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Blair Garrett

Exploring a new passion is one of life’s most exciting qualities.

Emmitsburg’s Tanner Shorb, 12, is a middle schooler turned entrepreneur, finding joy in one of the oldest-known industries in existence. 

At just nine years old, Shorb began crafting metal, creating tools, hooks, knives, and anything else he could come up with. He has become tremendously good at forging metal by keeping it simple, “I just start with a bar of whatever I want to make something out of, and then I bend it on the anvil to make it look the way I want,” Shorb said.

He initially drew his inspiration from an unlikely source, but he has since found that he’s got a natural knack for blacksmithing. “I started from watching Forged In Fire,” Shorb said.

Forged In Fire is a popular game show on the History Channel, where four contestants compete for money to create the best bladed weapon they can make.

Shorb’s skills forging metal have come a long way, and he’s been able to turn his hobby into an official business. “He just set up for the first time on Mother’s Day weekend,” Tanner’s father DJ Shorb said. “They had him all set up out there at Frontier Bar B Q, and he’s going to go back there Father’s Day weekend. He fits in well there, too, because you have pit beef, Jason carving logs with a chainsaw, and [Tanner] as the blacksmith.”

Locals were able to get a glimpse at the craftsmanship that goes into Shorb’s handmade pieces, and despite the rain, he even made some sales on his first big weekend.

“I had people stopping by just to watch.” Blacksmithing is a hard-to-find skill these days, and the sight of a 12-year-old intricately shaping metal is not one you see every day. Shorb has even built his own display set to show off some of his finest pieces, including detailed metal Mother’s Day flowers.

His father, DJ Shorb, has seen his son’s craftsmanship and attention to detail for a long time. “He forges everything himself,” DJ said. “I’m a carpenter, so he comes and helps me all the time with projects.”

He’s no stranger to woodworking either. In addition to helping his father, Shorb has made his own walking sticks, too.

“He isn’t afraid to get dirty, and he isn’t afraid to work,” DJ said.

Blacksmithing is something Shorb has had the drive to do for a long time, and with a little help from his family, he has been able to make it a reality.

“When he was nine, all he wanted for Christmas was a forge, an anvil, and a vice,” DJ said. “He’s a real hard worker, so if he wants to do it, I’m all for it.”

The young go-getter already has a logo and a business name branded. While ‘Tanner’s Forge’ is just getting started, he has a lot of room to grow and to continue cultivating his metalworking. This industry may even be a long-term destination for him.

“I could see a career in this,” Shorb said.

Aside from his gig producing professional-quality products, Shorb goes to school and has a full schedule of baseball.

Kids with the attitude and drive that Tanner Shorb has inspire hope that the next generation will do great things. That ingrained hard-working nature leads down a road toward a bright future.

To catch Shorb in action, stop by his spot at Frontier Bar B Q on Father’s Day weekend to see something truly unique.

Tanner demonstrates how he operates his blacksmithing forge.

Starting with a red hot piece of metal, Tanner hammers the substrate on his anvil into a small horseshoe for a decorative item one of his clients custom-ordered.

Tanner displays a small portion of hand-crafted items he has produced. The forged metal items include crosses, hanging hooks, delicate flowers, and jewelry. He also specializes in making “Squirrel Cookers,” to be used over an open flame or around the campfire.

Blair Garrett

A brand new activities building at Eyler Road Park Fields simplifies a lot of the issues facing local athletics programs.

For more than a decade, the plans for one central building to house equipment and a multitude of other purposes has fallen through. This year, the Catoctin Youth Association (CYA) has battled through challenge after challenge in providing the people of Thurmont with a quality building to kick off the fall season.

The common denominator for many of society’s problems seems to stem from the coronavirus situation, and it’s certainly contributed to complications completing the building.

“We had to redo the plans for the building because the price of lumber has doubled, and it put the building way out of range for us,” Jerry Ferson, Vice President of CYA Football and Cheer said. “We put out a GoFundMe account, and we’ve got some more fundraisers, but I think we were going to be short about $30,000.”

With the cost for building materials being at an all-time high, allocating the appropriate amount of funding to complete the project had been a major concern for CYA. Fortunately, the program has been able to make some tremendous adjustments to try to keep the plan on track.

“We had to scrap the whole thing and start over,” Ferson said. “Instead of a two-story building, we went with a one-story building with a loft built inside for filming and announcing.”

This building has had plans in the works for a long time, and with the condition of the current buildings at the Eyler Road Fields, it couldn’t come at a better time. “The soccer facility and our facility are falling apart,” Ferson said. “Termites have gotten into the buildings, and last year I stepped through the floor.”

The building’s main purpose is to consolidate all of the equipment that is spread across multiple facilities into one area, as well as providing announcers and scoreboard operators a press box to keep games and tournaments running smoothly. “It’s for all of the CYA organizations that use Eyler Fields for storage, and it will also be used for filming games,” Ferson said.

Aside from the poor condition of the current facilities, the security of the equipment at the fields is a top priority for CYA. The building will provide some much-needed protection for equipment like lights for the fields, which have been vandalized and had gas siphoned from on multiple occasions.

“Our buildings have been broken into at least four times,” Ferson said. “This will be a nice, secure facility.”    

There have been plenty of snags with the county, getting things approved and making sure all regulations in the plans are being met. Ferson and the rest of CYA have had hoops to jump through to keep the ball rolling.

It’s now or never to get the project up and running, with the financial deadline looming at the start of 2022. “If we don’t use the money by January 1, 2022, we lose the money for the grant,” Ferson said. “We feel like if we don’t do it now, it will never get done.”

The Youth Association is a group that put in a tremendous amount of time and effort into the community, and they have felt a lot of support from the people who make up our great local towns.

“We’ve done a lot in the community, and they’ve given a lot back,” Ferson said.

CYA has a GoFundMe available on its website for locals to donate to help complete the construction of the building.

You can find out more information and ways that you can donate online at www.catoctinfootball.net.

James Rada, Jr.

Having been cooped up because of COVID and cold weather, people are anxious to get outside now that the weather is pleasant. However, not everyone is cut out for hiking the beautiful nature trails in our region.

Luckily, we have walking trails in our area that combine art and history with a leisurely walking path.

Army Heritage Education Center

950 Soldiers Drive, Carlisle, PA

One of the most-unusual trails in the area is the one-mile-long Army Heritage Trail in Carlisle next to the Army Heritage Education Center. It is a walk through history with areas featuring the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the conflicts in the Middle East. Along the trail you will find historic buildings and equipment, such as a Huey helicopter, M-18 Tank Destroyer, Japanese pillbox, and WWI trenches.

Besides being educational, it is a trail that will engage young children who will enjoy climbing the lookout tower, wandering the maze of trenches, and looking at the equipment. They will get exercise without realizing it.

After the walk, you can tour the displays in the Army Heritage Education Center. Admission is free and parking is plentiful.

Carroll Creek Linear Park

Carroll Creek Parking Garage, 44 E. Patrick Street, Frederick, MD

The Carroll Creek Linear Park was created after the creek flooded Frederick twice in the 1970s. The city government undertook a flood control project that is primarily underground, but it also created the space and opportunity to build a scenic walking trail along the creek.

The 1.5-mile trail runs from the 400 block of E. Patrick Street to N. Bentz Street. Along the way, you will see public art displays, water features, and plantings. You might stop to cross the pedestrian bridge to the amphitheater to listen to music, visit the C. Burr Artz Library, or visit one of the shops along the way.

Harrisburg River Walk

Along Front St., Harrisburg, PA

Part of Riverfront Park in Harrisburg, the Harrisburg River Walk is a 3.5-mile-long trail that runs between Front Street and the Susquehanna River. It runs from Vaughn Street to Paxton Street. The trail is paved, making it a popular route for walkers, joggers, and bicyclists.

It offers scenic views of the river, City Island, Wormleysburg, and Blue Mountain. You can find exercise stations along the trail along with public art exhibits that add to the sights to take in. You can also walk on a pedestrian bridge over the river to City Island and the attractions and trails there.

Civil War Trails

Gettysburg, PA; Frederick, MD; Sharpsburg, MD

We are within an hour drive of three Civil War battle sites: Gettysburg, Antietam, and Monocacy. Each of these parks has a variety of walking trails that will take you to key locations of the battles and show you the monuments and landmarks. To find the trail that works best for you, stop in at the visitor’s center and ask for a trail map. You can talk to the rangers about which trails will show you the sites you want and are the right length for a casual walk.

Annmarie Sculpture Garden

13470 Dowell Road, Solomons, MD

For a trip that’s a bit further away, check out Annmarie Sculpture Garden in Solomons, Md. It might look like a typical garden walk, but it’s filled with unique art installations throughout the 30 acres of forests, fields, and meadows. Some of the art is part of the permanent collection while others are on loan. Some of the pieces are easy to spot while others are almost hidden away. You can treat your visit like a scavenger hunt to try and find all of the displays. There’s even a children’s garden, butterfly garden, and fairy grove for kids.

Historic army buildings and equipment can be found along the Army Heritage Trail in Carlisle.

Carroll Creek Linear Park in Frederick

The Pennsylvania Monument is the largest monument on the Gettysburg Battlefield.

Sam Rada gets ready to explore the WWI trenches that are part of the Army Heritage Trail.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

With each spring comes not only warmer longer days but also preparation of the next year’s town budget. The town fiscal year does not run concurrent with a calendar year. The next year budget period, 2021-2022, starts on July 1 and ends June 30. The different cycle gives the town, like most towns and cities, time to prepare during the closing months that is generally a time of slower activity barring another pandemic. The town has a General Fund account, and separate Enterprise Funds for water and sewer that must come to a performance balance between revenues and expenses. Coming through a pandemic affected year at times presented challenges to our resources to meet expected services. We bent but did not break. Thank you to the staff with their years of public service experience.

Traditional graduations are beginning to, yes, happen. A gold rush. Masks are being shed. Opportunities to attend graduation are opening for more people to attend. I attended the Mount St. Mary’s University 2021 class graduation. It was held outside at Waldron Stadium. The graduation was broken into four parts, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. Masks were optional, noticeably social distancing was reduced. The stadium was near capacity with family members and friends of graduates.

On the last Saturday of June, as is the tradition, the 39th Annual Community Heritage Day will be held in the Eugene Myers Community Park. Starting time is 9:00 a.m. for a full day of games, crafts, music, food, free swimming, open disc golf tournament, and biking event. The parade down W. Main Street and South Seton Avenue is planned to start at 5:00 p.m. Then, back to the park for more activities. Fireworks start at 9:45 p.m. Thank you to the Lions Club and other volunteers for putting the celebration together. As always, thank you to the town staff for all the behind-the-scenes work, and the town businesses and residents for donations. Every year, the town budget supports funding for the fireworks.

Over the last two years, the town has been bombarded with interest in the development of property within the town corporate boundary and properties identified within the current town comprehensive plan approved growth boundaries. Within our town limits, there are about 24 remaining lots in Brookfield, including lots facing on Irishtown Road. That is all the new homes projected to be completed this year. There is a yet-to-be-approved 48-unit subdivision along Irishtown Road that may start this fall, potentially delivering homes in 2022. There have been some discussions on annexations, but none are in the planning process.

This year, Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 31. A special day, “honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.” Look for the flags in the cemeteries you may per chance pass by. They stand for a lot.

Flag Day is the quiet observation celebrated annually on June 14. The event is held interchangeably by the towns of Emmitsburg and Thurmont, alternating every other year. American Legion, VFW, and American Veterans (AMVETS) from both towns co-host the event. This year, the commemoration will be held in Thurmont. The observance was officially noted by proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson in 1917. The flag design was adopted by second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. In 1949, Flag Day was officially recognized but not as a federal holiday by Congress. This is the one event where old flags may be burned. The Boy Scout troops from each town do that for us.

Happy Fourth of July. It’s finally, summer, a well-earned one it will be.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

With the recent and unexpected changes to masking requirements, we may feel like jumping back into life with both feet. Even with these new changes, we still need to think about our family, friends, and neighbors. The new rulings allow those who have been vaccinated more opportunities to get out and mix with others. Those who have not been vaccinated are asked to continue wearing masks at this time. As we move forward, many who have been vaccinated may continue to wear masks; please do not be critical of their decision. Those who have chosen not to get vaccinated should be sure to follow the guidelines when interacting with others. It has been a tough year, and it looks like we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. At this time, it is important that we continue to follow the guidelines and help ensure the safety of our family, friends, and neighbors.

I am happy to announce that the Guardian Hose Company is planning their 2021 Carnival for Tuesday, July 6 through Saturday, July 10. The carnival will be open from 5:00-10:30 p.m. If you are like me, I am looking forward to the great food, fun games, and getting to see family and friends. Sadly, there will be no parade this year. The Guardian Hose Company Carnival will be held at the GHC Carnival Grounds, 123 East Main Street, Thurmont. Parking is available at the Boundary Avenue entrance. Be sure to come out and support the Guardian Hose Company Carnival.

The Thurmont Community Ambulance Service will be holding its carnival from Tuesday, June 1 through Saturday, June 5. There will be entertainment each evening, with plenty of good food, rides, games, and raffles. A nightly buffet will be available for $15.00 and will be served from 5:00-7:00 p.m., daily. Entertainment includes the Taylor Brown Elvis Show on Tuesday, Open Road Band on Wednesday, Full Effect on Thursday, The Rock and Roll Relics on Friday, and Borderline on Saturday. The Thurmont Community Ambulance Service Carnival will be held at the Thurmont Event Complex, 13716 Strafford Drive, Thurmont. I will see you there!

This fall, we will be having Colorfest on October 9-10! Be sure to keep an eye out for more information as we finalize plans for this long-standing community event. Colorfest is the single, biggest fundraising opportunity for our local churches, civic organizations, and non-profits. The past year has been a difficult time for many organizations, and I hope Colorfest will help kick-start their fundraising.

I want to remind everyone to sign up for the Town and Main Street newsletter. We are switching to an electronic version soon, so be sure to sign up now. Email kschildt@thurmontstaff.com and ask to be added to the email list. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose. Print copies of the newsletter will be available at the town office and other locations.

Again, it is important that we continue to follow the COVID-19 guidelines and help ensure the safety of our family, friends, and neighbors.

I can be reached by cell phone at 301-606-9458 or by email a jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

For more information on the Town of Emmitsburg, visit www.emmitsburgmd.gov or call 301-600-6300.

Budget to be Approved in June

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners is expected to approve the budget for Fiscal Year 2022, which starts July 1, this month. The $1,907,086 budget shows a 2 percent increase. The property tax rate of 36 cents/$100 assessed value is the primary funding source for the budget, and it remains the same.

Town staff had budgeted $275,000 for two community deputies, but contract from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office arrived shortly before the budget presentation for $298,000 (an 8.5 percent increase). Because this was unforeseen, staff will need to adjust other areas of the budget, particularly capital projects, to make up the difference without increasing the overall budget.

In some of the other highlighted areas of the budget, streets will increase 7 percent, trash collection will increase 5 percent, and parks and recreation will increase 1 percent.

Commissioners Approve New Trash Collection Contract

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners has approved a three-year contract with Republic Services in Frederick for trash removal. The bid amount was for $5.74/unit/month, $145 per dumpster collected, and $.55 unit/occurrence.

Town Election Laws Updated

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve changes to election laws updating such things as times of election, various deadlines for absentee voting, and filing deadlines. Commissioner Joe Ritz, III, voted against the changes because one change would have candidates listed alphabetically, rather than by who filed first, which has traditionally been the case.

Commissioners Approve Sewer Agreement with Rutter’s

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a public works agreement with M&G Realty and SPT Land, who are developing a site for a new Rutter’s store. The agreement outlines what is expected before the town will accept a new sewage pump station and associated sewer infrastructure. The agreement was accepted on the condition that a minor modification might need to be made if the developers request it.

Thurmont

For more information on the Town of Thurmont, visit www.thurmont.com or call 301-271-7313.

Town Preparing to Approve Budget

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are expected to approve the budget for Fiscal Year 2022, which starts July 1, this month. The $4,480,309 budget has $4,301,747 in expenditures and $178,562 in the capital budget. This is about $18,000 less than the FY2021 budget. The property tax rate of 29.92 cents/$100 assessed value is the primary funding source for the budget, and it remains the same as it has for the previous two years.

New Ball Field Plans Presented

ARRO Consulting presented the preliminary plans for a new baseball field in East End Park to the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently. The field is needed because as Thurmont Little League grows it is becoming harder to accommodate games and practices in town.

Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick told the commissioners, “Last year, if they would have had a complete season, Thurmont Little League were prepared to play in Emmitsburg because all the fields were full down here.” He used Program Open Space funds to have the engineering work done.

Besides two ball fields, the plan includes a 24-foot-wide access drive, walkways, and 37-spot parking lot. The projected cost for construction is almost $262,000 with the plan for Program Open Space funds to pay for it. There is also a planned future expansion for a multi-use field.

Colorfest Returns

After being canceled last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, Colorfest will return on October 9-10 this year. The festival attracts over 100,000 to Thurmont during the weekend, so it was impossible to maintain social distancing last year. The festival is a major fundraiser for many local organizations, and the Colorfest organization donates to many groups and funds a local scholarship.

Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick said he was happy to be planning for it, even if conditions change that might cause the need for cancellation.

The town pays for security, transportation, trash, and sanitation. They pay for these services with vendors and parking permits. Because things are still unknown, attendance might be down, which could lead to the town not bringing in enough money to cover its costs.

“Colorfest is so critical to a lot of our local organizations, our churches, our scouts, our service organizations like the Lions Club; we need to get back into it and take the chance that we may come up short this year,” Mayor John Kinnaird said.

He worries that if the event was canceled two years in a row, visitors and vendors might not return.

James Rada Jr.

The Frederick County Board of Education gave an impactful reprieve at the end of March when it revoked its former end-of-November (2020) vote to close the Sabillasville Elementary School (SES). This was in response to an appeal submitted by the Sabillasville Parent Teacher Organization.

“They needed to do that because of the lack of notice of a public meeting when they voted,” said Alisha Yocum, president of the Sabillasville Elementary Parent Teacher Organization. “They didn’t follow COMAR or their own procedures.”

After listening to comment from approximately ten concerned citizens at an April 14, 2021, hearing, the board put the decision to vote again on April 21, and this time, decreed a trifecta win in favor of the students, community, and Frederick County Public Schools System. The first win is the most obvious, SES will remain open through the 2021-2022 school year.

The second win allows that the school will serve as an open-enrollment school. Therefore, any student from another school, or another over-capacity school in the county, may attend Sabillasville Elementary for the 2021-2022 school year.

The final win gives the board and the Sabillasville Elementary community a year to get a new plan for the school in place. A three-member committee from the board will work with the citizens of Sabillasville to investigate alternatives to closing the school. This includes turning it into a charter school, which is what the residents of the town have been working toward. The board is also looking at what maintenance and improvements the school needs.

Yocum is a member of a group of Sabillasville residents who submitted a charter application to the board to change Sabillasville Elementary into a charter school, called the Sabillasville Environmental School. It would be a K-8 school, with roughly 23 students per grade. It would begin as a K-6 school and add grades 7 and 8 in years two and three.

“We want to offer a classical curriculum, similar to what the Frederick Classical Charter School offers, with a focus on the environment,” Yocum told the Banner earlier this year. “Given where we are located, we want to reconnect students with nature and agriculture.”

The board of education staff provided feedback on the application. It is now being revised and will be resubmitted again.

“Sabillasville is unique, given its geographic location and importance in the community,” said Board member Liz Barrett, who proposed the motion for vote. “I also think that our board, because of COVID and other reasons, had failures with communication, with application of policy, and with our procedures in dealing with Sabillasville, and I don’t think that this is an issue where we should have any room for error or perception of error in our community.”

With the vote to keep the school open, the board will have to figure out how to best staff the school.

Yocum and her group understand the reprieve is temporary, and they know the school can’t stay open as is. They have been working toward the charter school but ran into a time problem. Even if the charter had been approved, the new school wouldn’t be ready to operate until August 2022. This means the board would have had to close Sabillasville Elementary, send students to Thurmont and Emmitsburg schools for a year, and then return them to Sabillasville the following year.

The additional year gives the Sabillasville group time as the charter works its way through the approval process.

Strong community support delayed the decision to close the school in the past, and it will be a factor in pushing the charter application through the process until it is approved.

“We will keep fighting as long as we have to,” said Yocum.

Cover Photo by Kelsey Norris

Cover Photo: Abbey Sparkman, McKinley Norris, and Emma Sparkman are shown outside the Frederick County Public Schools building in Frederick while waiting at a public hearing about their school.

Photo by Deb Abraham Spalding

Sabillasville Elementary School supporters stand outside the FCPS public hearing while waiting to speak in support of the school remaining open on April 14.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Pictured from left are Selena Cisar, Joyce Johnson, John Krumpotich, George Coyle Jr., and Brad Coyle.

Photo by Deb Abraham Spalding

Since the 1998 closing of the Fort Ritchie military base in Cascade, the property has endured years of unsuccessful progress, as various developers and business entities failed. After a 16-month wait through multiple delays, the property, located in the corner of Washington County, bordering Frederick County, and near Franklin County, Pennsylvania, was officially purchased by the local Krumpotich family on April 8, 2021.

For the last year, the Krumpotich family, backed by interested local citizens, has taken care of the property by doing lawn work, picking up trash, and monitoring the property. A “Ritchie Revival” Facebook page was created and has helped keep locals informed and involved.

Now, after the purchase, the Krumpotiches want to keep local residents involved.

“Many people have reached out. They want to help. We are completely overwhelmed with the community’s support. It’s been remarkable. We are just so thankful to everybody up here,” John Krumpotich said.

The next several years will reveal the development and implementation of a master plan that begins immediately with the renovation of housing.

Next, the row of barracks on Barrick Avenue will see a renovation into a mix of artisan shops, local businesses, and guest houses. One of the larger stone buildings, also on Barrick Avenue, will be the “Fort Ritchie History Museum,” recognizing the significance of the Fort.

For years, community members and those that served on the base have waited and hoped for the revitalization of Fort Ritchie. Many are proud of its history and heredity. Those who wish to contribute to the historical database may contact Landon Grove via email at RitchieMuseum@yahoo.com. He is curating information and artifacts for the museum.

Former and future events are already in the planning stages.

A Community Clean-up Day is planned for May 16, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The focus will be weeding, mulching, and planting flowers around the community center and the main loop, where people enjoy walking and running. Interested volunteers can meet at the community center—any and all help is appreciated!

Lakeside Hall, the former Officer’s Club, is hosting an Open House on May 23, 2021, and resuming event rentals. More information can be found at www.EventsatLakesideHall.com.

Also in the works coming up is a Food Truck Day on Saturday, May 29, fireworks on the Mountain in late June, and a Fall Festival and Christmas Village. Coordinator Joyce Johnson said, “We’re so excited to get started! We’ve been waiting for so long.”

For more information, please visit Ritchie Revival’s FaceBook page or email RitchieRevival@gmail.com.

Blair Garrett

People can be pushed to their limits doing many things.

Whether it’s submitting a treacherous mountaintop or shooting for world records, humans have a competitive tendency to push themselves past what they previously thought possible.

Competition is exciting to watch, and new challenges are always on the horizon for those who seek greatness.

Competitive eating has gained tremendous popularity over the past decade, with events like the world-famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, along with Food Network show challenges putting competitive eating on the map.

There are a few great local options that present customers with a food challenge only the toughest people can conquer.

Chubby’s Barbeque

Chubby’s Barbeque in Emmitsburg has a mountainous challenge of burgers piled high.

Owner Thomas Caulfield has seen many customers attempt his notoriously difficult “Chubby’s Challenge.”

“Years and years ago, I was watching Food Network challenges on ‘Man v. Food,’ and I sat around trying to come up with something nobody could eat,’’ Caulfield said. Caulfield designed a double-stack of burgers, so tall that it would take someone of true willpower and discipline to beat it.  

“We started it with eight half-pound burgers, with a Louisiana hot link sausage on each one,” he said. “The sausage weighs right around three ounces. With two slices of cheese on it, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise.”

It’s a meal that dwarves a normal adult’s daily caloric intake, but with a one-hour time limit, the heat is on to put down as much food as you possibly can.

“We didn’t have anybody take the challenge and win for probably over a year,” Caulfield said. “One Sunday, we had a guy walk in and say he was here for the challenge. He had a little lady with him, and he said she was going to do it.”

When we think of the stereotypical person who can put down tremendous amounts of food, it’s always a huge, corn-fed husky guy who throws bales of hay like a football for a living. Not this time.

She was maybe five feet tall, and maybe 90 pounds,” he said. “While she’s waiting for her burger challenge, she had two beers, which is just not what you want before a food challenge.” 

“She proceeds to eat it all within 45 minutes, with a smile on her face the whole time. She just went through it like she was walking through a garden,” Caulfield said.

The first person to complete the challenge was Bethesda, Maryland’s Juliet Lee, who was a world-renowned competitive eater. “She won her $100, left, and came back about an hour later and got a pulled pork sandwich, a side of Chubby potatoes, and $119 worth of food to go,” Caulfield said.

There have been just a few anomalies among the many who have taken on the Chubby’s Challenge.       

“Over the years, we’ve probably had 150 to 200 people try it, and just 6 people do it,”  

Chubby’s has had one more visit from a patron cut from a different cloth than the rest of us.

Molly Schuyler, world-record holder and competitive eating champion, made a stop at Chubby’s in 2019 to get her photo plastered behind the bartop at the restaurant.

“She did the challenge in about five minutes and 40 seconds,” Caulfield said. “After, I got her name and phone number, and I called and said, ‘I bet you can’t do two of them, and if you can, I’ll give you 500 dollars.’”

Schuyler was able to do a double Chubby’s Challenge in 29 minutes, 1 second, something most people previously thought to be impossible.

“Her boyfriend, who was also a competitive eater, ordered one of everything on the menu,” Caulfield said. “He couldn’t finish everything, so she finished what he didn’t eat [after her challenge].”

Nobody is forced to do two Chubby’s Challenges, but the option to solidify your name as Chubby’s royalty is there for the taking if you can reach it.

Bollinger’s Restaurant

Good barbecue strikes our tastebuds like nothing else out there.

There are so many choices for the cut of meat, though. You’ve got brisket, ribs, beef tips, pork, and various other options. Once you’ve had good barbecue, you crave that sweet and smoky flavor.

Bollinger’s Restaurant in Thurmont has a barbecue challenge to light up your taste buds.

“We started it about four years ago,” Bollinger’s Restaurant owner Josh Bollinger said. “It’s a sandwich and fries challenge.”

It doesn’t get much more American than a stack of meats on a bun, layered in barbecue sauce. “There’s 14 ounces of brisket, 14 ounces of ham, 14 ounces of pulled pork, and 4 ounces of coleslaw, and it has one big order of fresh-cut French fries with it,” Bollinger said.

That’s a sandwich big enough to intimidate just about any challenger. Patrons have just 20 minutes to clear their plates, and a few have risen to the occasion when faced with this monster sandwich.

“It’s roughly three-and-a-half to four pounds,” Bollinger said. “We’ve probably only had five or six people complete it. When they do complete it, it’s always under 10 minutes; they crush it.”

Winners get their meal free, a T-shirt, their picture posted up on Bollinger’s Restaurant social media, and likely tremendous indigestion for the rest of the night. Those who are strong enough to put all that food away can claim that they’ve gone where few have before them.

Bollinger has tried his own challenge to see how he measures up to the behemoth sandwich. “I was one bite away from finishing it,” he said. “My jaw hurt so bad, I couldn’t chew anymore.”

He may still take another crack at the challenge, this time with an empty stomach and the mental preparedness to overcome that much barbecue. “I might have to try it again one day, you never know.”

You don’t have to travel far to find some great food options and test your willpower at the dinner table. There are local spots to satiate the appetites of the world’s greatest food champions right here in Northern Frederick County. You just have to know where to look.

Juliet Lee of Bethesda, Maryland, a world-renowned competitive eater and the first person to complete the “Chubby’s Challenge” at Chubby’s Barbeque in Emmitsbug.

A contestant takes on two towering stacks of Chubby’s Avalanche burgers.

The Bollinger’s Restaurant challenge puts on the pressure, giving challengers just 20 minutes to finish this huge sandwich and fries.

E m m i t s b u r g

Mayor Don Briggs

Well, the vaccine shots are here. Yes, they’re at a convenient place for us up in these parts: the Vigilant Hose Company activities building on Creamery Road. Thank you, Vigilant Hose, for pulling this together. But, not so fast. The vaccine assigned was Johnson & Johnson. This vaccine type was pulled with urgency from delivery because of possibly being the cause of blood clotting to several inoculated women. To those who had signed up for shots, the Frederick County Health Department was very responsive in offering rescheduling in other parts of the county. Not so much for those who signed up, but to all those behind the scenes—and there are many—a seamless adjustment. Amazing how they do it.

This horrible virus is still with us. I’m hoping it will subside with the coming pleasant weather, much like last summer, where we spend more time outside as the healthier thing to do. Walk, jog, or bike through our connected town to our beautiful parks. Yet, still be wary, as there is again an uptick in demand for hospital beds. As of this writing, county-wide cases are up to 18,903 cases and 297 deaths. In the 21727 zip code, we have 397 cases.

The Masters Golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia…what would we do without it? Our national annual harbinger to spring, blooming, and, yes, warmth. For us morphing along in reluctant climate zones, holding fast to its tradition, it is almost a solemn event. The beautiful setting of immaculate grounds; antebellum reminiscent clubhouse; plush fairways; and landscaping, flush with blooming azaleas. I do not play golf, a youthful incurable proclivity to slice shots cut my play short. This year, the coverage by ESPN and CBS intensified the drama, with expanded coverage, drones, and exhibits, moving from player to player with fluidity, almost like watching a soccer match. As networks interpret, TV appetite screen presentations must change every seven seconds to keep the American viewers engaged. The networks did a good job keeping it moving with only a few commercials. Made it personnel.

Youth baseball in Emmitsburg is going full throttle, with many of the fields now in regular use. Weekends bring tournaments. Some pressure to other uses, but we can accommodate everything.

The Boys and Girls Club will be back this fall with expanded abilities to accommodate before- and after-school childcare. The town contributes funding to this service to the community. I will have more on this.

So fast, first crocuses, trees budding, farmers tilling, gardners planting, and seniors graduating. The buildup. Here we are. Happy Memorial Day.

T h u r m o n t

Mayor John Kinnaird

The Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market has been open for several weeks at the Thurmont Plaza Shopping Center and will be moving to its summer location at the Municipal Parking lot on May 8. The Farmers Market offers an amazing selection, including locally grown produce, homemade baked goods, fresh eggs, Red Angus beef, bacon, sausage, pork chops, fresh flowers, vegetable plants, and handcrafted items. The Farmers Market is open Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. until noon.

The town has several parks projects in the works! The parks crew has been working on an extension to the south end of the Thurmont Trolley Trail. The extension will carry the trail across Moser Road and down to a loop trail that will connect the trolley trail with the nature trail at the Thurmont Regional Library. A new walking trail is being added to the Eyler Road Park. This new trail encircles the lower playing fields and will provide residents with another safe walking path. Both trail improvements will be completed this summer.

The Town of Thurmont in partnership with the CYA will be building a new press box, storage area, and concession stand at the Eyler Road Park football field. This new building will replace several temporary structures and will provide additional storage and meeting space.

At the April 13th town meeting, the commissioners heard from a group of teens interested in having a skate park built in town. After a very impressive presentation, the commissioners voted to apply for Program Open Space funding to help kickstart the development of a skateboard park. This new facility may be located at the East End Park. Design recommendations will be drafted by the Parks and Recreation Commission and teen representatives of the skateboard group. During the April 20th town meeting, lifelong resident Louie Powell, Sr. spoke in favor of both the press box and the skateboard park. Mr. Powell donated to both projects and challenged everyone that uses our parks to also donate to these projects. Donations can be sent to the town office; please indicate on your check that it is intended for these projects.

The board of commissioners has been working on the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Municipal Budget. There will be a public hearing on the budget before it is adopted. I encourage everyone to watch the town meetings as the budget is finalized. Once adopted, the budget will take effect on July 1, 2021.

Work on the Thurmont Master Plan update continues at the Planning and Zoning meetings. This process also includes comprehensive rezoning. You are welcome to attend the P&Z meetings and to provide comments on the process. There will be public hearings and presentations prior to the adoption of the Master Plan update. I hope everyone has a great May! If you have any questions, concerns, or compliments, I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com

by James Rada, Jr.

T h u rmont

A “Y Without Walls”

The Town of Thurmont is still working toward bringing YMCA programs to town in a “Y without walls.” It was announced during a recent town meeting that the Y will run some art programs locally on Saturday mornings. These are expected to be one-and-a-half and two-hour workshops. The YMCA is also planning to start a North County Leaders Club in the fall to teach youth the value of service. The long-term goal is to have a YMCA facility in town, and the first step in that direction is showing support for Y programs being offered in the “Y without walls.”

Thurmont Police Officer of the Year

The Thurmont Lions Club awarded Officer First Class Nicole Fair the 2021 Thurmont Police Officer of the Year Award. In noting the work she has done in the department since joining in July 2016, it was also noted that she has an eagerness to learn new skills and jobs within the department. Fair also received a restaurant gift certificate and her name on a plaque. Also, the Lions Club will make a $400 donation in Fair’s name to the charity of her choice.

Thurmont Pursuing a Skate Park

Following a presentation by citizens, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners switched their priority for Program Open Space funds this year from doing phase 2 of the Woodland Park playground replacement to the start of building a skateboarding park in town. The commissioners asked the parks and recreation commission to meet with the citizens supporting the park to decide on what the ultimate design of the park should be and how to start building it, understanding that the park probably can’t be built in a year.

E m m i t s b u r g

Commissioners Accept North Seton Conceptual Plan

Commissioners Accept North Seton Conceptual Plan

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners accepted a Green Street Conceptual Plan for North Seton Avenue, from Main Street to Provincial Parkway. Fox and Associates presented the plan. The goal is to create an attractive streetscape that incorporates green stormwater infrastructure to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and pollution flowing into Flat Run. The plan also suggests ways to stabilize the banks of Flat Run and provide flood hazard mitigation. A Chesapeake Bay Trust Green Streets, Green Jobs, & Green Towns grant funded the study.

Commissioners Approve Hunting and Recreational Use at Rainbow Lake

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the hunting and recreational use of Rainbow Lake. The changes/additions will be updated on town hunting and fishing permits. Some of the changes include: (1) All-terrain vehicles, except class one pedal-assist bicycles, are prohibited in the watershed; (2) Hunting access is limited to deer and turkey. Hunting of any other wildlife species is prohibited; (3) Hunting is only permitted from the first day of deer season until the end of deer season. Hunting will then only be permitted from the first day of spring wild turkey season until the end of spring wild turkey season; (4) Use of hunting dogs to chase/hunt deer or turkey is prohibited; (5) Portable tree stands and climbing devices that do not use nails, wires, spikes, bolts, or screws for attachments are permitted; (6) Fishing permits must be renewed annually and expire on the date of your Maryland fishing license expires; (7) Please refrain from walking, standing, or throwing the rip rap rocks located around the lake basin; (8) Hiking and mountain biking are allowed on designated trails only. Trails must not be used if they are wet or muddy to protect the watershed from erosion.

Commissioners Approve Engineering Contract for Water Clarifier

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the engineering contract for the new water clarifier for the town’s water system to be conducted by Rummel, Klepper & Kahl. The entire cost will be $243,114, including study, preliminary design, final design, bidding, negotiation, construction, and post-construction.

Commissioners Change Zoning for New Wastewater Treatment Plant

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners held a public hearing in April about the zoning classification changes for the parcels of property the new wastewater treatment plant will be built on. The parcels were zoned agricultural before the town annexed the parcels and sought to change them to institutional zoning. Following the hearing, the commissioners voted to make the zoning change.

Does the Town Need to Raise Water Rates?

Emmitsburg Commissioner T. J. Burns brought up the possibility of the town raising its water rates during a recent town meeting. He said the town’s water rates are among the lowest in the county, and with the need to pay for the upcoming water infrastructure projects, such as the new water clarifier, the town may have to consider raising its rates to generate income for the projects that won’t be covered by grants.

2021 Emmitsburg Pool Information

The Emmitsburg pool will open this year on May 29. It will only be open from noon to 7:00 p.m. on weekends until June 13. From June 18 through Labor Day, it will be open daily. The day passes for residents will be $4.00 for adults, $3.00 for children and seniors, and free for children under three years old. Non-residents will pay $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for children and seniors. Depending on the governor’s COVID orders, there may be limited capacity. If this happens, no season passes will be sold.

Precipitated by a Fatal Prank in 1901

Earl Eyler

On a pleasant summer morning, August 18, 1901, Mary Finnefrock, with her companion, Mrs. Lewis Wecker, boarded an excursion train at York, Pennsylvania, bound for a day of fun and relaxation at the celebrated Pen Mar Park, not aware it would be the last day of her young life.

Mary was the 18-year-old unmarried daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Finnefrock of York, Pennsylvania, and worked there as a box trimmer in a paper box factory, helping to support her family financially. She looked forward to this trip as a day of rest and relaxation. It was reported her parents did not want her to go on this trip, but she had a will of her own and persisted.

Pen Mar Park was opened by the Western Maryland Railroad in 1877 as a tourist attraction in order to increase train ridership and proved to be immensely successful. Thousands would flock to the popular resort to enjoy the mountain breezes and the beautiful view of the Cumberland Valley, which stretched miles before them to the west. It offered amusement rides, picnicking and dancing, and was the site of countless reunions and social gatherings. Sunday excursions to Pen Mar and Lake Royer were advertised in The York Dispatch as leaving at 8:30 a.m. and returning at 6:30 p.m. for a one-dollar fare.

Miss Finnefrock and Mrs.Wecker were joined by York businessman, John Burkheimer, at the park. They were also joined by a young man named Frank Rinehart, of Smithsburg, whom they met at one of the nearby hotels. At some point, the group hired a hack to take them to Lake Royer, which lay a mile to the east at the foot of Mt. Quirauk, where they ate dinner at the Hotel Mellview, then decided to boat across the lake to the bathhouses on the other side. Rowboats were available to rent on Lake Royer, as well as bathing suits (for 25 cents). After securing these items, they ventured onto the lake.

 The Buena Vista Ice Company built Lake Royer, intending to use it to harvest ice in the winter and for recreational purposes in the summer. Construction had only been completed the previous month, and it had only just recently opened.

According to testimony later given to the grand jury, when just offshore, in waist-deep water, Frank Rinehart, who sat in the bow, began rocking the boat to the degree it finally capsized. Rinehart was admonished by people ashore not to repeat his behavior, and the group was allowed to take the boat on the lake once again; although, Miss Finnefrock, who could not swim, was very reluctant to go. She was, however, coaxed and finally agreed.

About a third of the way across the 21-acre lake, and in water 15-feet deep, Rinehart resumed rocking the boat as he perched on the bow with his feet dangling over both sides. With a hand on each side, he threw his weight from side to side, again overturning the boat, throwing all aboard into the water. Rinehart saved himself by clinging to the overturned boat. Other boaters nearby saved Mrs. Wecker and Burkheimer. While the other members of the party survived, Mary Finnefrock did not surface.

 A concerted search ensued. Lake Royer was dragged for days without success. At 5:45 a.m., two days later, as a last resort, dynamite was used to raise the body to the surface. It appeared about 50 feet from the site of the accident.

An inquest was held lakeside, and numerous witnesses testified, including Rinehart, who denied rocking the boat. However, the coroner’s jury concluded by charging Frank Rinehart with willfully and feloniously killing and murdering Mary Finnifrock. A grand jury later indicted him for manslaughter.

Rinehart disappeared immediately after the inquest but was arrested the following Saturday in Smithsburg. He was taken to Hagerstown on the noon train and committed to jail. He was shortly released, however, on $1,000 bail and returned to his home in Smithsburg to await trial in November. His mother was said to be prostrated with grief.

The story was carried in newspapers nationwide and resulted in calls for holding all “boat-rockers” legally responsible. However, in Smithsburg, Rinehart’s hometown, there were opposing views on his responsibility. Rinehart was a member of a prominent family, and a significant defense was organized in his support. According to The York Gazette of August 27, 1901, “the people of Smithsburg, the home of Rinehart, … held an indignation meeting and passed resolutions denouncing” the coroner and district attorney of Washington County for being too harsh.

The trial opened on November 29. Three of the ablest lawyers in the state defended him in court, and there was considerable difficulty in securing a jury. During the trial, Rinehart said he was never warned after the first capsize and denied tipping the boat either time; in short, he took no responsibility for his actions.

On December 2, 1901, the jury was unable to reach an agreement after 41 hours of deliberation and was discharged by Judge Stake. Rumor had it that in the last ballot, the vote was eleven for acquittal and one for conviction. Later, the state agreed to drop the case, reportedly due to several important witnesses refusing to return from Pennsylvania to testify. Rinehart was released.

The New Oxford Item newspaper reported that Mary’s parents had not wanted her to go on this trip, “but she had a will of her own and paid the penalty of death by her disobedience.”

Rinehart, on the other hand, was a free man and paid no legal price for his “fun” that beautiful summer day on Lake Royer.

According to The San Francisco Examiner, the white cross marks the spot near the shore where the boat was first upset; the black cross shows where the second upset took place and where Miss Finnefrock was drowned.

blair garrett

“On The Wild Side” provided a fun and exciting glimpse into what nature had to offer. Getting back to our roots in nature was a major focus for Christine Maccabee, Catoctin Banner columnist, as she waves farewell to writing for the Banner and moves on to other exciting ventures.

Maccabee’s final “On The Wild Side” column detailed the importance of seed-saving, a centuries-old tradition for re-planting crops, flowers, and just about anything else that grows out of the ground. She has routinely developed stories on her experiences with gardening and environmental health during her time with the Banner.

Maccabee is a creative soul who has written for the Banner for years, often exploring and explaining the value of nature and environmental crises surrounding our earth.

She got her start in writing many years ago and, to date, has covered anything from gardening tips, to humans’ impact on water, to climate change and its effects on our world.

“I was journaling throughout college,” Maccabee said. “I was always sort of a poetic person, but in my 20s was when I really got fired up and started writing a lot of nature songs.”

Maccabee is an avid songwriter and poet, which has contributed greatly to her writing over the years. Her articles were often thoughtful and informative and written with a down-to-earth tone, making them easily relatable to anyone with even the slightest interest in the outdoors.

She got her start in published long-form writing with a former local newspaper, and her ideas have flourished from there. 

“I started off with the Emmitsburg Dispatch, writing about my goats,” Maccabee said. She talked about her experiences milking them, their attitudes, and all of the joys goats brought her.

“I’ve been very thankful that the Banner took me on after Bo Cadle at the Dispatch. I segued from goats to gardens.”

Though she no longer has goats, her garden has taken off since her days of writing for the Dispatch. Annually, Maccabee grows peas, garlic, potatoes, various berries, and much, much more. Her repertoire of knowledge for the plant life on her 11.5-acre property has grown tremendously over the years.

“I can identify every single wild plant here, and I’ve been working on that skill since my 20s,” she said.

From gardening to music, Maccabee has always filtered her life through her various creative outlets. She’s made CDs of her songs, countless poems, flora press artwork, and she wants to continue expanding her works to a greater audience.

With so many different focuses throughout her life, Maccabee’s gardening has been a steady source of happiness, personal growth, and inspiration for her.

“Your life is like a book,” she said. “You have chapters, and I’ve done a lot of things in 15-year chapters in my life. But gardening has been a constant throughout that.”

If her music career takes off, or her poems strike a chord with the new generation, you’ll likely still find Maccabee plugging away in her garden or awaiting the blooming plants of the coming seasons. Her deep love of nature will always keep her “on the wild side.”

You can find archives of Maccabee’s “On The Wild Side” articles online at www.thecatoctinbanner.com.

Christine MacCabee sits in her meditation section among her various species of plants.

Jayden Myers

Every month, people bring awareness to health conditions to inform and educate those who may not know much about them.

Each month seems to highlight a particular condition, and they are all important. May happens to be Stroke Awareness Month, which helps people each year to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatments for strokes.

According to Khan Academy Medicine, a stroke happens when some or all of the blood supply to the brain is cut off. “If you lose some or all of that blood supply to your brain, then you lose some or all brain function. So, the loss of some blood supply, causing the loss of brain function, that’s a stroke,” says Khan Academy.

The loss of blood supply to the brain can be caused by two different problems: a rupture or a blockage. A rupture of a vessel in the brain is known as a Hemorrhagic Stroke. According to Medical West Hospital, “Bleeding from the vessel, also known as a hemorrhage, happens suddenly, and the force of blood that escapes from the blood vessel can also damage surrounding brain tissue. Hemorrhagic stroke is the most serious kind of stroke. About 13 percent of all strokes are hemorrhagic.”

When there is a blockage of the blood flow, this is known as an Ischemic Stroke. Medical West Hospital states, “A blood clot that forms in a blood vessel in the brain is called a ‘thrombus.’ A blood clot that forms in another part of the body, such as the neck or lining of the heart and travels to the brain is called an ‘embolus.’ About 87 percent of all strokes are ischemic. Treatment for ischemic strokes depends on how quickly the victim arrives at the hospital after symptoms start.”

Strokes can be major and they can also be mild. Either way, medical help is needed right away, as they can have extremely detrimental results. Within four minutes of restricted blood flow, the cells will start to die. The longer a person has restricted or busted vessels, the more damage it will cause. Symptoms of a stroke include: difficulty seeing, confusion, difficulty speaking, problems with walking, dizziness, severe headaches, difficulty swallowing, numbness to half of the body, drooping face, and problems understanding.

A common misconception is that adults are the only ones that can have strokes.

Back in 2019, Nikita Burris, who was 12 at the time, had a major stroke. “On July 1st,  I woke up with a really bad headache, and I just thought I hadn’t drank enough water,” Burris said. “So I just carried on as a normal day, and we were going to the campgrounds. When we got to the campgrounds, I asked if we could go swimming. While we were over in the water, I started feeling sick with a major headache. I was starting to drown, but I was coming back up, and when my brother noticed, he came to help.”

“I was super scared,” Burris said. She hadn’t known what had happened until her birthday on August 4. “That’s when I finally realized I had had a stroke.”

The stroke perpetuated major changes in her school life, and her personal life. “Before the stroke, I was getting straight A’s and in Honors classes,” she said. “I was playing lacrosse and dancing. I was doing pretty well. Then, after the stroke, I was put into special education classes; I couldn’t dance or play lacrosse until recently. I still take therapy and physical therapy in order to strengthen my muscles, so I can get this guy off [referring to her leg brace].”

For many stroke victims, adversity breeds change and growth. Burris pushes through each day to continue getting stronger. “Right now, I’m still working to get better, but I have had some major accomplishments like going to Mackinac Island and completing 207 steps, [which is a hike to a viewpoint.]” Burris said. “One other major accomplishment I had was proving my doctors wrong about never being able to use the right side of my body again. In June, I’m doing a solo for dance, and I’m super excited about that.” Burris added. Burris is now 14. She still continues to make progress and pushes forward despite facing some difficult struggles.

Although people can suffer from strokes, there are steps we can take to lower the risks and make it less likely. Eating healthy, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking and drinking are just a few of the ways to lower the risk.

Blair Garrett

Celebrations of milestones seem few and far between these days. As life hopefully returns back to normal in the coming months, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic.

Inspirations for an exciting and love-filled future are all around us, and you can look no further than the Stottlemyer family in Foxville, Maryland.

Otha (June) Stottlemyer and Isabel Stottlemyer are celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary on April 20, marking an achievement of which most couples can only dream.

June, 92, and Isabel, 90, have spent a tremendous share of their lives together. The two met through mutual friends at 18 and 16, and have been inseparable ever since.

They’ve been together through multiple international wars, the landing on the moon, and 14 United States Presidents. The United States was a vastly different place before the pair got married in 1946.

Before the Stottlemyers tied the knot, the world was without the internet, jukeboxes, mobile phones, and the Queen of England was a bachelorette and still a princess. The United States and Europe had just started recovering from the fallout of World War II, and the world’s first computer had just been built. Times were different and were rapidly changing.

The world was not the modern world we know now, and all of that time, growth, and development together has served to strengthen their marriage. 

The Stottlemyers’ love has stood the test of time, and 75 years is a truly rare feat. The lineage following the couple is an impressive one, making the Cheaper by the Dozen movie family look like underachievers.

June and Isabel had 5 children, 13 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, and 17 great-great-grandchildren.

Spending nearly their entire lives in Foxville, the couple has kept their family close. In addition to navigating the highs and lows of marriage, the Stottlemyers were integral in raising and providing for their four generations of offspring. Nearly all of their family lived within walking distance, and they saw each other almost every day.

Needless to say, family is very important to them, from providing for them to loving and supporting them.

June retired from Moore’s Business Forms in 1990, and Isabel was a homemaker and a caregiver, having a close helping hand in the upbringing of their grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and more.

The Stottlemyers have unlocked the secret to a long and successful marriage, and they’ve managed to pass that on to their children. Their three daughters, Linda, Patsy, and Laura, have been married for a combined 147 years, showing that their parents’ love is no fluke.

The key for them seems to be a tight-knit family, as their 58 offspring only seem to have brought them closer.

Although parties are still on hold for the time being, a big community congratulations is in order for the Stottlemyers as they set their sights on the next milestone—100 years!

So, “Happy Anniversary” to June and Isabel, on this remarkable achievement of 75 years together! Here’s to 25 more.

Pictured are: (back row) Patsy Harne, Ronald Stottlemyer, Linda Stitely, Laura Wallace; (front row) Otha (June) Stottlemyer and Isabel Stottlemyer. Not pictured: son, John Stottlemyer.

Deb Abraham Spalding

The Thurmont Feed Store has closed.  This Catoctin Community legacy has come to an end.

The economy has made operating a small business more expensive to operate and that is forcing a higher price at the smaller shops in comparison to the national chains. This fact, paired with the owner’s desire to close, led to its end.

In its final days of business, Mary Royce, Joe Wormley, and  Jacob Carbaugh worked until the doors closed on Saturday, March 20, 2021, the business’ final day.

A group of local farmers organized the Thurmont Cooperative, Inc. in 1935 to meet the needs of the Catoctin area’s farmers and community. They came together to proudly provide agricultural feed, seed, supplies, and delivery in the Catoctin area.

Multi-generations of customers, employees, and farmers patronized, served, and volunteered at the Thurmont Co-op. For example, four generations of the Myers Family served on the Thurmont Cooperative’s Board of Directors since it was founded.  They were Henry Myers, Charles F. Myers, C. Rodman Myers, and Robert Myers. Rodman Myers remarked, “After the Great Depression in the early 1930s, it was an extraordinary accomplishment for area farmers to buy stock forming the Thurmont Cooperative, Inc. After being sold to Hoke Mills, Inc., a cash distribution was made to all Thurmont Cooperative stockholders.”

While families in the Catoctin area’s agriculture community have been a long-standing part of the co-op’s operation, the business served local residents for pet food, grass seed, fertilizer, bird seed, and other supplies. The Thurmont Co-op provided the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show’s Grand Champion Pet Show winner with a gift certificate, and pet show exhibitors received bags of donated pet food.

In 2007, the Thurmont Cooperative’s board of directors held a stockholder’s meeting, where the board of directors recommended—and the stockholders voted in favor—to sell the Thurmont Cooperative to Hoke Mills, Inc. The Hoke Mills family had been working in the grain and animal feed business for many years with an Abbottstown, Pennsylvania, mill purchased in 1946 and a York, Pennsylvania, mill purchased in 1988. Hoke Mills had been a feed mix supplier to the co-op after a January 2006 fire that destroyed the Thurmont Cooperative’s milling facility.

When Hoke Mills opened the former Thurmont Cooperative as the Thurmont Feed Store, Ronald Hoke of Hoke Mills renovated the former store into a larger and more customer-friendly store with a showroom and a permanent office area. The product base was expanded to include many types of pet foods and new popular feed mixes.

Several long-time co-op employees stayed through the ownership transition including Mary Ann (Harbaugh) Sharer (who passed away in 2018), Joe Wormley, and Co-op Manager Jerry Lillich.  Then-manager Lillich said, “Not one day of service was interrupted in the transition.”

Former co-op/feed store managers included D.S. Weybright, Ralph Zimmerman, Dennis Trout, Eddie Horman, Kevin Donnelly, and Jerry Lillich.

Mary Ann Sharer and Joe Wormley each worked at the co-op/feed store for over 50 years. Sharer was loved by all as she worked as the cashier and managed the office. Wormley started working at the co-op as a young man. He felt it was a good change from the work he was doing at the nearby shoe factory. For several years, he ran the co-op’s bulk feed truck, delivering to farms. After the transition in ownership, he still delivered the product to customers, but the distance was shorter and on foot to the dock.

It was good work for Wormley. He liked it. He liked the customers and his co-workers. He fondly recalls his time spent with co-workers, John Ogle, Bill Smith, Clarence Harbaugh, Calvin Burrier, Sam Andrews, Bill Eyler, and Larry Smith, as well as farmers, Rodman Myers, Dallas McNair, and Mehrle Ramsburg Jr., and many, many other wonderful people.

Wormley  said, “It’s been an honor to serve some good people. I got to be friends with a lot of them.”

“We don’t really want to see it go. We really enjoy the customers. We are family,” Royce said the week before the store’s closing.

A legacy agriculture business, which was a big part of our community, is forever part of the Catoctin area’s history.   

Thurmont Feed Store employees pictured one week before closing: (from left) Mary Royce, Joe Wormley, and Jacob Carbaugh.

Cover Photo by Deb Abraham Spalding

Courtesy Photos

Thurmont Cooperative’s 1940 Board of Directors

Pictured from left are Charles F. Myers, Mehrle Ramsburg, Sr., Vernon Fisher, Ben Rosenstock—Attorney, Charlie Bollinger, Ernest Shriver, D. S. (Daniel Sayler) Weybright, Elizabeth Weddle—Secretary, Russell Fisher, John Baumgardner, Lloyd Wilhide, and Charlie Lewis.

Thurmont Cooperative’s 1978 Staff

Pictured: (Left, top to bottom) Mary Ann Sharrer, Ralph Zimmerman-Manager, David Harbaugh, and Clarence Harbaugh; (Right side, top to bottom) Judy Dewees, Ruth Ann Green, Bill Smith , Joe Wormley, and Calvin Burrier.

Thurmont Cooperative’s 1990 Co-op Board of Directors

Pictured from left are: (back row) Richard Calimer, Rodman Myers, Jeff Wivell, Joe Topper, Curtis Baughman, Henry Barton, Jerry Lillich—Manager; (front row) Paul Baumgardner, Joe Wivell, Mary Ann Sharer, Bobby Black, and Dennis Mathias.

Thurmont Cooperative’s 1971 Board of Directors

Pictured from left are: (bottom row) Dallas McNair, Alvie Weller, Harry Black, Robert Ogle, and Raymond Keilholtz; (top row) Ross Stull, Lester Bittner, Rodman Myers, Mehrle Ramsburg Jr., and Ralph Zimmerman (manager).

Jim Kennedy

Trustee, Brotherhood of the Jungle Cock, Maryland Chapter

In the coming months and years, the gateway to the mountains – the term from which Thurmont derives its name – along Maryland Route 77 will be changing, even if ever so slightly, in response to two opportunities that have recently arisen. These opportunities are the planned removal of the dam that forms Frank Bentz Pond on the western edge of Thurmont; and a planned comprehensive review and update of the recreation trail network in Catoctin Mountain National Park.

The Brotherhood of the Jungle Cock (BOJC), an 80-year-old organization focused on teaching young people about conservation through the sport of fly fishing, was born along the banks of Big Hunting Creek in 1938. BOJC has a vision for shaping these changes in such a way as to expose young people to fishing and conservation while also linking downtown Thurmont to the state and federal parks that comprise the watershed of Big Hunting Creek. The public is now invited to give input.

Not only is Big Hunting Creek a waterway integral to Thurmont’s history and present recreational opportunities, but it is also a place central to the evolution of the modern sport of fly fishing and central to the catch-and-release ethic that is integral to all sport fishing.

Flash back to the earliest days of Thurmont in the late 1700s. The original name of the community was Mechanicstown, which reflected this place where the mechanized devices related to the production of iron were manufactured and maintained.  The town’s industries were reliant on the production of charcoal in places like Foxville and other heavily-wooded communities. Charcoal produced in the woodlands was used to fire the iron furnace that is now showcased in the Catoctin Furnace area of Cunningham Falls State Park.

As the old-growth forests of the Catoctin Ridge were depleted, and in the aftermath of the War of 1812, ironworks in the United States were consolidated in the territories west of the Appalachian Front where both iron ore and coal were plentiful. Wheeling, West Virginia, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, grew, as places like Mechanicstown declined.

In late 1893, after a community debate, the name Mechanicstown was changed to Thurmont, meaning, ‘gateway to the mountains.’

This was in keeping with the times as a shift took attention away from the exploitation of timber and ore to the use of the mountain vistas and recreational opportunities. That is to say, the vision of Thurmont shifted towards conservation as a means of increasing economic activity.

In recent months, the decisions to remove the dam and plan for a better trail system will allow Thurmont to continue this natural progression of capitalizing on the enjoyment of the natural world to spark economic activity.

Though coincidental, the geography of these projects has the potential to allow for a relatively simple development that could help turn Thurmont into more of a fly fishing destination than it already is and could reinforce the rich history of fly fishing started here. Big Hunting Creek and the Blue Ridge in Maryland and Virginia were the locations from which the modern sport of fly fishing evolved. The State of Maryland Fisheries and the BOJC were the fundamental in developing the catch and release sport and the culture of fly fishing. BOJC even has a fly fishing creed.

Whether an angler is fishing for sailfish off the coast of Central America, bonefish in the Indian Ocean, or trout in Big Hunting Creek, the sport’s heritage is rooted in the Catskill Mountains of New York State, the limestone basin of South Central Pennsylvania, and the Catoctin and Blue Ridge Mountains of Maryland and Virginia.

Without getting into the weeds of fly fishing history, it suffices to say Big Hunting Creek and the Blue Ridge streams of Virginia were good places to fish, and, owing to their proximity to Washington, D.C., regularly fished by U.S. presidents.

But, most significantly to the sport of fly fishing, Thurmont, the Federal park at Catoctin, and the BOJC share a common thread dating to the 1930s and the establishment of Catoctin Mountain National Park. The same people who established the BOJC were involved with planning for the national and state parks. Moreover, BOJC founders, most notably Joe Brooks, were responsible for the expansion of fly fishing beyond the pursuit of trout in mountain streams to gamefish in all environs.

Brooks and his friend Frank Bentz, Sr., were also responsible for establishing a means of passing conservation ethics on to new generations through the sport of fly fishing, through the BOJC. Though Brooks had no children, Bentz’s son, Frank Jr., was a BOJC member for the duration of his life. Frank III is an officer in the Brotherhood and Frank Sr.’s great-grandchildren are members, along with well in excess of 500 other active Brotherhood members across the U.S. in chapters in Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, Ohio, and Michigan.

Though it was very much an honor for the pond to the west of Thurmont to be named in honor of Frank Bentz Sr., the fishing opportunity afforded at the pond is less than ideal. With the removal of the dam, however, there’s an opportunity to establish a youth-only, fly-fishing-only area. This would be an international first, which is only fitting. Big Hunting Creek itself, in the era of the establishment of Catoctin Mountain National Park, was among the first fly-only fish-for-fun (catch and release) streams in the country.

Prior to the 1930s, the sport of fishing presumed all fish, except those too small to eat, would be kept for eating. Beginning in the post-Civil War era of the late 1800s, population growth and the catch-and-keep ethic tended to result in the depletion of natural gamefish populations. A conservation movement arose. The movement achieved a high level of public attention under the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.

With regard to fisheries management, there were differing schools of thought, with one component focusing on efforts to protect wild populations and another favoring supplemental stocking of hatchery-farmed fish. The latter won out and prevailed well into the 1900s and persisting today, but the latter did not vanish. Indeed, the protection and management of self-sustaining wild fisheries is an increasingly preferred option for fisheries managers and anglers alike.

When Catoctin Mountain National Park was in its formative stages as the Catoctin Recreational Demonstration Area in 1939, Big Hunting Creek was designated as a fly-fishing-only area. Fly fishing goes hand-in-hand with the catch-and-release ethic of wild fisheries management because fish that are hooked in the mouth will immediately spit an artificial fly if not hooked when they first strike. When bait is used, fish will generally swallow the morsel of bait containing a hook, typically resulting in fatal injuries. Thus, a fish caught on a fly can be released and reasonably expected to survive, grow, propagate the species, and even be caught again, providing multiple recreational opportunities. Modern research has established that fly-fishing catch-and-release is a solid management technique for maintaining a viable self-sustaining recreational fishery.

In the years prior to the 1939 establishment of the Catoctin Recreational Demonstration Area, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had established a fly-only limited kill section along Spring Creek near Pennsylvania State University. The location was known as “Fisherman’s Paradise.” Fisherman’s Paradise had become a legendary fishing destination by 1939, and some of those enlisted to help plan for the new Catoctin Recreational Demonstration Area proposed making Big Hunting Creek a Maryland version of Fisherman’s Paradise.

Among the existing tributes to this period already along the banks of Big Hunting Creek is a monument to Joe Brooks. It is on Cunningham Falls State Park property, across Md. Route 77 from the National Park’s visitors’ center.

Owing to their proximity to Washington, D.C., the Catoctin Mountains had been a destination for U.S. presidents who enjoyed the sport of fly fishing, among them Grover Cleveland, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was under Roosevelt that the Catoctin Recreation Demonstration Area became a federal installation, and one of its installations, Camp Hi-Catoctin, became an informal presidential retreat. Hi-Catoctin would, under another avid fly angler, Dwight D. Eisenhower, become the official presidential retreat known as Camp David (after his grandson). Subsequently, Jimmy Carter also fly fished in Big Hunting Creek.

This rich history will continue to be coveted and shared through BOJC volunteers, students, and anglers in general for generations. With your input, we can create a plan that unites all who are interested in the changes forth-coming while ensuring that the plan has a functional user-appeal coupled with an environmentally careful implementation.

Catoctin Mountain Park Comprehensive Trail

  Plan Public Scoping Meeting Follow-up!

Thank you for those who joined the National Park Service (NPS) on March 10, 2021, for a public scoping meeting regarding the development of a Comprehensive Trail System Plan/Environmental Assessment for Catoctin Mountain Park.

The meeting featured a definition of scope and purpose of a project to provide comprehensive guidance for enhancing the Park’s trail system and visitor experience throughout the park in a manner that is sympathetic with the natural and cultural surroundings and balances resource protection with intended trail uses and long-term management.

The plan is explained in detail on the NPS planning website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/cato_trailplan.

This is the internet location where your input can be submitted through April 10, 2021. Public participation is vital to the planning process. If you prefer to mail your comments, make sure they are postmarked by April 10, 2021, to receive consideration. Mail comments to: Superintendent, Attn: CATO Comprehensive Trail Plan, 6602 Foxville Road, Thurmont, MD 21788, or email CATO_Trails_Plan@aecom.com.

The final plan will provide park managers with a framework by which they can manage and maintain existing trails; close/realign existing trails when needed; add new trails and access points where appropriate; and, where feasible, create trails that are universally accessible to meet the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards.

Follow directions above to submit comment specifically about Catoctin Mountain National Park trail plan. Follow the directions that follow to submit comment specifically about a fly-fishing trail after the Frank Bentz Pond and dam are removed. Please email news@thecatoctinbanner.com, and we will forward the comments to the State of Maryland, the Town of Thurmont, and the BOJC. Thanks so much for helping shape the Gateway to the Mountains trail system to make it user-friendly, environmentally friendly, and connectively smart.

The dam at Frank Bentz Pond

This article contains a portion of a collaborative project about the Zentz Farm written by Viola (Zentz) Noffsinger, Joan Fry, and Jane Jacobs

  It is the intent of the authors that this project be available for reference in the future at the Thurmont Regional Library and/or Thurmont Historical Society.

Mr. Albert Luther Zentz lived his entire life on the Zentz Farm located at the corner of Carroll Street and Apple’s Church Road in Thurmont. He was born there on March 3, 1914, the third son of W.L.H. ‘Herb’ Zentz (1869-1949) and Florence Daisy (Smith) Zentz (1872-1966). His parents had purchased the Carroll Street farm property in 1897 and moved there from the family homestead of Albert’s grandfather, Abraham S. Zentz (1828-1898) in a little village affectionately called Zentztown just a few miles north of town towards Emmitsburg.

The original dwelling on the property was a small one built of logs, but Herb built on and enlarged it into a comfortable, impressive two-story farm dwelling. In 1922, a big wrap-around porch was added to the front and side of the house. A lot of family time was spent on that porch. When Beulah Zentz’s flowers, planted in bins made of recycled tanks, bloomed every spring, it became a “landmark.” The large farmhouse would eventually be home to three generations of Zentzes who lived and worked together there for many years.

Herb added property from time-to-time and increased his holdings to cultivate “prime property” that was soon taken into the Town of Thurmont’s limits. He was an innovative and prosperous businessman and a great role model for Albert. He was also a very successful horse breeder and raised large draft horses which were highly prized animals in the days before tractors were commonplace. He is credited with raising at least 12 of them.

He built the bank barn along with multiple outbuildings on his land which still stand today.

Albert took over the family farm in 1934 at age 20, and in February 1936, he married “his great love,” Beulah (Spangler) Zentz. Together, they worked tirelessly to continue the successful farming operation, and build several other small enterprises. Albert and Beulah’s children were Doris, Viola, Mary Ellen, and Wendell. They learned about good work habits, the importance of caring for their property and one another, being good neighbors that look out for each other, and practicing their faith.

Albert and Beulah were industrious visionaries and entrepreneurs who continued the practice of buying parcels of surrounding property when it became available. They would make improvements to some of the lots before reselling, or just resell them if there was an immediate opportunity to accomplish the goal Albert had set to discourage the young people from leaving the area in pursuit of jobs. This foresight and diligence brought new businesses, housing, and jobs to the Thurmont community. The couple provided the land for the Thurmont Shoe Company, Claire Frock Company, Moore Business Forms, NVR Building Company and Homes, and Albert Court Condominiums.

They also supported their community with generous donations of time and money to local organizations. They provided jobs to young people and welcomed school classes to visit the farm to observe a working farm from the 1940s through the 1990s. They operated Sunrise Cafeteria Restaurant that was located in a building they built on the land that sits between the railroad tracks and today’s RR Donnelly.

Albert was happy with his life as a farmer. He was 89 years old, and had been happily married to Beulah for 67 years, when he died in 2003. Beulah lived on in her home for 82 years until late 2018 when she moved to an assisted-living facility in Frederick. She was “Thurmont’s oldest citizen” when she passed away on June 23, 2019, at the age of 103. The Zentz Farm was sold in December 2020.

There are eight buildings, some with unusual added features, on the Zentz Farm property. Most have hand-hewn logs showing, many with bark still attached. Four of them are multi-functional under one roof; several of them have lofts with nice stairways. One building has a homemade ‘skylight’ in the roof that brings light into an area with no windows; another, a small, heart-shaped porthole for light and ventilation.

If you look closely, you will also see that most buildings have a ‘strip of large nails’ close to the doorways just waiting for all the everyday accessories that need to be hung up like ropes, harnesses, chains, belts, hangers, aprons, coats, tools, etc. Following are some descriptions of farms and the Zentz Farm in particular.

Barn

A barn is an agricultural building used to house livestock, cattle, and horses, as well as equipment and fodder, and often grain. In addition, barns were used for equipment storage, as a covered workplace, and for activities such as threshing. On the Zentz Farm, there were two special resident horses, Maude and Jerrybell. Herb bred horses.

There were two barns. The upper barn had two haylofts. There was a hay fork on a runner on the top arch for unloading hay, a winnowing machine, and granary bins. Hobos, sometimes called tramps, often slept in the lofts. They would ride the trains, stop off at the railroad station, then do odd jobs or just ask for food.

Lower Barn/Stable, Corn Crib, Wagon Shed

On the Zentz Farm, the lower barn had calf pens and stanchions for eight animals. There was a pen for the bull and room for two horses. The middle area was a feeding entry for hay, grain, pumpkins, and other produce. A corn crib is a type of granary used to dry and store corn. Corn cribs were made with slats to provide ventilation for drying the corn. The corn crib on the Zentz Farm was located next to the barn where a wagon could be filled with corn and easily moved to stanchions for feeding the animals and where the corn could also be kept out of the weather. The wagon shed housed wagons and other farm implements.

Milk House

A milk house is a building for the cooling, handling, or bottling of milk. On the Zentz Farm, cows were milked by hand. The raw milk was carried from the barn to the milk house where it was strained and put into a 5-gallon milk can. The can was then placed in a tank of water to be cooled. This was an early means of refrigeration before electricity. On the Zentz Farm, they made regular milk, skim milk, butter, and buttermilk to use and sell. Any unused milk was fed to the hogs.

Spring House

A spring house is a small building, usually of a single room, constructed over a spring. While the original purpose of a springhouse was to keep the spring water clean by excluding fallen leaves, animals, etc., the Zentz’ was part of the summer kitchen building and was constructed of stone. It was used for refrigeration before the advent of ice delivery and, later, electric refrigeration. The water of the spring maintained a constant cool temperature inside the spring house throughout the year. Food that would otherwise spoil could be kept there, safe from animal depredations as well. Some spring houses had goldfish in their spring, a delight for young children to visit. The Zentz family acquired an icebox in the 1950s.

Hog Pen

The family hog pen was a small-scale system of pig farming found on family farms of the early 1900s. Family hog pens housed just a few hogs. Before refrigeration, some family farms depended on pigs as a primary source of meat and shortening (lard) for year-round food. On the Zentz Farm, the hog pen consisted of four areas. One area for the new mother sow with a “creep” for piglets to be moved away so the mother sow wouldn’t lie on them. These piglets could journey to the roadway beside the Zentz Farm where many visitors came. There could be 9-16 piglets in a litter. Pigs used for butchering could range from 200 to 600 pounds. There was a loft above the pig’s area for their dry feed and other necessary items like onions, ropes, chains, and special boards.

Summer Kitchen and Loft

In the early 1900s, it was common to have a small building that was detached from the house called a “summer kitchen.” Its main purpose was to keep the house cool during the hot summer months. They were used for cooking, bathing, and laundry. In a summer kitchen, there was usually a large cookstove with an oven and a large table for workspace and eating. Other uses of the summer kitchen were for canning and preserving garden produce as well as cleaning, repairing, and making curtains, weaving, and other hobbies. Summer kitchens often had a fireplace where water was heated for the weekly wash and could also be used at butchering time. The Zentz Farm summer kitchen was quite large. It was made of whitewashed stone.

As air conditioning and outdoor grills became popular and affordable, the need for the summer kitchen was lost.

Bath House

The bath house on the Zentz Farm was a small room attached to the summer kitchen. It was used for taking showers and washing clothes. There was no shower head but rather a piece of hose that carried only cold water that was a welcome relief after chores on hot summer days. 

Chicken Coop

A chicken coop or hen house is a small house where, typically, female chickens or other fowl are kept safe and secure. There are nest boxes found inside the hen houses for egg-laying, and perches on which the birds can sleep. Viola reports gathering eggs and finding her hand on a small possum in the nest. The Zentzes would raise 200 or more peeps at a time until they were the right size for frying or being taken to market.

A chicken coop usually has an indoor area where the chickens can sleep and nest, as well as a fenced-in outdoor area where chickens will feed and spend the majority of the day. This area is typically made from chicken wire. The coop should be cleaned every two weeks, and the straw shifted every day, similar to a litter box. At night, the coop should be locked with all the birds inside so that they are protected from predators. Both the inside and outdoor floors of a chicken coop are often strewn with a loose material such as straw or wood chips to deal with chicken droppings and to provide ventilation.

Little Chicken House

In this chicken house, there were brooders for peeps who stayed until butchering size or time to make room for more peeps. Cleaning the chicken houses was another job suited for the kids. Coops had to be cleaned regularly for the health of the peeps and chickens and for good egg production. Watering and feeding had to be done daily. 

Big Chicken House and Grinding Shed

The big chicken house on the Zentz Farm was used for housing mature chickens. It had a sleeping loft and a grinding shed which housed a large machine with belts with teeth to grind corn and grain for the farm animals.

Blacksmith Shop

The blacksmith shop was a very important area for making and storing tools. Horseshoes were made to fit the draft horses’ hooves by heating the iron until it could be bent to the right size. This was done on an anvil that was close to the hearth so the iron could be rushed to the heat or cooled in a bucket of cold water. There were many washers, wrenches, nails, hammers, and other tools in the blacksmith shop.

Smokehouse

A smokehouse was used to preserve meat by smoking it. A fire was kept going with special wood; apple, hickory, etc. The smoke permeated the meat until the proper taste and preservation were achieved. This process took many days. Hams and bacon were expertly done in the smokehouse for bragging rights when tasted by the farmer’s family and friends.

Wood Shed

The Zentz Farm property had a mountain wood lot which produced an abundant supply of trees to be cut and used for heating, fencing, and building. After trees were cut, they were dragged to the farm and sawed either for fence posts, firewood, or lumber. Firewood was carried and stacked close to the kitchen and summer kitchen by the children. This was a never-ending job in cold weather when wood was used for heating and cooking.

Butchering

Butchering usually took place near Thanksgiving with helpful neighbors (about 30). Four to six hogs were killed early in the morning, scalded, scraped, cut into the appropriate pieces, and cooled on long tables. Sausage was stuffed, pudding and scrapple were cooked, and lard was rendered. In the meantime, a butchering dinner was being provided in the farmhouse. Everyone who helped ate at the table—usually in three shifts.

Grape Arbor

The grape arbor was a necessity for grapes to make jelly, preserves, pies, and maybe even wine. The Zentz Farm had a blue grapevine (Concord) and a white grapevine.

Silo

The silo on the Zentz Farm connected to the barn and was usually filled with ensilage (fermented corn). The silo was later used to store leaves for bedding for the animals. The ensilage was blown into the top of the silo and doors were closed to keep it in. In order to get it out, you had to climb a ladder and crawl in through the door to throw it out. 

Outhouse

An outhouse is a small enclosed structure having one or two holes in a seat built over a pit that serves as an outdoor toilet. The outhouse on the Zentz Farm was visited by all family members several times a day until the town of Thurmont brought the sewer system under the railroad tracks and down along the street to the Zentz’ property. Usually, two or three outhouses would show up on the square of Thurmont on Halloween night.

The Zentz Family Activities

Some activities for the Zentz Family included participating in church groups, 4-H, and FFA, swimming in a creek two miles away, and sledding down the barn hill in winter.

Mr. Zentz often took children on hayrides and caroling rides at Christmas. Other activities were mowing the lawn, working in the garden, and walking to school. There was no television and only one radio.

Photos by James Rada, Jr.

Viola (Zentz) Noffsinger is shown in the hog pens of her former family farm in Thurmont.

The back of the Zentz Farmhouse.

The outhouse, which was used before the farm got indoor plumbing.

The old gate post that held three farm gates still stands across Apple’s Church Road from the farm.

The lower barn on the Zentz Farm included a corn crib, wagon shed, and stables.

To commemorate the bicentennial of Elizabeth Ann Seton’s death, the Sisters of Charity of New York have donated artifacts of their Elizabeth Ann Seton to the Seton Shrine in Emmitsburg.

Sr. Donna Dodge, president of the Sisters of Charity of New York, said in a press release about the donation, “These treasures have always had a great significance for us. It is with great joy that we send them on a new mission where more people can appreciate them and draw closer to Mother Seton.”

The artifacts were unveiled and blessed during an event at the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in March. The items will be featured in a special exhibit this summer.

“Our mission, of course, is to promote the life and the legacy of Elizabeth Ann Seton as a source of inspiration and as a source of hope,” said Rob Judge, executive director of the shrine, in a press release. “These artifacts are a tremendous contribution to our ability to tell her story and cover the themes that were important to her in her life and make her relevant today as an example, as an intercessor and a friend from heaven.”

The artifacts include:

Hand-painted wedding porcelain miniatures of Elizabeth Ann Seton and husband, William Magee Seton;

A gold-filigree Seton family brooch worn by Seton on her wedding day;

Seton’s portable writing desk;

The christening gown Seton sewed for her daughter, Catherine;

Seton’s rosary and crucifix;

A tea chest with inlaid decoration that belonged to Seton’s father, Dr. Richard Bayley; and

Seton’s cap, shaw, and belt.

Judge said the artifacts will help tell Seton’s story and her struggles and help people relate to her. “The more she’s relatable, the more she becomes an example, an inspiration, and a friend in heaven for those who visit the shrine or participate in our print and online programs. Mother Seton endured many of the challenges we are enduring in 2021, and therefore provides hope for our nation and the world.”

The shrine’s basilica was dedicated in 1965, and Seton was canonized as America’s first native-born saint in 1975. Her remains were then transferred from the cemetery to the basilica. Pope John Paul II designated it a Minor Basilica in 1991.

The christening gown Seton sewed for her daughter, Catherine

Seton’s rosary and crucifix.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Town Gets Partial Grant Funding for Infrastructure Projects

The Town of Emmitsburg received some help with its water and sewer infrastructure projects that will cost more than $5 million.

The water clarifier for the Crystal Fountain Road Water Plant will help treat and improve the raw water quality flowing into the plant. The project costs $1.4 million, but Sen. Hough helped the town get a $1 million grant from the state to pay the majority of costs. The town is responsible for the remaining $400,000. The project is expected to be complete in July 2022.

The Creamery Road Pump Station replacement will cost $3.7 million. The USDA provided the town with an $833,000 grant and $1,987,000 loan, leaving $807,000 for the town to fund. The project is expected to break ground at the end of the year.

The North Seton Avenue and DePaul Street waterline replacement is in the preliminary engineering stage, which will cost the town about $25,000.

Commissioners Make Budget Transfers

Emmitsburg’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget audit confirmed the town had a $180,174 excess in the general fund. In March, the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners allocated the excess to FY21 general and capital projects. These included projects for stormwater management, town pool, ball fields, the dog park, and COVID-19-related expenses.

Town Recognizes Long-time Employees

The Town of Emmitsburg recently recognized several town employees for their many years of service. The following employees received certificates of appreciation for their service: Dan Fissel, Water/Sewer Superintendent (25 years); Chris Wantz, Public Works (20 years); Amy Naill, Parking/Code Enforcement (15 years); and Steve Fissel, Maintenance (15 years).

The Emmitsburg commissioners also issued a proclamation honoring Keith Suerdieck for his service on various town committees for the past 10 years.

Commission Appointments

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners appointed Glenn Blanchard to the town planning commission for a five-year term and Deborah Hobbs to the ethics commission. The commissioners also reappointed Carolyn and Martin Miller to the parks and recreation committee for two-year terms.

Pavilion Contracts Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved the construction of two picnic pavilions in Community Park, one of which will be ADA-compliant. Green Sites in Elkridge won the project with a $40,507 bid that includes steel pavilions and connecting sidewalks. The pavilions are expected to be completed by mid-May. Program Open Space funds will pay for 75 percent of the project, and the town will pay the remaining 25 percent.

M.I. Tech Construction in Frederick won a contract to renovate the Community Park bandstand for $22,270. This project will not only renovate the bandstand, but will add LED lighting to the structure. Program Open Space funds will pay $11,250 of the project, with the town paying the rest.

Thurmont

Town Could Get $5.8 Million from Federal COVID Relief

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners were recently informed that the Town of Thurmont could receive around $5.8 million in federal funds from the $1.9 trillion COVID-relief bill that President Biden signed into law. Mayor John Kinnaird called it “an astounding sum of money” for the town. It can be used to offset the negative economic impact from COVID; pay essential workers premium pay; or cover revenue losses from water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure. The commissioners will be discussing what to do with the funds as the amounts and rules governing their use are made known.

Mowing Contract Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a new two-year contract with Mountain View Lawn Services in Rocky Ridge to mow and maintain 75 acres of town-owned property throughout Thurmont. The contract is for $73,859 each year, with a one-year extension if the commissioners want it. This represents a 2.9 percent increase over the current contract with Mountain View.

Road Paving Project Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners accepted a bid to repave Apples Church Road from East Main Street to the railroad tracks, Mountain Road, and North Altamont Avenue from West Main Street to the railroad tracks. The work includes milling, curb replacements, asphalt resurfacing, striping, and some patching on Gateway Drive West. Pleasant’s Construction of Frederick won the contract with a bid of $190,367.

Stream Cleanup at Community Park

The Thurmont Parks and Recreation Commission is hosting a stream cleanup at Thurmont Community Park on April 10 at 1:00 p.m. Gloves and bags will be provided. Wear a face covering. For more information, contact Amie McDaniels at thurmontparksnrec@gmail.com.

Community Shred Event

The Thurmont Police Department and Woodsboro Bank are sponsoring a community residential shred event at the police station at 800 East Main Street in Thurmont. The event will be held on Apr. 24 from 8 a.m. to noon. You can shred up to five boxes of office paper, paper clips, staples, rubber bands, folders, and labels. Bring a non-perishable food item for each box. The food will go to the Thurmont Food Bank.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

Congratulations to Mount St. Mary’s University and its women’s and men’s basketball teams on winning bids to NCAA tournaments. They came after decisive wins in their respective NEC championship games. The women’s tournament field includes 31 teams and runs from March 21 through April 4. The tournament will be held in San Antonio, Texas. The men’s 67-team field tournaments will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, from March 18 through April 5. GO MOUNT! Bring it on.

The American Rescue Plan, AKA the Covid Relief Bill, will include funds for the town. Our first priority is creating working opportunities through water and sewer infrastructure projects. In addition to scheduled underground line repair/ replacements, funds will be used for an $800,000 pump station and $400,000 to complement funds from the state for a water clarifier (water treatment filter). 

Vigilant Hose Spring Fling is on. But in a virtual form. If interested, hurry. Contact the fire company for details. Non-Emergency: 301-447-2728. E-mail: info@vhc6.com. The fire company has gone out on several brush fires in March. As a reminder, we need rain.

The Maryland Historical Trust approved another town grant request for downtown façade restoration projects. Going back to 2013, this will be our ninth approval. Approvals are typically for $50,000 in matching funds. For the 2021 cycle, a matching grant of $50,000 is already lined up for disbursement among several private properties. Over the years, the town has received $405,000, resulting in over $1,000,000 in improvements to private properties. If you have an interest in the program for the 2022 grant cycle, please contact Town Planner Zach Gulden at 301-600-6309.

In the Catoctin Cougars football team’s first outing scrimmage with Middletown, the outcome was marred by the serious head injury Cougar lineman Colan Droneburg sustained. From updates, he is up and doing well. The family is overly thankful to the community for the outpouring of support for them and Colan. The Frederick High School game scheduled for March 5 was canceled because Frederick coaches and/or players had failed COVID-protocol testing. As of this writing, games against Thomas Johnson were scheduled for Friday, March 19, at 6:30 p.m., and a close-out game against Brunswick, Friday, March 26, also at 6:30 p.m.  

On the Mayor COVID update video series in February and March, guests included County Executive Jan Gardner, Frederick County Sustainability Department Manager Shannon Moore, and Green Builder Mark Lancaster.

From the County Executive’s Office, over 20 percent of county residents have been vaccinated (mid-March). At that point, total COVID-19 cases for the county were at 12,665 and deaths at 256. In the 21727-zip code, we have had 361 cases. While statewide demand for COVID-related hospital bed demand is declining, Frederick County is still at a second surge level. We are getting there.

With COVID, this Lenten season will be remembered as one where we have given a lot, but do not forget all you do for others, as that also is a part of the season. It has been a special Lent.

From Lib and I, we wish everyone a Happy Eastertide.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

With the arrival of spring, I invite everyone to visit the Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market at their new indoor location! The Farmers Market is open Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. until noon at the Thurmont Plaza Shopping Center at 224 North Church Street. Guests are required to wear a face mask and observe social-distancing guidelines. The vendors offer a wide range of produce and baked goods, including cakes, croissants, donuts, cupcakes, cookies, pies, local Red Angus Beef, eggs, handmade cornhole bags, mushrooms, herbs, dried peppers, potted flowers, goat milk soaps, and other goodies. Stop by and check out the selection; you will not be disappointed! After May 1, the Farmers Market will return to the Municipal Parking Lot on South Center Street.

Thurmont residents are encouraged to follow the Planning and Zoning Commission as they work to update the Thurmont Master Plan. This includes reviewing land use, comprehensive rezoning, updates to the Zoning Regulations, improving the Growth Map, and other items. The meetings are open to the public, and there will be public hearings and open houses to get community input. The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m.

Thurmont Main Street will be sponsoring Main Street Sweeps on Saturday, June 5, from 9:00-11:00 a.m. Then, Thurmont Green Team, Thurmont Lions Club, YMCA Thurmont Teen Program, and other volunteers will be joining forces to help clean the downtown streets. The cleanup will start on East Main Street, from Thurmont Barber & Styling to the corner at PNC and South Center Street, then onto South Center around to Water Street and back up to the Mechanicstown Square Park. The Thurmont Lions Club will be supplying brooms for the Sweep! Contact Karen Schildt at kschildt@thurmontstaff.com or call her at 240-285-8076 if you would like to help.

I am sure many residents are aware of the issues we have been trying to address at the Recycling drop-off site on Moser Road next to the Regional Library. The recycling facility is located on Town of Thurmont property as a courtesy to Frederick County. The County reimburses the Town for the majority of the cost of dumping the recycling by funding one emptying per week. Any additional emptying is paid for by the Town of Thurmont. In recent months, it seems that almost every weekend people are dropping off recycling when the bin is full. Rather than take the recycling back when there is room in the roll-off, they are throwing it on the ground and making a big mess. The cardboard, paper, and other items blow all over the place, and our staff has to spend several hours on Monday mornings cleaning up the area. What’s worse, is they are dropping off many items that are not recyclable, including styrofoam, trash, construction debris, and plastic bags full of bags of cans-bottles-containers. These items are considered to be contaminants and are refused at the recycling facility. Any load with a noticeable amount of contaminants is refused and sent to the landfill, costing the County additional money. Last week the Town decided to start having the recycling roll-off dumped a second time each week in an effort to reduce the amount of recycling being tossed on the ground. We are funding this and have reached out to the County for financial support for the additional cost involved. We are also posting the property with “No Littering” signs; any items dropped off on the ground at the recycling bin will be considered littering, and those doing so will be fined. It is our hope that the second emptying per week and the No Littering signs will help resolve the situation. The Recycling Drop Off is a valuable asset to the Thurmont Community and the surrounding County residents; we want to do what we can to keep it here for everyone to use.

I hope everyone has a joyful Easter and a pleasant April. As always, I can be reached at jkinnaird@thurmont.com or by phone at 301-606-9458.

James Rada, Jr.

Deer Run Farm in Emmitsburg was featured on the 100th episode of Maryland Farm & Harvest. You can stream the episode, which aired February 9, 2021, on the Maryland Public Television website.

Ronald and Annie Stewart started a herd of Red Angus cattle and established the farm in 1996. They raised and sold the cattle for breeding and consumption. The past year, in particular, has been a busy one for the farm.

“The beef demand during COVID has been ridiculous,” said Allison Stewart, who helps run the farm with her husband, Josh. “People have been wanting to stock up on beef or buy extra for their families because they are afraid there will be empty grocery shelves again.”

The poultry operation on the farm began in 2017 when an opportunity arose to purchase a neighbor’s poultry operation. The family talked it over and decided Josh and Allison would run the poultry operation. While the previous owner provided assistance for the first year, Josh and Allison went on a steep learning curve to learn all they could about poultry.

Allison was, understandably, nervous. Before moving to Emmitsburg, “I had never seen a farm,” she said. “I went to school in Pittsburgh, and I had a job there, but I’ve always been an animal lover.”

When the opportunity presented, she worked as a graphic designer in Emmitsburg, but she and her then-boyfriend, Josh, decided she would commit to running their own farming operation full-time.

They now have 1,000 chickens in five breeds (Delaware, Welsummer, Oliver Eggers, Copper Marans, and Ameraucanas). They are pasture-raised chickens.

“These are your grandma’s chickens,” Allison said. “They don’t have as much meat as the chickens you buy in stores, but they have more flavor.”

With different breeds of chickens, you also get a rainbow of egg colors—blue, green, brown, tan, and speckled.

“Some people swear different colored eggs taste different,” Allison said. “I don’t think so. They are all fed the same thing, and they have access to the bugs in the pasture, which are nature’s best ingredients.”

Besides the different colors, free-range chickens lay eggs with thicker shells, with yolks that are a rich orange, and with better nutritional content, according to some studies.

It was the array of colorful eggs that caught the attention of Maryland Farm & Harvest. Deer Run Farm now has a thriving business selling eggs, chicks, and chicken meat. Customers drive to the farm from as far away as New Jersey and Virginia. The farm has also sent chicks to all 50 states. There is a demand for heritage breeds of chicken.

“South Dakota was the last holdout,” Allison said. “For the longest time, we couldn’t find a customer there.” She keeps a map with pins in it, marking all the places they have shipped their chicks.

Because the farm ships all over the country, each state’s shipping regulations have to be followed. The Stewarts also make sure their chicks are disease-free.

“We are the only hatchery in the country that vaccinates our chicks for everything they can be vaccinated for,” Allison said. “We also have our birds tested every three months to make sure there’s no sickness.”

The crew from Maryland Farm & Harvest spent the day on the farm in March 2020, following Josh and Allison around to see how the poultry operation works. It turned out to be great publicity because Allison said she saw a noticeable increase in their orders from Maryland customers.

To learn more about Deer Run Farm, visit deerrunfarmmd.com.

A day-old chick at Deer Run Farm explores her world before being shipped to a new home somewhere in the United States.

Allison Stewart of Deer Run Farm holds day-old chicks that will soon be shipped out to places across the country. Cover Photo & Photo Below by James Rada, Jr

Jayden Myers, Eighth-Grade Student at Thurmont Middle School

While people have been carefully navigating the daring dance with COVID-19, the world has been faced with lockdowns and restrictions.

In the resulting chaos, everyday life changed for us all. The stressful situation took a toll on those who were confined to their homes, sending some into a boredom frenzy and making others feel stir-crazy.

Although still relatively restricted, people have slowly adjusted over time and become very creative with what they do in their free time.

Many have stayed busy by engaging in hobbies, ranging from making face masks to writing stories. Others have committed to helping others during this time by supporting small businesses, supporting the food banks, providing for those who can’t go out, and much more. This has been beneficial to the community and its citizens in this time of need.

Besides supporting the community in various ways, there are other hobbies people have developed for fun. Personally, I’ve started writing more stories, drawing, painting, and trying new recipes. I also found a new hobby of crafting sticks into wands. It gives me a project to focus on that I have fun doing. Not only has this helped me cope with the sweeping lifestyle changes, but it’s helped me discover other interests as well.

Eighth graders Olivia Johnson of Western Heights Middle School in Washington County and Kendall Stuart, a home-schooled student, spoke of how they have occupied their time over the past year.

“I started writing and making TikToks more,” Johnson said. “That’s mainly what I’ve done to keep myself busy.” Although our conversation was brief, she went on to explain that there hadn’t been a whole lot she had become interested in, as writing takes up most of her time. This keeps her occupied during the time she isn’t in school.

Stuart committed time to personally enriching hobbies, “So far, I have started making YouTube videos, TikTok videos, and improving my makeup skills and dancing skills. I mainly focus on improving my makeup and dancing. I’m trying to work toward my goal of being a professional makeup artist.” Stuart agreed that these activities have kept her busy during her out-of-school free time.

Both have found pastimes that they enjoy and that keep them active. 

While randomly asking members of the community about their hobbies, the most popular answers were arts and crafts, such as wreath-making; drawing; painting; making face masks for the community; pursuing outdoor activities; and spending more time with family. It seems people have started doing activities they did not have time for before the pandemic. I feel like people have realized what they were missing before it all started.

The quarantine has given people time to connect with their families and to have more free time to explore creative outlets. It also taught many a lesson like cherishing what they have before it’s too late, and to be grateful.

Similarly, new hobbies such as cooking, storytelling, making online videos, creating music, designing, and far more, have been chosen by people along the way to keep away the lockdown boredom.

As time progresses, many will likely stick with the new hobbies and skills they gained during this difficult time.

Blair Garrett

Storytelling is something humans have done since the beginnings of communication.

The ability to harness a whirlwind of ideas and narrow it down into a digestible story that pulls a reader’s mind into the author’s imagination is one of those rare-to-find skills.

An effective storyteller crafts and creates gripping content that engages readers in a way that keeps them looking for more.

James Rada Jr., 54, of Gettysburg, knows a thing or two about storytelling.

“I’ve always wanted to be a writer,” Rada said.

To date, Rada has published over 30 books, with three becoming bestsellers in 2020.

Rada’s journey to reach where he is has been a long one, but he’s picked up a lot of steam since his launch in the mid-90s.

“My first novel was published in ‘96,” Rada said. “I started working as an indie publisher in 2000, and I really liked that, so I stuck with it.”

Over the years, Rada has written about a variety of subjects. Anything from historical fiction to horror to young adult stories to the Civil War era history has caught his eye.

Rada first tasted success with his premier historical novel, titled Canawlers. Canawlers details the life of a family navigating the hardships of the Civil War on the C&O Canal. The C&O Canal ran between the Confederate and Union armies during a particularly volatile time.

During the inception of Canawlers, Rada’s focus relied on covering places he could visit and draw inspiration. Several of his books feature places about which he has intimate knowledge. Secrets of Catoctin Mountain, Secrets of the Gettysburg Battlefield, and Canawlers are all great examples of that first-person experience manifesting into an interesting and riveting story.

Great artists, creators, and storytellers often develop ideas for future work off of untold loose ends in their books, chord progressions that didn’t provide the right melody for a song, or projects where all of the pieces didn’t quite fit. Readers of Rada’s books would often ask what happened to characters outside of his story’s focus. That interest sparked creative fires that led to follow-up books.

“My goal was to tell the story of the canal,” Rada said. “Once I started doing the events, people would come up to me and say, ‘Well, what happened with George, and what happened with Alice and David, and did they get together?’” Rada continued. “I hadn’t really thought about that because that wasn’t the purpose of the story, so I had to start thinking about that, and that’s where the other canal books came in.”

These burning questions needed answers, and the pen hit the paper. Rada’s second and third iterations of some of his most popular stories are contoured to tell his complete story, beginning to end, even if it wasn’t the initial scope of the first volume.

Rada has made plenty of adjustments with his books, figuring out what works and what doesn’t work. With the increasing market for electronic books and the consumption of online media, Rada made a change that propelled his novels to the next dimension.

“Last year, I pivoted from what I was doing,” Rada said. “I started looking more at ebooks, marketing what I had, and I got a mentor.”

 Rada’s efforts to expand his work to the masses paid off, and it reflected with more sales, more visibility, and more confidence going forward.

“The first book I did after that was Strike the Fuse, which was the second book in a trilogy,” he said. “That one got up to number 81 in the free Kindle market, and the top 300 in the paid Kindle market, and number 1 in six different categories on Kindle.”     

The train didn’t stop there, though, as Rada’s Four Score & Seven Stories Ago: A Gettysburg Writers Brigade Anthology took off shortly after, reaching heights Rada hadn’t expected.

“An anthology from my writers group got into the top 10 in three categories after some marketing. I relaunched the canal books, and all of those made it into the top 10 in multiple categories, and the top 10,000 on Amazon. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you realize there are 33 million books on Amazon, it’s something,” Rada said.

There are big plans in the works for Gettysburg’s newest best-selling author, but he plans on sticking to what excites him the most to write about.

“I’ve always written stories that appealed to me,” Rada said. “If you’re not interested in what you’re writing about, then your reader is not going to be interested in it.”   

Whether it’s mystery that captivates you or history that fascinates you, Rada has something for just about everyone, and there is always more to come. “I’ve got a long way to go, but I feel like I’m really catching some traction now.”

Rada is a writer and contributing editor for The Catoctin Banner Newzine. He also contributes to multiple other publications. You can find his books and novels online in paperback and ebook format or visit jamesrada.com.

Jim Rada displays his dozens of short stories, novels, and thrillers that he has written over his career.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

The Green New Deal for Emmitsburg is no big deal. The town government energy needs achieved 95-percent reliance on renewable energy in 2014. It came from solar panels and LED lighting. We even added some possible redundancy along the way with vehicle charging stations, an electric vehicle, and a solar-powered algae control system at Rainbow Lake. We are for renewable energy to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our energy needs for the most part are off the electricity grid. Though the solar panels do create energy on cloudy days, we still need to fall back on using fossil-fuel-generated energy.

Recently, the Eastern Shore Pipeline received unanimous final approval from the Maryland Board of Public Works for an extension of a natural gas pipeline from Delaware, through Wicomico, and 11 miles into Somerset County to the University Eastern Shore and the Eastern Correctional Institute. The pipeline is already in Delaware and Wicomico County. The pipeline is controversial. Natural gas, lest we forget, is a fossil fuel. This is a responsible take by the state to rely on a blend of energy sources. The mix can change over time, but let us do it responsibly.

Ah, the peace a snowfall brings, but not so much for the town crews. Early in the morning hours, late in the night, their skills have been tested. Ever present are the flashing yellow lights on their vehicles. We have approximately a 12-mile network of town roads. So, if they plow both sides of the roads once, they have plowed the same distance as it is to Frederick. And, they do the roads more than once.

In the month of January, the Vigilant Hose Company answered 55 fire calls and 100 ambulance calls. That is over five calls a day! Incredible for a primarily volunteer fire company. That is more than well done. Thank you.

According to Commissioner Davis, Vigilant Hose Company is getting closer to its activities building on Creamery Road being approved by the County Health Department as a vaccination site.

As the town wrestles with the pandemic and weather to get back to a community:

A disc golf tournament was held for the hearty on our course in Community Park on February 21 as a charity event for the Emmitsburg Food Bank.

        In an awkward, but pandemic-adaptive way, the Catoctin Cougars football team will open an abridged spring schedule (four-game season), against Middletown, Friday evening, March 5. The game will be played at Frederick High School on their turf field. Go Cougars! More sports this spring: Please check CHS website and support the teams.

        On Saturday, March 27, the Seton Family Store will host a Spring Fling Craft Fair. Up to 15 crafters and/or vendors, a DJ, and a representative from the Frederick Health Department will be on hand. Emmitsburg area restaurants have been asked to provide a “Taste of Emmitsburg” at the fair. Interested crafts and businesses should call Kenny Droneburg at 301-447-6102.

In January, Keith Suerdieck—after 10 years of dedicated service—stepped down as Chairman of the Emmitsburg Planning Commission. Thank you, Keith; we will miss you. From your architect background knowledge to your experience from being an associate pastor of Trinity Methodist Church, you brought a quiet professional demeanor to the Commission. With Keith stepping down, commission member Mark Long was elected by the board to take his place as chairman. Also, former Town Commissioner Glenn Blanchard came on the Commission as a “new” member. Welcome back, Glenn.

Hope your Lenten season is going well. Stay warm, help a neighbor, be thankful.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

With all the snow we have been getting recently, I will brighten your day by announcing that the Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market will be opening on Saturday, March 20. This is the first indoor version of our popular market, and it will be held in the Thurmont Plaza, 224 North Church Street, from 9:00 a.m. until noon, every Saturday through May 1. Masks are required and social distancing will be observed. After May 1, the market will move to its regular location in the Municipal Parking Lot. The indoor market will feature local honey, sauces, rubs, goat soap, homemade pies, donuts, bread, bagels, gourmet cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, organic greens, a variety of mushrooms, Red Angus beef, Easter flowers, hand-crafted items, and more. This will be a great addition to the already amazing Main Street Farmers Market!

With the return of good weather in April and May, there will be several infrastructure improvements going on in Thurmont. These include repairs to the Frederick Road Bridge over Hunting Creek. This work will be mainly focused under the bridge, repairing some exposed rebar and spalling. There will be water-system repairs on Frederick Road at Emmitsburg Road. This will entail removal of a decommissioned pumping station. We are also planning improvements to Apples Church Road from East Main Street to the railroad tracks. This work will involve milling the surface, repairing curb and gutters, and repaving. We will be sure to notify our residents before any of these projects get underway and keep you updated on their progress.

Residents are encouraged to sign up for a new electronic newsletter, being developed by our Economic Development staff. This newsletter will replace the announcements we send out with the electric billing. The electronic version will allow for more information and updates about local events. There are residents of Thurmont not served by our Electric Company, and this change will ensure that they can receive all our updates and news. If you do not have an email account, there will be printed copies available at the Town Office, Main Street Center, and other locations. Please email your request to receive the Electronic Newsletter to kschildt@thurmontstaff.com.

The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission is continuing their updates to the Thurmont Master Plan and Comprehensive Rezoning. I encourage you to watch the P&Z meetings and participate in the public comments and discussion. These meetings are being Zoomed, and log-in information is included with the monthly agenda. The agenda can be viewed online via the Video Streaming page on thurmont.com. This page also contains links to all current and past P&Z and Board of Commissioners meetings.

The Town website also features a new COVID-19 information page, with regularly updated information from Frederick County Health Department and Frederick County Government. Frederick County is receiving COVID-19 vaccines, and they are being made available at several locations in the County. You can get vaccine clinic information at health.frederickcountymd.gov. As vaccines are becoming more available, please do not stop wearing your face masks and observing social distancing.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

No February Meeting

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners canceled its monthly meeting because of bad weather. The next meeting will be held on March 1 at 7:30 p.m. You can watch the meeting on Channel 99 or participate via Zoom with a link on the town’s website.

Register for Your COVID-19 Vaccination

Pre-register to get your COVID-19 vaccination. Once you register, you will be contacted when you are eligible for an appointment. Fill out the form at: frederickcountymd.com/covidvaccine.

Thurmont

Frederick Road Bridge Repairs Approved

The Frederick Road Bridge needs work on the concrete substructure to repair cracks, stabilize the piers and gabions, and repair the sidewalks. Three contractors bid on making the needed repairs. The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the low bid of $87,300 from Marine Technologies of Baltimore. The repairs will extend the life of the bridge by 10 to 20 years.

MS4 Engineering Bid Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a bid of $34,500 from ARRO Consulting for engineering and consulting services needed to remain in compliance with Maryland’s mandated MS4 program. Half of the funds will come from the FY2021 budget and the other half will come from the FY2022 town budget.

Water Main Engineering Work Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a bid from ARRO Consulting for $8,550 for the nonfunctioning North Church Street pumping station engineering and design services. There is a non-functioning waterline under Church Street. The town wants to remove the waterline and replace it with a six-inch water main. The project was approved last year. The design work starts the project. The motion carried 4-0.