stopped the retailer from simply refilling boxes with cigars and not paying the taxes on them.

For a retailer caught breaking this rule, the fine could be anywhere from $50 to $500. If the reuse of boxes was a deliberate attempt at fraud, the fine rose to up to $5,000 or six months in jail.

Retailers who only wanted to use the boxes as displays eventually realized they could get around this problem by scraping off the stamp and notice.

The Englar Cigar Box Company in Rocky Ridge was the best-known cigar box manufacturer in this area. The company’s motto was: “Superior quality, best lumber, neatly finished.” Operating from 1887 to 1920, the company made wooden cigar boxes.

Many of them would have been destroyed under this new law, which is why they are considered collector’s items now if you can find one.


Voluntary Water Restrictions Continue

Despite recent rains, Rainbow Lake and town wells are still not back to optimum levels. However, it has allowed the restrictions not to be tightened by the Emmitsburg mayor and commissioners. The current phase 1 water restrictions will continue.

Sanitary Changes for Election

Working with the Frederick County Board of Elections, the Town of Emmitsburg has enacted changes to this year’s election to comply with the coronavirus restrictions. Rather than three elections judges, this year, there will be four. One judge will serve as a greeter to control the flow of voters into the town municipal building on East Main Street. The judges will wipe down the voting booths after each voter, disinfect pens, and periodically wipe down the ballot box and sign-in table.

Other changes include that masks will be required for entry into the voting room and suggested use of hand sanitizer upon entry. Only two voters will be allowed in the room at once, tape markings will be placed on the floor and ground to ensure social distancing, and the judges will wear gloves and face masks.

Election Judges Appointed

The Emmitsburg commissioners appointed Lynn Orondorff as the chief election judge this year. Charlotte Mazaleski and Tammy May were appointed as judges. Tracey Lewis was appointed as the greeter, and Deborah Arnold will be the alternate judge/greeter.

Contract for Sheriff’s Deputies Approved

The Emmitsburg commissioners approved the contract with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office for two community deputies. The contract is unchanged and will cost the town $272,614 for fiscal year 2021, which is $12,010 less than the current contract. The difference is due to a change in personnel.

Amendments Updated

The Emmitsburg commissioners voted to forward a subdivision amendment and a zoning amendment to the planning commission for review and comment. Town Planner Zach Gulden went through these amendments to clean them up, update them, and correct errors. The commissioners expect to hold a public hearing on the amendments and changes next month.

Green Street Project Moves Forward

The Emmitsburg commissioners approved a contract with Fox & Associates for the green street conceptual plan along North Seton Avenue. The contract is for $19,825. Most of this cost is covered by Chesapeake Bay Trust grant. The town will actually pay $2,287 for the study.

Hand Sanitizing Stations in Parks

Hand sanitizing stations have been placed in Emmitsburg town parks and along town trails to help ensure community safety. If you find a sanitizing station that is empty or has other problems, e-mail the town office with the issue at


Town Considering a Parking Deck

The mayor and commissioners are weighing the pros and cons of building a parking deck over the Thurmont Municipal Parking Lot. Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick got a quote from a concrete manufacturer, so the council would have some actual numbers to work with as they consider the idea.

To build a deck over the current parking lot would increase the number of parking spaces from 42 to 98 and cost $1,481,000. This covers only the cost of a pre-fab concrete construction. Additional costs would be incurred for electrical, plumbing, and an elevator.

Mayor John Kinnaird said the information was “a great starting point.”

Although Commissioner Marty Burns wasn’t thrilled with the price, he said it was less than he thought it would be. He also sees having additional parking in town as an economic development initiative.

“This is the only thing that’s going to make business want to come to downtown Thurmont,” he said.

The commissioners now want to hear from residents whether the project is worth it and whether a single deck is what they want. Other variations include using the ground level for residential or retail space and adding an additional level to the parking deck.

New Officer Sworn In

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird swore in Nathan McLeroy as a Thurmont Police Officer. McLeroy comes from a law enforcement family. His father, Steve, was a Baltimore County Police Officer. Steve McLeroy gave Nathan the handcuffs he used when he began work as a police officer and told his son, “You’ve got a powerful duty, so don’t misuse it.”

Mayor James F. Black Scholarship Awarded

Elizabeth Anders received the 2020 Mayor James F. Black Scholarship. She plans to pursue dual degrees at Hagerstown Community College and Frostburg University in nursing, with the ultimate goal of earning her master’s degree and becoming a midwife.

Former Mayor Black’s family established the scholarship for Thurmont employees and their dependents.

Oil and Antifreeze Recycling Station Closed

The oil and antifreeze recycling station at 10 Frederick Road in Thurmont is closed for improvement. Please don’t set containers of oil or antifreeze at the center until it has reopened. You can also visit for other drop-off locations during this time.

James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont Commissioner Marty Burns entered politics when he was elected as a Thurmont Town Commissioner in 1999. In August, the Maryland Municipal League recognized his 21 years as an elected official in Thurmont by inducting him into the MML Elected Official Hall of Fame.

The announcement came at the end of the town meeting on August 4. Inductions are usually made during the MML annual conference in Ocean City, but because this year’s conference was virtual due to COVID-19, the certificate was sent to the town office.

Mayor John Kinnaird nominated Burns for the honor and read the certificate into the record. At one point when Kinnaird said Marty was being recognized for his “long, exemplary service,” Burns jokingly asked, “Can you say that one more time?” Kinnaird replied, “Exemplary? That’s a typo.”

The back and forth joking and banter among everyone present showed not only how well the board of commissioners get along now—which at times during the past 20 years could get contentious—but that everyone present felt Burns deserving of the honor.

Former MML President Jake Romanell said that Burns receiving the honor shows, “Marty loves Thurmont, its residents, and his neighbors.”

Burns served two years as commissioner before serving three terms (12 years) as mayor. He has served as commissioner for the last seven years.

Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner also proclaimed August 4, 2020, as Martin Burns Day. In her proclamation, she noted some of the things Burns has accomplished during his time as an elected official, including creating the Charter Review Committee, overseeing a new town charter, getting a new police station built, helping the town become a Main Street Maryland Community, and forming the Thurmont Addictions Committee. Some of the people in attendance, including Mayor Kinnaird and Commissioner Bill Buehrer, pointed out that Burns was the person who pushed them to run for office.

As commissioners and audience members came forward to speak about Burns, jokes were made about his tendency to speak at length and to use Pentagon jargon, but they all praised his goal as trying to do what is best for Thurmont.

“You always have the best interests of our community at heart,” Kinnaird said.

“You certainly add balance to this dais and this board,” Commissioner Wes Hamrick told Burns.

Burns thanked his family for the sacrifices they had made to allow him the time to serve. He also said that his current term would be his last. He said it has been rewarding to serve on the board but also a burden because he has always tried to do the right thing. He thanked the residents of Thurmont for allowing him that opportunity.

“You saw through my flaws, saw all the bad parts of me, and still said, we want that person on the board,” Burns said.

Marty Burns, his family, and the commissioners are shown on August 4, Martin Burns Day in Frederick County.