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Courtesy Photo

Baton Twirling Holiday Show at Catoctin High School.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard D. L. Fulton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Junior Mountaineers Program members and faculty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

To learn more about Frederick Health, visit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Helen Xia, CHS Student Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard D. L. Fulton

Mount St. Mary’s University’s Office of the Provost announced in October that the institution has added 12 new full-time faculty members to its university staff.

The office stated that the new employees represent a range of various disciplines and backgrounds. 

“They bring in diverse experiences and backgrounds that will greatly benefit Mount students,” said Provost Boyd Creasman.

 According to the Office of the Provost, five of the new faculty members have been assigned to the College of Liberal Arts.

These five include:

Assistant Professor of Theology Roberto De La Noval, who earned his doctorate from the University of Notre Dame with a focus on 19th and 20th-century philosophical theology.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Rika Dunlap who came to the Mount from the University of Guam and who earned her doctorate from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Asian philosophy.

Assistant Professor of World Languages Manuel Garzon who recently completed his doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh, specializing in Hispanic transatlantic studies.

Sheldon Shealer, lecturer in communication who joined the MSMU after teaching at the Mount for many years as an adjunct professor, and whose expertise in sports communication will help the university maximize the benefits of the MAAC’s contract with ESPN.

Assistant Professor of Political Science Mai Truong, who had earned her doctorate from the University of Arizona with a specialization in social and protest movements in East and Southeast Asia.

Three new faculty members have been assigned to the Richard J. Bolte, Sr. School of Business.

These members include:

Associate Professor of Business Boris Morozov, who came to the Mount from the faculty of Lock Haven University, and who earned his doctorate from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and brought a “vast experience in teaching finance.” 

Associate Professor of Business Philip van Berten, who is teaching entrepreneurship for the Mount, and who earned his doctorate from CNAM in Paris, France.

Associate Professor of Sports Management Sarah Zipp who came to the Mount from the University of Stirling in Scotland, and who earned her doctorate from Erasmus University in the Netherlands.

The success of MSMU’s new Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis has led to the hiring of two additional faculty members: Rebecca Correll, who recently completed her doctorate in applied developmental psychology from George Mason University and has served as the CEO of The Language and Behavior Center in Silver Spring, and Alexa Mochan, who has brought a vast amount of experience in working in clinical settings to help train our students and is currently serving as clinical director for Mission Autistic Centers in Frederick.

Office of the Provost reported that two of the new faculty members have previous connections to the Mount: Angela Mucci-Guido returned to the faculty as a lecturer in education, having most recently taught at Salve Regina University, specializing in special education; and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Sarah (Bonson) Krueger, who returns to her alma mater after completing her doctorate at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in organic chemistry.

“It was a great recruiting year for the Mount,” said Provost Creasman, adding, “We are blessed that these talented faculty members joined us this fall.”

From Antietam to Gettysburg

Richard D. L. Fulton

(Adopted from ‘Nazis’ in Gettysburg:  World War II Comes to a Civil War Battlefield by Richard D. L. Fulton, pending publication)

In the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to create an intelligence agency to operate outside of the auspices of other existing intelligence operations, due to the apparent disarray of cooperation amongst those agencies.

This new, independent agency would establish a training camp at Camp Ritchie, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Cascade, Maryland, within Washington County, just south of the Mason-Dixon Line between Edgemont, Maryland and Blue Ridge Summit in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

The purpose of the newly established camp was to provide training in intelligence gathering, psychological warfare, interrogation techniques, and other covert or special operations (special ops)— skills the inductees would be called upon to employ in the not-so-distant future when they would find themselves deployed in front of and behind enemy lines in Europe on D-Day, June 6, 1944. 

The intelligence trainees became known as the Ritchie Boys, and their numbers included Jewish immigrants who had fled Germany (and other threatened areas) to escape the rising tide of fascism under the leadership of Adolph Hitler. But in addition to Jewish refugees, a “mixed bag” of other foreign nationals and selected American civilians were also assigned to the service of the Ritchie Boys at the camp.

John E. Dolibois, in Pattern of Circles: An Ambassador’s Story, described some of the array of Camp Ritchie as having been “an odd assortment of mixed talent from all over the USA.”  He further noted, “There was a prince of Bourdon-Parma; an Italian count; there were former local hotel managers; government officials; chefs; corporation executives; and prominent journalists.  The inmates of Camp Ritchie were said to speak fifty languages – all, in fact, except good English.”

When it came to field training exercises, the instructors were well-equipped and held back nothing to achieve near actual circumstances the trainees might have encountered during actual combat operations, and this included spontaneous responses to “reported’ German incursions to engaging in patrols during even the most extreme weather that the skies could offer.

Mandler noted that when it came to exercises, “Training was as realistic as the experts, both in military and civilian subjects, could make it.”  As the war in Europe and in the Pacific progressed, the author stated that even captured equipment from the enemy armies made their way to Camp Ritchie for educational purposes and for being incorporated into the training exercises.

The training was so intensive that the Ritchie Boys suffered their first recorded fatality in November 1943, when around 11 p.m. in “late November,” an undisclosed number of Ritchie Boys were dispatched in pairs into the woods in the vicinity of Antietam Creek, site of some of the most ferocious fighting during the American Civil War. 

Leon Edel described the incident in his book The Visitable Past: A Wartime Memoir, writing that as he and his comrades were being transported to the scene of the maneuvers, a storm began to descend upon the battlefield.  “We huddled in the truck, which bumped its way through the storm…we all agreed that it was the kind of night we would have liked to spend in our bunks.”

As the result of a raging storm, the command desperately tried to cancel the operations.  Loudspeakers announced the cancellation, and then Edel’s surroundings were suddenly lit-up by numerous military floodlights, “I could see the terrain we had covered and beyond it. The entire lower woodland was now filled with water.”

But it would not be learned until the following day that one of the Ritchie Boys would not see Europe.  “The Hagerstown newspaper next morning had a full account of the entrapment of Camp Ritchie troops in the flashflood and reported that the body of one soldier was recovered near the creek.  The death of a fellow soldier sent a shudder through us,” he wrote.

But on January 2, 1944, he and the rest of the approximately 800-man  2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Mobile Radio Broadcasting companies would be on their way to the Gettysburg Battlefield with orders to refurbish the no-longer used Civilian Conservation Corps camp that had been located in McMillan Woods to serve as the “top secret” headquarters for their further training – the compound which they renamed Camp Sharpe (named for George H. Sharpe – who had been appointed as the intelligence chief for the Union Army of the Potomac in 1863).

The first camp commander was identified as having been Captain Hugh Speed, Jr.  Subsequently, Major John T. Jarecki assumed command, and remained in that capacity until the camp was abandoned. During its existence, the local residents were never told what the purpose of the military encampment had been.  That would not be discovered until post-WW II.

The trainees had little forewarning that their final training on that field was intended to be preemptive to the then-approaching D-Day, the invasion of Normandy, and the battles yet-to-be-fought which lay beyond. 

Edle wrote – as the trucks in which the broadcasting companies pulled into the future home in a former CCC camp, “We were at Camp Sharpe, a mere fifty miles from Ritchie, parked in a muddy hollow at the bottom of a slanting road, just outside the national park of Gettysburg.

Arthur H. Jaffe, captain of the Second Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company, described Camp Sharpe in his book History, Second Mobile Radio Broadcasting Company, December 1943-May 1945, as being “rugged and barren,” noting that “The company was quartered in former CCC barracks that were surrounded by a sea of mud.  The wind whistled through gaps in the walls while four stoves tried in vain to keep up the room temperature.”

Edel further described the units’ future home, noting that the old CCC barracks appeared as though they had been built in 1918 (construction of the McMillan Woods CCC camp had actually begun in 1933), and “were filled with dust and cobwebs.  The windows looked as if mud had been smeared across them.  Mice and rats had left their deposits.”

As their unit designation of Mobile Radio Broadcasting companies suggests, they would, among many other tasks, be charged with setting up the allied, counter-propaganda radio stations in Europe, primarily aimed at keeping citizens in German-occupied areas informed as to the actual state of the war, as well as to inform German soldiers and their commanders, in an effort to realize the real or hypothetical “hopelessness” of their further resistance to the advances of Allied troops. 

They would also come to man on-site radio broadcasting equipment in the line of fire, instructing the enemy on the fruitlessness of continued fighting, and how to surrender.

Because of the primary thrust of their particular contribution to the American propaganda effort, these Ritchie Boys also came to be known as the “radio soldiers.”  The companies also became adept at packing artillery shells with flyers instructing German troops how to surrender.  These would be fired over enemy positions, dropping thousands of said documents upon the troops below, resulting in these Ritchie Boys also earning yet another moniker – “confetti soldiers.”

Camp Sharpe would be turning out soldiers trained specifically to pound the enemy with words, rather than shot and shell.  The overall success of the Mobile Radio Broadcasting companies, and the Army’s psychological warfare program in general, has proven, then and now, difficult to assess. 

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, however, wrote of the success of the psychological warfare units et al, “The exact contribution of psychological warfare cannot, of course, be measured in terms of towns destroyed or barriers passed.  However, I am convinced that the expenditure of men and money in wielding the spoken and written word was an important contributing factor in undermining the enemies’ will to resist and support the fighting morale of our potential allies in the occupied countries.”

Without doubt,” he stated, “psychological warfare has proved its right to a place of dignity in our military arsenal.”

Ritchie Boy (Martin Selling) interrogating German prisoners.

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army Signal Corps

Soldier sketch map of camp.

Courtesy of NPS (Gettysburg)

James Rada, Jr.

The Ritchie Boys were crucial in helping the Allies win World War II. They interrogated prisoners, translated captured messages, and engaged in psychological warfare against the enemy. The Ritchie Boys provided more than 60 percent of the actionable intelligence in Europe according to Landon Grove, director and curator with the new Fort Ritchie Museum.

Despite their contributions to the Allied victory in WWII, much of their work was classified until recently.

“Much of it was classified until just within the past 20 years. This, along with their decision, and their devotion to keeping silent about their training and service in World War II, have deservedly earned them the title of ‘secret heroes,’” said Bernie Lubran, president of the Friends of Camp Ritchie. His father was Ritchie Boy Walter Lubran.

With the secret out, the Ritchie Boys may soon get some long-overdue recognition. Congressman David Trone announced in November that he and Sen. Ben Cardin are introducing legislation to award the Ritchie Boys the Congressional Gold Medal.

“Their vital role they played in helping the United States fight the Axis Powers during World War II and ultimately win needs to be recognized,” Trone said.

According to the House of Representatives website, “Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. Each medal honors a particular individual, institution, or event.”

Beginning in 1942, more than 19,000 men trained at Camp Ritchie in Cascade. About 2,800 were refugees from Europe. Their numbers included men from more than 70 countries. They were trained as order-of-battle specialists, counterintelligence operatives, photo interpreters, psychological warfare experts, and other specialists, according to the legislation.

“Starting in 1942, the Ritchie Boys were sent as individual specialists to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (“SHAEF”) in small elite teams to join combat units in the North African, Mediterranean, European, and Pacific theaters and to military camps, prisoner-of-war camps, and interrogation centers (such as Fort Hunt, Virginia) in the United States,” according to the legislation. Ritchie Boys served with every Army, Marine, Office of Strategic Services, and Counter Intelligence Corps unit in the war.

Approximately 140 Ritchie Boys lost their lives during World War II. They also earned 65 Silver Star Medals, numerous Bronze Star Medals, five Legion of Honor Medals, and many Croix de Guerre Medals.

“The Ritchie Boys made significant contributions to the success of the Allied Forces on the Western Front through their knowledge and their skills, as demonstrated by a classified postwar report by the Army finding that the Ritchie Boys were the source of nearly 60 percent of the credible intelligence gathered in Europe during World War II,” according to the legislation.

Following the war, many of the Ritchie Boys went on to lead distinguished careers, including David Rockefeller (chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank), Archibald Roosevelt Jr. (grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt), J. D. Salinger (author of Catcher in the Rye), Gardner Botsford (editor of the New Yorker Magazine), John Chafee (a governor and senator from Rhode Island), David Chavechavadze (the great-great-grandson of Czar Nicholas I of Russia), Vernon Walters (U.S. ambassador to the United Nations), William Warfield (actor and singer known for his role in the opera Porgy and Bess and the musical Showboat).

Today, it is believed that only 200 Ritchie Boys are still alive, most of whom are in their mid- to late 90s.

One of the secret heroes was in attendance for Trone’s announcement at Fort Ritchie. Ninety-seven-year-old Gideon Kantor first came to Camp Ritchie in 1943. He and his family had left Austria, fleeing the Nazis. They arrived in America in 1941. He graduated high school here and started college, but he chose to join the Army and support his adopted country. He was sent to Camp Ritchie to train as a Ritchie Boy.

The Ritchie Boys have also been awarded the Elie Wiesel Award from the United States Holocaust Museum and a U.S. Senate resolution.

Bernie Lubran

Gideon Kantor

Landon Grove

The Lions clubs of Lions District 22-W (Western Maryland), which includes both the Thurmont (TLC) and Emmitsburg Lions Clubs, have recently completed a fundraising drive to purchase a custom class 3 bus that will be equipped to provide a number of basic health-screening functions. The unit will be fully self-contained and will include features such as on-board power generation and heating and air conditioning so that it can be set up on any reasonably level spot. The completed unit, including testing equipment, will cost in excess of $250,000, of which the Lions of District 22-W has raised half of the total cost. The balance will be covered by a community service matching grant from the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF). This foundation is funded by donations from Lions Clubs around the world.

Lions Clubs International has a long history of supporting local healthcare activities. Currently, the Thurmont Lions Club conducts a health fair on a yearly basis at the community library. The Mobile Screening Unit (MSU) will be made available at no cost (other than fuel) to any Lions Club in the district for use at public events, such as community fairs, local health events, and so forth, where large numbers of local citizens come together. The completed unit will be equipped with six testing stations. Once placed into service, the MSU will be able to provide the following basic health checks: adult vision testing; youth vision screening (as young as one year in age); hearing screening; blood pressure and pulse rate; and blood-sugar levels. Additional tests such as internal eye pressure (glaucoma) and macular degeneration will probably be added in the future.

The Lions Clubs who use the MSU will not make any specific health diagnoses. Instead, they will notify the individual being screened (or a guardian) that there are indications of a potential health issue and recommend that the individual seek professional help for further diagnosis. In some cases, the clubs may be in a position to assist the referred individual to public health services if they do not have the necessary insurance to cover the costs of the recommended procedure. 

Now that the funds are in place to order the MSU, District 22-W is working on raising money to cover the operating costs on an ongoing basis (insurance, license and registration, maintenance, supplies, etc.). Starting in January of 2023, the Thurmont Lions Club will be placing donation jars at various club events, such as the Christmas Extravaganza, bingo events, traditional health fair, etc.) to allow the community to help to place the valuable health-screening asset in regular service as a part of the annual TLC Make a Difference Day program.

At this time, it is hoped that the MSU can be placed in service before the end of 2023. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available. 

Photo shows a Mobile Screening Unit currently in use in Virginia.

Courtesy Photo

Katara Vasher, Postmaster Thurmont

It is a great honor to serve Thurmont as your new Postmaster. With more than 11 years in the U.S. Postal Service, I have seen firsthand the role my organization plays connecting neighbors and communities to the nation. Our post offices serve as a lifeline for small businesses reaching customers and businesses six days a week and package deliveries on Sunday.

I have had the opportunity of serving different communities, helping businesses thrive and grow. I was chosen to represent the Central PA District as an Engagement Ambassador and will bring that same commitment to the Maryland District. In addition, I was directly involved with the Caught in the Act Safety Program that aligns with improving employee engagement and safety at work and in our communities. I look forward to bringing a strong postal presence and time-honored tradition of postmaster in the Thurmont community, and I am excited to be involved in the Colorfest next year.

The U.S. Postal Service has been hard at work preparing for the holiday season since January. Rest assured, we’re holiday-ready and well prepared to deliver fast and reliable service to every address locally and across America.

USPS has made significant investments to ensure your holiday greeting cards and packages reach their intended destination on time. We’ve added 249 new package sorting machines across the nation, which will allow us to process 60 million packages per day. This new equipment is part of $40 billion in new investments made under Delivering for America, our 10-year plan to achieve financial sustainability and service excellence.

Additionally, we have the space we need to manage all packages and mail when they reach us. We’ve strategically expanded our footprint by 8.5 million square feet throughout the country to augment space shortages at existing postal facilities, and we’ve deployed new technology on our workroom floors to make sure we can track and move mail and packages quickly to get them on their way.

The 650,000 men and women of the U.S. Postal Service pride themselves on playing an important role in delivering the holidays for the nation. We’ve had more than 100,000 part time employees convert to full time positions since January 2021. And there is still time to join our team for the holiday season. Open seasonal positions are posted at

Thank you for continuing to support the Postal Service. Our Thurmont Postal Service team wishes you a wonderful holiday season.

The Lewistown Ruritan Club held their annual Ladies Night Dinner at Dutch’s Daughter Restaurant in November in appreciation of the ladies of the Lewistown United Methodist Church who prepare the dinners for the club’s monthly meetings and the wives of Ruritan members.

Frank Warner, Ruritan president, welcomed everyone and thanked the ladies of the Lewistown United Methodist Church for preparing the delicious meals for the Ruritan meetings.

Harold Staley (pictured on right), program committee, introduced Richard Cutter (pictured on left), a retired sheriff from New York as the guest speaker for the evening. Cutter provided a very interesting history on the origins of the Pledge of Allegiance. He described the various changes that were made prior to the acceptance of the pledge that we say today. The original purpose of the Pledge of Allegiance was to bring the United States together after the Civil War, which had caused a devastating divide in America. The Pledge was written in 1885 by Union Army officer George Thatcher Balch, with the purpose of healing the nation. This wonderful history lesson was appreciated by the members of the audience since the Pledge of Allegiance is said at every Ruritan Meeting.

Following the presentation of the guest speaker, Frank Warner distributed donations totaling $2,600 to the following organizations: Catoctin High School Safe & Sane, Team Hope, Lewistown Fire Co, Lewistown Elementary PTA, Lewistown United Methodist Women, Thurmont Food Bank, and the 4H Therapeutic Riding Club. At the annual picnic in August, $4,200 in scholarships were also awarded to local students.

The slogan of Ruritan is fellowship, goodwill, and community service. The Lewistown Ruritan Club is a service-oriented club that provides financial support for many local community functions, as well as the annual scholarship program for local students. Club membership represents a cross section of the community which the club serves and is available to all persons interested in joining. The club meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the Lewistown United Methodist Church in Lewistown.  New members are welcome. If interested in membership, plan to attend one of their meetings or contact Frank Warner at [email protected]

The annual EHS Alumni Reunion Banquet was held on Saturday, October 15, at the Emmitsburg Fire and Ambulance Building. Alan Brauer, Class of 1964 president, welcomed the 150 guests. Bill Wivell, Class of 1966, gave the invocation and blessing. Dinner was served by Keystone Restaurant. All military, doctors, nurses, first responders, public safety officials, and teachers were recognized.

 Vickie Valentine Frushour, Class of 1971 scholarship secretary, introduced the four scholarship winners. Two recipients, Max Bingman and Wyatt Davis, expressed their appreciation for the financial gift. Max is a junior at West Virginia University, pursuing a career in neuroscience. Wyatt is a freshman at Shippensburg University, studying mechanical engineering. Becky Chaney spoke on behalf of her twin daughters, Rianna and Sheridan, who are attending colleges in Oklahoma and Kansas, respectively. Both are interested in careers in agricultural communications. It was rewarding to see such fine young students receiving the scholarships.

Reports were given by Secretary Connie Baker Fisher and Treasurer Sam Valentine, both from the Class of 1964. Historian Joyce Meadows Bruchey, Class of 1962, shared the 100th anniversary event of the high school building, which was organized by Penny Stockton of the Frederick County Public Library staff. The celebration was held on September 15. Mayor Donald Briggs, FCPL Media Specialist Sheila McDuff, and County Executive Jan Gardner gave brief remarks. A ribbon-cutting of the road side sign about the high school was done by Mayor Briggs. EHS memorabilia was displayed in the activities room and the library.

Honored classes were recognized by Joyce Bruchey, who shared information about each class. Robert Gillelan and Mary Fiery were present from the Class of 1947. They were voted most athletic by their classmates. Each won top spots in 6 out of 16 categories. The FFA won state and national honors for their FFA programs. Their school assemblies started with a Bible reading, the Lord’s Prayer, salute to the flag, and the singing of “The Star- Spangled Banner.” Robert Gillelan won the $25.00 gift card. He also won the Shaklee basket, donated by Jeanne Sharrer Angleberger, Class of 1962.

The Class of 1952 had 15 graduates, including a German student. The group was the first class to graduate in the new auditorium/gymnasium addition. Miss Fiery began her teaching career at her alma mater. George Springer went to the National FFA Convention in Kansas City. The fire department scheduled a fire drill during a basketball game! Willam Umbel won the gift card.

The Class of 1957 had 18 graduates, only 4 were girls. This was the year a community college was established after school hours and on Saturdays at Frederick High School (tuition $150). It was also the first-time consolidation with Thurmont High was mentioned. Graduation was on June 14. The community was busy preparing for its bicentennial celebration, including a pageant called “Valley Echoes.” The $25.00 gift card was won by Barbara Naill Copenhaver.

The Class of 1962 had 28 graduates, like the Class of 1947. The girls’ hockey team placed second in the county. The boys’ soccer team was the county champs. EHS Liners won the district basketball championship. They went on to state class C championship and lost to Poolesville. Both the soccer and basketball teams were coached by John Horine. The seniors went on a class trip to the Catskills. Jeannie Sharrer Angleberger was May Queen. This was the year when Route 15 was identified as the most dangerous road in Frederick County. There was a big snowstorm that winter and the schools were closed for a week. The gift card was won by Dennis McGlaughlin.

The Class of 1967 was the next to last class to graduate from Emmitsburg High. Linda Keilholtz Umbel was May Queen, exactly 30 years after her mother had been May Queen in 1937. All the senior girls were in the May court. This was the first year that the yearbook staff was composed of other grades besides the seniors, and a designated class period was set aside for the staff to meet rather than after school. This was the fourth year that EHS Liners soccer team placed second in soccer, scoring over twice as many points as their opponents. Coach George Kuhn was the soccer coach. He also started the school’s first JV soccer team. The school finally offered typing classes. Joyce Kline Philpott won the $25.00 gift card.

Phyllis Chatlos Kelly, Class of1965, read the names of deceased members from the last year. A memorial station to them had been set up. Pres. Brauer thanked people who helped make the evening successful: Robert Black from Catoctin Mountain Orchards for apples for each honored class member; Pam Ellison from Vigilant Hose Company; bartenders Wanda Valentine, Tina Sayler King, and Connie Burrier, Class of 1968; and Keystone Restaurant.

The Town of Thurmont has placed its first all-electric fleet vehicle into service. The 2023 Chevy Bolt was purchased from Criswell Chevrolet in Thurmont in October. Partial funding for the vehicle purchase comes from a Maryland Smart Energy Grant from the Maryland Energy Administration. The new vehicle is assigned to the Town of Thurmont Municipal Offices and will be utilized by office staff for administrative functions.

“As a Sustainable Maryland Certified Community and a Smart Energy Community, sustainability is a vital component of the job that we do,” said Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick. “This new electric vehicle is another way we can continue to achieve these lofty sustainability goals and objectives.”

The town also received grant funding for two electric vehicle charging stations from the Maryland Charge Ahead Grant Program, which is funded through the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. These charging stations are located at the Municipal Offices and the Thurmont Police Department and are for town employees and fleet vehicles only. The town plans to apply for additional grant funding later this year to purchase and install electric vehicle charging stations for public use.

Pictured from left are Becky Long, Thurmont Senior Administrative Assistant; Jim Humerick, Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer; Doug Martin, General Manager — Criswell Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram of Thurmont; Linda Joyce, Thurmont Chief Financial Officer; Clayton Kennedy, New Vehicle Sales — Criswell Chevrolet of Thurmont