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by Deb Abraham Spalding

The McAfee family (pronounced Mack-a-Fee), originally from the Island of Bute, Scotland, planted roots in Frederick County, Maryland, around 1774 from Franklin County, Pennsylvania, staking a homestead on land that is now known as Cunningham Falls. Daniel McAfee was the original settler of this land, and transferred the ownership to his son, David McAfee, in 1799. According to Professor John Means in the 1995 printing of his book, Maryland’s Catoctin Mountain Parks, “‘Cunningham Falls’ and 350 acres surrounding it were purchased on September 16, 1807, by Archibald McAfee, Sr. The McAfee family lived near the top of the falls, and the original foundation of the homestead still stands. The family owned the land until it was acquired by the Federal government in 1935.”

The purchase of the land by the Federal government was part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” where workers with the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps transformed the area for recreational use. This area was, according to Thurmont’s late Official Historian, George W. Wireman III, “…one of 33 nation-wide federal demonstrations of submarginal land for public recreation.”

Wireman wrote in his book, Gateway to the Mountains, “On September 15, 1888, Archibald McAfee’s widow had sale and the property including the Falls was purchased by her grandson Reuben McAfee, who maintained ownership until the property was acquired by the Federal Government in 1935, as part of the Catoctin Recreation Demonstration Area. Later the State of Maryland acquired an additional 250 acres of land from the McAfees. This made a total of 750 acres which the McAfees surrendered for park use. At one time they owned over 1,000 acres of mountain land.”

On July 15, 2017, today’s McAfee descendants held a reunion that ended with a photo session on the Falls that loosely replicated photos of their ancestors circa 1890.

Some may wonder why McAfee Falls is now called Cunningham Falls. After extensive research by many historians and genealogists, including hundreds of hours of research by the late Dr. Bowman of Garfield, Maryland, the reason for the name Cunningham remains a mystery. If you have insight, please e-mail to share.

Robert McAfee of Foxville recently mentioned, “My grandmother, Rose Ann, always called the Falls Hunting Creek Falls.” In his book, Professor Means printed, “The Falls were never owned by anyone named Cunningham and were known as McAfee Falls until the 1940s or the early 1950s.”

In our research, the earliest reference to the Falls as “Cunningham Falls” appears in a May 20, 1920, Catoctin Clarion article, where there is a reference to a group having lunch at “Cunningham Falls, several miles west of town.” Just one year prior, on May 8, 1919, the Falls were referred to as “McAfee Falls” in the same publication. This is contradictory to Professor John Means’ research.

Of course, there is plenty of speculation about the justification in re-naming the Falls. The most sited is that “Cunningham” was a local photographer; though, this is not confirmed nor dated. Other theories include the possibility that Cunningham was a little-known politician at the time the government took ownership. If the Catoctin Clarion was correct in 1920, this theory is not plausible.

In his book Gateway to the Mountains, Thurmont’s official historian, the late George W. Wireman, wrote, “Many people have been under the impression that Cunningham Falls was named after an early owner, but this is not true. Dr. Harry D. Bowman, a friend of the author, has spent many hours of research on this subject, and it is now an established fact that at no time was the falls owned by Cunningham. Records to support this claim may be found in the land records of Frederick County. The first purchase of the land, which included the falls, consisted of 350 acres and was deeded to Archibald McAfee, Sr. on September 16, 1807. A map in the Frederick Library, dated 1858, clearly shows that the McAfees lived at the top of the falls and the property was owned by John McAfee at this time. The McAfees referred to the falls as Hunting Creek Falls but all others called it McAfee Falls, after the owners.”

Regardless of the name, the seventy-eight-foot waterfall, located four miles west of Thurmont on Route #77, is a destination for thousands of visitors that want to see the largest cascading waterfall in Maryland.

Reuben McAfee, grandson of Archibald McAfee, stands at the top of “McAfee Falls”. The original foundation of the McAfee homestead still stands, not far from this site.

Robert McAfee (front), grandson of Reuben McAfee, stands at the top of “McAfee Falls” on July 15, 2017. Pictured left to right are Jeff, Ashley, Justin, Bob and Robin Portner, Becky Hurley, and Barbara and Jerry Grove

McAfee family patriarchs James and Robert are shown as youngsters in this photo. Their Dad Robert Hunter McAfee is in the white hat.
Young Robert is sitting on his grandfather Reuben’s lap.
James is in the background in white.  Their Aunt Sadie Delauter is also shown.

James’ and Robert’s father, Robert Hunter McAfee (born 3-11-1911; died 3-10-1968), is pictured.

The McAfee families are still well known present day. You will notice many of them involved in agricultural pursuits while farming and showing farm animals.  The McAfee families were well known in American pioneer history.

The McAfee Reunion Photo from July 15, 2017

Picture from left:(back row) Bob Portner, Hailey Stinefelt (being held by Michael Stinefelt), Michael Hurley, Jeff McAfee, Justin McAfee, Elias Robert Grove (on Justin’s lap), Jeremy Grove, Matt Bowman, Elijah Bowman (in front of Matt), Joshua Grove, Jerry Grove; (third row) Robin Portner, Megan Stinefelt, Sadie Hurley, Karen McAfee, Trista Grove (holding Wyatt Grove), Tim Bowman, Heather Dula, Dan McAfee (holding Emilia McAfee); (second row) Aaron Shilling, Amy Shilling, Brenda Shilling, Grace McAfee, Ruby McAfee, Ashley McAfee, Barbara Grove, Robin McAfee, Tim McAfee, Paula Bowman, J.D. Bowman, Dana Bowman, Colleen McAfee, Becky Hurley (holding Zoe McAfee, pink dress); (seated) Dot McAfee (holding Evelyn Stinefelt and Hannah Hurley), Robert McAfee (holding Kayla Hurley), James McAfee, and Pauline McAfee (holding Elizabeth McAfee)

James Rada, Jr
McKenzie Forrest of Thurmont is only ten years old, but she is a veteran at showing animals. This was her second year showing rabbits at the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show.

“I like rabbits because they’re nice and you get to hold them,” grinned McKenzie.

She also likes the competition of preparing the rabbits for the show and the hopes of winning a blue ribbon.

For sixty-one years, the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show has been highlighting the role of agriculture in Northern Frederick County and spotlighting the talents of area residents. This year’s show was held at Catoctin High School on September 8-10. More than $13,000 in prizes was awarded to the hundreds of exhibitors.

The show started with the 42nd annual opening ceremony, where many volunteers from over thirty community organizations carried their flags in a procession to begin the ceremony.

Superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools Dr. Teresa Alban, was the guest speaker. She shared her honor for being invited to the show, “There’s always something about the show that inspires me. I value all of the traditions, but each year, something happens or someone says something that really resonates and connects with what I have to say.” She gave recognition to the many facets of community support that the Community Show inspires, referencing patriotism, honor, support, recognition, care, service, leadership, and education.

She concluded her speech by suggesting that the legacy shared from the past is inspiring the future in the Community Show. The legacy of the community can be exemplified at Catoctin High School, where the school has been named as the Maryland State Character Education School. Not only did they win it this year, but it was the fifth time Catoctin High School has received that recognition.

Stacie Brown Hobbs announced Catoctin’s FFA Ambassador, Stephanie Moreland. To conclude the opening ceremonies, the fiftieth anniversary of two community organizations were recognized: WTHU Radio Station and St. John’s Christian Preschool.

In the show ring, Connie Palmer was a judge for some of the categories. She comes up from Frederick each year to be a part of it and loves it.

“It’s a fantastic show,” Palmer said. “It’s one of the best in the State of Maryland.”

The weekend’s events featured livestock auctions, a petting zoo, music, pony rides, pet show, horseshoe pitching contest, log sawing contest, and more.

Russell Kaas used to exhibit products he grew in the community, and now his children are continuing the tradition and exhibiting their own items. He’s not sure that they will become farmers, but he said, “It gives them something to think about when they try to figure out what they want to do.” Kaas compares the Community Show to the Great Frederick Fair, but without the rides.

“We do have a fair atmosphere because it’s fun,” Rodman Myers said.

Myers expressed that he was pleased to see a lot of new faces in the crowds, moving around inside and outside of Catoctin High. He was also thrilled that new people continue to want to help as volunteers to make the Community Show great.

The Community Show is sponsored by the Thurmont Grange, Catoctin FFA Chapter, Catoctin Area FFA Alumni, Maryland Agricultural Fair Board, and the Maryland State Grange.

Community Show Champions and Reserve Champions
Fresh Fruits: Champion – Martha Hauver (Peaches), Reserve Champion – Robert Black (Crimson Apples); Fresh Vegetables: Champion – Richard Manahan (Watermelon), Reserve Champion – Jean Brown (Zucchini Squash); Home Products Display: Champion – Roxanna Lambert, Reserve Champion – Charlotte Dutton; Canned Fruit: Champion – Linda Franklin (Canned Peaches), Reserve Champion – Pamela Long (Dark Chocolate Cherry Dessert Topping); Canned Vegetables: Champion – Carolyn Hahn (Whole Green Beans), Reserve Champion – Dorothy Stanley (Tomato Sauce); Jellies & Preserves: Champion – Donald Stanley (Blackberry Jelly), Reserve Champion – Deborah Howd (Lavender); Pickles: Champion – Dawn Hobbs (Whole Beet Pickles), Reserve Champion – Deborah Howd (Pickle Relish); Meat (Canned): Champion – Ann Welty (Canned Mincemeat), Reserve Champion -Ann Welty (Canned Chicken); Home Cured Meats: Champion – Robert McAfee (Country Ham), Reserve Champion – Dale Hurley (Country Ham); Baked Products Cake: Champion – Dawn Hobbs (Chiffon Cake); Reserve Champion – Dawn Hobbs (Devils Food Cake), Honorable Mention Cake Burall Brothers Scholarship – Cheryl Lenhart (Chocolate Cake); Bread: Champion – Deborah Howd (Asiago Cheese), Reserve Champion – Bridgette Kinna (Pumpkin Muffins); Pie: Champion – Deborah Howd (French Apple Pie), Reserve Champion – Deborah Howd (Pecan Pie); Sugar Free: Champion – Joyce Kline (Diabetic Cake), Reserve Champion – Nancy Wine (Peanut Butter Diabetic Cookies); Gluten Free Baked Product: Champion – Stacey Smith (Cookies), Reserve Champion – Ann Welty (Cake).

Sewing: Champion – Melinda Cool (Women’s Evening Gown), Reserve Champion – Peggy Vandercruysen (Quilt); Flowers & Plants: Champion – Roxanna Lambert (Side Table Arrangement), Reserve Champion – Roxanna Lambert (Holiday Arrangement); Arts, Painting & Drawings: Champion – Pennie Keilholtz (Acrylic), Reserve Champion – Megan Dewees (Pastel Drawing); Crafts: Champion – Gene Long (Hand Crafted Wood Craft- Nanny Rocker), Reserve Champion) – Charlotte Dutton (Felting Cat); Photography: Champion – Deborah Howd (Color Photo Collage), Reserve Champion – Debbie Swing (Black & White Photo).

Corn: Champion – Sherry Ramage (Indian Corn), Reserve Champion – Robert McAfee (Hybrid Corn); Small Grain & Seeds: Champion – Matt Clark (Soybeans), Reserve Champion – Matt Clark (Wheat); Eggs: Champion – Laurie Atwell (Brown Eggs), Reserve Champion – Kathy Dobson (White Eggs); Nuts: Champion – Edward Hahn (Black Walnuts), Reserve Champion – Edward Hahn (English Walnuts).

Rabbit: Champion – Olivia Dutton (Breeding Rabbit and offspring – New Zealand), Reserve Champion – Laura Dutton (Breeding Rabbit and Offspring); Poultry: Champion – Hope Rice (Rooster), Reserve Champion – Jerry Seiss (Seven Hens); Dairy: Champion – Blaine Lenhart (Jersey – March Calf), Reserve Champion – Jonathan Hubbard (Brown Swiss Spring Calf); Dairy Goats: Champion – Laura Dutton – (Doe 3 years and under 5 years), Reserve Champion – Olivia Dutton (Doe 2 years and under 3 years); Hay: Champion – Jonathan Hubbard (Mixed Hay), Reserve Champion – Matthew Clark (Timothy Hay); Straw: Preston Clark (Wheat Straw), Reserve Champion – Daniel Myers (Barley Straw).

Junior Department: Champion – Madison Ott (Wall Hanging), Reserve Champion – Aiden Reese (Watermelon); Junior Department Baked Product: Champion – Sophia Ruby (Orange Chiffon Cake), Reserve Champion – Cora Coblentz (Pound Cakes); Youth Department: Champion – Abigail May (Model Homemade), Reserve Champion – Zoe Willard (Crochet Item); Youth Department Baked Product: Champion – Ray Martin (Hummingbird Cake), Reserve Champion – Charles Dougherty (Chocolate Cake); Beef: Champion – Austin Ridenour, Reserve Champion – Hayden Hahn; Sheep: Champion – Kaitlynn Neff, Reserve Champion – Caroline Clark; Swine: Champion – Logan Long, Reserve Champion – Wyatt Davis; Market Goat: Champion – Gavin Valentine, Reserve Champion – Katie Glass.

Decorated Animal Contest: Champion – Laura Dutton (Ketchup and French Fries – Goat), Reserve Champion Caroline Clark (Eat More Chicken – Sheep).

Pet Show: Champion – Mary Dal-Favero (Chinese Crested Dog), Reserve Champion – Stacy Flanigan (Aussie Dog).

Kiddie Pedal Tractor Pull: Champion – Cora Clabaugh; Reserve Champion – Desean Brown.

Community Show Pet Show Results
On Saturday, September 9, the Pet Show was held at Catoctin High School, sponsored by the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show. Dave Harman served as chairman and was assisted by Patty Johnston.

Serving as a judge was Mary Ann Harbaugh of Thurmont. She and her late husband, Roscoe, owned Ross-Mar Australian Shepherds for twenty-seven years. They had numerous Best In Shows and the top twenty-one of the breed. Also serving as a judge was Stephanie Torres, an art teacher from Walkersville.

Participants received food coupons, courtesy of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and pet food, courtesy of Thurmont Feed Store.
To begin the show, Maxine Medaglia of Bark Busters gave a presentation on dog obedience.

The judges selected a Chinese Crested dog owned by Mary Dal-Favero of Thurmont as Grand Champion. She received a rosette ribbon and gift certificate donated by the Thurmont Feed Store.

They selected an Australian Shepherd, owned by Stacey Flanigan of Rocky Ridge, as Reserve Champion. She received a rosette ribbon and gift certificate, donated by Main Street Groomers.

Stephanie Moreland, the 2017-2018 Catoctin FFA Ambassador, presented ribbons to the winners listed as first, second, third, and honorable mention, respectively. Cat with Prettiest Eyes—Chelsea Dawson, Larry and Andrew Duble, Angie Swailes, Audrey Downs; Cat with Longest Whiskers—(tie) Larry and Andrew Duble, Angie Swailes, Audrey Downs; Cutest Cat—Larry and Andrew Duble, Chelsea Dawson, Angie Swailes, Audrey Downs; Best-Trained Pet—Rose Weedy, Val Kilby; Dog with Wiggliest Tail—Mary Dal-Favero, Ashley Robichaud, Amber Smith, Stacey Flanigan; Prettiest Dog (25 lbs. and under)—Mntana Herr, Rose Weedy, Kelly Schildt, Cole and Carly Hahn; Prettiest Dog (26 lbs. and over)—Stacey Flanigan, Sila and Christy Wahl, Abby Ewing, Leah Morgan; Best Costumed Pet—Cole and Carly Hahn, Montana Herr, Audrey Downs, Warren Schaefer; Pet with Most Spots—Peyton Davis, Abby Ewing, Kelsey Mathias; Largest Pet—Abby Ewing, Leah Morgan, Silas and Christy Wahl; Most Unusual Pet—Makenzie Lewis, Warren Shafer, Luanne Ewing; Smallest Pet—Makenzie Lewis, Montana Herr, Warren Schaefer, Cole and Carley Hahn.

Opening Ceremonies honored the fiftieth anniversary of WTHU Radio and St. John’s Christian Preschool. Pictured from left are: (front row) Tammy Tingley, Dr. Stacey Brown Hobbs, Wanda Mathias, Manah Beard, Stephanie Moreland, Ann Kruhm, Janice Gramms and Rachel Mosey; (second row) Dave Harman, Principal Quesada, Superintendent Dr. Teresa Alban, Bob Valentine, Rocky Birely, Rodman Myers, Kevin Bream, Gayle Spahr, Hollis Zimmerman, Dottie Valentine, Donna Betteridge, Amy Poffenberger, and Daniel Myers.

ESP Community Show table: Mya Harrington, Leila Casamassina, Tierney Burns, Jack Estep, Olivia Ecker, Mya Horman.

Carol Long won a first place ribbon in the Adult Photography category.

Auctioneer Josh Ruby is pictured with his son, Jameson, and his daughter, Sophia, with her Champion Cake.

Pet Show participants are shown with their pets.

Kiddie Tractor Pull: (Age 7-8) Kyle Stine; (Age 9-10) Grand Champion—Cora Coblentz; (Age 5-6) Reserve Champion—Desean Brown.

Horseshoe Contest: pictured are Jeff Powell, Ray Helsley, Gary Hoffmaster, John Holt, Richard Brown, Bernie Hobbs, Jim Shubert, Rick Willard, Dave Wivell, Johnny Burhman, Dick Glass, Dale Kaas, and Donnie Kaas (knealing).


Denny Black

Pouring fresh, chilled milk from a disposable container that was conveniently purchased at a grocery store is something that all of us take for granted these days. Few people remain who remember the time when small local dairies delivered bottled milk to our doorstep. This is a short article about the dairies that once served our Catoctin community— The Dairies of Catoctin—and my interest in collecting and preserving the artifacts that remain from those local dairies.

By the early 1900s, door-to-door milk delivery was established in American cities and most small towns. The milk route and the milk man who delivered the product in glass bottles became a part of our American culture. The businesses, usually farmers, would bottle their milk and deliver it to customers within their local communities.  Through a constant cycle, the milk man would deliver fresh milk to a customer and return the “empties” to the dairy for cleaning and reuse the next delivery day. Local dairies prided themselves on the quality of their milk, and their glass bottles and paper caps usually included the name of the dairy. Many times, their local advertisements included a slogan.  For example, one of our local dairies advertised that “Careful Mothers Use Our Milk – It’s Safer.” Another local dairy advertised its product as “Pure fresh milk and cream, electrically pasteurized and refrigerated, at your door each morning.” As advances in refrigeration allowed for the transportation of mass-produced milk for convenient stocking in grocery stores, the local dairy and its milk man became a historic footnote by the early 1960s.

My interest in collecting artifacts pertaining to our local dairies started about twenty years ago, when my friend, Larry Hauver, took me to my first antique bottle show. I had no idea at the time that there was such a thing. But there I was, one early winter weekend morning, standing on the gym floor of a northern Baltimore college among endless rows of milk bottles. I was mesmerized by the sight—as far as you could see—of a wonder-world of beautiful glass objects of every color in the rainbow. There were milk bottles of all types and sizes from nearly every state. After a short time there, I quickly learned about the different kinds of milk bottles, including embossed (letters molded in the glass), pyro-glazed (letters painted on the glass), generic (no letters on the glass), and the wax cone (a primitive waxed paper container in the shape of a miniature megaphone). I also learned that dairies used a combination of bottle sizes, including the half-gallon, quart, pint, half-pint, and the much sought-after “gill” (quarter-pint). It was at that bottle show that I became aware of a small group of local dairies that distributed milk door-to-door over the years in and around Emmitsburg and Thurmont.

To date, I have acquired artifacts and information pertaining to the following nine local dairies that provided daily delivery of fresh milk and milk products to homes and businesses in our Catoctin community: Emmitsburg — Bollinger’s Dairy, Castle Farms Dairy, Harvey E. Miller – Fairview Farm Dairy; Thurmont — Bollinger’s Dairy, Gall & Smith Dairy, Emory L. Moser Dairy, Harry S. Simmers Locust Grove Dairy, Homarway Dairy, Munshour’s Jersey Dairy.

The history of our local dairies has yet to be written. The artifacts displayed in The Dairies of Catoctin collection include milk bottles of every type and size. One local dairy (Gall & Smith Dairy) used both embossed and pyro-glazed glass bottles over the years. Another (Emory L. Moser Dairy) only used a generic glass bottle with an advertising cap, while another (Castle Farms Dairy) used a primitive wax cone container. The only artifact that I have been able to locate to date for one local dairy (Munshour’s Jersey Farm Dairy) is an advertisement placed in a Thurmont baseball team scorecard from the 1940s. Then, there was a local dairy (Homarway Dairy) that created its name by combining those of the three local Thurmont families (Hobbs, Martin, and Weybright), who partnered in that business. As with every collection, there is a story behind finding each item.

The Dairies of Catoctin collection has been greatly enhanced by the generosity of Russell Moser and the late Kenneth “Doc” Simmers, who contributed rare artifacts from their grandfathers’ dairies, not to mention the many local milk bottles and related artifacts that Larry Hauver located for me.

As many collectors do at some point in their lives, I recently became concerned about what will happen to my milk bottle collection in years to come. I turned to my friend Erin Dingle, administrator of the Thurmont Regional Library/Emmitsburg Branch Library, for suggestions. Part of our local library’s mission is to maintain the Thurmont Center for Agricultural History.  The purpose of the Center is to serve as a repository of materials that reveal the rich agricultural heritage of Frederick County and our surrounding area. Erin and I quickly agreed that a perfect solution would be to permanently display my milk bottle collection in the main reading room of our library, to complement the Center. With further guidance from Mary Mannix, Frederick County Public Libraries, The Dairies of Catoctin collection is now on permanent display at our Thurmont Regional Library for everyone to enjoy.

Please stop by to see the collection, enjoy the beauty of the artifacts, and learn about the nearly forgotten local dairies that served our Catoctin community. It is a unique part of our local history, captured in glass. As with any collection, it is never complete.

If you have any information or artifacts that would expand our knowledge of The Dairies of Catoctin, we would be grateful if you would contact us. I can be reached at 301-271-4297 or Erin can be reached at 301-600-7212 or

September 2017

by James Rada, Jr.


Creamery Road to be Closed for VHC Spring Fling

Anticipating that the Vigilant Hose Company and Emmitsburg Ambulance Company will be combined by the end of this year, next year’s Spring Fling for Vigilant Hose Company will be held at the ambulance company building on Creamery Road. In the past, this event has taken place at Mount St. Mary’s University and has drawn crowds up to 2,000 people.

Vigilant Hose Company President Frank Davis asked the commissioners to close Creamery Road from Quality Tire to Creamery Way from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the day of the event next spring. It is felt the closure is needed to deal with the amount of traffic that will be in the area for the Spring Fling.

Maryland State Highway Administration has already given their approval since the closure is far enough away not to impact traffic on the state roads.

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the temporary closure.


Employee Handbook Changes

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved recommended changes to the town employee handbook. Because it has been some years since it was last updated, the handbook needed to be brought into compliance with current state and federal laws. It also incorporated some best practices and was made easier to read and understand.


New Water and Sewer Truck Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners voted in September to replace a GMC Sonoma used by the water and sewer department. The Sonoma was fourteen years old and had 110,000 miles on it. The new truck will be a Chevy Silverado with a snow plow attached. The winning bid of $46,996 came from Wantz Chevrolet in Taneytown.


Work Continues On Dog Park

The grading for the new Emmitsburg dog park has been completed. The town has also received all bids to install the fencing for the park, but has not yet accepted a contractor to do the work.


Vote in the 2017 Town Election

October 3 is the last day to register to vote for mayor and two commissioners in the upcoming town election. Absentee ballot applications will be available on October 6, and the election will be held on October 31 at the Guardian Hose Activities Building, located at 123 East Main Street. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Anyone in line at the time of closing will be permitted to vote.


Colorfest Parking Restrictions and Road Closures

Colorfest will be held on October 13-15. With it, comes a lot of traffic that the town must accommodate. No parking will be allowed on the east side of Apples Church Road, from Carroll Street to Eyler Road, during the weekend. Thurmont Police have been directed to strictly enforce these restrictions. No parking will be allowed on East Moser Road, North Church Street, North Carroll Street, and all ramps leading onto and exiting Route 15. The “No Parking” areas will be marked with signs.

The following streets will be closed from 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday: Frederick Road (from Moser Road to Water Street); Water Street (from Summit Avenue to Main Street); S. Center Street; Park Lane; Municipal Alley; Polley’s Alley.


Commissioners Look to Spur Growth in Thurmont

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners have begun speaking about ways to provide developers with “a little incentive for them to come to Thurmont and do some development.” The town hasn’t seen any significant growth since 2007.

Currently, home builders have to pay $12,660 in fees when they make their application to the town to build. Mayor John Kinnaird suggested that some of the fees could be delayed. Some of these deferred fees could be the impact fee, the wastewater impact fee, the roads fee, and the parks fee. These could be deferred until settlement since that is when the new home starts to have an effect on these items.

The connection fees would still need to be collected up front because the town spends money to have its crews make the connections to the town’s water and sewer systems.

Commissioner Bill Buehrer said that the town’s Economic Development Committee has also been considering similar things to promote development, and will be making some recommendations to the town.


Colorfest Services Approved

Each year, the Town of Thurmont incurs costs related to Colorfest. These services are security, trash, port-a-potties, and buses. They are paid for with the permit fees that the Colorfest vendors pay.

This year, only one company submitted a bid for each service, and they are businesses that have worked with the town in the past.

“They’ve always provided an excellent service for us, and they are very dependable; they know Colorfest in and out,” said Chief Administrative Officer James Humerick.

May Security of Frederick will provide twenty-nine security guards and a supervisor for both days of Colorfest at a cost of $13,224. This represents no increase over 2016.

Key Sanitation of Dickerson will provide the toilets at a cost of $9,936, and trash service at a cost of $2,264. This also represents no change over 2016.

Rills Bus Service of Westminster will provide eight standard buses and one wheelchair accessible bus on Saturday and six standard buses and one wheelchair accessible bus on Sunday at a cost of $12,464. This is an increase of $576 over 2016.

The commissioners unanimously approved the bids.


Board of Appeals Vacancies

Thurmont has openings for a regular member and an alternate member on its board of appeals. Anyone interested in serving should contact the Thurmont Town Office at 301-271-7313.


Volunteers Needed for Halloween in the Park

The Town of Thurmont is seeking volunteers to help with the annual Halloween in the Park event. This year’s event will be held on October 28. If you would like to help, please contact the town office at 301-271-7313.


Mayor John Kinnaird

October brings a lot of activity to Thurmont! The month of October is Breast Cancer awareness month, and Thurmont is participating with our Annual Gateway to the Cure Fundraiser. During the entire month, residents are encouraged to burn pink light bulbs in their porch lights to show support for this effort. Pink bulbs are available at ACE and Hobbs Hardware. The 3rd Annual Gateway to the Cure 5K will be held on Saturday, October 21, beginning at 8:00 a.m., at Eyler Road Park. Be sure to come out to participate or to cheer on all the walkers and runners. Many local businesses will be running specials this month, with a portion of the sales being donated to the cause. Help make this a successful fundraising event by making a donation at the Town Office. All proceeds from this month-long program are going to help the Patty Hurwitz Fund at FMH.

Colorfest is fast approaching and will be held October 14-15. As always, yard sales will be a draw for Thursday and Friday, October 12-13. The big days are Saturday and Sunday, and with good weather, we could be hosting upwards of 50,000 or more visitors each day. Be sure to visit all the craft areas and enjoy the good times, amazing crafts, delicious food, and friendly crowds of Colorfest! Be on the lookout for some new parking restrictions and be careful driving through Thurmont on Colorfest weekend.

Town Elections will be held on October 31, 2017. Three positions are up for election this year: two commissioner seats and the mayor. Be sure to come out and vote for the candidates of your choice on Tuesday, October 31, at the GHC Activities Building, from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Remember these important dates: October 3 is the last day to register to vote, absentee ballot applications will be available on October 6, and the Election will be held at the GHC Activities Building on October 31. Remember, your vote counts, so be sure to come out and cast your vote for the candidates of your choice. Let’s get as many registered voters out as possible!

As you may have noticed, the trolley trail has been blacktopped and new bollards installed at the intersections. This is an amazing improvement to the trail and will allow all residents to utilize the trail, including those in wheelchairs or walkers. If you have not been on the trail recently, be sure to take a walk and check out the improvements!

We recently installed crosswalk warning signs on several crossings on East Main Street, Frederick Road, Poplar Avenue, and Moser Road. These are bright yellow signs, placed in the center of the road, to remind drivers that they are required to STOP for pedestrians in the crosswalks. Since the installation, I have noticed that many more drivers are extending the right of way to pedestrians.

I recently attended the Spirit Ride ceremony at the GHC Carnival Grounds. This event is meant to draw attention to the nationwide Slow Down, Pull Over laws, now adopted by all 50 States. There are over 100 deaths per year on our roadways involving first responders, tow truck drivers, and public works employees. These workers are assisting with accidents, fires, medical emergencies, vehicle break-downs, and public service calls; they deserve your full attention as you pass by them. The law requires that you Slow Down when approaching emergency vehicles, tow trucks, and service vehicles working at the side of the road and, if possible, Move Over one lane. One death is one too many for our first responders; let’s make our roads safe for these brave men and women as they assist others.

Questions, suggestions or comments? You can call me at 301-606-9458 or drop me an email at I hope everyone has a safe and healthy October.


 Mayor Don Briggs

With a blink, the cascade of fall sports, activities, programs, and the 61st Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show were all seamlessly underway to the all-too-quiet and assuring backdrop of Catoctin Mountain and the proud fall crops below. Unseen in the alchemy were the months of behind-the-scenes work by administrators, teachers, coaches, students, and volunteers. Congratulations and thank you. All is vibrant and exciting. It’s no wonder Catoctin High School, for the fifth time, received the Maryland “Character Education” award. If that wasn’t enough, the school was also recognized for its sportsmanship of not only its teams but also its fans— students, families, and friends.

With the exciting reality of the school events, to our youth in action also came a somber reality. Almost unnoticed is the suffering in other parts of the country hit by Harvey and Irma. There they were, back and forth to the locations hit, from the different states, moving south along US Rt. 15, the caravans of power company trucks with their boom lifts—solemn, sobering processions.

The Seton Center held its third “Getting Ahead” program graduation, with six program participants. Congratulations. The program centers on making participants aware of the different resources available to them to enhance their lives.

If you are looking for a job or an employer looking for workers, mark your calendar for the Seton Center “Job Fair” on Tuesday, October 9, 2017, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Another opportunity to get ahead. Call Missy Miller at 301-447-6012 ext. 11 or 12.

Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources Program Coordinator Lisa Orr made a presentation to the town green team. Lots of good information on how the town can make residents aware of more innovative ways to reduce their home energy costs was provided. Soon, we hope to be posting information on new programs on the town website and Facebook.

On September 18, I had the privilege to be a part the “U.S. Constitution Day Celebration” that the Mount St. Mary’s University Office of the Institute of Leadership (iLead) program held in the Patriot Hall student dining area. My part was to read the Preamble of The Constitution.

Libby and I attended the Town EBPA-sponsored breakfast for town businesses (forty-five businesses) and the Mother Seton School grandparent’s day.

As mentioned last month, coming up is the 36th Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, held October 7-8, 2017. As in the past, thousands of people will be visiting our town. It is an honor to be a part of this tribute, so let’s welcome all. For a schedule of events, Google “National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend.”

Mark your calendar and follow up for details on the town website for Emmitsburg’s Annual Halloween Parade and Party at Vigilant Hose on Tuesday, October 31. The parade will start at 7:00 p.m. The annual event is sponsored by local businesses and organizations.

There are many community project updates. Pool construction is back on track and steadily progressing. The Square revitalization and sidewalk project is moving at a good pace (weather permitting), along the south side of East Main Street. We were not awarded the second grant for the Dog Park, so we are in need of donations. With the site cleared, we will probably install the perimeter fence this fall. Flat Run Bridge has seen slow, difficult work around a Chesapeake Bay feeder. The State Highway Administration is working with their contractor about the location of town water line.

James Rada, Jr.

From the size of the crowd that lined the streets of Thurmont to see the Thurmont Little League team pass by, you might have thought the team won the Little League World Series, rather than finishing as runner up at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament in Bristol, Connecticut. It didn’t matter. These boys were hometown heroes and Thurmont loved them.

“It was awesome to see the whole town come out,” recalled Donovan Baker, who played right field for the team. “Even though we lost, we still felt like town heroes.”

The team finished its best season ever, going 11-2 and taking their winning ways further post season than any other Thurmont Little League team has since 2005, when the team finished third in the regionals. The team went 3-2 in the regional tournament, but lost 8-3 in the championship to the team from Holbrook, New Jersey.

“These boys are competitors,” said Coach Ed Lowry. “We lost our very first game out of the gate in the Mid-Atlantic tournament. Every game from that point forward was an elimination game. Win or go home. These boys managed to win three games in a row, and send three different states home from the tournament.” Lowry further expressed that the boys were naturally competitive and praised their ability to handle the high-pressure situation they found themselves in. “They have faced adversity and overcame. The ability to handle pressure situations (national media and audience) and let their competitive nature take over will be characteristics they can build on as they develop into fine young men.”

The boys did more than perform under pressure; they enjoyed it. Second baseman Braden Manning said, “We work so well together.”

The team also felt that they could have won against New Jersey, but they had an off- day that cost them.

“I knew we’d win district this year,” said Centerfielder Peyton Castellow. “I thought we’d win states, and beating Berlin a second time was great. Our bats were just not working like normal at the regionals.”

Lowry said that a favorite moment for fans was when the coaches brought in Peyton to pitch during the championship game.

“It was a beautiful thing to watch as he pitched a phenomenal game,” Lowry said. “We all know Peyton’s abilities and competitive nature locally. We were not surprised. He is an outstanding talent. At that point in the game, it became about much more than just baseball.”  Lowry said that it showed that size didn’t matter. It was about being the best player that you can be, and Peyton did just that.

One memory that the boys took away from the game was that they were playing for a national audience on ESPN. “It was cool being on ESPN,” said Braden. They will also always remember how fervently Thurmont supported them. “The town supported us a lot, and it was pretty cool.”

As part of that support, the team received two proclamations, one from the town and the other from Frederick County. The Town of Thurmont declared August 21-27 as Thurmont Little League Week, and the county declared August 17 as Thurmont Little League Day.

Because of the boys’ ages, they will be moving onto different leagues as they continue to play baseball, but they are certain to be an asset to whatever team they play for.

“They are a special group of boys, and I couldn’t be more proud to be one of their coaches,” expressed Lowry.

To help the Thurmont Little League defray their travel costs in their post-season play, the entire team signed twelve baseballs and two bats. They will be auctioned off, with all of the proceeds going to the Thurmont Little League. If you are interested in bidding for a piece of Thurmont history, e-mail Mayor John Kinnaird at Include either “Ball” or “Bat” in the subject line. There is minimum bid of $25 per ball and $50 per bat. The auction ends at 6:00 p.m. on September 11, 2017. The winners will be announced at the town meeting on September 12. You can also call Kinnaird at 301-606-9458 with any questions.

Deb Abraham Spalding

“Russell is the muscle, and Chris is the hustle!” That was the mantra in the promotional commercials for the premiere of the new Discovery Channel television reality series, Garage Rehab with Richard Rawlings that debuted August 30, 2017, at 10:00 p.m. The reference to Chris in the commercial is Chris Stephens, co-owner of Eurotech Classics, a vintage European auto shop on Putman Road in Thurmont. Russell is Russell Homes, a construction project manager from Long Island, New York. Chris and Russell are co-hosts to Richard Rawlings on this series, during which, the trio visits nine struggling auto repair garages around the country, invests money in them, and helps the owners rehab their businesses for success.

Rawlings is known for his Gas Monkey Garage and the Discovery Channel’s hit show, Fast and Loud. He lends his business savvy and marketing guru ideas to each project. Russell Homes is project manager for shop renovation and construction, and Chris evaluates marketing and the finished look of each project. These auto garages need help with equipment, construction, marketing, management—and everything you can imagine—to fine-tune the business for profit.

Even though Chris thought it would be cool to be on television one day, he didn’t work towards that. His business partner and brother, Marc Stephens, saw a Facebook post where the Discovery Network was seeking successful shop owners to co-host a new Discovery Channel idea. The brothers applied individually. Neither knew what Discovery was looking for, so they filmed some Skype interviews, showing their shop and giving their background and history. Chris was contacted to do the pilot for the show.

Chris feels this is an opportunity to give back to society, “It’s such a good feeling to be able to help others, owner to owner,” he explained, “I know what it’s like to run a business, especially when it’s down, cause I’ve been down, too.”

“Sometimes shop owners are hard-headed, sometimes they have too much clutter around the shop, or it’s poorly lit. Sometimes a shop owner is making a little money, but could be making a lot more,” stated Chris. This series helps the owners become successful and educates garage owner viewers about how to become successful as well.

Nine garages were rehabbed in the ten episodes that will air this fall in season one. The final episode will look back to review the progress of each shop. The nine shops helped in the Garage Rehab series have had immediate results from their rehab. “The garage needs to be clean and tidy with service that is consistent. You don’t want to show a bunch of junk cars sitting around,” explained Chris.

Chris and Marc started their business, Eurotech Classics, in 2003 in Jefferson, Maryland. They moved the business to downtown Frederick, on East Church Street, in 2010. Business was going well in Frederick, but the brothers needed more outdoor space and found it in Thurmont where they rehabbed their own shop space to reflect their goal of customer satisfaction.

The Stephens brothers grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland. Chris’ first car was a 1975 Porsche 914 that he bought when he was fifteen years old. It took him two years to restore it. By the time he was twenty, his brother Marc was a Volkswagen Master Certified Technician, and Chris was taking business classes at Montgomery College. When faced with the choice to attend a university or to open a shop, they opened their shop. Chris said, “Being true car guys, there’s no room for sports or other stuff. We’ve always been car guys. Growing up, on the weekends we’d go to race events, car shows, work on building cars, and travel for parts and old vintage stuff.”

Eurotech Classics focuses on the restoration of European cars and everyday maintenance of newer European autos. Chris was away from the shop for about eight months for filming all across the country when the show was picked up, so they’ve narrowed their scope of service to allow his travel, with Marc running the shop by himself. Locally, their goal is to cultivate a life-time customer with their service philosophy and clean shop.

With the televised debut of Garage Rehab, they anticipate that people will want to see their shop, and car enthusiasts will want to see what cars they have, talk about their cars, and explain their cars. Chris and Mark are planning a car show get-together this fall at the Eurotech Classics. They welcome residents in Thurmont, Frederick County, and surrounding areas to visit.

To watch Garage Rehab wherever you go, install the Discovery Go app on your device. Visit for more information about Garage Rehab. Visit or call 240-288-7998 for more information about Eurotech Classics.


Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird

This summer has been one we will remember for many years to come, thanks to the efforts of the Thurmont Little League 11-12 All Stars! The outstanding accomplishments of winning the District 2 Championship, followed by the Maryland State Title, then an amazing run at the Eastern Regional Playoffs in Connecticut, was a thing of wonder. It seemed that the majority of local residents were following the team, as they fought through each step of the way. Surprisingly, the team had followers from all over our state and across the nation. In speaking to them after they returned from the regionals, each of them expressed disappointment at the final loss, but all of them handled that outcome with the same grace and sportsmanship that they displayed on the field. We will judge future teams against the 2017 All Stars for seasons to come; but, win or lose, the Little League has taught these fine young men—and those that will come in the following years—that fair play and courtesy are both attributes we should aim for in our lives. It was a pleasure for Karen and I to follow the team in the playoffs, and we were overjoyed to see the support our communities showed them. I asked the team to autograph a dozen balls and two bats. These are being auctioned to the highest bidders. The minimum bid for a ball is $25.00 and the minimum for a bat is $50.00. You can bid by emailing me at; in the subject line, please indicate whether you are bidding on a ball or a bat. All proceeds will be used to reimburse travel expenses from the playoffs.

This next couple of months will bring us the return to school for our children, the Community Show, and Colorfest. Please be careful while driving; as the children return to school, they may not always be on the lookout for vehicles. School starts on September 5, and with it, comes school buses on our roads. Always stop when a bus is displaying its red lights and watch for kids crossing to get on the bus.

The Community Show will be held the weekend of September 8-10. Be sure to come out to enjoy all the agricultural displays, artwork, home grown vegetables and fruit, great food, and the cake auction, as well as the annual livestock sale.

We are getting ready for Colorfest and for all the visitors that the event brings to Thurmont. Colorfest provides many of our churches, service organizations, and nonprofits with their single-biggest fundraising event of the year. Be on the lookout for updates leading up to Colorfest, outlining any changes to traffic patterns and road closures.

As always, you can reach me at or by phone at 301-606-9458.

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs

Seems like yesterday we bid farewell to graduating seniors from the Mount and Catoctin High…blink, and now we are welcoming incoming freshmen and returning upper-class students. Alas, the days are getting shorter and there is a changing of the guard of birds at our feeders.

A wonderful summer of youth baseball was provided by both the Cal Ripken League and the Little League. Congratulations to the Thurmont Little League team and coaches! Emmitsburg’s contribution includes Little League President and Coach Ed Lowry, players E.J. Lowry, Joe McMannis, Braden Manning, Donovan Baker, and Braden Bell. The team made it to the Little League Baseball® Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament Championship game in Bristol, Connecticut, which was televised on ESPN. This is a time capsule event.

Catoctin High fall sports are in full swing, with Cody Staley and Will Bingman on the varsity football team, along with a JV team loaded with the talent and verve of Dylan Click, Jason Howard, Josh Maze, and Collin Martin. In another update, freshman granddaughter Aedan Myles and Kasia Bokinsky made the Catoctin JV volleyball team.

What a summer for town activities. Three Block Parties, a Family Fun Night, our deputies National Night Out, Christ Community Church “Back to School” party, and Community Heritage Day. We have a lot to look forward to next summer, with a new pool, a new dog park, and the completion of town connecting square revitalization-sidewalks project. The bridge will join the effort in late fall 2018.

To our neighbor to the northwest, Ronald J. Harris, Mayor, Borough of Carroll Valley: Congratulations on receiving the 2017 Pennsylvania State Mayors’ Association (PSMA) “Mayor of the Year” award.

A “work well done” pastoral farewell to Father John Holliday of St. Joseph’s Parish from the Emmitsburg Council of Churches and his parishioners. The good padre has been reassigned to be the student-chaplain at St. John’s University in New York. Peace and blessings.

After years of pleading with the county for more public transportation to Frederick City, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird and I are working together in a change of tactic, asking for only one additional round trip during the noon hour. One round trip to complement the one existing round trip, down in the morning and back in the evening. The service would be far more attractive to users if they could return within four hours, instead of spending the day waiting for return service. I believe we are earnestly getting some traction this time around.

Quickly coming upon us is 36th Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend on October 7-8, 2017. As in the past, thousands are expected to visit our town. It is an honor to be a part of this tribute, so let’s welcome all for this solemn event.

There they were, seventy-plus cyclists cruising through town during a scorcher of a weekend in late July, toward a respite at the 70th mile marker of their 100-mile trek, the Fire Heritage Center and Fire Museum, on South Seton Avenue. There, Wayne Powell and Frank Schmersahl, again for the fourth straight year, served water and other goodies, provided by the Pleasant Valley Fire Department in Carroll County. Annually, this fire department conducts, as a fundraiser, bike rides of 25 miles, 50 miles, and 100 miles through Western Carroll County and Northern Frederick County. Thank you, Wayne and Frank.

We are getting a lot of positive feedback after receiving the Maryland Green Registry “Leadership Award.” We will be doing more. More “Leadership” is on the way.

With Labor Day falling on the first Monday, the September town meeting will be held Tuesday, September 5, at 7:30 p.m.

Mark the calendar for the 61st Emmitsburg-Thurmont Community Show, September 8-10, at Catoctin High School.

New service to the area: Narcotics Anonymous. If you are recovering or temptations are mounting, you have friends, every Monday night at 7:00 p.m. at Christ Community Church, located at 303 W. Lincoln Avenue.

Emmitsburg Recovery Run 5K is September 16 at Emmitsburg Community Park. “Heroin Lies Recovery Run” contact /information:

Town Election Day is Tuesday, September 26, at the deputies building on East Main Street.

Have a wonderful Labor Day holiday!  Emmitsburg is a great place to live.

James Rada, Jr.

Morris Blake may not like to toot his own horn, but he is hoping that plenty of people in Thurmont like to toot theirs, whether it’s a trumpet, trombone, tuba, or another brass instrument. Blake is in the midst of starting both a brass band and choir for Thurmont.

“I think the town needed one, because the closest brass band to us is Frederick,” Blake said.

Not only is that a bit of a way to travel for band practice, but it makes the practices twice as long. As long as there is local interest, Blake sees no reason Thurmont can’t have a brass band. The town certainly has plenty of opportunities where a band could perform.

“Growing up here, I always had to travel to be part of a brass band,” Blake said.

While there is a community choir in Emmitsburg, Blake feels there is enough interest and talent in Thurmont to form another choir.

Blake plans on directing both groups. He has decades of experience playing instruments, singing, and directing musical groups. He first began playing an instrument as a young boy in 1982, when he started taking piano lessons. He has played trumpet, violin, saxophone, and drums. He is the current music director at the Fort Detrick Chapel.

“I’ve done nothing but music my entire life,” Blake said. It is the true love of his life.

Practices will be held on Sunday evenings in the Fort Detrick Chapel. The brass band will practice at 5:00 p.m., and the community choir will practice at 6:00 p.m.

His goal is to have eight to ten members in the brass band, and eighteen to twenty people in the community choir. Participants should be at least fifteen years old.

He expects both groups to be ready to perform for various Christmas activities.

If you are interested in participating, call Blake at 301-271-483

James Rada, Jr.

Fighting fires is dangerous work, and to do it safely, firefighters need to train for every conceivable situation and hope that their responses become second nature.

On Saturday, July 8, 2017, members of the Vigilant Hose Company, Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, Mount St. Mary’s University Public Safety personnel, and facilities management staff gathered at the college to review how to fight fires in campus facilities and to train.

Vigilant Hose Company personnel have been working with Mount employees to update fire department “Pre-Plans” to make sure everyone knows who needs to be contacted and how to react to fires on campus. The goal is to assure maximum efficiency and effectiveness for successful resolution, with minimum disruption and adverse effects.

As Mount Vice President Wayne Green said, “If you are prepared for anything like a flood, then you’ll be prepared for everything else.”

Vigilant Hose Chief Chad Umbel has been overseeing this latest round of fire and emergency services preparedness. He said, “The Mount has always been a huge supporter of our efforts in being prepared to handle emergencies. And, this past year, they’ve again been very gracious and helpful to our firefighters, who have been studying campus upgrades, allowing for updating maps, double-checking access points for utility shut-offs, emergency operational considerations like hydrant access, and utilizing and allowing full access to areas of all buildings on campus.

About twenty firefighters began the training with a review of the Mount’s buildings. VHC Lt. Alex McKenna explained to the group how to enter each building, depending on where a fire might be located. They also reviewed which buildings had sprinkler systems and standpipes.

“The most dangerous building for us on campus is the Terrace,” McKenna said. “The biggest hazard in there is really just the confusion of where you are.” This is because the Terrace is made up of different halls, running in different directions.

The biggest point driven home during the review was that firefighters first need to scout out where a fire is located in a building before deploying hoses. He used Sheridan Hall as an example of what could happen if the fire wasn’t located first. “If you do it wrong, you can go up 800 feet for a 200-foot stretch,” McKenna explained.

Green also told the group that modernizing each building’s fire suppression system was a top priority for the college administration.

The two training exercises were scenario-based. The first involved entering the smoke-filled second floor of Sheridan Hall to find a student who was unconscious in a dorm room.

The second exercise was a high-rise hose deployment to the third floor of Pangborn Hall.

Utilizing mitigation evolutions like V.E.I.S. (Vent / Enter / Isolate / Search) with a specific focus on Rapid Intervention Techniques and proper utilization of existing built-in building protection systems, emergency services personnel practiced operational exercises, command and control, occupant location and removal, hose deployment, ventilation, and restoration of normal building functionality.

On Saturday, July 8, 2017, members of the Vigilant Hose Company, Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, Mount St. Mary’s University Public Safety personnel, and facilities management staff gathered at the college to review how to fight fires in campus facilities and to train.

Photos by James Rada, Jr.

State championship marks only the second time Thurmont has won this prestigious honor in over sixty-six years. Read story on page 27.

Pictured from left: #54 Will Gisriel, #33 Braden Bell, #4 Griffin Puvel, #13 Donovan Baker, #35 D.J. Shipton, #7 Connor Crum, #21 Joe McMannis, #23 Braden Manning, #3 Josh Skowronski, #34 E.J. Lowry, #17 Logan Simanski, and #77 Peyton Castellow. Not pictured: Manager Tim Castellow; Coaches Chris Skowronski and Ed Lowry.

For only the third time in twenty-seven years, a team from Maryland District 2 has won the Maryland State Little League Championship.  This year’s champions are from our very own community: Thurmont Little League. Each year, over eighty Little Leagues from across the State of Maryland compete for the championship. Thurmont Little League punched their ticket to the State tournament by winning the Maryland District 2 Championship.

This State championship marks only the second time Thurmont has won this prestigious honor in over sixty-six years. The last team from Thurmont to win the Little League division State championship was the team in 2005, managed by John Tomasini. This year’s team faced some very tough competition, beating teams from Elkton Little League (11-1); Easton Little League (17-0); and then a very tough Berlin Little League, twice (3-2, 11-5).

“This is a very special group of young men,” commented Ed Lowry, Thurmont Little League president and assistant coach on the team.  “Each of these boys accept their respective roles on the team, and are willing to do whatever for the greater good of the team. They represent our communities with such pride, dignity, and class, it’s just a privilege for our coaching staff to work with these fine young men.  The success on the field is great, but the comments we get about their character is even more rewarding.”

With this victory, Thurmont Little League has earned the right to represent the State of Maryland in the Mid-Atlantic regional tournament in Bristol, Connecticut, this coming August 5-12. All of those games are televised on the ESPN family of networks.  Thurmont will play their first game on Monday, August 7, at 4:00 p.m., versus the winner of the Pennsylvania/Delaware game. Our Banner readers can watch that game on ESPN3.

With this success comes some financial challenges for the team’s families. The team just recently spent the week of July 14-21 on the Eastern Shore in Maryland, participating at the State tournament. The families incurred a collective expense of nearly $19,000 to participate at the State-level tournament. “We were very fortunate to receive a donation from the Town of Thurmont in the amount of $1,500 to help offset some of the cost. Mayor Kinnaird and Board of Commissioners from Thurmont have been staunch advocates and supporters of our program over my tenure at Thurmont Little League. Other than their generous donation, our families picked up the rest of the expenses,” Lowry commented.

The road ahead doesn’t get any easier for Thurmont Little League, both on the field and making the preparations to get to the Bristol, regional tournament in August.

“Unfortunately, Little League doesn’t contribute to the expenses of the families to get to Bristol. It’s a real financial burden in some cases.  We estimate the expenses somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000,” stated Lowry. Thus, the Thurmont Little League players and families are in active fundraising mode. If you would like to donate, you can do so via their “GoFundMe” page at:, or go directly to their website at and click on the “donate” link.

“The great part about this is that everyone in the community can be a part of this. You will get to watch the team play on ESPN and know that your donation helped get them there,” said Lowry.  “We have adopted the hashtag #SmallTownBigDreams for this team, and I can assure you that this group of boys will make you proud to say that they are a team from your hometown community.” The Thurmont Little League 11-12 team leaves for Bristol on August 4.


Mayor John Kinnaird

Summer is here and, with it, the hot and humid weather. Please be careful while outdoors and be sure to keep hydrated and pace yourself while working. Also, keep an eye out for your elderly neighbors and offer assistance when needed.

The Thurmont Fun Fest is coming on August 5, 2017, to the Eyler Road Park, hosted by the Town of Thurmont and CYA Football and Cheer Teams. The day starts at 11:00 a.m. and features a full day of fun and games, including Punt Pass and Kick Competition, games, food, giveaways, volleyball, NFL cheerleaders, vendors, fire/EMS demonstrations, Police K-9 demonstration, car seat inspections, bike rodeo, pet-friendly activities, music, and more. Bring the kids and your dog for a fun day at Eyler Road Park!

This past weekend, I attended the Fun Fair at the Thurmont Regional Library. The day was full of educational fun and games for everyone. Outside, there were town trucks and a Guardian Hose Company Brush Truck to look at. There also was an amazing soap bubble demonstration. Inside activities included games, Cuddles Cat Rescue with kittens, the National Park Service with wild animal pets, service dogs, a very friendly Alpaca, and many other fun displays and activities. If you didn’t manage to get there this year, be sure to attend next year’s event. My thanks to the Thurmont Regional Library and staff for supporting our community by offering a wide range of interesting and educational activities for children and adults.

The month of July typically serves as a break in the schedule for the Thurmont Board of Commissioner (BOC) meetings. We will resume our regular Tuesday evening meeting on August 1 at 7:00 p.m. Regular BOC meetings are open to the public; you are welcome to attend and to participate in public comment during discussions or at the close of the meetings.

Finally, a comment about Thurmont Little League (TLL). Unless you have been living in a cave, you must know about the TLL teams playing in the Little League playoffs. The 9-11 TLL All Stars team took the District 2 Championships and are currently playing for the State 9-11 Championships. The Thurmont Little League 11-12 All Stars won the District 2 Championship and went on to clench the State 11-12 Championship. The 11-12 Champs are now going to play in the Regional Playoffs in Bristol, Connecticut, with the series beginning on August 5. The Regional Playoffs will be broadcast on ESPN3, and if they move onto the World Series games, you will be able to watch on ESPN. That two of the Thurmont Little League teams have moved through the District 2 playoffs, and on to the State playoffs, speaks volumes of the quality of the Little League program, the determination and sportsmanship of the players, the dedication of the coaching staff, and encouragement and support of the team families! Please be sure to congratulate both All-Star teams and support their journey through States and Regional play. Both teams will be holding fundraisers to help cover the costs of attending the playoff games, and they will appreciate any help we can provide.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or at

Mayor Don Briggs

Once again, thank you to the Community Heritage Day organizers, vendors, entertainers, and town staff for their behind-the-scenes support. The event continues to grow bigger and better every year. The fireworks show was fantastic.

Thank you to the town Parks and Recreation Committee for a wonderful, well attended “Evening in the Park” on July 15. Magician Michael Cantori left a lot of us gasping. Everyone should visit his store on West Main Street, near the Square. Following his show, hot dogs, refreshments, and other entertainment filled the evening schedule.

Thank you to Sherry Waselchalk, the Maryland State Highway project manager, for the bridge replacement; also the Square revitalization and sidewalk projects. We were supposed to have the Square closed for three days and nights, but the work was completed in one evening.

There are a lot of projects happening around town, so here are some updates and estimated dates of completion (EDC):

Pool: Building permit received. Hold up: resubmitted plans for underwater lighting. Now waiting for Frederick County Health Department approvals. EDC: May 2018 (to be open for next summer season).

Dog park: Site behind tennis/ basketball court is cleared. We have applied for a second grant to cover costs. Bidding going out for fencing. EDC: June 2018.

Square revitalization and downtown sidewalk project. EDC: June 2018. Trees to be replaced at locations approved by (fronting) home owners. Different tree varieties, all with no fruit droppings.

Flat Run bridge: delicate work around creek bed. EDC: Fall 2018.

The town was awarded $221,907 from a FY2018 Energy-Water Infrastructure Program (EWIP) grant through Maryland Department of the Environment. The grant funds will be used to replace the pumps at the Creamery Road Pump Station with two energy efficient pumps, a new generator, flow meter, and circulator. The equipment could save the town $6,007 annually in electricity costs.

We are in the process of applying for $100,000 +/- grant for a field for soccer, lacrosse, and rugby.

I had the pleasure to introduce new Congressman, James Raskin, at a recent meet and greet in Emmitsburg. It was good to have Frederick County Council Member Kirby Delauter and Sheriff Chuck Jenkins in attendance. The congressman likes to hike, so I think he will be coming up our way again (and soon).

Congratulations to Vigilant Hose Comapany No. 6 volunteer firefighter Elyssa Cool on being awarded the 2016 Silver Spring Trophy by Maryland State Firemen’s Association (MSFA). The MSFA presented the award on behalf of the sponsor, Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. It is presented each year at the MSFA Annual Convention to an individual who does the most in fire prevention for his/her community. Elyssa received an individual plaque for permanent possession and will hold the trophy for one year and then pass it on. The award is administered by MSFA Fire Prevention Committee and Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office. Thank you, Elyssa, for your service to our community. For more: Link on the MSFA Website –

From what we already know and have felt, but only mused as to why: (from the Wall Street Journal Jan. 17, 2016) bacon prices are up and up 80 percent. Nationwide, we bought 14 percent more bacon in 2016 then 2013. No longer only for BLTs and breakfast sides, bacon is now a standard in a salad mix, as a sprinkling on a cup of soup, or piled regularly on burgers. Move over salmon. The price to wholesalers for pork bellies has risen to $2.10 per pound. Bacon is becoming more of a specialty food item. Look for thinner strips and/or higher prices in restaurants.

Summer reading suggestion: History of My Own Times with a subtitle, The Life And Adventures of William Otter, Sen. Comprising a Series of Events, And Musical Incidents Altogether Original, Emmitsburg 1835, written by William Otter, an English emigrant. Emmitsburg is spelled several ways including “Emmitsburgh” and “Emmettsburg.”It’s a very interesting read.

The third and final “pool party” in Community Park will be held Friday August 18, from 6-8 p.m., featuring hot dogs, drinks, Rita’s Italian Ice, DJ music, and games. Start the weekend off in the park.

“Back to School Day” will be held on Saturday, August 5, from 12:00-3:00 p.m., and will feature school supplies, lots of food, games, and entertainment. Sponsored by Christ’s Community Church.

Groundbreaking for the new Seton Center is August 18 at 3:00 p.m., off E. Lincoln Avenue, west of the Mother Seton School.

This is a great place to live.

Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willets told the mayor and commissioners that the town’s new algae-control system in Rainbow Lake is proving effective so far.

The new system, which cost the town $38,650 for setup and $13,000 a year for calibration, was installed in April of this year. The LG Sonic system uses ultrasound to destroy the algae, causing it to sink to the bottom of the lake. Willets presented the results of the first three months of operation of the system.

The first data looked at was the presences of chlorophyll in the water. Willets said that this is the biggest indicator that shows algae is not growing. The amount of chlorophyll has dropped from 20 ug/L to 5 ug/L.

The next item examined was phycocyanin, which causes taste and odor problems in the water. It has dropped from 4-5 ug/L to near 0.

Water turbidity, which affects how clear the water is, has dropped from 4.0 NTVs to <1 NTO. Willets pointed out that town staff have received multiple comments from fisherman using the lake that the water is noticeably clearer.

Coagulant usage and backwash water usage are both down.

“We are doing more backwashes, but the gallons used are less,” Willets said.

The water usage is down from 1,292,250 gallons to around 600,000 gallons. This is saving the town 85 water taps.

Willets also told the commissioners that since the system has been installed, there has been no unexpected filter-related overtime.

Two items that have not shown any noticeable difference is the usage of soda ash and chlorine. Usage of these items is expected to be reduced as the new system continues to operate.

Also, while the system has been operating as expected, the satellite uplink that will allow LG Sonic to monitor the system hasn’t been able to be established yet, which is something that is being worked on.

“Staff is very pleased with what they’ve seen so far,” Willets said.

Data from August and September will be examined with interest because this is the time when the lake has historically had its largest algae growth.