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Lisa C Cantwell

On Hansonville Road, about nine miles south of Thurmont, sits a big, three-story whitewashed house with an inviting front porch that seems to personify the word “home.” And, home it will be, very soon, to a group of special young men, ages 16 to 22 years, who are transitioning out of foster care to independent living. They will need guidance and support, and this is the place with a unique and innovative program that will help them succeed. 

This home, christened “STEADFAST” (Standing Firm Against Youth Homelessness), is due to open in 2023. STEADFAST, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has been the dream and mission of its founder and executive director, Cindy Morgan, since 2018.

Morgan knows the challenge to end homelessness in Frederick County is a tall order, but if anyone can start the process to break the cycle, it’s this determined former CASA volunteer (Court Appointed Special Advocate) and her team of dedicated board, staff, and volunteers.

The need to support homeless or unaccompanied youth with no parent or guardian is well-established, according to the statistics reported within STEADFAST’s mission brochure that states:

“More than 23,000 children age out of foster care each year. Fifty percent of transitional youth will experience homelessness within 18 months of emancipation. There are at least 145 homeless youth in Frederick County.” 

Morgan’s late father, Robert Jefferson Hemby, Jr., was the major inspiration behind the concept of STEADFAST.

“From the age of four through high school, my father grew up in foster care. At one point, as a teen, his foster mother died and his foster father moved out. He lived by himself and had no electricity.  He fished to eat. It snowed more inside than outside the farmhouse,” said Morgan. “He survived. All my dad wanted was a home and family. By age 29, he had five kids with my mother, his high school sweetheart.” 

Along with her right-arm and house lead, Kelly Christiano, (MSW/Case Manager), Morgan hopes to complete the final phases of fundraising and hiring before the grand opening.

“The atmosphere will be less like a shelter and more like a dorm, not a group home,” said Morgan, adding, “This is not a crisis center, although counseling will be available. We’re more of hands-on, mission-focused, transformational environment.”

Although this opening phase will serve young men, plans are being formulated to serve young women at a future location as well. 

The residents will include referrals from various agencies throughout Frederick County.  Individuals in need may also submit an application. The program-based environment will require goal-setting of its residents upon arrival in the form of an individual life plan. They will be required to work, attend school, and take in-house courses in life skills such as financial planning, resume writing, workforce training, cooking, and laundry duties.

All will be encouraged to earn their high school diploma or GED and a driver’s license. Employment is a must. In fact, each resident will pay rent based on their income, with 90 percent allotted to a savings account, which they will receive upon graduation from the program. Residents may live up to three years in the home. Once they leave, they will have a lifetime of caring support from the staff of STEADFAST, just like a model family.

“This will be home base as they work and go to school,” Christiano said. “We will provide stability and safety in a home-like environment and help them build strong relationships so they can become healthy, independent adults.” 

Recreational and volunteer opportunities will abound, as no young person’s homelife should be all work, school, and no play. For example, a light-hearted, home-cooked “Sunday Dinner” is planned as the highlight of every week, where all of the STEADFAST residents will gather around the table to sup and converse about the stuff of life, just like family. One of the first activities of welcome for residents is to decorate and personalize a dining room chair, which they may take upon graduation.  

Several fundraisers are currently underway, as individual and corporate donations are the lifeblood of this nonprofit. Currently, STEADFAST has a lighted mini-airboat in the charity fundraiser, “Sailing Through the Winter Solstice” on Carroll Creek, now through March 4.  A contribution to their cause gets their boat a vote for each dollar given. A trophy is awarded to the boat and charity with the most votes. Also, for Christmas giving, a beautiful STEADFAST ornament has been created by the glass artist, Yemi. This item can be ordered through his website at Corporate donors may contribute through the “There’s No Place Like Home” campaign which offers commemorative naming opportunities of rooms within the home. The Founders’ Club is another donor program which offers memberships at many levels of affordable giving to benefit the residents.

Morgan and Christiano are grateful for all of the volunteer and community support they’ve received for STEADFAST to finally become a reality. Morgan is especially indebted to Frederick Christian Fellowship (FCF) for graciously providing the home, rent-free, that will serve as a place of stability, support, and love for the future residents of STEADFAST. “We’re so close to opening,” Morgan said. “It’s in God’s hands that final funding will come and we can open our doors.”  

Follow STEADFAST on Facebook at “Steadfast, Standing Firm Against Youth Homelessness.”

For more information about STEADFAST, donor/giving, and volunteer and staffing opportunities, contact by email at, online at, or call 301-304-9133.

Cindy Morgan (left), founder and executive director, and Kelly Christiano (right), lead house manager, prepare to open STEADFAST, a home for young men transitioning out of foster care.

Cindy Morgan (left) and Kelly Christiano (right) stand on the porch of STEADFAST.

Courtesy Photo

Richard D. L. Fulton

A universe of misinformation swirls around us regarding alleged measures that homeowners and renters can take in order to conserve energy or reduce energy costs, and yet, individuals don’t generally have the time to sort out the reality from the fiction.

Leading most lists is the belief that fans, including ceiling fans, cool rooms. Yet, in fact, according to experts, they do not. Fans move air around, but they do not cool the air. According to Think Energy (, air flow generated by fans may make individuals in a room feel cooler, but fans do not affect the room temperature. Further, Think Energy reports, “Leaving a fan on when you leave your home is simply wasting energy, while the room temperature is not cooling off at all.”

Handwashing dishes, rather than using a dishwasher, is actually using more hot water than dishwashers use. Obviously, it takes energy to heat water. When looking to save energy by using a dishwasher, it actually matters how you load dishes and cookware into a dishwasher (search the internet for instructions on how to do this).

Does turning off appliances when not in use, and turning them on when needed, help in reducing energy use? Not necessarily, because some electronics, such as computers, televisions, gaming systems, lamps and lighting fixtures, phone chargers, and small kitchen appliances can continue to expend energy even in the off mode (and, thus, are sometimes referred to as “energy vampires” or “phantom energy”). According to the U.S. Department of Energy, unplugging the aforementioned items can reduce home energy use by up to ten percent monthly. 

Another common myth is turning up the air-conditioner or furnace higher in the hopes of cooling or heating the home more quickly. That actually doesn’t work, because no matter how much higher or lower you set the system, air conditioners and furnaces cool or heat at a constant rate at the moment they are turned on. recommends setting the air conditioner or furnace at a rate that one would feel comfortable, instead of trying to force it to get to the desired temperature faster. also recommends setting the air conditioner at 78 degrees during the summer and 68 degrees in the winter for maximum energy savings.

In a related issue, another myth suggests closing the heating/cooling vents in rooms that are not being used in order to reduce energy use. reports that this practice not only doesn’t reduce energy use but could simply increase the amount of heat or cooling being lost through leakage in the duct system, “Furthermore,” states, “closing your vents may cause additional pressure on your system, causing it to work harder, wear out faster, and consume more energy in the long term.” offers a number of tips on saving energy in the kitchen, including minimizing the amount of time the refrigerator door is kept open, or opened and closed repeatedly, noting that “it takes 45 minutes for your fridge to reset to its original temperature for every 10-20 seconds its door is left open.”  Furthermore, the website states that overpacked freezers will require the refrigerators to expend more energy by trying to maintain a freezing temperature.

And with the advent of the holidays, more energy-saving opportunities present themselves to be considered, courtesy of (1) Use LED holiday lights (LED lights are brighter, last longer, and use less electricity than the traditional, incandescent lights; (2) Use timers to control when the celebratory-illuminated displays are to be lighted or turned off; (3) Bake multiple batches of goodies at one time, rather than at different times; and (4) Turn the thermostat down when company and guests are present (“Those extra bodies mean free heat!” –

For additional information on debunking common energy beliefs and for more energy-saving tips, visit these online sources:;;;; and

Richard D. L. Fulton

There are, on the average, some 200,000 “unwanted” horses in the United States, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), many of whom are slaughtered and sold for their meat, are saved by rescue facilities, or are given sanctuary on federal lands.

So how do these horses end up “unwanted?” The Unwanted Horse Coalition reports that, generally, unwanted horses include “horses which are no longer wanted by their current owner because they are old, injured, sick, unmanageable, fail to meet their owner’s expectations, or their owner can no longer afford them,” among various other causes.

Abandonment of a horse generally applies to transporting the animal off the owner’s property and leaving it at some other location. Some abandonments—the lucky ones—have even been found mingling with horse herds on other farms.

Animal cruelty generally entails inflicting harm upon a horse. In some cases, animal cruelty can go hand in hand with neglect. Neglect of a horse refers to simply not providing good, humane care of the animal. An example occurred in Maryland a number of years ago in which more than 100 horses were seized from a Maryland farm where investigators also found the scattered, skeletal remains of more than 25 dead horses.

Horses removed by law enforcement are considered seizures, and the rescued horses who do not need to be euthanized can be turned over to horse farms who accept them.

In Maryland, the aforementioned offenses are considered misdemeanors, but the degree of the offenses may vary from state to state.

Many horses are surrendered, meaning their owners do not or cannot continue to care for or keep the horses. There are many horse farms and rescue operations who will accept surrendered animals. In addition, the federal government provides sanctuary to unwanted animals and 100,000 unwanted horses are maintained on land owned by the Bureau of Land Management, according to the NIH.

As if the above-mentioned circumstances were not traumatic enough for the horses, there is actually a worse fate that awaits many.

According to the NIH, 82,000 to 150,000 “unwanted” horses are annually sold and transported out of the United States to Mexico and Canada to be killed, butchered, and sold on the global horse meat markets.

While the federal government in the United States has issued bans on killing, slaughtering, and selling horse meat in this country, they have not actually codified any prohibitions by law.

Horses turned over by their owners for sale for their meat are kept in “kill pens,” awaiting buyers for shipment primarily to Canada and Mexico, where the horses are killed and slaughtered and sold overseas or shipped live to be killed and slaughtered in other countries.  “Kill pens” are, according to, “the worst environment for determining the future of a disenfranchised horse.”

From there, the sold horses are trucked to Canada or Mexico, all bets are off as far as treating the doomed animals. Hanaeleh, a non-profit organization dedicated to the welfare of horses, notes that in some cases in Mexico, “horses are repeatedly stabbed with ‘puntilla’ knives until they bleed to death. In Canada, the horses are hit with ‘captive bolts’ which are supposed to kill the horses immediately. Unfortunately, these bolts were designed to slaughter cows, not horses, and the horses often have to be hit repeatedly, causing them extreme pain and suffering.”

Individuals can help save “unwanted horses” by donating cash and/or volunteering at local sanctuaries to help with grooming, rehabilitating, or any number of other tasks. Several local facilities include: Izzy’s Love Equine Rescue, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit rescue located at 9739 Dry Bridge Road in Emmitsburg. Deborah Dempsey owns the facility and is assisted by her daughter, Izzy, for whom the sanctuary was named.  The operation may be contacted at 410-903-3303. 

Life Horse Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located at Breezy Hill Stables, 15117 Mud College Road, Thurmont, is operated by Vice-President Elizabeth Walker and President Joseph Topper.  The operation may be contacted at 240-674-3856.

Rocky’s Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation, Inc, located in Thurmont, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and is operated by President Sharon Burrier and Vice-president Danny Burrier. The facility may be contacted at 240-367-7256.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Reese Topper, 4, daughter of Life Horse management Elizabeth Walker and Joseph Topper, grooms rescued mule, Bert.

Rescued “kill pen” horses with auction tags.

Izzy Dempsey is shown with rescue, Stephanie. 

BY Terry Pryor

Writer, Poet, Life Coach, and Student of the Mind

Note: This is the ninth month of action described in a series of motivational articles. Take some time each month to complete these action items, and you’ll see a “New You” emerge. Enjoy!

Power Action #10: Energy Flows Where Attention Goes

Here is something to remember today: Energy always flows to where our attention goes.

You can see this in the following example: Your friend stops by to chat. Before long, a juicy morsel of gossip is mentioned. Does it stop there? Nope. Another comment is made about the person who is being gossiped about and then another and another. Pretty soon, 20 minutes of gossiping has transpired, and the conversation has all been moving in a negative direction. It’s not that you meant to be vindictive, but your attention, which was on the flow of gossip, gathered speed and intensity—and “Once you flow, on you go!”

Here’s another example: You have just received notice of an inheritance. In a few weeks, you will be wealthier than you ever imagined. You begin to see what you will do with the money: the new house, car, vacations, travel, all that you could possibly desire. You are focusing on delight, joy, and pleasure. As you do, more and more delights enter your mind. Again, you can see that energy flows where attention goes.

It’s vitally important that you watch your own mind. It can have a party without inviting you! When you begin to watch what you think, you will become excited over the fact that you can change that flow of thought at any time. You have the power and all the tools at your disposal. Use them often and miracles will occur.

Before beginning today’s work, go to your quiet space and do your “Twenty Minutes a Day” visualization exercise. What do you want your future to look like? Remember, energy flows where attention goes. Place your attention on good things, on success and joy. Settle yourself by taking several deep breaths. Relax. Get out your mind’s movie camera and picture yourself having the life you desire.

Feel the excitement you will have. Feel the power in knowing you have control over what you desire. Feel the energy flowing through you that empowers you with confidence and well-being. Allow yourself the freedom of anticipation and the knowing that you are much, much closer to the “you” you see yourself becoming.

It’s December 2022. These past 10 months, you’ve been on a journey with me, with The Catoctin Banner, and with yourself. We are grateful for your readership. We are hopeful of the future as we manifest and create even better versions of ourselves in the moments, days, months, and years to come. I provide counseling on this topic, so please feel free to get in touch with me at


 Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are, already in December! Thanksgiving has come and gone. I hope everyone was able to celebrate with family or friends. By the time you read this, Christmas in Thurmont will also be no more than a pleasant memory.

We are still left with the better part of December ahead of us! Getting together throughout the month with our family and friends while shopping, or at meals, parties, and faith-based events, we can all enjoy the spirit of the season. This is a season of personal reflection, of expressions of love for others, and of giving and sharing. Come Christmas Day, we will be watching children open gifts, enjoying a delicious meal with those close to us, and for many, the relaxation of a well-deserved afternoon nap. All too close to Christmas will follow the eve of the New Year, with more partying and celebration.

Please keep in mind those of our community that may not be as fortunate as others. Join in the Christmas spirit by making donations to the Thurmont Food Bank and Thurmont Clothes Closet. This is a great way to help others experience the joy of good hot meals and warm, comfy clothes for the cold months ahead. Food Bank donations of non-perishable foods and toiletries can be dropped off at their 7 Frederick Road location. There is a bin in front of the building for donations. The Thurmont Clothes Closet is located at the Thurmont Methodist Church on Long Road. There is a bin for donations at the rear of the church near the Clothes Closet.

I want to leave you with the final passages of one of my favorite stories. This story is about a man who had forgotten the value of both kindness and caring for others. He was reminded of these virtues during a night of reflection, terror, and joy. He discovered that it is never too late for us to mend our ways even as others laugh, and he promised to live out his life with kindness and caring in his heart and in his actions.

“Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a man as the good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed and that was quite enough for him. He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Everyone!”

Karen and I wish everyone the Merriest Christmas and the Happiest New Year. Please be careful in your travels and watch out for others.

Questions or comments? Contact me at 303-606-9458 or by email at


Mayor Don Briggs

At the November 12th regularly scheduled town meeting, the commissioners concurred with the mayor’s recommendation to appoint Dan Garnitz to serve as a regular member of the planning commission for a term of November 7, 2022, through January 18, 2027. Additionally, the board concurred with the mayor’s recommendation to appoint Jack Pollitt to serve as an alternate member of the board of appeals for a term starting November 7, 2022, expiring October 1, 2025.

At the direction of the board of commissioners, predicated on an independent study of the water/sewer rates, water bills will increase 44+/- percent annually for the next three years, starting in January 2023, then 2024, 2025, and thereafter, an increase of 3 percent annually. 

The commissioners voted 4-0, with one member abstaining, to deny approval of an ordinance to allow the private shooting ranges in the industrial zone and the use of firearms at private shooting ranges in the town of Emmitsburg.

The commissioners relaxed some of the hunting restrictions and recreational usage at Rainbow Lake and watershed. Certain small game will now be allowed to be hunted during deer season.

The Maryland Mainstreet staff paid a visit to Emmitsburg for a tour of the town. The town currently is a Main Street Affiliate. For over a decade, the town has been recognized as a Maryland Sustainable Community which entitled, among other things, access to grants for private property facade improvements in the historic district that has contributed to over $1 million. Ultimately, full Mainstreet membership is the goal but can only be accomplished responsibly in terms of town staffing and funding capabilities.  

I attended a wonderful presentation on Ukrainian Icons by Kateryna Dovgan at Mount Saint Mary’s University. The slides of Ukrainian Icon art complemented Ms. Dovgan’s extensive knowledge and love as an expert art conservator that she poured into the presentation. The town and the Mount were joint sponsors for the event, with all donations going to the victims of Russo-Ukraine war.

I made a special presentation to the fourth-grade class at Mother Seton School on being mayor and what is going on in town. These presentations are always a joy. I try to alternate between schools in town; next year, I will visit Emmitsburg Elementary.

Congratulations to Emmy award-winner town resident Conrad Weaver on the rollout to a sold-out crowd of the world premiere of his latest film, PTSD911 (Post Traumatic Stress), on November 3, in Irving, Texas. Conrad put in well over three years of work, dozens of interviews, and lots of miles of travel in the production of this film. Next summer, Conrad plans to ride a bicycle across the country as a part of the rollout of the film to 25 cities nationwide.

Recently, Conrad and I had the honor to welcome Michael Zhorvrin, a Ukrainian ex-patriot, now USA citizen, up from Naples, Florida. Mr. Zhorvin played an important role in uniting the town of Emmitsburg to the City of Lutsk as a sister city. Mr. Zhorvin will deliver our town proclamation recognizing Lutsk as such personally to Mayor Ihor Poiishchuk within the next few weeks.

Don’t forget that December 5th is the town Christmas tree lighting, starting at 5:00 p.m. DJ and Christ Community Church child choir is at 5:45 p.m., the Emmitsburg Community Chorale is at 6:00 p.m., and Santa and the tree lighting is at 6:15 p.m. at the community center. This year, a special tribute to our sister city Lutsk in Ukraine will be incorporated into the program. Then, everyone will go down the street to the Evening of Christmas Spirit festivities at the Carriage House Inn.

Lib and I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and our best wishes to you and your family for the Christmas season and New Year.

by James Rada, Jr.


Bond Sale Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently approved the sale of $513,207 in bonds to finance the replacement of the Old Pryor Road water line. It is a 20-year loan from the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The project will replace the old water main, install new house services and meters, and replace asphalt pavement.

Guyer Brothers was previously approved as the contractor for the project. The company has already ordered material and is waiting for delivery.

PTA Asks to Keep More of Parking Fee

During a recent town meeting, members of the Thurmont school PTAs asked the Thurmont Board of Commissioners to reconsider the $4.00 fee they collect for the town for each vehicle they provide parking for during Colorfest.

During the festival, groups providing parking typically charge $15.00 for each car, of which $4.00 goes to the Town of Thurmont to help offset the town costs for security, buses, trash collection, and porta-potties. The PTA provides the volunteers to staff the lots, and they keep the difference between what they charge and the $4.00 fee to the town. It is a large fundraising opportunity for the groups.

Christy Donnelly, treasurer of the PTA for the elementary and primary schools, asked the town to consider not charging organizations a parking fee and instead raising the cost for vendor permits.

The commissioners did not support this, but they did agree to have the shuttle bus stop at the middle school to pick up and drop off people who park there.

Simmers Annexation May Go To Referendum Vote

Thurmont residents submitted a petition with 1,253 signatures that could put Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners vote to annex 16.7 acres of the Simmers property and rezone it for a high-density development to a vote by residents.

The group, Envision Thurmont, collected the signatures and submitted it the town office. The signatures will be verified, and if there are at least 906 verified signatures (20 percent of Thurmont’s registered voters), the issue will be placed before town residents for a vote.

Potential plans for the property include building up to 194 homes, an assisted-living center, and a day care center.


Developer Wants Frailey Farm Annexed

A developer wants to build nearly 300 homes currently outside Emmitsburg, but he wants the property annexed into the town. A small portion of the Frailey Farm, which is southwest of Emmitsburg, is already within the town’s borders.

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners heard a preliminary proposal for the annexation. Jeff Ott of OPi Holdings told the commissioners that the development would offer townhomes priced in the $300,000 range, small single-family homes in the $400,000 range, and larger homes in the $500,000 range, although these are preliminary prices. It would also include a park and hiking and biking trails.

The property is in Emmitsburg’s 2015 Comprehensive Plan as being an area for future residential housing.

The commissioners expressed a number of reservations, but the process is just starting.

No Shooting Ranges in Emmitsburg

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners heard from town staff, their planning consultant, the town attorney, the applicant and his attorney, and other members of the public about an ordinance that would allow private shooting ranges in Emmitsburg. The commissioners voted 4-0 with one abstention against the ordinance.

Small Game Hunting

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a policy that allows small game hunting in the town’s watershed during the same time as deer and turkey hunting will take place.

Appointments Made

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners accepted the resignation of Dan Garnitz from the Emmitsburg Board of Appeals. The commissioners then appointed him as a regular member of the Emmitsburg Planning Commission, with a term running from November 7, 2022, to January 18, 2027.

They also appointed Jack Pollitt as an alternate member of the Emmitsburg Board of Appeals, with a term expiring October 1, 2025.


Burgess Heath Barnes

At our November 8th meeting, we reminded everyone about the decision that was previously made at the monthly town meeting to hold a public hearing on January 10, 2023 to discuss the possibility of allowing chickens in town. We could not do this at the November meeting, as town codes require 30 days’ notice, and there was not 30 days between meetings. We chose not to have it at the December meeting to avoid the holidays. We invite anyone with an opinion either way to attend on January 10. After the hearing portion, the council will vote to proceed with allowing chickens or not. If the vote is yes, it will move to the planning and zoning committee in February to determine the stipulations around allowing them.

We had a resident at the meeting who proposed adding nets to baseball field two and distancing the bases to 90 feet. This is to attract a traveling team of 13-14 year-olds to the park beginning next season. This idea was met with a lot of optimism and would allow the second field to be used again. We also discussed the remodeling of the concession stand that will happen, which will make this nice for the games as well.

We have had several issues of vandalism in the park over the last few weeks, and a discussion took place to entertain the idea of security cameras being installed. I have also reached out to request additional patrol by the sheriff’s department. The vandalism included the breaking of several picnic tables, turning the port-o-potties on their sides, ripping the door off the men’s restroom, several cases of graffiti, and the cutting of the cables around the parking lots. Due to the damage to the restroom, we went ahead and closed the restrooms for the remainder of the year, a few weeks earlier than usual.

I have been told Santa (aka the burgess) will make a few appearances in Woodsboro this year. The first stop will be at the Woodsboro Lutheran Church at its Christmas Bazaar on December 3. Santa will be visiting from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. for pictures. Then, on December 11, Santa will ride around town with the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department, beginning at 1:00 p.m. Santa will also be at the Children’s Christmas Party at 1:00 p.m. at the Woodsboro American Legion. Come out and see Santa at one of these events.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday, spent with family and friends. I would like to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas, A Happy Holiday Season, and a Blessed New Year. Always remember to look out for those around who may not have the resources or family to have a great holiday and lend a helping hand if you can.

As always, I encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) if you have clothes or food donations, as they are always in need of items for members of the community. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at or by phone at 301-401-7164.

Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, planning and zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. Johns United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street, Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

Helen Xia, CHS Student Writer

As autumn arrived with lowering temperatures, beautiful crisp weather beckoned our visits to the numerous festivals held amid this breezy season! Thurmont’s Catoctin Colorfest, Sabillasville’s Mountain Fest, Rocky Ridge’s Ridgefest, Fort Ritchie’s Fall Fest, and Catoctin Furnace’s Fallfest, are only a handful of the invigorating events that filled our festival schedule in October. 

This year for Colorfest, while I was excited about the lemonade, the crafts, and everything in between, I was anticipating something more: the people. To say there were a lot of people would be an understatement. It is estimated that about 100,000 people attend Colorfest each year, with over 100 vendors in the official Colorfest area alone.

Usually, I would be so eager to eat the delicious food and examine the vendors’ products that I would forget the memorable souls behind those goods. I’m proud to announce that this year marks the end of that era. I felt more fulfilled this year than in all of my past years of Colorfest after insightful conversations with the sellers. Of course, that doesn’t mean I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the artists’ creations and the enticing food stands! After strolling around the buzzing official Colorfest area in the Thurmont Community Park, I ate my annual Italian sausage, gleefully. (It’s a tradition: Colorfest Italian sausages are a must in my book.)

The people at Colorfest were lovely. As a student member of the Thurmont LEO Club, I’ve volunteered for the Lions Club booth for two years now, and it was outstanding to experience what we students are capable of contributing. I was always told that by volunteering, we are forwarding the Lions Club’s mission, which is to serve communities and the world. Despite this, this year is the first year I’ve believed it. Just inside the booth, I listened as Lions discussed donations for organizations such as Second Chances Garage, a local charity dedicated to providing affordable transportation to those in need. They have awarded nearly 300 vehicles to families in Frederick County. Wow, I thought to myself, it feels like we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves. It was a great thought to have, and I’ve found that I often crave that feeling after experiencing it: the yearning to do my part for my community.  

Not only were the Lions commendable, but the beautiful inclination to be a part of something greater was rampant in other student volunteers in the Lions Club stand, too. I certainly wasn’t alone!

“I volunteer to help people in the community and to get experience in hard labor,” explained fellow LEO Club member and Catoctin High School student Jonathan Guldan.

Another admirable student, Danielle Remsburg, shared similar sentiments: community service, while beneficial for high school, is also an opportunity to have fun and better the community.

Being a leader, I’ve learned, doesn’t always mean changing the world, but rather changing your world. I encourage you to change something for the better in your world today. It could be something as simple as celebrating a loved one’s birthday or leaving a generous tip for your server. That’s enough to brighten somebody’s day, which is enough to become somebody’s hero. Consider being a hero for your community.

Communities, from what I’ve observed, seem to influence much of what we do. For instance, Laurie Hessong of LunaSea Creations—a vendor at Colorfest who specializes in unique decorative pieces—described her favorite aspects of participating in the two-day festival: spending time with her daughter, learning about so many new people, and sharing what she loves to do with the world. Other artists conveyed comparable perspectives. Specifically, they mentioned how it’s a joy to share what they’re passionate about with the rest of the community. It was thrilling to ponder the power the fleeting festival holds. Like a magnet, it draws people in and vitalizes our social circles.

Sabillasville offered its 46th Mountain Fest and Car Show on October 8 and 9. Hosted by Sabillasville Environmental School’s Parent Teacher Organization, the Mountain Fest and the Car Show attracted hundreds of visitors with over 20 vendors, book fairs, carnival games, and more. The event was a fantastic opportunity for some family fun and to support local businesses and the new Sabillasville Environmental School. Plus, the parking was free! I’ve been to car shows in the past, and even eight-year-old me was fascinated by vintage automobiles. They are “timeless.” 

In Rocky Ridge, the Willing Workers sponsored Ridgefest on the weekend of October 8 and 9. Ridgefest celebrates the traditions in the Mount Tabor Church Park, the park is also known as “the home of the big wooden slide.” The apple butter boiling, home-cooked food (such as breakfast bowls and pie), set our mouths to watering, and multiple vendors displayed their wares for all to enjoy.

Fort Ritchie arranged its second annual Fall Fest on October 14 through October 16. This festival had numerous attractions, including a Farmers Market, beer and wine vendors, hayrides, a pumpkin patch, family games, and even an arm-wrestling contest. On the 15th and 16th, over 60 fall craft bazaar vendors flourished in the Fort Ritchie Community Center. There was no shortage of handmade creations, perfect holiday gifts, home decorations, children’s toys, and more!

Violet Baldwin of Baldwin’s Gallery is a local artist representative/broker who participated in Fort Ritchie’s Fall Fest. She participates in many festivals to market her artists.

“There are several aspects to my business,” Baldwin commented, “craft shows are one aspect.”

You may have seen her at the Emmitsburg Heritage Days, an annual festival in Emmitsburg at the end of June. After the festival season comes to a close, you’ll see Baldwin set up at a weekly market booth located in Gettysburg. This allows her business to “go from inconsistent to consistent” from the outdoor weather-impacted space to the indoor space. She described her close bond with her broker enterprise, which she has worked on diligently for ten years, as a “happy marriage.” “I’ve always been a salesman. It’s my ‘drug of choice’ – sales! It’s in my nature and helps artisans.” 

Another artist present at Fort Ritchie’s Fall Fest, Jeanne Harshman, has done various shows and holds an open house at her studio in Wolfsville to display her artworks. Previously, she was also a vendor at the Thurmont Art & Wine Stroll. Her brothers and nephews bring her feathers to use in her intricate paintings.

In the town of Thurmont, the Catoctin Furnace hosted Fall Fest on October 7 and 8. This Fall Fest offered traditional apple butter boiling in a copper kettle over an open fire and blacksmithing demonstrations, all for free. Plus, you could tour the museum of the Ironworker and other historic buildings.

Perhaps under the smell of candles, baked goods, and smoky meats, something else lingers in the air: the invaluable sense of community, connection, and belonging. It’s apparent we love our festivals. With so many celebrations, it’s difficult to not look forward to the rest of the year!

Aaron Bittner and his father, Jim Bittner, show their Model A Ford at the Sabillasville Mountain Fest Car Show, held annually on the grounds of the Sabillasville Environmental School.

Jeanine Harshman with Middlepoint Studio shows her arts and crafts at the Fort Ritchie Community Center’s Fall Craft Show. Photos by Deb Abraham Spalding

Protecting Your Cash Assets

Richard D. L. Fulton

(Reporter’s Note: A former fraud specialist with a nation-wide bank contributed information for this article on condition of anonymity.)

Every year, Americans face an ever-increasing number of attempts to steal their money by email, mail, over the phone, and door-to-door in-person efforts. While senior citizens seem to be the preferred victims, victims in 2021 ranged from ages 20 through the “over 60s” age groups.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently reported that more than 92,371 senior citizens alone last year were bilked out of a total of $1,685,017,829 a 74 percent increase over the 2020 total, according to Fox News. On the other end of the spectrum, the 14,919 victims under age 20 lost a total of $101,435,178.

While seniors are the “preferred” victims sought out by the criminals—especially since so many are now online and might not be especially internet-savvy—anyone can become a victim of these crimes.

The FBI has categorized the crimes by type: tech support fraud, confidence fraud/romance scams, lottery/sweepstakes/inheritance, government impersonation, and other forms of theft/fraud.

Tech Support Fraud 

Criminals will impersonate representatives of major technical support companies, claiming to need to repair (non-existing) issues on one’s computer.  The amount the criminals have scammed from victims has risen from $38,400+ in 2019 to $237,931+ in 2021.

Confidence Fraud/Romance Scams 

Confidence fraud/romance scams involve taking advantage of victims through online romance schemes, “designed to pull on a victim’s ‘heartstrings.’” Romance scams involve establishing a “serious, personal” relationship with the intended victim, then asking for money for some fictitious medical emergency or some other reason. The criminal usually claims to be in another country or in the military, thus avoiding having to meet their intended victim in person.

A typical confidence fraud includes “grandparent scams,” in which someone claims to be a person in authority and/or a relative, whose name they even provide, who is in need of bail or emergency assistance. In 2021, victims lost a total of $6.5 million to such schemes.

Also included are confidence fraud/romance scams or sextortion, wherein someone threatens to distribute your private and sensitive material if their demands are not met, according to the FBI.  In 2021, victims lost a total of over $3 million.


These types of scams extend almost to the advent of email, with many of them originating in Nigeria.  This entails notifying the victim that they have won a big contest, lottery, or sweepstakes (that the victim did not enter) and that in order to claim their prize, the victim is required to pay upfront fees and taxes (sometimes in repeated installments). Because of the early warnings that went out on these scams, losses reported at $53,557 in 2019 dropped in 2021 to $35,744.

Government Impersonation

Government impersonation scams involve emails, mail, or phone calls by criminals claiming to be with official agencies (frequently the IRS). They have even involved threats of physical harm or imprisonment if the victim does not remit immediate payment, according to the FBI. 

Other Forms of Theft

Other forms of theft include employing the use of a “skimmer” that can be placed by the criminals inside any machine (for example ATMs) that reads one’s debit or credit card information and passes it on electronically to the criminal.  The criminals have reached a degree of sophistication now, in that they can fabricate a card using a victim’s information, including the chip contained within it.

Another theft involves “phishing,” which is the term used to describe a theft by which the victim is directed to click on a link provided (or call a number provided), often claiming they need to access the victim’s bank account to make a direct deposit or correct an erroneous charge that had been made to the victim’s account.

Typical red flags include the criminal requesting that payment be made in cryptocurrency or gift cards or payments be made through Zelle or wired. Payments made via any of these methods are almost never recoverable.

No government agency will send warnings or notices by email. No entities are going to ask you for codes (bank account or gift card) or sensitive information (your password or PIN) over the phone or by email, or ask you to download an “app” in order to accomplish an exchange of money.

If anything appears the least suspicious, call or go to the bank before acting. A bank manager can even lock your account to prevent any damage while the bank investigates. Local police or deputies should also be put on notice.

For FBI updates on internet-related scams, visit

BY Terry Pryor

Writer, Poet, Life Coach, and Student of the Mind

Note: This is the ninth month of action described in a series of motivational articles. Take some time each month to complete these action items, and you’ll see a “New You” emerge. Enjoy!

Power Action #9: Your Own Reality TV Show

This amazingly powerful process is one in which you can involve the whole family. The more energy focused on the perfect you (and more than one family member can strive to become the best “you” they can), the better. Think about it. Your family definitely has an interest in your perfection. If you’re happy and prosperous, everyone else benefits too. No one enjoys a “grump” arriving home every evening, complaining about his or her day, wishing things were better and having no energy to enjoy the evening with the rest of the family.

Here’s how you can get everyone involved and have fun at the same time. Create your own reality TV show by getting a large piece of cardboard—your new TV screen—or even one for each person. Collect newspapers, magazines, and catalogs you get in the mail. Choose pictures (or draw) and words that exemplify what you want your life to contain when you reach perfection.

What will you do with that perfect income as a family? Go on family vacations, find the new house, build a swimming pool in the backyard, buy a boat for weekend getaways, plan a trip to someplace new, even a trip around the world!

Find those pictures or words and put them on your new TV screen.

Kids can place their own desires on their very own picture board. They may envision a new bike, computer, tent and camping equipment, soccer camp—whatever they want—they can cut out the pictures and place them on their own picture board. Include empowering words cut from newspaper headlines, magazines, and catalogs.

I guarantee that once you begin this exercise, ideas will flow and grow.

Kids are great at this! There are no individuals more faith-filled than children. We can learn much from them. Have your children find or draw pictures of what it means to them for you to find the perfect you, and you do the same for them. This might mean a picture of eating breakfast with family; coming home each evening smiling with energy to spare for playing a game of catch; or even driving a cool, new car. If each evening you all bring out your magazines, catalogs, and photos to create your picture boards, the air will begin to thicken with joy, anticipation, and faith. As a family, you will begin to create powerful experiences and habits that will change your lives. This version of a reality show is bound to bring you all closer together. Forget the nightly zoning-out in front of the tube. Get out your picture boards and create the lives you want. What a gift to give a child. What a gift to give to yourself.


I have unlimited choices about what I think. The right choices for me come easily. The Universe supports every thought I choose to think and believe. I choose harmony; I choose happiness; I choose abundance and prosperity.

Richard D. L. Fulton

Note: The following account is based on the research of cultural geographer Dr. Raymond O’Brien and that of the reporter, conducted in the 1980s on the German Lutheran architecture and folklore of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

During the 18th century, thousands of German Lutherans migrated to Pennsylvania, and from there, pushed into neighboring states. They had begun their migration from the Germanic states in Europe in the 17th century by establishing settlements in New York. As the 19th century unfolded, their migratory numbers soared into the millions.

Regarding the surge in Pennsylvania, alone, Benjamin Franklin said that the Pennsylvania Assembly should consider German interpreters unless the migration could be dispersed to other colonies.

The story—or legend—of the Devil in Frederick began in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and spread throughout the country wherever the German Lutheran population migrated and settled.

The German Lutherans believed that the Devil was a physical being, in addition to a spiritual entity, and that, apparently, one of the evil one’s primary objectives was to follow the German Lutherans in its effort to punish them for their devout allegiance to Christianity.

The German Lutherans also believed that physical evidence could be found to prove that the Devil was present, and that physical measures could be employed to thwart his incursion into their homes and outbuildings.

Physical Evidence

The first item of physical evidence of the Devil dogging in the footsteps of the German Lutherans could be found in Bucks County in the form of a cave, known as the Durham Cave, because, according to the legend, the Devil followed the German Lutherans by migrating under the Atlantic Ocean and surfacing via this cave system. The cave, which was in more recent times quarried, still exists, although, it was fenced off sometime after the author had explored the outer chamber due to its dangerous nature.

The Devil, having initiated his pursuit from the Durham Cave all the way to Frederick County and beyond, left his “footprints” along his trek, thus confirming his physical trek. Those that were found in the 1800s appeared in flagstones of what was once the flagstone path that led to Saint Joseph’s College in Emmitsburg (shown above), and now reside in the Prince George’s County Dinosaur Park.

According to the early German Lutherans, as the Devil walked about, his three-toed footprints were literally burned into the rocks beneath his feet, and his tracks can be frequently found from the Connecticut Valley into North Frederick County and beyond.

Such tracks were found in the 1800s in the flagstones leading up to Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Emmitsburg when the walkways were being replaced.  The dinosaur tracks had come from a quarry located on land that was since dubbed Silver Fancy, but not from the abandoned quarry commonly referred to as the “dinosaur quarry.” 

A survey conducted along Flat Run by the reporter in the early 2000s determined that the tracks actually originated from a (then heavily overgrown) flagstone pit, located a short distance north of the so-called  “dinosaur quarry”).

In spite of the few dinosaur tracks that were found in Emmitsburg, dinosaur tracks have been, and continue to be, more commonly encountered just across the Mason Dixon Line in Adams County, first in the 1930s, in the now-abandoned Trostle Quarry, located just east of York Springs, and, during the course of the past few years, another significant find of a considerable number of dinosaur tracks was discovered in an active quarry in Hamiltonban Township.

However, the tracks are no longer called the Devil’s footprints. They are presently known as the tracks of the long-extinct, non-avian dinosaurs. And of course, they weren’t burned into the rock. They were embedded by the dinosaurs when the rock was actually mud, some 220 million years ago. Other physical evidence manifested itself in explicably burned homes and outbuildings, or other “mysterious” natural or medical situations.

Warding off The Devil

Because the German Lutherans believed the Devil was a physical and spiritual entity, they developed measures they believed could prevent the Devil from gaining access to their homes and associated outbuildings, complete with a “secondary line of defense.”

Based on research conducted by cultural geographer Dr. Raymond O’Brien and that of the reporter in the 1980s, the first line of defense against the Devil was to paint window and door sills white, which apparently was not commonplace in America until the German Lutherans employed the method as a deterrent to prevent the Devil from accessing the buildings.

The presumption was that white represented spiritual purity, through which the Devil could not proceed.  However, “just in case,” the German Lutherans took additional precautions.

The porch roofs were invariably painted sky-blue in order to represent heaven, which, of course, no self-respecting Devil would dare pass under. The reporter verified that while working on a similar story for The Gettysburg Times, through recovering original paint chips from the porch ceilings of the “Jennie Wade” house (McClellan house) and “General Lee’s headquarters (Thompson House)”—both German Lutheran-constructed homes—had originally been sky-blue (the NPS failed to take this into consideration when they acquired “General Lee’s Headquarters” and mistakenly painted the roof ceilings white). 

To demonstrate the persistence even into modern times, when the reporter’s father started to paint the reporter’s grandmother’s porch at her home in Brunswick, he started to paint it white and she stopped him, telling him it had to be sky blue.  When he asked her why, she said she didn’t know except it had always been that way.

Not completely trusting the measures taken thus far, another feature was developed, which, like painting window and door sills white, also became popular and can be seen just about anywhere today—that being the creation of the “Cross-and-Bible” doors, which employ the cross and the “open pages” of the Bible above or below.”

Yet, all of this was not enough in the minds of the German Lutherans.  Just in case the Devil managed to get past all the aforementioned precautions, a means was developed of diverting the Devil into the basement where he would be compelled to exit… via the fireplace (which was in the basement of these early homes).

The German Lutherans would paint their basement fireplaces red (even if the fireplaces had been constructed of red bricks or fieldstones), in the hope that the Devil would mistake these fireplaces as portals back to Hell, and he would be enticed to enter and, thereby, depart from the premises.

Of course, when one is walking along at night near the forests or fields of Frederick County, perhaps that breaking tree limb or loud, rustling leaves could be a deer, but if one becomes overly concerned, just head for the nearest sky-blue porch or cross-and-Bible doors, or a home or barn with white-trimmed windows or door sills!

Emmitsburg Dinosaur Tracks: Courtesy of Pete Yancone, Senior Educator, The Maryland Science Center


 Mayor John Kinnaird

November will be a busy month! There are many events to participate in this coming month, and opportunities to spend time with family and friends.

November 8 is Election Day, and voters will be selecting candidates to serve as members of the Frederick County Council, County Executive, Clerk of the Court, Register of Wills, Judge of the Orphans Court, Judge of the Circuit Court, Judge of the Court of Special Appeals, and Sheriff. On the state level, we will elect State Delegates, State Senators, Treasurer, Comptroller, States Attorney, Lt. Governor, and Governor. National elections will fill seats for U. S. Representatives, and U. S. Senate. Elections can be confusing, especially with all the advertisements we are hammered with day and night. I ask everyone to look closely at each candidate you will be voting for and select those that you feel will represent us with dedication and honor. Each of us old enough to vote has the right to register to vote in local, state, and national elections, and I encourage everyone to vote on Election Day. Remember, your vote does count!

The Pop Up Shops are now open every Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., at the Thurmont Plaza Shopping Center, located at 224 N. Church Street, Suite B. Stop in for a great selection of jewelry, baked goodies, Colorstreet nail polish, Scentsy, hand-crafted seasonal gifts, handmade decorative signs, and other offerings. Each Saturday will feature a different food truck, thanks to the good folks at Dirty Dawg DIY Dog Wash! This is a great opportunity to pick up Thanksgiving housewarming gifts, stocking stuffers, and Christmas gifts for family and friends.

The Thurmont Community Christmas Tree Lighting will be held on Saturday, November 26, at 6:00 p.m. at the Mechanicstown Square Park. Join us to sing a couple of Christmas songs, see the Christmas tree lighting, and see the street Christmas decoration lighting. Also be sure to check out the lighting at Community Park. Keep a watch out for the Annual Christmas Decorating Contest. It’s a month off yet but take time to drive around Thurmont in December to see the amazing Christmas decorations on every street in town.

Christmas in Thurmont will be held on Saturday, December 3; details will be made available in a couple of weeks.

As you prepare to gather with family for Thanksgiving dinner, remember our friends and neighbors less fortunate than we are. Consider donating to the Thurmont Food Bank or the Emmitsburg Food Bank—cash or non-perishable foods will go a long way in helping our entire community realize a happy Thanksgiving. With cold weather coming, think about donating any wearable warm clothing, coats, gloves, hats, or winter footwear you may have to the Thurmont Clothes Closet, located on Long Road at the Thurmont United Methodist Church.

Karen and I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, I can be reached by cell phone at 301-606-9458 or by email at


Mayor Don Briggs

Congratulations to newly elected Commissioner Amy Boehman-Politt and Commissioner Frank Davis (re-elected to a second term). Thank you to candidates Mark Long and Kevin Hagan for stepping forward and running good races.

Presented at the October 12th town meeting for consideration by the commissioners, and subsequently approved, was a proposal to retain Jakubiak & Associates, Inc. (Chris Jakubiak, AICP, principal), a Towson planning consultant firm. Duties will include assisting in planning and zoning functions, annexations, project review, development code amendments, land use and related studies, and comprehensive plan review.” Chris Jakubiak comes with significant years of experience in working with municipalities that include assisting the town in its 2009-2010 Comprehensive Plan update.

At the same meeting, consultants presented a study of town water rates. The study was prompted by the USDA opinion that town water rates are too low and need to be raised if the town should seek any further USDA financial assistance. The town has an ongoing deficit in the town water account. The study recommendation to raise rates was given, but by over 100 percent was a shock to many. If an increase was needed, why were they not raised gradually? A good question. Here is some reasoning. In the last decade, to accommodate the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant, sewer rates were incrementally raised significantly in two steps. During the same time, raising water rates was considered repeatedly, but it was felt that coming out of the 2008-2009 recession, already raising sewer rates, getting through cleaning up discolored water from aged pipes, and weathering the COVID-19 pandemic, any increase in water rates would impose too much of a burden on residents. So, now we are dealing with an inflation surge that has not been seen in 40 years.

October activities I was honored to attend included: Thursday the 6th—Ribbon cutting for St. Joseph’s College – NETC wayside exhibits, EMI Deputy Hoover, DOC Archivist staff, myself, Maddy Shaw, and Vince Hodge, NETC MOSS Director; Saturday the 8th—41st Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, NETC campus. Welcoming address at Candlelight Service; Thursday the 13th—St John’s College, Annapolis – Santa Fe, Classics Seminar; Friday the 21st—Mount St. Mary’s University College of Liberal Arts Advisory Board meeting; Monday the 24th—Workshop with Commissioners – Frailey Farm Annexation, public workshop.

Town new business/development update: Emmit Ridge 2, potential residential subdivision, east side of Irishtown Road, no development plan. Federal Stone – proposed industrial building east side of US 15 off Creamery Road. Forest and site plans approved/awaiting submission of improvement plat. Frailey Farm – 100+ acres, annexation request. The property borders Myers Community Park to the west, south side of Frailey Road, east side of Annandale Road. Mason Dixon Logistics Park, 185+/- acres, east side of US 15, north of MD 140. Concept plan submitted – commercial/industrial park/potential zoning text and/or map amendment. State park and ride east of US 15, south of MD 140, MDOT/SHA restarted design on July 1, 2022; 30-percent of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. Ripleigh’s Creamery on East Main St. is working on a building permit from the county for renovations. Rutter’s – Expected completion end of October/early November 2022. Village Liquors and Plaza Inn – Property owner plan phasing the project (Phase 1) 1st story convenience area; and (Phase 2) 2nd & 3rd story hotel. Working on zoning permit submittal. Warthen’s Court proposed 5-unit townhomes – Sketch plan submitted.

The town, by proclamation, declared October 2022 as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. From the proclamation, in 2022 while considerable progress has been made, about 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women; an estimated 43,250 women will die from breast cancer in the U.S.; 2,710 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and approximately 530 men will die; one out of eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime; and there are over 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

Veterans Day is Friday, November 11; join the tour of local cemeteries, Doughboy, local Legion and VFW with honor guard. Thanksgiving Day, Thursday the 24th, is the annual Turkey Trot. The Evening of Christmas Spirit is on Monday, December 5.

by James Rada, Jr.


Recycling Costs are Skyrocketing for the Town

The Town of Thurmont is seeking help from the county to deal with the skyrocketing cost of maintaining a recycling center on Moser Road. Frederick County Government contributes $10,000 annually to the town’s recycling center costs, and the program is very popular among citizens, not only of Thurmont but surrounding communities as well.

However, in recent years, the market for recyclables has all but disappeared. Income from selling recyclables helped offset some of the costs of the program.

Another factor has been rising inflation and fuel costs that have increased the cost of the program.

In Fiscal Year 2021, the total cost of the program was $11,480, and after the county contributed its portion, the final cost to Thurmont was $600. In Fiscal Year 2023, the expected program cost is $38,220, with the town expected to pay $28,220.

This is a problem that the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners will be considering how to solve in the coming months.

Town Approves Purchase of RTV

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the purchase of a Kubota RTV from Ripken Equipment in Frederick. It is an all-terrain vehicle with an enclosed cab that will have a snowplow. It will be mainly used to plow the 4.4 miles of sidewalks and trails that are maintained by the public works department. Currently, the town uses two snow blowers and an open-cab ATV. The vehicle will cost $19,887.92 and be paid for with the savings from the town’s purchase of an electric vehicle earlier in the year and highway user funds.

Town Approves Purchase of Trailer

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the purchase of a utility trailer for the Streets and Parks Department. It will be used to haul a skid loader, a roller, and other equipment. It will be purchased for $9,718.20 from the Hitch Man in Taneytown. The town had already reserved $9,000 in the budget for the purchase. The remainder will come from the town’s capital reserve fund.

Roadway Resurfacing Projects Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners awarded Pleasants Construction in Frederick a contract for $223,834.94 to resurface sections of Eyler Road, Tippin Drive, Allen Drive, Hunting Creek Drive, Stull Drive, Gateway Drive East and West, Amanda Court, and Carroll Street.

The project will be paid for with highway user funds and is expected to happen before the cold weather sets in.


New Commissioners Sworn In

During the October town meeting, Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs swore in the winners from the town election at the end of September. Incumbent Frank Davis and Amy Boehman-Pollitt won the election with 246 and 204 votes, respectively. In all, 290 votes were cast. Davis is serving his second three-year term. It is Boehman-Pollitt’s first term.

The other candidates for the two commissioner seats were Mark Long and Kevin Hagan. They received 64 and 60 votes, respectively.

Commissioner T.J. Burns chose not to run for re-election.

During the meeting, Briggs also made recommendations for the reorganization of the board of commissioners.

Tim O’Donnell will remain as board president. Joe Ritz III will serve as vice president and board liaison to the planning commission. Cliff Sweeney will serve as treasurer. Burns will serve as the liaison to the parks and recreation committee, and Boehman-Pollitt will be the liaison to the citizens advisory committee.

Commissioners Considering Raising Water and Sewer Rates

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners heard the recommendations from consultant Mike Maker with NewGen Strategies and Solutions for new water and sewer rates. The water and sewer rates were last increased in 2013 and 2014, respectively. It has become apparent that they need to be increased again to ensure the town has the funds to cover capital projects for the systems.

The commissioners are considering increasing the water rate 150 percent in fiscal year 2023 and then 3 percent a year for the following four years. Sewer rates may increase 3 percent a year from fiscal year 2023 to 2027.

The water increase is significant, but the rate increases would bring Emmitsburg rates in line with other communities its size in Maryland and allow the needed upgrades to the systems to be made.

The commissioners will hold a public hearing on the issue.

Town Hires On-Call Town Planner

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a contract to hire Chris Jakubiak to provide on-call town planning services to the town. His primary duty will be to advise and assist primarily with annexations, development project review, zoning and other development code amendments, land use and related studies, and with other similar tasks that may be requested by the town. He will be paid $205 per hour with an average of 16 hours of work a week expected.

Town Extends Christ’s Community Church Lease

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners extended the lease for Christ’s Community Church to remain at 303 West Lincoln Avenue for another two years. The rent will increase to $2,500 a month. The church is in the process of constructing their own building in town, but they still need to remain at their current location until it is completed.

Group Wants to Alter Doughboy Statue

The National Association of Black Veterans of Western Maryland has asked the Town of Emmitsburg to redo the plaque that lists the names of Emmitsburg’s Black World War I veterans separately from the White veterans on the Doughboy statue at the west end of town. Although Commissioner Frank Davis told the group that the families of those veterans asked that the plaque be left as it was when the issue came up in 2015, the group asked the commissioners to consider integrating the names into a new plaque. The commissioners agreed to add it to the agenda of an upcoming meeting.


Burgess Heath Barnes

Our October 11th town meeting was a busy one. The council voted to replace the current outdated water-meter-reading system. The project is slated to tentatively begin in early April. One challenge with this is that each home will have to have a piece in their water meter replaced inside their homes; so, this could take a while, as the crew would need to enter each person’s home to replace the reader. This will also allow electronic readings to be tied to electronic-payment processing, which allows residents to pay their water bills via cards. We will be able to use with ARPA funds that the town received to pay for it.

The decision was also made to hold a public hearing on January 10, 2023, at the monthly town meeting to discuss the possibility of allowing chickens in town. We cannot do this at the November meeting as town codes require a 30-day notice, and there were not 30 days between meetings. We chose not to have it at the December meeting. We invite anyone with an opinion either way to attend on January 10. After the hearing portion, the council will vote to proceed with allowing chickens or not. If the vote is yes, it will move to the planning and zoning committee in February to determine the stipulations around allowing them.

A developer attended the meeting with plans to develop 58 townhomes and 12,000 square feet of commercial property on the acreage between the cemetery and the park and ride. This is in the early stage of planning and more to come on this in the next few months.

We also had a proposal brought forth to build a skate park in the park. After hearing it, the council voted to approve it based on grant funding. We will be applying for a grant for it through Program Open Space funding next spring when it becomes available again. If the grant is approved, we will move forward. This grant would pay 75 percent of the project cost, and the other 25 percent would need to be paid by the town or by fundraising. Plans will be put in place to raise the 25 percent once we get to the point of moving forward with the project.

Our annual Woodsboro Days festival that was held on October 15 and 16 was a great success. We were also blessed with perfect weather. The Lutheran Church had a great turnout for food sales and yard sales. In addition, the Woodsboro Historical Society saw a record number of participants in their annual 5K fundraiser run. On the 16th, we had a record crowd attend the music festival in the park, where we saw 28 vendors, multiple food trucks, face painting for the kids, a beer and wine garden, three amazing bands, a display of fire engines for the kids, and hundreds of people ascending on the park for a great day of fun. I am already planning for next year. I can assure you I listened to you all about the parking issues, and we will have a shuttle service next year to get people up to the east side of the park who are not able to walk that far.

The old hut—aka JR’s bar and grill—should be gone by the time this goes to print. We are so happy to have been able to allow multiple fire departments from the county to use the building for drills before it was demolished and hauled away to prepare the lot to build our town offices.

Our monthly town meeting which is typically on the second Tuesday of each month, will be moved to Wednesday, November 9 for this month due to election day. I encourage everyone to get out and vote.

I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving holiday spent with family and friends. Always remember that not everyone is fortunate enough to have someone for the holidays or the funds to celebrate. Always look out for your neighbor and do something kind for someone, and always be thankful for what you have.

As always, I encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) if you have clothes or food donations, as they are always in need of items for members of the community. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments please feel free to reach out to me at or by phone at 301-401-7164.

The current location for town meetings is the St. Johns United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

An American Roadhouse

Deb Abraham Spalding

Some names have been changed to protect the innocent!

Cactus Flats has a reputation, and it is legendary! Rumor has it, the white house with the cute green cactus out front, located along Route #806 (Hansonville Road), south of Thurmont, started as a roadhouse and is now a unique community gathering place.

Make no doubt about it, history is here. If the walls could talk, you’d hear stories of skunks and critters, visitors and locals, the famous babies, a horse in the dining room, famous visitors, secrets and legends, and news. But the walls don’t talk, so we’ll take the memories shared from the business’s regulars who are family and love this place.

This past winter, a friend invited me “in” to his “place” [Cactus Flats] to meet his “people.” Oh my! My prior impression gleaned during a peanut-hulls-on-the-floor 1990s visit at the Cactus Flats “saloon” were shot to bits as I entered the family-friendly bar/restaurant—not a peanut in sight—and was welcomed with open arms into the Cactus Flats family of regulars (or irregulars—as in most families).

These wonderful people aren’t soggy drunks stopping in at a local watering hole. They’re members of a community (some drink alcohol and some don’t) who choose to gather at Cactus Flats like family.

“We’re here all the time. It’s kind of like our dinner table where the family comes together to share their day,” said regulars, JP and Ann.

“It is family,” added Regular Steve. “Just the other day, Harvey loaned a microwave to Brenda. Last year, JP and JG fixed Brenda’s bridge when a tree fell on it. A few weeks ago, we all went on a fishing trip. You meet your best friends here!”

Regular JG said, “We look forward to Thursdays at 3:00 when they open.” Regular Julie added, “We all look forward to it because we miss our friends.”

 One day, Regular Julie pointed out some out-of-town regulars who showed up. “We adopt people. When they’re in town, they’re one of the family.” Chris from Boston and Mike from Jersey were joined by Tex from Texas who grinned as he said, “I’m a newbie.” 

Owner, Donna Palmer, her dedicated right-hand co-worker Molly Hayes, and the rest of the “Cactus Catz” staff are gracious hostesses who calmly, happily, and affectionately prepare the place for the family to gather. They cook the meals and even serve them while joking and bantering along the way.

If you’ve never been to Cactus Flats, or it’s been a while, stop in!

Take a peek at Cactus Flat’s colorful history…

Miss Alice Miller — The Roma Café Legend!

With her hard-earned money, Miss Alice (Grandmother Miller to some) bought land known as the “Maryland Camp” around 1929. On it, she built the small “house” that is at the core of the now – Cactus Flats – and three cabins. According to the Maryland State Department of Health, she was officially operating a “Tourist Camp.” She named her business the Roma Café and was firmly established by 1932. Being a legend and all (wink), she was said to have been asked to move her business location out of Frederick.

Just imagine. In her time, the Route #15 highway wasn’t there, so Route #806 went right by the house. There were gas pumps out front and a chicken house with a cellar (isn’t that unique) out back.

In the original house, when you entered the front door (that is still visible and currently has steps leading to it but isn’t used regularly) there were three rooms on the right and a small bar on the left and a set of steps straight ahead that led upstairs. A bathroom for the ladies was straight back and the men had to use an outhouse out back next to the chicken house. The now-enclosed porch was open then. There was a pot-belly stove inside on the back wall.

Upstairs there were four bedrooms and an attic with a chimney sticking out of the roof above. The bedrooms and cabins outside were rented by the hour or night by local dandies and the ladies.

Legend suggests that Miss Alice hid money all over the place and then forgot about it. “That old lady was worth millions of dollars,” Regular ST shared tidbits that he had heard. “Back in the day she didn’t need money, but she knew where the money was. Nobody else did. She had money hidden everywhere and never dropped a penny.”

When Miss Alice was older and couldn’t go up the steps anymore, she lived right there in the room near the bar. She was almost 100 years old when she died.

Miss Alice is said to have been a very stern woman, but ST has been visiting the roadhouse since the 1970s when he rode over on his bicycle. He has lots of love for, and memories of, Miss Alice. “Miss Alice would tell everybody, ‘Get your beer. You know where it’s at!’” It’s even said that when Miss Alice was asleep in her recliner, customers would put their money for a beer in a cigar box. It was a self-serve honor system.

Regular Todd also rode his bicycle to the roadhouse as a youngster to collect cans for recycling. He and Regular Harvey described the old Model A Ford that sat outside with trees growing through it. It was a landmark.

Some locals recall buying a six-pack, going to their local gathering spot then returning to Miss Alice for more beer. One day, upon return, Miss Alice said, “I don’t sell that!” Confused, the locals claimed she had just sold them a six-pack earlier, she said, “Well, I don’t anymore!”

Grandsons Inherit The Roma Café

Miss Alice operated the Roma Café until 1981. When she passed away, she left the business to her two grandsons Glenn and Dave Rippeon (they are both deceased now).

Dave Rippeon and his wife ran things starting in 1981 for just about two years and attempted to sell the business to a guy named Danny.

Danny’s Eatin’ and Drinkin’ Place

Danny Wyatt took over running the business for a very brief time with the intent to purchase it. It didn’t work out. Danny changed its name to Danny’s Eatin’ and Drinkin’ Place. According to Wayne Wiles, Danny didn’t serve food. He had vending machines and drink coolers for customers to get their own food and drink. When Danny moved on, the Rippeons transferred the business to Wayne Wiles in 1983.

Wayne Wiles – The Country Western Movie Star!

Wayne Wiles was born on a farm near Cactus Flats. He pointed forward to the west as he said, “I was born over there about three miles,” and then he pointed back over his shoulder to the East, “and now I live over there about three miles.” Between those two points of time, Wayne’s done a lot of living.

He is one of seven Wiles brothers who “each had a sister, one sister,” he said with an arm jab (you get it don’t you). Wayne said he told his mother, “Thank you for having me,” when he was born in 1941. He was his brother Bob’s one-year birthday present. They were both born on May 9.

Wayne “ran away” from the family farm when he was 21 years old so he could “see the world and get paid to work.” Hollywood was calling his name!

He went to California and called Roy Rogers Enterprises. That was fruitless, so he went to Phoenix where, ironically (working on a farm again), he worked the “tater” fields to make money to live. He pitched cantaloupe then pitched watermelon. He still made his calls to be in the movies.

Wayne was good at riding horses and was eventually hired as an extra in several movies including Claude Akin’s Distant Trumpet with Troy Donohue, Arizona Raiders, Hallelujah Trail, and The Great Sioux Massacre. He said, “You know how that turned out [The Great Sioux Massacre]. Audi Murphy was in it. In the original movie, you can pick me out sitting on a wagon. In the remakes, you’ll see me walking around, my hair hanging.”

Around 1966, Westerns were going out of favor, so Wayne returned to Maryland. He farmed for five years and felt he was drinking so much that he needed to get his liquor wholesale. So, in 1983, he figured he’d “get paid to drink” and bought the Roma Café from the Rippeon grandsons who had inherited the place from its first owner, THE legendary “Miss Alice Miller.”

Wayne gave the business a new name, Cactus Flats! He chose the name from his movie days when he was riding horses on the set. He was told to ride up the cactus hill. Wayne said, “It’s flat here so I named it Cactus Flats.” He installed the big cactus that sits out front.

Wayne added an additional dining room (that started as a storage room for 1,000 cases of Budweiser he had purchased on sale through the distributor) and a big horseshoe-shaped bar. Wayne also “put the [notorious] peanuts on the floor.”

Interestingly, over the course of owning the business, Wayne stopped drinking alcohol in 1998. He was 100% sober when he sold the business to Kenny Clevenger in 2000.

Although Cactus had seen its share of some real-life brawls, like Wayne, the business’s remarkable past was changing. With a big chuckle, Wayne assured me that he, “can’t share the highlights of his ownership for public consumption.”

Kenny Clevenger purchased it from Wayne in 2000.

Wayne sold the business in 2000 to Kenny Clevenger. During his five years of ownership, Clevenger hired Todd Adkins and Larry Workman to build the bar that is now in place. It replaced Wayne’s horseshoe bar. Kenny also closed in the porch and hired Jay Callahan to do some artwork on the bar. Though much of the art has rubbed away, there are still some cactuses and stars visible.

Donna Palmer – The Cactus Community’s Hostess!

Donna Palmer purchased Cactus Flats from Kenny Clevenger in 2005. She added a new roof and new paint. She took the peanuts away when a situation arose that made the choice inevitable. Donna kept changes to a minimum to respect the legacy, “It’s getting harder to find this kind of place anywhere. Why would I change it?”

It’s obvious that Donna is in business for her family of customers. Donna and the Cactus Catz are the hosts who provide quiet and comfortable support through life in this place. “A lot of people say they feel comfortable because we’re so friendly,” Donna said. “The community just keeps coming back.”

Molly Hayes has worked with Donna for fourteen years. In addition to helping in every way, Molly enjoys decorating for parties and works to prepare a grand Halloween (her favorite) shindig every year. One year, one of the famous babies (a Halloween decoration) was kidnapped! While this caused a commotion, the baby was quietly returned soon after.

These days, Cactus Flat’s colorful history is still fresh in the regulars’ minds as time has expanded to new generations. As they tell their stories, they point out where things used to be by making hand gestures “over there” where Miss Alice’s bed was, and there where the pot belly stove was, and there on the back porch where so-in-so was pushed out the door.

Like Regular Harvey said, “There are always tales about a place like this. The legend changes and grows.”

Through the hands and dedication of Dave Rippeon and his wife, Wayne Wiles, Kenny Clevenger, and now Donna Palmer, Miss Alice’s legacy has transformed subtly, over time. “It may not have stayed the same name, but the legendary business that Miss Alice started has continued for almost 100 years now,” Donna explained. “I wish I would have had the chance to meet her because she was a true entrepreneur before her time.” Today, “It’s like it gives you a hug. We all just want to be accepted.”

Stop by Soon!

Stop by soon to have dinner with your family or make some forever new friends and become part of the Cactus family! Cactus Flats is located at 10026 Hansonville Road, on the right as you travel Route #15 South from Thurmont/Lewistown/Mountaindale to Frederick. It is open Thursdays and Fridays 3:00 to 10:00 p.m., Saturdays 12:00 to 10:00 p.m., and Sundays 12:00 to 8:00 p.m. Like them on Facebook to be informed about live entertainment and updates.

Current owner, Donna Palmer (in background), with former owner, Wayne Wiles, who is wearing one of many logo shirts.

The legendary Miss Alice is shown seated in front of the pot belly stove with one of her brothers in the Roma Café.

Photos by Deb Abraham Spalding unless otherwise indicated

Former owner Wayne Wiles shares his western movie photos.

(right) The original Roma Café consisted of the house, three cabins, a chicken house, a barn, a shed, and garden.

The famous Model A Ford was a landmark for many years, as the trees grew around it.

Some of the “Cactus Catz” staff members are pictured.

James Rada, Jr.


Town Votes to Annex Simmers Property

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted recently to annex nearly 17 acres of the Simmers property into the town. Part of the property was already in the town and the rest of the property had been included in the town’s master plan for annexation and R-5 zoning since 2010.

Cross & Company of Frederick is working with the owner, Patricia Simmers, to develop the property. Daniel Cross wants to build a 150-townhome community, assisted-living facility, and a day care center.

The annexation sparked some heated debate, but the town reviewed some of the concerns raised such as school overcrowding, traffic, and services. All of these things are not projected to be an issue. In addition, the town will collect at least $2.2 million in impact fees after the property is developed.

The commissioners’ approval for annexation will allow the project to move forward, but a long review process remains.

Senior Center Parking Lot to Expand

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to have the Remsburg Family Partnership of Middletown expand the Thurmont Senior Center parking lot. The lot will increase by 1,500 sq. ft. and add nine additional spaces. The cost of the project will be $7,498.

Colorfest Services Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the various services needed for the annual Colorfest Festival. The cost of these services is paid for with vendor fees for their Colorfest booths.

Security: May Security of Frederick will provide 26 security guards, 2 supervisors, and 2 relief guards for the festival for a cost of $19,080. They were the only bidder.

Bus service: Rills Bus Service of Westminster will provide nine buses and two wheelchair-accessible buses on Saturday and seven buses and two wheelchair-accessible buses on Sunday for a cost of $22,000. They were the only bidder.

Sanitation: Key Sanitation of Dickerson will provide 114 porta-potties and 16 handicapped-accessible porta-potties for $19,500. They were not the low bid, but their sanitation bid was tied with their trash service bid, for which they were the sole bidder. Because of this, the commissioners decided to go with Key for sanitation.

Trash service: Key Sanitation will use the same employees who will maintain the porta-potties to collect trash during the festival. The cost is $3,150.

Colorfest Fees Will Not Increase This Year

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners will not increase vendor fees this year, primarily because of the late notice it would create for vendors. However, they are expected to increase the craft vendor fees from $50 to $60 next year.

Stormwater Basins to be Replaced

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to replace 15 stormwater basins along Frederick Road. The Remsburg Family Partnership will perform the work for $70,875. The town will use Highway User Funds to pay for the work.


Changes to Deal With Tall Grass

Although it is not a major problem, the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance that allows the town to mow tall grass at the property owner’s expense and makes it chargeable as a lien against the property. Most recently, the town hung 127 door hangers on property doors where the grass was taller than eight inches. Of this number, only three property owners did not comply. Of these, two were abandoned properties and one was a property that had multiple complaints against it.

Currently, the town has to follow a lengthy process that can take months before the town gets an order of abatement. This shortens the process and increases the fine from $75 to $100 a day. The changes will cut the process down to a couple weeks.

Change Order Approved

The first change order has come from the Silo Hill basin retrofit project change order request in the amount of $42,555. It is primarily from things required by the Frederick County Soil Conservation District. It was necessary to continue the project and meet MS-4 requirements.

Town Seeking Federal Assistance from USDA Rural Development

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners authorized Mayor Don Briggs and the town manager to file an application for federal assistance with the USDA Rural Development. The application will be through the department’s Community Facility Disaster Grant Program to purchase and install streetlights, with an estimated total dollar value of $234,089. USDA would provide $128,700, and the county would need to provide $105,389.

Town Approved Stormwater Management Fee

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance to implement a new stormwater management fee based on the recommendations and study results of the Environmental Finance Center of the University of Maryland. The fee will be based on the amount of impervious surface in the town. The fee is $20 per Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU), which is 2,932 square feet of impervious surface on a recorded lot.

Emmitsburg Gets a Sister City

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation declaring Lutsk, Ukraine, a sister city to the Town of Emmitsburg. Lutsk is in northwestern Ukraine and has a population of more than 213,000. The goal of the relationship is that it will establish a more culturally integrated society and foster the opportunity for both communities to share ideas.

Mount St. Mary’s University has also expressed interest in partnering with Lutsk universities, such as Lesya Ukraine Volyn National University, Lutsk National Technology University, and Lutsk University Institute of Human Development.

Resignations and Appointments

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners accepted the resignation of Terri Ray as an alternate on the Planning Commission for consideration. They also appointed Brian McKenney as an alternate to the Board of Appeals to serve a term from September 12, 2022, to September 12, 2025.


 Mayor John Kinnaird

Where did summer go? We are now looking forward to all the fun of fall. There are plenty of events to enjoy and places to visit during the fall season.

Let’s start with Colorfest on October 8-9. There will be plenty of crafts to see at the Community Park, GHC Carnival Grounds, the American Legion, and lots of other locations all over Thurmont. As always, there will be lots of great food available all over the Colorfest area. I will be enjoying tasty sausage gravy at the Thurmont Lions Club stand on Frederick Road. Be sure to visit Thurmont on the days leading up to Colorfest to take advantage of the many yard sales all over town. Please be careful while driving on Colorfest weekend; there will be street closures on Water Street, South Center Street, Park Lane, and Frederick Road. Be sure to observe the “no parking signs” and pay attention to our traffic control officers. If you are planning to sell crafts or food, get your permit from the Town Office before Colorfest. This year, yard sales can be held without a permit on Saturday and Sunday. Above all, visit local non-profits during Colorfest and help support our many organizations, churches, Scouts, school groups, and others. Many of these groups depend on Colorfest for a large part of their annual fundraising efforts. Remember that other communities will be holding events on Colorfest weekend: Rocky Ridge, Sabillasville, Graceham, Creagerstown, and others may have great events to visit and enjoy.

The state and federal parks always have programs on the weekends, and you should check them out. The cooler weather will also bring beautiful fall colors on Catoctin Mountain and on our rolling countryside. A nice slow drive on Park Central or Catoctin Hollow Road is a great way to enjoy all the amazing colors of fall. Our covered bridges also make for great afternoon drives and offer amazing scenery and beautiful picnic areas.

If you are looking for delicious fresh fruit, fall decorations, delicious jelly and jam, or fresh baked goodies, stop at any of our local orchards. Catoctin Mountain Orchard is on Rt. 15 (north of Thurmont), Pryor’s Orchard is on Pryor Road (off of Rt. 77, west of Thurmont), and Mountain View Orchard (on Rt. 550, north of Thurmont, close to Sabillasville). All three orchards raise their own fruit and are always fresh picked!

For great Halloween fun, join us at the Community Park, 19 Frederick Road, on October 29 at 7:30 p.m., for our Movie in the Park. This year, we are showing It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, followed by the main event, Hotel Transylvania! Bring chairs, blankets, or sit in your car just like at a drive-in. The Thurmont Lions Club will be serving free popcorn and hot chocolate.

Trick-or-treat in Thurmont will be held from 6:00-7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 31. Turn on your porch light if you are handing out treats to the ghouls and goblins. Drive carefully on Halloween and help make it a safe night for our children.

For family fun on the weekends through Halloween, check out the activities, entertainment, and great food at Magnolia Meadow Farms at 13001 Creagerstown Road. The amazing corn maze, Moonlit Maze kids games, gem mining, pedal cars, and other games and adventures are waiting for you to arrive and enjoy.

We are holding several events for the Gateway to the Cure Cancer research fundraiser. The Gateway to the Cure 5K Run will be held on Saturday, October 16, at the Eyler Road Park. Check-in starts at 7:30 a.m., and the walk/run kicks off at 8:30 a.m. You can register by phone through October 13 by calling 301-271-7313 & pressing 0. We also have pink light bulbs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and other items for sale at the Town Office, Main Street Center, and several businesses in town.

Call me at 301-606-9458 or email me at with any questions, comments, or suggestions.


Mayor Don Briggs

Community, what is it?

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom for more than 70 years, passed away on September 8, 2022. She became Queen at 25 years of age and shared most of her 96 years with us. Sadness, yes, in her passing, for the continuity of dignity and ease she brought to respect for the law, history, and traditions. On one of her visits to our country, she and Prince Phillip attended the Maryland – North Carolina football game at College Park on October 19, 1957, dubbed the “Queen’s Game.” It was a beautiful day, stands were packed, everybody was dressed up. Women with corsages, men in coats and ties. In attendance were my season ticket-holder father; my mother; my brother; president of the student government, whose responsibility it was to explain the game to the Australian ambassador; and me, sitting across the field with my CYO football coach. Coach and I had come after playing a CYO football game on the Ellipse behind the White House that morning. What a game. An upset 21-7 victory over a team coached by former Maryland coach Jim Tatum. A legendary game, a part of Maryland history.

On Sunday, September 11, I participated in the 9/11 commemoration at the Emmitsburg NETC campus chapel with students, instructors, and staff. The service began promptly at 8:46 a.m., the moment in time when the first plane of the attacks that day hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Eriks Gabliks, superintendent of National Fire Academy presided. A prayer was led by Rev. Timothy May. The tolling of the bell, three sets of five, 5-5-5, to commemorate the firefighters and first responders making their last call. After the service, everyone was invited to go up and light a candle. We all did.   

Community, what is it? With the town amidst its annual election cycle, this time for four candidates vying for two municipal commissioner seat openings, it’s as good a time as any to think about its meaning. What are the ideals, what are the expectations, what are the realities? I mention the “Queen’s Game” and the observance at FEMA Chapel for 9/11 because continuity and history are needed in the “Being” of a community.

To the topic of community, I started off my summer reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, an exposé of the exploitation of immigrants who came here following a dream, but only to be sucked under by the meat packing conglomerates in Chicago in the late nineteenth-early twentieth century. Hence, the expression, “you don’t want to know how the sausage is made.” I finished the summer by reading Lorraine Hansberry’s play, A Raisin in the Sun. Again, the setting is Chicago. This time in the 1950’s. The role of nuclear family. Again, people separated from the dream.

Lutsk, Ukraine, our sister city, what is keeping those 200,000 people together? Barbaric times for them. Let’s stay committed to share our community with them.

What is a footprint for our community? As good a reference as any is from the Bible. Take the Book of Deuteronomy, it has more than met the test of time for its wisdom. We seek a community to live and raise our families, “A land flowing with milk and honey.” Choose wise, understanding people to lead and heed (cf 1:13), and “not be partial in judgments; the small and the great alike” (1:17). To possess that land as a community, like here, is a blessing that comes with commandments, statutes, and ordinances adhered to (4:14, 6:1, 7:1, 10:13, 11:1, 11:32, 12:1), and a curse if not adhered. 

To me, Emmitsburg is idyllic, very close to a land flowing with milk and honey. A community formed by centuries of generations developing statutes and ordinances to live under and rely on to live in peace and harmony. Where foundations are formed for seamless assimilations of generations that follow. Today, the town operates under a statute that has codes that have changed from time to time to maintain continuity. They are a work in progress. To keep to those blessings, a unity must be formed by acceptable commandments, statutes, and ordinances. From this book of the Bible, a community will not exist without laws, as over time, some laws develop flaws. Let’s do something about it and really take a close look at them. We need people to step forward.

To Dan Fissel, the town water and sewer facilities superintendent who is retiring after 28 years of service, “Thank you.” Have a wonderful retirement—you earned it.


Burgess Heath Barnes

It’s now fall, and the smell of pumpkin spice is in the air wherever you go it seems. I hope everyone had a great summer. To me, it seemed to go by way too fast. It was a busy summer for the town of Woodsboro, with projects and things in the works for the town.

At the September 13th town meeting, we discussed the progress of the demolition of the property that the town purchased at 605 S. Main St. The overhead power lines have now been removed, and the demolition will begin soon, as we were waiting for Potomac Edison to remove them. Before the building is demolished, we are allowing the Frederick County Fire Department to use the building for drills. This will be a good training activity for them also, and the town was happy to offer this up to them.

We also had some concerns from townspeople brought up at the meeting. The town code written in 1974 does not allow chickens or livestock in town limits. With the town not having a code enforcer until a few months ago, many things went under the radar. Since the code enforcer has started, chickens have become an issue. A few town residents plan to appeal to change the town code to planning and zoning and then ultimately the town council. If this takes place, it will be shared to the public for a public hearing before any action is taken. As of right now, there has not been any formal petition made to have the code changed, but I will keep the town up to date if things go forward on this.

Town Clerk Mary Rice and I made a proposal to the council about the possibility of replacing the water meter-reading system. We are still working on gathering final numbers for the cost, but this is a project that we must have done soon, as the system we currently are using has become obsolete and outdated. The challenge with this is that each home will have to have a piece in their water meter replaced; this could take a while, as the crew would need to enter each person’s home to replace the reader. One of the great things about this is that it will allow electronic readings to be tied to electronic payment processing that allows residents to pay their water bills via debit or credit cards, which has been asked a lot lately. We plan to present final numbers to the council at the October meeting for a vote. Thankfully, this project would fall under the approval to be used with ARPA funds that the town received.

Do not forget to mark your calendars for October 15 and 16, as Woodsboro Days will once again be a two-day festival instead of just the one day as it has been for the last several decades. We have lined up three bands for the festival on Sunday the 16th at the stage in the park, along with several vendors and food trucks that will be set up there also. On day one, Saturday October 15, there will be yard sales in town with a large sale at the Woodsboro Lutheran Church with food and bake sales. In addition, the Woodsboro Historical Society will have their 5K run at 9:00 a.m. Last year’s music festival in the park was well-attended and successful, and we are looking forward to this year’s event. If you are a vendor or food truck interested in attending, please reach out to me.

Trick-or-treating in town will be October 31, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. If you plan to participate, please turn on your porch light. Please also be careful that night driving around town, as children will be out and about.

As always, I encourage everyone to support Glade Valley Community Services (GVCS) if you have clothes or food donations, as they are always in need of items for members of the community. For more information, please contact GVCS by email at or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at or by phone at 301-401-7164.

Woodsboro Town meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. In addition, Planning & Zoning meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month as needed. If you have an item for the agenda, it needs to be submitted 14 days before the P&Z meeting. The current location for meetings is the St. Johns United Church of Christ, located at 8 N. 2nd Street Woodsboro, MD 21798. The public is always invited to attend.

On Monday, October 17, the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Lions Clubs are hosting a Candidates Forum for candidates running for Frederick County Council in District 5 and At-large, as well as candidates for County Executive. The County Council candidates include District 5—Mason Carter (R) and Julianna Lufkin (D); At-large—Tony Chmelik (R), Phil Dacey (R), Renee Knapp (D), Brad Young (D). County Executive candidates are Jessica Fitzwater (D) and Michael Hough (R).

The Lions Club holds these candidate forums as a service to our community so that residents of Northern Frederick County can hear directly from candidates about issues that concern them and so that they may be better informed voters.

The forum will be held at the Thurmont Middle School Cafeteria, located at 408 E. Main Street in Thurmont. The entrance and parking are off Summit Avenue. It will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Monday October 17 and end around 9:15 p.m.

The first part of the evening will be a forum just for County Council candidates and the last part of the evening will be for County Executive candidates.

Department Champion & Reserve Champion Winners

Winners of the 66th Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show, held September 9-11, 2022, at Catoctin High School in Thurmont, are listed below. At the Community Show, there were 125 new exhibitors! Premium checks and Department Champion gift certificates will be mailed to the winners by November 15, 2022. Many thanks to all judges, coordinators, performers, and volunteers who led, organized, or contributed to the event. The 2023 Community Show will be held on September 8, 9 and 10, 2023.

Department Champion and Reserve Champion Winners

Fresh Fruits: Champion – Kylie Robertson (Peaches); Reserve Champion – Kylie Robertson (Cortland Apples).

Fresh Vegetables: Champion – Edward Hahn (Red Tomatoes); Reserve Champion – Molly Harbaugh (Watermelon).

Home Products Display: Champion – Roxanna Lambert; Reserve Champion – Angie Matthews.

Canned Fruit: Champion – Carolyn Hahn (Peaches); Reserve Champion – Donald Stanley (Cantaloupe Juice).

Canned Vegetables: Champion – Carolyn Hahn (Whole Green Beans); Reserve Champion – E. Canfield-Mott (Tomato Salsa).

Jellies & Preserves: Champion – Jane Redding (Pink Peony Jelly); Reserve Champion – Hannah Barth (Cherry Preserves).

Pickles: Champion – Carolyn Hahn (Sweet Dill Pickles); Reserve Champion – Carolyn Hahn (Sweet Pickles).

Meat (Canned): Champion – Joan Little (Mince Meat); Reserve Champion – Donald Stanley (Canned Fish).

Home Cured Meats: Champion – Robert McAfee (Country Ham); Reserve Champion – Dale Hurley (Country Ham).

Cake: Champion – Cheryl Lenhart (Banana Cake); Reserve Champion – Maxine Troxell (Italian Cream Cake); Honorable Mention Cake – Burall Brothers Scholarship – Stephanie Ott (Chocolate Cake).

Pie: Champion – Ann Welty (French Apple Pie); Reserve Champion – Angie Matthews (Oats and Honey Pie).

Bread: Champion – Maxine Troxell (Onion Bread); Reserve Champion – Melissa Kinna (Zucchini Blueberry Bread).

Diabetic/Sugar Free: Champion – Joyce Kline (Sugar Free Cake); Reserve Champion – Shirley Greene (Diabetic Banana Bread).

Gluten Free Baked Product: Champion – Robin Rippeon (Pumpkin Cookies); Reserve Champion – Beth Shriner (Eggless Pecan Pie).

Sewing, Crocheting, Needlework, Embroiderty & Knitting: Champion – Tess Hahn (Cross-Stitch Picture); Reserve Champion – Robin Rippeon (Hand Sewn Applique Quilt).

Flowers & Plants: Champion – Chori Hah Monroe – (Flowering Potted Desert Rose); Reserve Champion – Roxanna Lambert (Holiday Arrangement-Halloween).

Arts, Painting & Drawings: Champion – Charlotte Dutton (Painting); Reserve Champion – Bill Stottlemyer (Wood Craft).

Crafts: Champion – Pennie Keilholtz (Noah’s Ark); Reserve Champion – Rachel Mohler (Oil Painting).

Color Photography: Champion – Debbie Wiles (Animal/Bird Photo); Reserve Champion – Joyce May (Misc. Photo).

Black & White Photography: Champion – Danielle Jackson (Photo of Children under age 18 class); Reserve Champion – Joyce Kline (Farm Scene class).

Corn: Champion – Matthew Clark (Hybrid Corn); Reserve Champion – Mary Ellen Clark (Hybrid Corn).

Small Grain & Seeds: Champion – Mary Ellen Clark (Soybeans); Reserve Champion – Matthew Clark (Shelled Corn).

Eggs: Champion – Ashley Atkins (Brown Eggs); Reserve Champion – Jack Morris (Brown Eggs).

Nuts: Champion – Joan Staub (English Walnuts); Reserve Champion – Kevin Long (Black Walnuts).

Rabbit: Champion – Bailey Wolf (Breeding Female); Reserve Champion – Laura Dutton (Dwarf Rabbit).

Poultry: Champion – Laura Dutton (Pair of Geese); Reserve Champion – Eli Yocum (Turkey).

Dairy Cattle: Champion – Cadin Valentine (Ayrshire Fall Calf); Reserve Champion – James Bassler (Brown Swiss Fall Calf).

Dairy Goats: Champion – Laura Dutton (Senior Kid); Reserve Champion – Laura Dutton (Dry Yearling).

Hay: Champion – Matthew Clark (Alfalfa Hay); Reserve Champion – Matthew Clark (Orchard Grass Hay).

 Straw: Champion – Abbey Myers (Barley Straw); Reserve Champion – Abbey Myers (Wheat Straw).

Junior Department (Ages 10 & Under): Champion – Kinsley Main (Christmas Craft); Reserve Champion – Fiona Ligsay (Fresh Flowers).

Junior Department Baked Product (Ages 10 & Under): Champion – Lexie Cox (Chocolate Cake); Reserve Champion – Adalyn Eaves (Pound Cake).

Youth Department (Ages 11-18): Champion – Abigail May (Painting); Reserve Champion – Jacob Hemler (Wood Craft).

Youth Department Baked Product (Ages 11-18): Champion – Grace Eaves (Chocolate Cake); Reserve Champion – Sarah Eaves (Coconut Cake).

Youth Department Champion Cake – In Honor & Memory of Mearl McCleaf, Mountain Gate Family Restaurant: Masyn Sanders (Pumpkin Cake with Buttercream Icing).

Beef: Grand Champion – Cadin Valentine; Reserve Champion – Madison Ohler.

Sheep: Grand Champion – Caroline Clark; Reserve Champion – Peyton Davis; Ridenour Lamb – Elizabeth Schubel.

Swine: Grand Champion – Peighton Rhinehart: Reserve Champion – Kourtney Bell.

Market Goat: Grand Champion – Alyssa Costa; Reserve Champion – Cheyenne VanEcho.

Contest Winners

Decorated Animal: Preston Clark (Sheep).

Log Sawing Contest Winners: Men’s Team: 1st – Gavin Valentine & Brayden Whetzel (2:21); 2nd – Josh Offutt & Jason Green (2:25); 3rd – Justus Yocum & David Ohler (2:58). Women’s Team: 1st – Caroline Clark & Annalise Abruzzese (3:06); 2nd – Payton Troxell & Abby Moreland (6:55). Men & Women’s Team: 1st – Kolton Whetzel & Annalise Abruzzese (2:47); 2nd – Shelby Green & Robert Hahn (4:33); 3rd – Robert Hahn & Stephanie Moreland (5:26); 4th – Colby Keilholtz & Kelly Glass (9:33). Children’s Team: 1st – Preston Clark & Trennon Latham (5:57); 2nd – Braelynn Keilholtz & Jordyn Ohler (9:59); 3rd – Landon Hahn & Eli Yocum (10:52). Additional Children’s Teams participating were Hayden Hahn & Chloe Keilholtz (15:24); Alaina Quill & Adalyn Eaves (20:56); Colt Ridge & Garrett Troxell (10:19); and Wade Wolf & Bryce Yocum (incomplete).

The 2022 Horseshoe Pitching contest was not held due to the inclement weather.

Pet Show Winners: Grand Champion was Michelle Sanville (1st place for both Best Trained Pet and Prettiest Dog – 26 lb. & over) and Reserve Champion was Savanna Cregger (1st place for Pet with the Most Spots). Cat with Prettiest Eyes: 1st – Ashley Coffman; 2nd – Joshua Crouse; 3rd – Kara Wolf. Cat with Longest Whiskers: 1st – Kara Wolf; 2nd – Ashley Coffman; 3rd – Joshua Crouse. Cutest Cat: 1st – Joshua Crouse; 2nd – Ashley Coffman; 3rd – Kara Wolf. Best Trained Pet: 1st – Michelle Sanville; 2nd – Deveen Armstrong; 3rd – Abby Owens; Honorable Mention – Ashley Coffman; Rhonda Sanders. Dog with the Waggiest Tail:  lst – Deveen Armstrong; 2nd – Adrianna Bussey; 3rd – Morgan Kolb; Honorable Mention – Rhonda Sanders. Prettiest Dog (25 lbs. & under): 1st – Judy Smith; 2nd – Deveen Armstrong; 3rd – Adrianna Bussey; Honorable Mention – Morgan Kolb; Gerardo Ligsay. Prettiest Dog (26 lbs. & over): 1st – Michelle Sanville; 2nd – LuAnne Ewing; 3rd – Abby Owens; Honorable Mention – Jeannie Brown. Best Costumed Pet: 1st – Jeannie Brown; 2nd – Savanna Cregger; 3rd – Gerardo Ligsay; Honorable Mention – Judy Smith, Morgan Kolk, Deveen Armstrong, Lisa Valentine, Ashley Coffman, Carley Hahn, LuAnne Ewing, Abby Owens. Pet with the Most Spots: 1st – Savanna Cregger; 2nd – Abby Owens; 3rd – Morgan Kolb; HM – Ashley Coffman, Honorable Mention – Gerardo Ligsay. Largest Pet (by height): 1st – Jeannie Brown. Most Unusual Pet: lst – Jeannie Brown. Smallest Pet: 1st – Deveen Armstrong; 2nd – Judy Smith; 3rd – Kristi Woods; Honorable Mention – Rhonda Sanders. 

Kiddie Pedal Tractor Pull Contest: Class for Ages 5 & 6 winners were 1st – Nathan Shriner (full pull); 2nd – Trace Rhinehart (23’ 6”); 3rd – Ella Eaves (23” 3”). Additional participants were Bailey Wolf & Jason Green. Class for Ages 7 & 8 winners were 1st – Adalyn Eaves (33’ 2”); 2nd – Wade Wolf (28” 6”); 3rd – Dylan Ridinger (27’ 9”). Additional participants were Aiden Koontz, Garrett Troxell and Bryce Yocum. Class for Ages 9 & 10 winners were 1st – Colt Ridge (29’ 1”); 2nd – Cyrus Steelmen.

Cheryl Lenhart, Grand Champion Cake baker displaying her Banana Cake, with buyer Kirby Delauter of W. F. Delauter & Son.

Carol Minnick (left), representing Gateway Farm Market, purchased the Reserve Champion Bread, a Zucchini Blueberry Bread baked by Melissa Kinna.

Caroline Clark (right), with her Grand Champion Sheep, purchased by Carolyn & Eric Baker of Baker Tree Services in Thurmont, and 2022-2023 Catoctin FFA Ambassador Abby Moreland (left).

Kiddie Pedal Tractor Pull winners in the Class for Ages 7-8 were (from left): 1st—Adalyn Eaves; 2nd—Wade Wolf; 3rd—Dylan Ridinger.

Community Show Opening Ceremonies participants: David Harman – Master of Ceremonies; Barry Burch – Catoctin FFA Advisor; Jennifer Clements – Catoctin High School Principal, who announced the new FFA Ambassador; 2022-2023 Catoctin FFA Ambassador Abby Moreland, daughter of Chris and Desiree Moreland; Amy Poffenberger – Catoctin FFA Advisor; and Daniel Myers – Community Show Committee Member.

Log Sawing Women’s Division winners (from left): 2nd – Payton Troxell & Abby Moreland, and 1st – Annalise Abruzzese & Caroline Clark.

Vigilant Hose Company’s Tim Clarke (left) purchased the Grand Champion Swine that was shown by Prighton Rhinehart.

The Crafts Department Champion was a beautifully carved wooden “Noah’s Ark,” made by Pennie Keilholtz.

Department Champion of Sewing, Crocheting, Needlework, Embroiderty & Knitting Dept. was Tess Hahn’s Cross-Stitch Picture.

Reserve Champion was Savanna Cregger (1st place for Pet with the Most Spots).

Junior Department (Ages 10 & Under) Reserve Champion Cake baker Adalyn Eaves, holding her Pumpkin Spice with Maple Glaze Pound Cake, is pictured with Wolfe Auctions, Inc. buyers Emily and Josh Ruby.

This Hereford Sow and its 10 Piglets were five weeks old at the Community Show and were courtesy of Danny Wetzel of Rocky Ridge.

BY Terry Pryor

Writer, Poet, Life Coach, and Student of the Mind

Note: This is the eighth month of action described in a series of motivational articles. Take some time each month to complete these action items, and you’ll see a “New You” emerge. Enjoy!

Power Action #8: It’s A Love Song, Baby!

As a teenager, I remember my mother saying, “You’d better change your tune, young lady!” I knew what she meant; she meant I was displeasing her in some way, and I had better get a new attitude—fast! Expressions like this are often handed down through generations. I would guess that my mother had heard it as a child from her parents.

I want to propose a very pleasant, and perhaps new, thought about how to “change your tune.” This practice helps tremendously in creating a loving and compassionate version of ourselves. It boosts our self-image and brings lightheartedness to our days.

Here’s what you do. Take the words of a love song like “A Groovy Kind of Love” by the Mindbenders, and wherever the word “you” is used in the song, substitute the word “me” in its place. Or use the Beatles song, “And I Love Her,” and replace “her” with “me.” I began this love song exercise after hearing about it at a motivational seminar many years ago. Ever since then, I giggle every time I sing a love song to me. It just feels so good! I love to sing love songs to myself. It’s also become a challenging game to find new love songs to substitute the “you” with “me.”

Why should you sing love songs to yourself? Well, first of all, why not? We absolutely must love ourselves. Until we do, how the heck can we expect anyone else to? Besides, we are magnificent in all our glory and individuality. We are wonderful beyond compare. One of my most favorite love songs to me is “You Are The Sunshine of My Life.” Wherever there’s a “you,” I replace it with “I,” and I cannot tell you how high I get wailing away this song on my morning walks.

This is not about ego or puffing up our image to others. It’s about a healthy relationship with that magnificent being that is you. That one-of-a-kind, made-to-perfection, can’t-get-enough-of-you, you. I can tell you this for certain, kids love this game. What a wonderful thing to teach them. It’s infectious. So, sing, baby! You will be surprised, and pleasantly so, at how your feelings about yourself change for the better. Find that perfect love song to sing to you, and sing it every day!

And the Winner Is YOU!

Here’s an amazing reason to sing your praises loud and clear. Let’s go back to the beginning—yours. You were a winner from the get-go. Think about this, an average ejaculation contains 40 to 150 million sperm, out of which only a few hundred will even come close to the egg. While it’s technically true that sperm can last for five days, most sperm will only last about two hours if they do not have fertile-quality conditions. Conceivably (pun intended), sperm will struggle to swim up to the uterus, use all their reserves, and not make it in time.

The egg typically lives only about 12 hours, so it cannot wait for long. Can you begin to see how extraordinarily miraculous you are? Right from the beginning, you were a winner, a gift of the most precious kind, representing the strongest swimmer, the most fertile egg, the one with the most health and vitality. Tenacity was your game. Isn’t it time for you to begin treating yourself with the highest and utmost respect? You are a magnificent miracle. You were no accident.

There is a tremendous power within you, and there is going to come a time—a precious, golden “Aha!” moment—when the knowledge of this power truly hits home. When it does (and I wish I could be there), I guarantee that you will never be the same. That epiphany, that knowing beyond all you’ve ever known, is when you begin taking responsibility for the outcome of your existence—in all areas.

This, my friend, whether you know it or not, is what you have been waiting for all of your life. This is the happiness that abides within you. This is why you are here, to create the life you desire with all the abundance, prosperity, joy, and delicious delight that you deserve. There are some who simply cannot handle this power. Those who feel the need to blame others for their misfortunes probably have not even read this far, so I know I am now talking only to those of you who are ready for this knowledge. I am talking to the magnificent you—the you who plants seeds of positive thought, then waters and nurtures those seeds until they bloom in splendid glory.

There is no block to your happiness, except in your own thoughts. That goes for memories, too. Each time we recall an incident, we give it power. For some, recalling their entire lives and how many things have made them unhappy is what they are consistently thinking about. Remember, your subconscious gives back to you what you plant. Choose to plant happiness. Choose to plant health. Choose to plant wealth. Choose to move beyond where you are now!

Keep the Faith, Baby!

In The Principles of Psychology by William James, published in 1890, he devotes his longest chapter, “The Consciousness of Self,” to Faith. He felt that the greatest discovery of the 19th century was the power of the subconscious mind touched by Faith. Faith is an absolute and necessary component to the process of seeing the outcome and living as if it were already your reality. Faith is that deepest of all knowing—you know because you know. No one, no thing, no experience can move you from your rock of Faith once you have acquired it. It is the most powerful of all the tools to success in any area of your life.

The Grand Slam in tennis, the four most prestigious tournaments in a year: the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open. Winning all four in a calendar year is called the Grand Slam. Until Faith becomes a Grand Slam, know you may have a tennis match going on in your head until you get comfortable with this new habit. At first, it’s going to seem as if you are trying to fool yourself. Those thoughts are the monkeys of doubt coming in to distract you. Tell them to move on.

James Rada, Jr.

The new Frederick Health facility at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg celebrated the completion of the facility on August 16, 2022, and opened its doors to patients on August 19. Mount students and Northern Frederick County residents now have access to healthcare and services that they previously had to travel to Frederick, Waynesboro, or Gettysburg to receive.

The new state-of-the-art healthcare facility was built on land donated by Mount St. Mary’s University and will provide urgent care, student-health services, primary care, physical therapy and sports rehab, and lab and imaging services to area residents, Mount students, and Mount faculty.

The building will be staffed by an urgent care doctor, a primary care doctor, physician’s assistants, and nurse practitioners.

The building, which had no equipment inside yet, still had that “new building smell” at the ribbon cutting. It features waiting areas for both sick and healthy patients, lots of examining rooms, offices, and procedure rooms. A lot of thought went into the features, such as sliding “barn-style” doors in the physical therapy rooms because those patients are often in wheelchairs or walkers. This can make it difficult for them to use regular doors.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Tom Kleinhanzl, president and CEO of Frederick Health, said, “In a few short months, look what we’ve done together.”

Although the idea of having a Frederick Health facility in the northern end of the county has been talked about for years, ground wasn’t broken until October 2021. Then, despite supply-chain issues, the construction was complete in less than a year.

“This location will bring award-winning care to residents of the northern part of Frederick County as well as the students and staff at the Mount. We thank Mount St. Mary’s University for their cooperation and commitment to improving our community,” Kleinhanzl said in a statement.

Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner called the facility a great example of collaboration, a big idea, and big vision. She said it would “bring healthcare to people where they are and where they need it.”

This facility will offer a wide range of healthcare services, focusing on prevention, treatment, and the overall wellness of the community. It is the 23rd location in the Frederick Health network.

As part of their agreement, Mount St. Mary’s University graciously donated the land upon which the facility was constructed. This facility, which is operated by Frederick Health, will also serve as the university’s new student health center.

“Mount St. Mary’s University is proud to now have state-of-the-art student health care on campus and grateful for our partnership with Frederick Health, the area’s leading healthcare provider,” Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D., president of Mount St. Mary’s University, said in a statement. “As we have watched the rapid construction of Frederick Health Emmitsburg, anticipation has been building for the fulfillment of our joint commitment to enhanced health and wellness services for students and the local community.”

Frederick Health Emmitsburg is located at 16403 Old Emmitsburg Road, across from the Mount Public Safety Building.

The hours for urgent care are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Outpatient services are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Tom Kleinhanzl, president and CEO of Frederick Health, and Tim Trainor, president of Mount St. Mary’s University shake hands to officially open the new Frederick Health Center in Emmitsburg.

One of the patient exam rooms in the new Frederick Health Emmitsburg facility.

James Rada, Jr.

The Vincentians are no longer serving as the priests for St. Joseph’s Parish in Emmitsburg for the first time in 170 years. Father Bill Allegretto was the parish’s last Vincentian.

“Our roots run very deep in this community,” Father Bill said.

He has been the parish priest at St. Joseph’s for 11 months, but his time here ended on August 31. “I won’t see a full year here,” he noted.

Father Alberto Barattero will be the new parish priest. He is a member of the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE), a brotherhood founded in Argentina in 1984 by Reverend Father Carlos Miguel Buela. He is also currently the parish priest for St. Anthony’s and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Father Bill will be serving as the St. John’s University chaplain in New York.

St. Vincent de Paul founded the Vincentians in Paris in 1625, and they have served at St. Joseph’s since June 1852, when Archbishop of Baltimore Samuel Eccleston S.S. offered the Saint Joseph’s Parish to the Vincentians.

The Vincentians have always had a presence in Emmitsburg because the Sisters of Charity had merged with the Daughters of Charity in 1850. The Vincentians had always served as the spiritual advisors for the Daughters of Charity since their founding. Once the sisters became Daughters of Charity, it also brought the Vincentians here.

Father Mariano Maller became the first Vincentian pastor of St. Joseph’s, the order’s first parish east of the Mississippi River.

A few months later, the Vincentians purchased property on DePaul Street for the rectory, which still stands today. It was occupied by General Otis Howard and his officers prior to the Battle of Gettysburg.

“The priests stayed in the basement,” Father Bill said.

Although the Vincentians and community have supported each other through the decades, the Vincentians are suffering a “vocation crisis,” and church attendance in Emmitsburg has dropped off.

According to Father Bill, in 2000, there were 91 active and their average age in this province is 69. As of last year, there were only 45. They can’t maintain a presence in all the locations they were in. They have already pulled out of some states entirely, and although they have been in some locations longer than they have been in Emmitsburg, this parish, so far, is the oldest they have had to leave.

In this location, the Vincentians have seen their rectory occupied by an army, seen St. Joseph’s and Emmitsburg burn, seen men off to war and welcomed them home, nursed the ill through pandemics, seen Elizabeth Ann Seton canonized, and more.

“The faith and fidelity of the people will continue to maintain this place,” Father Bill said.

The Farewell Celebration and Mass for the Vincentians was held at the church on August 28, 2022, with the Archbishop of Baltimore William Lori, and Bishops Adam Parker in attendance, and presided by Father Stephen Grozio. Celebrants in attendance included priests, past and future, together: Father Bill Allegretto, Father Harry Arnone, Father John Holliday, Father Charles Kreig, Father Eugene Sheridan, Father Alberto Barattero, Father Andres Ayala, Father Tyler Kline, and Father Thomas Dymowski.

Receiving several standing ovations from parishioners, Father Grozio addressed the congregation, “I am humbled. You are descendants of heritage greater than any one of us [priests]. This parish has built its life on the rock of faith. You are an example of this faith, leadership, and charity.” Archbishop Lori explained the transition to IVE. He shared his bond with the congregation, “I’m a Mounty and I taught at the St. Joseph’s High School.” He expressed his and the Archdiocese’ commitments to fostering growth at St. Joseph’s and its counterparts — Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Thurmont and St. Anthony’s in Emmitsburg.”

About the celebration, Colleen Garrett, President of the St. Joseph’s Parish Council said, “It was great! After the mass, the gathering in the parish hall was fun. Everyone enjoyed the presentation and the gifts to the priests. It will be remembered forever.”

Father Bill Allegretto stands next to the statue of St. Vincent de Paul in front of the St. Joseph’s rectory.

Archbishop William Lori (far left), Bishops, and priests are shown during the Vincentian’s Farewell Celebration Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

Richard D. L. Fulton

The iconic gold-gilded statue of the Virgin Mary has finally returned to the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, after having been removed to address the statue’s interior structural steel supports, which had become corroded over time and needed to be significantly refurbished. 

The corrosion was discovered by university officials during the summer of 2021 when the Mount was preparing to have the statue re-gilded, according to a Mount press release. Now that the statue has been returned, work can resume to reapply the gold gilding.

Before the corrosion issues had been discovered, Gerry Jackson, writing for the Catholic Review, noted in “Emmitsburg grotto awaits return of statue of Blessed Virgin Mary,” that the Grotto “was able to raise $200,000 to replace the gold-leaf gilding.” Jackson credited Mount Saint Mary’s University President Timothy Trainor. In 2021, during an annual May crowning ceremony, Trainor pointed out that the statue was in need of a touch-up and started the campaign to raise the initial $200,000 for re-gilding.

ADTEK Engineers Inc., a structural engineering firm located in Frederick, and Big Hook Crane and Rigging, a Union Bridge company, were contracted to work on the project, commencing with the removal of the statue by Big Hook, who lowered the statue onto a trailer and secured it for transport to storage, pending the restoration work.

Upon the removal of the statue, Mount Saint Mary’s University President Timothy Trainor stated, “The Blessed Mother has watched over (the) campus with her motherly heart and offered hope to millions… Now it is our turn to care for her image and ensure that her beacon of faith and hope shines for future generations.”

Dawn Walsh, director of the National Shrine Grotto, said, “May Our Lady long continue to fulfill this holy purpose,” adding, “While the Blessed Mother statue is away from the mountain, we will continue to welcome many thousands a year as a place of worship, pilgrimage, conversion, and reconciliation.” 

Regarding the absence of the statue as it awaited to be refurbished, Walsh told the Catholic Review, “It’s lonely up here,” joked Dawn Walsh, director of the National Shrine Grotto. “Not seeing Our Lady up on that hill is just a little strange,” adding that the upside is “knowing that she will be up there for at least the next 100 years once these restorations are complete.”

For more than five decades, the iconic 26-foot statue of Mary has overlooked the Grotto and the campus of Mount Saint Mary’s University from atop the 78-foot Pangborn Memorial Campanile (Italian-style bell tower) upon which she stands.  “Pangborn” relates to the fact that the statue was donated by the Pangborn Foundation and its chairman, Thomas W. Pangborn, Hagerstown.

The gold-gilded Blessed Virgin Mary statue, readily observable from Route 15 and the adjacent countryside from a considerable distance, was produced in 1964 in Pietrasanta, Italy, by sculptor Marcello Tommasi, and dedicated on May 1, 1964, at the statue’s current location, after having been imported from Italy to the Grotto. At that time, it was believed as having been the largest statue ever imported to the United States in a single piece.

Erection of the memorial was managed by Monsignor Hugh J. Phillips, then director and chaplain of the National Shrine Grotto and later president of the university.

The statue is located at the entrance to the Grotto where the old Church of St. Mary had been constructed in 1805 by the university’s founder, Reverend John Dubois, and which has also served as a place of worship for Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, according to the Mount, who further noted that, “according to local legend, Dubois built his church on the hillside so that people in the valley would look up, see the cross and the Blessed Mother and keep the faith.”

According to the program released upon the removal of the statue, “This campanile (statue and mount) perpetuates the holy purpose of the founder.”

The Mount includes Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, the second oldest in the United States, and the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, an idyllic shrine for spiritual reflection, located on the hill above the university.

BY Terry Pryor, Writer, Poet, Life Coach, and Student of the Mind

Note: This is the seventh month of action described in a series of motivational articles. Take some time each month to complete these action items, and you’ll see a “New You” emerge. Enjoy!

My Little House

Let me tell you a personal story, one that helped to change my thinking forever. I had just come out of a divorce. I had no money and a whole lot of debt. I was working four jobs and was exhausted on every level. I had to find a place to live, and I wanted that place to be a safe and secure haven for me to begin to rebuild my life. I wanted a house, not an apartment, and I wanted a quiet place in the country. For weeks, I looked at the rental section of the newspaper, but nothing appeared.

One day, I decided to look at the “Houses For Sale” section. My thought was to see if I could find a realtor who might know of a house that was not selling. Perhaps, the owners would want to rent while waiting for a buyer. I chose a name at random and called. I explained my desire to find a house in the country to rent. Immediately, the realtor gave me directions to a small, completely renovated, adorable home on a secluded country road. As I peeked in the windows, a feeling came over me that was as real as the house standing there. That feeling was that this house was where I now belonged.

I called the realtor and said that I would appreciate a meeting with the owners. I wanted to see if they would be open to renting with an option to buy. I met with the owners the following day and expressed my interest in renting. They said they would think about it.

Over the next few days, all I did was imagine that little house as mine. I saw myself moving my furniture in; I saw myself arranging it all just perfectly. I could taste the food I would prepare in my kitchen. I saw myself coming home from work every day and pulling into the garage. I saw myself walking my dog down that pretty country road. I virtually lived there. Every waking minute, I felt that the house was mine and that it was already my reality. I saw my first winter there and felt how snug and safe I would be. I felt the love that sharing my first meal with friends would bring to my heart and how we would sit around my table, laughing and enjoying the food and each other’s company.

The realtor called. The owners decided that renting just wasn’t what they had in mind. I was stunned at first, but I had recently discovered and had begun to read books on the power of thought. Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich was on my nightstand. What did I have to lose? I knew from my reading that I could become sad and dejected at the news the realtor had given me, or I could believe what I knew to be true: that house was mine! I knew that I belonged there.

Two weeks later, the realtor stopped by. He asked if I was still interested in renting a house in the country. I said that I was. With a twinkle in his eyes that I will never forget, he told me that the owners of that little house had discussed my renting it further. They had noticed how much I loved the house and decided that rather than selling it to someone who might not appreciate all the work they had done renovating it, they would rent it to me.

I knew that the power of my thoughts had created the outcome. I also knew that never again would I allow my mind to focus on anything other than the perfect outcome for me, for what we focus on is what we get. The subconscious, that rich and fertile soil, does not have any opinion of right or wrong, perfect or imperfect, positive or negative. It doesn’t have any opinions. It doesn’t argue with you. It only acts upon the thoughts it receives and will respond to whatever you consistently and passionately think of, and it always answers, “Your wish is my command!”

Thoughts Really Are Things

You are responsible for the experiences in your life. I know this may be hard to accept, but once you realize that what you experience in life is due to the thoughts you think, and consequently, the choices you make, you’ll be amazed and grateful at the power you have over your path.

Watch your thoughts and be aware of what you are thinking. Thoughts are energy—as everything is—and will attract the very things you want and don’t want. When your thoughts are consistently focused on something, you add more and more energy to that thought. If you are fearful of not having a job, and every day you think more and more fearful thoughts about what not having a job means, more and more fearful thoughts will come back to you. If, on the other hand, you think of how you are going to happily live once you have acquired that perfect job, or new home, or a complete life re-do, then the focus of this positive energy will bring you more positive thoughts. It really is this easy. Thoughts are things, and it is very important to choose those that are good and positive.

One of the keys to a successful life is to incorporate play into it. All work and no play makes us unbalanced. It also creates a very one-dimensional perspective. We should strive to be multi-faceted; more like a prism absorbing light and sending it back out into the world than like a sheet of glass that is transparent and easily seen through.

Having a fun side to our lives allows joy to enter our relationships, and especially our relationship with ourselves. After all, we spend 24/7 with ourselves. If we aren’t having a good time with ourselves, no one else will either. This month, allow the playful part of you to take over.

by James Rada, Jr.


Town Considering Raising Colorfest Permit Fees

Once again, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are considering increasing the Catoctin Colorfest permit fees. The income generated from the fees pays the town’s costs for security, sanitation, and transportation at the festival that attracts an estimated 100,000 people to Thurmont during the second weekend in October. As these costs increase, the mayor and commissioners may need to increase the permit costs to cover the increases. They are seeking to be proactive if this year’s bids for services come in significantly higher than last year.

Another thing that might drive up permit fees is if the number of vendors continues to fall. Last year, the festival had 615 vendors, a drop from the 720 vendors in 2019. Colorfest President Carol Robertson is hopeful that the number of vendors will increase this year.

If the commissioners raise the fees this year, it could put a strain on organizations that host vendor sites because many vendors have already paid for this year’s vendor spaces based on the current permit fee costs.

Parking is already expected to cost visitors more this year because the mayor and commissioners had voted previously to require $4.00 for every parked vehicle instead of $2.00. The town has encouraged those organizations that provide parking during the festival to increase their cost to customers, so they don’t lose money.

Thurmont May Get a Brewery

Scott Austin has approached the town about opening a brewery at 6 East Main Street. Austin is a New Market resident who owns two other Thurmont businesses: Structural Building Solutions and Hobbs’ Lumber and Hardware

Austin proposed to the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners that if the town purchases the property, Austin will lease it from them and open a brewery there.

Vickie Grinder, the town’s economic development manager, used a Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development grant to cover the purchase price of the building. Austin is now working on opening the promised brewery.

The town made zoning rule changes recently so that a microbrewery is now allowed in general business zoning districts. Bollinger’s Restaurant is also planning to add a brewery.

Mayor John Kinnaird and Grinder both hope the breweries will create an anchor to bring people into downtown Thurmont in the evenings.

Parks & Recreation Commission vacancy

The Town of Thurmont has an open position on the Thurmont Parks and Recreation Commission. The commission assists in maintaining the town park system and programming, while also providing recommendations for new parks, facilities, programs, and events.

If interested, contact the chief administrative officer at


Sister Anne Higgins is New Emmitsburg Poet Laureate

The Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners proclaimed Sister Anne M. Higgins as the new Emmitsburg Poet Laureate during the August town meeting. As poet laureate, she “encourages the reading, writing, sharing, and celebration of poetry.” Her term as the poet laureate will expire in August 2024.

Sister Anne is a native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, and a long-time Emmitsburg area resident. She has taught English for over 22 years at Mount St. Mary’s University and has been a Daughter of Charity for nearly 50 years, as well as a graduate of Saint Joseph College in Emmitsburg.

Sister Anne is an accomplished poet with nine published poetry books. She has had more than 100 of her poems published in journals and magazines, and she has given readings at various venues along the East Coast.

Emmitsburg Gets a Sister City

The Emmitsburg Mayor and Commissioners are planning to proclaim Lutsk, Ukraine, a sister city to the Town of Emmitsburg.


During the August Emmitsburg town meeting, Mark Long was reappointed to the Emmitsburg Planning Commission, with a term of August 5, 2022-August 5, 2027. Dan Darnetz was appointed as an alternate member to the Emmitsburg Board of Appeals, with a term of August 1, 2022-August 1, 2025.

The board of commissioners also appointed Sharon Hane, Tammy May, Charlotte Mazaleski, and Lynn Orndorff as town election judges. All of the women have previous experience helping with town and county elections.