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Richard D. L. Fulton

(Adapted from ‘Nazis’ in Gettysburg:  World War II Comes to a Civil War Battlefield by Richard D. L. Fulton, pending publication.)

It seemed like just another routine and ordinary morning in 1944 in tranquil Frederick and Adams counties to the casual observer, but something was about to occur which would be beyond the routine and the ordinary – perhaps even horrifying – in these rural counties.

As Mason-Dixon residents went about their normal business, perhaps starting their day at their kitchen tables having cups of coffee or enjoying their breakfasts and reading over their local newspaper on the events transpiring in a far-away war relegated in faraway places most Mason-Dixon residents would likely never see.

America was only a few months away from D-Day and the invasion of Normandy, but as many rural area farmers and their families went about their routine chores, a few of them might have noticed a disruption in the nearby tree lines, unusual activities in a distant field, or something not quite right about vehicles rumbling their way down a little-used dirt road.

Suddenly it became clear, as events began to transpire within more reasonable fields of vision, that the individuals who could be identified appeared to be armed men in uniforms – German Wehrmacht uniforms.  At first a few individual German soldiers appeared, as if scouting, then squads and platoons began to walk out of the woods. 

Before residents could decipher any meaning to it all, German armored vehicles could be seen rumbling along the rural roads.  As the vehicles progressed closer, observers could observe the readily distinguishable and distinct Balkan crosses on the fronts and sides.  Even more disturbing, two war planes – also bearing Balkan crosses on their wings and sides – could be seen flying low over the fields, as if scouting ahead of the converging enemy.

Slowly, as the unbelievable seemed to be unfolding before those who were observing the remarkable events, the sole reason behind it all could only suggest one thing – the unthinkable.  The Germans were on the move, not in Europe, but in Maryland…in Frederick County, and making their way northward along the rural dirt byways, apparently, for all intents and purposes, completely undetected by any military authorities or local law enforcement.

How could this be?  There had been no warning.  Some of the local inhabitants might have been a little surprised, at least initially.  There were, after all, several hundred members of the famed German Afrika Korps “encamped” just outside Gettysburg.  Sure, they were just prisoners of war (referred to as PWs in that period of time) housed in the Gettysburg battlefield compound, but had the Wehrmacht launched a surprise raid on American soil to liberate them?

Several of the advancing Germans were “captured” by local farmers, who thought they could also be escaped prisoners of war and held them until they could be turned over to the military or police, but to their chagrin, their patriotic effort would ultimately have been as being proven to have been for naught.  The farmers could make little sense of what their prisoners were trying to say – their captives, not surprisingly, could only speak German.

Certainly, to whatever local farmers and residents who might have been witnessing this seemingly unanticipated “invasion,” there must have been somewhat of a sigh of relief when groups of American GIs began to appear on the scene to essentially “save the day.”

Finally, after more than a week of apparent hit-and-run tactics having been employed by the Germans, triggering similar responses by the American troops at hand, the sounds of warfare began to taper off, until the only thing anyone within hearing distance might have heard were demands that the German forces surrender, being made by the Americans, spoken in German, and being broadcast from loudspeakers. 

The American broadcasts announced to the Germans proclaimed that the Germans were surrounded, that resistance was futile, and that there was no sense dying when they could surrender and be treated in full accordance with the Geneva Convention.

 As the invasion slowly began to grind to a halt as more groups of American troops began rounding up surrendering Germans and removing them from the scene—as well as liberating members of the enemy who had been taken into custody by shotgun-wielding locals.

Why had the infamous and renowned German Wehrmacht given up so easily? Perhaps the main reason was because this German “invasion” had not been plotted and orchestrated in Berlin. The planning for this “attack” on American soil began just outside of Gettysburg within a forested area of the old Gettysburg battlefield known as McMillan Woods, at a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp which had recently been re-dubbed by the military as “Camp George H. Sharpe” (see The Ritchie Boys” From Antietam to Gettysburg in the November issue of The Catoctin Banner).

The week-long invasion had been orchestrated as a training exercise for the approximately 800-man 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Mobile Radio Broadcasting companies, who would be responsible -upon deployment on D-Day – for attempting to coerce enemy troops into surrendering or retreating, and to spread factual information from behind enemy lines to the allies and generate “fake news” broadcasts to the enemy.

Because of the secretive nature of the exercises, the residents could not have been notified by the military in-advance, as it could have potentially jeopardized the covert nature of the operations emanating out of Camp Sharpe.  The civilian population would not learn of the truth behind the invasion until after the close of the war.

As to the column of German vehicles, George Mandler recorded in Interesting Times: An Encounter With the 20th Century 1924 – that the shells of simulated German tanks were also constructed of plywood and mounted on Jeeps.  Other types of German vehicles were nothing more than cardboard shells mounted on various other vehicles. 

And as to the two German “Messerschmitt” fighters seen overhead during the engagement, The Baltimore Sun reporter Bready wrote that the simulated aircraft strafing was being recreated by two “Cub trainers, based at the Waynesboro airport.”  Some of the German soldiers were actually German prisoners of war who had volunteered to participate in the maneuvers rather than just sit in PW camps.

But what about the distinct sounds of battle heard?  The (Frederick) News reported in 1945, “speakers had been planted in strategic locations and used to broadcast actual combat noises.”

Making mention of the few German troops captured by local farmers, Hanna and Walter Kohner wrote in Hanna… Walter: A Love Story, “The German front was so carefully duplicated that some of the soldiers dressed in German uniforms not only were captured by our own units and interrogated, but also by some Gettysburg farmers, who took them for escaped POWs.” 

Reporter Bready, jokingly referring to the farmer-captured Germans, stated, “Fun might be had counting up, in the hospital records at Ritchie, that cryptic entry, ‘Wound, buttocks, buckshot.”

Remnants of the “Nazi” Mason-Dixon Invasion still exist in the fields and woods of the affected woods and fields to this day.  “The hills and forests surrounding the camp will be giving up souvenirs for years to come,” The (Frederick) News reported in 1945, a statement recently reinforced with the discovery of German World War II equipage and medals recovered by relic hunters at an undeveloped parcel of land off East Route 30, near Gettysburg. 

Likewise, Sun reporter Bready wrote, “Long after the Jeep tracks and hoofprints are gone, the surrounding hills and forests will store up for future ages such memorials as C-ration cans, spent cartridges, and forsaken tent-pins.”

For additional information, see documentary “The Ritchie Boys”, Menemsha Films (

Two German soldiers with rifles.

Source: Unpublished German photograph: Personal collection R. D. L. Fulton

Cartoon Source: The Baltimore Sun, December 16, 1945

    New We

by Helen Xia,

  CHS Student Writer

When a new year rolls around, it’s a perfect time to set new goals. I’m certainly not the only one who thinks so. We have an entire tradition dedicated to that practice: New Year’s resolutions. Not only do these resolutions give you something to work on for the rest of the year, but they also offer a valuable period for self-reflection. What’s really important to you as an individual?

Although people may choose to keep their yearly aspirations private, it is interesting if you get the chance to read some from those around you. In my case, I distributed quick questionnaires to people attending Catoctin High School’s annual Christmas event, Santa’s Workshop. Santa’s Workshop offers festive activities, such as crafts, free of charge for children to complete. This allowed me to garner a wide range of respondents, from toddlers to guardians and teachers. From these participants, a general trend can be observed: We are all seeking to improve ourselves in some way. Yet, the ways in which different people approach that task are rather diverse. Moreover, I’ve found that New Year’s resolutions often reflect what stage of life we are living. For instance, of the teenagers who submitted their 2023 goals, about half of them wished to either graduate high school, attend college, or take steps toward driving.

I’ve always treated New Year’s resolutions like birthday wishes: Maybe, if I think hard enough, I will wake up with a million dollars at my bedside. Similarly, Jamie, age 42, penned that she would like to “Hit the lotto!!” Eight-year-old George also reported that he would like to “get rich” in 2023, too. I’m glad that brings us all together. May we all obtain our riches this year!

Another trend is evident throughout the resolutions I’ve accumulated: The desire to learn something new. Eleven-year-old Shyloh wrote, “In 2023, I would like to be able to do an aerial.” Comparably, 14-year-old Jared would like to play two songs on the guitar; 15-year-old Doug would like to learn how to play the drums; and 33-year-old Felipe wants to start learning a new language. (Supposedly, six-month-old Cecilia would like to learn how to walk!)

Truly, learning is one of the greatest beauties of living. It’s one of the few constants in life. Amid ever-changing conditions, the opportunity to learn and grow never dissipates.

As one may expect, several goals were career focused. For example, Mr. Felmet of Catoctin High School aims to “put on the best musical CHS has ever seen.” Likewise, 15-year-old Lillian strives to “be the best tennis player.” Sixteen-year-old Colette aspires to “be the best Color Guard member ever.” A handful of younger students want to earn good grades.

Various resolutions, coming from all age groups, are relatable for many. Namely, 14-year-old Griffin would like to “procrastinate less,” and 17-year-old Seth wants to “work out and be happy.” Fifty-six-year-old Trish wishes to “reduce the stress in [her] life!” These goals sound like valid pieces of advice anybody can benefit from. Let’s all procrastinate less, exercise, manage our stress levels, and, above all, be happy this year.

Other responses were more quirky, albeit still relatable for some. Four-year-old Thomas craves more cake in 2023, five-year-old Lucy would like to go on more camping trips, and six-year-old Chandler is seeking to go to Legoland. Additionally, 16-year-old Darrin is aiming to “not be mean.”

My favorite answer that I received came from eight-year-old Avetie, who noted their resolution to be a singular word: “play.”

Why did I include the ages of everybody who submitted a resolution? At the start of this article, I expected to be able to distinguish between age groups by their aspirations alone. During this process, I found that goals from all ages resonated with me, and even resolutions as simple as “play” can be applied to more people than one may think. Sometimes, taking a break from working is as valuable as working itself. We all need time for ourselves to recharge.

While our experiences in life vary immensely, we can all learn from each other. Many times, we learn the same lessons about life, even if said lessons are taught through unlike means. We are more united than we think!

Joan Bittner Fry

This is the story of Lewis D. Crawford, father of Miss Ethel Crawford, the Thurmont Elementary School teacher who students remember as the owner of “Oscar,” the paddle. Although I never had Miss Crawford for a teacher, I understand she really did dole out punishment with Oscar. Her family’s history follows from Scharf’s History of Western Maryland.

The Hon. Lewis D. Crawford, member of the Maryland Legislature of 1904, principal of the Deerfield public schools, Deerfield, Maryland (now Sabillasville), son of the late George H. and Laura E. (Birely) Crawford, was born in Sabillasville on November 9, 1868. Mr. Crawford’s grandfather, Thomas H. Crawford, was born in Ireland, where his childhood and youth were spent. He came to America in early manhood and settled near Sabillasville, Hauvers district, Frederick County, where he was employed as a laborer. He married, and among their children was a son named George H. Crawford.  Thomas H. Crawford and his wife died at their home near Sabillasville.

The late Lieutenant George H. Crawford, father of Lewis D. Crawford, was born at his father’s home near Sabillasville. He was educated in the public schools of Sabillasville and taught for a short time before the Civil War.

In 1862, Mr. Crawford enlisted in Company D, Sixth Maryland Infantry. This company was drawn from Sabillasville and Thurmont and was in the field for three years.  He took part in a number of severe battles, saw hard fighting in the Battle of the Wilderness, and lost his left arm in the battle of Cedar Creek. He was promoted several times for bravery on the field and was mustered out as lieutenant of his company. After the close of the war, he returned to his profession, but was forced to abandon it on account of failing health, caused by the wound he had received. He was then appointed to an office under the Federal Government at Washington, D.C., but his health was so broken by his wound that he was unable to discharge the duties devolving upon him. Lieutenant Crawford was married to Laura E., daughter of John and Susan (Miller) Birely, whose father was prominent among the elder residents of Sabillasville. Their children are: 1. George M., a farmer of Hauvers District; 2. Blanche S, married to Alfred Taggart, a farmer residing near Smithsburg, Washington County; 3. Maud M. (Mrs. Adam H. Anders) of Sabillasville; 4. Lewis D.; 5. Bruce L. of Blue Ridge Summit.  Mr. Crawford and his wife were members of the German Reformed Church in Sabillasville. He was a liberal contributor and an active worker in the church. He died in February 1872 and is buried in the cemetery of the Reformed Church in Sabillasville. His widow resides in Sabillasville.

Lewis D. Crawford was only three years old when his father died. He received his education in the public schools of the district, and remained on the home farm, assisting his mother until he married. When he was 20, he began teaching in Eyler’s Valley. He afterwards taught in Emmitsburg, and from there removed to Deerfield, where he has been teaching successfully for the last 18 years. He is a prosperous man and owns his beautiful two-story frame dwelling in Deerfield.  Mr. Crawford is one of the leading Republicans of Hauvers District. In 1903, he was elected by the party of the Legislature of Maryland and took his seat in that body in 1904.  He is a member of Acacia Lodge, of No. 155, A.F. and A.M., of Thurmont; of the I.O.O.F. and A.M. of Thurmont; the J.O. of S.M., No. 25, of Buena Vista. Mr. Crawford is highly esteemed as a businessman, a successful instructor and as a good citizen.

Lewis D. Crawford was married to Edna M., daughter of Maurice and Flora (Shafer) Sheffler, whose father is a prominent farmer of Fairfield, Pennsylvania. They have two children: Helen K. and Ethel L. (1906-1983), both at home. Mr. Crawford and his wife are members of Saint Mark’s Lutheran Church in Sabillasville.


 Mayor John Kinnaird

Welcome to the New Year! I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. I remember my parents telling me that the older we get, the faster time seems to pass. This past year really seemed to fly by for me, but looking back, I had a great time.

With winter upon us, be sure to be prepared for snow and ice. Keeping a bag of cat litter and a small shovel in your trunk can help you get out of snow and ice. Make sure your cell phone is charged when you go out and bring along warm clothing just in case you get stuck somewhere. Also, be sure to keep an eye on your elderly neighbors when bad weather hits. They may not be able to get out for groceries or to doctors’ appointments. When we do get snow, try to get your cars off the streets so that our plowing crew can clear the streets more effectively. Keep your pets indoors in the cold weather; otherwise, make sure they have clean bedding, fresh water, and ample food. In case of electric outages, keep your doors closed to retain heat in your house. Our electric crews respond to outages 24/7 and work hard to get repairs completed as soon as possible. If you or a neighbor depend on a medical device, such as an oxygen generator or respirator, you can call the non-emergency Fire/Police/ Rescue at 301-600-2071 and ask that the fire department provide an emergency generator. If you are elderly and can not clear your walkway, call the Thurmont Police Department and ask if any volunteers are available to help you clear your walkway.

There will be a special vote on January 17 regarding the Annexation of the Simmers property on Apples Church Road. Eligible Thurmont residents can vote on the annexation at the Guardian Hose Company Activities Building at 123 East Main Street in Thurmont. Voting will run from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. This vote will be done with paper ballots. Results will be available after the votes are counted the following day.

The new calendar of important Thurmont dates, covering trash pickup, bulk trash, yard waste drop-off, etc., will be showing up in one of the town bills. One of the first important dates will be January 14 for bulk trash pickup and yard waste drop-off. Contact the town office at 301-271-7313 to see if you need stickers for any bulk trash items. Even if you don’t have anything that requires a fee or a sticker, be sure to let them know you will be putting out bulk trash. Yard Waste drop-off will be held the same day at the location on Moser Road. This service is for Thurmont residents only; be sure to have your permit showing when you arrive.

Please keep our less fortunate friends, neighbors, and family members in mind all year, but especially during these difficult winter months. Your donations of non-perishable foods and sanitary items to the Thurmont Food Bank and warm clothing, hats, and gloves to the Thurmont Clothes Closet will make a positive change in our community. Both organizations also accept cash donations.

I hope everyone has a great January! If you have any question, comments, or recommendations, I can be contacted at 301-606-9458 or by email at [email protected].


Mayor Don Briggs

According to a recent article predicated on Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics information, inflation slowed down as consumer prices grew by only 0.1 percent in November. The same study found that for the period of September 2020 through March 2022, food prices increased 12.2 percent and energy costs increased 13.0 percent. Hmmm, whoever ran those calculations at the bureau, with a good measure of certainty, Lib and I can say they do not shop in Northern Frederick County where we do.

At the December 6th regularly scheduled town meeting:

        Dianne Walbrecker was reappointed to the Board of Appeals. 

        Jack Pollitt was appointed to the Parks and Recreation. 

        Valerie Turnquist was appointed to the Planning Commission as an alternate member.

        Mark Walker was reappointed to the Citizen’s Advisory Committee. 

Agenda Items:

        A public hearing for consideration of Ordinance 2022-12 that would increase water and sewer rates over a three-year period. Tabled deliberation until February 2023.

        For consideration, approval of Ordinance 2022-13, which would change Board of Commissioners meeting to 7:00 p.m. Passed.

        For consideration, approval of the three-year sewer relining bid. Bid approved.

        For discussion and consideration, an offer from Richard Lindsay to purchase three acres from the Town of Emmitsburg, located near the WWTP. Accepted the Lindsays’ offer to purchase three-plus acres from the town of land they have cared for more than over 30 years.

        For consideration, approval of revertible forest conservation easement with Daughters of Charity.

        Daughters of Charity are providing a 9.2013-acre revertible forest conservation easement to the Town to plant trees for the 2023-2028 MS-4 permitting term. Parcel located on east side of US 15.  Approved.

        For consideration, amending the hours of the Farmers Market. Hours will be extended to 2:00-8:00 p.m.

The Christmas tree lighting went well. As part of the evening plan, an Ukrainian tribute to Lutsk our sister city was held. Thank you to DJ, Ramius Entertainment; the Christ Community Church Children’s Chorale; the Emmitsburg Community Chorale; and touching remarks by our guest tree-lighter, Natalie Randall, a native Ukrainian, now U.S. citizen. We invited V. Rev. Elia Yelovich of the Emmitsburg Orthodox mission church to bless the tree and all in attendance, as he did. To the follow up photos sent by staff to him, the V. Reverend responded, “…by far the best tree-lighting ceremony I have been to.” Let’s carry that perspective into 2023. We can do it. Emmitsburg is that special.

Thank you, Lions Club, Seton Center, businesses, and all of our churches for what you do for our children and elderly every day of the year. A special thank you to the Carriage House for delighting all with their generous annual Evening of Christmas Spirit.

Lib and I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and you and your family have the best New Year ever!

by James Rada, Jr.


Annexation Comings and Goings

The town suspended the Simmers Property 16.7-acre annexation, which the Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners had approved last year.               

Thurmont residents submitted a petition with 1,154 verified signatures. The group, Envision Thurmont, collected the signatures and submitted them to the town office. Only 906 verified signatures (20 percent of Thurmont’s registered voters) were required to put the annexation to a referendum vote.

Now that the annexation has been suspended, a special referendum vote will need to be set to put the issue before the town.

In November, the town also introduced two more annexation requests. Apples Church United Church of Christ and a portion of town-owned property comprising 4.881 acres is requesting annexation. Thurmont United Methodist Church, a 4.3135-acre parcel, is also requesting to be annexed. Both of these properties will be zoned institutional if the annexations are approved.

East End Park Picnic Pavilion to be Replaced

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted to replace the East End Park picnic pavilion with a new 30-foot by 30-foot pavilion to be built by Playground Specialists. The cost is $89,999 and will be paid for with a Program Open Space grant. The town will be required to pay $22,500 of the amount, which has already been budgeted.

Town Receives a Clean Audit

Mike Samson and Alison Burke with Zlenkofske & Axelrod, LLC, presented the results of the annual independent audit of Thurmont’s financial statements for Fiscal Year 2022. Samson gave the town an unmodified or clean opinion, which is the highest rating that can be given. The auditors had no difficulties performing the audit or had any disagreements with the management.

Town Makes Gateway to the Cure Donation

Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder recently told the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners about the town’s 9th Annual Gateway to the Cure efforts for 2022. This year’s events generated $22,174 for the Patty Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund, which is more than $4,000 above what the town raised last year. The money will stay within Frederick County and go toward direct patient care.


Developer Wants Frailey Farm Annexed

Water and Sewer Rate Increases Postponed

Reluctant to drastically raise the town’s water rate for residents, the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners postponed making a decision on the increases. Instead, they asked staff to prepare some additional scenarios in the hopes of finding one that isn’t so drastic. They arrived at the decision after hearing from town residents and discussing it among themselves.

Rates are expected to rise. The question is just how much. The new rates are expected to be approved by the end of March so that they can be in effect for the following billing cycle.

Sewer Relining Bid Approved

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a three-year sewer relining bid of $5,992 from Guyer Brothers in New Enterprise, Pennsylvania. The company utilizes a new technology that uses steam to thermo-cure the lining. It does not involve the use of chemicals like current technology, and the work is guaranteed for 10 years.

Meeting Time Changes

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to change the meeting time for its monthly town meetings from 7:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. This should provide the board with a little extra time each month since the meetings have tended to run around three hours each month and sometimes longer.

Moving and Expanding the Community Garden

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners is considering moving the present community garden to a location next to where the Farmer’s Market sets up. This would also allow the garden to be expanded.


The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners made the following appointments and reappointment during its December meeting.

•   Dianne Walbrecker to the Emmitsburg Board of Appeals, with a term of December 15, 2022 – December 15, 2024.

•   Jack Pollitt to the Emmitsburg Parks and Recreation Committee, with a term of December 6, 2022 – December 2, 2024.

•   Valerie Turnquist as an alternate member to the Emmitsburg Planning Commission, with a term of December 6, 2022 – December 6, 2027.

•      Mark Walker to the Emmitsburg Citizen’s Advisory Committee, with a term of November 7, 2022 – November 7, 2024.


Burgess Heath Barnes

Happy and blessed New Year. Welcome to 2023! I hope this new year is a good one for all. I also hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.

Our December 13th meeting was rather quiet, with very few things on the agenda, so this month’s article will be rather short. We reminded the residents of the upcoming public hearing concerning allowing chickens in town that will be held on January 10, 2023, beginning at 7:00 p.m. All residents are welcome to attend to voice their opinions.

I gave an update on the town hall progress. We have signed a contract with an architect, and I have had a call with them and the engineer to begin the next steps. I have been asked, “Didn’t you have an architect?” The answer is, yes, and we had a drawing; however, with the now-larger lot that we have, we can build a larger and more sustainable building, as the lot is almost twice the size of the other lot. This means we must have new drawings, but the process is moving along.

We have had several issues of vandalism in the park over the last few weeks. The latest is that the port-o-potties that are placed in the park have been damaged beyond repair. We will need to buy those from the rental company and replace them with new ones. Due to the ongoing damage, the decision was made to remove them from the park and not to replace them. We will continue to have our permanent facilities open April 1 through November 30 of each year, but, unfortunately, the port-o-potties will no longer be available.

We had a great turnout of children and adults alike for our annual Santa run that was once again planned and implemented by the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department. We had a great time and look forward to next year.

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 [email protected] or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] 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.

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 [email protected], 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 [email protected]


 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 [email protected]


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 [email protected] or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] 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 [email protected].


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 [email protected] or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] or call 301-845-0213.

If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or compliments, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] 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.