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Deb Abraham Spalding

It’s common-place for His Place Auto Repair and Restoration Center owner, Billy Kuhn III, and his repair professionals to completely strip down a vintage Corvette, or any collectible auto for that matter, to its frame and restore it entirely to new, or better-than-new, from the wheels to the engine to the paint and detail. At His Place, these projects are in process alongside vehicles that are being routinely serviced with oil changes and brake repairs.

The business runs like a well-oiled… well you know… automobile! Billy’s father, William C. Kuhn, Jr. (a.k.a. Big Daddy), started the business in 1969 due to his love for classic cars, especially Corvettes. Billy III has been a part of the business all of his life, while the station moved from its original location in Germantown, Maryland, to the family’s farm on Sixes Bridge Road in Emmitsburg, to its current 6,000 square-foot shop located on Creamery Way in Emmitsburg. These days, the business is under the ownership of Billy III, while Big Daddy continues to oversee the business as an advisor, despite being in “retirement.”

Billy III strives to maintain the standards created by Big Daddy, from quality operations and customer service to show-level restorations to common repairs done right the first time. Billy III explained that the restorations at His Place recapture the new look of the auto while providing new technology that allows for improved performance under the hood and new toys at the driver’s fingertips. One vehicle had been enhanced with a backup camera and a touch screen interface.

His Place has a national draw for restoration clientele and has even been chosen by some of the rich and famous to service some well-known celebrity’s vehicles, and well-known vehicles that are celebrities unto themselves. His Place mechanics and employees treat customers the way they deserve to be treated.

Billy III explained, “We work with the customer. Sometimes with really big repairs, we prioritize critical repairs to allow for budget restraints. We create a maintenance plan.”

Billy feels that the most rewarding facets of running the business occur when delivering a shiny, like-new, completed renovated vehicle to a satisfied customer; when helping with a repair that makes a customer’s life easier; and when people show their appreciation with gifts. “Food and drinks go a long way when you’re a mechanic, especially when people take the time to bake.”

The name of the business, His Place, found it’s meaning from Big Daddy’s desire to have “his place” and a reference to the creator, His place. In respect to a more divine contribution, Billy III is proud that he’s providing jobs in our local area since all His Place mechanics reside in the local vicinity. He’s also proud to support the community by contributing to local charities, schools, and churches with proceeds resulting from the annual His Place Car Show events.

His Place Inc., is a full service, state-of-the-art automotive repair facility, a Maryland State Inspection Station, AAA Certified, a NAPA AutoCare Center, and employs tenured mechanics who are ASE Certified. His Place provides one of the best warranties in the area against defects and failure on all parts and labor purchased and performed at His Place (some exceptions may apply).

For more information about His Place, please call 301-447-2800, visit the facility in person at 20 Creamery Way in Emmitsburg, or visit www.HisPlaceAutoRepair.com online.

Billy Kuhn III, owner, and Liz Gamble, Chief Executive Officer, are shown with Gracie and Kasha (dog hosts) at His Place Auto Repair in Emmitsburg. His Place, Inc. celebrates fifty years of serving the community this year.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

January 2019 Meeting

Emmitsburg Approves Forestry Management Plan

The Emmitsburg commissioners approved a forestry management plan that calls for harvesting select trees and selling them. The first lot of trees will be removed from a 60-acre town-owned parcel and is expected to bring in around $60,000 when sold. “Basically, they are cutting down dead and dying trees,” Town Planner Zach Gulden told the commissioners.

Future lots of trees will also be harvested with a total income to the town expected to be around $223,000. Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners that the money is not earmarked for anything, but she expects the Rainbow Lake Dam to need work to bring it up to MDE standards. She would like to see the money go towards that expense.

Mount Still Planning on Building a Health Care Clinic in the Area

Mount St. Mary’s University and the Frederick Regional Health Care System have been gathering input from the community about a possible new health and wellness center for the area. The health system has already entered into an agreement with the Mount to coordinate student health care on campus.

However, because of the need for a health care center in Emmitsburg, the Mount and health system are planning to expand their role into the community. A 10,000-square-foot facility is expected to be built on the edge of the campus, where it can service both students and the community. The planned-for clinic would have primary and urgent care services, a laboratory, radiology, and physical therapy. Services will be provided that meet the guidelines of the Catholic Church.

Although a final location hasn’t been chosen yet, it will be a site that is primarily convenient for students and safe for them to reach. The center could open as early as mid-2020.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Installed Behind Town Offices

Emmitsburg’s four electric vehicle charging stations on the parking lot behind the Community Center have been installed, although they haven’t been connected with electrical service yet. The stations are funded through a grant from the Electric Vehicle Institute. The town was required to sign a five-year agreement with the Electric Vehicle Institute. The stations will not cost the town anything. Electric consumption used by the charging station will be paid for by the driver charging the vehicle.

The commissioners also had to approve an addendum to their lease with Frederick County, which is the owner of the Community Center. The addendum change allows the charging stations to be installed. The four charging stations will be marked, and the parking spaces in front of them will only be for the use of cars being charged. Vehicles will be allowed to park in the spots for up to six hours, and overnight parking is not allowed.

Commissioners Approve New Town Waysides

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved three waysides that will be erected in town to highlight the town’s history. The waysides are designed and written by Ruth Bielobocky of Ion Design Firm and Scott Grove of Grove Public Relations.

The waysides are funded with a $9,000 grant from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority. The three waysides will be at the Emmit House, doughboy statue, and town square. The long-term goal is to create a historic walking tour through the town. They are expected to be erected in the spring.

Town Square Lights Using New Signal Sequence

As part of the town square renovation, the traffic signals and crosswalks are using a new sequence. North Seton Avenue will now proceed first after Main Street. South Seton will move second. This allows the crosswalk signal on the west side of the square to come up as soon as the Main Street light turns red.  The crosswalk on the east side of the square will then come up with South Seton Avenue’s turn signal.

Thurmont

January 2019 Meeting

Town May Use Speed Cameras Near Schools

Following a recommendation from Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are considering using speed cameras near the town schools. The equipment will be provided and maintained by Insta Traffic and won’t cost the town anything.

Cars speeding in school zones will be photographed, the photos reviewed by police, and a $40.00 citation sent to the registered owner of the vehicle.

“I strongly believe the cameras will make motorists be more cautious and think twice before speeding through a school zone,” Eyler said.

He said that the deterrent was needed because of close calls that both students and crossing guards have had crossing the busy streets.

Commissioner Marty Burns opposed the decision, feeling that it was more of a way to generate revenue than to keep children from being hit by vehicles. The other commissioners seemed to feel that if the cameras cause vehicles to slow down that will increase the safety of both students and crossing guards.

The commissioners will review the proposed contract and vote on it at a future time.

New Community Park Pavilion Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a bid from Playground Specialists of $79,975 to build a 30 x 60-foot steel pavilion on a concrete slab in Community Park. The project will be funded with a $90,810 Program Open Space grant that will pay for 75 percent of the cost.

The pavilion will be constructed west of the basketball courts in an open area that will require no trees to be removed and no grading.

Because the POS grant covers more than needed for construction costs, the difference will be used to purchase picnic tables for the new pavilion. The grant will also pay for 75 percent of the cost of the picnic tables.

Commissioner Bill Buehrer said that the new pavilion will help reduce the backlog of pavilion rental requests that the town receives each year.

Trolley Trail Lighting Bid Approved

Thurmont received a $17,640 Program Open Space grant to purchase nine lights for the Thurmont Trolley Trail, from Park Lane to Water Street. Town staff will install the lights 120 feet apart along the trail. The town received three bids for the seven lights. The low bid was $13,230 from Catoctin Lighting in Thurmont.

Because the grant amount exceeded the amount of the bid, the town will purchase an additional three lights to use for the next phase of lights along the trail from Water Street to Moser Road. This means that the town will only need to purchase seven lights for that stretch of the trail rather than ten.

Board of Appeals Alternate Appointed

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners recently appointed Vince Testa as an alternate member of the Thurmont Board of Appeals.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

Like everyone, the town started the New Year at full pace. Here are a few things the town is working on.

This spring, through grant assistance, the town will be adding wayside exhibits to our historic district streetscape, describing the role of the Square, the Doughboy, and the Emmit House history of the town. The exhibits are intended to complement the ones situated in front of the post office, which describe the encampment of the Union forces in the town before embarking to Gettysburg in those first days of July in 1863. But, complement in an enhanced manner. The new 24 x 36-inch exhibits will not only contain narrative accounts but also supporting photography and other depictions.

Moving forward, the town is applying for grants for exhibits featuring the Vigilant Hose Company on West Main Street, the Great Emmitsburg Fire on East Main Street, the Chronicle Press – Schoolhouse, and the Carriage House Inn on South Seton Avenue. As an administrative goal, and much dreamed and talked about by many, Emmitsburg will have points of interest identified for a visitor’s walking tour in the near future.

Finally, the four electric vehicle (EV), level two, recharge stations have been installed. At times, it has been a cumbersome journey for the town staff to coordinate work under grant guidelines with the contractor, the power company, and the county. The stations are wired for future level three service and should be operational by the end of February.

Emmitsburg encompasses more than the quaint community, set between and along Toms Creek and Flat Run Creek. It includes over 900 acres of forest land situated, generally, on the north and west faces of College Mountain that are outside of town limits. To be more exact, according to Michael Kay of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the town has 947 acres of forest, 23 acres of fields, and 17 acres of reservoir “up there.” Some of its mountain holdings, 400-450 acres and another 130-140 acres along Scott Road, were given to the town around the year 2000 through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Conservation Fund, of which I served as a facilitator. Some twelve years later, after I was elected in 2013, I directed the staff to order a forestry report. The report, once in hand, not only described the holdings but also set out recommendations to protect its health. Deer feeding, invasive plants, gypsy moth defoliation, “oak decline,” and emerald ash borers over time have damaged the healthy regeneration of our forest. The report calls for timbering as a necessary step. Mr. Kay’s recommended action was presented to and approved by the town council during the January meeting. There are various intensities of cutting timber. As recommended, only select-cutting, as opposed to clear cutting, will be permitted. Of the 18 tracts identified in the report, a 60-acre tract near Rainbow Lake will be select-cut later this year. The plan is to timber one or two tracts annually, thereafter.

While bracing for our share of snow, ice, and/or rain, my thoughts are towards an early spring.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

On January 31, 2019, the residents of Thurmont lost to retirement one of the hardest working and dedicated employees they have ever known. On that day, Butch West retired from his job with the Town of Thurmont after forty-one years. In those years, Butch held many positions and worked his way up through the ranks to serve as superintendent of Public Works.

I have known Butch for many years, but it wasn’t until I was first elected that I realized how much he was intertwined in the day-to-day operations of our town. Butch has taught me a lot about the inner workings of Thurmont, our streets, parks, and electric system. On any given day, Butch literally seems to be everywhere at the same time. He spends most days going from one project or problem to another, supervising, providing advice, or getting his hands dirty working alongside our crews. He has never shied away from digging right in and helping get things done. I learned early on that if I asked Butch to do something next week, he was already thinking about how to get it done before I was finished telling him what I wanted, and he usually had it finished that day or the next. He made sure things were completed well in advance of when you expected them to be done. Butch began each day by driving around Thurmont and checking on everything from street lights to trash pickup. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the vast majority of our town’s infrastructure and could pinpoint issues and devise solutions on the fly.

For many years, Butch seemed to forgo vacation time or scheduled days off; only recently, has he started taking the days off he was entitled to. This was a problem for me because I was used to calling him any day of week and he would be right there. I was quite surprised the first time I called him and he said he had the day off. Needless to say, after January 31, I will not have to worry about whether he is at work or off enjoying his free time.

The town employees have a picnic every year, and the commissioners and I have the opportunity to say a few words to the staff. I usually tell them that one of their main jobs is to make the commissioners and I look good, and Butch always laughs about this. As an elected official, I am basically a part-timer, whereas Butch and all of our staff are on the job full-time. It is through the hard work of employees like Butch that our town is the great place that we all love and enjoy.

It is hard to believe, but Butch has been here through ten mayoral elections, and during those terms, he has served our residents and elected officials with courtesy and a level of dedication that is above what anyone could expect. The first time I saw Butch after being elected, he was standing in a ditch manning a shovel to help fix a water-line leak. Last week, I called Butch about meeting me to see about some concrete that had been dropped on one of our streets; by the time I got there, he already had most of it cleaned up on his own. Some things never change! I will miss seeing and speaking to Butch on a daily basis, but it is time for him to start enjoying his days with his lovely and understanding wife, his children, and his grandchildren. On behalf of our residents, I want to thank him for all he has done for us during his forty-one-year career with the Town of Thurmont. I also want to th

Blair Garrett

Breaking one world record can take a lifetime of dedication and hard work.

Holding two world records is a distant dream for most athletes.

For sixteen-year-old Tristan Rice, that dream has become a reality.

After spending just five months training and working out, Rice took his talents to Las Vegas, Nevada, to take his shot at powerlifting glory in the International Powerlifting League Drug Tested World Championship.

The young athlete’s short but fruitful powerlifting career began through success in other sports. Rice, a dual-sport athlete, took a break from football and track and field to face a new challenge and to accomplish something he had never done before.

“I started powerlifting during football and shot put,” Rice said. “There was always something I enjoyed about it.”

From the beginning, Rice found a knack for lifting heavier weights, and it did not take long for him to set his sights a little higher.

“I looked up the records and saw what they were, and I thought that I should give that a try,” Rice said. “I figured if I could be the first to set those records at my age and my weight, then that’s something I wanted to do.”

Rice slotted into the 16-17 year-old, 275 pound weight class, smashing the existing deadlift record with his 540.1 pound lift. Rice beat the previous record by nearly 35 pounds, but still believes he has room for improvement.

“I’ve done more in training,” Rice said. “I went for 567 pounds, but I couldn’t pull it. I broke out with a nosebleed.”

The climate of Las Vegas posed a new challenge for Rice, pushing him to compete despite a series of nosebleeds from the stresses of lifting, plaguing Rice’s ability to recreate his heaviest lifts in practice. “I got it to my knees and my nose let loose,” he said. “I kept pulling and lost my balance and fell.”

Across the three events Rice competed in, he set three Maryland state records, three national records in the United States Powerlifting Association 16-17 year-old division for his weight, and two world records in his class for the deadlift and squat.

Perhaps Rice’s most impressive event of the day was in squats, where he lifted 567.7 pounds to secure his second world record, among other accolades. Rice was one of just two athletes to even qualify for the championships in his age and weight class.

Rice’s final national record was a cumulative one, totaling 1,355.8 pounds across the three main events: bench press, deadlift and squat. While 1,355 pounds sounds like a nearly unbeatable record for a sixteen-year-old, Rice plans for much greater numbers.

“My next meet is April 27,” Rice said. “I want to drop weight classes and be the youngest person at the lightest weight ever to total 1,500 across squat, bench, and deadlift.”

Now, just six months into the powerlifting scene, Rice has his own training regimen and his own goals to reach. Limits have yet to stop Rice so far, and world records may only be the beginning.  

Rice lifts 540.1 pounds to secure first place at the Powerlifting League World Championship.

John Dowling Receives Awards for his Volunteer Work

James Rada, Jr.

2018 was quite a year for John Dowling, age seventy-five, of Thurmont. The Thurmont Lions Club, Thurmont Grange, and Mother Seton School all recognized his abundant volunteer work in the area.

“I guess I’m involved just about everywhere,” Dowling said. “It’s in my blood.”

Last fall, Dowling’s work was recognized three times.

Mother Seton School recognized him for his thirty-six years of work at the Mother Seton School annual carnival. Dowling and his wife, Kathryn, got involved with the carnival when their children attended the school. Besides helping to start the carnival at the school, the Dowlings also launched the successful bingo and auction fundraisers for the school. The work started as a way to reduce the tuition at Mother Seton School for their children, but it turned into a labor of love, even after their kids graduated and moved onto Catoctin High School.

The Thurmont Lions Club recognized Dowling as the Thurmont Volunteer of the Year. He was nominated for his work at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church and the Thurmont Senior Center. He was awarded a certificate of recognition and gift certificate for dinner at the Shamrock Restaurant at a town meeting. He was also able to designate where a $400 donation from the Thurmont Lions Club would be donated in his name. Dowling chose to split the money between the Thurmont Senior Center and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church.

The Thurmont Grange also recognized Dowling with its Outstanding Community Citizen Award.

These aren’t the first awards that he has received for his community work. In the past few years, the Archdiocese of Baltimore and State of Maryland have recognized Dowling for his volunteerism.

Dowling said that he was “dumbfounded” with all of the awards last year. He considers helping his community almost an obligation.

Dowling may be retired from his appliance repair business, but he still puts in ten to twelve hours a week of volunteer work. He also continues to run a small woodworking business from his home.

“We’re here on this earth to benefit our fellow citizens,” he said.

Dowling grew up in a family of twelve children in Montgomery County, and his parents set the example for volunteerism. He remembers his mother organizing an annual dinner to benefit Montgomery General Hospital and helping his father plant grass when a new high school was built.

When he moved to the area in 1968 as a young man with a wife, he brought with him the values his parents had instilled in him. He began helping out whenever he could.

“I would help out with anything dealing with the community, because the community is an important part of the lives of everyone who lives in it,” expressed Dowling.

Of all the various places where he provides service, he considers his work with the Thurmont Senior Center the most important. He serves on the center’s board and knows how great the center’s need for help is. He picks up day-old bread from Weis that is used at the center, gives rides to and from the center to seniors in need, delivers hot meals from the Mountain Gate Restaurant to home-bound seniors, and helps with the general maintenance of equipment around the center.

The values of service to the community that Dowling’s parents taught him are something that he and Kathryn have also been able to instill in their own children.

“All of my kids do a lot of volunteer work, and they’re all successful,” Dowling said.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Locally, we’re at war. We’re not in an obvious battle, it’s a hushed one. Our casualties are many. Our enemy is addiction. Through the efforts of the Thurmont Addiction Commission (TAC), and several other groups and individuals, we’re starting to fight back in the Catoctin area.

Chris Schildt of Thurmont wasn’t our area’s first casualty of addiction, but his death was one that inspired collective action to do something to help and prevent addiction. In his case, a street drug addiction began after using prescribed drugs for a sports injury. Chris had a bright future ahead of him. He was an athlete, a 2009 graduate of Catoctin High School, a 2015 graduate of Shepherd University, he had a job, he coached youth sports, and he had recently become a father, when he died in June 2016 from an overdose, or bad batch, of heroin.

Chris didn’t want to die, but addiction has no geographic, demographic, moral, financial, age, or racial boundaries. We honor him, all who have passed, and all who battle addiction, by seeking solutions and resources in the Catoctin Community. It’s time that we all become proactive in attack to defeat this enemy from which no one is safe, because even if we don’t have an addiction ourselves, we may have a family member, friend, or neighbor who does.

Addiction is a disease that is believed to be caused by a genetic predisposition that can react to stimulants and immediately cause addiction. The reference to addiction in this article is not only on drugs since addiction comes in many forms, with drugs, smoking, drinking, and eating being the most obvious, and sex, tanning, pulling out your hair, and social media being examples of the less obvious.

Chris’ death was the spark of intention for his father and mother, Ed and Karen Schildt of Thurmont, who joined in the efforts of others who had already started fighting, healing, and helping to deal with this enemy they never saw coming. The Schildts’ path to recovery in mourning was to do something, anything.

Ed said, “We were supported tremendously when our son passed. We stood in a receiving line at Stauffer Funeral Home for ten straight hours with Chris’ death. We were supported during the days and weeks and months afterward. When clarity came back, we said, ‘What can we do? How do we say thank you?’ The Schildts held an educational awareness event in April of 2017, called “Introduction to the Enemy,” during which the auditorium at Catoctin High School was filled.

Ed explained, “The ‘Introduction to the Enemy’ event puts addiction in the room with you as the monster that it is, and then it shows you the struggles. In the end, you’re supporting those who are dealing with a disease. It’s not a problem. It’s a disease.” He added, “This is a topic

[addiction]

that doesn’t normally draw a crowd. It made people more aware. From that, the community said, ‘What’s next?’”

The result of that first event was a challenge for Ed and Karen to continue to step up. Former Mayor and current Thurmont Town Commissioner Marty Burns attended that first event and told Ed that his opinion of addiction had changed because of it. From that point, Marty involved the Town of Thurmont and there were follow-up meetings and then the opportunity to create the Thurmont Addiction Commission (TAC).

TAC stands upon three pillars: Educational Awareness (Ed Schildt, Pillar Lead), Support and Recovery (Myra Derbyshire, Pillar Lead), and Prevention and Outreach (Susan Crone, Pillar Lead).

Educational Awareness is the broadest pillar and encompasses everything; Support and Recovery is a positive thing because it’s all about supporting people in recovery or seeking recovery; and Prevention and Outreach, that’s where Susan Crone’s FUSE Teen Center comes in; young people are shown alternatives to prevent addiction and provide positive options and results.

TAC is a growing group of advocates, who are providing information and resources to the community and empowering those who are doing good things in this battle right now.

The FUSE Teen Center is one example of a program TAC is empowering. Susan Crone is the founder of FUSE, a teen center where participants are encouraged to interact with each other without technology. This program has been running for a while now, and participants are truly having a blast.

Susan is a tenured teacher at Thurmont Elementary School, who stepped up to do something about the addiction and suicide frequency she was noticing. She is joined by many volunteers to operate FUSE, and they’re currently meeting at the Trinity United Church of Christ on East Main Street in Thurmont. It is a social option for teens from sixth to twelfth grade, from 4:00-6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Fridays from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Teens may come to just hang out with each other, play games, and be creative, or they can bring homework and FUSE volunteers will do their best to lend a hand. They are always looking for ideas and volunteers.

“FUSE is a place where teens have the undivided attention of volunteers who are there because they care about the future for them. We will do whatever we can to help them find the treasures that are already inside them waiting to be found,” said Susan.

To learn more, check out FUSE Teen Center on Facebook.

Chastity Fox, founder of the Music is Medicine Foundation nonprofit, is an advocate for addiction recovery after losing her brother, Richard “RJ” Holmes, to a heroin overdose in October 2016. She is close to opening The Path—Peer Recovery Community Center, which will offer free peer-to-peer addiction support with certified Peer Recovery Specialists. This is another project that TAC is empowering.

Other services at PATH include music therapy, yoga, meditation, classes for the community, family support groups, job-seeking skills, resume writing, and other resources that help a person with addiction become a functioning member of society.

This resource center is located at 31B Water Street in Thurmont. TAC is supporting it and assisting with the operation. There is an immediate need for volunteers, especially a person to write a business plan and a grant writer. Other needs are for donations of furniture and things like a television. Like the Music is Medicine Foundation on Facebook or call Chastity at 240-440-2020 or e-mail RJsLastingStrengthFoundation@gmail.com.

There’s so much that is being mixed in marijuana, cocaine, and heroin that’s not known. These aren’t pharmacists out there. They’re street dealers. They’re getting the cheapest ingredients to make the most profit, and they’re preying on people with addiction.

To become a warrior in our community’s battle against addiction, visit the Thurmont Addiction Commission on Facebook or seek out any of the resources in this article.

James Rada, Jr.

It’s doubtful that anyone would deny that 2018 was a wet year. Just how wet was it? Well, the Town of Emmitsburg collects and reports on rainfall data each month as part of the wastewater report that Town Manager Cathy Willetts submits to the town commissioners.

Her reports from the 2018 town meetings include the rainfall from November 1, 2017 to October 31, 2018. During that time, the town received 73.45 inches of rain when the average is 42.96 inches. That means the town saw 71 percent more rain than typical.

The heaviest month for rainfall was September (13.5 inches), but the month with the biggest difference between rainfall received and the average rainfall was July (9.69 inches). Four months (November, December, March, and April) actually had less rainfall than average.

The table below shows the information collected from the Emmitsburg Town Manager reports.

James Rada, Jr.

In the days before air conditioning, Washington D.C. could be nearly unbearable in the summer. Those who could would travel to summer homes in more-agreeable climates. It wasn’t always possible for federal officials, though.

In 1915, some of the towns surrounding the capital city began making their case to serve as the summer capital for the United States, in a similar way to the way President Dwight D. Eisenhower would use his Gettysburg home as a temporary White House while he was recovering from a heart attack. They were generally towns within a couple hours of Washington, D.C., and at a higher elevation.

In August, the Waynesboro Board of Trade appointed a committee to open communications with Congressman D. K. Focht “and urge him to use his influence in having the summer capital located in this section,” according to the Gettysburg Times.

W. H. Doll of the traffic department of the Western Maryland Railway traveled to Washington, D.C. and met with one of President Woodrow Wilson’s secretaries to show the railroad’s support for having Blue Ridge Summit be the summer capital.

“Mr. Doll called attention to the fact that Blue Ridge Summit is now more or less a ‘summer capital’ on account of the large number of government officials and members of the diplomatic corps who spend the heated season there,” the Gettysburg Times reported.

Diplomatic delegations from Argentina, Norway, Japan, and Uruguay already had many of their members spending the summer in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania. The Washington Post even noted in 1915 that Viscountess Chinda, the wife of Japanese Ambassador Chinda, had traveled to Japanese property in Blue Ridge Summit, calling the summer embassy. The U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Comptroller of the Currency also spent much of the summer in the mountains.

Some of the diplomats and officials had homes, but others simply stayed the summer in the Monterey Inn. The Monterey Inn was probably the most famous of the inns of Blue Ridge Summit. It was built in 1848 and attracted visitors from all over the region. The inn would burn to the ground in 1941, but in 1915, it was the jewel of Blue Ridge Summit.

For a while, it seemed that the government was considering officially designating the town as the summer capital. Engineers from Washington traveled to Blue Ridge Summit in October to take elevations and measurements of the town and surrounding area. Local officials took it as a sign that the government was collecting data on where to build government buildings.

It wasn’t the first time towns had made an appeal to be the summer capital. Earlier in the year, Braddock Heights in Frederick County had made its case only to see nothing come of it. It doesn’t seem that the town fathers made much of persuasive appeal other than offering cooler summer weather within a fairly close location to Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, Virginia Congressman Charles Carlin was making the case for the summer capital being in the Virginia mountains, not far from Washington. The basis of his appeal was that he would submit a bill for designating a summer capital, but only if it was located in his district in Virginia.

Although Blue Ridge Summit’s official recognition as the summer capital failed, the town continued to appeal to foreign delegations. Even as late as 1940, about a dozen foreign embassies maintained summer legations in Blue Ridge, many at Monterey, occasioning it to be called often “the summer capital of the United States,” according to the Living Places webpage for the Monterey Historic District.

Japanese Ambassador Chinda and wife Viscountess Chinda.

Courtesy Photo

December 2018

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Mount Still Planning on Building a Health Care Clinic in the Area

Simon Blackwell, with Mount St. Mary’s University, spoke to the Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners during their monthly meeting in December. He said that the university is in negotiations with the Frederick Regional Health System to bring a health and wellness clinic into the area. It is needed to help “improve the quality and access to healthcare” for Mount students, according to Blackwell, but it would also be available to area residents. The planned-for clinic would have primary and urgent care services, a laboratory, radiology, and physical therapy. As part of the process, university staff have been meeting with the members of the community to get their input.

Town Approved Water Contracts

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved water agreements for two property owners outside of town. Years ago, Emmitsburg bought a small water company that serviced property owners outside of town. Over the years, most of those properties have been easily serviced on the town system. However, an 8-inch water line that serviced only three properties was discovered to be unrepairable. One of the properties was close enough to a 10-inch water line that the town owned that it could be connected to it.

The town then faced a decision: Either spend an estimated $1 million to build a new water line to service the two properties or find a way to terminate service to properties.

The town chose the latter and offered the property owners to either drill a new well on the property or pay the property owners the equivalent amount ($11,655).

One property owner took the buyout, and the other will have the town pay to have a new well dug on his property.

Traffic Should Switch on Bridge This Month

According to information that Emmitsburg town staff received from the Maryland State Highway Administration, the deck of the new East Main Street bridge over Flat Run was to be poured in mid-December. Following the concrete deck, a layer of asphalt was applied. This needed to set for 28 days before traffic could be rerouted onto it, which puts the date into mid-January.

Town to Deal with Business Trailers

The Emmitsburg Commissioners are expected to approve changes to the zoning laws that will allow large storage trailers to be used on industrial properties. The changes will allow a trailer used to collect tires for recycling to continue to be used at Quality Tire, while not creating an eyesore for adjacent residential properties.

Thurmont

Thurmont Third Safest Town in Maryland in 2018

Thurmont recently received recognition from Safewise as the third safest city in Maryland. Safewise looks at the most recent FBI Crime Report statistics and population of cities with more than 3,000 residents. They look at violent crime and property crime that occurs per 1,000 residents.

According to Safewise, Thurmont has .92 violent crimes per 1,000 residents and 10.45 property crimes per 1,000 residents. It is the only city in Frederick County to make the top ten.

This is a big jump from the 2016 report that listed Thurmont as the ninth safest town in Maryland. Between 2016 and 2018, Thurmont violent crime increased from .92 incidents per 1,000 residents, but property crime decreased from 11.76 incidents per 1,000 residents.

The safest cities in Maryland are: 1. Hampstead (Carroll); 2. Manchester (Carroll); 3. Thurmont (Frederick); 4. Bowie (Prince Georges); 5. Glenarden (Prince Georges); 6. Ocean Pines (Worcester); 7. Taneytown (Carroll); 8. Frostburg (Allegany); 9. Bel Air (Harford); and 10. Easton (Talbot).

Thurmont is the only Frederick County town listed among the safest towns in Maryland.

Town Receives a Clean Audit

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently received the results of the annual review done of its finances by an independent auditor. Not only did the town receive a clean audit with no findings, but the town also did not have to file for an extension in order to have it done on time.

Town Enacts Planning and Zoning Fees

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to enact planning and zoning fees to recover the cost of using town resources to review development plans. The fees are based on those used in other nearby municipalities. A concept plans submission and review will cost $250, plus the invoiced cost of professional services, such as advertising, legal, and engineering fees. A preliminary site plan, category 1, residential, will cost $350, plus $25 per lot and the invoiced cost of professional services. A preliminary site plan, category 1, non-residential, will cost $500, plus professional services for projects smaller than 25 acres; and $500, plus $25 an acre and professional services for projects over 25 acres. A preliminary site plan, category 2, will cost the zoning certificate fee and professional services. An annexation and review will cost $500, plus $25 an acre and professional services.

Colorfest Review

The Town of Thurmont is starting to dig itself out of a deficit from hosting Colorfest, after making some changes to the permit fees. For Colorfest 2018, the Town of Thurmont received $68,578 and spent $61,289 for sanitation, trash, buses, and security.

While this proved to be a year the town was in the black, it was not the case in 2014 and 2015. Those two years left the town $24,237 in the red. The commissioners made changes to the fees and trimmed some expenses, which has helped the town show positive numbers since 2015. The town is now showing a deficit of $10,147 over the past five years.

The Colorfest revenues have also been helped by the increasing number of permits sold. For Colorfest 2018, 798 permits were sold, up 101 from 2016. This includes a jump from 21 to 32 permits for commercial food vendors, who pay $500 for their permits.

Town Increases Water Reconnection Fee

After reviewing the cost of reconnecting a property to the town’s water system after it has been disconnected for non-payment, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently voted to increase the fee to $75.

This came about after the town reviewed all of the costs associated with reconnecting a property and found that it cost slightly more than $73. The town was only charging $6. The $75 is also equal to or less than the amount charged by surrounding municipalities.

Chief Administrative Office Jim Humerick told the commissioners that disconnecting a property is a last resort for the town. Before that point is reached, the town will have offered the property owner an option to pay the debt back on a payment plan and give the property owner contact information for agencies that might be able to help the property owner pay the bill.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

In our Community Christmas Stocking

Thank you to those who added the trees on the square, and then, decorated them. A spontaneous occurrence and a very nice added touch.

Thank you town staff for the decorations at the square and at the Community Center. Many compliments.

Thank you E&E Trees, Walkersville Tree Farm, Ken and Barbara Willets, for donating the beautiful town Christmas tree.

Thank you third grade class at Mother Seton School, and all the grades from elementary school, for decorating the town Christmas tree in front of the Community Center, adding to the trimming efforts of the town staff.

Thank you to all the volunteers of our churches, organizations, and businesses who participated in the various Emmitsburg events, starting with the traditional town Christmas tree lighting, on the first Monday in December, in front of the town office, Christ Community Church children’s chorus (My error on invitation to Mother Seton School. They will be singing next year.), Santa Claus arriving in a Vigilant Hose truck, the lighting of the tree, then following Santa on foot to the Carriage House Inn for the 30th Annual “An Evening of Christmas Spirit.” The weather was kind again to the many who attended.  

The state finished the square and sidewalks project, except for some loose brick work. Just can’t seem to get the state’s contractors out of here.

Things are moving along on the Flat Run Bridge project, with the concrete being poured for the new bridge lanes. If the weather cooperates, the complementary road work could be completed and we could have a lane switch by the New Year.

For the New Year

Lots of New Year’s resolutions to add to pushing away from the table with a little bit more fervor and with more, much more, resolve. Oh well…

Mount St. Mary’s University is moving ahead with plans to enter a venture with Frederick Memorial Hospital affiliate to build a medical facility on its campus. At the facility, primary and urgent care will be available for students, faculty, and community residents. The university will make a presentation on the proposed medical facility at the January 7, 2019, town meeting, at 7:30 p.m.

At the January 30 Green Team meeting, Hilari Varnadore, Director, LEED for Cities and Communities, U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) will be the guest speaker. LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The topic will be: Helping cities and communities use data to drive more sustainable, equitable investments. Hilari was formerly with Star Communities, which recently merged with the USGBC. Before that, she headed up the Frederick County Sustainability Office that assisted the Frederick County Sustainability Commission when I was chairman of the commission.   

With the New Year comes the sad reality that after seventy-four years of service to the community, Zurgables Hardware will be closed. All those convenient planned and emergency stops no more. According to Mark Zurgable, it was time. Mark has owned and operated the store for thirty-nine years. Thank you, Mark, for all the years of service to the community at your store.

To all, hoping you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a wonderful New Year. Emmitsburg, a great place to live.

Thurmont

  Mayor John Kinnaird

Mayor John Kinnaird was as busy as Santa Claus at the time of our deadline for this issue, and we think his column may have been eaten by a reindeer! He wishes everyone a Happy New Year!

Blair Garrett, Gracie Eyler, and Deb Abraham Spalding

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come… I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise…”

These words are part of a Proclamation done at the City of Washington, the Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth by the President: Abraham Lincoln.

President Lincoln was not the first president to proclaim Thanksgiving, and he wasn’t the last. Today, although the pace of our daily business has changed with the ease of technology, it is important that the foundation of thanks be reminded and put into practice universally, for it is a basic part of humanity.

For 126 years, almost as long ago as President Lincoln’s Proclamation, members of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Creagerstown have provided a community Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving Day in their parish hall. This year, the room was full consistently, as family-after-family gathered to share the homemade meal throughout the day.

Courtney Topper, a twenty-one-year-old member of the Seiss family, one of the long-time member families deeply involved with this tradition, has helped since the age of four. She said, “I’d rather do this than anything on Thanksgiving Day.”

Thirty-seven volunteers served over five hundred dinners and over one hundred carry-out orders. Linda Seiss, Courtney’s grandmother, coordinated the event. She said, “It’s the giving and joy and love that make this event so great! Everybody came in so jolly and happy… and so thankful. It’s a wonderful thing!” Linda tried to name all of the volunteers because, “That’s important,” she said, “Phyllis Kolb is known for her sweet potatoes. Everyone is overwhelmed by them. Then there’s…let me see, Madeline Valentine, Glenna Wilhide, Dick Wilhide, Bill and Regina Dinterman, Sherry and Melanie Topper, Vicky Troxell and her daughters Kelsey and Payton, Nancy Heyser, Judy Zimmerman, Betty Seiss, Dot Lare, the Ferrell Family, the Thayer Family, and my husband Frankie Seiss. We can’t forget about him.”

Linda said she hopes that the Thanksgiving Dinner event, “makes it to 200 years of Thanksgivings someday.”

At the Ott House Pub in Emmitsburg, the Ott family, extended family, friends, and sometimes people right off the street, gather to enjoy a pot-luck Thanksgiving feast. This year, one hundred and four gathered for this tradition at the family’s restaurant.

Their tradition started when Bernard Ott, a painter by trade, and his wife, Evelyn, opened the Ott House in 1970 as a hobby and “something for their son, Pat, to get into,” said Chris (Ott) Wilson. They had nine children, Buddy (deceased), Pat (deceased), Dave, Susie, Chris, Cathy, Bobby, Rosie, and Ritchie. Today, four are still heavily involved in the day-to-day operation of the business. At the time, the family had grown too large for any one’s house to host Thanksgiving dinner, so the restaurant was the perfect alternative.

To this day, the Ott House Pub still operates with about half of the work force comprised of family members. Most Ott family and extended family members have worked at the pub at some point during their lives. It is truly a family-run business. The Otts, Susie, Bobby, Chris and Rosie, and the greater Ott House family and staff wish the community a happy holiday season and expressed, “Thanks for all of your support.”

This year, as always, after our Thanksgiving feasts were consumed and our family members filtered home, the chaos of Black Friday arrived. The season of thanks continues and becomes the season of giving as the holiday shopping frenzy builds.

Many families see the end of Thanksgiving as the beginning of Christmas, pushing moms and dads to flock to the stores in search of the perfect holiday gift for their children. The transition from November to December brings lights, candy canes, and plenty of holiday cheer, but what is it that spurs shoppers nationwide to begin checking off those holiday lists one by one?

The holiday deals cannot be denied, with stores around the world slashing prices to entice customers to spend their hard-earned cash in their stores. Parents often begin gathering ideas for gifts as early as summer, officially beginning the countdown until the holidays. The holiday crunch is finally here.

There are a few different types of holiday givers, with each finding different ways to make their shopping and gifting all come together for their families.

The extremely prepared are the early birds who have their holiday gifts purchased and wrapped months in advance, hiding them in a locked-away safe place, away from the eyes of the kids. Then, there are the extremely unprepared procrastinators, who are scrambling to grab the latest and greatest gifts fifteen minutes before the doors close for Christmas Eve.

But, the majority of givers fall somewhere in the middle, picking a weekend here and there to peck away at their shopping lists, grabbing the final items just in time for family get-togethers. Though disguised in the materialistic shopping game, the togetherness and camaraderie of being surrounded by the people you care about most is what excites people about this time of year.

Events like “Christmas in Thurmont” and “An Evening of Christmas Spirit” in Emmitsburg give people a reason to cook, celebrate, give thanks, and give to others. But…don’t forget to take a moment, take a breath, reflect upon history, remember loved ones who have passed, celebrate the moment, plan the best future, notice the little things, invite the big things, live life fully, and appreciate family and community. Be thankful. Be giving.

John and Fay Holdner, Angel and Mike Clabaugh, Randy Welty, Mary Elle Goff, Jaylyn Shaw, Jess Shaw, Bill Thurman, Alice Thurman, Larry Gladhill, and Brooke Gladhill sit together to enjoy the community Thanksgiving Day meal at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Creagerstown.

Linda Seiss is shown with fellow volunteer, Russell Long, in the kitchen at St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Family, extended family, and community members gather at the Ott House Pub and Restaurant for a Thanksgiving feast. A tradition since 1970.

 

Candy (Leahy) Lawyer, of Thurmont, “was a beautiful lady with golden hair, bright green eyes and a sweet smile. She lived in a cottage called Candy’s Corner. Joy and laughter filled the cottage. Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, after days of preparation filled with love, she would host a gingerbread house decorating celebration. This became a celebration of love, family and togetherness that was disguised by candy-coated fun! It was a special time for everyone to laugh and kick off the holiday season.”

The above is an excerpt from Heather Lawyer’s “Candy Corner”online about her mom. What started out as a small gathering to make four small gingerbread houses became known as “Gingerbread Day”and grew to become an annual tradition. Candy became known as “Sweet Candy,”since this was her very favorite time of year. Candy passed away in 2017 after a courageous four-year battle with cancer.

Her children, Brent, Heather, and Mitchell, have set out to carry on the gingerbread tradition by continuing Gingerbread Day. Heather hosted the family’s gingerbread day this year, and she worked with Vickie Grinder, Thurmont’s Main Street Manager, to provide community gingerbread classes in the Main Street Center in Thurmont. Her brothers, their wives, their cousins and friends come out to help. Heather said, “We have a little army of gingerbread helpers.”

In a “History of Gingerbreads” interview by Barb Lawyer Briggs with Candy, Candy explained that when she was pregnant with her and her husband Dave’s first child, Brent, in 1982, she made a gingerbread carousel for her mother-in-law, Mary Lawyer. Then, in December of 1986, when Brent and their second child, Heather, were three and four, Candy’s mother, Lynne Leahy, came across an article about a gingerbread lady where the recipe, the patterns, and directions were outlined. Lynne had always wanted to start a Leahy tradition for the kids and felt this was it.

During Barb’s interview, Candy recalled that one year, half the gingerbread houses collapsed. She explained that gingerbread can be temperamental. She shared that when the kids get to age 10 to 14, they start using planned themes. “It’s really interesting to watch.” One year, Mitchell made a complete barn and barnyard. One nephew, Kevin, used gummy bears every year. One year, the gummy bears were in a battle. “I think that year all the boys had a war theme. Santa was on a roof with a machine gun. There were injured gummy bears. It wasn’t very Christmassy.”

This year marks the thirty-first year of Gingerbread Day. Every year, every kid keeps coming back, even when the kid has now become an adult. Heather said, “The youngest cousin is now 20 and everybody including him still shows up. That was mom’s favorite part.”

Heather’s love for her mother and her family is very evident in her actions and words. It is very obvious that the opportunity to carry this tradition is truly an honor for her. Heather claims that her all-time favorite gingerbread will always be the tribute to her Uncle Jan Lawyer. The year Jan passed away, Heather, her brothers and their wives, Renee and Stephanie, made gingerbread replicas of Jan’s Winterbrook Farm and Corn Maze. Brent and Renee did the barn, Heather did the home farm, Mitchell did the corn maze.

For about twenty years, Heather took her gingerbreads to her Grammy (Mary) Lawyer. Heather said, “She’d be calling, ‘Heather, is your house done yet? I thought Gingerbread Day was two weeks ago!’ As soon as I took it to her, she’d stand up in church and announce that the gingerbread house was finally there and she’d invite the whole congregation to come on over and see it.”

Heather’s most memorable gingerbread creation that she made herself was a ski resort with a mountain made of Rice Krispie with a gingerbread lodge at the bottom. It was about 24”x 24”. She said, “I made trees out of pretzels using coconut shavings that I died green for leaves. It took me about a week to finish. I remember coming home from work and finding random gum drops stuck on places I did not put them. I realized it was my grandfather (Pat Leahy), of course, playing tricks on me! They know how particular I am and this was a fun game for my grandparents and mom to play!” She added, “Grammy (Lawyer) called during that week wondering if I would ever finish it. When I finally delivered it to her, her jaw dropped and her face lit up when she finally saw it being carried in her house!”

Keep an eye open for opportunities to participate in the gingerbread classes that Heather and her brothers are hosting in the coming years. It’s a sweet time of candy-coated fun!

Candy Lawyer is shown with her husband, Dave, and her first gingerbread: a carousel.

Heather Lawyer gives her mom, Candy, the Gingerbread Lady, a squeeze as they bake gingerbread in their kitchen. Candy is wearing her Gingerbread Lady apron.

Heather’s favorite gingerbread, a ski resort.

The Wallpaper Story

Joan Bittner Fry

Preface 

William Jones was a prosperous tannery owner who operated his tannery along Little Hunting Creek in Thurmont in 1838. To show his prosperity, he built a six-room stone house on East Main Street. That was not enough, though. To give his new home a touch of elegance and class, he ordered new panoramic wallpaper from the French company of Jean Zuber.

Eugenie and Daniel Rouzer purchased the home in 1891. The Rouzers’ daughter, Gertrude, and her husband, William Stoner, eventually inherited the house.  Gertrude Stoner sold the house in 1961, and it was scheduled for demolition to make room for a grocery store (Thurmont Super Thrift at the time; now Hobbs’ Hardware).

In 1929, Gertrude Stoner had written to Gregory and Brown Co., an interior decorating firm, trying to find out the history of the unusual wallpaper. J.C. Waterman replied saying the print was called “Scenic America” and was manufactured by a French manufacturer, J. Zuber in Rixheim, Alsace, France. The scenes were taken from a set of Currier and Ives prints and show American landscapes: Natural Bridge, Niagara Falls, West Point, and Boston Harbor.  The wallpaper was an extravagant cost of $10.00 at the time. It journeyed from France to Thurmont in tin foil tubes to protect it from the moisture of an ocean crossing.

Viewpoint from Baroness Stackelberg, Baltimore American (newspaper), Sunday, September 3, 1961

The Stoner House provided a near miracle recently for a young man who had faith in his own judgment and real devotion to a cause.  He is a 33-year-old Washingtonian named Peter Hill who, through a set of unusual circumstances, sold some very early 19th Century wallpaper that he bought for $50 for 250 times as much as he paid for it.  The paper, which shows a scene of the Boston Harbor in the early days, and another scene of an Indian dance, brought $12,500 to the finder and his Danish-born wife and was later presented by the purchasers to the White House.

Mr. Hill happened on to the paper on account of an interest in the history of religion and a zest for antique collecting.  The antique collecting and selling has helped him make money to carry on the spreading of the gospel as a lay preacher.

Through some of the heirlooms he found in the past that are now part of the historical collections at the Smithsonian Institute, Peter Hill met John Newton Pearce. Mr. Pearce is in the cultural section of the Smithsonian, and his wife, Mildred, is the White House curator.  It was through her that Mr. Hill later aroused the interest of Mrs. John F. Kennedy in the scenic wallpaper.

Last spring when he was in desperate need of money to carry on his religious drives, as if in answer to prayer, friends told him to go to an antique sale in Thurmont, Maryland.  There a Mrs. Stoner was selling the furniture in her old house as it was being torn down in just a few days to make way for a chain store (Thurmont Super Thrift, now Hobbs’ Hardware).  When Mr. Hill entered the house he noticed the magnificent wallpaper in the front hall and was told that in order to acquire it he must deal with the wrecking company.

Hill told Stoner he wanted to purchase the wallpaper, but she told him he would have to negotiate with Ralph Miller who was in charge of the demolition that was scheduled to start in two days.  Miller told Hill that a woman had offered $100 for the wallpaper but would not be able to remove it before the house was demolished, according to a 1961 Frederick Post article.

He paid $50 for the wallpaper and set to in a rush to remove it from the walls where it had been for over 100 years.  He spent three days removing the complete set of “Scenic America” wallpaper with a razor blade and putty knife.  After this was done, he called his friend Mr. Pearce of the Smithsonian and showed it to him.  Mr. Pearce thought it a “find” and arranged with his wife to take it to the White House so Mrs. Kennedy could see it.

On seeing the wallpaper, Mrs. Kennedy decided it was appropriate for the White House and indicated she would like to have it.  Mrs. Kennedy and the Hills decided it would go well in the Diplomatic Reception Room which was at that moment being furnished with Americana by the National Society of Interior Decorators (NSID).  They offered to buy the paper when they heard Mrs. Kennedy liked it. And, so, it was that the NSID complied with the wishes of the First Lady, and helped a young religious person to carry on his work by paying $12,500 for paper that had cost him but $50.

The sequel to the story is that the NSID who paid for the paper has found out since that this wallpaper was made in the early 1800’s by a company called J. Zuber.  The J. Zuber Co. is reputedly still making the identical wallpaper from old hand blocks and modern prints of this paper could have been bought for less than an eighth of the price they paid.

The Zuber wallpaper in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House.

The Stoner House

Joan Knott Courtesy Photo

James Rada, Jr.

Catoctin High School (CHS) recognized its graduates who had gone on to find success post-high school during its 4th Annual Distinguished Graduates Induction Ceremony on November 20, 2018.

“We’re here to connect the future with the past,” said Teacher Mike Franklin.

Also in attendance at the ceremony were the freshmen and senior classes at CHS. They were the future that Franklin wanted to show what can be accomplished by graduates from the school. Many of the graduates said that when they were students, they wouldn’t have believed that they would be honored as a distinguished scholar. However, they had applied themselves in their chosen fields, seeking to do the best work. It was an effort that succeeded for them in academics, arts and humanities, athletics, business, and public service.

This year’s ceremony was dedicated to the memory of 1LT Robert Seidel, a member of the CHS Class of 2000, who was killed in Baghdad in 2006.

Besides graduates from the school, former staff members Gail Slezak and Earl Miller were also recognized for the impact they had on the lives of Catoctin students. Slezak was a music teacher at CHS when it opened in 1969.

“I was eager to meet the challenge of creating a music program here at Catoctin High School,” Slezak said. In 1970, Music Theory students actually wrote the school’s alma mater using skills that she taught them.

Miller was the principal of CHS from 1984-1996. He called his time at the school, “the most significant chapter of my career,” in part, because he was shaping the school in his own community.

“The decisions you are making in high school will shape the life you will live later as an adult,” Miller told the students.

Kerry Dingle, Class of 2001, was the academics inductee. She is an appellate litigator with the Securities and Exchange Commission, protecting investors from financial fraud. She gave the students some tips on understanding and taking control of their finances. It is only in doing that, she said, that they would be able to build the life they wanted.

Justin Albright, Class of 2009, was one of the athletics inductees. Although his athletic skill helped him earn a college degree, today he works as a software engineer. He told the students to be true to themselves and have patience.

“Good things will come to you as long as you continue working hard and continue doing the right things,” Albright said.

Sean Reaver, Class of 2001, was also an athletics inductee. A U.S. Naval Academy graduate now serving in the Marine Corps, Reaver urged students to set their goals high and to not be afraid of failure because it would help them learn and get better.

Craig Mayne, Class of 1996, was the business inductee. Mayne, who owns the Ace Hardware store in Thurmont, recounted some of his personal struggles and struggles as a student. He told them that they don’t necessarily need to attend a fancy college to be successful, but they do need to work hard and strive to be the best that they can be.

Randy Waesche, Jr., Class of 1972, was the public service inductee. An active member of many community organizations, Waesche urged the students not to coast but to push themselves to do more.

David Ammenheuser, Class of 1980, was the arts and humanities inductee. He told the students that adults don’t have all the answers, but they are there to listen and help. However, the students also need to listen and absorb what knowledge they can to figure out the answers to their questions.

Principal Bernie Quesada noted that the inductees and their achievements were part of what helped make CHS a “landmark of success.”

The pictured CHS Distinguished Graduate inductees are: (from left) Gail Slezak; Craig Moyne; David Ammenheuser; Sean Reaver; Randy Waesche, Jr.; Kerry Dingle; Earl Miller; and Justin Albright.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.