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On Saturday, October 28, 2023 the Frederick County Health Department partnered with the Frederick Police Department, Maryland State Police, and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to host a drug and sharp take-back day as part of “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.” Between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., 105 residents turned in over 150 pounds of unwanted or expired medication and 5,934 sharps at two collection sites.

“We are incredibly grateful to our community and partners who came out on a beautiful fall day and gave part of their Saturday to make this event a success,” said Nate Smith, Opioid Misuse Prevention Program Coordinator. “A huge thanks to the Frederick Police Department, Maryland State Police and the DEA for helping to staff the event, and most of all, we thank our communities for turning out in full force to dispose of medications and syringes safely, which helps keeps our community safe.”

For residents who were unable to attend the event and have medication to dispose, please visit one of the locations below to get rid of your unwanted or expired pills and medicinal patches:

Brunswick Police Department — 811 West Potomac Street, Brunswick (24 hours a day).

Emmitsburg Community Center — 300 South Seton Avenue, Emmitsburg (Weekdays, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).

Frederick Co. Law Enforcement Center — 110 Airport Drive East, Frederick (24 hours a day).

Frederick Police Department — 100 West Patrick Street, Frederick (24 hours a day).

Middletown Municipal Center — 301 Main Street, Middletown (Weekdays, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.).

Myersville Municipal Center — 301 West Main Street, Myersville (Weekdays, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.).

Thurmont Police Department — 800 East Main Street, Thurmont (Weekdays, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.).

For additional medication disposal locations and more information about the dangers of prescription medicine misuse, please visit health.frederickcountymd.gov/OMPP or contact the Frederick County Health Department at 301-600-1755.

Jeanne Angleberger, former author of the “Health Jeanne” column in The Catoctin Banner, attended the Florida State Senior Games on December 3, 2023 held in Wesley Chapel at the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Complex. She participated in three basketball events. In the Free Throw and Spot Shooting events, she scored a silver medal. In the Timed Spot event (shooting three one-minute rounds with self-rebounding), she earned a gold medal. Jeanne also earned a team gold medal when playing 3-on-3 with the 70s team from The Villages.

Jeanne Angleberger is shown with her medals won at the Florida State Senior Games on December 3, 2023.

On November 8, 2023, Thurmont Grange No. 409 held its annual Veterans Appreciation Program. The evening started with a welcome, given by Grange President, Niki Eyler. She stated that the Veterans being honored were “all honorable, upstanding, and respectable members of their families, churches, and communities.” 

Next, Thurmont American Legion Post 168 Commander Nick Middendorff led all attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the National Anthem, played by Bob Dunk of both Harmony and Spires Cornet Bands. 

A special recognition of Veteran and Thurmont resident, Jim Stull, was given by Niki Eyler. Jim was born on March 3, 1933, on the outskirts of Thurmont. He was one of nine children and was forced to leave school early to work in the family plumbing business. Jim always understood the importance of taking care of family, even at a young age.  At 18, he was drafted into the Korean War. His basic training was at Camp Atterberry, Indiana, and from there, Jim was stationed at Fort Carlson, Colorado. He volunteered to be a cook in the mess hall. After returning from a six-week recuperation from a broken leg, Jim’s platoon received the news they were being sent to Korea the following week to fight in the war.  Fortunately, the war ended before they were deployed. Jim went on to marry his wife of 59 years, Carolyn, and they had two daughters, Diana and Sylvia. He was a member of Weller United Methodist Church and Thurmont American Legion Post 168 for 45 years. He enjoyed spending winter months in Florida, and during the summer, he loved to be at his cabin in Fairfield, Pennsylvania. Jim also loved spending time vacationing with family and driving his antique Chrysler 300 convertible. The members of Scout Troup 270 folded the American flag and presented it to Jim’s daughter, Diana Stull, in honor of Jim’s service to our country.

Thurmont Grange also honored Thurmont resident, Grange member, and U.S. Army Veteran, Russell Moser, with a banner in the Military Banner Program, sponsored by the Thurmont Lions Club. Russell served as Private 2nd Class (1957-1958) as a trained Lineman in the 559 Signal Company. His basic training was at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Russell was then stationed at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Upon release from active duty, Russell returned to the Army Reserves until 1963. During the Cuban Crisis, he was called back to active duty, at which time he was stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland.

The guest speaker for the evening was First Vice Commander of Legion Post 168 Debbie Middendorff, who spoke about the Poppy Program and how Veterans across the country are assisted by the funds raised through this program. Post 168 Poppy Princess, Ella Renner, was also in attendance and fulfilled her duty by ensuring everyone received a Poppy.

Next, the evening’s Veterans were recognized: Roland Renner (Army 69-72), Allen Middendorff (Army 76-98), Debbie Middendorff (Army 79-82), Denise Shriver (Navy 90-93), and Alvin Hatcher (Navy 84-96). Honorees were met with a round of applause in appreciation of their selfless service in the United States Armed Forces.

Finally, a moment of silence was observed for recently departed Grange members Patty Johnston, Roger Troxell, and Robert McAfee, as well as those who have lost their lives defending our country. In closing, Taps was performed by Bob Dunk. Before parting for the evening, those in attendance enjoyed refreshments and fellowship.

If you are interested in joining Thurmont Grange, please contact Rodman Myers at 301-606-9221.

Pictured from left are: Thurmont Grange President Niki Eyler, Roland Renner (Army 69-72), Allen Middendorff (Army 76-98), Debbie Middendorff (Army 79-82), Denise Shriver (Navy 90-93), Alvin Hatcher (Navy 84-96) and Thurmont Grange Vice President Alan Brauer.

Courtesy Photos

Jim Stull’s daughter (pictured center), Diana Stull, holds the flag presented to her by Scout Troup 270 in honor of Jim’s service, surrounded by friends.

Pictured from left are Thurmont Grange President Niki Eyler, American Legion Post 168 Poppy Princess Ella Renner, and Thurmont Grange Vice President Alan Brauer

James Rada, Jr.

Frederick County’s covered bridges are a beautiful part of Northern Frederick County. Utica Mills, Loy’s Station, and Roddy Road covered bridges are all within 12 miles of one another, and they are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

However, being historic has also caused problems for the bridges because they aren’t designed for modern vehicles.

The Utica Mills Covered Bridge was damaged earlier this month by an unknown vehicle. The bridge is currently closed for an indefinite period of time until it can be repaired. Traffic is now detoured from Old Frederick Road to Lewistown Road to Hessong Bridge Road.

Because the size of a covered bridge limits the size of vehicles that can pass over it, signage is posted listing the maximum height for a crossing vehicle.

This is not the first time the bridge has been damaged. In June 2021, a truck trying to cross the bridge damaged it, and it was closed for six months.

Roddy Road Covered Bridge has also suffered its share of damage. One incident was caught on video in 2016. A rental truck forced its way over the bridge and kept going with part of the bridge hanging on the truck. It only fell off the truck when it braked before turning onto US 15. The person taking the video pursued the truck and called the police.

Sadly, the damage was extensive enough that the bridge had to be rebuilt.

After that incident, the Frederick County Department of Highway Operations installed clearance bars on either side of the bridge to warn drivers if their vehicles were too tall to enter the bridge.

The Frederick News Post reported that the country is considering doing the same for Utica Mills Covered Bridge. While this would alert drivers of large vehicles if they are too large to cross, there is no place for the vehicles to turn around if that is the case.

Loys Station Covered Bridge has suffered a different type of damage from the other bridges. In 1991, a pickup truck was set on fire while on the bridge as part of an insurance fraud scam. The bridge did not burn down, but it needed extensive reconstruction and did not open again until 1994.

It helps that these bridges are on lesser-traveled roads or roads that don’t typically see large vehicles, but drivers need to pay attention to clearance and weight signs for older bridges like these. They aren’t suggestions. They are warnings that need to be heeded.

Deadline is January 26, 2024

Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) is accepting nominations for the school system’s 2024 Support Employee of the Year Awards. The awards recognize outstanding members of the FCPS support staff.

Examples of staff classified as support employees are bus drivers and bus assistants; custodial, maintenance, and warehouse staff; instructional assistants, community liaisons, user support specialists, secretaries, and resident substitutes; as well as those working in business-support positions.

Nomination eligibility, criteria, and process information are online at www.fcps.org/awards. Nomination packets are due Friday, January 26, 2024, to the FCPS Public Affairs Department, 191 S. East Street, Frederick, MD, 21701.

The Board of Education of Frederick County will recognize one finalist from each of eight broad job classifications at the April 10, 2024, board meeting. During the recognition, Superintendent Dr. Cheryl L. Dyson will present one of the eight finalists the overall 2024 Support Employee of the Year Award. Finalists and the Support Employee of the Year are chosen by a panel of FCPS staff across a number of departments.

Daniel Genemans is shown with some of the approximately 1,000 pumpkins and gourds collected from the town of Thurmont in the Second Annual Great Pumpkin Pick-Up event on November 25.

Sponsored by the Thurmont Green Team to prevent pumpkins from going into the landfill and feed area farm and zoo animals, the pickup was made possible by 20 volunteers, from ages 8 to 81, combing  the town streets collecting pumpkins and gourds placed on the curb by Thurmont residents. Once collected, they were dropped off at The Catoctin Wildlife Preserve, Rise and Shine Farm, Catoctin Mountain Farm, and Deer Run Farm, to provide food for bison and other hoofed zoo animals, pigs, and chickens.

Most Original

1st Place — Barbie by Shannon Poehler (241)

2nd Place — Mac & Cheese by Deliah Herrell (112)

3rd Place — Spider by Cooper Carter (367)

Cutest

1st Place — Semba Baby by Lyla Green (215)

2nd Place — by Enora Ridenour (213)

3rd Place — by Emmy White (231)

Scariest

1st Place — Skeleton in Coffin by Wyatt Ridenour (36) (pictured right)

2nd Place — by Jonas Ruby (249)

3rd Place — by Gracie Abel (363)

Funniest

1st Place — Hairy Styles by Jonah Hillman (10)

2nd Place — Monk by Linus Queale (2)

3rd Place — Venus Fly Trap by Owen Day (108)

Best Group

1st Place — Addams Family by Burns & Dodsons (398)

2nd Place — Bugle Gees by Insley Carter (2)

3rd Place — Bears Blow up by Greyson Ridenour (245)

The Volunteer for Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Northern Frederick County group of volunteers will again offer free preparation of Federal and MD tax returns this coming spring.

Starting January 23, 2024, you can call 301-471-5757 (the same phone number as last year) to make appointments for the first week in February 2024 or later. 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 last year. For example, when you call for an appointment, a volunteer will ask you several questions about your 2023 income, filing status, and other tax factors to determine if IRS allows them to prepare your taxes. If IRS does, the volunteer will give you an appointment time at the Thurmont Regional Library, located at 76 E. Moser Road in Thurmont, that is convenient to you. The volunteer will also ask you to bring several documents to the appointment, including a photo identification for all individuals listed on your returns, last year’s Federal and MD returns, and your social security card or number. At the appointment, the volunteer will prepare your tax returns while you wait and may ask you questions that help them better prepare your returns.

Dianne L. Walbrecker

Here are the brief details about my terrible experience. I already reported this to Target, to the Frederick County Police, to my bank, to Xfinity, and to the FTC, but thought the community might want to know as well, to encourage others to be careful.

It can happen to all of us. I had seen the warnings about people getting scammed, but I never thought it could happen to me. On a Wednesday morning in late October, I called Xfinity to complain about my bill. They didn’t answer, so I hung up after a good 15 minutes of waiting. So, I wasn’t surprised to get a call from Xfinity about an hour later. The man on the phone said he wanted to offer me a promotional deal. “Since you have been a good customer since 2001, we have a deal for you,” he started off. He introduced himself as Sean and continued, “Since you are paying more than $200 a month for your internet, television, and mobile phone, we want to see your payments reduced.”

Who wouldn’t like that, I thought?

He pulled me in, bit by bit. Since he knew so much about my account, I really thought he was with Xfinity.

Sean said, “We can lower your payment to $175 a month for all three, and give you two free months if you just pay us upfront for 10 months.” I hesitated, and said that sounds like too good a deal to be true. He continued, “And we have a special deal with Target. If you pay us using Target gift cards, we will also throw in an iPhone 15.”

I had to pick up a friend who needed a ride to a doctor’s office, so I agreed, and listened impatiently as he told me what to do next. Hurriedly, I took down the notes and told him I would do it. Before I hung up, Sean said the deal would be off unless I called a certain number by 8:00 p.m. to give them the gift card numbers.

Annoyed by now, I wrote down the number and then took my friend to the doctors. On my way back home, I thought, “Wow, I could really use the savings, and it would be cool to have an iPhone 15.”

So, I went to CVS and bought the Target gift cards for $1,750. The cashier at CVS asked me if I knew why I was buying the cards. Sean had warned me that she would do so. I gave her the answer he had told me to: They were for my personal use. I brought them home and told my husband what I had done and that I was going to call the number and report the gift card numbers. He’s aware that I tend to be gullible, and he said, “Think about it, Dianne.”

Wow! I had almost lost a lot of money. I did call the number before 8:00 p.m. that night. A very pleasant-sounding man named Bob picked up the phone and asked me to report the numbers. I asked him, “How many people have you scammed today? You ought to be ashamed of yourself.” He replied, with his voice really nasty now, “Lady, I’m not ashamed at all. I make more money in one day than you will ever make in your entire lifetime.” And then he laughed before I slammed the phone down. 

After two weeks of reporting the scam and sending paperwork to Target, the company sent me a check for the entire amount I had spent on the gift cards. I sure hope my story can keep others from falling victim. These operators are very smooth, and they know much more about you then you would imagine.

In a triumph of storytelling and social impact, the groundbreaking PTSD911 Documentary has been honored with the prestigious Award of Excellence for Best Documentary Feature at the 2023 November Vegas Movie Awards. This recognition underscores the film’s powerful narrative and exceptional filmmaking, highlighting the profound impact it has had on both audiences and critics alike.

The Vegas Movie Awards is renowned for celebrating exceptional cinematic achievements and recognizing filmmakers who push the boundaries of storytelling. The Award of Excellence for Best Documentary Feature is a testament to the documentary’s unparalleled ability to delve into the complexities of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its effects on individuals and communities.

In addition to the Best Documentary Feature accolade, the PTSD911 Documentary has also been bestowed with the highly coveted SOCIAL AWARENESS AWARD. This distinguished honor acknowledges the film’s commitment to shedding light on critical social issues and fostering awareness, sparking crucial conversations about mental health, trauma, and the resilience of the human spirit.

PTSD911 Documentary is an emotionally charged and deeply resonant exploration of the challenges faced by those living with PTSD. Through intimate interviews, poignant narratives, and stunning visuals, the film transcends traditional documentary boundaries, delivering a powerful message of empathy and understanding.

The film’s director and Emmitsburg resident, Conrad Weaver, expressed gratitude for the recognition, stating, “Receiving the Award of Excellence and the SOCIAL AWARENESS AWARD is a humbling acknowledgment of the film’s impact. Our team poured their hearts into bringing this important story to life, and we’re thrilled that it’s being recognized on such a significant platform. This honor is not just for us; it’s for the brave individuals who shared their stories, and for everyone who battles with PTSD. We hope this film continues to raise awareness and foster compassion.”

As the PTSD911 Documentary continues to make waves on its film tour, this double honor from the Vegas Movie Awards solidifies its place as a vital and influential piece of documentary filmmaking. The film stands as a testament to the power of storytelling to create meaningful change and promote understanding on critical societal issues.

Eleven-year-old Emily Roberts of Thurmont recently decided to do a mission project at Weller United Methodist Church. 

Emily decided to make beaded bracelets and earrings and sell them to raise funds for the Thurmont Food Bank. She was able to raise $407, which was  phenomenal! Weller United Methodist Church is very proud of Emily for coming up with this concept all on her own!

Pictured are Pastor Sally Joyner-Giffin, Chairman of Thurmont Ministerium/Thurmont Food Bank, Emily Roberts, and Pastor Mark Eyler of Weller UMC.

Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater will hold a public hearing regarding fiscal year 2025 Operating and Capital Budgets and the fiscal year 2025-2030 Capital Improvement Program at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, December 4. The public is invited to offer their suggestions and priorities for the upcoming budget year, which begins July 1, 2024. People can participate in person, by phone, or by submitting comments online.

Attend In Person

Come to Winchester Hall, located at 12 East Church Street in Frederick. Parking is available on the street or in downtown parking decks. Transit’s fare-free buses also stop nearby. The 51 and 61 Connectors serve Market Street and Church Street, less than two blocks from Winchester Hall, and the 40, 50, 60 Connectors and the Brunswick/Jefferson and Emmitsburg/Thurmont Shuttles operate nearby. American Sign Language interpreters will be on hand.

Watch the Live Broadcast

The public hearing will be broadcast live on FCG TV, and can be viewed on the following platforms:

Cable Channels 19 and 1085. Closed captioning is available in English and Spanish.

Web-streamed from FrederickCountyMD.gov/FCGTV. Closed captioning is available in English.

Web-streamed from FrederickCountyMD.gov/BudgetPublicHearing. Live translations in multiple languages are available from this broadcast, using the “translate” button on that web page.

Listen and Comment Via Phone

To join the meeting by phone, call toll-free 855-925-2801 and enter meeting code 10042. Press *1 to listen to the meeting, press *2 to record a comment for playback during the public hearing, and press *3 to be placed in a queue to speak. You will continue to hear the meeting while you wait for your turn to speak. Comments also may be submitted online at FrederickCountyMD.gov/BudgetPublicHearing.

Additional budget listening sessions will be held in each of the county’s five council districts, beginning in January. Dates, times, and locations will be announced in December.

All meetings are open to the public. If anyone needs auxiliary aids or services for effective communication, please contact the ADA Coordinator at ADA@FrederickCountyMD.gov or by calling 301-600-1063, preferably at least three days before the meeting. To request an interpreter, please call 301-600-1208.

The National FFA convention is held every year and attracts FFA members from every state, including Alaska and Hawaii. The 96th National FFA Convention was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, from November 1-4, 2023. The convention theme was “Evolve.” 

While at the convention, 16 Catoctin FFA members joined over 72,900 other FFA members, advisors, and guests from across our nation. The National FFA Convention and Expo is one of the largest student conventions in the world, with a mission to develop, educate, and inspire. Throughout the week, members were able to participate in sessions, contests, workshops, and a career expo.

The chapter made several industry stops on the way to Indianapolis. They visited the Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis Missouri. They were able to move through the self-pace museum to learn about how the arch was built and why it was built. Students were able to ride the tram 630 feet to the top (the tallest monument in the United States) to see the stunning views, stretching up to 30 miles to the east and west. Students were also able to see the Mississippi River.

They also visited Caterpillar in Peoria, Illinois. The museum tour started with a short video in the bed of a massive two-and-half story Cat 797F Mining Truck.  They learned how Caterpillar is built on the foundation of innovation and customer focus. FFA members were able to test their skills on simulators to see firsthand what it is like to operate equipment the way operators do. 

At Building SS, they were able to visit the factory floor and watch Cat employees assemble, test, and paint Caterpillar’s medium and large track-type tractors, including the D7E electric-drive tractor and pipelayers. 

At the National Convention, some FFA members competed in Career Development Events/Leadership Development Events, more often referred to as CDEs and LDEs. To complete a CDE/LDE, each team or individual contestant extensively learned their subject and rehearsed their task in preparation for state convention. Every state gets to send one winning team per CDE/LDE to advance to nationals. This year, Catoctin FFA’s Agricultural Issues was eligible to compete at the National Convention. 

Agriculture Issues: The Agriculture Issues team presented a 15-minute skit.  The question they presented was: Should Agriculture Education be a Graduation Requirement in the State of Maryland? Each member of the team played a part of the skit. The team had to present the facts in an unbiased and creative way. The team had to present the skit a minimum of five times before the MD state convention. The team earned a bronze placing. Members include: Annalise Abruzzese, Kaitlynn Bentz, Alyssa Costa, Drew Potter, Carly Ridenour, and Savannah Ridenour.

American FFA Degree recipients: Less than 1 percent of FFA members receive this prestigious degree. To be eligible to receive the American FFA Degree, members must meet qualifications such as receiving a State FFA Degree, holding active membership for the past three years, completing secondary instruction in an agricultural education program, and operating an outstanding supervised agricultural experience program. This year, Catoctin FFA had one member earn and receive this highest honor: Cadin Valentine. Congratulations!

Thank you to everyone for all of the support in helping Catoctin FFA to participate in the 96th National FFA Convention. These students have gained skills and memories that will last a lifetime.

Nancy L. Rice of Thurmont was one of 23 honorees inducted into The Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame (MSCHF) for the year 2023.

The induction ceremony and luncheon were held on October 19, at Ten Oaks Ballroom in Clarksville, Maryland. Each inductee received a membership certificate, an MSHF lapel pin, and a copy of the “Blue Book” that includes the name, picture, and a brief summary of volunteer service for each of the honorees. A copy of the book is kept in the archives at the Langsdale Library, University of Baltimore.

The Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, Inc. is a private, all-volunteer organization that has been functioning since 1987. Their sole purpose is to publicly recognize and honor, each year, individual senior citizens aged 65 and over. Nominees must live in Maryland and have performed outstanding service in their communities.

Rice was the only recipient of the award for Frederick County. She also received one of only three GERI awards for outstanding volunteer work in the State of Maryland. “My heart is filled with gratitude,” expressed Rice.

It was stated that Rice is a hardworking, devoted, caring, and compassionate volunteer. For the past five years, she has filled nearly every hour of each day doing volunteer work, with the desire to make the world a better place.

Her church pastor describes her as a pillar of the Weller United Methodist Church. He noted that, in her desire for the church to flourish, Rice serves as head of the Altar Guild and works to bring beauty to the sanctuary. She is also a gifted singer who participates regularly in a music team. Rice keeps busy serving as secretary to the Board of Trustees, co-chairperson of the History Committee, treasurer of Weller Cemetery, and co-chairperson of the Weller Care Team. Rice stated that her heart and soul are with the Care Team. She prepares and delivers hot meals with dessert, each week, to shut-ins who no longer cook. She also sees to other needs someone may have. For instance, she handmade a footstool (in her late husband’s workshop) for a lady to help elevate her legs. Rice also regularly visits church members in their homes or nursing facilities. She is described as a go-getter and serves wherever she is needed.

The Thurmont Senior Center reports that their center has benefited from Rice’s inspiration for many years. She serves on the board of directors. In addition, she spends countless hours raising funds for the center. She wore out her new electric stove after five years from all the desserts she bakes each month for the center’s benefit. She bakes approximately 500 apple dumplings a year, which are sold at their monthly bake sale. In addition, her peach dumplings, whoopie pies, chocolate bark candy, caramel popcorn, and various kinds of cookies are very popular and can be found at the bake sale as well.

Nancy Rice is further described as a strong woman of faith, filled with love for others. Mentioning her name during conversations with others is said to put a smile on their faces as they think about the wonderful things she has done for them and others. Congratulations, Nancy Rice!

Nancy is pictured after accepting the GERI Award Plaque for outstanding volunteer work in Maryland. Only three inductees received this honor.

Nancy Rice accepts the Frederick County Award of Distinction from the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame (MSCHF): (from left) Parker Koons, President MSCHF; Carmel Rogues, Secretary of Aging, Maryland Department of Aging; Todd Sullivan, Associate Executive Director of Oakcrest Senior Living.

Courtesy Photos

Saturday, November 4, has been announced by the Frederick County Division of Solid Waste as its next Residential Household Hazardous Waste event. This bi-annual event is the preferred disposal method of household hazardous wastes generated from Frederick County’s residences. Residents can drop off, at no cost, items like fluorescent bulbs (compact and tube), old gasoline, mixed oil/gasoline, brake fluid, thermometers, lithium-ion batteries, button batteries, solvents, pool chemicals, photo chemicals, and road flares, from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., at 21 Stadium Drive, also known as the upper parking lot of Harry Grove Stadium.

To prepare for this event, organizers encourage residents to plan by anticipating some time to wait in line, having items organized, separated by type, accessible inside their vehicle, and following all signs and directions. As a courtesy to other residents, residents must access this event via a right turn only; please enter the stadium parking lot via New Design Road, not Market Street.  Further, for safety purposes, walk-ups to this event will be prohibited, and items will not be accepted from cars parked along Stadium Drive. This event is not open to commercial entities. Commercial entities needing advice for disposing of their hazardous waste should call 301-600-2960.

For a complete list of acceptable and unacceptable items, please visit www.frederickcountymd.gov/3958/Household-Hazardous-Wastes. There, you can also sign up for other resources, announcements, and reminders via the Recycle Coach app or sign up for reminders via text message.

The Frederick County Division of Solid Waste and Recycling provides integrated waste management for the County and its residents with waste reduction, recycling, and disposal programs. More information on these and associated events can be found by calling 301-600-2960 and online at www.FrederickCountyMD.gov under “Departments.”

The Town of Thurmont will be replacing the water and sewer mains along North Church Street in Thurmont, from Boundary Avenue to Catoctin High School. 

The project will began on October 18, and is expected to take six to nine months to complete. Contractors will be working Monday through Thursday each week, from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. If the project requires any work outside of these weekdays, notifications will be posted on the town’s Facebook page, website (www.Thurmont.com), and local Comcast cable channel 99.   

Single lane closures and flagging operations will be in place, and drivers should expect delays or consider alternative routes. The town will continue to work with the contractor to reduce impacts as much as possible, while still maintaining the construction schedule. Drivers are asked to use caution in the construction zone and pay close attention to flaggers and workers.

Be a part of Emmitsburg’s public visioning workshop for the town’s 2025 Comprehensive Plan by attending a workshop and sharing your unique perspective. Planning session 1A was held October 30. Planning session 1B will be held November 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the Emmitsburg Town Office, located at 300 South Seton Avenue. To participate, email nahsan@emmitsburgmd.gov. Include your name, your organization (if applicable), the number of years you’ve called Emmitsburg home, and any other information you would like to share. There is also a survey available at https://forms.office.com/r/jvWeK2PWUW where you can submit your information and vision.

Don’t miss your chance to make a difference and create a brighter future for Emmitsburg!

Scouts in Thurmont placed sticky notes on the doors of houses on October 28 for the annual Scouting for Food Drive. The Scouts will return on November 4 to pick up your donations for the local food bank.

Please leave your donations in bags on your front porch, and the Scouts will come by and pick them up. All donations will be brought to the Thurmont Food Bank.

Canned and non-perishable goods are needed. Also needed are hygiene products, including baby items and pet food items.

The annual Toys for Tots drive, hosted by Cub Scout Pack 270 and Venturing Crew 270, is getting underway. 

Donation boxes can be found at Mountain Gate Restaurant, ACE Hardware, the American Legion Post 168, and Thurmont Conservation and Sportsman’s Club (other locations will be added). 

The Drive will end on December 3, and the USMC will attend the Cub Scout Pack 270 pack meeting on December 4 to pick up the donations. 

Please consider helping the children in Frederick County by donating a new, unwrapped toy to make their Christmas special.

BSA Troops 270B and 270G, along with Webelos and AOL’s from Cub Scout Pack 270, recently attended a Wizard Safari in York, Pennsylvania, on September 29 through October 1.

The camporee is held once every four years and is based on Deadwood, South Dakota, 1846. Old-time games, costumes, falconry, black smithing, bee keeping, trains, branding, trapping, archery, shooting sports, horses, Leave No Trace, the Tenderfoot Saloon, the mercantile, spar pole climbing, and more had the Scouts busy and having fun while learning history.

Brayden, Mason, Jonathan, and Griffin learn how to make a triangle dinner bell with the blacksmith.

Courtesy Photo

Fully Skilled in Narcotics Detection, Apprehension, Search, and Tracking

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) recently invested in three new dogs, specifically trained for law enforcement work, that have hit the streets with their handlers as highly trained and effective teams to serve the county.

The new K-9’s and their deputy handlers are: Deputy 1st Class (DFC) Jeremy Slodki and his partner K-9 Fetty, a 1.5-year-old Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd cross; DFC Douglas Story and his partner K-9 Jax, a 1.5-year-old Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd cross; and DFC Miller Yackovich and his partner K-9 Triglav, a 1.5-year-old Belgian Malinois.

K-9’s Triglav and Jax recently completed a 16-week patrol school in Montgomery County, where the dogs received training in obedience, article searches, tracking, agility, and apprehension work. Upon completion of the school, the K-9’s received certifications in all aspects of their training.

K-9’s Triglav, Jax, and Fetty then completed an 8-week narcotics detection school that the agency hosted. The dogs received training and certifications to detect cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines.

K-9 Edy, with Corporal Steve Kocevar as his handler, already assigned to the agency as a narcotics detection dog, also completed training at the patrol school in Montgomery County, with certification in article search, tracking, and apprehension.

“Edy, Jax, and Triglav are dual-purpose K-9’s assigned to the agency, and Fetty is a single-purpose K-9 certified in narcotics detection,” said Kocevar. “Along with K-9 Odin, assigned to DFC Tara Shriver, all five K-9’s are vital assets to the agency.”

The K-9’s do not have specific patrol team assignments, instead the dogs have assignments to each rotation and have developed a schedule that makes them available during the times of highest K-9 call volumes.

Along with the FCSO calls for service, and since the beginning of 2022, FCSO K-9’s assisted on 208 calls for service for other police agencies, and so far in 2023, assisted on 72 calls for service for other agencies.

“History demonstrates that K-9’s are very effective in drug scans on traffic stops, allowing deputies to locate and seize illegal drugs from vehicles, which on many occasions has also led to the location and seizure of illegally possessed firearms. Our five K-9 teams are an important tool in combating the trafficking of illegal narcotics in and through Frederick County,” said FCSO Sheriff Chuck Jenkins. “The police K-9 has attributes in searching for items and/or persons that can quickly facilitate their location. Thus, we can better manage resources in a more efficient and effective manner. They, along with their trained handlers, help keep the more than 280,000 citizens of Frederick County safe.”

The three new K-9’s replaced DFC Yackovich’s last partner, Eikel, DFC Story’s last partner, Azor, and DFC Phelps’ partner, Taz. Those three dogs are now retired and live at home with their handlers as household members.

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (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 280,000 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 in Frederick. Visit www.frederickcosheriff.com for more information.  

Richard D. L. Fulton

Photo Courtesy of MSMU

Mount St. Mary’s University was recently cited as one of the most beautiful campuses.

Mount St. Mary’s University (MSMU) was ranked as No. 1 among Maryland colleges and universities based on the percentage of full-time freshmen receiving Pell Grants.

Pell Grants are federal grants awarded to students from low and/or moderate-income families.

Additionally, MSMU was ranked as No. 28 in the top 10 percent of the 286 private and public colleges and universities accessed nationwide in the New York Times College-Access Index, according to Donna Klinger, executive director of Communications, Office of University Marketing & Communications.

The New York Times Magazine noted in their September 7 issue that the New York Times College-Access Index had ranked 286 “selective” colleges and universities in producing the scoring system, which included both private and public institutions. Those selected to be ranked collectively educate about 2.7 million undergraduates, according to the magazine.

Klinger stated that the index revealed that MSMU had enrolled 34 percent of first-year Pell Grant students in 2020-21, compared to the national average of 21 percent. Between 2011 and 2021, the Mount’s share of Pell students had increased by 6 percentage points, while the overall average decreased by 2 percentage points.

The increase resulted in the Mount ranking 23rd in the country for having the largest increase in Pell students.

MSMU President Timothy Trainor stated, “The New York Times study shows the economic diversity of the Mount student body among an elite group of colleges and universities. Our doors are open to students of all backgrounds, and our diversity is a valued part of the Mount experience,” adding, “The Mount has a long history of graduating ethical leaders who roll up their sleeves and excel academically before ultimately leading lives of significance in service to God and others.”

The College-Access Index measured economic diversity by analyzing the share of students receiving Pell Grants, using data reported by universities to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. The list compared 286 of the most selective colleges in the country, defined by Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges and other metrics.

The New York Times Magazine stated, “Studying these numbers is particularly important in the wake of two important developments this year in higher education: the Supreme Court’s decision to do away with race-based affirmative action, and the decision by some schools to abandon or reduce legacy admissions.”

Klinger said that the College-Access Index “is one of several recent rankings received by Mount St. Mary’s, including several that measure value and social mobility, further noting that the university placed in the U.S. News & World Report rankings “as among the top regional universities in the North, as well as a best value school, a top performer on social mobility, and a best college for Veterans.”

Additionally, MSMU has been recognized as the sixth most beautiful college campus in the United States by College RoverTM, an online college information guide. The study looked at Yelp and TripAdvisor pages for the top ten colleges in each state, and then analyzed the number of reviews using the word “beautiful” and compared it to the total number of campus reviews. Sixty-six percent of the Mount’s reviewers mentioned the university’s “beauty,” according to Klinger.

In other MSMU news, the Mount executive director of Communications reported that Caroline Purcell has returned as Mount Saint Mary’s University Seminary’s ES coordinator from a year-long English Language Fellowship. Purcell spent her year-long U.S. Department of State fellowship “teaching undergraduate students and designing and selecting curricula and materials in the English department at An-Najah National University (ANNU) in Nablus, Palestinian Territories,” Klinger stated

Second Annual Thurmont Great Pumpkin Pick Up

The Thurmont Green Team will be sponsoring the Second Annual Great Pumpkin Pick Up for the residents of Thurmont on Saturday, November 25, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Residents should place their Halloween and Thanksgiving pumpkins on the curb by 8:30 a.m. that morning for pick up by volunteers. Please, no rotten pumpkins.

Last year, volunteers from the Green Team and community organizations and businesses traveled the streets of Thurmont, collecting between 600-700 pumpkins, saving them from the landfill and providing food and fun for the animals at the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and area farms.

Households are no longer displaying just one or two pumpkins on their porch—many now decorate with up to 10 pumpkins of varying colors and sizes. Each year, more than one billion pounds of pumpkins are thrown away in the United States, making their way to landfills, where they take a long time to decompose, emitting methane which is 80 percent more potent or powerful than carbon dioxide and is ultimately linked to climate change. The EPA reports that food waste contributes to 22 percent of landfill waste. Organic waste, including pumpkins, which are 90 percent water, does not properly break down in oxygen-deprived landfills. Pumpkin waste is great for our soil, but not for our landfills.

If you do not live within the Thurmont town limits, please think about starting a pumpkin pick up for your town or at the very least find a way to compost your pumpkin and other food waste or drop your pumpkin off at the bin in front of the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve. The animals and the earth will thank you.

This year’s event hopes to top 1,000 pumpkins, so make sure to save your pumpkins from the trash and place them on the curb on November 25. Remember, No Pumpkin Left Behind! We’ll publish the results of this year’s pick up in the December issue.

If you would like to volunteer or receive more information about organizing a Pumpkin Pick Up for your town, please contact the Town of Thurmont at 301-271-7313.

Pick-up truck load of pumpkins from 2022.

The Federated Garden Club of Maryland (FGCMD) hosted the annual Alice Rush McKeon Fund Tree Planting event on Saturday, September 30, 2023, at Gilmore C. Trout Memorial Park in Walkersville. This year, in her memory, District V of FGCMD was awarded funds to plant trees and chose several sites in Frederick County. Gilmore C. Trout Memorial Park in Walkersville, FCPS Earth Space and Science Lab Arboretum in downtown Frederick, and a park in Thurmont were the chosen locations.

Following a demonstration of the correct way to plant a tree, 24 fifteen-gallon bucket trees were planted by garden club members, Boy Scout Troop 1011, and Walkersville and Frederick County community volunteers. Also participating were representatives from Frederick County Forest Conservancy Board and the Maryland Forestry Service.

The Maryland Forestry Service included this project as part of their Five Million Tree Initiative to plant 5 million trees in Maryland by 2031. To celebrate the morning’s accomplishment, a reception was held at nearby Heritage Farm Park in Walkersville.

Alice Rush McKeon was a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who died in February 1979, at the age of 95. McKeon had led a remarkable life. She served twice as president of the Federated Garden Club of Maryland (FGCMD). She was a pioneer in the conservation and environment movement. She instrumented several programs that generated national attention. McKeon published The Litterbug Family in 1931, containing poems and illustrations about the problem of roadside litter. She is credited with coining the term “litterbug.”

On WBAL during WWII, McKeon started a radio program, “Garden Clubs of the Air,” with the idea of growing a Victory Garden in your backyard. In 1935, she wrote poetry titled “Sonnets for the Scenic Ease.” From the proceeds of her poetry, her son established the Alice Rush McKeon Tree Planting Fund. The FGCMD manages these funds to plant trees throughout Maryland. This is an event that passes sequentially to each of the five districts of FGCMD. Mason Carter, Frederick County Council; Diana Bonner, Past FGCMD President; Patty Kettlestrings, District V Civic Improvement Chair; Anna O’Kelly, Past FGCMD President; Susie Middleton, FGCMD President; Shelley Johnson, Director District V FGCMD, Mary Ann Brodie-Ennis, Walkersville Commissioner, Chad Weddle, Walkersville Burgess; Mary Ann Simmons, Taskers Chance Garden Club; Sonia Demiray, Chair, Frederick County Forestry Conservancy Board; and Anna Twigg, Tree Planting Specialist, MD Forest Service, MD Department of Natural Resources