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Blair Garrett

Making the big league is every young athlete’s dream.

For Mason Albright of Thurmont, that dream has finally become a reality.

The Catoctin alumni pitcher was selected in the 12th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Los Angeles Angels, giving him the opportunity to move one step closer to reaching a professional baseball career.

Albright, who pitched for Catoctin High School his freshman, sophomore, and junior year, spent his senior season in Bradenton, Florida, pitching at the IMG Academy among some of the nation’s top prospects.

Leaving friends and family behind for a year to improve was a tough decision, but ultimately, Albright felt it put him in the best position possible to begin a professional career in baseball.

Catoctin went on to win the state championship in Albright’s absence this past season on the back of a remarkably skilled pitching core, but Albright’s sights are set much higher.

The 18-year-old had plans to commit to Virginia Tech this coming fall, but the Angels made him an offer sweet enough to push the prospect to sign right out of high school, a feat that hadn’t been done by a Frederick County baseball player in over a decade.

With the first two draft days passing by without hearing his name called, the chances were getting slimmer and slimmer that he would accept an offer from a team and forgo his scholarship to Virginia Tech.

The Angels’ $1.25 million signing bonus offer is the largest in the bonus-pool money era of the draft for a player picked after the 10th round, which means the Angels knew they had an opportunity to pick up a talented player and ran with it.

With a limited amount of signing bonus money left, the Angels’ commitment to meet Albright’s signing value shows they believe he can make an impact down the line someday soon.

Albright held tight for a signing bonus that would persuade him to relinquish his commitment to Virginia Tech, and his confidence in his abilities ended up paying off big time on the final day of the draft.

The mission over the past year for the left-handed pitcher has been to improve his game, and he is now among elite company to eventually make the push onto the Angels’ roster. 

The Angels used all 20 picks of their 2021 draft selection on pitchers, so the message is clear that the team wants to develop a deep prospect pool of pitchers.

Albright headed west to Tempe, Arizona, to the Angels’ training facility for a team mini-camp to grow with other top prospects for the coming season.

The future is bright for the former Cougar to make a splash into the MLB, and he’s just getting started on what is hopefully a long and successful career on the mound.

Mason Albright, 18, throws for the Perfect Game National Showcase, which gives

scouting exposure to baseball’s top prospects.

James Rada, Jr.

As the world remembers the tragedy of September 11, 2001, I am filled with memories of Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and my experiences there.

I was off work that Tuesday, so normally, I wouldn’t have heard about the day that changed the world because I didn’t have television in my house. Instead, I had a “honey, do” list to finish, and I was in the car driving around Cumberland on various errands.

I was listening to a CD on my car stereo, so I didn’t hear the first reports of the plane crashes on September 11. It was a beautiful fall morning, and I was enjoying the day. However, when I stopped at a pharmacy to pick up a prescription, the pharmacist asked, “What do you think about the plane crash?”

When I told her I had heard nothing, she explained a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center tower in New York City. I hurried back to my car and turned on the radio. The reporter was talking about the crash. I quickly realized it was about a second crash into the World Trade Center.

I drove to the next place on my errand list, listening to the radio reports as news came in. I didn’t want to get out of my car when I parked at the store where I needed to pick up some things. I went in and bought what I needed as quickly as I could. When I got back into my car, the news reports were talking about a third crash into the Pentagon.

‘CumberlanFiguring things were probably crazy at the Cumberland Times-News where I worked, I headed in to see if I could help.

I was wrong. Things weren’t crazy. Everyone seemed glued to the television as the video played over and over of the planes crashing into the towers.

I had barely seen the footage when my city editor saw me and sent me and a photographer off to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to search for another plane that had supposedly crashed. No one was sure what to make of this. Why would a plane crash in a town of fewer than 250 people? It wasn’t a well-known target like the World Trade Center or Pentagon. As the photographer and I neared Shanksville, we wondered where to go. We saw no smoke or anything that could lead us to the crash site.

Then, a Pennsylvania State Trooper car passed us with its lights flashing.

“Follow him,” I said. “If a plane crashed up here, that’s where he’s got to be going.”

So, the photographer sped up and followed the police car up the highway. It had gone about a mile when it suddenly made a U-turn in the middle of the road and headed toward us. Diane let the car pass and did her own U-turn to follow. The police weren’t even sure where the crash site was.

The car began snaking through some back roads until it reached another group of police cars with flashing lights. The police had barricaded all entrances to the site of the crash and pointed us to a field across the street as a place to wait. Only a handful of reporters were there.

I walked to the nearest house and interviewed the woman who answered the door. Paula Pluta had seen the plane come down in the quarry across the street. I stood with her for a few minutes and drew out her story. When I left her, I felt a little shaken myself. To have seen such a crash, what would that be like?

In the next house, a man had been driving home when he heard the crash. He had been to the crash site and seen nothing but smoke and small pieces of debris, “nothing bigger than the size of a car door.”

After I had interviewed anyone I could find within walking distance of the site, I headed back. I waited for hours in a hot, open field with no shade. As the day wore on, more and more reporters showed up, and we took cover from the sun in the shade of vehicles.

I was too afraid to leave the site in search of food or water, although I was hungry. What if we were allowed into the site and I was snacking at a diner? I ignored my rumbling stomach and dry mouth and waited.

After a couple of false alarms that we would be allowed back to see the site, a tour bus arrived around 4:00 p.m. The bus drove the media through lines of vehicles that made up mobile stations for federal teams, the Red Cross, biohazard teams, and cadaver dogs. Then, it stopped in a clearing, and we got off.

There wasn’t anything to see.             An amazing statement considering a passenger jet had crashed there just a few hours earlier.

Some state troopers stood watch at the edge of the perimeter where the media was allowed. You could see a pile of earth and smoke coming out a couple hundred feet away. That was it. That was all that was left of Flight 93.

After a press conference wth Governor Tom Ridge, there wasn’t anything left to do but to head home and file my story. It was a quiet ride. I tried to gather my thoughts and write out my story. It was hard to write objectively, though, when I felt so unsettled.

I guess the world has felt that way ever since.

Picture shows debris from Flight 93 at the crash site.

James Rada, Jr.

The Emmitsburg town election is on September 28. Four candidates are running to fill two commissioner seats. Here’s why they think residents should vote for them.

Rosario Benvengi

My family and I moved to Emmitsburg in 1989 after I had served four years in the U.S. Army. I had just accepted a job with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, and we were looking for a safe place to reside and raise our children. We found that place in Emmitsburg and have lived here for 31 years. After 10 years of service with the sheriff’s office, I started my first business as a private investigator. After 15 years with my investigating business, I opened an Allstate insurance agency, located on Main Street. I became a member of the American Legion, the Knights of Columbus, and was a driver for the Emmitsburg Ambulance Company. I managed one of six little league teams and umpired for the league prior to becoming a manager.

Eugene Myers, Thomas Topper, and John Hollinger were the first three people I met when I moved here, and they helped me understand how great this small town was. I decided to give to the community what it gave to me. In 1995, I was elected town commissioner. Although it has been 25 years since I was in office, I once again would like to give back to the community that has given so much to me and my family.

If I am elected, I will work with the current board and the Maryland State Highway Administration to obtain left-turn lanes for the east and westbound lanes located at North and South Seton Avenues. With more houses being built in and around the town, traffic will only increase, and the problem can’t be ignored any longer.

Second, I will work to provide a 50-percent tax credit for new businesses. This will allow new business owners time to settle in and allow their business to grow. We should do everything possible to help our small businesses, as they are a vital piece to our town’s success.

We need to take a hard look at all building requests in town. We need to make sure we have the water to support this growth. Prior boards have spent thousands of dollars trying to locate usable wells for the town. During my term as commissioner, we tested five wells and could not use any of them. We must not allow this town to outgrow the infrastructure that is already in place.

Finally, the town government, along with town employees, needs to do a better job in assisting our residents and businesses. There need to be more resources to support our existing and new businesses. Our existing sign ordinance needs to be updated to allow businesses to advertise within their premises. Town codes should not hinder businesses but help them thrive.

Liz Buckman

I decided to run for town commissioner, and I would like you to vote for me on September 28. Saying I love this town and the people is not enough. I have spent the last eight or more years in service to the Emmitsburg community, three of which were as a commissioner. Although we have gotten a lot of bruises on Emmitsburg Cares and faced the perils of social media, we, as a community, have created a platform that connects us all. We have created a support system for each other, meeting our needs, troubleshooting problems, and sometimes just sharing information. It allows us to stay aware of town affairs and what impacts us. Sadly, that is not enough.

However, that is not why I am running. I have seen the need for transparency in town government. The people elect officials to represent us, but we do not know what is going on. We should know what, when, where, why, and how of our government, and it should be presented to us in an understandable way. This is my main goal.

Electing me would create a more representative government. The town council, as it stands, is all married men. As a woman, a single mother, and a teacher of the visually impaired, I bring an additional perspective that is currently missing in our town council.

I will work together with civic associations, churches, other municipalities, the fire department, and the people of this town.

Elect me and I vow to instill a vision of possibility and stand with the people, to listen to you and advocate for you.

I vow to work with the other council members, MSM staff and students, our civic associations, our churches, our fire department, the health department, our cooperating municipalities, housing, the Seton Center, The Ship, mentoring services, and many more as we find creative solutions to the problems we face.

I vow to make decisions on how we spend your tax dollars because spending directly impacts me as a resident. We will begin to challenge spending and discuss how it impacts you. We will look at the budget and cut unnecessary costs. Let’s look at the future and plan accordingly so that we can continue to afford to live here.

It is apparent with the new Rutters and other businesses that growth is happening. I will vow to ensure we consider best practices in urban planning to keep this small town a vibrant and safe place for our children to grow and learn.

As a teacher, not with FCPS, I vow to support our schools by attending FCPS board meetings where decisions are made to advocate for our small community.

I pledge to work toward a transparent government and for a responsive government that looks at how they can help you, not why they shouldn’t. Our town needs to work on communication with its customers, the residents of Emmitsburg, who pay their salaries. Enough is enough. This Emmitsburg government was created by the people and for the people.

Tim O’Donnell

Emmitsburg is a thriving community. We are challenged by immediate and long-term issues. COVID, aging infrastructure—like water lines that must be replaced—and community growth, all need careful attention. These are all significant and have to be addressed.

Our town government has remained open during the pandemic and was able to quickly pivot to a socially distanced format when the need arose. As we again see the possibility of social distancing returning, our staff is ready and supported by myself and my fellow board members, to perform our duties and continue serving the community.

Through a systematic process, our water infrastructure is being replaced. We have made intense efforts to correct immediate problems, such as brown water issues. Additionally, the town government is carrying out a long-term plan to replace failing water lines. It is well known that I have pushed for this effort, and have also pushed for the town staff to pursue grant funding to upgrade our water system in a timely manner with as little cost to the community as possible.

Whether it is new business, new housing, or a new regional park, I have made it a priority to support appropriate, measured community growth that serves our needs but does not compromise our quality of life. Whether a household, business, or individual is new to Emmitsburg or has deep roots here, their voice must be heard in town government. I understand that this is part of my role.

In my role as board president, it has been my goal to assist my fellow commissioners in being heard in an open public meeting, while also advocating for the community. It has been my goal to be certain that anyone who has participated in a town meeting has been given full opportunity to be heard. It is imperative that the process of meetings is transparent and inclusive. I have taken this role seriously and have seen the progress the board and town staff have made in serving our community as a result.

I am passionate about the quality of our recreational assets. Our parks, paths, game fields, pool, and trails deserve proper funding. I have worked with numerous mayors; commissioners; committees; federal, state, and county elected officials; as well as my neighbors, to see our parks and recreational options expand. I have also successfully pursued improved pedestrian access. Good sidewalks and connectivity throughout our community are essential. We must continue to expand our pedestrian options and link with the university and the new regional park.

My belief is my past actions have served the Town of Emmitsburg well. Nothing I have achieved here has been done alone. It has taken a collaborative effort. My hope is that I will earn your vote on September 28, and together we can move Emmitsburg forward.

Cliff Sweeney

I have served the Town of Emmitsburg for 23 years on the Board of Commissioners. Through my eight terms on the board, I have held every commissioner position on the board, which gives me a strong foundation about how all aspects of our town government work. I am also a member of the Emmitsburg Lions Club, EOPCC, Sons of the American Legion, Knights of Columbus, and I have served in various leadership positions in each of them.

During my time as commissioner, I have helped create Community Park, improved Memorial Park, added more baseball and softball fields to the town, built a new town pool, and built hiking and biking trails. I helped get the state to replace two bridges in town and make other street improvements. Emmitsburg has revitalized the town square, improved its sidewalks, and updated its streets. The town was also able to get a new town office, senior center, library, and YMCA Head Start Program. We built new water and sewer plants and are in the process of getting a new pumping station.

I want to continue to build on this success as I continue to serve you as commissioner. I want to put more emphasis on bringing both large and small businesses to town, as well as promoting our current businesses. I want to create a more transparent government so that both residents and businesses understand what we are doing on their behalf. I want to bring back our beloved Little League and other youth activities. I want to see this wonderful community unified as we build a better future for ourselves.

James Rada, Jr.

Three years ago in Ireland, Hagerstown found out it would be hosting the 2021 World Canals Conference (WCC).

However, the world has changed since then.

“Last year’s onset of the pandemic suddenly converted the preparations into a series of Zoom calls,” said Bill Holdsworth, president of the C&O Canal Association. “Leipzig was scheduled to host 2020 WCC in Germany. They had to reschedule to 2022. We hoped that time was on our side for 2021. The COVID surge in December/January created doubts.”

The distribution of the COVID vaccines and the large space in the Maryland Theater in Hagerstown helped things move forward with an in-person conference.

“Unfortunately, travel regulations forced our registrants from Europe to cancel. So, our conference will have an American focus,” Holdsworth said.

The conference will run August 30 to September 2 in Hagerstown and sites on the C&O Canal.

“The event will commemorate the 50th anniversary of creation of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. Substantial restoration works have been completed on significant sections of the canal, particularly in Georgetown, Washington, and in Williamsport, Maryland, close to Hagerstown,” said Dan Spedden, president of Visit Hagerstown & Washington County, MD.

The conference features talks in the Maryland Theater in the morning and tours of various canal sites in the afternoon. Although COVID has restricted some international travel, more than 100 international canal enthusiasts are expected at the conference. The goal of the conference is to bring together canal enthusiasts, professionals, and scholars “to exchange good practices on canals,” according to Holdsworth.

“The World Canals Conference provides Visit Hagerstown with the opportunity to present these improvements to an international audience,” Spedden said. “The profile of our destination is greatly elevated by the WCC; we expect to see a rise in visitation for years to come.”

The World Canals Conference is held at a different location with a connection to canals each year. The 2022 conference will be in Leipzig, Germany. 

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

With heavy hearts, the southern Adams County, Northern Frederick County community mourn the loss of Battalion Chief Joshua D. Laird. He gave his life in the line of duty at a residential fire in Ijamsville on August 11. Chief Laird was a 21-year veteran of Frederick County Fire and Rescue. He resided with his family in Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania. As a further bond, the family is a part of the Mount family. The viewing and funeral memorial service were held at the Mount athletic arena. 

Recently, Northern Frederick County lost another dear friend, Tom McFadden, a former superintendent of Catoctin Mountain Park. I first met Tom in the mid-80s at a Rotary Club luncheon. In not too short a measure of time, I was a volunteer. Soon, Lib and I were founding members of the Catoctin Area Mountain Park Resources, Inc. (CAMPER), a nonprofit organization set up by Tom. Initially, we worked on clearing trails for President Reagan to ride. My role expanded to the shared leadership duties of a newly formed park horse patrol. The responsibility of the patrol was to assist in assuring safe passage for visitors. Patrol members were holstered with then state-of-the-art “walkie-talkies.” Horses and tack were kept high on the mountain at the Misty Mount stable near Camp David, the Presidential retreat. Unlike today’s less-inviting identification, back then there was a simple roadside sign: “Camp David.” Once, I took a photograph of a visiting student from Nigeria by the sign. It was a special time and an honor to be a part of the park, absorbed into the mountain’s palette of wildlife, birds, mountain laurel, ferns, and a broad cooling canopy of hardwood trees. 

The Irishtown Road construction started in mid-August. The intention was to not shut down the road and have flag-men there to assist the traffic flow during construction. However, in a more-encompassing perspective for the safety of workers and vehicular traffic, there will be road closures. Soon, there will be two-way traffic off Irishtown Road to Brookfield Drive. This is a vital connection needed to balance expanding town traffic flow. The timetable is fluid, but the intention is to wrap up road construction by mid-fall. With the road project will come 19 homes built on the south side of the road to finish out the Brookfield subdivision. So, another segment of town connectivity will be completed, with sidewalks and lighting in front of the homes. Think about it, in the not-too-distant future, with the completion of the proposed Emmit Ridge II subdivision and finally a second entrance to Northgate, there will be a second east–west sidewalk connection through town.

Under the long list of taking things for granted…40 years ago, we might have laughed at the thought of buying water or at the possibility of a water shortage in the area. But, once again for many reasons—development, weather changes—the town has implemented phase 1 voluntary conservation restrictions.

The town has issued its permit for development of the Rutter’s site. It is our understanding that the permit from the county is being processed.

Envision Frederick held its monthly meeting in Community Park on Saturday, August 28. I welcomed visitors and was a panel speaker.

The town pool will close after Labor Day weekend (September 6). From all reports, a good season was had by all.

Praying that our students can get back to school this fall in an orderly and comfortable way. They are our present; they are our future.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

I am very pleased to announce that the contract for installing the new skate park has been awarded. Construction should start within two months. This has been a very interesting process that began with a group of teens approaching the Board of Commissioners about getting a skate park in Thurmont. Since then, we acquired Project Open Space funding to help finance the project, and the members of the Skate Park Commission have raised about $15,000 in donations to help with the funding. The park commission has also played a part in designing the park and made a recommendation for the selection of the contractor. The skate park will be located at East End Park. Be sure to keep an eye open for the groundbreaking ceremony.

The Frederick County Health Department is offering COVID-19 testing and vaccinations at the Town Office parking lot every Friday, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. You can also get the booster shot if you qualify with medical issues. At this time, you must use the same vaccine as your original shots. I believe Frederick County will be expanding the booster shot to everyone else within the next two months. Check the Frederick County Vaccination page for vaccination clinic locations, times, and the vaccinations available at www.health.frederickcountymd.gov/629/COVID-19-Vaccine.

The Town of Thurmont will be holding elections this fall for mayor and two commissioner positions. Here are dates to keep in mind as the elections approach.

September 28, 2021—Nominating Convention at 7:00 p.m. at the Thurmont Municipal Offices.

September 28, 2021—Last day to register to vote in the election. You must register at the Municipal Offices before the close of business at 4:00 p.m. on September 28.

October 8, 2021—Absentee ballot applications will be available.

October 19, 2021—The last day to make an application for an absentee ballot. You must apply at the Municipal Office before the close of business at 4:00 p.m. on October 19.

October 26, 2021—General Elections to be held at the Guardian Hose Company Activity Building, 123 East Main Street, Thurmont. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Persons in line at the time of closing will be permitted to vote.

For more information contact the Town Office at 301-271-7313. I encourage everyone to get out and vote!

Colorfest for 2021 is in the planning stages, and permits will be available soon. After last year’s cancellation, I hope that this year will be a huge success. Many of our local non-profits, churches, Scouts, organizations, the Guardian Hose Company, and the Thurmont Community Ambulance Service depend on Colorfest for much of their annual income. We will follow Maryland COVID-19 recommendations in place at the time.

I hope everyone has a great September. As always, I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com with any questions or comments.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Water Alert Issued

Emmitsburg town staff are concerned about water usage in town. The town issued an alert last month asking residents to be aware of how much water they are using.

“Please be conscious of water usage. Emmitsburg is nearing the point where phase 1 of the water curtailment ordinance will be enacted,” according to the alert. “Watering is prohibited on all days between 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Also, check for leaking hoses and sprinklers and turn them off when not in use. Contact the town office with questions or concerns.”

Phase 1 water restrictions are voluntary and ask residents to reduce water usage on their own. Mandatory restrictions will begin should the town commissioners enact Phase 2 restrictions.

Emmitsburg Town Election Update

As of August 17, four people are running in the Emmitsburg town election to fill two commissioner seats. Clifford Lee Sweeney, Rosario Benvenji, Liz Buckman, and Tim O’Donnell have filed to run for the seats currently held by Sweeney and O’Donnell.

The election will be held on Tuesday, September 28. Votes can be cast at 22 East Main Street, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners appointed Sharon Hane as chief judge for this year’s election, with Tammy May and Charlotte Mazaleski working with her as judges. Deborah Arnold will serve as the greeter, and Dianne Walbrecker is an alternate judge.

New Animal Code Adopted

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to amend the town’s animal code. The changes deal primarily with keeping chickens on property within town boundaries.

Commissioners Consider Exploring Speed Cameras

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners discussed the possibility of bringing speed cameras to town to reduce speeding in town. It was suggested that the town could follow Thurmont’s example in contracting for portable speed cameras to be set up within half-miles of the town schools. Thurmont also uses a certified third-party to confirm the licenses and infractions.

“I think, strategically placed, it would make the town a lot safer,” Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Ahalt said.

Before anything happens, the town would have to hold a public hearing and pass a law allowing them.

Thurmont

Town Gets First Installment of Federal Funds

Thurmont received nearly $3.4 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, and it is expected to receive another $3.5 million by the end of the year. The initial money will be used to pay for the new water and sewer lines on North Church Street, the new water line on West Pryor Road, a pump system to connect the town’s different pressure water systems, repairing manhole covers, and more. The second payment will be used to make stormwater management pond improvements.

Although there are other projects the town commissioners would like to do, the American Rescue Plan money can only be used for water and sewer projects, stormwater management, and high-speed internet connectivity.

Skate Park Funding Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners awarded Arment Concrete in Denver, Pennsylvania, a contract of $83,500 to build the Thurmont Skate Park. The company has built skate parks across the country, including ones in Urbana; York, Pennsylvania; and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The funding for the project will come from a $60,000 Program Open Space grant, $15,000 from donations the Thurmont Skate Park Committee raised, and $8,500 from Thurmont parks impact fees. Construction is expected to begin in October and take two months to complete. It will be 4,000 square feet of concrete and include features and obstacles.

Thurmont Studying Emmitsburg Road Flooding

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to pay ARRO Consulting $12,800 to study the flooding that occurs on Emmitsburg Road and recommend how it can be mitigated. The town will use the recommendations to decide on what will be done to correct the issue. The flooding along Emmitsburg Road has been a long-running problem in town.

Thurmont Gets 5th Tree City USA Designation

Becky Wilson with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently presented the Town of Thurmont and the Thurmont Green Team with the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA Award. This marks the fifth consecutive year that the town has received the award. The town also received the Growth Award for the first time. It was awarded for activities above and beyond the baseline required in caring for trees and doing plantings. Thurmont is only one of eight jurisdictions in Maryland to receive this award.

Town Annexes Apples United Church of Christ

Apples United Church of Christ petitioned the Town of Thurmont to be annexed in order to get on the town’s water and sewer system. The property is 4.6 acres, with about half of it improved. The commissioners unanimously approved the annexation.

Next Phase of Woodland Park Playground Moves Forward

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners awarded Playground Specialists, Inc. a $159,534 contract to replace playground equipment for the Woodland Park Playground. Old equipment, borders, and surfacing will be removed and replaced with new ones. It will include a large central unit, an outdoor fitness gym, see-saw, percussion play items, benches, shade structure, and wood-fiber surfacing. The sidewalk will be made ADA-compliant.

Commission Appointments Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently reappointed Viktor Kraenbring, Jim Robbins, and Frankie Thornton to the Thurmont Police Commission. Kraenbring was also reappointed to serve on the Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission.

At Emmitsburg’s 39th Annual Community Heritage Day, representatives from the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) set up a booth to display information about EMI’s 70 years of training for emergency managers across the nation who visit the 107-acre National Emergency Training Center (NETC) campus in Emmitsburg.

Joe Goldsberry, Training Specialist, and Bill Hertel, Telecommunications Specialist, answered questions as festival-goers stopped to look at the signs and brochures. Joe, as chief steward of the EMI Union, and Bill, as a 25-year staffer at EMI, were the perfect ambassadors for explaining what goes on behind the gates.

The fence along South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg was installed around the property by the federal government following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. They make the campus appear mysterious, although training emergency managers is simply practical! Interactive lectures and activities, sharing lessons learned from disasters, and exploring concepts in leadership and management are the stock-in-trade of training at EMI where managers prepare for, mitigate against, respond to, and recover from disasters.

In fact, last year more than 900,000 students from around the nation and the world took a total of 2.4 million courses selected from the 152 online independent study and 211 classroom-based courses.

Don Briggs, mayor of Emmitsburg, stopped by the booth to congratulate EMI and to say how much he appreciates EMI’s mission. “I’ve run into EMI students many times in town and heard about what they are learning. It’s interesting, most of all, to hear how they can apply what they learned here in Emmitsburg to making their own communities safer and more resilient.”

While the NETC campus, owned and operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Fire Academy (NFA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), has been operating since 1981, training for the nation’s emergency managers began in 1951 at the Civil Defense Staff College (CDSC).

In response to the public’s concern after the Soviet Union exploded an atomic bomb in 1949, President Truman issued an Executive Order to create FCDA, the Federal Civil Defense Administration. One of the key components of this executive order mandated the federal government to provide training to state and local government officials.

On April 1, 1951, the National Civil Defense Training Center opened in Olney, Maryland. It consisted of two schools, the Civil Defense Staff College and the Rescue School. By the end of 1951, the Staff College had given 25 courses to state and local administrative personnel. It went on to evolve into the Emergency Management Institute today.

The Rescue School went on to become a precursor to the national urban search and rescue (USAR) system that we know today. In fact, 28 USAR teams from counties in Florida, Virginia, Ohio, among others, and those from Israel and Mexico have been working in the aftermath of the Surfside Condo collapse in Florida most recently.

Through the early 1950s, the Cold War escalated, more powerful bombs were built, and faster jet aircraft with guided missiles were developed to carry and drop the bombs. Washington, D.C. was considered to be the Soviet’s prime target. This led to the decision in 1954 to move the nation’s civil defense assets, including the Staff College, to Battle Creek, Michigan. The Staff College’s curriculum from the mid-1950s through the early 1970s was technical in nature and heavily oriented towards Nuclear Attack preparedness and response.

As the Cold War waned, the need to train for nuclear attacks diminished. Emergency management moved toward an all-hazards approach, training for floods, tornados, building collapses, and other types of natural and technological disasters. 

As Jeffrey D. Stern, Ph.D., EMI’s superintendent, said in a recent video announcing the start of EMI’s 70-year celebration, “We’ve been proud of our work in training the nation’s emergency managers since 1951; first, as civil defense professionals preparing for the cold war and then as the emergency management profession evolved in the 1970s for what we know today as our all-hazards national emergency management system. Over the years, we have grown… What we’ve also learned since 2002 is that our resilience, our preparedness, our response, and our recovery requires more than just government; it requires what we now refer to as, ‘the whole community.’ This includes the private sector, nonprofit organizations, individual citizens, and resilient communities working together. So, we are here in this 70th year rededicating [EMI] to helping train and educate the professionals that will lead the development of emergency management into the next 70 years.”

“The last several years have been incredibly challenging for our emergency management professionals and the whole nation, whether we’re dealing with hurricanes, massive flooding, civil disturbances and most recently the global pandemic, EMI has continued its mission to make ready our nation’s emergency management workforce in fiscal year 2020… As we look towards 2021 and the 70th year EMI will continue to innovate in how we deliver the important essential training and education to further build the profession our country needs and deserves.”

Joe Goldsberry at the booth celebrating EMI’s 70 years of training those who serve the nation at Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day, June 26, 2021. Listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings, N Building, shown on the display, houses EMI staff and the Learning Resource Center and is the iconic symbol of EMI.

Four stenographers and clerical workers (from left: Mrs. Frances Christiansen, Mrs. Claire Federline, Mrs. Helen Hawthorne, and Miss Rachel Gonzales) walk in front of the building that housed the Civil Defense Staff College in Olney, Maryland. 

Above Cover Photo: Bill Hertel (left), Dianne Walbrecker (center), and Joe Goldsberry (right) set up the booth at Heritage Day to celebrate EMI’s 70 years.

Photo Courtesy of Edward Nolan, Archives of the Sun Papers

Photo by Dianne Walbrecker

Gracie Eyler

Do you enjoy the sport of fishing? If you do, then there is a hefty chance one [or many] of your most treasured memories involves a farm pond, family, and friends.

While not everyone has access to their own private fishing oasis, fortunately, we have a few great spots to cast a line right in our neck of the woods. If you haven’t come across Cool’s Pond, you’re surely missing out on this hidden gem.

Nestled on the top of a mountain, Cool’s Pond is a small piece of paradise. When you arrive at the property you can’t help but notice the scenic overlook, but the view isn’t the biggest draw. It’s actually the massive catfish that can be caught out of two large ponds.

In the 1980s, proprietor Barb Cool’s (late) husband, Sam, tossed around ideas to help generate more revenue for their large family. He came up with a grand plan that was implemented when, in 1985, Sam Cool welcomed the community to “Cool’s Pond” to pay-to-fish (catch and release).

He took out an ad in a local newspaper, expecting crowds to come out and fish. Barb laughed and said that in the beginning, “You’d be lucky to have a few people a week!” After a while, word got out that Sam had the pond stocked with monster catfish, and it snowballed from there.

Barb laughs as she sits on the big farmhouse porch, “I never thought anyone would fish, and then, guess what, I was wrong!”

Unfortunately, in 2019, Sam passed away. Barb and her family worked hard to freshen up the property. Fast-forwarding to 2020, outdoor recreation was at a high. We were all feeling the effects of a rough year, being cooped up inside for too long from the ongoing pandemic. With so much support from their repeat customers over the years, they reopened, and it was just what the community needed. “It was just incredible, the support we received from our fishermen.”

Some of the fish that you may catch and release during your visit include sunfish, crappie, bass, flathead, and channel catfish. The largest catfish, named “Bubba” is roughly 50 pounds and lurks at the bottom of one of the ponds. (Sorry, we can’t tell you which pond—you’ll have to figure that out on your own!) The farm also produces brown eggs and fresh fruit. If you’re looking for farm-fresh eggs, they are available for purchase at the bait shop.

To begin your adventure at Cool’s, you stroll up to the brown building, sign in with an envelope, and leave eight dollars in the envelope. You’ll most likely be greeted by a friendly face, the groundskeeper, Derek. He knows the ponds just as well as Barb and her late husband, Sam.

“Doctor Derek,” Barb jokes, knows an immense amount about the fish species in the pond, appropriate baits and tackle, and when the fish are biting. Informally, his doctor title comes from being the guy who helps the unfortunate who have hooked themselves, to remove the new piercing. Making his rounds to all of the visitors, he is happy to chat about the ponds and provide advice, but he also keeps an eye on those who might not be following the rules.

Another friendly face you may see helping out, is Sammie, Barb’s granddaughter (and Derek’s summer sidekick). Sammie adores her grandparents’ paradise. She spends most of her summer doing odds and ends around the farm and, of course, fishing when she has a chance.

Sammie recollects one of the unforgettable moments growing up, “I was two or three, fishing with my grandfather. I went to cast in, and instead of landing in the pond, the hook landed and was stuck in the back of my head.” Some kids may have ended the hobby right there, but it didn’t discourage Sammie.

Along with the well-maintained grounds, bait is available for purchase and rods are available to rent. For those who may be having trouble with their own fishing rod—or may have had a monster cat hook the line that jerked their fishing rod into the pond—visit the shop, and Derek will outfit you with the appropriate rental.

Snacks and drinks are also available for purchase, but you’re welcome to bring your own meal and picnic while you’re fishing. A variety of benches, chairs, and picnic tables are along the banks, as well as charcoal grills if you feel like cooking! Don’t worry, if you chose not to roast some wieners, they won’t go to waste. Turns out, the catfish may love them more than us. They especially enjoy them if they’ve been soaked in red Kool-Aid! If they don’t hit on hot dogs, then they may be hungry for chicken liver or bait fish.

While enjoying your outing at Cool’s Pond, there are a few rules and pond etiquette that visitors must follow. For example, bait fish are available for purchase. They are kept in a large container with no exposure to other water sources. This limits the risk of introducing disease, unwanted vegetation, and parasites into the pond.

As you’ll notice, there are concrete blocks every so often on the banks. These are used as heavy-duty rod holders, but you are encouraged to stay with your rod. If a big fish grabs the line, there is a very good chance you’ll either need to get creative and try to get your prized rod back or accept its fate, and it will become a part of the fishing-rod graveyard. There have been quite a few recovered over the years.

You are welcome to bring your own food, drinks, and supplies, but please make sure any unwanted items and trash are discarded into the trash bins on the property, or even better, leave with everything you brought. Cigarette butts and cut fishing line along the banks are certainly frowned upon. Discarded string can litter the ponds and threaten other local wildlife in the ecosystem.

Treble hooks are a handy hook to almost guarantee a catch, but they generally cause more harm to the fish when being removed. Skip the treble hooks while at the pond. You’ll save yourself—and your catch—the misery. Instead, use a single-snare hook. “If the fish does swallow the hook, and it cannot be removed without damage, cut the line, and leave the hook in the fish. Hooks will rust and the fish will heal,” Derek said.

One of Sam’s favorite parts about the fishing business is giving people the opportunity to bring their children to a safe place, with few obstacles, to learn the sport. Sam invites local youth up every summer to give kids a class on fishing. Sunfish tend to be curious and aggressive of anything passing through their territory, which makes them ideal to keep little kids interested if they continuously catch them. When you’re done with your bait, take it with you, or ask your neighbor on the bank if they could use it. If the fish are well-fed and don’t have to put up a fight for food, you or your child may have a disappointing day of fishing.

For a nominal fee, Cool’s Pond is a local treasure that you and your family should experience. If you want to take the outdoor experience a step further, make a reservation to go night fishing and even camping! New this year, the family worked hard to provide three fresh new primitive campsites. Each is equipped with a picnic table and private grill. 

Cool’s Pond is located at 14419 Edgemont Road in Smithsburg and is open daily, from sun-up to sundown. To make reservations for a campsite or catfishing at night, call 240-527-9758 or 301-824-0083. There is no license required for fishing.

You won’t just make a good memory, you’ll most likely find yourself making new friends at the Cool family paradise.

Barb Cool, granddaughter Sammie, and Groundskeeper Derek take a quick break from the summer heat before getting back to work at the pond.

Photo by Gracie Eyler

(left) Barb and Sam Cool stand out on the dock at Cool’s Pond.

(right) Gracie and Danny Eyler show off their skills (really, just random luck) catfishing at Cool’s Pond. Please note, it’s not always as easy as it looks holding a catfish and posing for a picture.

James Rada Jr.

Like old friends that we haven’t seen in a while but are now beginning to, familiar events are once again happening in Northern Frederick County.

Carnivals and festivals that were canceled last year are taking place this year. Pools and venues that were closed last year are open this year. And everyone is elated to see this long-awaited trend back to normalcy.

Emmitsburg Heritage Day and the Guardian Hose Company carnival were among the events that went off without a hitch this year.

“We were able to do it, and the community came out and supported us,” said Wayne Stackhouse, Guardian Hose Company president.

He was pleased with the turnout, although the carnival was one day less this year. Still, it was a big improvement over having no carnival—and no fundraiser for the fire company—last year.

“When you take away the biggest fundraiser we have, it hurts the company,” Stackhouse said.

The Emmitsburg Heritage Day Committee had to make its decision about the community event while many restrictions were still in place, although things were improving.

“It was an optimistic decision, similar to the one we made last year,” said committee member Jennifer Joy.

The Heritage Day Committee consists of Lions, Sons of the American Legion, Knights of Columbus, and is supported by the whole community through donations. “We figured that even if restrictions stayed or were imposed, we could still have an abbreviated event. So, we planned for the whole event and, if necessary, were prepared to abbreviate it to just an evening entertainment and the annual fireworks like we did last year.”

The fireworks would have needed to happen, regardless of whether the rest of the event happened because the committee had to pay half of the show cost in December, and it was non-refundable.

Meanwhile, the biggest area event to come is Colorfest in October, and planning is happening for that event, which will bring somewhere around 100,000 people to Thurmont over the weekend.

“We are all systems go,” said Colorfest President Carol Robertson.

Without Colorfest happening last year, the $20,000 in annual donations Colorfest, Inc. makes directly to the community didn’t happen. This included scholarships and the Christmas dinner donations the group makes to the Thurmont Food Bank. Also, churches and organizations that use the event as their major fundraiser for the year didn’t get that income.

Robertson expects the turnout for Colorfest to be great this year. The vendors are excited to attend, and people want to get out.

“When we made the decision to go ahead with it, I had people come up and hug me in the store,” Robertson said. “It was missed, and I think it will be well attended.”

The games at Emmitsburg Heritage Day were lots of fun!

(above) Kyle Welsh and Chase Jackson at the Thurmont Guardian Hose Co.’s Carnival.

(above) Karen Eiker, Molly Tokar, Rose Downs Hatcher and Lori Young pumped up for the Amish Outlaws at the Thurmont Event Complex.

(below) McKinley and Karlee at the Thurmont Guardian Hose Co.’s Carnival.

(below) Braylee and Ayden Helman enjoy rides at the Thurmont Guardian Hose Co.’s Carnival!

Courtesy Photos

Emmitsburg Heritage Day Photos by Deb Abraham Spalding

Members of the South Paw Dog Club direct the talents of their beautiful dogs.

The Heritage Day parade is enjoyed by many. The Catoctin High School Baseball Team rides in the truck, celebrating its win at the Maryland State Championship.

John Whittaker volunteers to drive the kiddy train ride at Heritage Day.

Volunteers Jenni and Pat Joy represent the Emmitsburg Lions Club and Knights of Columbus to make Heritage Day possible.

A smiling Luke Ray places second in the Pie Eating Contest (ages 5-8) at Heritage Day!

Marc and Becca Cichocki cross the finish line (ages 17 & up) in a sack race.

Tyrian Lodge #205 sponsored the annual Horseshoe Tournament at Heritage Day. Winners are pictured.

Photo by Ron Cool

Various games were held during the 2021 Emmitsburg Heritage Day event that was held in the E. Eugene Myers Memorial Park in Emmitsburg on June 26. A great day was had by all! The winners are listed below.

Greased Pig Chase: Ages 1-6—winner was Ryan Krom; Ages 7-11—winner was Alexandra Singh; Ages 12-16—winner was Justin Lejeune; Ages 17 & up—winner was Mark Creager.

Sack Race Singles: Ages 1-4—Ava Cichocki (1st) and Kynslee Miller (2nd); Ages 5-8—Jerome Turner and Sophia Myers (two heats 1st) and Morgan Fogle and Jackson Ciehocki (two heats 2nd); Ages 9-12—Bernadette Hahn and Bradon Zentz (two heats 1st) and Sarah Legare and Madelyn Fogle (two heats 2nd); Ages 13-16—Mary Legare (1st); Ages 17 & up—Jack McCarthy (1st) and Brendan Allison (2nd).

Sack Race Doubles: Ages 9-12—Austin and Addison Welch (1st) and Kennedy and Gage Creager (2nd); Ages 13-16—Sarah Legare and Naomi Hahn (1st) and Lucy Hahn and Sphia Legare (2nd); Ages 17 & up—Becca and Marc Cichocki (1st) and David and Timmy McCarthy (2nd).

Egg Toss: Bridget and Dan McCarthy (1st); Danielle Wilson and Bobby Knox (2nd).

Water Balloon Toss: Abigail and Quin McCarthy (1st).

Pie Eating Contest: Ages up to 4—Leah Krom (1st); Ages 5-8—Cora Krom (1st) and Luke Ray (2nd); Ages 9-12—Alexandra Singh (1st) and Sophia Legare (2nd); Ages 13-16—Mary Legare (1st) and Naomi Hahn (2nd); Ages 17 & up—Jack McCarthy (1st) and Mark Creager (2nd).

Watermelon Eating Contest: Ages up to 4—Leah Krom (1st) and Everly Wivell (2nd); Ages 5-8—Ryan Krom (1st) and Gage Creager (2nd); Ages 9-12—Alexandra Singh (1st) and Kennedy Creager (2nd); Ages 13-16—Jeremy Talcott (1st) and Timmy McCarthy (2nd); Ages 17 & up—Jack McCarthy (1st) and Nick Wivell (2nd).

Horseshoe Tournament: Ted Rill, Sr. and Brendon Allison (1st), Ted Rill, Jr. and Dan Warren (2nd), and Harold Stafford and Eileen Scovitch (3rd).

Jayden Myers

For those traveling in the area, whether it be for sightseeing, visiting, or just passing through, there are some unique places that you could stop visit this summer and fall.

Locally, spots such as Cunningham Falls State Park, Catoctin Wildlife Preserve, and the Catoctin Furnace are places worth visiting.

Cunningham Falls State Park is a beautiful place to visit, not just for its scenery but for some of the activities it offers. There are many trails that are great for hiking, and the lake holds opportunities for swimming, boating, and fishing. If planning for a longer stay, there are campsites for overnight visits. You can also visit Catoctin Furnace while visiting Cunningham, as it is located within.

Catoctin Furnace is appealing to history buffs, as it holds history from the American Revolutionary War and much more. You can explore what remains and enjoy the views as you do.

Catoctin Wildlife Preserve is a lovely place to go and enjoy the wildlife. You can feed and touch some of the animals, as well as enjoy some of the other activities it offers. It can be a very fun experience for both kids and adults.

For areas a bit farther away, Deep Creek Lake and Ocean City are some great family vacation options.

Deep Creek Lake has something for everyone. You can rent estates in the area to serve as a homebase while exploring all the recreational options lake has to offer. The lake has tons of different activities for the whole family. In certain sectioned-off locations, it is safe to swim and play, as it is roped off and has lifeguards during the summer. The lake is also open to boating and fishing, as well as other water activities.

Ocean City has many family-friendly activities, like miniature golf, amusement parks, and water parks. On the boardwalk, there are arcades, shops, stands, and you can listen to the waves from the beach. On the beach, you can swim, play, boat, and fish. Fun for the whole family.

One other great place to stay in Maryland is Assateague Island. It has amazing scenery and wild horses roaming the island. You can swim, camp, and sightsee while there. You can go kayaking, see the wildlife, go hiking, horseback riding, and more!

Make sure to check out some of the amazing places in Maryland this summer and fall.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont

End-of-Year Budget Amendments Made

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved nine adjustments to the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, totaling around $158,000 in additional funding and $48,651 in transfers from other funds. Most of the amendments reflect grant funding that was received during the year and the town match required of the grants. The transfers show that for a town investment of $48,651, it received an additional $158,000 in improvements.

Stormwater Management Projects Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners will pay Arro Consulting $134,385 for retrofit design engineering of five stormwater management facilities the State of Maryland is requiring. The project will be paid for with money from the general fund.

Thurmont Boulevard Study Progresses

The plan for Thurmont Boulevard has been on the books for about 30 years, although little progress has been made on the project. The new road would relieve some of the traffic on Moser Road and Frederick Road and support development in the southern end of Thurmont. The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved using $53,300 in street-impact fees to continue the preliminary engineering study. The goal is to be ready to move forward with the project when a developer gets a project approved that needs the road.

Additional Park Projects Possible

The State of Maryland provided Frederick County with $6 million in local parks and playgrounds infrastructure funding. The money will be split 50/50 between the county and municipality for near-shovel-ready projects. The town needed to submit a wish list to the county of possible projects for the funding. These include: sealcoating the Thurmont Trolley Trail, building the Gateway Trail pedestrian bridge to connect Community Park to West Main Street, the new East End Park baseball field, and Eyler Road Park field lighting. The town also plans on submitting some lower-priced projects in case sufficient funding for the larger projects cannot be obtained.

Emmitsburg

Town Office Open for Walk-ins

The Emmitsburg Town Office is now open for walk-in service at the front desk. You can pay water/sewer bills, obtain fishing permits, make park pavilion reservations, all in person. Office hours are 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Friday.

Per Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, the following guidelines will be enforced: (1) face masks are required in the building, (2) only the service window will be open to the public, and (3) appointments are required to meet with town staff outside of regular front desk services.

You can also attend town meetings in person. Face masks are required throughout the town meetings.

ADA Curb Contract Awarded

The Emmitsburg Town Council awarded MIM Construction the contract to make the town’s sidewalk curb’s ADA-compliant at street crossings. The contract is for $623,028.50, but with allowances for change orders, it is not to exceed $705,893. The project is funded with a $685,893 Community Development Block Grant, a $10,000 town cash match, and a $10,000 town in-kind match.

Logging Contract Awarded

The Emmitsburg Town Council awarded Tipton’s of Union Bridge the contract to log forestry stand 10. The town will receive $75,100 for the timber. Ninety percent of the funds will go to the water fund, and 10 percent will be used for trail maintenance to repair and damage the logging might cause.

Concern for Bypass

Emmitsburg Commissioner TJ Burns expressed concerns about the southern bypass included in the town’s comprehensive plan. Although the project is not happening in the near future, the town and the owner of one of the properties needed for the bypass have talked about annexation.

Burns’ major concern is that the town would have to maintain the road and supply the electricity for a future traffic light on South Seton Avenue to create a way for non-town residents to get around the town.

“There’s a lot of things the town is on the hook for to create a loop around for non-residents.”

Mayor Don Briggs added his reservations, saying that it would hurt commerce downtown. However, he added that the bypass has been on the books around 14 years, and it is no closer to happening.

Town Planner Zach Gulden added that there are many hurdles to leap before it would become a reality. All the property owners would have to want their properties annexed. The town council would have to agree to the annexation. Town residents could vote against the annexation, and the Maryland State Highway Department would have to approve the connections to two state roads. Any of these could derail the project.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are in the month of August; time flies when you are having fun! I hope everyone had a great time at the Guardian Hose Company Carnival. Be sure to watch for upcoming events at both Guardian Hose Company and the Thurmont Community Ambulance Company. I know they are planning car shows and other events for the upcoming months. They will also be out in full force at Colorfest. Both of these great organizations need our continued support!

The Thurmont Skate Park is getting closer to reality with the public request for bids on the project. The town has secured $40,000 in funds to help with the construction, and I know the Skate Park Committee has been hard at work collecting donations. Once the design has been approved and the contract awarded, we will be planning a groundbreaking ceremony at the Skate Park grounds at the East End Park. Be sure to watch for upcoming details and join us as we kick off this wonderful project.

Frederick County recently received $6 million in parks improvement funding from Federal Recovery Funding, and the municipalities in Frederick County will be sharing half of that funding. We have submitted several projects that are shovel-ready and expect to be able to move forward on several of them as soon as possible. We will keep you updated.

As many are aware, the Federal American Rescue Plan has allocated funds to the state, county, and municipal levels. These funds are to be used for a very narrow set of circumstances, with most of the funds targeted at infrastructure repair and improvements. The Town of Thurmont has received $3.78 million to be invested in the first phase of this program. It is our intention to focus on several important water and wastewater projects. These will include the replacement of water and sewer lines on North Church Street from the railroad bridge to Rt. 15, much-needed repairs to the water service line on West Pryor Road, improvement to several Storm Water Management facilities to bring them up to current MS4 requirements, and several water service items to help improve water flow and availability. The Thurmont Board of Commissioners will be discussing these projects during upcoming meetings.

Finally, I want to remind everyone that the Frederick County Health Department is offering free COVID-19 vaccinations every Friday afternoon, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., at the Thurmont Municipal Offices at 615 East Main Street. I want to thank the Frederick County Health Department for making the vaccinations available to the residents of Thurmont and Northern Frederick County. I also want to thank everyone that has received a vaccination and to encourage those of you that have not received a vaccination to think about doing so. The vaccine is one of the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19!

As always, I am available for comments or suggestions at 301-606-9458, by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com, or via Facebook..

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

The State of Maryland COVID-19 State of Emergency has been lifted. Governor Hogan made the announcement at the Maryland Municipal League (MML) late June conference. Maryland is back in business. For the most part, all COVID-19-related mandates have ended. Masks in places of worship, restaurants, and stores are optional.

Looking to the future with the experience of losing over 500,000 citizens to COVID-19 is the not included 93,000 drug-overdose-related deaths, of which approximately 70,000 were related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us reach out and talk to people. We are in this community together, not alone.

After the governor’s announcement, the town requested that Frederick County Government, our landlord, allow the town to reopen the office to the public. County buildings are now open. The request was granted with certain restrictions. We must all wear masks in public areas of the building. Ordinary transactions, paying bills, licensing, etc., will be handled at the receptionist service window. If you need specific attention with a staff member, it will be by appointment only. Office hours are 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Friday.

Gym use will commence Sept. 1. Groups interested in using the gym should contact the town. Like in pre-pandemic times, there will be a meeting in September to work out sharing the gym. Please contact the town for the date and time of the meeting.

June closed out with yet another grassroots Community Heritage Day success. Other communities have their special events but this is Emmitsburg’s. The events, displays, parade, and fireworks combine to make it a unique day. Lots of elbow grease in this one. Lions Club members, businesses, town staff. Congratulations and thank you. Comparatively the 4th of July was quietly celebrated in our hearts with flags out, and visitations to the new businesses in town. The smoothie shop and comic book and more shop in the strip center by Jubilee and the ice cream stand (soon to be Dairy and possibly bakery shop) on E. Main Street. Coming soon is a pizzeria at the Stavros location on the Square (with, I have been told, the Stavros pizza recipe).

Quietly, a major investment in the downtown is taking place. On the building facing the square in the northwest corner. Total rehabilitation of interior, electrical, plumbing, and windows. Renovation is planned to be completed in mid-August.

Four wayside historic exhibits were dedicated on the last day of June. On East Main Street, the John Armstrong long rifle maker home. On South Seton Avenue, the train terminal, the fire museum glass etching, and the Mother Seton’s White House. This brings us to a total of eleven waysides. Another set is in the works that will include tributes to St. Euphemia grade school on DePaul Street and the free school on West Lincoln Avenue. Please enjoy your walkabouts.

I attended the opening of the “Seton Family Treasures” museum on the lower level of the Basilica. Very attractive presentation with informative historical displays. Congratulations.

And congratulations to the Catoctin State Championship baseball team.  What a group of young men! Winning two state championships within 18 months is an incredible achievement. A third championship most likely could have been won in basketball, too, if not for the pandemic.

As I mentioned in the previous article, Emmitsburg is one of the top 10 most beautiful, charming small towns in Maryland, and also known as “Green Town” over the last decade. The goal has always been to reduce expenses, cost, and waste through the use of renewable energy. By implementing, we contribute to the sustainability of the fragile balances in our ecological systems.

Lots of walking, park use, baseball, and disc golf is an overwhelming success.

We have gotten some rain, but “droughts are out there,” so please water the yard and plants at night or early mornings. 

Back to school soon. Please be vigilant in watching out for children walking to school or to catch a bus.

Blair Garrett

Winning a state championship is a rare feat. Winning during a global pandemic is exceptional.

It takes a tremendously resilient group to fight through the lulls of quarantines, shutdowns, and uncertainty with the season. To re-focus and capture a regional and state championship speaks volumes about the discipline and dedication of the Catoctin High School Baseball Team.

The Cougars captured the team’s second 1A state title in a dominant performance over Saint Michaels on June 18, 2021, winning the game 10-3 at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, Maryland.

The team’s breakout postseason was sparked by a change of playstyle, with the batters focusing on getting on base with ground shots rather than looking to send the ball into stands each hit.

“The end of the regular season didn’t go as planned,” shortstop Dylan Click said. “We got blown out by Urbana, so we changed the hitting style that wasn’t working in the regular season.”

Following Catoctin’s 5-6 regular season, the group buckled down to put the pieces in place to spur their offense.

The ability to put runners on base was something that the team had struggled to find during the season, posting just 1.35 runs per game. The Cougars’ team-first focus on keeping the ball in play earned them 26 runs in their final three games.

Though Catoctin’s shift to slicing ground balls became the premier strategy, playoff teams were punished for putting pitches in dangerous spots for Cougar batters. “Our offense clicked and we just went on a run through the playoffs,” Click said.

Catcher and outfielder Dylan Nicholson changed the momentum of the game with one big shot, sending the ball soaring out of Regency Furniture Stadium with two runners on base.

The three-run swing set the Cougars up with a lead they would hold on to throughout the rest of the game.

Catoctin’s pitching was sensational throughout the entire season, posting a deep pool of talented kids with a combined earned runs against (ERA) of 1.10.

“Our pitching was great all year, and our defense was solid, we just weren’t hitting,” Click said. “When the playoffs came around, we finally started hitting, and our pitching continued to be great, and that’s why we strung a few wins together to win the whole thing.”

The Cougars’ successes in the playoffs this season are no surprise for the players, who had confidence in each other that they could put the pieces together to make a deep run in the playoffs. “Going into every playoff game, I think we knew we were the better team,” Click said. “It wasn’t any different in the championship game.”

Catoctin sophomore Joey McMannis got a surprise start and capitalized on his opportunity.

The pitcher’s composure at the plate saw the Cougars take charge through the four and two-third innings he pitched, and that boost built the foundation for the team’s stellar showing. He threw just 10 innings before Friday’s state championship game, but his banner performance speaks to the team’s depth behind the mound.

“This is one of the best pitching teams I’ve been a part of,” senior pitcher Ayden Shadle said. “Everyone contributed, everyone was really solid throughout the season, and everyone did their part.”

Shadle was the closing pitcher who brought players and fans to their feet with his final strikeout of the game. “On the last pitch, I was up 0-2 (zero balls, two strikes), so I threw it as hard as I could, and we got the strikeout,” he said. “After that, everyone came out of the dogpile, and every single coach got in. It was a really great feeling.”

With the team buying into head coach Mike Franklin’s slash-hitting system, and the offense flourishing, it was only a matter of time before the Cougars hit their stride, and the team caught fire at just the right time.

“All of us this year, but the seniors especially, were thankful to have the opportunity,” Click said. “At the beginning of the season, we didn’t even know if we were going to have a playoff format, so when we got the news we had the chance to play for a state championship, we were all pretty happy. It’s pretty nice to go down in the history books.”Logan Malachowski jumps with pitcher Ayden Shadle as Catoctin’s baseball players   react to their 1A High School Championship game in Waldorf, Maryland.

Cover Photo by Deb Abraham Spalding

Senior catcher Dustin Isonagle hits down third baseline.

Photo by Melissa Kinna

First baseman JJ Zirkle snags a foul ball.

Photo by Melissa Kinna

Ayden Shadle closes out the game as the final pitcher.

Photo by Chuck Baxter

Deb Abraham Spalding

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Freedom isn’t free,” especially around Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Independence Day, as a reminder of the sacrifice others have made to protect our freedom. This past Memorial Day, the official dedication ceremony of the Moser Road bridge and Trolley Trail foot bridge in Thurmont to two Thurmont Marines who were killed in action in Vietnam reminded those in attendance that there is a price for freedom.

The Moser Road bridge was dedicated, and signage unveiled, to honor SGT Woodrow Franklin “Frank” Carbaugh USMC. The Trolley Trail foot bridge was dedicated, and signage unveiled, to honor PFC Charles R. Pittinger USMC. These two young men were raised in Thurmont, and upon graduating from Thurmont High School in the 1960s, each enlisted or was drafted into the United States Marine Corps.

They were both killed in action by wounds received from hostile forces in Vietnam. They gave their lives in service to our nation, for our freedom.

The signage that is visible from both directions as you approach the bridges will serve as an on-going opportunity for travelers to remember and give thanks.

At a luncheon hosted by the volunteers at the Edwin C. Creeger, Jr. American Legion on Park Lane in Thurmont, dedication ceremony host Gary Spegal, Frederick County Commander and Thurmont American Legion Honor Guard OIC, gave the official welcome to the dual dedication of the Trolley Trail foot bridge and the Moser Road bridge spanning over Big Hunting Creek in Thurmont.

Commander Spegal said, “Read the names, reflect, and consider the sacrifice for the values that these two men fought for and died for. They inspire all of us to pray for our country’s leaders to seek peaceful settlements to our disputes.” He added, “One of the things our nation could have done better is welcoming home our Veterans who fought in Southeast Asia. It’s been half a century and their legacy has faded.” Locally, the bridge dedication will be a reminder to those who pass.

Thurmont’s Mayor John Kinnaird said, “The memory of the day when news arrived about the deaths of both Charlie and Woodie sticks clearly in my mind. I think it is appropriate that these bridges be dedicated in their names today. Bridges physically transport us from one point to another, but these bridges will now take us back in time. Each time we cross these bridges, we will remember Charlie and Woody…as the local boys we knew as family, neighbors, and friends…and the sacrifices these young men made for our community and our nation.”

On the bridge site, Ella Renner, the American Auxiliary Jr. Unit 168’s Poppy Princess, assisted Unit 168 Poppy Chairperson Angela Spegal to install red poppy flowers on each of the sign posts. The red flower of the poppy represents the blood of our fallen.

Deacon John Hawkins provided the blessing of the bridges. “Chewy,” a Veteran memorial vehicle, sounded the guns in salute.

Attendees moved from the official dedication location at the bridges to the ceremony location at the Edwin C. Creeger, Jr. American Legion on Park Lane in Thurmont.

Here, Scouts of Troop 270 Color Guard performed the Presentation of Colors.

During this touching ceremony, music was enjoyed, attendees sang the Marine Corps Hymn, and several people shared fond memories.

Sandy Seidel, mother of 1st Lt. Robert Seidel, presented a print of Robert’s poem “War” that was written in honor of Charles Pittinger to the Pittinger family. As an elementary-aged boy in Emmitsburg in the 1990s, young Robbie Seidel, learned from his uncle Larry Pittinger, about another uncle, Charles Pittinger, who had lost his life in Vietnam. He wrote the poem “War” in Charles’ honor. Little Robbie later became 1st Lt. Robert Seidel, who was killed in action while serving our country in Iraqi Freedom in May 2006.

Sgt. David Carter USMC traveled from Morristown, Tennessee, to the ceremony to talk about his tour with Sgt. Woodrow Franklin “Frank” Carbaugh. He said, “His tour of duty ran parallel with mine. I met Frank in January 1967. We received orders together. I will never forget him. He was the most Christian man I have ever known. A man of great character.”

Larry Pittinger, representing his brother John and sister Ann, spoke about their brother PFC Charles R. Pittinger. He shared that in preparation, American Legion Cmdr. Gary Spegal gave him a project to locate photos and memorabilia to display at the event.

Larry said, “For me, this request is the most rewarding part of the past eight months. Because of this request, photos that were packed away were unpacked and enjoyed again. Letters written more than 50 years ago were re-read. Through these letters, I learned of Charlie’s plans to buy a Corvette when he returned home. In a follow-up letter, he said that he may have to switch to his plan B, which was getting his ’57 Chevy on the road because of a change in the State of Maryland’s insurance rates.”

Larry continued, “He wrote of his frustration of walking through about four inches of mud to return to the base camp while carrying the M79 that was nicknamed the “Blooper” and carrying other gear that almost weighed as much as himself. Next, I found a website for Lima 35. Some of these Vets called me and shared their personal experiences. I am not a military Veteran, but after talking to these four Marine Vets, I have a deeper understanding of the kinship and the bond Veterans have for one another. To all Veterans, thank you for your service.”

“Thank you all for honoring my brother PFC Charles Robert Pittinger.”

The ceremony closed with the Benediction by Deacon John Hawkins and the Retirement of Colors by Scouts of Troop 270.

Photos by Deb Abraham Spalding

The Moser Road Bridge named in honor of Sgt. Carbaugh.

Waynesboro Becoming Destination Town

by Blair Garrett

With the world’s gradual return to normalcy looming on the horizon, the need to make up for lost time is ever-growing.

There are countless great restaurants and places locally to have an awesome experience, and more seem to be popping up every month. Just over the Mason Dixon Line in Pennsylvania, not far from us in northern Frederick County, several places have risen from the shutdowns to bring good drinks and good times to all.

A wide variety of options are now available for just about any craving, but a fun and unique side of Waynesboro hasn’t had its chance to blossom just yet.

The rapidly changing town has seen an influx of businesses over the past few years. Notably, more breweries have found a new home in the south-central Pennsylvania town. Waynesboro even boasts a brand new distillery, sure to spice up the weekends of visiting customers and regular locals.

Rough Edges Brewing

Just past the square on Waynesboro’s main drag lies Rough Edges Brewing. The small team has found tremendous success crafting brilliant recipes into well-balanced beers.

The brewery is led by owners Wes Phebus and Casey Phebus, who are excited for an opportunity to flourish post-pandemic.

“The growth in Waynesboro has been fantastic,” Casey Phebus said. “We like to think we are a part of that. With us and Lake House, and the other breweries opening up, I think we’re part of making Waynesboro a destination.”

The brewery’s launch was an initial success, but due to the ongoing pandemic, Waynesboro’s newest brewery had to weather the storm during uncertain times. “We opened February of 2020. We were open six weeks, but the weekend of our grand opening, we got shut down, and it was heartbreaking,” Phebus said. “We had been doing well, and the community was very happy and very receptive.”

Adjusting to the restrictions wasn’t easy, but Rough Edges pulled through selling beer to-go, allowing them to keep brewing and producing great local craft beer.

“The community was insanely supportive,” Phebus said. “We survived with that model, and then we were able to finally have indoor dining, and luckily we were in a position to get right back into it.”

Rough Edges came to be through Wes’ home-brew hobby, which eventually blossomed into a career in crafting beers.

“Wes started as a homebrewer, and got into it as a pretty serious hobby,” Phebus said. “After a year or so, he decided he wanted to brew professionally, so he left his prior career and got a job at Something Wicked Brewing over in Hanover.”

Phebus quickly took over as head brewer at Something Wicked, and the two seized the opportunity to open a place of their own when presented with the chance to do so.

“We had aspirations to have our own place, and we wanted to bring our love for craft beer to our hometown.”

To date, Rough Edges offers a variety of craft beers that have been making waves in the community. “We do a little bit of everything,” Phebus said. “We have kettle sours, IPAs, we have a root beer float stout that’s been really popular, we have lagers on, too.”

You can catch some of Rough Edges’ beers at select stores locally, or at their brewery, Thursday through Sunday.

Lake House Distillery

Lake House Distillery is one of Waynesboro’s newest attractions, and it has quickly become the talk of the town. Their sign hanging above the bar features owners Aaron and Tara Lake’s name and family home, displaying the at-home feel of a comfortable and intimate bar and restaurant.

The couple opened Lake House Distillery just two months before the chaos of the pandemic set in, and navigating their way back to a full-capacity business has been a journey and a half.

“It was a brand new business, with nothing like that around here, and eight weeks later, Corona shut us down,” Tara Lake said. “It was kind of a gut punch after you spend 18 months of building.”

After renovating and pouring money and time into their passion project, the uncertainty of what was to come pushed the pair to take action to help in any way they could.

“Around here, hand sanitizer was very difficult to find,” Lake said. “During the pandemic, we used what product we had that we were going to be making whiskey with, and we made hand sanitizer with it. We donated it to the fire department, police departments, nursing homes, the post office, and all the first responders to make sure that our community had some sort of protection.”

The Lake family gave away hand sanitizer to the community after first responders had been stocked up, continuing to provide for Waynesboro residents in any way they could. “ It was two weeks that turned into eight months,” Lake said.

The distillery pushed through the pandemic by selling to-go drinks, and now has events in the works.  They often feature live music on the weekends to show guests a great time to go with their great drinks.

Aaron Lake runs the spirits side of the business, perfecting his craft with an open-barrel fermentation process and a whole lot of fine-tuning. If it isn’t up to his quality, he won’t pass it on for distribution.

“When I put something out, I want to make sure that it’s good. That’s our name, that’s our house on the sign,” Aaron said. I’ve dumped up to 45 gallons of whiskey down the drain, just because I won’t sell it if it’s not to my standard.

His attitude of continuing to learn and hone his skills has made Lake into a phenomenal distiller. “I will never call myself a master distiller because I want to learn,” Lake said. “Once you stop being humble and learning things, that’s the day you start losing interest in it.”  

Waynesboro used to be a bustling hub for distilleries over a century ago, and Lake touched on some of the history behind the town’s pre-prohibition era scene.

“Pre-prohibition time, there were actually five distilleries in Waynesboro,” Lake said. “One of them was about two blocks from here called Pen-Mar Distilling Company. A lot of people think of whiskey as a southern thing, but all of the distillers that are in Kentucky came from Pennsylvania distillers. The old colonies and the farmers moved south where corn was more prevalent, and up in Maryland and Pennsylvania rye was more common.”

The Lake family has a few great whiskeys and vodkas, and more in the works coming soon. On hand, Lake House Distilling has a corn whiskey, a white rye, a vodka, an applejack brandy, and an apple pie moonshine that compete with decade-old companies.

Their spirits can be found at their Waynesboro location and in stores located throughout the greater Catoctin Region, including Catoctin Furnace Liquors in Foxville, North End Liquors in Hancock, Liberty Liquors in Cumberland, and Prohibition Hub in Hagerstown.

With both Tara and Aaron still working full-time jobs, Lake House Distillery’s action takes place on the weekends, often featuring food trucks, live music, and good times.         

With more and more places opening in Waynesboro, it’s easy to see why breweries and distilleries would follow suit. Waynesboro currently has Rough Edges, Lake House Distillery, and 633 Brewing, named after the 633 acres of land Waynesboro was originally settled on, and more to come soon.

Waynesboro is not a giant metropolis, but there is a lot to look forward to in the coming years for this growing town, and the new businesses that have set roots here have created a real destination that people in surrounding areas have noticed.

Rough Edges features great drinks and great designs, with their IPAs quickly gaining popularity.

Aaron and Tara Lake, owners of Lake House Distillery, show off their brand-new refurbished bar, featuring handmade drinks and a hometown feel.

Photo by Blair Garrett

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

Face Mask Restrictions Loosen at Town Pool

The Emmitsburg Commissioners voted not to require face masks be worn inside the bathhouse at the town pool this season. However, pool personnel may still be seen wearing masks as they interact with visitors.

Town Approves Agreements to Move Irishtown Road Work Forward

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a Road Transfer Memorandum of Understanding with Frederick County for Irishtown Road and approved Brookfield Lots 1-19 Irishtown Road project’s right-of-way, temporary grading easement, and public works agreements. These agreements allow the town to take over Irishtown Road so that housing developers can move forward in bringing the road up to town standards.

New Committee Members Named

The Emmitsburg Commissioners re-appointed Wendy Walsh (term ending February 2, 2022), Wayne Slaughter (term ending October 15, 2022), Tricia Sheppard (term ending July 15, 2023), Will Sheppard (term ending July 15, 2023), and Conrad Weaver (term ending July 15, 2023) to the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for two-year terms.

Kevin Hagan was appointed to a five-year term as an alternate to the Planning Commission ending June 7, 2026.

Pavilion Bid Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a bid for a small pavilion in the E. Eugene Myers Community near the bandstand. Green Sites, LLC, of Elkridge will build 8 x 8 foot pavilions for $12,750. Program Open Space funds will pay for this project.

Town Applying for Federal Assistance With USDA Rural Development

Emmitsburg is eligible for federal assistance from the U.S Department of Agriculture Community Facility Disaster Grant Program. Town staff identified $285,500 in public works equipment purchases that could be made under the program. If the funding is approved, USDA will pay 55 percent of the costs, leaving $128,500 for the town to pay.

Thurmont

Trail Paving Bids Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners unanimously approved a bid to pave the Eyler Road Park Trail and Thurmont Trolley Trail Extension. Town staff will do the grading and stone work on the projects, and American Asphalt Paving Company in Baltimore will do the asphalt overlay for $47,835 ($15,000 for the Trolley Trail and $32,835 for Eyler Road Park Trail).

Water and Sewer Main Work Approved   

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a bid of $163,000 to have Arro Consulting of Frederick do the design and engineering work to replace the water and sewer mains along North Church Street. The project will be paid for with budgeted funds in the water budget and surplus funds in the sewer budget. Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick said he hopes the town will be able to reimburse those expenses with the federal American Recovery funds Thurmont is expected to receive.

Thurmont Gets Program Open Space Funding

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird updated the commissioners on the amount of Program Open Space funding the town would receive for projects this year. Frederick County municipalities had $771,860 in funding to divide among municipal park projects, with half designated for acquisition and half for development. Thurmont received $125,000 in acquisition funding, which is the amount it sought, and $40,000 in development funding, which was $3,750 short of what it sought. The funds will provide a 75 percent match to town funding for multiple projects.

A Day in the Park Returns

Thurmont’s summer park program, A Day in the Park, is returning this summer and will run July 26 through July 30, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, in Community Park. Enrollment will be limited to 30 children. The town will also offer an alternative program if parents don’t want their children participating in in-person activities.

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

June has been special with the swiveling three-season weather experience. The next generation of homeowners are now settling in throughout the town. Included are the families purchasing the new homes that will finish out the Brookfield subdivision. Their settlements started in June and are queued throughout the summer and fall. With the completion of the buildout in the subdivision will come the completion of the necessary upgrades to Irishtown Road to permit opening Brookfield Drive onto Irishtown Road to two-way traffic. The road work is expected to be completed before Labor Day.

To our new neighbors, welcome to Emmitsburg, a place settled in pre-Revolutionary War times. Indeed, history has been very kind and generous to us. Our heritage includes Main Street being a primary western migration route for the early settlers. The place where master craftsman John Armstrong made signature Kentucky Long Rifles at the turn of the nineteenth century. Later, to where thousands of Union soldiers encamped and were nourished before moving on to Gettysburg. The town is the seat of mercy from which the Daughters of Charity went the ensuing days to tend to those wounded in the Battle of Gettysburg.

To the prestige embodied, the town, being recognized as a National Register of Historic Places, has picked up the monikers of “Fire Town” and “Green Town.”

It is left to wonder what those who formed our history would say to a town being a regional leader in the use of renewable energy. What we did eight years ago is where most of the country must go. The town has an electric car, four electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, solar-powered algae control at the town lake, and 94 percent of our town government energy needs are provided by renewable solar power. But, they still would recognize a quiet town idyllically set amid a natural balance of mountains, farmland, and streams absorbing what comes their way. Earlier this year, Emmitsburg was recognized as being one of the top ten most beautiful small towns in Maryland.

Today, unlike in the past, residents go about their “day to days” amidst their daily scurries and interactions at our restaurants, three museums and four archives, the world’s most visited fire house: Vigilant Hose Company, the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine and Basilica, the Homeland Security/Fire Academy facility, the Fallen Firefighters Memorial, the Grotto of Lourdes, and Mount St. Mary’s University, hosting over 400,000 visitors a year. All cylinders running 24/7/365. We welcome you, as we do the streams of returning university students, alums, firefighters, and winter-season skiers on their way to and from the nearby Ski Liberty.

Our history is harrowed deep from what those before us did and left. Like them, we are day-in, day-out committed to growing the quality of life in Emmitsburg.

 Emmitsburg is a great place to live, work, and visit. Join us. Your choice, step back in time, follow the wayside exhibits or step into the future forward in a regionally recognized sustainable leading community. Embody it; let its place speak to you.

Maybe this is your first experience of the Emmitsburg annual Community Heritage Day festivities and parade, do not stop now, go to the pool, farmer’s market, library, dog walk, or just step out your front door and take a leisurely walk.

To all: Best wishes for a wonderful 4th of July.

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

First, I want to congratulate the Catoctin High School Cougars Baseball Team for their 1A State Championship win. We are all extremely proud of this amazing accomplishment!

We will see the 2021 Guardian Hose Company Carnival in Thurmont on July 6-10. After over a year of COVID-19 cancelations, it will be great to get back to the GHC Carnival. Be sure to get out and enjoy the amazing selection of food, rides, games, and entertainment. Karen and I are looking forward to attending and meeting friends and family for a great evening. I will be providing several all-you-can-ride tickets for kids during the carnival; be sure to check my Facebook page each day of the carnival for details.

As we all know, Governor Hogan has lifted the State of Emergency for Maryland residents and businesses as of July 1. This action removes the remaining restrictions on masks, gatherings, and social restrictions. Please note that individual businesses can still request face masks. With the help of the vaccination, we are past the most critical months and can look forward to decreasing cases of COVID-19. The Town of Thurmont and the Frederick County Health Department are offering free COVID-19 vaccinations every Friday evening, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Town Office parking lot. Please take advantage of the free vaccinations if you have not already received a vaccination.

The Thurmont Skate Park is getting closer to reality! I recently acquired $40,000 in Open Space Funding for developing the skate park. We had requested $43,750, and I was extremely pleased to bring home 40K! I want to thank the teens and adults in the Skate Park Commission for pressing forward with this project. They have secured financial support from many donors. They are also selling T-shirts and raffle chances on two amazing skateboards. There has been a skate park booth at the Main Street Farmers Market where you can buy chances and shirts, make a donation, or chat with the kids. Project Open Space Funding comes from the State of Maryland through Frederick County. The County is awarded funds that the County can split with all the municipalities. Municipal leaders gather and decide how the funds are invested. Each municipality can request funds for the acquisition of park property and funds for development. The funds are generally split equally between acquisition and development; this year, there was almost $400,000 available for each. I was able to get acquisition funding for two properties we are considering.

The Town of Thurmont welcomed two new businesses to Main Street on June 19. KTS Mental Health Group opened its Thurmont practice at 5B East Main Street. They specialize in children and family mental health. Cuddles Cat Rescue opened at their new location at 3 East Main Street. Cuddles Cat Rescue is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to humanely reducing the feral and stray cat population in the Thurmont area.

School is out for summer, and our kids will be out and about playing and visiting friends. Be sure to be on the lookout for kids crossing our streets or riding bikes and skateboards. They are not always aware of their surroundings, so we need to be extra careful while driving. The kids are out having fun, so let’s take the extra time necessary to make sure they stay safe.

As has been the practice for many years, the Thurmont Board of Commissioners will have only one meeting in July. The meeting will be on Tuesday, July 27, at 7:00 p.m. The regular schedule of weekly meetings will resume on July 27. Please feel free to contact us during July. The Town Office and staff will be operational on their regular schedule the entire month.

I hope that families going on vacation this month have a great time. We all need some time off and the opportunity to get away for a few days!

Questions, comments, or suggestions? Please call me at 301-606-9458 or contact me by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com You can also follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/john.kinnaird.3.

Blair Garrett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tanner demonstrates how he operates his blacksmithing forge.

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

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

Blair Garrett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James Rada, Jr.

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

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

Army Heritage Education Center

950 Soldiers Drive, Carlisle, PA

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

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

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

Carroll Creek Linear Park

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

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

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

Harrisburg River Walk

Along Front St., Harrisburg, PA

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

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

Civil War Trails

Gettysburg, PA; Frederick, MD; Sharpsburg, MD

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

Annmarie Sculpture Garden

13470 Dowell Road, Solomons, MD

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

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

Carroll Creek Linear Park in Frederick

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

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

Emmitsburg

Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

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

Budget to be Approved in June

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

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

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

Commissioners Approve New Trash Collection Contract

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

Town Election Laws Updated

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

Commissioners Approve Sewer Agreement with Rutter’s

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

Thurmont

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

Town Preparing to Approve Budget

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

New Ball Field Plans Presented

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

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

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

Colorfest Returns

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

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

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

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

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

James Rada Jr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cover Photo by Kelsey Norris

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

Photo by Deb Abraham Spalding

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

Deb Abraham Spalding

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

Photo by Deb Abraham Spalding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Former and future events are already in the planning stages.

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

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

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

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