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Blair Garrett and James Rada, Jr.

Whether it’s in the grocery store, your local food chain, or volunteering for a charity in need, elders continue to pitch in and help the community around us.

Thurmont resident Margaret Reed, age eighty-seven, has put in countless hours over the years, working a variety of jobs. To this day, Reed still works. She aims to keep herself busy and moving.

“I love to work, and I always have,” Reed said. Her working career started off at a young age, back when it was necessary to have the whole family chip in to help. She began working at fifteen years old at Kresge’s 5 and Dime, making 35 cents an hour.

At sixteen, Reed moved on to Sagner’s in Frederick, sewing clothing, where she got a significant bump in pay to 50 cents an hour. “I thought I was rich,” she recalled.

That youthful attitude and determination was not age-relative for Reed, though, as she has carried youthful optimism throughout her life.

Reed flourished in a long career, and she had decided to enjoy retirement at sixty-two years of age. But after forty years of marriage and the passing of her husband, Reed got back into the workforce to get out of the house, where she took a job at the Carriage House Bakery.

She spent sixteen years there until her second retirement this past December. But even at eighty-seven, Reed couldn’t stay dormant for long, taking her current job, on-call, cleaning at the Super 8 Motel in Thurmont. Seeing her friends using walkers and oxygen is motivation for Reed to stay active, and keeping busy is the best way to maintain her independence.

Darlene Wastler is another example of perseverance and dedication. Wastler, age sixty-six, maintains a job at the Roy Rogers in Thurmont, where her smiling face is often the first thing new and old customers see when they visit.

She also works at the Thurmont Senior Center, offering help week after week. Wastler is a Catoctin local, born and raised. She graduated from Catoctin High School in 1970, and ever since, she has found her way in the workforce in the Emmitsburg and Thurmont area.

“I enjoy the people and the customers,” Wastler said. “If you can get along with your employer, they look out for you.”

Wastler has been a staple of Thurmont’s Roy Rogers, having worked there for more than a decade. “It’ll be eleven years Mother’s Day weekend,” Wastler said. “I got a pin for ten years.”

Despite spending much of her fifties and sixties balancing life’s stresses on top of two jobs, she doesn’t plan on stepping back any time soon. “I’m hoping to continue for a while.”

If dedication and longevity are the keys to becoming a huge part of a business or company, Don Stitely is the epitome of those characteristics. Stitely is a member of the Guardian Hose family, logging more than sixty years for the volunteer fire company.

Stitely still serves as the President Emeritus, playing a big part in the administrative duties at Guardian Hose as a volunteer. Stitley was honored at the annual Guardian Hose banquet with a certificate for his long-standing contributions.

On top of the various volunteer work Stitely has done over the years, he also works at Jubilee Foods in Emmitsburg, stocking the shelves on Tuesdays and Thursdays. At eighty years old, the motivation is built from a long career of putting in hard work.

“After people retire, they don’t last long if they aren’t on the go,” Stitely said. “I’ve slowed down a bit, but I like to keep moving.”

Stitely spent just five years in retirement before picking up a job at Walmart, and then finally at Jubilee. “I really just like meeting with people and getting out of the house a bit.”

After the last sixty years in the workforce, Stitely’s future appears to be the same as it’s always been. “I hope to stick around there for a while.”      

Regardless of where you go across Northern Frederick County, you will find many elders still active in the workforce and volunteering their services to the community. With the dedication shown here by just a few of our local elders, it’s easy to see how they continue to make an impact and how their value in the workforce is still undeniable.

At eighty-seven, Margaret Reed continues to push herself to stay active in the workforce.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.

by James Rada, Jr.

March 2019 Meeting

Emmitsburg

Review of Sign Ordinance Changes Continues

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners continued its review of the proposed changes to the town’s sign ordinance. During the March town meeting, the commissioners heard about the proposed changes to what types of signs could be located in which areas of town. They also paid particular attention to lighted signage.

They reviewed off-premise signage, which Town Planner Zach Gulden told them is a “totally new and business friendly section” to the sign ordinance.

Gulden told the commissioners that the new ordinance brings the town up-to-date with new signage technology, into compliance with legal rulings that could lead to future court challenges, and adheres to the best practices recommended by the Maryland Municipal League and American Planners Association.

However, he reassured business owners, “We will not take any signs away if this is passed, unless it was currently not permitted and not legal.”

Town staff also said they planned on taking pictures of all of the signage in town that is non-conforming to the whatever sign ordinance is eventually passed. This will create a visual list to show what signs are grandfathered in under the new ordinance and avoid any new town staff in the future to cause a business owner problems because they have signage not allowed under the sign ordinance.

Commissioners Support Nature Trail Garden

The Emmitsburg Commissioners supported a project proposed by Sandra Adams and Wayne Slaughter to create a half-mile-long walking path surrounding the Community Park baseball field into a nature trail garden.

The project will use volunteers to remove debris and prepare the garden beds. The maintenance costs are expected to be minimal, and they hope to raise the amount through donations.

The commissioners voiced their support of the project, and Adams and Slaughter will start to move forward with it.

Emmitsburg Food Bank Looking to Move

The roof of the Emmitsburg Food Bank building is in need of $40,000 of repairs to stop leaks and mold mitigation.

“I don’t know whether it’s even worth it,” Food Bank Director Phyllis Kelly told the Emmitsburg Commissioners.

Kelly asked the town commissioners if they could help the food bank find a new location. The commissioners directed her to contact the town planner, who could help the food bank with its search.

Commissioners Put Off Passing a Cross Connection Control Program

Emmitsburg must pass a cross connection control program or face fines from the State of Maryland. However, they put off the decision for a month to better understand the ordinance that the state is requiring them to pass. The program is designed to protect the potable water supply from contamination by connecting backflow preventers to water lines. Once passed, businesses will have time to make the changes while residents will only need to make the addition to their home water lines when major changes are made to the home or it is sold.

Thurmont

March 2019 Meeting

Proposal to Extend the Trolley Trail

The .7-mile-long Thurmont Trolley Trail may not be long, but it is well used by residents. The H&F Trolley Association would like to see the trail grow and attract even more users.

Members of the association presented their plan to Thurmont Town Commissioners. The plan calls for extending the trail north to Eyler Road Park and south past the water treatment plant. The hope would be that it might eventually connect up with other hiking and biking trails.

The projected cost to extend the trail to be two miles long would be $190,102.

Donovan Named Thurmont Police Officer of the Year

Thurmont Police Officer First Class Brian Donovan was named the Thurmont Lions Club Police Officer of the Year. Donovan has served in the department for three years and performed many traffic stops. He has also administered Narcan three times to overdose victims, most likely saving their lives. He also serves as the lieutenant of the Guardian Hose Company.

Donovan received a gift certificate to the Shamrock Restaurant and will have a $400 donation made to the charity of his choice.

Commissioners Begin Compiling POS Wish List

The Thurmont Commissioners have begun compiling their wish list of projects that could be funded through Program Open Space grants. The division of funds will emphasize property acquisition. Among some of the suggested projects are to increase the size of Community Park and to create a pocket park in Catoctin Heights. The commissioners also expressed no interest in pursuing a skateboard park, which was on the town’s POS wish list last year, but dropped.

Subdivision Regulations to be Reviewed

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners will be reviewing proposed regulations to the Thurmont subdivision regulations at the regular town meeting on April 9. A public hearing will be scheduled for a later date.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

Alas, April. Closer to warmer weather is our earnest hope. Earlier sunrises and later sunsets surely spurs the imagination. But to keep one grounded, and still encouraged, comes the timeless reminder, “March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb.” Then the tempering reality in the warning given to Caesar, “Beware of the Ides of March.”

As I write this, we’ve just passed the Ides of March with no ill effects other than the loss of an hour of sleep and waking up in darkness again for Daylight Savings Time.

That’s not all—how about Lent? Late start this year. Ash Wednesday fell on March 6. A shove, a prod, a nudge…whatever draws my attention that it is time for some moral calculus. Can I give something up that I really like and/or do something for others who are in need? Dauntless, I signed on. Took the ashes to the forehead with a hope that I can do a combination of both. We’ll see how well I did when Lent ends on April 18.

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, fell this year on Sunday. Guardedly, with some trepidation, I welcomed the fete with a tip of my hat to my Irish heritage, knowing full well the celebration brings with it flauntingly many offers of contraband to my Lenten season. At about the same time, I received the book, Lincoln and the Irish by Niall O’Dowd from my daughter. It recounts the key role Archbishop John Hughes of New York played during the Civil War in swaying the strong Democrat Irish support over to the Union cause under Republican President Abraham Lincoln. As if the Civil War did not pose enough trouble, there was still the simmering undertow of the Nativist anti-immigrant feelings in the North. John Hughes, once an impoverished Irish immigrant to our area, worked as a gardener/stone mason at the Mount. After some time, he applied for admission to the Mount and was initially turned down by the Rector Father John Dubois. It was only after the intervention of Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton that he was admitted to the school and went on to graduate from the seminary.

On one snow delay day, I joined others from the community at Mother Seton School to be readers as a part of the celebration of National Education Association (NEA) “Read Across America Week.” I read to Mrs. Marr’s third grade class, where sat my beautiful granddaughter amidst other beautiful children. This year, I read a Dr. Seuss book featuring none other than the Cat in the Hat to take us step by step through what it means to live in a free country, and the responsibilities that are granted to, borne by, and gifted to us. Most importantly, to register and vote. It is always an honor and a grace to read with them. It’s the innocence in their eyes that “sticks the landing.” What a future we must build for them. A new pool, dog park, exercise trail, mountain multi-user trail are not enough. We have to lead by example and follow Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat lead to instill in them and preserve for them their freedom. They’re excited about living. Let’s make it so, to the best of our ability, a happening for them. I have always said that my grandchildren and their generation are a major part of my constituency.

We have a beautiful town. One that was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1992. I reference that because we want to protect its nuances, character, and even its quirky inconveniences. New technological changes in lighting capabilities and presentation methods bring almost assuredly that a new type of signage could threaten the historic ambience of our town. To this issue of public concern, the town is revisiting its sign ordinance. We want to get in front of it. Our sign ordinance has not been reviewed in over twenty years. I am familiar on several instances in the past that it seemed the interpretations of a signage request was handled by the town in a darn near arbitrary way. All signs, billboards, and small ones, the criteria is being revisited. I know there is a lot to be said for, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but it may well be broke. Nationally, things are changing. From the strong encouragement of the Maryland Municipal League (MML)—to which the town is a member, along with 156 other municipalities and two special taxing districts—has recommended that every municipality, big or small, revisit their sign ordinances. The American Planner’s Association (APA), of which MML and the town are members, has a tested model for municipalities that choose to protect its streetscape. The basic format is the one recommended by the MML. These ordinances are organic, living rules that need to be reviewed and updated periodically. Public meetings are scheduled. Please call the town office at 301-600-6300 or go to our town social media resources.

Spring, in case you haven’t heard, we’re pulling for ya!

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

Spring has finally arrived, and with it, we will see warmer weather, and the coming months will be filled with lots of outdoor activities and events. As the weather improves, we will start seeing lots of kids out and about, heading to sporting events, playing, and visiting friends’ houses. Please keep an eye open for our youngest residents, as they may not always be aware of their surroundings. I have noticed that Little League has been holding practice as well as soccer, lacrosse, and other outdoor sports. I recommend that if you want to see some dedicated kids playing sports and having a great time, just visit any of our playing fields and see what is going on. The kids will appreciate that you have taken the time to watch them play.

 There are some exciting events coming up in Thurmont during the month of April, including the 2nd Annual Thurmont Green Fest and the Annual Thurmont Business Showcase. The Greenfest will be held at the Thurmont Regional Library on Saturday, April 13, from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. There will be nature crafts, games, stories, a rain barrel raffle, composting information, planting instructions for trees and plants, and an electronics recycling drop-off. With the exception of CRT tubes in televisions or monitors, all electronics can be dropped off to be recycled. This event is for kids and adults, so be sure to bring the little ones along for a fun day of learning how we can all improve our environment. The Thurmont Business Showcase will be held at the Thurmont Event Complex on Saturday, April 27, from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. This is a great opportunity to find out what kinds of products and services local business and non-profits offer our community. There is always something new to see at the Thurmont Business Expo. Admission is free, and the Showcase is at the Thurmont Ambulance Event Complex, located at 13716 Stratford Drive in Thurmont. You are also invited to enjoy A Taste of Thurmont Restaurant Week, from April 5 through April 13. Visit any of the participating restaurants to enjoy special meals or discounts. Participating restaurants will be revealing their Taste of Thurmont Specials in the coming week.

The Board of Commissioners was recently presented with a plan of action to extend the Thurmont Trolley Trail, north from East Main Steet to Eyler Road Park. This extension of the extremely popular Trolley Trail will open the north end of Thurmont to a safe and well-maintained trail system for the use of walkers and bicyclists. The trail will connect not only to the existing Trolley Trail but also to the Gateway Trail we establish through a partnership with the Catoctin Mountain Park. This extension will also provide access to a planned bike trail between Thurmont and Emmitsburg. The final route of the north extension to the Thurmont Trolley Trail is still in the planning stages;  volunteers are welcome to contact the H&F Trolley Trail Association on its website if you would like to join the association or help with this community project.

I hope the nice weather gets us all outdoors for some much-needed sun and fun! As always, please contact me at 301-606-9458 (8:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.) or via email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com with any comments, complaints, or compliments.

James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont businesses are beginning to be recognized as some of the best in Frederick County. The Frederick News-Post’s annual “Best of the Best” contest recognized 183 county businesses in 14 categories as being the “Best of the Best.” Each year, the community nominates and votes for their favorite businesses.

At a town meeting where the local businesses were recognized, Economic Development Director Vickie Grinder said, “Traditionally Frederick had held all the winners; but in the last couple of years, several years, that has been changing.”

Grinder recognized these local winners with a “You Make Thurmont Proud” Award.

Cunningham Falls State Park won awards for Best Place to Camp (Regional) and Best Place for a First Date (Non-Food). “It’s a great partnership we have with Thurmont, and we’re growing with Thurmont,” said Mark Spurrier, park manager.

Dr. Jon A. Moles with Gateway Orthodontics won Best Orthodontist. He said, “To make it to the final five, and then to actually be the best comes from the community.” He said opening his practice in Thurmont was the best decision he ever made.

Stauffer Funeral Home, PA, won Best Funeral Home.

Hawkins Landscaping won Best Landscaping Company. Eric Hawkins said, “For so many years, we used to think we had to go to Montgomery County, and we did, and we beat that road. Little did we know we had all the support we needed right here, locally.”

Baker Tree Services won Best Tree Service Company.

Springfield Manor Winery Distillery Brewery won Best Wedding Venue and Best Winery: Springfield Manor Winery Distillery Brewery. Amy with Springfield Manor said, “Thurmont is such a small place, but look how mighty we are. We snagged a lot of the big awards.”

The Frederick County Office of Economic Development also listed a report of the top 50 CEOs in the county. Two Thurmont CEOs—David Hawkins, Jr. with Hawkins Landscaping and Jeff Barber with Playground Specialists—were among the list of top Frederick County executives. Grinder also awarded them “You Make Thurmont Proud” Awards.

On Tuesday, February 6, 2019, at the Town meeting, several Thurmont businesses were given the “You Make Thurmont Proud” Award for winning the 2018 Frederick News-Post “Best of the Best.”

James Rada, Jr.

The Emmitsburg Commissioners began a review of proposed changes to the town’s sign ordinance. The ordinance is undergoing major re-work, and the review will take place over three meetings. The next two town meetings this month, as well as in April, will be when the discussion is continued. The public is encouraged to let the commissioners know their opinions about the proposed changes so that their input can be taken into consideration.

The changes are needed in order to update the ordinance to deal with new technology and to comply with recent state and federal legal cases involving signage. Town Planner Zach Gulden told the commissioners that in one case the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sign ordinances needed to be “content neutral.”

“If your code enforcement officer has to read the sign in order to determine whether a regulation applies, the ordinance provision will likely be subject to a challenge,” he said. He also pointed out that the current town sign ordinance might possibly fail that test because it treats civic and nonprofit signage differently than commercial signage.

One change suggested is to move the sign ordinance from its current location in the town code into the zoning ordinance.

“This will allow the Planning Commission to review and comment on the proposed amendment, and it will allow businesses and residents the opportunity to apply for zoning variances if the property has a unique hardship not recognized by the sign code,” Gulden said.

This first session looked at the proposed types of signs that would be allowed and prohibited. These changes and other proposed changes are based on other sign ordinances around the state.

Sign types such as abandoned signs were obvious choices for prohibited signs. Other types, such as reflective and animated signs, were included because they can lead to distracted driving.

Prohibiting neon signs raised concern among the commissioners. “That one’s just jumping out at me,” said Commissioner Joseph Ritz, III.

Gulden said that whether or not to include neon signs was up to the commissioners, but he pointed out that buildings with neon signage are not eligible for Community Legacy Grants.

Signs that would be allowed under the proposed ordinance include traffic signs, holiday/seasonal decorations, personal expression signs, security signs, flags, arts and murals, legal notices, and temporary signs.

During a February Town meeting, owners of three local businesses (Emmitsburg Tattoo, The Ott House, and Total Look Hair Salon) spoke to express how restrictions on signage would affect their businesses.

Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners that she feels they will find that the changes, taken as a whole, are far less restrictive than the current sign ordinance.

No actions were taken on the proposed changes during the February meeting. The review of the changes continues during the March 4 and April 1 meetings of the town commissioners. Residents and business owners are invited to voice their opinions about the changes at these meetings.  

“We’re really going to dig deep into the details in the next two meetings,” Gulden said.

Even if existing legal signage does not comply with whatever the town commissioners eventually pass, the existing signage will be grandfathered in and allowed to continue unchanged.

Emmitsburg Commissioners are conducting a sign ordinance review to deal with new technology and to comply with recent state and federal legal cases involving signage.

James Rada, Jr.

Last year was a wet one for the region, with about twice as much rain as typical. With two months under our belts in 2019, are things back to normal?

Despite the couple days of arctic cold and then higher-than-typical warms, the days have been relatively balanced, with just as many days with temperatures above average as below.

The quick-changing temperatures have caused some problems, though.

“The freeze and thaw can cause ground movement, and it doesn’t take much movement to crack a water line,” said Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick.

Thurmont has had two water main breaks in 2019. Humerick said that, luckily, they weren’t significant, and the town crews were able to locate and repair them quickly.

Emmitsburg’s Town Manager Cathy Willets stated that no town-owned water lines have frozen, although a few private citizens had problems. There has also been no increased pot holes in roads due to the freezing, thawing, and the use of snow melt chemicals.

Rain and snow is also tracking with the area average so far, although this may vary depending on where you measure. It is nowhere near twice as much as the average.

“Emmitsburg’s been faring pretty well with the weather,” Willets said.

Since January, Humerick said, “It’s been a few things you would typically expect to happen in the winter.”

Now that we are entering springtime, the worries about snow will end, and we’ll start to worry about making sure we have enough rainfall to maintain the water levels in municipal wells.

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

February 2019 Meeting

Commissioners Begin Sign Ordinance Review

The Emmitsburg Commissioners began a review of the town’s new sign ordinance. The ordinance is undergoing major rework and the review will take place over three meetings.

Free Parking Donations

The Town of Emmitsburg announced that the parking meter revenue collected during the holiday season amounted to a $300 donation to the Community Day fireworks show and the Emmitsburg Food Bank.

Work Contracts Awarded

The Emmitsburg Commissioners voted to award Zest, LLC, of Clarksville a $15,912 contract to perform a hydrologic analysis of the Rainbow Lake dam to determine if work needs to be done on it. The Maryland Department of the Environment is requiring this analysis.

The commissioners also awarded RK&K a $203,380 contract to design the new pumping station. Town Manager Cathy Willets said that the town worked with the company previously on the wastewater treatment plant. They brought that project in under budget and with limited change orders. In addition, RK&K is guaranteeing not to exceed their quoted cost for the pumping station.

Finally, the commissioners chose to award RSV Pools a three-year contract for the pool management. Despite some reservations with RSV Pools, there was only one other bidder and RSV Pools had the lowest bid.

Commissioners Allocate Excess Funds

At the close of the FY2018 budget, the Town of Emmitsburg had a $152,758 surplus. The commissioners voted to allocate these funds to a number of capital projects: 300A South Seton signage, a mandated stormwater management project, a storm drain excavation, park equipment upgrades, sending old documents to Sure Scan, a disc golf course in Community Park, a Rainbow Lake engineering study, parking meter equipment, sled dogs, salt spreaders, and a utility ATV. In some cases, the amount set aside won’t fully fund the project, but either pays the matching part of a grant or starts saving for the project.

Town Trail Work Days

Commissioner Tim O’Donnell selected three days for work on the town trails with volunteers from the town. The days are April 7, May 5, and June 22. The goal is to get the trails in shape for Community Day and for the summer.

Thurmont

February 2019 Meeting

Local Businesses Awarded for Making Thurmont Proud

Economic Development Director Vickie Grinder recognized local businesses who won Frederick’s Best of the Best Contest in the Frederick News Post.

Town Approves Directional Signs

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners awarded Shannon Baum of Eldersburg a $24,600 contract to produce twelve wayfinding signs, which she also designed. The signs, which will be paid for with grants from the Maryland Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area and Frederick County Tourism, are similar to the new “Welcome to Thurmont” signs. Town staff should have the new sign installed by May.

The town will also seek funding for two additional “Welcome to Thurmont” signs.

Nature Trail Planned for Library

A new nature trail will be constructed on the property of the Thurmont Regional Library through the efforts of the Catoctin Forest Alliance, Town of Thurmont, Thurmont Regional Library, Thurmont Green Team, Frederick County Public Schools SUCCESS Program, and volunteers. The ADA-compliant trail will include butterfly habitat, bird houses, and bat boxes. Cameras will also stream video to a screen in the children’s area of the library.

Although the surface is currently planned to be crushed stone, the commissioners are planning to request that the surface be made blacktop and included in Frederick County’s Capital Improvement Plan.

This new trail can also be connected to the Thurmont Trolley Trail and the Thurmont Gateway Trail. If this happens, people will be able to walk from the library to the Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor Center.

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs

Teased, better yet, taunted by a 65-degree day, not once, but twice, had me calling out, “Hey, show me some robins!” Alas, none were to be seen, but there were voices, then sightings of returning redwing blackbirds—no wing coloring yet—to join the seasonal regulars: cardinals, titmice, chickadees, finches, nuthatches, mourning doves, and wrens, especially those who winter their nights under the eaves of our porch. Also, the visiting of jays and cameos (unfortunately, not on demand) from area attracted woodpeckers—the downy, hairy and red-bellied. All attracted by Mrs. Lib’s feeding stations here and wherever we have lived. Missed dearly from our farm days are red-headed woodpeckers, sapsuckers, and common flickers. We are anxiously awaiting our summer visitors, the catbirds and mockingbirds drawn to an old mulberry tree and Mrs. Lib’s sliced grapes.

We really miss Zurgables for the convenient purchase of birdseed for Mrs. Lib’s backyard guests, but it was time for Mark to step back. Thank you for your service to our community, and we tip our hats to you. We are still helping keep Jubilee going with ample shelled peanut purchases for the squirrels and jays.

President’s Day marked our annual mid-late national observance to our Aquarian February. So, a good time to add a tribute to the day to the many. This one is from the author of War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, who wrote some forty-five years after the assassination of Lincoln, “The greatness of Napoleon, Caesar, or Washington is only moonlight by the sun of Lincoln.”

At our last town meeting, our planner, Zach Gulden, introduced an update to our sign ordinance, the first of three planned consecutive presentations. The update is recommended, “Due to modern technological advances and recent Federal Supreme Court cases. The proposed amendment seeks to meet the needs of businesses and other organizations while protecting and enhancing the visual quality and traditional design concepts of Emmitsburg.” The business audience was engaging.

Mr. Gulden also presented the “MS4” town compliance update. MS4 is the handle for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems. “The town is identified as an urbanized area and is mandated by the Environment Protection Agency and State of Maryland Department of the Environment to hold a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Our current permit is valid from 2018-2023. This is an unfunded mandate, which means we must meet the permit requirements with no funding help from the state or federal governments. The town may be fined up to $100,000 per day if the permit requirements are not met. The most costly requirement of the NPDES permit is treating at least 20 percent of the town’s impervious surface stormwater runoff every five years. The following are acceptable restoration strategies for receiving impervious area restoration credit: new stormwater ponds, existing stormwater pond retrofits (such as converting a dry pond to a wetland or providing additional water storage), restoring failed stormwater ponds, street sweeping, buffer planting, reforestation, stream restoration, inlet cleaning, shoreline stabilization, and others. Town staff is researching stream restoration projects and grant funding opportunities to meet this term’s permit needs. Staff projects the NPDES permit could cost the Town at least $500,000 every five years. That is certainly imposing as yet another mandate.

To our benefit, as I mentioned last month, is our timber asset and the town will be submitting requests for grant assistance.

New business development: (1) preliminary plans have been received for a Rutters gas and convenience store on part of the 200+ acres undeveloped within town limits on the east side of US 15. Yes, a Rutters may return to town, but this time on a much larger scale. This initial development will bring water and sewer to that area that could open the area to more commercial development. Additionally, there are preliminary plans for a retail commercial building on Silo Hill Parkway next to the car wash. Also the town-owned property on South Seton Avenue is being changed from residential to commercial (as allowed) and now being offered for rent.

We are not losing our mind, prices are rising. From an article in the Saturday, February 16, 2019, Wall Street Journal, “The Price of a Clean House” confirms our suspicions. The article tracked prices of several top-selling brands for everyday use household goods for the January 2018-January 2019 period. Manufacturers cited increased costs of production and delivery. By the way, more cost increases are expected to come this year… Kleenex 160-count tissues rectangular box, price bump 8.4 percent. Bounty Size-a-Super Roll 6 pack, price bump 19.4 percent. Huggies 112-count, size 4, disposable diapers up 1.9 percent. Glad Force Flex 13-gallon kitchen bags, 140 count, price bump 4.5 percent.

Ambivalent in its cadence, is the tempered assurance that spring will “stick the landing” once again. Unpredictable as to specifically when and how, there is always the predictability that it will be. The seasons do come with a wonderful rhythm. Let’s take care of it.

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird

Recent snowfall has dashed any hopes of an early spring, but it is coming. In the meantime, a few thoughts when it snows: If you can get your car off the road, please do so, it helps our snowplows; Don’t shovel driveway aprons until our snow plows go past; Do be careful when driving close to snow plows; Keep an eye on your elderly neighbors when it gets really cold or we get snow and ice; Be sure your kids are dressed appropriately for the cold or snow; Make sure your pets are indoors during extreme cold or make sure they have ample shelter with fresh water and food. Snow can be fun, but it can also be very hazardous. Please remember to call 911 for all medical, fire, or rescue emergencies. Thurmont residents should call 301-271-7313 to report any water, electric, or sewer emergencies. Use the same number after hours and follow the instructions for reporting an emergency.

The next months will bring some great local events to Thurmont, courtesy of Thurmont Main Street. Get a head start on your own wellbeing at the 2nd Annual Zumbathon, being held on Sunday, April 7, at the Thurmont American Legion, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Proceeds from this event will help support Thurmont’s Gateway to the Cure 2019. On Saturday, April 27, be sure to attend the Thurmont Business Showcase, from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., at the Thurmont Event Complex. This well-attended annual event features many local businesses and nonprofits and gives you the chance to discover local businesses, services, and products of which you may not have been aware. Bring your family and friends to the Thurmont Event Complex at 13716 Strafford Drive for this wonderful event. If you are looking for some outdoor fun, head out to the 1st Annual Gateway to the Cure Golf Tournament, being held at Maple Run Golf Course on June 21. Keep an eye open for further details on this local golfing event at Thurmont’s own Maple Run Golf Course.

There are lots of projects planned for the Thurmont area this coming year, from a third pavilion at the community park, new lighting in the trolley trail, to new wayfaring signs around town. Cunningham Falls State Park is in the process of making some great improvements to the facilities at the lake and at the Manor area. New restrooms, picnic facilities, beach improvements, enhanced entrance facilities, a new outdoor center, and several other projects are in the works. These improvements may have an impact on park accessibility during the summer, and officials ask for your understanding—the improvements will be worth the inconvenience!

I hope everyone has a wonderful March, and we are all looking forward to warmer spring weather when we can get back outside to enjoy all Thurmont has to offer!

As always, please call me at 301-606-9458 or email me at jkinnaird@thurmont.com with any questions, comments or suggestions. You can also follow my Facebook page for updates on local issues or upcoming events.

Deb Abraham Spalding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by James Rada, Jr.

Emmitsburg

January 2019 Meeting

Emmitsburg Approves Forestry Management Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Installed Behind Town Offices

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

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

Commissioners Approve New Town Waysides

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

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

Town Square Lights Using New Signal Sequence

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

Thurmont

January 2019 Meeting

Town May Use Speed Cameras Near Schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Community Park Pavilion Approved

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

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

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

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

Trolley Trail Lighting Bid Approved

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

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

Board of Appeals Alternate Appointed

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

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurmont

 Mayor John Kinnaird

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

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

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

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

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

Blair Garrett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Dowling Receives Awards for his Volunteer Work

James Rada, Jr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deb Abraham Spalding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[addiction]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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